Saturday, February 27, 2010

real update

The last post was all about Nicole, and I didn't really get a chance to chat about MY life.  This blog is, after all, all about me.

(but as a Nicole update, they are treating her for a kidney infection.  Turns out she is NOT dilated and has been instructed to take a week off.  She'll have another ultrasound at the end of the week, but if it looks ok she can come back to work.  thank goodness)

Pneumonia:  I am still coughing a fair amount, but I am pretty confident the X-ray will come back clear.  That's good.  In a way, this may have turned out in my favor.  I get 8 weeks STD for my maternity leave, and that ended on Feb 10th or so.  According to the Massachusetts Maternity Leave Act, I get 16 weeks of protected job security, although it is unpaid (similar to FMLA, only a state program).  For the remaining time, I can use vacation time in order to still get paid, but any other time is unpaid.  I had saved about 2-3 weeks vacation, so I was going to use all that and just take unpaid time for the remainder.

However, I had an epiphany while driving the other day:  had I returned to work, I would be back on STD for the pneumonia.  So why am I wasting vacation time?  I contacted my HR, and they are going to look into it for me.  HuzzAH!  This will save vacation time and I may not need to take any unpaid time at all.  It makes sense to me:  this is what STD is for.  And my HR contact didn't think it was a problem.  However, my faith and confidence in my insurance company is...well...we'll keep it clean and not say what I'm really thinking.

This week is going to be a bit rough.  Zev will be with Jason at the back-up day care, and I'll be with the girls all week.  I do have some appointments...early intervention is coming on Monday, I have a meeting with my boss on Tuesday (mom is coming to watch the girls so I can run out for two hours), and I have to get an X-ray some time on Thursday (may have to beg a friend to babysit).  I also need to find time to get to the gym...perhaps after Zev goes to bed.  It will be late in the evening, but better that than nothing. I think I'm sufficiently over the pneumonia enough to do a little something, and it is my stress reliever.

I've been having some stomach bloating, and I think it is due to my inactivity.  I have a very temperamental GI system, and the things that I find bloat me up are:  too much processed foods, too little activity, and not enough water.  I'm doing crappy on all of those, so I really need to work on that, for my own comfort level.  Ugh.  Its really the activity that makes it the worst.  Once I get back to work I think it will be better since I won't be sitting on the couch all day; I spend a fair amount of work time on my feet, even though I wouldn't call it especially 'active'.  But I do really miss my high level activity that I had 'way back in the day'.  I suppose it is unrealistic to be able to keep up that schedule, but SOMETHING is better than nothing...  I am one of those people who hates to sit still.  Made bed rest even harder...

Made challah yesterday for the first time in about ten years.  The recipe was only blah.  Not sweet enough for my taste.  But it was something I really wanted to do, and next week I can try another recipe. This one was half whole wheat/half regular flour, with a touch of honey and applesauce.  But I think it needed more oil:  it was rather dry.  And more salt.  I want to buy a bread machine so I can do it weekly; once I start work, doing it without one is going to be too difficult.  If any readers have suggestions, I'm open to them.  I just want something simple.

Tonight is Purim.  Jason will be taking Zev to services and I will be staying home.  Sigh.  I do want to get out and get him a costume and maybe we can make cookies this afternoon before he goes.  We need sugar though...I realized that yesterday while baking the challah.  I wish I could go, but there is no way we can bring the girls out in public to a small room with so many germs.  Oh well.  Next year.

And here I thought my bed rest/house arrest would end once the girls were home...

Thursday, February 25, 2010

And the hits just keep coming

I've posted before about our nanny.  She is fantastic.  Thirty-four years old, and has been nannying/daycare for her entire professional life.  Has a degree in early education and has worked for day cares and been a nanny for over 10 years now.  When we found out we were having twins, the first thing we did was do a nanny search.  I joined and ended up interviewing eight nannies.  She was the last one, and while there were quite a few good interviews, I felt she was the best fit.  She accepted the position over the phone.

Since then, she has been very open about how much she loves her job.  She has told me that while she is not a religious person, she does think that this job was given to her just when she needed it.  It is a perfect fit.

When I was put on bedrest, she found out she was pregnant.  This was not a wanted pregnancy, but she kept it and her boyfriend moved in with her.  Her pregnancy has been a bit rough...lots of nausea, fatigue, heart burn, etc.  She found out a few weeks ago that she was having a girl and even has a name picked out.  This is not her first child (she has a 13 year old son), and although it wasn't initially what she wanted, she seemed to be getting more and more excited...she registered and Babies R Us last weekend (I peeked at it online...cute things!!) and has been in the midst of figuring out day care for her daughter.

Yesterday she was here and was not feeling so well.  She called her OB, and they had her go to the ER.  From her description, it really sounded like just a blood pressure issue or blood sugar:  dizziness upon standing.  But better safe than sorry.

She called us last night around 9:30pm, still in the hospital.  They were sending her to L/D.

While I was at the pediatrician this morning (more on that later) Jason called with an update:  they think she has an infection and her cervix is open.  And they think she has too much amniotic fluid.

The poor thing.  At my estimation she is around 23 weeks gestation.  Not even viable/barely viable.

My heart is breaking for her.  Jason said she did not have that much information, but that it sounded like she wasn't asking.  She hates doctors, so this doesn't surprise me.

Jason took Zev to the back up daycare at MGH and he'll take him again tomorrow.  I had the girls today for their 2 month appointment (looking good so far!) and a friend came with me to help me out.  We don't have anything on the schedule for tomorrow, so that shouldn't be bad:  Jason will take Zev with him again and I'll just stay home.

But poor Nicole.  I'm going to call her later and see how she is doing.  Obviously I am very worried about her, her baby, her health, and how she is going to get through this (emotionally and financially...I know her income after all, and if she is put on bed rest, that cuts that out completely).  And, because we have our own self-interests to keep in mind, if she is put on bed rest, that means we have to scramble for another nanny.  There is no WAY we will find someone as good, and I feel horribly guilty for even thinking of ourselves at this time.  But I suppose this is reality...

I will wait the weekend and then place an ad for a nanny.  If her cervix is indeed open, there is no way she can work.  That was my problem, and I was immediately put on bed rest.  If she has an amniotic infection, she is at risk of labor, and they may not even let her leave the hospital.

I feel horribly for her.  I've been there and I know what it feels like...

The poor thing.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Continuing on with the sickness; buying girl's clothes

Pneumonia going on day 4.  Fever is gone, but coughing is worse.  I think I'd rather have the least that way I can sleep a little bit.

I have been getting some advice on how long this is going to last.  The general consensus seems to be:  a few weeks.  Well bugger.  I've been told by numerous people that the antibiotics will make me feel better (really...when?????) but after that, I need to continue to take it easy or I could have another bout of this and delay my full recovery.

As I said a few months ago:  I don't do so well with taking it easy.  Luckily the coughing is actually prohibiting me doing all that much anyway.  I don't know what my oxygen saturation levels are (before the NICU, would I have ever have even thought about that??) but they must be pretty low since I have no energy at all.  I am doing a little bit when I have sudden bursts of energy, but am still very much taking it easy.

Something I did do yesterday:  I had to go make some exchanges at Gymboree.  We have been getting some presents for the girls, but some of them have been preemie sized clothing.  Clothing that had been sent weeks ago was fine.  But now, while the girls are still currently wearing preemie clothes, they are starting to outgrow them and I would prefer to have clothes they can wear for the next few months.  Luckily people have been thoughtful enough to send receipts for their clothes.  So off I went to Gymboree to return some clothing and get something in a larger size.

Two funny anecdotes to that.

There are two Gymborees near me.  One in a very posh mall and one in a very working class mall.  The working class mall is closer but I had been there relatively recently, so I decided to go to the posh mall.  Walked through Bloomingdales to get to Gymboree.  This is around lunchtime on a Thursday, and you can imagine the high society dames who were browsing Bloomingdales in the middle of a working day. I went to Gymboree only to be told that the gifts had been bought at a Gymboree OUTLET and I couldn't return them there.  Bugger.  The Gymboree in the working class mall happens to be a Gymboree outlet, so I ended up having to go there anyway.

The difference between the women browsing Bloomingdales and the people in that second mall...there was easily a 200K salary difference.  I dropped a few tax breaks.  It was a little amusing.

Anyway, I did end up exchanging the clothing (and buying more...always works out that way, no), but I found myself in a funny situation:  I don't know how to buy girl's clothes.  I can buy clothes for my son easily.  No problem.  I have my boy clothes likes and dislikes and know what I want him to wear.  The girls....

Well, first there are so many more options for girls.  I always knew that, and it used to frustrate me when shopping for Zev.  But now that I actually have to BUY girl's clothes, its a bit overwhelming.  And I realized I have an aversion to buying them dresses.  For babies?  Won't their legs get cold?  Am I just too practical for this?  I don't have a problem buying cute bows for their hair (couldn't find any...sob sob) or things like that, but  You just see their diaper unless you get little short-shorts to go with them.  So I bought some cute girl-y jeans, two sets of one-piece overalls, and a onsie.  They only had one non-white onsie, which makes no sense to me....having babies in white is just asking for trouble.

Thus I did manage to get out for a bit.  Spent the rest of the day coughing, as usual.  More of the same, I would imagine, for today...

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


I've never had pneumonia before...  it isn't fun.

This weekend was the weekend from hell.  I started feeling under the weather around Friday/Saturday.  By Saturday night I was definitely feeling sick and the fever was starting to climb.  Come Sunday I was so light sensitive I couldn't stand to be in a room if the light was on, had a 101 degree fever, and spent the entire day in bed with a hacking cough, runny eyes, and runny nose.  Monday = more of the same.  I was taking Tylenol every 6 hours:  if I missed a dose, I immediately would get the chills and my temperature would sky-rocket again.  Then I would take Tylenol, and I would sweat it out as my temperature dropped.  Misery.  At one point last night I was wearing two sweatshirts, a regular shirt, had two comforters, and a heating blanket and was STILL shivering.  At 6 am this morning I realized it actually hurt to breathe...

Time to email the doctor...

I went in for an X-ray this morning and sure enough:  pneumonia.  I'm on a course of 5 days of antibiotics and then I have to have another X-ray in two weeks.  If it gets worse, I am to call my doc immediately.

Back to bed rest for me...which sucks.  And I know what is going to happen:  after a few days of antibiotics I'm going to feel fine.  And I'm going to want to do things.  And my warden husband is going to get pissed at me for doing too much and yell at me.  I already lived that life for three months when I was on bed rest for the pregnancy.  Sucks.

But call out to my husband...while yours truly was wanting to die over the weekend, he had to once again be a single parent...only this time to not ONLY a toddler but to a toddler and two newborn babies who aren't very cooperative with eating.  Said toddler also decided to get food poisoning (I think) and throw up everything he has ever eaten in his lifetime on Sunday night and into Monday morning.

And just to make things even more 'special', we had the visiting nurse come on Monday to give the girls their Synagis shots.  She comes weekly and weighs them (very nice service offered to us through the hospital) and turns out Tzelia lost an ounce in a week.  I was not surprised:  her eating has not been good the last week or so and when I graphed her intake (yes, I'm a geek...I have all of their feedings charted in Excel, as well as my pumping output) I can see that she has dropped 2 ounces/day for the last 4 days.  So she needs to go to the doctor, but I can't take her:  I have pneumonia.  And both girls are due for their two month checks sometime this week as well.  They were also supposed to have hip ultrasounds today, but that obviously isn't happening...

I knew life would be more complicated once the girls came along.  But this is a bit much, dontcha think?

Sunday, February 14, 2010


Fever of 101.  Hacking, burning, cough.  Eyes are running, nose is running....

I think I'll be spending the day in bed....

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Sickness, lots of bills, and diversity

Thank you, Zev.  You are getting so good at sharing.  It makes me very proud.  I couldn't be happier that you decided to share with me that horrible cold you had a few days ago.

Of course, it was probably inevitable.  There was so much snot and fluids coming off of you, that it would have been impossible to not get something unless we turned you into the Bubble Boy.   So, I am now up coughing at night with a sore throat.  Luckily I am not congested, as if you are breastfeeding, you cannot take decongestants (dries up the supply).  So I've been taking cough medicine and that's about it.  I may pop a few Tylenol for this headache, but I am pretty wary of that now that I have/had an ulcer.  It will depend on how awful I feel.

It is pretty bad timing.  The grandparents are coming en mass this weekend.  My mother is flying up from Florida, where she spends the majority of the winters.  She wants to stop by the house on the way back from the airport and then will probably want to come by at some point tomorrow as well (with dad in tow, obviously).  Jason's mom also is coming up this weekend.  I had not wanted people to come on the first weekend with all of us at home...and that has passed.  So now that the doors are 'open' everyone is flooding in.  It should be fine, so long as everyone washes washes washes.  The girls are still rather boring...all they do is sleep and eat.  But Zev is here too, and he likes seeing his grandparents.  I just wish I had more energy for the company (not that anyone will care...we are actually quite blessed with very supportive grandparents).

Amusing thing that happened a bill for Meorah's stay in the NICU (6 weeks inpatient).  There had been some issues with insurance that is now figured out and the bill will be re-submitted, but it was amusing to see how much her stay cost:  excess of $25,000.  It cost $500/day just to lay there and not see anyone.  I haven't received Tzelia's but she stayed an additional 2 weeks, which is 30% I would guess it will be close to $33,000 and probably more since she had more doctors see her.  I never even saw the bill for MY 3 weeks of inpatient stay or my c-section.  I had a private room, and I know many private rooms are upwards of $1000/day.  Ha.  I won't even go into a post on our health care system (hot topic!), but we'll just say....that's very expensive.

One final note...had a very nice chat with Nicole, our nanny, yesterday while we were at the house before she took Zev out.  It is really nice to get such good feedback: she LOVES her job.  She has told me numerous times that while she is not a religious person, she really feels that things happen for a reason, and she is here for a reason.  It fell into place just when she needed it.  We feel the same way.  She is such a gem, so wonderful with Zev, and I have learned a great deal from her...not only about parenting/toddlers, but about different life experiences.  She is from a very different background, and some of her personal stories are quite shocking...lots of abuse, neglect, poverty, family members in prison, etc.  She is the only one of her family who went to college.  She had a son at the age of 20 and (from how she describes it) is a wonderful mother to him, especially considering the circumstances around her...she and the father broke up 10 years ago, he passed away 2 years ago, she still deals with his 'overbearing' grandmother, etc.  And he's at the ripe age of 13, so probably isn't the easiest person to parent.  She is pregnant (unmarried) and in the midst of having her boyfriend move in with her.  No plans on getting married and she isn't even sure if the relationship will last forever.  But she is very matter-of-fact about it and while she didn't want to get pregnant, she is doing what needs to be done.

I really admire what she's done and how she deals with things in her life.  And I'm glad Zev has her in his life as well.  We loved his old day care, but the other children were like him:  jewish and either American or Israeli.  This way he meets lots of different people with different backgrounds at a very early age.  I grew up in a predominantly white suburb, and while I think I turned out 'ok', I think some diversity would also have had a good impact on me...

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Groundhog day

My day yesterday alone with the girls:

Hear Meorah so get her bottle of breastmilk + fortifier ready
Get her up and change her diaper
Bring her downstairs and feed her, watching her reflux and watching how much she is eating.
Burp and hold for about 15 minutes

Hear her sister, so get HER bottle of breastmilk + fortifier out
Swaddle up Meorah and bring her back upstairs to put her down
Get up Tzelia and change her diaper
Bring her downstairs and feed her, watching her reflux and watching how much she is eating.
Burp and hold for about 15 minutes

Look at the clock and realize it is time to pump

Swaddle Tzelia and bring her back upstairs to put her down

Pump for half an hour

Look at the clock and realize its time for Meorah to eat again....

Lather, rinse, repeat....

(Note that I could feed them at the same time, but I chose not to yesterday:  when I do that, I don't have a chance to spend much 1-1 time with them and wanted to be able to do that.  It just means everything takes twice as long)

Suffice it to say:  I did nothing but feed babies and pump yesterday.  How exciting.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

RSV, PTSD, and other acronyms...

Jason asked me last night if I was nervous about tomorrow.


"Because its the first weekend without any help and all of us here"

Yeah, I guess that's true.

The week went fine actually.  We had some doctor appointments, and things are going rather well.  Again, our main issue is feeding, although the reflux does seem to be improving.  Both girls are now on Prilosec and breastmilk with cereal.  Meorah is taking awhile to get used to this change:  whereas she previously had taken about 15-20 minutes to eat, she is now taking 45.  And that is rather tiring.  Prilosec does take 3-5 days to kick in, so I'm hoping she will feel better in a few days and get a bit better at eating.  I know it is not a physical problem since this is a new development.  They are growing very well and will probably hit 6 lbs within the next week or so.  Double their birth weight!

We continue to have the visiting nurse come in, and they still see their pediatrician regularly.  We have another eye exam in two weeks, early intervention coming for their initial interview next week, and their two month 'well baby' visit with their pediatrician in two weeks.  They are supposed to get their 2 month vaccinations then...although I am considering requesting a delayed schedule for that.  While they may be 2 months old, they will really be just a few days adjusted age.  I started looking into recommendations for preemie vaccination schedules and it seems different people do it differently.  Some go with the standard recommendations, some do a delay, and some do the standard but spread it over two days or so (two vaccinations so they do not get it all at once in one shot).  They will also be getting their second Synagis shot around the 15th, so that just seems like a lot of injections and vaccines/antibodies at once for such little bodies.

I have to think about it a bit more.

Speaking of Synagis, Zev decided to celebrate our first weekend home alone by getting a cold.  Poor boy has been miserable the last two days.  I don't think I remember seeing him with such a bad head cold:  runny eyes, runny nose, coughing, etc.  He came back with Nicole on Thursday night and spent the rest of the evening on my lap barely moving or talking.  Yesterday he stayed home and had a bit more energy but was obviously very uncomfortable.  I want to keep a close eye on him (and the girls) since cold symptoms are very similar to RSV, and that is the last thing we need right now.  Unfortunately there isn't much we can do to protect the girls other than do our best to keep them in another room.  I hope he's feeling better today....

I'm doing.....ok.  I saw my doc last week and sure enough my thyroid meds need adjusting:  I'm hypothyroid, and that always becomes worse when I'm pregnant and I end up having my meds adjusted. They were last adjusted in November, but now that I am no longer pregnant I needed to be tested again.  So we are lowing my dose back down and I will get tested again in 6 weeks.

Other interesting result of that meeting; I have a new aversion to giving blood.  I actually am a donor for my work:  often scientists will need blood samples, and employees can sign up to be a donor and donate a few vials of blood once in awhile.  Pay is nominal:  I do it as a way to help out my peers.  I have great veins and never had an issue donating...the nurse knew I was always available and often would end up in her office about once a week to donate.  I also would get my blood taken often when I was going through the infertility treatments:  at least every 3 days and sometimes every day for weeks on end.  Obviously I don't have an issue with getting my blood taken.

Until now.  Since October, I would only be getting my blood taken when I was thought to be in labor or in the hospital with complications.  When the med assistant came to take my blood two days ago, all of the sudden I wanted to cry.  I didn't:  managed a fake smile and let her take her few vials and I left the lab.  But the different reaction I had was striking.  I wrote a post way back about PTSD and the NICU, and I'm finding emotions like this just come out of the blue.

Another example:  later that afternoon there was a show on TV that took place around the holidays:  lots of Christmas decorations were up and the characters were preparing for Christmas and family events.  Again, I felt....bad.  I always liked Christmas (even though I don't celebrate it) and liked the decorations and the music.  And now I can't stand to look at it.  I remember watching Christmas specials while in the hospital and missing out on many of the holiday lights since I was on bed rest, as well as spending part of the day in the NICU.  Now the association is there:  Christmas = hospital = anxiety and fear.

I'm functioning fine, don't get me wrong, and I have no symptoms of depression.  I just hate these random flashes that occur.  Common, I know, but it is unsettling.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

All Five of Us

And we're all home....

Roughly 42 days in the NICU for Meorah and 56 for Tzelia.  70 days of bed rest for me.

The girls are 38 weeks now.  They were born at 2 lbs 14 oz (T) and 3 lbs 1 oz (M).  They are now 5 lbs 6 oz (T) and 5 lbs 8 oz (M).  The first night wasn't bad, actually.  We kept up with our regular routine:  Jason managed to feed both simultaneously (rock on) while I pumped.  They are still on an every-three-hour schedule, and we just wake the second one when the first wakes up.  It is generally recommended to feed on demand...but for twins, that would mean eating all day.  No way.  So we go against advice and 'wake the sleeping baby' to feed them both at the same time.  So far so good.

Unrelated:  we had some horrible family news today.  Jason's cousin's husband passed away yesterday.  Rich was young...mid thirties, I believe.  He was playing basketball on his own and just collapsed.  When they tried to revive him, they were unsuccessful.  No idea what happened:  an autopsy will show.

Shocking.  Absolutely horrible.  His wife, Shana, has two children roughly the same age as my own.  She is around my age.  I don't believe she works and has been a stay at home mom.  My heart just breaks for her and for Rich's parents.

They live in CA, and I told Jason he had to go to the funeral.  We are missing some family events this year, namely a Bar Mitzvah that is coming in a few months.  But you don't skip a funeral.  You just don't.  He said he couldn't go and leave me alone with three kids, but really there is no option.  The funeral is probably on Thursday, although we will find out for sure shortly.

I can deal with a night without sleep while he's gone.  Shana has to deal with the rest of her life without her husband, and her children without their father.  I can go sleepless for 24 hours.  That's nothing.