Monday, April 26, 2010

Happiness is

Sleeping next to a baby.

We don't cosleep with the girls.  Cosleeping with twins would be rather tricky, especially with just a queen sized bed.  But we coslept with Zev for awhile.  Jason would do the first night feeding around 1am (I would pump then) and I would do the 4am breastfeeding...and we would all just sleep together until it was time to get up.  Which, while I was on maternity leave, was whenever we felt like it.  Jason would often end up sleeping with Zev on his chest as well, on nights in which Zev was particularly fussy.

I do feel sad that I can't do that with the girls.  I really loved sleeping next to Zev when he was so little.  But this weekend I had a little reminder...Jason was out getting his hair cut and the girls were sleeping on the couch.  I was in the kitchen and I heard Meorah start to fuss a bit.  She had only been down for about an hour, so I knew she wasn't really hungry.  So I went in there and moved her around and laid down next to her with Tzelia laying perpendicular at the top of our heads.  M's head was right next to mine, and my hand just laid on her chest so she knew I was there.

And we all laid there peacefully for another hour.  Jason came home somewhere in there, and my plan had been to run some errands when he got home...but I chose to stay with my girls and enjoy my little babies.

They'll be too big for that soon, and while I'm looking forward to having fun with them when they are Zev's age, sometimes its nice to appreciate the 'baby-ness' while we have it.

We're in the midst of trying out cloth diapers.  A store near me offers a 'rent to own' program, where you can try out diapers for a fee, and then buy them at a discount or return what you don't like.  Some we already like and some are not as successful quite yet.  But I do really want this to work because I love the idea (and the $$ savings).

On Sunday, we took Zev to our local YMCA for a class I signed him up for:  Tumbling Tots, or 'Run around the gym like a crazy 2 year old'.  He loved it...they had a moon bounce, climbing structures, and the expected basketballs.  I think I've said this before; I feel so bad that he is generally stuck in the house all week since Nicole cannot get out, and it makes me sad to think he isn't getting much social interaction other than his sisters.  I watched him with the other children in the gym and he was really trying to get involved with the other children, most of whom already knew each other.  It made me sad to watch...I want him to have his own group of kids to play with, and I suppose this is the disadvantage of not being in day care right now.  I hope that this class, and any others I find will help.  Plus, I'm going to have Meredith (temp nanny) take him out on Weds to story time and other activities so he can continue to branch out.

Not that he knows the difference, but I don't want him to be lonely....

Saturday, April 24, 2010

H.pylori, gallstones, and an upper endoscopy later....

My body is falling apart.  Sigh.

The heartburn has been increasingly worse.  My physician had given me a prescription for another round of 2x/day Prilosec to see if that would make a difference.  After a week and a half I wrote her an email stating that it wasn't working and I couldn't take it anymore.  From there, it made sense to try to rule everything out.  H.pylori test done. FAIL.  Abdominal ultrasound done to rule out gallstones.  FAIL (although I did manage to take a nice nap on the ultrasound table).  And then a few days ago, the mother of the GI tests:  an upper endoscopy.

I actually don't remember the exam.  I was 'semi-conscious' during the exam, which means they gave me happy drugs that not only made me drowsy but inhibited memory consolidation.  The last thing I remember before the exam was being asked if I was ready for the drugs.

Before going into the results of the exam, I do have to go off on a tangent.  The pregnancy and NICU experience affected me a lot more than I realize.  I joke that I must have PTSD, but that probably isn't too far off.  Once again I was gowned in a hospital gown, lay down on a gurney, had my vitals taken, and administered an IV.  For my abdominal ultrasound, I got to have that jelly smeared all over me and the probe pressed against my abdomen, very reminiscent of my 2 week hospital stay where I had that done two or three times a day over two weeks.  For both exams I ended up in tears trying very hard to stay in control.  Jason was with me during the endoscopy prep and he asked if I was ok...I lied (of course) and said yes.

I will never be able to get over feeling so out of control and lost.  I don't think about it but it really has permanently affected my psyche.  I dread the upcoming holiday season:  I'm afraid its going to bring back too many flashbacks of that time this past year and being in the hospital/NICU.

And perhaps this is part of the reasoning behind all these GI problems.  Because the endoscopy was clear.  Which is good and bad.  Good:  no ulcers, no physical damage.  Bad:  nothing we can do for you, have a nice day!  Not entirely true...I am now on a new medicine protocol.  I am weaning off the Prilosec and am starting Zantac while continuing with the Carafate.  My doc thought it would be a good idea to follow-up with the GI doctor who did my endoscopy (who did offer to see me regularly).  Unfortunately his first opening isn't until June.  I took it, and hopefully by then it will just be a nice chat, laughing about how much better I'm feeling rather than another desperate attempt to try something new.

I've done a lot of reading on GERD and how to treat it.  Other than meds (which I'm never a fan of, despite working in a pharmaceutical company), lifestyle changes are recommended.  No coffee, no caffeine, no de-caf, no chocolate, no spicy foods, no acidic foods, lots of rest and relaxation.  Hmmmm....  Unfortunately the caffeine/coffee/rest is a problem.  I have 4 month twins and a 2 year old.  Rest is variable, which makes coffee/caffeine a necessity not a choice.  Obviously I'll have to find some middle ground in here somewhere....  But I suppose this is a problem all working mothers have to deal with....  I just have the unfortunate temperament to ignore my need to rest, and my body decides to rebel.

One of my favorite fitness gurus (although he hates that term) has a saying when people complain about lack of progress towards their goals:  "Your body is smarter than you and hates you".  He is referring to the body's desire to stay balanced and how much work it takes to change physique, both in muscle gain and fat loss.  In my case, my body is smarter than me, and probably isn't too happy with me right now.  Gotta learn to take better care of it.  Another saying of his that I love:  "Life, she's full of compromises", meaning you can't always achieve all your goals simultaneously.  You have to pick one thing to work on in order to maximize your results.  This is also a good mantra...perhaps it will help me learn to slow down a little...

Thursday, April 15, 2010

hoping for gallstones?

Just because they are so cute:

The last few days I have been so much more tired.  By the time I get to work, I already want to go back to bed.  I would say how much coffee I am drinking, but its rather embarrassing.  Luckily I cannot drink it at my desk, or it probably would be worse.  By 9pm I am falling asleep on the couch.  This is just my life right now, I suppose.

The only way to feel more rested is to give up the pumping.  That way, at least I would have a bit of uninterrupted sleep once in awhile (there are a few nights where the girls do not wake up).  But I really don't want to do that, although it would make my life SO SO SO much easier.  I pump 8 times a day, and 3 of those are at work.  Even with all that, it isn't enough so we do supplement with the preemie infant formula; as I like to say, I make enough for 1.5 babies, but not for 2.  Luckily the formula is free due to their preemie status and we even get it delivered to the house once a month.  That stuff is (not only disgusting but) expensive...probably close to $20/can.  I have about 30 cans sitting in my basement right now.  That's a lot of formula.

But I really would like to make it to 6 months of pumping as a first goal.  I gave up after 4 months with Zev; going back to work just stressed out my supply too much and I was also breastfeeding.  It was too much to handle for me at the time and my supply was really hurting.  Now, I'm taking a happy drug to help with supply that I have to pay for out of pocket because it isn't FDA approved for that usage, and I have to get it at a special compounding pharmacy, which is also a pain in the butt.  So with the lack of sleep, having to escape from work to pump, taking drugs...all so I can give the girls the breastmilk...its a lot.  But obviously worth it to me.  While it does have so many inconveniences, this is something I can give them for such a limited amount of time so I'd like to do it as long as possible.

On a related physical update, I had an H.pylori test done this week, which came back negative.  I knew it would.  I am still having a lot of GI problems, and the next step is an ultrasound to rule out gallstones.  I do not think that is the problem, but an ultrasound is a heck of a lot less invasive than an upper endoscopy, which will be the next step.  So here's to hoping I have gallstones.  Ha.  In reality, I don't really care...I just want to know what's wrong.  Everytime I eat I am uncomfortable, and I have tried many many drugs that have not helped.  I'm already too skinny and don't need to deal with this as well.

On a positive note, I am so glad we have Meredith (new temp nanny) coming in.  Jason and I were able to go out for lunch last weekend, and we're hoping to do something this weekend as well.  Something to look forward to....

Saturday, April 10, 2010

updating with pictures

I realized I haven't posted pictures in awhile....

On Easter Sunday we went to Devotion playground for something to do.  I think all us Jews in Brookline were there...

Jason and Zev at the top of a slide.  Zev has recently become fearful of slides.  He loved them last spring, but it has been awhile...hopefully he'll get over it.

Here Zev is busy moving all the mulch from the ground to a step while I observe.

The girls were chilling in their car seat stroller.  Close-ups just to show how different they look.  $10 to anyone who can tell me who is who.

Of course we were chatted up while we were there....twins just bring everyone over to say hi.  A mom with her own twins (now 4) stopped by and we shared stories.  It was nice.

Girls are doing well.  They are both around 9 lbs now and just had their 4 month pedi appointment.  The NP was concerned that Meorah was showing some right-sided favoritism, but the OT we have didn't seem too concerned about it.  She said most babies favor one side or another now that babies are sleeping on their backs, and gave us some simple things to try to encourage her to turn more towards her other side.

Both girls are now smiling more and coo'ing...just in time, because they are hitting the 'I want to kill you' phase.  It must be a survival mechanism:  after 3 months of crying non-stop, just when you are about to do something you'd regret...they smile.  But then they either pee or spit up on you, and you are back at square one....

Zev is still doing wonderfully.  He has gotten really interested in the 'potty', so I went out and bought one.  Nicole has potty-trained lots of boys, so I'll be going off her suggestions.  I need to buy some training pants, and then we'll be good to go.  I'm hoping he'll be easy....he's been easy with everything else.

As for me....reflux/heartburn/whatever is still pretty bad.  I'm getting an H.pilori test on Monday to see if that is a cause because the 2x/day prilosec ain't doing anything for me.  I had to stop taking the Maalox as well, because even though it helped the heartburn a little bit, it caused so much uncomfortable bloating after a week that I couldn't eat anymore anyway.  Which was causing me stress = more heartburn = decreased milk supply = more stress = more get the idea.  If that comes back negative she is going to let me see a GI doc.

And now Jason is having chronic headaches.  I ran out this morning to a tag sale and when I left he had taken percocet....which did nothing for him.  He had been taking 4 advil, to which I told him that he better NOT get an ulcer too.  He's napping now before we run out to my parents' house for dinner.

We're just both falling apart.  Had I known this would happen when we decided to try for another baby....I would have done it anyway.  But it really really sucks.

At least they're smiling.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

lifestyle changes..

Prescription from my doctor:  2x/day Prilosec for a month, and if I don't feel better I get to have an endoscopy.  Part of me feels like I don't want to waste my time and just have the endoscopy NOW.  I've done the 2x/day routine and while it helped a little...if it worked, would I still be in this place?  At the same time, having an endoscopy doesn't exactly thrill me.  So we'll give it a whirl.  Its just another month.  I have found that Maalox helps, but I can't stay on that forever (as my husband pointed out, that would just be asking for esophogeal cancer....that's what I get for marrying an oncology NP).

The girls are becoming more and more interactive.  I've been obsessing a little bit about Meorah.  She has been a bit less interactive compared to Tzelia:  more needy, more volatile, more fussy, less eye contact.  I hold Tzelia and she will hold my gaze and try to talk to me.  Meorah is more often upset and less willing to look at me.  Which of course, given her preemie status, sent me into a panic that something is wrong.  It isn't completely unrealistic for me to be worried:  they are at higher risk of sensory integration disorders and other problems, and these things can be exhibited rather early.  The girls see an OT once a month, and they have an appointment next week, so I was planning on staying home for the appointment so I can chat with the OT and have her work with Meorah on tracking, bringing limbs to midline, and other benchmarks I feel she isn't as strong at.

And then last night I had a great interaction with Meorah and now feel better.  She was nice and calm, and we spent a good amount of time cooing at each other.  I think Jason is right:  she just gets upset very easily, so when she is in that state she is going to be harder to play with.  Once she is calm, she does make eye contact and it is easier to see that she is making milestones.   She is just hard to keep calm.  She isn't a 'fussy' baby...she just likes the one-on-one interaction, and that is hard to do with twins.  So I feel better.  But I am still going to talk to the OT on Thursday.

Other news for more and more time goes on, I am becoming more and more interested in becoming vegetarian.  I haven't eaten chicken or meat in...a very long time.  Not since I was in the hospital on bed rest and the only thing on the menu that was palatable was a baked chicken breast (which I had twice a day for two weeks....ugh).  I am starting to have a visceral reaction when I think about eating meat now...Jason bought some schmaltz to make matzo balls for Passover and I almost threw up thinking about it.  He asked me to taste some of the soup he made with it, and again...the thought made me ill (although I did do it).  I just kept thinking about the turkey carcas soaking in water and drinking it what came off of it.  It just sounds nasty.  I've also been reading a lot of vegan blogs and they really intrigue me.  I find myself gravitating more towards that type of eating.  I don't want to go full vegan (I like eggs way too much and need protein for my lifting), but more and more a more 'whole foods/natural' approach is occupying my brain.  So I'm playing around with the idea.  I do like fish though, and since I keep kosher, eating fish makes going out to eat much easier since I also generally stay away from heavy grain dishes due to digestive problems.  Eh....everyone is a work in progress, and it will be interesting to see where this interest goes.  Regardless, I think I'd like to try to make more vegetarian main meals to try out, concentrating more on legumes, seitan, and whole foods.  At the very least, it will be fun.

I've also changed around my workout program (I keep a separate fitness journal so as to keep that separate) and am really concentrating on lifting and regaining my strength.  It is going quite well, actually, and am I rather excited about it.  I have a pretty extensive knowledge about lifting and have gone back to a similar type program that I did years ago:  a push/pull split with very minimal cardio.  This is more conducive to my goals and I look forward to seeing how it will progress.  If I can regain the strength I lost while on bed rest, I'll be pretty happy.  Its slowly coming along.  My endurance is also horrible, but I care less about that.  I don't really want to spend my time on a cardio machine, and I figure I don't need to be able to run a marathon, ya know?  Doing minimally there just for the health benefits and stay 'relatively' in cardiovascular shape.  But I think people who run regularly are a little nutso...