Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Healing too slowly

I miss the gym.

I'm working really hard to do what is best for me and give myself another two weeks before going back to the gym.  I'm four weeks out from (my first) surgery, and it is a four to six week recovery.  My surgeon has specifically put me on a 'no lifting' precaution until mid-November.  Nothing more than 10 lbs.  I spent last night 'googling' recommendations for recovery from an abdominoplasty, and that's pretty typical.  I even saw longer, depending on the severity of the surgery.  As well as shorter for just a 'mini-abdominoplasty', which I know I didn't have.

But I was still considering it.  I was thinking of things I could do to support my core and still do something. Its deceptive:  when I'm wearing my compression garment I actually feel pretty good.  But when I don't, I start to feel sore.  And when I cough.  I can also feel where the stitches are inside, and the muscle there is still sore.  When I raise my hands up over my head and stretch my muscle out, it feels tight and sore, particularly at the top where the stitches start.  It hurts to roll over or do any real 'twisting' motion.  The incision site itself is also tender.

So I know I'm not ready.  I just miss going.  Its very centering for me and very meditative.  And I miss feeling like I've worked my muscles.  But I know if I went I wouldn't be able to do the workout I would want to do, and I'd just risk hurting myself.  So I'm doing the smart thing (for once) and waiting.

I'm not a cardio-bunny.  I work out when the gym opens at 5:30 and I go to the weight room.  There are perhaps one or two other (men) people there.  I lift the 'big' weights.  I bench.  I squat.  I row.  I used to deadlift until I hurt my back years ago and now I'm too wary to do so....and I didn't have enough real core strength to do it well with the hernia and diastasis.  I've been doing it for about six years now.  I do hit the cardio a few times a week, but most of my time is spent in the weight room.   I've gone through phases of doing more/less cardio, but the weights are always constant.  This isn't a fitness blog so I won't go into the physiological reasons why I've sent it up this way, but I will say for those out there who aren't up on fitness:  if you have limited time (which I do!) your time is better spent in the weight room than on a cardio machine.  Too many people do it the other way around.

Two more weeks.  Then I can go back, albiet slowly.  I need to be very careful because I don't want to burst my stitches while jumping back into squatting.  As I said to my coworker:  its one thing to start lifting 10 lbs...its another thing to throw a bunch of weight on your back and squat ass to grass or work up to benching your body weight.

Two more weeks.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Early Halloween

I spent a fair amount of time trying to figure out what to dress the kids for Halloween.  The last two years I haven't really cared.  I don't think Zev was anything for the first Halloween (he was only 9 months old!) and last year we just got him a bear costume at the last minute.  I stayed home for the trick or treaters since I was on bedrest, and Jason took him out for a little while.

This year I felt a little more pressure.  Zev actually has interests now, and he may actually get a little bit out of trick-or-treating.  And the girls...well, with twins there is always pressure to go 'above and beyond'.  You get enough attention as it is.  Something extra 'cute' is expected.

So Zev is Kermit.  We don't watch TV in our house.  We watch 'music'.  Jason has a program on his computer that is hooked up to the TV that collages through photos we have on iPhoto, and we have it hooked up to our iTunes, so we play iTunes playlists and old pictures of us are displayed on the television. Zev has a good ear and memory for music and has most of the muppet songs memorized (we actually have a video of him singing all the words to 'the Rainbow Connection', and is working on Willy Wonka right now.  He keeps asking for the Oompa Loompa song...but I digress...

Zev is Kermit.  Which left the girls.  You have to do a 'theme', and after going through a lot of costumes online I decided:  an Angel and a Devil.  And it was obvious who was going to be the Devil.  If you can't guess, you haven't been a good reader.

We went to the Pru, which was having a charity event for Boston Medical Center.  You could go and trick-or-treat in the stores, and there were a lot of booths for a variety of different sponsors.  It was fun and we took pictures.  I do have to be an attention whore for a second:  we got stopped by LOTS of people admiring the girls' costumes.  Even in the midst of tons and tons of costumed children, we still got attention.

It was nice.  I did good.


Sunday, October 24, 2010

100th post

I think this is my 100th post.  Coolness.

I'm in a countdown.  Today is 10/24.  Just over 6 weeks and the girls will be one year old....

And I will have met my one year pumping goal

I am seriously all over this pumping thing.  Really.  There are two reasons I'm continuing.  The first is purely a lame reason:  I only have six weeks to go and I refuse to stop so close to the goal.  I feel like I'm dragging myself to the finish line.  I've come this far and I will not stop when I'm so close!!

The second reason is a more practical reason:  I just hate formula.  Really.  No offense to anyone who uses it, but that stuff is just nasty.  It smells bad, the consistency is gross, and the thought of it just...well, ew.  I know its scientifically derived to be a close proximate to breastmilk and meets all nutritional needs, blah blah blah...

But yuck.  The thought of drinking it makes me want to throw up and I can't believe the girls will actually drink it.  Are their tastebuds dead?

It isn't a cost issue.  I have over 1000K worth of formula in my basement right now, which was covered by insurance (for the long saga on that, go back and read some of my older posts).  We will never use it, and I'm going to have to either sell it or donate it (if anyone wants preemie formula, contact me!!!!).  I could stop pumping tomorrow and not have to buy another can of formula and would still probably have leftovers.

But yuck.

I have cut down on my pumping sessions.  For nine months I pumped 8x/day.  I now do it about 6x/day.  At my last moms of multiples meeting, a woman came up to me and asked if I was still pumping.  When I said yes, she was shocked and impressed.  I'm the only one in my 'age group' who continues...most gave out about at month 3.  Its hard in general, but doubly hard for twins I think, especially if you are a stay at home.  And often, most women won't have enough to pump for two (pump is less efficient, so while you may be able to breastfeed two, pumping for two is much harder) so they have to supplement a little anyway.  We always did, and still do.  The girls probably get 70/30 breastmilk/formula.

But 6x/day is a lot.  I have to plan my day around it.  I can go about four hours before I feel like I should stop and pump.  Which means I do it twice at work.  Weekends also have to consider when I can get back and pump.  I've done it in the car, I've done it DRIVING while in the car, I've done it in bathrooms, parking lots....  I'm going on a work retreat this week, and will have to bring my pump and had to ask for a fridge in my room.  Pain in the butt.

But six weeks.  Six weeks to go.  Despite it being a pain, I admit that it will probably be hard to stop.  I want to continue until the girls are solidly on milk, so I'll probably try to transition them a bit before their birthday to make sure they deal with it ok.  And its going to be a gradual decrease for me...I remember stopping for Zev and having a few weeks of pretty bad discomfort.  So I think I'll start to drop some sessions in a month or so while starting to give the girls some milk and hopefully we'll both finish transitioning at the same time.

Six more weeks.  Bittersweet.  Glad to not have the inconvenience, sad that it means my girls don't need it anymore.  I could of course go longer, but I think my husband would kill me.  I think he's anticipating the end more than I am.  He's been wonderfully supportive the entire time, but having it impacts him as well.  So I'm sure he'll be grateful once I'm done.

What will be interesting to see is if the girls are healthier than Zev was during this first winter.  That is one of the benefits of breastmilk:  increased immunity.  If it means they won't have the same ear infection problems he had (he had a ton of ear infections...at least 7 that first winter), it will be well worth it...

Friday, October 22, 2010

Its a tie

We've had a rough few weeks in the evenings.  Tzelia, always the difficult sleeper, has been even more difficult.  She will stay asleep once she is asleep.  But GETTING her down is another question.  Since I am still on my 'no lifting more than 10 lbs' restriction, that leaves Jason to trying to figure out how to get her to sleep....whether it is a bouncer, walking, rocking, or even putting her in a carrier and going outside for a half hour walk at 10pm.  Her days were equally fussy...needing to be held constantly.  And lets not even go into the blow-outs she's been having...

Two evenings ago she was inconsolable when Nicole brought the kids home...she had barely eaten all day.  I took a look at her gums...nice and swollen.  Finally.  Well, that explains that!  Ten and a half months, and she finally starts getting a tooth.  Poor thing.  Enter Tylenol, and half an hour later she's a happy baby, swimming across the floor and eating Cheerios.

So imagine our surprise when Nicole comes home yesterday and says:  You know Meorah has a tooth, right?

She DOES?  Our always happy, easy sleeping, 'see food must eat food' baby?  We'd been so busy with her drama queen sister, that we missed it.  Both girls were cutting teeth at the same time, but Meorah barely blinked while Tzelia acted like a little whiney princess.

As my husband's Facebook status stated:  Its a tie, but Meorah gets bonus points for taking it like a champ.

Tzelia, you're a wimp.

Now if both girls would just grow some hair already....

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Lifting, mentoring

Work actually went ok this week.  I had more energy than I thought I would, so my hypothesis was right:  I was tired because I had nothing to do.  I'm sure the narcotics I was taking, the second surgery, the blood loss, etc., played a role, but getting out of the house and feeling 'useful' again, certainly helped my energy level.  I can't do a fair amount of my 'normal' job since I'm on lifting restrictions, but I can do seated work.  Which basically comes down to experiment scoring, data analysis, and validation.  Yay.  But at least I'm back into a routine.

I saw my surgeon a few days ago, and he 'graduated' me from weekly check-ins.  I go back in three weeks.  I'm still swollen and numb, both of which will take months to go away.  That's normal.  And I still have pain, but its a different type of pain:  up and down my abdomen where (I imagine) the sutures are.  Yesterday I actually had to take some Vicodin for the first time in about a week.  It was my fault:  I was laughing a lot at work and laughing + abdominal surgery = pain.  Laughing, coughing, turning over while laying down all still cause pain.  And I'm still wearing a compression garment, which I hope to stop using soon.

Baby steps.

Speaking of which, both girls are now pulling themselves up on furniture, and Meorah can now lower herself back down.  Prior to this, she would pull herself up and then cry because she would be 'stuck'.  Now she can slowly lower herself back down.  Tzelia still isn't crawling...she's doing this odd breast-stroke crawl:  using her upper body and dragging her legs across the floor.  It looks like she's swimming, but darn it she's fast!  Nicole said when she isn't wearing pants she actually WILL crawl, probably because dragging her bare legs on the floor must hurt.  But if she's in pants, she'll just drag her legs behind her.  She must have great upper body strength for a baby.

And bridging off that...I really miss the gym.  As said, I'm on a lifting hiatus until mid-November.  Nothing over 10 lbs until then.  And even then, I'm going to ask my surgeon what is ok.  Typical day-to-day lifting activity is different than throwing 80 lbs on your back and squatting (as we like to say) ass to grass or doing Pendlay rows.  Even when I do go back, I'm going to have to go slowly...much like I did after returning from bed rest.  I was so weak then, but regained strength rather quickly.  I'd rather take more time off and be 100% sure I'm ready than risk going early, going too intense too soon, and hurting myself or possibly ruining the surgery.  (Plus, since I go at 5:30 in the morning, going that early in December isn't something I'm looking forward to...its freaking cold!!).

Had my Moms of Multiples meeting this week and I'm now running their 'Mentor' program.  People contact me if they want (or want to be) a mentor to someone else in the club. When I was on bedrest, I had a mentor through another program and found it immensely helpful.  And I like being involved...its a way to 'force' me to talk to people and feel like I belong better.  I sent out an email yesterday and got many responses, so now I just have to match people up.  I don't think it will take up that much time...this first response was a lot because it was an initial email, but I don't imagine it being so busy normally.

Going out to lunch today.  Our old summer nanny is coming to babysit.  We haven't seen her in about a month and a half.  It will be nice to see how she's doing.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Buying used clothes

Saw my surgeon again.  He said he's getting tired of seeing me.  Trust me, I'm getting tired of seeing him.

He drained off two ounces of fluid from my seroma.  He also recommended ginger tablets to help minimize future fluid gain...I guess some patients have said it helps.  I think I'll stop by Whole Paycheck Foods tomorrow and get some.  I've been in a fair amount of pain the last few days, and I think it is because of the excess fluid.  I had tried going a day without the compression garment a few days ago, and that was just awful....all the fluid just pressed against my jeans and was quite painful.  Plus the swelling of the skin with the bloating has been causing bruising which is quite painful.  Now that the fluid is gone, I really hope I'll feel better.  He wants to see me in a week to see if it returns.

I'm still torn about when to go back to work.  I had to nap again today, but the narcotics also make me tired, so I don't know if its an effect of the drugs or the recovery.  I need to be able to get through the day without a nap.  I had emailed my boss and said I was hoping to be back on Monday, and he told me not to come back before I was ready:  that it did me or the company no good if I came back before I could really work.  Good point.  I just feel so guilty being out of work for so long....

Other exciting news...finally got to pick up some clothes for Zev.  I'm a big believer in buying gently used clothes.  With three children, I just can't afford to buy everything 'new', especially for the girls who grow so quickly.  I couldn't go to my Moms of Multiples tag sale the other week, so I had sent out an inquiry on Craigslist and our Multiples Listserve asking if anyone was selling 2T boys or 9-12 month girl's clothes.  I got a few responses, and was finally able to make it out to pick up one of the responder's clothes today.  Some good things for Zev for the fall:  a few button down long sleeve shirts, some sweaters, some pj's, some sweater vests, and a few fleece.  He actually likes being 'preppy' and loves button down shirts, so I actually think it will work out well.  Tomorrow I'm heading out to another woman's house who is offering me some clothes for the girls.  And tomorrow night someone is  dropping off some clothes for Zev here since I can't make it out to her house.

I think its funny that some people are squeamish about buying used clothes/toys.  I figure...once you wear it, its used anyway.  And like I said, with three children, I just can't buy everything 'new'.  The majority of the girls' clothes are either used that I bought or gifts.  New clothes would be nice, sure, but I can't rationalize the cost.  I even have clothes that I bought/found for Zev and the girls that won't fit them for a year or two because they were a good bargain.  I'll just hold onto them until they are the right size.

Speaking of clothes, I have bags and bags of clothes all three have outgrown that I eventually hope to sell at some point.  Bags and bags of them.  Some clothes that have never even been worn, or worn just a few times.  Nicole (our nanny) said she would buy some of them off of me, but I also have a sister who may end up getting pregnant at some point, and I want to be able to offer her some as well.  Assuming she would take them, of course.

My dad left for Israel for about two weeks today.  I'm very jealous.  I've never been.  Hopefully I'll get to go some day.  Jason told me that I should try to find a vacation idea for the two of us...maybe next summer or the summer after he and I could go on a solo vacation.  Wouldn't that be lovely....

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


Haven't shown any in awhile.  These were taken last weekend when Jason, my mother in law, and the kids went to a local zoo.  Zev was a bit young for the zoo itself, but I heard they had a good time.  A couple of things always amaze me when I see pictures of my children.

First, Zev's hair color.  Both Jason and I have black hair.  Zev's is light brown.  It will probably darken as he gets older, but I still find it fascinating that it is so light.

How different Meorah and Tzelia look.  Tzelia actually looks a lot like Zev, and Meorah looks a lot like me.  I know they are completely different babies, but I just find it so amusing that even though they are twins they look NOTHING alike.

But they are all beautiful.  At least I think so.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Still home

I had been hoping to return to work this week.  I get my drainage tube taken out tomorrow morning, so technically I should be able to return to work on Wed.  I had been feeling pretty bad until I decided to stop being a martyr and take the drugs that were prescribed for me.  I took one yesterday before going out to dinner, and couldn't believe how much better I felt.  Or, as I said to Jason later, I could have been just as uncomfortable, I just didn't care about it anymore.

Vicodin rocks.

Now I feel much better.  However, Jason did point out to me this morning technically I'm not supposed to be driving while I'm under the influence of narcotics.

Well, damn.

I thought of doing it anyway, until around 1pm today.  I'd been up since 6am, getting various things done, and crashed.  I slept for an hour and felt much better.

If I still can't make it through the day without a nap, I can't go back to work.  So it looks like one more week of recovery for me.  Better safe than sorry, I know.  And I also know that my hematoma happened only a week after my first surgery, so it isn't as if I'm 100% healed and everything is groovy.  I ended up adding an extra week to my entire recovery.

But I will say it again:  despite the second emergency surgery and the continued pain and discomfort, I am so glad that I had this done.  For the first time in three years, I don't look pregnant.  Those who know me 'in real life' probably would laugh at that, but its true.  I'm not a very big person, which made the diastasis all the more visible.  It was actually painful to not have any abdominal support and I would wince whenever Zev would sit on my lap or I would bump into something with my stomach.  Granted I'm now extremely swollen and numb, am stuck wearing compression garments that suck everything in, and definitely don't have abs of steel, but even if that didn't completely heal and this was the best I got...I'm still glad I did it.  I never had bad body image until this diastasis, and I am finally feeling better about myself.  I finally feel like 'me' again....I can recognize myself in the mirror.

Totally worth it.

I am still upset that I can't be as interactive with my children.  Meorah is now cruising along furniture...we'll have a walker pretty soon.  And Tzelia is starting to leave her 'lazy' stage and crawl around a bit more....just an army crawl, but at least she's moving.  Zev is....Zev.  A friend of mine commented that I didn't mention him that much in an email to her (although I talked a lot about the girls), and my response was:  he's two.

He's a pain in the ass.  He refuses to listen, hates hearing the word 'no', and while he doesn't 'lie', he isn't always truthful either.  He's just two.  But then he'll be adorable and you just have to forgive him.

Until you want to kill him again.

Unfortunately as he gets 'better', the girls will be approaching two.  Two girls who are two.

And we'll really be screwed.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Happy Anniversary

Exactly one year ago I was put on bed rest.

Exactly one year ago I went to a doc appointment to be looked at.  Go an internal ultrasound to look at my cervix and see how things were progressing.  We could tell it wasn't good by the way the technician was acting.

Went back into the room to wait for my OB.

Was told to go directly home.  Directly to bed.  Do not go to work to pick up your things, do not stop for anything.

Go to bed and stay there.  As long as possible.

I was 20 weeks pregnant.  The goal was to make it to 24 weeks.  If something happened between before then, there was nothing they could do.  I was to call and come in so I wouldn't be alone, but there would be no saving the babies.  If I wanted to end the pregnancy now, I had that option:  the stress of long bed rest can be rough.  If I made it to week 24, I was to be hospitalized and given steroid shots.  And we would then take it week by week.

I made it to week 24.  I got my steroid shots.  Went home, stayed home for Halloween and enjoyed that.

I made it to week 26.  I went into pre-term labor.  That was stopped with magnesium sulfate.

I stayed in the hospital until week 28.  At the height of the swine flu.  I barely got to see my son due to hospital lock-down and lived alone in a hospital room due to the fact I am a MRSA carrier.  Other than my nurse, I hardly saw anyone for two weeks.  The only nice thing was the daily visits from my husband since he worked there.

Discharged at week 28.  Was home for Thanksgiving.  Celebrated my birthday a day early with my family. Pre-term labor at week 30, on my birthday.  Couldn't stop that one.  OB was in Dallas, was giving directions via text to his associates while I was paralyzed and throwing up on magnesium sulfate.

Girls born 30 weeks, 1 day.  Day after my 32nd birthday.

And now they are doing great.  My health has yet to be good...I realized this after coming back from the surgeon yesterday.  Since Oct 2nd, 2009 I've dealt with the above pregnancy problems.  That was followed by the bad c-section recovery, the ulcer/GI problems. pneumonia, continued diastasis issues, and now the abdominoplasty complications.

I feel really really bad for my husband for having to deal with all of this.  He is a gem, he really is.

(I can't believe how naive we were....)

Friday, October 1, 2010

Recovery, continued

Went back to the surgeon today.

I was discharged from Beth Israel with one drainage tube.  Unfortunately, the tube was on the opposite side of where the hematoma was, and I started collecting fluid at the hematoma site.  By last night it was very uncomfortable and I knew it was only going to get bigger.  I called the surgeon this morning, and he had me come in to see one of his associates (he was at another site).

She was able to drain off 3 oz of fluid.  Yummers.  Just stuck a needle right in me and aspirated it out.  Didn't hurt a bit though:  that area is still completely numb.  She did warn me that it would probably come back, so when I go back to the surgeon on Tuesday to get the drain removed I will probably have to have it done again.


I should re-title this blog to something having to do with my crappy luck in health...

I do feel better now that the fluid is gone, but I am emotionally feeling rather out-of-sorts.  I hate that I have to miss another week of work.  I hate that I have another drainage tube.  I hate that I'm so uncomfortable.  I hate that my appetite is gone, yet again.  I'm exhausted due to the loss of blood, but am not taking the iron pills like I should because they have a rather...constipating...side-effect, and I don't want to have to deal with that.  I'd rather sleep or drink coffee.  I feel bad that Jason is doing so much parenting now, especially when it is 10pm and Tzelia still refuses to go to sleep.  My incredible no-napping-no-sleeping baby....  I thought babies were supposed to sleep 12 hours/day?  They obviously never met Tzelia.

But since this blog IS supposed to be about my kiddos, lets chat about them...

The girls did swimmingly at their Early Intervention.  The girls were assessed for fine and gross motor abilities, feeding, and receptive and expressive language.  Meorah scored at her actual age (9-10 months) in everything except feeding, where she was at her adjusted age (7 months).  Tzelia scored at her adjusted age for everything except expressive language, where she scored above her actual age, at 11 months.  She's just a babbling machine.  Both girls still qualify, since they are technically 'behind' in areas:  Meorah just for feeding, and Tzelia for everything except language.  We won't be continuing, though.  They are scoring at their adjusted age, which is exactly what you would expect for a preemie.  They are meeting their milestones, and their pediatrician is very happy with how they are doing.  Instead, if I am concerned in a year, I will call for another assessment.  Those are free.

Speaking of milestones, we found Meorah pulled up on her crib rails this morning.  Time to lower the mattress down and get ready for a walking baby...  Tzelia still isn't a fan of crawling, but I have a feeling she'll be talking first.  I chat with her all the time.  I don't know what we talk about, but she finds it interesting.  I watch her watch my mouth and try to copy me.  Then she just lets out a big 'BAH!'.  Its quite cute.

Zev is....almost three.  'Nuff said.