Saturday, May 21, 2011

TMI (Not for men!)

**Warning male readers...turn back now**

I mean it!

Tampons...pads...yeast infections...

Okay ladies, are they gone?

First, my little problem cleared up.  Solved itself.  Almost four weeks late, but better late than never!

Obviously I'm happy not to be pregnant, have cancer, or some other womanly medical issue.  But the other reason I'm happy is because about six weeks ago, I bought a Diva Cup and have been weirdly looking forward to trying it out.

Let me explain...

Growing up, I was never one to have bad menstrual cramps or extremely heavy flows.  But over the last few years, since having Thing 1 and Thing 2, it seems like this has changed.  In fact, my cramping is so painful now, that almost every month, I have at least one day where all I want to do is take some Pamprin, lay in bed and sleep.

Recently I was doing some research into ways to deal with these painful cramps, and came across a blog written by a woman who has endometreosis.  She said that one of the things her doctor had recommended to battle her own problems was to stop using tampons, because (to paraphrase) once a month you are sticking an object made up of nasty chemicals up your who-ha.  Some suggestions of things to use instead...pads (yuck, no way!) or a menstrual cup (what is that).

I don't know if I'd ever heard of menstrual cups before.  If I had, I just dismissed them and didn't really consider them long enough to remember.

I'm not going to bother boggling you down with all of the facts, when there are so many great websites on the facts and benefits of menstrual cups. (How to Use A Menstrual Cup)

I'll just give you my experience.

1. Putting it in the first time was weird.  But it's gotten easier and less weird every time.

2. Taking it out the first time was hard.  I started to panic a little, thinking I might have to go to the ER.  But I relaxed, kept baring down (practice your kegels ladies!), and used some toilet paper to get a better grip.  Then, the trick is (at least for me), to rock it back and forth as you pull down.  And again, like putting it in, it's gotten much easier each time I take it out.  (And much faster)

3. Like a tampon, I can't feel it when it is in place.

4. I like that it is re-usable: environment.  I used cloth diapers for my boys partly because I wanted to reduce my non-biodegradable waste footprint, but had never really thought about how much waste I was putting into the environment myself every month.

5. I like that it is re-usable: financial.  I got my cup off for $23 + shipping.  I've read that one cup, properly cared for, usually lasts about one year.  That should save me a good chunk of change, considering I'd spend at least that for a two month supply of disposable tampons.

6. I've experienced no leaking.  None.  Not a drop.  (Knock on wood!)

Anyway, I know this blog is TMI.  But, I just wanted to share in case there were other women out there who had never heard of menstrual cups either and would be interested in giving them a shot.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

3 weeks late

I'm late.

Three weeks late.

I'm not the most regular ever, at least not one of those exactly 28 days people.  More like 26-30 days, give or take a day.  But it's been almost 7 weeks since my last period.

I don't have any pregnancy symptoms, but I took a test last week just to be sure.  Negative.  Whew!

But a week has passed.  Nothing.

I called my OBGYN today to make sure I shouldn't be too worried about the truant menses (images of cervical cancer and endometriosis were flashing in my head), and he said as long as I have no other symptoms (pain, bloating, etc) that I shouldn't worry.  In fact, he offered to write me a prescription for a med to kick start my stalled out cycle if it doesn't come in about a week.  He said these things just happen sometimes.

This whole episode just got me thinking about how much I don't want another baby.

It took me a long time to come to this definitive decision.  The first year or two after Thing 1 and Thing 2 were born, I still had small secret dreams of trying one more time for a little She-Thing.  Superman thought I was bonkers.  And he constantly reminded me of the months of bedrest to try and deter my thoughts.  But I just couldn't shake my desire to hold a little pink bundle of joy.

Fast forward a few years.

#1 Thing 1 and 2 are so independent.  They can dress themselves, feed themselves, entertain themselves, and are potty trained.  It is so nice to be in this advanced toddler stage, where all we really have to do is play and have fun with our little imps!  I really cannot fathom going back to a baby that is fully and wholly dependent on us for everything.  Blah!

#2 Superman is back at work now.  We were incredibly lucky that things worked out during those first three years with the boys to have him be able to stay at home with them, but after three years, he was really ready to get back in the classroom.  And it would break my heart to have to put a baby in full time daycare.  I just couldn't do it.

#3 Kids are freaking expensive!  I honestly do not understand how families in similar financial groups as us have 3, 4, 5 kids!  Do they have cars?  Do they eat?

So in summary...babies are cute.  But they are a lot of work, responsibility, and cost a lot of money.  If we were rich, and money were no object, and I could afford to stay home, maybe I would still be pining away for something sugar and spice and everything nice.  But for right now...I am very content with my frogs and snails and puppy dog tails.

I like to plan ahead...

Superman actually enjoys last minute shopping.  He gets a thrill out of going to the store and having to find "the perfect gift" in five minutes flat.  Unfortunately, more often than not it is the leftover gift...the gifts that no one else wanted.  Which is why I like to plan ahead.  If my gift is a fail, it is rarely for lack of trying.

Which is why Mother's Day has just passed, and I'm already thinking of the next holiday...Father's Day. On Mother's Day, I got my mom a "4 Reasons I Love Being a Grandma" shirt from, and for just $3 extra I was able to add a personalized card which I thought was a really cute and unique touch.

So, for Father's Day, I decided to head on over to another of my favorite websites, to order up a few personalized cards for Superman and the grandpas.  Right now, you get 20% off of all cards, plus free shipping on orders over $30.

I was able to fill up the cart with a bunch of things I needed printed and a few other upcoming gift necessities to get my free shipping.  (I have an unnatural need to never pay for shipping!)

The trick is you have to order these far enough ahead of time that you can wait the 7-10 days delivery time for the free shipping items.

Check out the card I made for Grandpa Train.  It maybe the only picture of him and Grandma Train with all of their grandkids.  I think he is going to LOVE it!

And, if you make a project and share it in your blog (like I have here), you'll get a code for $10 off your next purchase.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


It's amazing what we stumble on while surfing the internet.  Today I clicked on a link on on the story of a Toledo woman who was implanted with the wrong embryos and some where along the way ended up on a website called Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep, which is an organization that provides free photography services to woman who have lost a baby.

I read a few of these incredibly touching and sad stories, and was overwhelmed with feelings.  Sadness.  Sympathy.  Anger.  Guilt.

But most of all, I kept thinking how lucky I was to have somehow ended up with not just one, but two healthy children.

And while I cursed so much of the process at the time, I can look back now and appreciate how many wonderful things aligned just right to make their life possible.

It was an unplanned pregnancy.  I wasn't taking any vitamins or supplements or folic acid.  But luckily I discovered I was pregnant very early on and was able to immediately be put under a doctor's care.

I had recently moved to Ohio and hadn't even found an OBGYN yet.  I picked Dr. Miracle out of an insurance directory.  I believe I owe my sons lives to this amazing doctor.

We discovered it was twins very early on (7 weeks).  Dr. Miracle scheduled an ultrasound right away "just in case," even though most woman I know don't have their first ultrasound until 12 weeks.

Dr. Miracle just so happened to have completed a residency with a Maternal Fetal Medicine specialist who specialized in multiple pregnancies.  So the first thing she did was begin monitoring me for incompetent cervix, which she knew I was at higher risk for carrying multiples, by ordering a vaginal ultra sound every two weeks.

When the MFM in Toledo saw the initial "funneling" (first signs of an incompetent cervix) he was actually willing to wait another week to see if we needed to operate.  Dr. Miracle was more aggressive.  She called me at work that afternoon and I'll never forget her words: "He is the specialist. But I'm telling you, if it was my babies and my body, I'd be in the hospital having that cerclage done tonight."  And I was.  And I did.

From there, I did everything she told me to do.  Everything.  She told me to stay on bedrest for one week.  Lay in bed all day.  Only get up to go to the bathroom and for one short 5 minute shower a night.  Have Superman time me.

After one week, I went in for my check up and there was more bad news.  The cerclage was holding, but the funneling was worse, my cervix was opened all the way down to the sutures now.  Instead of going back to work and continuing the rest of my pregnancy normally, I would be on bedrest (or what I like to call "bed arrest") for the remainder of my pregnancy.  I was 20 weeks along.

Everyday before leaving for work, Superman would fix up a cooler of meals and snacks for me and put it on my bedside.  I watched a lot of tv, surfed a lot of internet, did a lot of crossword puzzles, cross stitching, crocheting, name it.  We were new to the area, so during four weeks of bed arrest I had six non-Superman visitors.  My in-laws came once, my aunt and uncle from Indiana came once, one work colleague came, and one of my friends from home who was traveling through NW Ohio on a business trip.  I was bored out of mind.  But I stayed in that bed.

After three weeks of weekly check ups, the prognosis wasn't good.  My cervix was dangerously thin and open.  Dr. Miracle said it could no longer take the pressure of traveling 10 minutes for my weekly check ups.  She was concerned the cerclage would rip (I could have hemorrhaged) and/or that the amniotic sac would break (pre-mature delivery).  She wanted me in the hospital for the remainder of my pregnancy.  I was 23 weeks along

I was still allowed up to go to the bathroom, but my daily showers which had been changed to every other day showers were now changed again to weekly showers.  I would be a button press and five feet away from emergency medical care.  My room was the closest to the nurses' station on the maternity ward.  I was ordered to spend my days lying in the trendelenburg position, with my feet up and head down.  I was put on medication to hold off contractions, since they would have an averse affect on my cervix.  I was given a steroid shot to help develop the boys lungs in the likely case they were born pre-mature.

Once a week, I was wheeled down to the ultrasound tech (not in a wheelchair mind you, in my bed).  Every week my cervix measurements got smaller and smaller.  Every week we held our breath, crossed our fingers, and said our prayers that my cervix could hold out just one more week.

As my cervix continued to shrink, my restrictions grew.  Soon there were no more showers.  Soon I was on a bedpan.

Right around 28 weeks, what the medical community deems "viability," I had a brief resurgence in my cervical measurements.  We were elated.  Until I got the letter from my insurance company saying it no longer considered my hospital stay to be necessary medical treatment.  They argued that because my cervix was getting better, I didn't need to be in the hospital.  Dr. Miracle told us not to worry.  She explained to the bureaucrats that my cervix was getting better because the treatment WAS WORKING.  Then, in language they understood she asked if they'd rather pay for an extended minimally invasive stay of the mother or for the extended intensive care stay of two incredibly premature babies.  They decided my care, being considerably less expensive was the better investment.

Unfortunately, the resurgence didn't last long.  And soon I was back to agonizing over premature delivery and what possible long term complications my sons would have if they beat the odds and survived.

At 30 weeks, Dr. Miracle told me if I made it to 35 weeks and the boys measured at least 5 lbs each, she'd plan the cesarean.  (Any thoughts I'd had about trying a vaginal delivery were by this point long gone out the window.  I'd have been much too weak.)

The nurses made me a tear off countdown clock.  We started a "birthdate" pool.

My cervix was shrinking.  I was put on an IV for dehydration.  I was depressed.  I was lonely (my only regular vistor was Superman, but even he worked, so my time with him was limited to 6 pm -10 pm during the week).  I was pale.  I was weak.  I slept a lot.

At 33 weeks, the boys were both measuring almost 5 lbs by ultrasound, so Dr. Miracle, Superman, and I set a delivery date: June 11.  We called our parents and friends.

(Sidenote: My sister wanted me to change the date to June 13, so they'd share her birthday.  I told her she was crazy after 16 weeks of bedrest to ask me to wait even one more day.  In hindsight, though I haven't told her, I wish I'd waited.  But at the time I was not mentally or emotionally prepared to do that.)

All of the days in the birthdate pool passed....33 weeks and 5 days, 34 weeks and 1 day, 34 weeks and 3 days...  my stubborn little cervix literally beat every single date that anyone had guessed.  Including Superman's.  Including mine.

My parents came.

Superman's parents came.

June 11th came.

And at 11 am, I was wheeled into the Operating Room.

At 11:36 am, Thing 1 was born weighing 5lbs 13 oz and 18.5 inches long.  Scoring a perfect 10 on the Apgar scale.

At 11:38 am, Thing 2 was born weighting 5 lbs 7 oz and 18.25 inches long.  Scoring a 10 on the Apgar scale.

16 weeks filled with worry, anxiety, tears, and uncertainty.  Every second worth it.  I felt, and still feel, like the luckiest woman in the world.

Six weeks later, during my final post-delivery check up with Dr. Miracle, she admitted that even she didn't think I'd make it to 35 weeks.  She thought when I was admitted to the hospital, I'd be lucky to make it another 2 or 3 weeks tops.

I don't know why fate smiled down on me and my boys, but I'm really really grateful.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Take me out to the ball game

Our town has a mini-baseball season for the three and four year olds.  It consists of six Saturdays in Spring, and the first two are just practices.  The last four are "games".  Though I'm sure they won't even keep score.

Part of me felt like a stage mom signing my three year olds up for tee-ball.  I mean, what can a three year old really get out of it?  Will their chances of making the varsity baseball team in high school really hinge on whether they started little league at three or five?  I highly doubt it.

But, since Superman and I both grew up playing ball, we have been buying them ball caps, reading them books about baseball, and teaching them "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" since they were little, little babies.  So while I don't expect them to have perfect aim after six short Saturdays of tee-ball, I am hoping they will get excited about baseball and it will help develop their interest in playing it as they get older.

Their first Saturday consisted of meeting their coach and teammates, doing some stretches and jumping jacks, running the bases, hitting off a tee, and catching some ground balls.  Thing 1 had a blast!  Unfortunately, Thing 2 was benched due to a case of Toxic Synovitis.

Tomorrow, they'll be getting their jerseys and taking team pictures.  And Thing 2 should be up to running around like normal.

But as fun as watching them run around and doing jumping jacks was (and it was fun!), I am sad that my parents don't get to see them play.  No, they aren't dead (thankfully!), but they live about 700 miles away, so a quick trip in for a tee-ball game is not really on the agenda.  I grew up on the ball field with my dad in the dugout and my mom in the stands.  Sometimes them living so far away just sucks more than others, and this is one of those times.  I just really wish they were able to be on the sidelines to see my boys learn to love the sport that they taught me to love.

I am happy though that my good friend, let's call her "The Godmother", will be coming into town to see them play their first game.  In fact, I can't believe it, but she is actually skipping her cousin's wedding for the occasion, because she says seeing a game is so important to her.  Which is a nice reminder once again that family comes to you in many forms.  Sometimes family is made through blood and birth, sometimes it is made through wedding vows, and sometimes family can be made by having really awesome friends who really love your kids.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Big boy beds

Thing 1 and Thing 2 have big boy beds!

Superman and I were pricing out bunk beds for the boys (the kind that you can start out as two twins and bunk later when they turn 6) and were definitely feeling the pinch on our wallets.  One set of wooden bunk beds, two mattresses, four sets of sheets, two pillows, two was adding up all too quickly.

And then something amazing happened.  My aunt sent me an email asking if I had a need for two twin beds (they are in the process of converting their guest room to a king bed).  So, for the price of gas to drive to and fro Indianapolis (about 60 miles), we got two complete twin beds, with frames.  Score!

A lot of people are surprised to know that we are keeping the boys in the same room, and ask when we plan to give them their own room.  I have a few thoughts on that:

1. I plan on keeping them in the same room for as long as possible.  Puberty maybe?  I don't know.  It'll really depends on when they start bugging us for their own room.  But for now, I love hearing them chatter in their beds at night before they fall asleep.  I am not anxious to break that up.

2. Since when do kids HAVE to have their own rooms?  I know I sound like a bit of a hypocrite, seeing that the first time I shared a room I was a senior in college (at the sorority house), but I just don't think that having your own room is an inalienable right of childhood.  Especially two young children of the same sex.

The one do I stop the boys from jumping back and forth between their two new beds?