Saturday, September 21, 2013

They're Here!!!

Super duper quick update before the zombie makers wake up!

The twins were born last Sunday a little before noon. Labor started the night before and was very tough for my SIL. The next day she made the decision to have a c-section as Baby A was not progressing, even though labor had been going on for quite some time and was extremely rough. After the c-section, we almost lost my SIL as she threw-up and passed out at the same time, causing fluid to go into her lungs. The great medical team at our hospital were able to quickly aspirate and revive her. Scary stuff! Especially for my poor brother!!!

Long story short - she is doing fine now and was discharged either Wednesday or Thursday.

Our Baby Boy (the trouble maker) did great. He was born 7lbs 1 oz. He was discharged on Wednesday, but technically could have been sent home Tuesday. They gave us an extra day because our little girl was in NICU.

Baby Girl went into NICU originally because of her weight. The hospital requires any baby born under 5lbs to go to NICU and she was 4lbs 14oz. That's over a 2lb difference than her brother!!! We aren't exactly sure why there was such a difference, but they told us it occasionally happens, even when twins don't share a placenta.

While in NICU, Baby Girl was having trouble eating so she initially got a feeding tube. Her blood sugar levels were also occasionally low. We were able to feed her some by bottle and some by feeding tube. Every day she progressed and needed the feeding tube less. Her blood sugar improved and we were finally able to take her home on Friday - which was really great because the hospital is over an hour away and too difficult to take her brother back and forth (he isn't allowed in NICU).

Every one is doing well as we are adjusting to life with twins. It's completely an utterly wonderful, but also scary - especially when the little one doesn't eat her minimum requirement. I'm adjusting to the not sleeping better than I thought, course don't quote me on that during the 3AM feedings.  Between 12 AM and 3 AM the twins tends to think it's party time.

Sorry for the absence - but truthfully I don't expect it to get better. Still - I will continue this blog as there is still soooooooooooooooo much to write and I know that other's blogs really really helped me. 1 year ago I thought there was no chance I would have any more biological children of my own. I had resigned myself to donor eggs, which in our circumstance would have greatly increased our time before we could try surrogacy again. To be clear, I would have loved ANY child coming into our lives, but I am very happy that I get a chance (for better or for worse) to see how a mix of our families will turn out AND that we don't have to wait many more years. At 41, that would have been tough.

That's it for me. I wasn't kidding when I wrote "zombie makers". My days are blending and I forget things very quickly. Not sure if I need a nap right now or dinner. Guess I go ask my hubby. :-)

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Fat Babies Update

Last week (32 week 5 day mark) was another ob/gyn & perinatologist appointment. I was unable to make that one, but hubby could go. 

Here's the short and the sweet:
Baby (A) Boy - head is down, heart rate 144, fluid looks good, and weighing in at a whomping 4 lbs 14 ozs. 
Baby (B) Girl - head is sideways to up, but that's ok since she is second to the cervix. Heart rate is 132, fluid looks good, and she is estimated to be about 4 lbs 11 ozs. 

She was a little light at our last appointment, so I'm glad to see she has settle down (including her heart rate) and put some more junk in her trunk. She's been pretty dance-y dance-y up till now, but I think she's officially run out of room. 

This weekend we will be 34 weeks! 

GAH! I'm not ready! 

Sunday, August 4, 2013

A Dream, News, and Baby Shower Thoughts

Last night I had a dream. I dreamed that I was pregnant. Like waaaaayyyyyyy pregnant, but only sort of. And I couldn't figure out if there were twins in there or a singleton or if I wasn't really pregnant at all (because my stomach kept changing from very pregnant to normal size). I was pleased until I realized - holy crap - we already have twins on the way with my SIL surrogate!!! How was I going to handle more at once? How was I going to handle twin newborns with more arriving right around the corner. I was in the hospital and it was oh so confusing.

It was a very weird dream.

Then I woke and felt relief. Probably best to leave the analysis of that one alone. :-)

On other news fronts, stuff seems to be coming along fine. For the most part. SIL got a positive on her glucose test and so she has to go back for the 3 hour test to check for gestational diabetes. I've been told it's quite horrid. 3 hours of drinking this big ole thing of sickly sweet stuff that makes you want to barf and sleep the rest of the day. She has school orientation with most of her children later that day. Major suckage. Even more major if she does have GD.

Babies are doing well. Viking-Boy was 3lbs 4 oz at our last visit and Girlie-Girl was a respectable 2lbs 14oz. He is still facing down towards the exit and that's a good thing. If possible, my SIL would prefer to have a Vajayjay delivery. I don't blame her. It's key that the boy be head down for this to be possible. They can flip the girl if needed, but not vice-versa (or both).

We are at 31 weeks. Holy crap. So much left to do. STAY IN THE OVEN FOR AS LONG AS YOU CAN!!!

My Bestie is coming in from NJ to throw my baby shower with my mom and another great friend. I truly have some spectacularly awesome friends. Every once in awhile I just sit in awe when I think of it.

On the subject of baby shower - I was thinking today that I need to get something for my SIL for the baby shower. Don't know why I didn't think of it earlier. How boring for her to sit at my shower and watch me get a ton of gifts while she does all the work. But what to get her??? And does she open it there? Then it seems more like a "show" of gratitude than anything else. And really - nothing I could get would ever even come close to what she has done for us.

If you have any idea of what I can get her - light up my comment section. She has 4 kids (3 of them step-children) of various ages (5-14). Maybe I should get something for all of them and her?

That's it for now. Off to to one of the 100 task I still have left on my list.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Choosing Names and Swedish Etiquette

Hubby mentioned the other day that maybe we should consider my  Swedish Grandmother's name for a middle name for our girl. (All of my grandparents have passed away.) After all, I was named after my grandmother.  I'm fairly certain that hubby either didn't know or didn't remember that both of my grandmothers' names are extremely old-fashioned on any Continent. And not in that cool "old is new" way either. We both said no when I reminded him of the name. I looked at her middle name too, but it is easily confused with an alcoholic drink, so we marked that off the list. We don't want our baby to have a built in nickname for her college years. 

My other grandmother's name wasn't even a consideration since other family members already have it (and hate it). Her middle name is too similar to my ex-friend's that I previously blogged about. A few weeks after my blog post about said ex-friend and her awful treatment towards us, we had an opportunity to communicate via email and it did not go well. Long story short, I'm glad I was finally able to get everything off my chest about the hurt she has caused, but evidently she does not want to accept, acknowledge or apologize for any of it. Needless to say I don't want this constant reminder when saying my child's name. 

That lead me to think of my Swedish grandmother's sister name. It is beautiful and I have always loved it. She is still alive and well, and I'm hoping she will be able to make a possible visit in Sept as has been hinted by some family members. Her daughters have chosen other names for their babies, so I don't think there would be a problem with that. She's all sorts of awesome, and has the cutest pure white page-boy hair cut you have ever seen. When we visited Sweden in 2011, you could see my Grandfather was visibly upset, even in his dementia, when a younger man started hitting on my Great-Aunt. 

So here's the big question: is it ok to use someone else's first name as a middle name for your baby if the person is still alive? Do you ask first? I know here in America it would be perfectly fine, but I would HATE to do a major etiquette faux-pas towards my Swedish family. Have searched high and low and can't seemed to find any information on it. If I ask they are likely to say it is fine; they don't really tell us when we do something offensive as Americans and it is clear we didn't know any better. This is kinda an important one though (versus leaving my shoes on while visiting), so I'd like to get it right.

If you have any inside knowledge of if this is ok to do for Swedes (Tandoori Viking - I'm looking at you!) or Europeans in general, let me know. It's taken us FOR-EVA to decide on a girl's name and if it's not ok to use, then we better think fast on our second choice names. 

Tack Tack (Thanks thanks!) 

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Got Twins? Help a Sista Out


So I thought I'd be ok. Figure out what I needed 2 of, figure out what can be shared, read through recommendations, and then I would be all set. Except with twins, it's not all easy-peasy-logical like that. Things don't fit all nice and neat into categories and some things cross over with twins that don't for parents of singletons. Plus, information specific to twins is a tad on the sparse side; unless you don't have a job, social life, or hobbies. All of which I do have  (yes - I am very aware a lot of that will change come this fall).

Price is an issue. We don't need the most expensive items, nor could we afford it. We don't get the luxury of handing things down to the next sibling. My ideas of a slightly fancy crib with all the ooh-la-la etchings of high-end, wood furniture has gone out the window with the new requirement of 2 simultaneous cribs.

That's not to say I want everything cheap and of suspect quality. Having had a child 21 years ago (oh-my-god just writing that), I am keenly aware that sometimes you have to spend money to save money. And then there are times where cheaper sometimes = less safe, not a description you want with your baby products.

Then there are space issues. Car trunk space issues. Bedroom space issues. Sitting on the couch but there isn't room for 2 things on the floor by the coffee table space issues. Arm space issues. The list goes on and on.

So what's a girl to do?

Instinctively, I reached for the book Baby Bargains (8th edition) a few months back when I was at a large consignment sale. This was at the beginning of the pregnancy and may have even been before we knew we had twins. The book was chocked full of good information, but I realized that it was an older edition and that several safety things had changed since it's 2009 publication. That lead me to purchase the kindle version of the latest edition. (DO NOT, I repeat DO NOT, purchase the kindle edition. Hopefully I will remember to post the long list why later.) Suffice to say, that I realized that it, as well as other resources, was lacking in areas that would be important to parents of twins.

What sort of things? I'm glad you asked!!! (I'll even happier if someone has some answers!) Here are some examples from my over-active imagination:

  • Infant carrier car seats. Part of the consideration of these things is weight. While a 30lb carrier (not including baby weight) might be ok to manage going up the stairs to my front door, 2 of these things would not be. Do I just go for the convertible car seats that accommodate infants? The biggest complaint of these (for infants) is that baby wakes up when you remove them (since you can't take the entire thing out each time), but honestly I don't think I'll be able to carry two of the infant car seats every time I leave my car sans hubby. As much as I'd like to see my jiggly arms tone up, I suspect this may not be the best plan. 
  • On that note: what about strollers? Do I go for the strollers that fit the infant car seats or has my previous concern just eliminate them? Side-by-side strollers or front back? Front back facing or non-facing. Which is going to fit better in our car trunks? I know one of us will eventually have to upgrade to a bigger vehicle (please let it be hubby, please let it be hubby), but considering my car was bought in 2010 and hubby's was bought last year - that ain't happening soon. (All those pesky IVF/Surro expenses and son's college expenses.)
  • What about carriers? I grabbed some groovy sling/wrap/boho-whatever-you-call-them at a consignment sale, but I'm guessing that after a few months we will need something a bit sturdier that won't kill my back. I'm only 5'3 and 115lbs. (Ok fine - 123 lbs, but I will get back to my pre-IVF weight soon. Whatever.) What carriers work well when carrying two??? Or do you need one for front and one for back? In that case, what one is safe on your back?
  • Bouncers. Do I need to worry about the elevated head sleep thing for twins? I hear it's common. I've already fallen in love with this ghastly, overpriced Babybjorn Babysitter bouncer that I'm fairly certain we HAVE TO HAVE. Have found a possible used connection for one, but I have no idea how well these things handle up over time. If need be, this will probably be my splurge item. I'm obsessed with them. 

If you are a parent of twins - what were your MUST HAVE items? How many sheets is a good number to have? (Just popped in my head.) How did you address the issues above? What am I forgetting?

HELP A SISTA OUT. I'm beginning to bug out. OK FINE. Bug out more than normal. OK FINE. I never really was normal. ARE YOU HAPPY NOW? 
P.S. Please help. 

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Update: Fat Babies, My Cat Passing, Best Friend Moving, and Father's Day

We went to the OB/GYN and the perinatologist on 06/17. The later meaning ultrasound time! Babies are looking good and each are fatter than a singleton counterpart would be at the same gestation period. At least according to the nurse. Really, what I think she was saying was "not to worry -their size is pretty great."

We were just 1 day shy of the 23 week mark at 1lb 6oz for the girl and 1lb 5oz for the boy. According to fetus growth measurement calculators  that puts them right about at the 55-60 percentile that a singleton would be. For now, I'm calling them my fat ass babies and it makes me happy. Is it wrong for me to think of the girl as a little more bossy than the boy already? Nah - I imagine all different ways they will be - this is just the flavor of the week.

Girl Bean is already behaving naughty and flipped into breech position. She also seems to be hyper and dancy-dancy whenever the cameras come round (ie, ultrasound). Doc says this is ok for now and either one may flip several times before they settle in. Since boy is closer to the cervix, I think it is most important that he not be in breech when the time comes. If SIL is able to have a vaginal delivery, then they can flip the girl if needed and if the doctors think it is ok.

In sadder news, my beloved calico passed away last Thursday. Won't go into the whole sad story, because it's still too hard, but suffice to say she was 18 years old and it was her time. Realized afterwards that I have lived with my beloved girl (17+ years) longer than I have lived with any other living thing; including my parents and my son.

She was a crotchety cat from the day I got her (probably part feral) and I loved every bone in her body. The only living things she liked in this world were occasionally me and often my other cat. Both friendships took years to cultivate. (Conversely, my boy cat loves almost everyone except the un-neutered male that accidentally roamed into our house one day.)

Even with a house full of animals (2 cats and 3 dogs) we would mange to have alone time when I would take my baths in the evening. She would sneak up into our room on the top floor of our house (where animals aren't really allowed according to Daddy) and I would give her the special bowl of bath water she requested for consumption. She always had a thing for bathwater and I never quite knew why. She even "showed" our other cat one night and snuck him in to the forbidden area. He sniffed it and seemed unimpressed, so it remained our personal ritual. Between laps of water she would peek her head over the bathtub for some scratches, a rarity for her as she normally didn't like more than a few touches at one time.

She will be missed.

In other sad news, my BFF moved on Friday. She's the most awesome girl in the world. Both my husband and I adored her and her husband- and really - how often does that happen? She had a baby last year and has been my rock through all of my infertility (and before!). Seeing her baby never made me sad once. He was awesome and I loved spending time with all of them. We've all promised to visit each other often, and I think we will, but I know that sometimes changes when babies come. At least I will see her in August. She coming to throw me a baby shower. YES SHE IS THAT AWESOME.

Last but not least - Happy Father's Day out there to all you new dads, all you dad hopefuls, and all those wonderful Dads of past and present that have guided each and every one of us. My father died when I was very young (3 years old), but my mom married my Step Dad when I was 19/20 and I think he super rocks. Even when he is grumpy which is frequent and funny to me. Kinda like my cat was. 

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Question of the Week: What's Up with Short-Term Disability Insurance?

Sooooooooo, filling out my new employee forms, the old "do you want to pay for short-term disability insurance?" question popped up. This option wasn't available with my first pregnancy (read: I had no insurance way back then), thus this is a completely new path for me. My current options for it are about $40 a month for the 7 day exclusion option  or $20 for the 30 day exclusion option.

I remembered that other women I know mentioned using it during their maternity leave, so it begs the question: Can I? My quick fingers googled on my iPhone for answers  (it popped in my head while I was at work and I HAD TO KNOW then). Alas, the results were not very helpful. Most of the answers applied towards the surrogate mother and not the intended parent (IP). Switched to googling about people who adopt and one answer returned that they could not. STD benefits (I giggle every time see the acronym) used in the context of maternity leave is allowed because of a woman's need to recover physically. That said - tiny print on a phone, especially when most of the results are on forums, is not full of awesome.

The uncertainty made me think I should to ask a professional, which was great because we already needed to contact our attorney about the next steps. She had told us that if we were successful with IVF then we would need to petition the court to have my name put on the birth certificate (instead of our GC's) during our 2nd trimester. We kept forgetting except at times where emailing/calling her wasn't practical, and thus having this questions (and wanting a fast answer) reminded and motivated us to contact her ASAP.

Side note: attorneys for this process is NOT cheap. This was a cost we didn't account for well. In India it was either included or only a few hundred dollars extra. We naively thought since my SIL was our GC that we would not need an attorney, but our fertility clinic informed us to the contrary. Our total cost for this is around $6500 as explained at the bottom here, with our second payment coming up.

The email I sent was as follows (with the boring parts taken out):
I have a quick question that I think I know the answer to, but maybe you could shed some light. I'm filling out my new employee forms for a job and I have the option to take short term disability.  I know pregnant women often use short term disability to receive partial pay while they are on maternity leave, but I'm not sure if we can use it in our case - or if it's even considered a pre-existing condition. Since it could make such a big difference for us, I want to make sure before I turn it down. I don't think I qualify for FMLA since I haven't been employed for a year. I've been a contractor for 6+months, but was just converted to employee status last week.

The email she sent back was hopeful, but I'm still a little wary:
If you have the opportunity to obtain short term disability, I would suggest you take it.  Yes, many mothers use it for maternity leave and I see no reason why it would not be applicable to you!   Call if you would like to discuss.
So I emailed her this:
Great thanks! When would be a good time to call? For some reason I was under the impression that it applied for maternity leave because the mother goes through something physical (body recovering), but that it didn't apply just for care of children (like adoption). Also wasn't sure if it would be considered pre-existing.

While I'm waiting for our discussion (is it possible she hasn't been asked this before?), I wanted to check in with you guys. For those of you that have used adoption or surrogacy, what was your experience? How does pre-existing conditions fit into all of this? For the ladies out there - did it change if you induced lactation? For the gay men out there: did you get to use short term disability?

Curious minds want to know. (Plus there really does seem to be very little info on it out there - at least if you can't sift through hours and hours of forum stuff that doesn't apply to you.)

Thanks in advance my peoples of the interwebz!