Thursday, January 31, 2013

My Third Little Thing

Recap: I had a date with my husband and a day out with one of my friends this week. Success! Both were much needed and will hopefully occur more frequently from now on.

Week 3: Work out more and enforce the right reasons for working out to my kids.

I had a bit of a break down last week that I blame on being constantly bombarded by junk from the world. Mainly junk about how women are supposed to look. Mind you, I did not break down due to insecurities about my body; I am at peace with my cellulite, forever-changed-by-having-children boobs, and my butt’s ability to grow at the exact same rate as my expanding baby belly. However, it took me years to get that way, and along the way there was a lot of struggling over not looking “right” or “normal” or whatever all women are apparently supposed to look like.

Venting my frustrations to my husband last week, he brought up how differently health and working out are marketed to women and men. Men are generally motivated by the discipline, the health benefits, the ability to accomplish a goal, and that’s how the media markets working out to guys for the most part. Women, apparently expected to be the less intelligent and more vain species, get headlines like “How to Lose 10 Pounds in One Day Drinking Only Lemon Water!” and “How to Look Like You Never Even Had That Baby Less Than 48 Hours After Birth!” It’s insulting. The implication is my health, my endurance, my discipline don’t matter. Just make sure if you are a girl you fit in a size two because no one is really interested in seeing your pasty butt in anything else.

Seeing how as a family we are very motivated by health, we eat right (mostly) and try to prioritize physical activity for health reasons, not so we won’t look like relatives of the Pillsbury Dough Boy. What bothers me is what’s outside our house. We don’t have our TV hooked up to any stations and we try to be conscious of images we bring in from outside that our kids are exposed to. We’re not trying to be overprotective, but as a parent I do feel it's important to establish the okay early on, and most of what I see on television, in entertainment, and in the media on a regular basis is not okay, especially for kids too young to know better. I want them to have a firm foundation before the crazy gets in. However, the minute the protective coating we can offer them as children is gone, they are going to see some ugly, vain, really out-of-whack priorities in their faces every day. I feel like I have a very short amount of time to instill this in them and make it stick:

We take care of our bodies because they are temples. We put good things in them and we use them so they don’t become weak. Why do we do this? Because our bodies are used to glorify and serve God. Period. That’s what they are for, and we’ll trade these bodies in for way cooler versions in Heaven anyway. (I’m sure that’s why people are making all those nudie tapes and posting pictures of their privates on the internet. They just know we won’t have these bodies forever and are saving images, right? That’s all it is, not our vain, image-driven society making people feel this is okay, right?) Take care of your health. Be able to do some pull ups because it really is cool. Embrace what you were given instead of coveting a picture of some girl’s butt on Pinterest because it’s the butt you want. It’s not your butt, and that’s good. You are the only one who can be you. (Sammy, if you are looking at a girl’s butt on Pinterest, STOP!)

With that vented and out there, I am going to try to increase my work-out from not much of anything to something because my pregnancy will be healthier that way, and I’m in the second trimester and feel like I won’t die from just moving around. And when my kids ask why I work out, I will tell them because God gave me this body and I’m taking care of it, not because every image I see on a daily basis promises if I do I’ll look perfect. Perfection: not in this life.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

My 2nd Little Thing

Recap from Last Week:  I am much less of a liar now. Honestly, it’s true. Focusing on slowing down and making sure I thought before saying I could or would do something seemed to work, and it slowed the kids down on asking for as much. They weren’t firing off as many requests, I wasn’t firing off thoughtless answers; it made for a better week. 

Week 2:  Spend More Time with Adults Away from the Casa

I love my kids. I am around them probably about 98% of their lives, and that’s the way I like it. However, I look forward to time with adults in a way that is filled with such insane excitement that the emotions it brings on are a sign I don’t actually see adults enough. Sure, we have play dates where mommies attempt to squeeze in everything about their lives in between food requests, falls from the swing, and the emotional breakdowns of children. And I spend more time with my husband on a regular basis than most all of the people who have regular date nights and child-free vacations but don’t actually see each other any other time (D and I must have a certain amount of us time a day to remain uncranky when our children play with stranger pee).

Where I tend to fail is leaving the house for this time. There is always the possibility of distractions. So my goal for this week is to spend away-from-house time with adults I like. This is already on the calendar, so unless something major happens, I should have a date with the hubs after the kids go to bed tomorrow night and a girl date on Saturday.

Please Lord, no illness, no whammies, have mercy since I’m going to have four children soon and this will become a lot harder.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Is This Part of My Job Description?

My kids are good. Taking them out in public is not an issue. However, my endocrinologist's office loves to schedule my appointments during naptime and then have us wait what seems like an unreasonable amount of time to a child. Today, this resulted in a not so great visit.

Let me give you the quick and dirty: we survived the appointment fairly well in my opinion (maybe not the staff’s) until right there at the end. That’s when Sammy started claiming he needed to pee. My endocrinologist was impressed he was already potty-trained, and I told Sammy since we were almost finished with the appointment to give it just a second. Then he started threatening to poop. That appointment ended fast. Turns out doctors don’t need to check half the things they act like they do when a toddler is making threats like that.

When we went into the bathroom at a doctor’s office during flu season that had been used by almost every person before us, I told the kids not to touch anything. I sat Sammy on the potty and after telling him to wait until his pee pee was pointed down to let loose, I gave him the go ahead. That’s when he informed me he was peeing on the back of his pants and was none to happy about it since that was my fault. He finished the rest in the potty, gave me the evil eye, and agreed to let me pull up his wet pants if he could ride home naked from the waist down. Problem solved!

That’s when I turned around and realized the problems were just beginning. The fault I carry in this should be put out there right up front. I made the rookie parenting move of not being specific. Telling kids to “not touch anything” is akin to telling them to touch everything. They are not going to stand in one place with their hands by their sides and not let their fingers crawl over something. What I should have done was found the item I wanted them to not touch the most and specifically pointed out that item so they would know. For instance, in this case I would have pointed out the specimen cup full of a stranger’s urine sitting eye level with both of my children and said, “don’t touch this. Trouble will come to you if you touch this.” But I didn’t. So I guess it can be considered a little my fault that I turned around to find Wren shaking the specimen cup like she was mixing a drink and getting ready to pour shots.

It was a moment, one of those moments you add to the Being a Parent Means List:

Being a parent means loving more than you thought possible;

Being a parent means being okay with never sleeping like a normal person again;

Being a parent means having to explain to your four-year-old why shaking a stranger’s pee in a doctor’s office bathroom is not okay on a different level than just about anything she has so far ever done.

I had been a patient parent pretty much all day, but I know everyone in that office heard when I said, “Wren, seriously? Don’t touch anything. That’s what I said. Why are you touching that? That’s someone’s pee!”

I hustled her to the sink and proceeded to wash her, thoroughly.

Wren: Mom, you are getting water all over my dress.

Me: Wren, you just played with stranger pee. I don’t care if you leave here looking like you have been hosed down in the back yard, do not try to come at me with an argument because YOU GOT NOTHING! Stranger pee, child!

Wren: Okay then.

I want to say this was a result of missed naps, too long in the waiting room, lazy parenting on my part. I really don’t know. It was one of those world-stands-still moments I will probably try to figure out for the rest of my life. I guess at the very least it’s something to add to the list.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

One Little Thing

I didn’t make New Year’s Resolutions this year unless you count the following:

Try not to tip over while pregnant and walking;

Have such low expectations for my domestic abilities while raising four kids that anything I do will look like magic.

My resistance to commit to anything comes from not wanting to bite off more than I can chew. We have a ton on our plate, so I don’t think attempting to throw more on is going to make me feel successful, just like I can’t accomplish it all.

However, there are places I need to do some work, so I’m going to try to commit to focusing on something I want to fix or improve for a week and then continue it as habit while I move onto the next improvement. It seems easier in small parts, and there’s less likely of a chance I’ll forget what I’m doing before the week is over, though it is possible. I am going to try to post these every Thursday so it will be out there and I’ll be committed for the week.

Week 1: Stop Lying to My Kids

That sounds bad when you actually see it in writing. It’s not awful; let me explain.

Kids ask for a lot, especially when you are home with them all day. My kids actually start asking me for things before my head is off the pillow such as: a three course meal for breakfast; to wear certain clothes; to go outside while naked. It’s daily. I should be used to it, but it’s still a startling alarm clock to have little voices in your ear saying, “I want my eggs fried today instead of scrambled, and maybe you could get up and cook them now even though the sun is not up yet.”

I have gotten into the habit, especially with two babies in-utero, of putting off requests. For instance, I tell them I will make the eggs in five minutes when I am vertical, have my glasses on, and have determined we should not all still be sleeping. And then I usually follow up. I don’t think there is anything wrong with kids having to wait.

The problem is my kids ask for so many different things in a 24 hour period that sometimes I forget I’ve told them I will do something. They usually remind me. It’s just that I realize I’m not really thinking sometimes about what my response is. I need to be more specific for all of our sakes so I can do what I say I’m going to do when I say I’m going to do it (it was probably six hours before Wren’s hair actually was put up the way she asked for it to be simply because I forgot for six hours).

I am going to try to start considering every request and giving an answer that I can measure the outcome of, such as: no, never, you can’t play in the snow without pants; yes, but not now and then set a specific time and actually do it at that time; sure, yes, now.

I want to be a person of my word, and it occurred to me today when I told the kids we could cook soup together but they got busy playing and I did it without them that to a child that could be seen as not keeping a promise. I don’t want to be that person, even if it was much easier to cook soup without broth all over the floor and both of them arguing over who gets to stir. And they didn't really care becasue they got to eat the soup, but still.  For seven days, I will honor the words I say, even the small ones, like you can wear your Flash mask to any place we go today. As long as they are not wearing just the Flash mask, we should be good.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

A Learning Experience

In case you didn’t hear me shout when we found out, the twins are not mono-mono. They are mono-di which means sharing a placenta but not an amniotic sac. This is good. This is so very awesome that I feel any words I use are going to be horribly inadequate to describe it. Mono-di doesn’t mean there are no risks, but it does mean the following:

No 50% mortality rate;

No risk of the baby’s getting tangled in each other’s cords;

No early delivery, at least not due to cord issues;

No planned inpatient stay;

It means there is a very strong possibility I will be waddling around huge, hot, and happy in July 40 weeks pregnant with identical twins. There is the risk of twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome, but it was described as a peripheral concern; right now they are growing at pretty much the exact same rate, and that’s a great indication even this early on.

I’m taking the last several weeks for what they were which is an experience we’ve been blessed to learn a lot from. Here are just a few examples:

Our faith has deepened-I don’t think being a Christian means always getting happy endings on this earth, and the Bible provides pretty solid evidence that following Christ is not the easy road. I’m so very grateful when things work out and realize my life is above and beyond everyday by anyone’s standards. However, I do feel I’ve grown in what it means to know the Lord, and this experience helped me realize that. Anything could still happen, but when we felt we were sitting under a cloud of poo just waiting for the storm to start, I didn’t question God’s sovereignty. I didn’t doubt His plan, though I knew it might not be the plan I had in mind. I knew despite the outcome my job was to glorify Him and that I would. I don’t think I would have been near as confident in that knowledge even a few years back. I’m a slow grower, but I think I’m growing.

We are surrounded by the best people-The team you want in the trenches when things are hard is my team. Family, friends, friends of family and friends, everyone was ready to dive head first into crazy and take the ride with us (by the way, everyone is still invited to do so; we will have four children ages four and under, so there will not be a shortage of crazy). A crucial part of any level of emotional stability we maintained was due to knowing we were not alone, not abandoned by Christ and not abandoned by those who love us. I can’t even explain what it meant to have that knowledge. And I can’t describe how happy we were to call, email, and message people to tell them good news today. I’ve never been on drugs, but this feeling made me experience what I imagine being high would be like!

You meet amazing people in life who will always stay in your heart-It has been an honor to learn about parents of mono-mono babies, those whose babies made it and those whose babies did not. I’ve communicated with several of these moms, and they are an awesome group. If you ever find yourself in the middle of a mono-mono pregnancy, know there are entire families out there waiting to cast a net and welcome you into the group. I will continue to follow pregnancies that I’ve started watching during this time because it’s hard to tire of seeing miracles.

So we’re on to the next phase of this journey which is me blowing up like the Good Year Blimp but trying not to screw up my blood pressure or blood sugar at the same time. We invite continued prayer and are grateful for the prayers we’ve already received. It’s baby growing time!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Part of the Plan

If all goes well, I’ll start inpatient monitoring mid-March. The monitoring will entail non-stress test monitoring and sonograms on the twins for so many hours a day with the expectation that I could be moved into an OR and ready for a c-section within minutes of discovering an issue. We pray to not deliver until 32 weeks which would be mid-May, but we have to be prepared since the babies could live at 24 weeks outside the womb, and it could get a little dicey inside the womb. Inpatient monitoring is said to have vastly changed what mono-mono outcomes can look like, so as hard as this will be, I’m glad it's available.

The prep to get to inpatient monitoring is obviously going to be strenuous, so I’m starting with what I anticipate being a huge challenge: getting Wren to come visit me.

See, Wren doesn’t like hospitals. I have no idea where the fear came from, but it started early. You know how everyone has that adorable picture of their kids together right after the sibling is born? We have these:

It’s not that Wren didn’t like Sam. She didn’t like that he was in a hospital. She wanted to take him home. And me, forget it. I was hooked to an IV tube, a catheter, and apparently looked like I had just survived a horror flick attack, because after being separated from me for the first time ever, she still would not come near me. She wanted to, but something about all the hospital apparatuses kept her a fair distance from my bed. So, I begged the nurse to take my catheter tube and IV out while Wren was in the hall, and then when she came back I was standing up a small distance from the bed, as far as I could move less than eight hours after being cut open to pull a small person out of me. Still, she wanted nothing to do with it. She cried and yelled in her two-year-old voice that she loved me as she ran out the door begging to leave. It was overwhelmingly sad and I think part of the reason I convinced the hospital staff to let me bust out of that place early. I wanted to be with both of my kids, and it was obvious Wren was not coming back.

We can’t spend eight weeks like that. My plan is for Wren and I to take a girls' day tour of the hospital, let her ask her questions, see what kind of room I’ll be in, and then go home and begin discussing how she will decorate it to her liking. I’m guessing lots of pink. I want it to be a place everyone is comfy because I have to live there, and me living happily involves having my family around.  Even if I’m surrounded by Pepto-Bismol pink everything Wren can drag in there, I will be content as long as all the major players in my life are good.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Things You Didn’t Know

I fear sometimes reading the blog that we come off a little high maintenance and crazy. We are crazy, but the high maintenance part isn’t really accurate. Sure, the Celiac, pneumonia, momo pregnancy doesn’t paint the strongest picture of laid back ease, but our lives are actually fairly simple with tons to be thankful for. I thought in honor of that I would share a few things that might normalize us. After reading the list, I realize that plan might not have worked.

Dennis makes me laugh everyday.

Sammy likes to call himself Sammy Wa-Wa and say “shake your booty, shake your booty” while performing in the living room.

Wren decided since we had all been sick and she had been taking care of us that it was her turn. She gave Sammy a brush today and told him to do her hair because it was taking care of Wren time. She said it with such confidence that Sammy didn’t even question her.

The first thing my husband said to me after our sonogram confirming the twins are mono-mono was, “You have really hairy arms, and I never noticed before now.”

I have two children, have carried them for a total of 84 weeks (yeah, that's way more than most elephants) and still never dilated. My cervix is apparently defective, or I can just get them in there easily but not out.

My husband puts the kids to bed every night. I love him for this and many other reasons.

Both Dennis and I are halfway through our Master’s degrees. Our choice to procreate frequently is why we’re only halfway through.

I have no sense of smell, but Wren can smell a gnat fart in the next county. When we are at the grocery store she frequently likes to scream, “Mom, did you fart or did Sammy fart? It stinks in here.” Yeah, it’s as awesome at it sounds.

Someone hacked my Pinterest account. True story, and I still don’t understand why.

Sammy forgot he was weaned in November, so he totally made a pass at the boob while sick last week. Upon being rejected due to lack of milk, he just started begging, “please,please”. I kind of think he may be a boob man (and if I wasn’t supporting a small army of children in my womb I would have just let him latch back on).

Tamiflu is the first antibiotic I’ve taken in five years because I just drink water and take supplements when I start feeling sick. That did not work this time.

I can eat more gluten-free Twisted Root burgers in one sitting than most anyone. I am kind of a legend like that, and everyone at the location closest to our house knows me and my order when I walk in.

Now I’m hungry for a burger.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Not the Week We Planned

This week was not good. Starting on the night of Christmas Eve, it just went downhill fast and kept rolling. The craziness of majestic proportions included: three visits to ER centers or actual ERs (and that’s just for my total; there was one for D and one for Sammy), a diagnosis of flu for three of us (God bless Wren and the amount of supplements that child ingests), an ear infection diagnosis (Sammy), a strep throat diagnosis (D), and three days in the hospital for me just soaking up fluids and anti-nausea meds via IV. Oh, and Tamiful and Tylenol.

We’re trying to have a sense of humor about the whole thing. I’m the only one who is not fully recovered, but I was lacking energy before the flu, so maybe I am fully recovered and this whole pregnancy just is going to own me. I do think I may have developed agoraphobia since I haven’t washed my kids’ hair in eight days due to lack of shampoo and was just now able to make myself go get shampoo because it meant braving sneezing people. I thought seriously about just shaving their heads.

Anyway, the next sonogram is next week, and we had a bit of pregnancy drama this week, though it turned out okay. The children have found each other and are now lying on top of each other. It’s cute and terrifying all at the same time. They are the same egg, just split in half, so it’s not like I can demand they not spoon, but it’s a little scary to actually see.

Music has really worked as our remedy when our brains go into overdrive about the things we can’t control, so I’m going to attempt to upload this video from Youtube of a song I love. This is my favorite version, so enjoy.