I’m Moving!

Hello friends, old and new.

I’ve decided to move my blog to a new location. You can read Part II of “I had Twins and it was crazy!” over here at My Multiple Reality.

This is a place where I plan to write not only about being a mom of multiples, but also the multiple roles that I have in this life – wife, mother, friend, writer – and a slew of others I’ve forgotten along the way!

Hope to see you there!

Advertisements

I Had Twins and it was Crazy! (and other embarrassing anecdotes)

Hello my poor, neglected blog! So where did we last leave off? Ah yes! More than a year ago now, when I was still pregnant with twins.

It was a hard pregnancy – or so I thought, until my 2 little boys came into the world and I realized that pregnancy was the easiest part. These days, when I see a woman bounding down the street with her round belly dressed in yoga gear, or with a bag of just-purchased baby clothes in hand, I think to myself, “Gal, you have no idea what’s coming to you.”

That said, my pregnancy included bed rest, hospital stays, and pre-term labour before the whole shebang kicked off at 37 weeks when I woke up from a nap, hemorrhaging.

Forty-eight hours after arriving at the hospital, which included induction, ruptured membranes (breaking of the water, not naturally), and labouring to 9cm, my little guys were hastily cut from my belly and arrived into this world (but not into my arms – I was frozen from the neck down) at 5:14 and 5:16pm on Sunday, January 19, 2014.

One day old

I was the last to see them, and the last to hold them, and even though I was pretty groggy from the meds, I was still ticked. When you give birth to twins, it always happens in the OR, with about 14 billion nurses, anesthesiologists, OBs and surgeons by your side, just in case.

So when Twin A was pulled from my belly my eyes got to behold his wrinkly, bloody butt for about a millisecond before he was cleaned and weighed. But when the nurses and midwives formed a semi-circle around the scale to “oohhh and ahhh” the precious little dude that I just gave birth to, I snapped a little. “Can you please get out of the way so I can see him?!”

I’m the kinda gal who has imagined giving birth over and over again, and it always makes me weepy. To think about groaning, crying, sweating, labouring – and then finally, something beautiful emerges! Isn’t that what life is?! While some are terrified of the thought of a natural birth, I was terrified of a c-section. I grew those boys in my belly. I nurtured them. I felt every kick, every hiccup. They kept me awake with their antics. Made me pee 5 times in a night. And then they were born, and I couldn’t see them or hold them.

I think that what made it so hard was that I hadn’t prepared myself for the fact that a c-section was a real possibility (something like 75% of twin births end in a c-section). Emotionally, physically…I had no idea what I would endure. And though I never pushed those boys out of my lady bits, I did labour to 8cm without an epidural, and I can say in all truthfulness that the pain of contractions (and believe me, they are painful!) didn’t hold a candle to the pain of a c-section recovery. Imagine getting stabbed with a knife every single time you move.

My first meltdown happened on Day 2, when I couldn’t put on my pants. I was in the bathroom in my hospital room, trying ever so hard to lean over and pull on my gosh-darn pants without falling on the floor and sobbing uncontrollably. I couldn’t. So I walked out of the bathroom pant-less in front on my husband, a nurse, a lactation consultant and a nurse-in-training trying not to burst into tears. I sat down on my bed and asked my husband Simon if he could put on my pants. And then I lost it.

“Are you crying because you can’t put your pants on?!” The lactation consultant asked me, in a tone that was just a bit too cheery. I gave her a look. Do NOT mess with me, woman. I tried to compose myself, and then I answered. “Yes.”

She responded with, “Well then! Let’s put on your pants!” And then followed up with, “Now take off your shirt!”

And thus began my postpartum journey of never wearing a shirt. Cuz you see, when you have to nurse two babies, there’s no time to think about lifting your shirt and unhooking your nursing bra clasps. Never mind the fact that newborns nurse around the clock!

Now normally, I don’t think my husband would have liked the fact that I was topless in front of other men. This only happened at breastfeeding clinics, and these men were the kind husbands, like mine, who accompanied their wives to said clinics for emotional support. But Simon is smart, and he realized about 4 days in that there ain’t nothing sexy about leaky boobs and cracked nipples getting gnawed on all day and all night. Nope. Nada. Nothin’.

I think that’s where I’ll end, because nap time is almost over and if I don’t click “publish” now this is never going to happen. Not for another 15 months at least.

Hope you’ve enjoyed!

With Every Curveball There’s a Blessing

In this new chapter of being pregnant with twins, we are encountering quite a few curveballs. It’s easy to allow panic to get the best of me. But no matter the challenge, we are seeing time and time again that with every curveball there is a blessing.

Curveball # 1: We’re having TWINS! Oh my word.
Blessing # 1: We’re having TWINS! (How could this not be a blessing?!)

Curveball # 2: Carrying two little active boys means I get tired easily and bigger faster. I’m on my feet all day in my retail job, and some nights I come home to lots of writing work with my government job. One day I had to leave work early because of the pain in my legs, back, uterus, and pelvis, I couldn’t stand any longer. How am I going to do this until Christmas?
Blessing # 2: At the end of October my employers (who are small business owners and have always been incredibly gracious towards me for my almost two years there) sat me down and told me that come November they were releasing me…with pay. “Go and be healthy! Make those babies stay in there as long as possible!” Wow. Who does that? Not only can I rest easy at home but I can also pick up extra writing assignments. What a huge physical and financial blessing!

Curveball # 3: While looking for car seats on Wednesday we encountered an issue. My husband is tall (6’3″) and our vehicle isn’t tiny but I suppose Lancers aren’t all that big either. Problem: None of the car seats could fit behind Simon so that he could drive or even be a passenger safely. So at the end of our first day on the hunt when the staff at the baby store told us to buy a new car, I freaked. We have two months!! Buy a new car now!? That’s crazy.

We went home and armed ourselves with information about tall husbands, small cars, and twins, and set back out again the next day. And finally, we came down to one, yes, just one car seat out of many car seats in existence, that would fit in our vehicle. It just so happens to be the most expensive one at $300 (that’s $300 x 2). But it’s better than a new car, right?

Blessing # 3: Our car seats were meant to be gifts from Simon’s parents (who were also going to get us a crib mattress) and my brother and sister-in-law, but we naturally considered the fact that neither party likely had $300 in mind for a budget when they made their offer. I started doing some online research for “best price Peg Perego Canada” and came up with some stores in Quebec where they were selling it for $250. Thankfully there’s one just right across the border in Gatineau. I called them up. They have TWO left, just TWO. I said I couldn’t make it in because I’m going away for the weekend. They said they’d gladly hold them for a week without a deposit. Two beautiful Italian Denim car seats available just for us!

peg

But more blessings abound with this story! The car seat adapter (which will allow the seat to fit on the double stroller) usually runs for $80 (x2)! At this store it’s only $60 regular price. Not only that, this store gives discounts to members of the Multiples Association, which we happened to join upon learning about the twins. So now we get even bigger discounts!

And to top it all off, yesterday my mom’s friend offered her two cribs and two crib mattresses to us. She has twin grandsons and bought them for when they visited – for one week. We are planning to have the boys share a crib but we know that this might not work for as long as we hope, or it might not work at all.

I’m sure there are many more blessing I’m forgetting, with or without curveballs. But I guess I just want to say that no matter how overwhelmed I may feel at times, or wonder how on earth we are going to do this, there is always a blessing from God that reminds me that despite the difficulties we encounter, we are going to be just fine.

One + One = Four

I awoke from an interesting dream on Thursday, September 12.

“Hey Simon, I just dreamt that we went to our ultrasound and it was twins!”

And then we started joking about what that would be like. “A double stroller, two of everything, a baby on each boob! Twins would be a crazy life!”

But it was just a dream.

That morning just happened to be the morning of our first ultrasound at 19 weeks. We walked into the dark room and told the technician that yes, we wanted a picture, and no, we didn’t want to know the gender.

I reclined on the bed and wiggled my pants past my hips as the tech started rubbing cold gel on my belly.

She turned on the machine and moved the wand back and forth, spreading the gel.

“Your baby is sleeping right here,” she said, showing us the image of our baby snuggled comfortably on my pelvis on my right side.

She moved the wand toward my belly button, “And your baby is very active over here,” she continued.

For a split second I was confused. Did the baby suddenly wake up and jump from one side of my belly to the other?

And then it dawned on me…

Simon shot out of his chair as we cried “WHAT?!” in unison. Surely they heard us in reception.

The technician continued speaking but I was barely listening. I draped my right hand over my forehead and tried to absorb this new information.

I know what’s going on. I’m still in my dream. I’m in my dream from this morning. This isn’t real. This is a dream.

The tech spoke again, “Your twins are fraternal. There are two sacs, and two sets of placenta.”

She went on and on, as I tried to make sense of what I was seeing on the screen. And I wasn’t waking up. As hard as I was squeezing Simon’s hand and he was squeezing mine, there was no rousing from this slumber.

This is real.

And then I thought back to the last 4 months…

The intense morning sickness that finally tapered off at 16 weeks, managed only by Diclectin.

The way my uterus underwent a growth spurt that even had my midwife saying, “You’re definitely measuring more than 17 weeks…”

And all the kicks and punches I felt and movements I could see all over my belly at just 18 weeks.

Despite the shock of learning that we were having twins, we cannot contain our joy! We’ll never forget the moment when the technician casually commented on the activity of Twin B. It was so special to learn that there are two in there.

Ultrasound Surprise

And even though we know we are in for quite the challenge, we are simply in awe that God would entrust us with two babies. That’s not something we could plan or even control (there are no twins in the family!), and that fact alone gives us the assurance that he will continue to be faithful.

My Sweet Escape

Two Sundays ago I sat sweltering in our living room unable to escape the 44 degree Celsius weather outside.  The husband and I considered driving to a lake nearby before we remembered that our car broke down the day before two hours prior to attending a wedding. And considering we live in a boring suburb with minimal bus service we weren’t about to rely on public transportation to get us anywhere.

So I sulked.

“I want to get out of this city soooo bad!!!”

That evening I prayed one of my whimsical prayers that someone would just invite us to a cottage freeing us from the city heat.

The next day I got a text from my friend Sarah in Toronto.

“I know you’re probably both working, but my parents rented a cottage halfway between both of us and I’m up here for the week. If you have the time, feel free to come.”

“YEEEESSS!” I responded. “We will BE there!”

I work two jobs; one Mon-Wed and the other Thurs-Fri. I knew I couldn’t get out of job #1 because I had rearranged my schedule the week prior when husband’s parents came to visit. However I decided not to worry about getting time off work and considered this instead an answer to prayer. Of course it would work out! On Tuesday morning’s conference call for job #2 I began the conversation by saying I wouldn’t be in that week. As a casual employee, there’s a little more leniency when it comes to time off. Not a problem, they said. YEAH!

And so Wednesday evening Simon picked me up from work and we drove to a beautiful cottage on Oak Lake.

I told Simon on the drive down, “I just can’t wait to be buoyant!”

He put his hand on my knee and asked me lovingly, “When’s that going to happen?”

I responded with a laugh, “As soon as I get in the water!”

He looked at my quizzically.

“Buoyant.” I repeated. “Like, I just can’t wait to float.”

“Ohhhh,” he said.

“Did you think buoyant meant joyful?” I asked.

“Yeeeeah,” he replied sheepishly.

Not surprising, considering how down in the dumps I’ve been lately, and how on the same Sunday I prayed for a cottage I told Simon how much I missed my hometown friends.

We arrived at nearly 10pm and I was dying for the time in the lake. I love the lake. And I missed an entire summer last year of lake swimming. Not once did I jump of a dock or lounge around in a floaty. Thankfully Sarah and I are almost always on the same wavelength.

“Want to go swimming?!” she asked.

“Yes!!” I said. And the return to buoyancy commenced.

The next day we slept in, spent hours in the lake, went for a boat ride, ate delicious food, sat in stillness, read books, and played Settlers of Catan – twice. It was glorious.

On our drive home on Friday we talked about how necessary it is to unplug – no phone, no computer, no internet, no distractions, and ultimately, nothing to do. It’s an amazing feeling, and one I’ve gone way too long without. I don’t know if I’m just getting old and grey, but sometimes city life is just too much for me. I need a quiet, restful place. I need the lake. I need my friends – the ones who have known me for years. I look forward to settling down in a community, and gasp – we never thought we’d say this! – one outside of the city.

And that, my friends, was my sweet escape. I didn’t even take a picture – I was too busy enjoying the moments.

My Lunch Box

The following exercise is inspired by Anne Lamott’s book Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life. In the chapter “School Lunches” Lamott tells writers if you don’t know where to start, write about school lunches. The purpose of the exercise is to take a short assignment and yield a shitty first draft of detailed memory…then see where it takes you.

Here is my shitty first draft of My Lunch Box.

****************************

When I was a kid my mom used to make me peanut butter and Nutella sandwiches when I stayed for lunch at school – once a week tops. They were my favourite kind of sandwich because it was like eating a Reese Peanut Butter Cup melted and slathered on bread.

The thing is though, the other kids didn’t seem to have the same excited response as I did to my most amazing meal. They would look at my sandwich in shock, then look back at their own with wilted lettuce and cheese, and ask, “You’re eating that for lunch?!”

At first I didn’t understand what was so wrong with my meal. Hello! It tastes good! My mom wants me to eat my food at lunch, duh!? But after a while I started to wonder if maybe they were jealous of my chocolate bar on a bun. And then I got a little embarassed.

I’d open up my lunch bag, peer at the contents between two slices of whole wheat (never white!) bread, and exclaim, “Peanut butter and Nutella again!” And then I’d sigh, as though I’d had it up to here with eating roasted hazelnuts and skim milk with smooth and creamy peanut butter. But secretly, inwardly, I’d be filled with glee that my mom packed me my favourite lunch yet again.

Thanks, Mom.