What do you think the sex(es) of the twins will be?

Friday, November 2, 2012

Six Months

Wow. I haven't blogged in a long time. A really long time.

Here's what I've been up to:

(Lars Van Orman and Maud Emilia - 6 months)




Also trying to finish my novel, make my own baby food, and clean up all my messes. Some of these things are going better than others.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Favors

The favors at my shower were, hands down, the coolest favors I have ever seen. They were the brainchild of my friend Gwen who, among many other talents, makes a pretty beautiful bearded lady as you can see in the photo below.
















Without further ado, I present to you Gwen's TEST TUBE BABY CACTI. In each of those little vials is a baby cactus that Gwen grew for each person at the shower. I wish I had a close up. Each tube is slightly different - with different patterns and colors of soil and rocks. They were all amazing. This photo does not do them justice.



Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Sunrise & Ocean

My friend made these amazing quilts for the babies and presented them to me at my shower. I love them so much and I know the little darlings will, too. They remind me of an ocean and a sunrise. Two of my favorite things. They are also the colors of the nursery. I could not be more pleased.










Sunday, March 25, 2012

Babies Shower: Food & decorations

Last Saturday was my "Babies Shower." Many times when I thought I was going to go into very early preterm labor, I told myself, "You just have to make it to the shower! You just have to make it to the shower!" I knew my friends had been planning something special for a long time and I really didn't want to miss it (almost as much as I didn't want the twins to come out early).

Well, I made it. Everything was amazing and far exceeded any expectations I could have had: the food, the company, the photo booth, the baby libs, the gifts, the favors. A lot of love, time and hard work went into this shower and I love my friends who put it all together so much.

Here are some pics of the fete: food & decorations. I will do another post about the photo booth, gifts & favors. There was so much amazingness that it really can't be contained in one blog post.

Food & drink: breads, cheeses, salad with beets, grapefruit and goat cheese, caprese salad, tapenades, fruit, sparkling drinks, desserts...



































































A little sneak peek of Gwen's favors hanging in the window and the gifts:






















Orbs! In turquoise, gray and yellow. And Aubrey! In stripes.






















Okay, that's all for this post. More to come!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Big Moves

I somehow haven't posted about our new apartment, even though this is where I spend 99.99% of my time now (with the exception of doctor's appointments and the occasional trip upstairs to my friend Tina's).

Here are some things I love about our new apartment:

1. Friends upstairs and across the street and around the corner.
2. More room. A lot more room. Two bedrooms instead of a studio.
3. A real kitchen. Our old kitchen was about the size of one of those kid play kitchens. We had exactly one cabinet. Now I have more cabinets than I know what to do with. A dishwasher (although it has been broken since we moved in - they ordered us a new one). A real oven (our old oven could only fit pans the long way and had one shelf). A gas stove. Room for a kitchen table and chairs.
4. Closets. Our old apartment had one very small closet. Now we have two closets in our bedroom, one in the babies' room, and two in the hallway.
5. A thermostat. We can actually control the temperature in here! And all the utilities are included in the rent, so I can keep it as balmy or arctic as I want in here. Although my conscience keeps me from going too crazy.
6. A regular sized bath tub. Our old one was only long enough to sit up in. Bathroom cabinets.
7. A backyard. It is shared, but I am excited to be able to plant some herbs outside this summer and maybe some tomatoes.
8. A Cambridge parking permit. Only those who live here will know how meaningful this is.
9. Storage and laundry in the basement, accessible from the inside. We used to have to walk outside and around the building with our laundry in the snow and rain.

Things I miss about our old place:
1. Hardwood floors.
2. Really great bakeries close by.
3. The American Academy of Arts and Sciences across the street with a wooded park I loved to walk through.
4. A parking lot.
5. Much cheaper rent.
6. Fifteen minute walk to Harvard, Porter, Union, or Inman.
7. The bike garage behind our building.
8. Really great water pressure in the shower.

All in all, I am happy with the move, although it is always a little bittersweet to leave a place you've made a lot of memories in. A lot happened in our old apartment on Ivaloo Street (whose name I never learned for sure how to pronounce). It saw us through three graduate degrees. Most of my novel was written in that apartment. We went through five IVF treatments, won awards, and got lots of good and bad news while sitting in that apartment. It was our first apartment together as a married couple. This apartment will be full of a lot of memories, too. Our kids will come home from the hospital to this apartment. They will probably learn to walk and talk here.

I'm thinking a lot about the places I've lived today because yesterday my parents bought a condo. They will be moving out of the house I lived in since I was 11 years old. I graduated from high school and college, left for my mission, and fell in love with Dan in that house. We lived there together for nearly two years after we were married while my parents were in the Philippines. I have a lot of great memories there. But luckily, memories stay even when physical locations leave us or we leave them. I think this will be a good move for my parents. As I've mentioned before, my father has Alzheimer's. Upkeep on the house is becoming harder and harder. They will live very close to my sister now and they can help each other.

New memories will be made there and here.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

31 weeks

I really need to have Dan take a picture of my Brobdingnagian stomach. It is getting huge and it doesn't really seem possible that it could get bigger.

I am so happy to be at 31 weeks (yesterday)! Things are so much safer for the babies now than they were when I was first put on bed rest 6 weeks ago. I have a doctor's appointment today, including a full ultrasound where they will measure the babies and estimate how much they weigh (most of my ultrasounds are quickies to measure my cervix). I love seeing the babies. Going to the doctor always makes me a little nervous though. I am nervous they will put me in the hospital again or tell me that something else is wrong. I always pack a little bag with my glasses, underwear, and books just in case they don't let me come back home.

Bed rest is not exactly boring. I have lots of company between Dan, Pumpkin, friends, books and movies. The hardest part is not being able to nest and get everything ready for the babies. But it has been a good lesson for me, too, in being able to let go of things. I've realized that I'm the type of person who likes things done in a particular way and likes them done immediately. Being on bed rest has been a lesson in relinquishing control and realizing that there is not one way to do things. The world won't end if Dan buys one kind of soy milk instead of the other (although I might switch to hot cereal for a couple of weeks). The nursery doesn't have to look good before the babies come. It just has to be functional. Dan has been amazing with picking up the slack around here. He's also a very calming influence when I start freaking out about things and crying uncontrollably. He is the MVP of our family right now.

Most of the time, I'm just in awe that I am pregnant with twins. Getting pregnant is the hardest thing I have ever done. While all the discomforts of pregnancy (I'm still throwing up in my 3rd trimester, bed rest, hospitalization, etc.) aren't fun, they are things I would do all over again in a heartbeat. They are nothing like the pain and hopelessness of infertility treatments. There are two babies at the end of this road and I can't wait to meet them. I mean, I can wait to meet them. Preferably in a few more weeks.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Discharge

Ew, gross. Not that kind of discharge.

I get to go home today! Dan is surfing in Rhode Island and as soon as he gets home, he is going to come rescue me.

I'll be on strict bed rest once I get home. If I can make it to 32 weeks, they will probably lift some of my restrictions. I would so much rather be on bed rest at home than in the hospital. It will be good to be with Dan, Pumpkin, my books and my food again.

Once Jamie Oliver has fixed all the school lunch programs, he really needs to come to the hospitals. You would think hospitals would be interested in serving healthy meals. Nope. Most of the fruit they offer is from a can. The grilled cheese sandwiches are made with American cheese. Are you kidding me? Don't they know that "American" is not a real kind of cheese? I wish I were on hospital bed rest in France. I bet they would feed me well. Is fresh, real food really too much to ask for? Apparently. The only word I can think of to describe the meals here is "demoralizing."

I'm not trying to complain - I'm serious! I really think hospital patients would be so much happier with their situations and able to recuperate more quickly if they were being fed freshly prepared, wholesome foods.

Okay, I will step off my bandwagon now.

Did I mention how excited I am to go home?

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Hospital(ity)

I've been staying in the hospital since Thursday. They wheeled me over straight from my doctor's appointment after finding that my cervix had shortened to less than 1 cm and I was 1 cm dilated. Upon entering Labor & Delivery triage, they also found I was having contractions 12 mins. apart that I couldn't really feel. They gave me steroid shots to help the babies' lung develop quickly in case I deliver soon.

I'm 27 weeks 3 days today.

We're hoping to hold off delivery of these babies for a few more weeks at least. A pediatrician from the NICU came to my room yesterday to talk to us about what to expect if our babies were born right now. While they would probably survive, there would be A LOT of interventions and they wouldn't get to come home for another two months or so. It was kind of scary hearing about all the things that could go wrong. I hope they don't come out soon. Right now the bottom baby (girl) is head down and the other baby (boy) is breech. I would probably have to have a c-section since they don't like to try to deliver severely premature breech babies vaginally.

Other than fear of delivery, my stay in the hospital hasn't been too bad. Dan comes and hangs out with my every day and I've had lots of visits from friends. I get to watch as much TLC as I want. I've been doing a little writing and reading. The meals are disgusting. The nurses and doctors are nice.

If not much has changed, they might let me go home on Monday or Tuesday to continue my bed rest there. We are moving to our new apartment on Saturday and poor Dan has been left with the task of packing us up and moving us. He is the best.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Update (Downdate?)

I found out a few days ago that I have a short cervix (they like it to be well above 3 cm and mine is 1.4 cm) and am now considered high-risk for preterm labor. They did another test (fetal fibronectin) that found that it is highly unlikely that I will go into labor within the next 7-14 days, so that is somewhat comforting.

I had to quit work and am supposed to "take it easy." What is meant by that, exactly, is still a little unclear to me. At first they were saying bed rest but now it seems that since I'm not going into labor this week I can get up and move around a bit. But still "take it easy."

If we can get the babies to 28 weeks, their prospects look up significantly. At 28 weeks, babies have a 90% survival rate (although they still have to spend a lot of time in the NICU). At 32 weeks, the time they spend in the NICU and their chances for permanent complications go down significantly. So, I'm trying to make small goals. Right now I'm just focused on getting to 28 weeks. I'm 25.5 weeks now.

The upside? I get to read all day and watch as much TV as I want.

Oh, and I projectile vomited all over the kitchen this morning. Winning!

Monday, January 2, 2012

New Year

The last few days I've been reflecting on what a crazy year 2011 was. It turned out to be one of the worst and best years of my life.

Here are some of the highs and lows (written while listening to "Happy New Year" by Camera Oscura):

* I won a $10,000 dollar award for my novel-in-stories. By far the biggest check and biggest honor I've ever received. I got to start working part-time instead of full-time, return to the Millay Colony, and join the Writers' Room of Boston. Dan predicted that 2011 would be "The Year of the Lisa."
* I turned 32.
* I decided to switch doctors and went through my third in vitro cycle at Brigham & Women's. It ended in miscarriage while I was at the Millay Colony. One of the lowest points in my life.
* After trying to start an infertility group at church, having no one express interest and feeling alone, I decided to join a weekly infertility group led by a therapist. One of the most important things I've done in my family-building struggle. I found myself in a room of smart, funny, compassionate women who understood exactly what I was going through. One of them is now my nurse and is expecting a baby. One of them just had twins. Another one is expecting twins exactly three days after me. I really don't think I would have been able to keep doing fertility treatments without them.
* As I was about to leave for the hospital for my fourth (and only frozen) in vitro cycle, the hospital called to say that the embryos didn't make it. I decided I couldn't put myself through this anymore, physically or emotionally, and decided to take a break from fertility treatments indefinitely.
* I had a story published here.
* For that one story published, I received at least 50 rejections. I stopped counting after awhile.
* After a break, I was finally ready to do my fifth cycle of in vitro. After four previous fails, I didn't feel very hopeful. I went through the motions anyway.
* My father was officially diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease.
* I found out I was pregnant from IVF #5. It felt weird. I was excited, but extremely nervous about something going wrong.
* I found out I was expecting twins! Dan had a panic attack. I was elated. It started to seem more real.
* I started bleeding and worried that this, too, was going to end in failure.
* The bleeding stopped. I went on an epic vacation to Hawaii and Utah with Dan and realized that we will probably never be able to do that again (at least for a very long time).
* I found out we're having a boy and a girl!
* Dan and I agreed quickly on a boy name and have quibbled much over the girl's name. Who knew he would be so opinionated? We decided we will give the honor of naming the girl to whoever can come up with a large enough endowment.

I have two (not so small) hopes for 2012:
* Give birth - in whatever way that happens - to two healthy babies.
* Finish my book.

I also have many hopes for a lot of people I love - that things they have been wanting to happen, will happen and that the not-so-good things that have been happening will stop happening.