Twin Peeks

Last week, I had my very first pregnancy dream. After not having one single dream about being pregnant, giving birth, or babies the entire time I was carrying Isabella, I had quite the startling one.

In my dream, I was receiving an ultrasound a few weeks following the news of the twins. Instead of twins, the ultrasound revealed that I was having triplets: two girls and a boy. I cannot stress to you how completely vivid this dream was. Needless to say, I awoke in a panic.

I had an ultrasound today.

And I am still having twins.
(I had you going there for a minute, didn't I?)

Before the ultrasound began, the tech asked me if I wanted to know the genders if she was able to detect them. This surprised me, as I am only 14 weeks along, and I didn't think the appropriate visuals would be decipherable at this early stage.
The hubs and I had discussed wanting to find out the sexes beforehand. With Isabella, we didn't want to know, and indeed she was the "Beastie" until August 22, 2006, the day she was born. Not knowing goes completely against my Type A personality. I am an organizer, a planner. I do not do things on the spur of the moment. But we decided then that we had waited so long to have a baby that we could wait nine months longer and receive the awesome surprise at the end of what turned out to be an almost three-year wait to become parents. And it truly was a wonderful surprise.
When I first found out I was pregnant again, and we were told we were having one, we decided to not find out the gender again. When we were later told we were having two, suddenly I had to know. I can't quite explain it. It isn't as if we would have to rush out and buy a ton of boy clothes if one or both was a boy, since quite a bit of Isabella's 0-3 month wardrobe is "gender-neutral" anyway. And since I'm not big on gender-specific nursery themes, it isn't as if I wanted to paint rocket ships on the walls if we were having two boys, or drape everything in pink gingham if we were having two girls.
But need to know I did. And yesterday, I found out the genders of the twins:
This is Baby A:

Baby A is a GIRL!

This is Baby B:

Baby B is a BOY!

I'm having one of each.

As for how I'm feeling about the genders, I'm going to be completely honest. First and foremost, two healthy babies is what I desire most. After that, I wanted a sister for Isabella. My sister and I are 19 months apart, and when we weren't trying to yank each other's hair out by the roots, we were extremely close. There's nothing quite like the sisterhood bond, and I wanted Isabella to have a chance to experience that. Assuming all continues to go well, she will. Plus, I'm thrilled to be able to trot out her cute baby clothes for a second time.

After that, the gender of the second baby really didn't matter to me. While a house of girls has a certain appeal, I am glad to have the challenge of raising a boy ahead of me. I didn't grow up with a lot of males in my life. My parents divorced when I was two. I basically saw my dad every other weekend, and unfortunately, not very often since my teen years. I have two half-sisters from my dad's second marriage. My closest in age cousins are girls, and while my mom has four siblings (two sisters and two brothers) the ones I'm closest to are my aunts. It's all estrogen, all the time in my family, and because of this, I'm not quite sure what to do with a boy.

That said, I have a lot of close friends with boys, and I'm sure I'll pick up some pointers along the way.

I have a lot more to say on this topic, but for now, I'm happy to say that I am slightly in love with these two little ones, and very, very lucky indeed.

My New Mommy

In my last post, I neglected to mention the biggest pregnancy-related change in my body, which manifested itself very early on both last time and this time around-the gigantic state of my boobs. I swear to you that the nanosecond I hung up the phone with my clinic after learning that I was pregnant, my boobs immediately grew a cup size.

I realize the grass is always greener, and that there are probably at least a handful of you who long for bigger "girls." Alas, I am not one of them. I breastfed Isabella for 13 months, and even after taking up running again as soon as I could after she was born, my breasts failed to return to their previous "small and perky" state. Instead, they remained quite large (for my frame) and droopy. They are not my best asset.

As much as I would like them to look differently, I'm stuck with them for life. But many women out there are opting for breast and other cosmetic surgery. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, 348,000 women opted for breast augmentation last year (the most popular cosmetic surgery). And 148,000 received tummy tucks.

Throw in some lipo, and you have what's known as the "mommy makeover." Yes, it actually has a name.

Worried your kids will be scared when you come home swathed in bandages or won't recognize you after the surgery? Never fear. There's a new children's picture book on the market that will make everything better.

"Look! Mommy's gone, but in her place, I now have my very own life-size Malibu Barbie! Sweet!"

According to this article in Newsweek, "My Beautiful Mommy" is written for kids ages 4 through 7 and is supposed to ease their fears concerning mommy's recovery and subsequent "new look." It tells the story of a little girl whose mommy is going away to get a boob job, tummy tuck, and nose job. As explanation, mommy tells her daughter, "You see, as I got older, my body stretched and I couldn't fit into my clothes anymore. Dr. Michael is going to help fix that and make me feel better."

It's unclear why mommy has chosen to throw in a nose job and also how bigger boobs are going to help her fit into her apparently too-small clothes. But the mommy needn't worry that her daughter might not recognize her when she comes back home. She tells her daughter, "My nose may look a little different after the operation." "Why are you going to look different?" the girl asks. "Not just different, my dear — prettier!" Mommy responds.

Let's hope the wee tot took in a healthy dose of self-esteem along with her Cheerios that morning. With the emphasis placed on appearing "prettier," what's to stop the little girl from thinking her nose doesn't stack up either, especially if it's the imperfect "before" nose given to her from her mother's genetics?

What are we as a society doing to our girls? If you're the mother of a young child, and especially a little girl, and you're headed under the knife for some elective plastic surgery, do you really want to hand her a book that makes it look like elective plastic surgery is not only desirable, but the stuff that fantasies are made of? What's wrong with telling her, "Mommy doesn't feel well and the doctor is going to make me feel better"? What's worse: a white lie or a potential wallop to her ego when she suddenly starts asking for her own nose job so the doctor can make her "prettier" just like Mommy?

I'm not condemning all elective plastic surgery. Personally, it's not for me, but others can obviously do as they please. Kate Gosselin of Jon and Kate Plus 8 had a tummy tuck two years after the birth of her sextuplets. A plastic surgeon offered her a free one after she bared her massively stretched out stomach on a television special and revealed how she had to wear a special garment under her clothes just to keep the excess flesh from spilling out over the waistband of her pants. In this case, I would have taken the doctor up on his offer too.

But I think we have to proceed very carefully in the way elective plastic surgery is presented to young children, and especially to little girls, whose self-esteems are so fragile.

And if your plastic surgery has changed your appearance so drastically that you need a book to explain to your child who you are after going under the knife, I think you've made an appointment with the wrong kind of doctor.


Incredibly, yesterday marked my debut in the second trimester. My first trimester started out like this:

4 weeks: "Yay! I'm pregnant again! And wow. My beta number is high."

5 weeks: "Whoo-Hoo. Still pregnant. My really high beta number might mean multiples. Yikes."

7 weeks: "Only one baby. Huh, I guess really high betas don't necessarily mean multiples after all."

8-9 weeks: "Are you going to finish that? How about that? What do you mean I've already gained 5 pounds, doctor?"

10 weeks: "Twins? Are you *^&#&% kidding me?"

11-14 weeks: "Twins. PLEASE HELP ME. AM GOING INSANE."

I am once again publicly renewing my vow to chill the hell out. Many of you have offered some bits of fantastic advice. Thank you for that. Thalia hit the nail on the head in her comment to this post, in which she wrote that when you start panicking, everything seems unmanageable, so breakdown-management is tops on my to-do list. Of course, if you're a frequent reader here, you know I'm made this (empty) promise a few times before. I'm just going to issue this warning: the next 4 months are going to be Sybill-like around here. Strap yourselves in for a bumpy ride.

At my prenatal appointment on Thursday, I received two interesting bits of news. First, following a quick external examination, my OB tells me my uterus has already expanded to what would be the 20-week point in a singleton pregnancy (just below the belly button). Apparently, she said that she would have suspected twins (or more) based on this and taken me in for an ultrasound right away. That's encouraging, considering the fact that if I hadn't been granted that "bonus ultrasound" at 10 weeks, I would have gotten one hell of a surprise at my mid-pregnancy measurement scan.

The second bit of news is that apparently my RE and my OB have yet to have a little chat about my RE's big mistake, but that just after my first ultrasound with him at 7 weeks, he sent my OB a letter telling her that based on my high beta numbers and the presence of only one (ha-ha) embryo on the scan, he thought I had a vanishing twin, in which two embryos implant in the uterus, but at some point, early on, the second embryo dies and is simply reabsorbed by the body. According to Dr. Google, 1 in 8 singleton pregnancies actually begin as vanishing twin pregnancies, but no one knows the second baby ever existed.

Hello, RE? That vanishing twin you wrote about in your letter? Not so much interested in vanishing. Although I have no idea where he/she was hiding. Do you?

My OB also told me that she monitors twin pregnancies very closely. I receive an ultrasound every month (and even more frequently later on), and an office visit with her every two weeks for now, and every week in the 3rd trimester. She also said that I am going to have a lot of appointments toward the end of my 2nd and into my 3rd trimester, with non-stress tests at one end of the week and ultrasounds at the other.

So far, this pregnancy is progressing much like my first one.

Slight nausea in the morning of the early weeks, ending at about weeks 11? Check.

Exhaustion. All day, every day. Check.

Hair and nails growing at a freakishly fast pace? Check.

Strange bowel-related issues. Check.

What's different? I am enormous.

At this point, I have given up trying to shoe-horn myself into my normal clothes. It's all maternity-wear, all the time, baby. I look at this photo, taken at 18 weeks of my first pregnancy, and I laugh-mightily and heartily. I am currently at least twice as big right now. At 14 weeks. Yes, I know you "show" earlier with second, third, etc. pregnancies, and yes, I'm carrying two babies, but dear God. I am only 14 weeks. What am I going to look like at 30 weeks?

Oh right. I've already covered that.

Isabella at 21 Months

Isabella turns 21 months old today.

Never one who has been at a loss to express her needs and desires, over the past month I've noticed that Isabella has begun Talking.All.Day.Long. This is simultaneously cute and exhausting. I'm a person who requires and enjoys a great deal of quiet. She is evidently a person who does not.

Most of the talking involves her peppering me with questions all the live-long day. In addition to inquiring about the status of inanimate objects, which she started last month and still enjoys, my new favorite by far is, "Mommy, who DAT?".

She's also become a skilled negotiator. When I tell her that it's time to get out of the bath, or finish up her lunch, she'll look at me, hold up her index finger, and say, "Two minutes."

Isabella now says, "Bless you" after I sneeze, and she's also started saying the word "and," which seems minor and insignificant, but it's actually pretty cool to hear her say, for example, "Mommy and Daddy and Grammy" when I ask her who is in a particular photograph.

She's also discovered her inner Mariah, and will sing parts of her favorite songs from her Sesame Street CD ("Sunny Days!!!" and "That's Elmo's World!!"). She can also sing the ABC song with a few letters missing here and there, and she can count to 14.

Her demands to "Hold Something" of last month have been replaced by the more discriminating "Hold Something ELSE!" when I give her an object she's quite obviously not looking for

But my most favorite new development over the past month is that she's begun saying, "I love you" (which sounds more like "I wuv you"). In the past, she'd say it only when we've asked her to say it, and not on her own. Then, out of the blue, I noticed her saying it not to me, her mother, who gave her life, but to this ceramic bunny one of my relatives gave her last Easter. She would wrap it in a blanket, carry it around in her arms, and tell it she loves it, sometimes adding, "so much" at the end. She soon branched out to tell Elmo she loves him too. Then, she moved on to telling the cats she loved them. And then finally, about a week after she started saying it to every cup, book, and plastic ball in the house, she came over to my desk chair where I was working, leaned her back against my leg, and said, "I love you."

For all her forward progress this month, she's regressed in one area. She seems to have developed a strong attachment to her binky, which is odd, since she's only really ever had it for naps and bedtime. She asks for it a lot now during the day (I don't give it to her), and I can't figure out why she wants it so often now. Her pediatrician recommends trying to wean kids off binkies around age two, because she said they can start to experience dental problems if you don't, so I'm going to try and slowly start this process over the next few months.

I have to say, I am loving this age. She's developed into such a little person and she's really getting to be so much fun. I can hold actual conversations with her, she understands so much, and she can play by herself for a few minutes at a time, which allows me more time to sleep on the couch...I mean, meticulously chart her developmental milestones in her baby book.

Likes: Peeling the wrappers off crayons, sweeping, playing in her sandbox (thanks, Marie!)

Dislikes: Sharing attention, having anything done for her

Almost (Sort Of) Famous

In the last few weeks, I've had two experiences that have made me realize that the blogging world is a small world after all. (Cue the music.) You might think you're blogging in a vacuum, and that only your handful (or many handfuls) of readers are checking out your site, and that the billions of people who can access your blog via search engines are refraining from doing so because no one gives a damn what you have to say.

No so, my friends. Not so.

First, the editors of the Skaneateles Talk website emailed me and asked if they could profile my May 2006 visit there on their website. A few days later, this nice little piece appeared on the site. Thanks, Cary and Christine.

And then yesterday, I received an email from a producer at Fox's The Morning Show With Mike and Juliet. They had found my guest post on kiddie spas over at Melissa's (apparently, if you type "kiddie spas" into Google, my post is ranked #2), and asked me to fly down to New York City tonight, all expenses paid, and appear in a panel on the show tomorrow to discuss why I'm opposed to taking little kids to spas.

I turned them down for a litany of lame reasons, including too short notice, childcare issues, a prenatal appointment on Thursday, fear of flying while pregnant, the fact that most of my family doesn't know about this blog, which would probably be mentioned on national tv, lack of anything even in the neighborhood of appropriate tv attire, and a gigantic zit growing on my chin.

This was an awesome opportunity for me to establish myself as an "expert" on the topic of why mani-pedis and facials aren't for little kids. My appearance might have parlayed itself into landing my writing in major magazines.


Believe me, the self-flagellation is already in full swing over here.

So instead of flying to NYC today, the city I love more than any other place in the world, I will be drowning my sorrows in vanilla soft-serve:

Don't think for one second that I haven't spent the last 24 hours trying to figure out how to score two.

I Blame Hormones

Breaking down into a puddle of tears and snot in front of my mother is not something I do often. The last time this occurred (the only time in recent memory) was when she was leaving after spending two weeks with me following Isabella's birth in 2006. I love my mom to bits, but I don't call her up and talk to her for hours, I do not share every detail of my life with her, and I do not cry when she leaves to head to her home about five hours north of mine following a visit. But cry I did as she was getting ready to leave me with my two-week-old baby, alone for the first time.

My mom was at my house on Saturday, in town for my cousin's college graduation party. We shared with her the news of a situation going on that is going to make providing for two more babies quite a bit more financially taxing than we originally thought it would be.

As we told her, the tears started (and not the controlled and delicate kind). While I'm a pretty emotional person who often says exactly what she feels, I don't cry in front of others often. Worse yet, my breakdown happened not only in front of my mom, but in front of her husband too. Not a proud moment.

The tears were mostly related to our impending financial situation. Part of the problem is that the steady flow of work I've had since quitting my job last October is waning a bit (such is the freelance business), and the idea of having to provide for two babies at once terrifies me. I have been trying very hard not to think about it, which explains the absence of pregnancy-related posts here in awhile, because when I do, it becomes overwhelming. (And trust me, the guilt over not feeling excited yet is intense.) Most people build their families one child at a time. The second (or third, or fourth) child uses the assorted gear and clothing of the child that came before them. Additional purchases are needed along the way, sure. But most of the time, parents have most of the big items already. With having two at once, we are in need of an additional set of almost everything.

My maternity wardrobe is another concern. I have a lot of maternity dress clothes: pants and button-down shirts and a few skirts because when I was pregnant the first time around, I worked in an office until the day before Isabella was born. And now, I'm home. I don't have the need for these clothes, and yet they make up the majority of what I have. On top of this issue, 95% of my maternity clothes are in a size Small. I have a few Mediums thrown in there, bought for my last month or so of pregnancy. Now, I'll be lucky if what I have lasts me through my second trimester.

Because if Angelina Jolie, gorgeous and tall and rail-thin, looks like this at 6 months pregnant with twins

I imagine that I will look something like this in about three months:

And then there's the car situation, and whether or not three car seats can fit in the back of my paid-off Jetta (highly doubtful) or in the back of the hubs' Trailblazer (maybe. hopefully). Without question, we cannot afford another car payment right now.

But the tears were also for Isabella. Even thinking about her and what the arrival of two newborns is going to do to her life and my relationship with her makes me emotional. How can I possibly give her the time and attention and care and pretty cool life she has now when I have two more babies to care for? Yes, she'll be two when they're born, and hopefully willing and able to help me, but at times it almost seems cruel to bring another baby into a family, to overthrow the "queen," so-to-speak.

I know things will work out one way or the other. I may become my greatest fear (the family charity case) but we may not have any other choice.

Thanks for wading through this long and rambling post. I know things will get better. It's just hard for me to see that right now.

Possible Elitist Snob Alert (*updated)

I live in a middle-to-upper-middle-class neighborhood. The yards are generally extremely well-kept, landscaped, and beautified with annuals and perennials of every hue each spring and summer. Even though most of the lawns are the size of postage stamps, many of my neighbors hire a service to do the mowing and upkeep for them.

Incidentally, this description doesn't describe my own yard. We lean more toward the middle class than the upper-middle class end of the equation. And this middle-class girl doesn't garden. At all. I am the proud owner of two black thumbs.

That said, we do our best to keep our lawn mowed, neat, and dandelion-free. We've never sprayed it with pesticides because Isabella plays on it all day long, and even before she was born, I had real issues with the environmental impact of spraying chemicals. So this means my own yard is not without the occasional weed. It is not one of the better-looking yards on my street.

And yet my lawn looks like it's taken care of by Martha Stewart's yard boy compared to this neighborhood eyesore, unfortunately located directly across the street from my house.

This neighbor's yard is the talk of the 'hood. The photo, taken from my front steps, doesn't even paint the full picture of just how overrun with weeds and shin-high grass this yard really is. Yesterday morning, as my aunt was leaving my house after a visit with Isabella, a woman approached her and asked if she knew if the house was for sale. Evidently she thought it was empty and that no one was home to take care of the yard. My aunt said she didn't live in my house, but that she had seen kids outside playing so she didn't think it was for sale. The woman then told her that she had knocked on the door to inquire if it was for sale and had peered in the windows. Apparently, there are cans and trash all over the floor of the house.

Part of me wants to extend sympathy toward this family. They have five children with another on the way. Perhaps they're overwhelmed. Perhaps a family member is sick (although I've seen both adults and all the kids playing in the yard, amongst the 7-foot tall weeds). Perhaps their lawn mower is broken.

But the other part of me is sick of seeing this disgusting lawn every single time I look out my front windows or play with Isabella on our front lawn. This part of me wants to tell them to mow their damn lawn, already.

What would you do? Would you call the town and report the neighbor? My town's code (yes, I looked it up) says that it "requires that all properties are kept free of accumulations of brush, shrubs, weeds, grass, stumps, roots, excessive and noxious growths, garbage, refuse and debris."

Or would you ignore it and hope the weeds don't grow across the street and entangle your daughter like the Venus Fly Trap in Little Shop of Horrors?


A few things I should clarify about this neighbor. His yard is a perpetual problem. They moved in last year and while they had hired a service to care for the lawn then, they came infrequently. So this isn't a one-shot deal. I have a feeling that when and if he does mow his lawn, it probably won't happen again for months.

Last night around 5pm, the skies parted, the angels sang, and the dude trotted out to mow his lawn. He began mowing the lawn between the street and the sidewalk first when I would have started on the front lawn itself, but whatever. I was just happy he was doing it. Until the mower began breaking down every five minutes. Why, you ask? Because the 8-foot tall weeds were getting stuck in the blades. He dragged this out for another 20 minutes or so, stopping and starting every few minutes. And then he gave up. The grass between the street and the sidewalk is mowed, and that's it. As a friend told me, a herd of goats might be a more appropriate solution to the problem at this point.

Write for Root and Sprout

As a fairly new parent (yes, I still consider myself a neophyte, despite the fact that my baby is turning two in just three short months), the best advice I've received hasn't come from my daughter's pediatrician or the child behavior specialists writing for the popular parenting magazines or even from the cashier at Target.

It's come from my friends, both blogfriends and "real life" friends, who are in the parenting trenches with me every single day, and who know from experience what it's like to experience the joys and the heartache of raising kids.

Over the past year, I've had the true pleasure of developing a friendship with Melissa Garrett. Some of you read her blog already and know all about her current project. But in case you don't, she's started a parenting website called Root and Sprout. Here's a brief summary of its mission:

"Here at Root & Sprout, we believe the connection between parent and child is what's most important, and it's a relationship that grows through mutual love and respect. With gentle, hands-on parenting, we can give our children the necessary roots to help them sprout."

To help her project succeed, Melissa is currently seeking article submissions. You do not have to be a professional writer to subject an article; in fact, most of her current contributors aren't. You simply need to possess a willingness to share your tips and tricks from the trenches- the fail-safe solution you used to get your colicky baby to sleep through the night, how your family works to protect the environment, or even your annual Father's Day tradition.

Yours truly has an article on making homemade baby food appearing in the June 1st issue.

You can read more about the mission of Root and Sprout as well as the submission guidelines here.

Melissa has just announced that anyone who submits an article for a future installment will be eligible to win $25, either as cold, hard cash transferred to your Pay Pal account or in the form of a Barnes and Noble or Borders gift card.

To enhance the upcoming installments of Root and Sprout, Melissa would love to have an article highlighting tips for living frugally. She's also in need of a review of a product, book, CD, DVD, or just about anything else you can imagine. (Speaking of which, I just read a great book review that could be turned into an article for submission. Hint. Hint.) Do you have any tips for healthy living or advice about exercising? You could easily turn these into an article for Root and Sprout too.

Each of you has something unique and valuable to share with the growing Root and Sprout readership. Why not try your hand at writing an article?


One of my favorite places to take Isabella (and one of her favorites too) is the Strong National Museum of Play. The museum is the second-largest children's museum in the country (the Children's Museum of Indianapolis is the largest) and is a short 5-minute drive from my house.

My mother-in-law gave Isabella a membership for Christmas, so we take full advantage of it, and we've been going at least a few times a month.
The museum has a large Sesame Street exhibit, complete with Elmo's World, with which Isabella is obsessed.
Mr. Noodle = Massively Creepy. I think I've seen him on a child predator watch list.

There are two sandboxes filled with this completely not-found-in-nature silicone-like substance that Isabella is enamored with. If I could fill her own sandbox with the stuff, I would do so in a heartbeat. No dust and no mess.

They even have a grocery store, with real, working cash registers, which is modeled after the biggest and best grocery store in my area, Wegmans.

And they just opened a Berenstein Bears exhibit, which is really cool. Obviously, the little girl's a fan.

The Strong Museum is also home to the National Toy Hall of Fame, where you can stroll among the Barbies, Mr. Potato Heads, and Lincoln Logs of your childhood. It's also where thousands of other play-related objects live now:

In 1964, girls had Six! Exciting! Career! Choices! This game, "What Shall I Be?: The Exciting Game of Career Girls," apparently allows girls to select from ballerina, flight attendant, teacher, supermodel, nurse, or what appears to be Cleopatra.
Thankfully, it is no longer 1964.

Cabbage Patch Kids were one of my favorite childhood playthings. I had three. My mom and grandma both to this day enjoy recounting the tale of their procurement of my first Cabbage Patch Kid. Picture this: Christmastime, 1983. My sister and I coveted the dolls like nobody's business. So did the rest of the free world. Stores couldn't keep them in stock. Parents were dismembering other parents in the aisles just to get their hands on one to take home to their precious peanuts. My grandma and my mom stood outside a local store in a snowstorm for five hours with several hundred other crazed adults anticipating the arrival of a new shipment of the dolls. Mamacita and grandma stampeded through the establishment the second the doors opened and were able to get their mitts on two dolls for me and my sister.
It was a Merry Christmas after all!

This game stole many, many hours of my tween and early teen years. During sleepovers at my best friend Jenny's house, we would spend our time playing Super Mario Brothers on her Nintendo 64, calling boys we liked and hanging up when they answered, and playing Girl Talk, which was basically answer Truth or Dare-like questions and perform stunts. Who says Catholic school girls don't know how to party?

And finally, Mod Hair Ken. I did not own a Mod Hair Ken doll, but in admiring his long and flowing mane of hair and his porn star mustache, I so wish that I had.

What's your favorite toy from your childhood?

Happy Mother's Day

"Nothing else will ever make you as happy or as sad, as proud or as tired, as motherhood."
~Elia Parsons

Last night, the hubs, Isabella, my mom (who is in town visiting for Mother's Day), and I went to my fertility clinic's 25th Anniversary Celebration of IVF at a local museum. Incidentally, IVF turns 30 this year. The world's first "test tube baby," Louise Brown of the UK, turns 30 on July 25th.
While I have followed many, many IVF stories in the blogosphere, and we have plenty of friends whose babies were conceived via IUI, I only know one other couple IRL whose baby was conceived via IVF. But they live in NJ, and we don't see them often, so I don't have the personal connection with them that I have with some of you, who have endured the hell of infertility and emerged triumphant on the other side of the abyss.

So attending this celebration, and seeing the faces of the couples who know exactly what a true miracle of science it is to have their children was important to me. I'd guess there were over 100 people in attendance. The kids ranged in age from newborn to about 13 or so. There were a lot of twins and triplets.

It was great to talk to the doctors, nurses, embryologists, and other staff outside of the clinical setting. And throughout the evening, I kept thinking how incredible it was for these brilliant minds to literally watch their life's work running around beside them. What a rush it must be for them to see the lives they helped create. In a lab. With technology so new, it wasn't around when they were born.

It was the perfect beginning to my Mother's Day weekend. And in watching the utter joy and excitement on Isabella's face as she explored the museum, running from one interactive exhibit to another, side-by-side with the other babies, toddlers, preschoolers, school kids, tweens, and teens IVF brought into existence, it made me realize what an incredible gift it is to be her mother.

IVF doesn't make every infertile woman a mother. Its success rate is about 40-45% in my clinic, which means the majority of women who invest a mighty sum of money and who put themselves through the physical and emotional rigors of what it entails don't get the prize as a result of the struggle. I was one of the lucky ones. It's worked twice for me.

Last night helped me reconnect with what it's easy to forget when I'm up to my knees in toddler tantrums and power struggles: that on Mother's Day and every day, having the chance to be a mom is the greatest gift I could ever receive.

Happy Mother's Day to all the moms out there. For those still waiting for their chance, I hope your journey ends very, very soon.

Come Fly With Me

If you've been reading here awhile, you might have read a mention or two, or 1,500 of Isabella's long-standing strollerphobia. Here's all you need to know in case you're a new reader here:

She has hated it since she was about 8 months old. She writhes, she screams, she kicks, she tries to remove herself from it.

One of my goals from April was to find another way to get some exercise, since I quit running just before my FET. Oh running, how I miss you. PS: my lumpy thighs miss you too. I don't have a gym membership, and although I rented a Yoga for the Preggers DVD, I am ashamed to say I returned it to the library without ever having cracked open the case.

However, determined as I was to stay active and relatively in shape during my pregnancy (and now more than ever given that I'm going to resemble my own Macy's Thanksgiving Day balloon come November) I needed to find some way to get Isabella to enjoy taking walks with me.

Tempted as I was to start trotting her around the neighborhood in one of these

because secretly I've always wanted to reenact this SNL skit with my very own child

I decided instead to research wagons.

Thank you, Radio Flyer Pathfinder Wagon. Thanks to you, I may actually avoid having to be transported to the hospital to give birth on the back of a flatbed truck.

It didn't start off pretty. Isabella initially hated her wagon as much as she loathes her stroller.

However, with the minor additions of no fewer than 14 toys, 2 books, a sippy cup, and a snack, she's suddenly good to go.

And mommy is glad. Very, very glad.

The Beat Goes On

One of my favorite shows these days is Jon and Kate Plus 8. In case you're not familiar with the show, the basic premise is this: Couple suffers from infertility. Couple gives IUI a try and has twins about 7 years ago. Couple wants one more child, so they give IUI another try. Couple has sextuplets, who are now almost 4 years old. Couple now has 8 children.

8 children

Despite the chaos that rules her daily life, Kate is able to stay sane. In fact, each time I watch the show, I'm in awe of just how in-control she seems to be, most of the time. If I was in her situation, the camera crew would have a field day. I would either spend the entire taping sitting on the floor in a corner, rocking back and forth or screeching like an harpie. Apparently, there's a lot of criticism of Kate on the Internet. To the haters, I say, try living a day in her shoes first before you judge.

In addition to being a pretty damn good mom, Kate is the queen of organization. She has system or a list or a plan for even the most minute tasks in her family's life. She's maximized every square inch of space in their house. She's got shopping for an enormous family on a budget down to a science. And she meticulously plans and packs well in advance for every family outing, large or small.

And if she can maintain her composure and keep all 8 kids alive day in and day out, then I sure as hell can do it with 3.

I wouldn't say the news has completely settled just yet, but I'm getting there. And we've made a few small decisions.

The House

For now, we plan on staying in our house. We have 1,500 square feet, not counting our finished basement. I know some of you make due with less, which makes me believe I can too. So while a bigger house might be nice down the road, we're staying put for now. Babies don't take up that much space when they're young, and the prospect of moving between now and November isn't something either of us want to tackle. We plan on moving out some furniture, and making some other adjustments to our living space to prepare for the babies down the line, but as of now, we're staying put.

The Car

The hubs informed me that there is no way three car seats can fit in the back of my Jetta, so a vehicle change for me is inevitable. It might be as simple as switching cars with the hubs. He drives a gas-guzzling behemoth of an SUV, which I loathe, but which will give me the seat space I need for three kids. He could then take my much-more-fuel-efficient car on his 30 minute drive to work everyday.

My Career

I've already heard at least a dozen times from various relatives that I need to start "cutting back" on my work load. Others have asked me, "Do you still plan on working once the twins are here?" My plan is to work up until my due date or until my doctor tells me I need to spend all the remaining time I have left in the pregnancy flat on my back mainlining ice cream. I'm not working because I absolutely have to (although my income does help pay our bills). I'm working because I want to. I like what I do and I'm extremely lucky to be able to make money as a writer working from home. When the twins (gah! I'm still not used to typing or saying that) are here, obviously I'll need to stop working for awhile, but once I figure out which end is up, I plan on starting right back up again.

My Escape Prospects

Thank you, all of you, for your support and suggestions on how to get out of the house with three kids. As I am a complete idiot most of the time, I never even considered sticking one kid in the sling, and Isabella and the other kid in the cart. Duh. I know that once I start living life as a mother of three, it will just become my new reality. I will discover new ways to accomplish things and I will become resourceful simply because I will have to. I'm glad you all have the confidence in me that I don't often have in myself.

Cats and Boobs

The cats are staying put, without a doubt, and I do plan on breastfeeding in some form (whether exclusively or in conjunction with formula), for as long as I can.

I am only 11 weeks along in this pregnancy. There are (hopefully) many more weeks left to plan and I'm certainly not going to stress myself out trying to do everything at once. What's the point of that when I can spread out the craziness over six months to maximize the enjoyment of all involved?

Yesterday I received my doppler in the mail. And with Isabella crayoning beside me, I squeezed out approximately one gallon of gel onto my belly, and after about five minutes of searching, I found first one heartbeat, and then the other. The news that I'm carrying twins might have knocked me off my ass, but hearing the galloping heartbeats of those two babies made me realize what I had forgotten over the last week- that I am damn lucky to be a mother. There are plenty of women who don't get the chance to mother one, let alone three. And while the image of my future family might be slightly different than the one I always envisioned, I will always be grateful for the gift to expand my family at all.


It's amusing to me that friends and family alike have really not known what to say to me when I've told them that I have twice the number of babies growing in my uterus than I thought I did. Generally, when you tell someone that you're pregnant, the first words you hear are some combination of, "Congratulations!" and "I'm so happy for you."

In my case, though, "Holy shit!" has been a popular one, followed closely by "Holy f-ing shit!" (my personal favorite). Maniacal laughter is also a big one, as is "HOW in the hell did your doctor miss that?" (I'd love to know the answer to this one.)

Incidentally, when I called my RE's to break the news, I left a voicemail that was immediately returned by the IVF coordinator. She was stunned, leading me to believe that this is not something that happens very often.

And then, of course, there was the hubs' reaction, when he finally got home around 10pm Wednesday night. He thought I was kidding.

Your reactions, and those of my other friends and family, are exactly like those I would have to someone else's news. There's just something about my situation that doesn't quite warrant exuberant joy. The joy is there. It's just hidden behind shock and fear and worry.

I wonder if the reactions I've received would have been different if this had been my first pregnancy, or if many of those close me to hadn't known my feelings about having multiples and a singleton. I know my response would most likely be different if my circumstances were other than what they are.

Over the past two days, I'd also been told that I must move to a bigger house before the babies are born, that I need to buy a minivan, formula-feed the twins because there's no way I can breastfeed two, and that I need to find out the genders of the babies "so we can plan." I've also heard, "Oh, wow. How are you going to...(fill in the blank with the baby-rearing task of your choice)." Of course, my favorite gem has been once again trotted out: "You have to get rid of the cats now! You can't have three cats and three kids!" And a well-meaning aunt has also sent me a "Readiness Plan."

Love them as I do, I have a half-dozen family members trying to sort out my future life for me. It's all too much to handle right now.

I still have not really processed the news. I am still in shock, and frankly when I start to think too much about it (uh, them), I break out in a cold sweat. I just about burst into tears this morning when I was grocery shopping and realized that at least for the first year of the twins' lives, I will never be able to take three kids shopping with me. It's impossible to fit two infant carriers and a toddler in a cart. I am wondering about my future independence.

It's okay to think me selfish (and slightly unhinged). I already do.

One is the Loneliest Number

One of the questions my OB asked me last week during my first prenatal appointment was how many children the hubs and I planned on having. Given that we were lucky enough to have one child with the possibility of another in November, I told her that if all went well, this baby would be our last. She asked me if I wanted her to tie my tubes, since I'm having another c-section, and she would have my guts open anyway.

The question was almost laughable for me, given what I had to undergo to get pregnant both times. We've used no birth control since Isabella's birth. There seems to be very little chance of "getting pregnant naturally." That said, I figured, why not? We would hopefully have our family of four in November. I told her I would talk it over with the hubs, but that I was fairly sure I would want her to do the procedure.

A teeny, tiny little part of me, though, was thinking how very cool it would be to someday conceive naturally. To have that surprise baby we never thought we'd be able to make without the help of stirrups, a team of specialists, and an arsenal of drugs. Did I want to close that door to becoming a family of 5? Probably. But I was only 99.9% sure I wanted to slam the door completely.

It seems I'm getting that surprise baby after all.

Yesterday, I had the "bonus ultrasound" my OB so graciously granted me when I told her I was a nervous wreck. It's a good thing I did.

Behold, the "bonus":

It seems my reproductive endocrinologist needs to go back to school to take Dildo Cam 101 again because I'm not having one baby.

I'm having twins.

The conversation I had with the nurse doing my scan went a little something like this:

Nurse: "So is this your first?"

Me: "No, I have a 20-month-old."

Nurse: "That's nice. Oh."

Me: "Oh?"

Nurse: "Are you seeing what I'm seeing?"

Me: "Uh, a baby?"

Nurse: "Actually, there are two."

Me: "@#$%$$^%&^&^&^. Wow."

I was alone in that room when I got the news, as the hubs was unable to take the time off from work. To say that I was shocked (and still am shocked) would be a drastic understatement. To be told you're having twins, when you were told just three weeks ago that you were having a singleton, produces quite the aftershocks. I still have not wrapped my mind around what I was told. I had a fairly sleepless night.

But, with the news still less than 24 hours old, I do know this much: I still have every single one of the concerns I blathered about here. I am not going to pretend that I am not terrified, or that I know in my heart everything will be fine. But I also know my own strength. I can do this, and I'm also blessed with an extremely supportive family whom I will not even have to ask to help me. They will give of themselves until they cannot give any more, and I will have to learn to swallow my pride and accept their help.

Twins. Holy shit.

Quick Snapshot:

  • 34-year-old writer and
    mother to a daughter
    born in August 2006 following
    IVF and girl/boy twins born in October 2008 following FET. Come along as I document the search for my lost intellect. It's a bumpy ride. Consider yourself warned.

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  • "All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware." -Martin Buber

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