Monday, December 29, 2008

Sarah & Emily's Top Ten Pregnancy Myths Debunked

A while back Sarah and I created material for a joint post designed to help future pregnant women (mainly our friend Meighan).  I'm finally posting it!  This is our version of a public service announcement designed to reveal and correct (mainly our own foolish) misconceptions about pregnancy.  Enjoy!!

#1  You Will NOT Finally Have Victoria's Secret Model-Like Boobies
Okay, so Sarah and I were hoping pregnancy would finally give us some awesomely huge boobs (we've been dreaming about this since the 7th grade).  Biggest let-down EVER!  Ours are slightly larger but nothing close to the perfect 'C'; and apparently there's nothing more depressing than your lactation consultant advising you to use a 'nipple shield' cause your newborn can't latch on to your tiny peaks.  

#2  Existing Belly Fat Does Not Magically Dissolve During The 1st Trimester
Sarah's banned from this one, she doesn't know what belly fat looks like.  So if you're a regular reader to this blog than you intimately know the fool who thought early pregnancy would dissolve those last 5 lbs. she was trying to lose.  Or maybe at least shift the weight to the center and form a perfectly taunt, slightly protruding bump (ladies, if you have a small muffin top, first buy some bigger jeans, cause pregnancy will only magnify the condition, not mask it).

#3  Belly Bump Attention Deficit Disorder:  Why Do I Suddenly Have To Carry My Own Groceries?
Everyone says you will love your big round belly and all the attention it gets you.  People will be nicer and more helpful (since I'm not emphatically showing at the moment the idea of stuffing myself with a pillow when I go out in public is very attractive).  Here's the downside per Sarah, after birth the belly goes away and so does the attention/arm rest.  It will be traumatic, brace yourself.  

#4  Fire-Breathing-Dragon-Burn:  Get Ready Cause Tums Ain't Gonna Cut It
Again, 'everyone' tells you to get ready for the pregnancy heartburn.  But no one tells you just how excruciating it can be.  Go ahead and buy stocks in Tums or Pepcid, don't eat spicy foods at night, learn how to sleep sitting up, etc.  Everyone we know has experienced it.  This symptom is possibly one of the many late pregnancy discomforts designed to make you so completely miserable you no longer fear labor but welcome it as a panacea for the cruel and unusual punishment of late pregnancy.

#5  Downtown:  Is Temporarily Closed For Repair
Our male readers may want to skip this one.  Use your imagination on the meaning of 'downtown'.  Funny things will happen 'down there'.  No one tells you that pregnancy increases your 'dampness' or that you will most likely wear adult diapers post pregnancy for a while.  Just another selfless sacrifice you will make for the 'greater good' of your growing family.

#6  Horror-motions:  Psychologically-Scarring Your Husband
This is a mixture of pregnancy hormones combined with your natural emotions, the end results having a devastating affect on the psychological well being of your significant other (gentlemen, brace yourself).  There is nothing you can do to stop or avoid it.  Best thing is to smile and say 'You're pretty' as often as possible.  Oh, and you knew you're wife was crazy when you married her, but you're pregnant wife is a completely different animal.  Just remember she can't always control her horror-motions, she's as powerless as you are (frequent foot rubs will tame her some).

#7  Early Pregnancy:  You're Really Not That Pretty
Just face it.  You look fat.  You feel horrible.  Your face looks different and keeps breaking out.  Nothing about you is stunning.  Avoid taking photos of yourself during this period and if possible avoid mirrors.  On the plus side, in a few months you will look thoroughly pregnant and start getting all that wonderful belly bump attention you so desperately need.

#8  Phantom Bed Bugs And Other Itchy Sensations
Keep your skin well hydrated with body creams cause it's going to start itching like crazy.  Sarah had the itchy feeling so bad she would wake up in the middle of the night convinced bugs were crawling all over her body.  She'd have to take middle of the night baths (that's why they renovated the master bath instead of building a guest house for all those people who want to come regularly to help take care of Baby G . . . not complaining though).  Some say their belly's itched like crazy.  Sarah and I both recommend Mama Bee Belly Butter by Burt's Bee.  However, if you find yourself sensitive to certain scents. . . beware of Mama Bee's cause it's scented.

#9  Suburban Nesting:  A Truly Animalistic Encounter
Everyone says you will 'nest'.  Originally, I thought this meant I would want to paint, redecorate, etc.  But Sarah claims it is a much more primal experience like creating a literal 'nest' of pillows on your bed to burrow into at night like a dog (I've seen Lavender do this).  Sarah found herself vacuuming the ceiling and her kitchen cabinets.  Arranging and rearranging various things (like pots and pans) in order of height.  Buying new cars for 'the baby'.  Shopping, shopping and more shopping.  Basically, very obsessive-compulsive behavior that in only one step removed from the animal kingdom.  

#10  Code Yellow:  There's NO Time To Stop The Car
We're talking about the shrinking bladder and the various stages of Pee Alert.  Just take a look at Exhibit A.  Over time your poor bladder gets virtually crushed by the growing baby (or babies, as in my case).  Sure experts say you will have to pee frequently, but they forgot to explain the dirty details of just how dire the situation will become.  Sarah recommends developing an Alert system when you are out in public or on a road trip.  She used the following system:

Code Red:  10 minute warning, start looking for a gas station.

Code Orange: Pull over to the side of the road, there is just enough time to go behind a bush.

Code Yellow:  The flood is imminent grab a cup now there is NO time.
Well folks, there you have it.  Our civic duty is complete.  Hopefully you enjoyed our list.  Like I said a few posts back, we probably had more fun writing it than you had reading it.  

11 Weeks Update

Weight:  +10 lbs 
Fitness:  1 session of prenatal yoga DVD (and a ton of shopping should count)
Food Cravings:  back to normal
Sleep Count:  normal

I met my new Ob/gyn last week.  Aside from sitting in the waiting room for 45 mins and the entire appointment taking 2 hours, all in all it was a good visit.  He did a quick ultrasound to check heartbeats (sorry, no pictures).  Here's a quick Q&A from my visit:

If the babies are down there, what's all this up here (as I grab my belly)?
It's a combination of existing fat and stored fat for the pregnancy.

Do I need to be concerned about pre-term labor?
Not right now.  It is a possibility, but twins tend to develop faster than singleton's anyway.  They show accelerated lung development in the third trimester.

What about preeclampsia?
Preeclampsia (pregnancy-induced hypertension) typically affects teen pregnancies and older pregnant women.  There is nothing you can do to prevent it.  You either will or you won't get it.  

I've gained 10 lbs. so far, should I be concerned with my weight gain?
I don't recommend a specific number in weight gain for my patients.  Instead I like to focus on eating healthy and exercising.  As long as you are doing both those things, your body will gain what it needs for your individual pregnancy.  If you are truly concerned about your weight, keep a food journal (sounds like a lot of trouble, I'd just rather complain about my weight).

Do I need to take additional prenatal vitamins since I'm carrying twins?
I like all my patients to take a prescription vitamin, it has more folic acid and fatty acid supplements (and just happens to be a huge purple horse pill).

I'm sure there was more, but those were the questions I remember at the moment.  I won't go back for another visit until the middle of January.  

Apologies to all for not posting more (bloggers deserve vacation days too).  Things should be back to normal now that Christmas is over.  

Sunday, December 21, 2008

10 Weeks Update

Weight:  + none of your business (this information was a bad idea to share)
Fitness:  prenatal yoga DVD misses me
Food Cravings:  chocolate pudding, fruit juices
Sleep Count:  getting heartburn every night

Well, you've been asking for it, here it is.  My fat belly that isn't big enough yet to look like I'm actually pregnant.  Instead I just look fat (also feel fat too).  I'm still getting dizzy and shortness of breath--a lot.

I have my first appointment with the obgyn on Tuesday.  I'm not sure if they will do an ultrasound, I'm kind of addicted to them since I've been getting one almost every week for the past two months.

This past week was hectic.  I finally finished school for the semester.  Then promptly packed my bags for a mini road trip to see Amanda, Sarah and her new baby boy.  I had a blast!  Sarah and I worked on a joint post for the blog.  Keep a look out for it (we probably had more fun writing it than you'll have reading it . . .).

Also, some of you may know by now that Dave's company is moving us to Wilmington in the spring.  Looks like the New Year will be crazy busy for us.  On the plus side, at least we get to upgrade to a new, bigger house (current one is a little small for raising twins).

Today, I finally went Christmas shopping (still haven't sent out Christmas cards).  I forced myself to listen to the 24 hr. holiday radio station just to get into the spirit of things (honestly, I think listening to Ben Stein on CBS Sunday Morning put me in a better mood to spend money than the Christmas radio station).  Clearly, I've been preoccupied with other things like finally getting pregnant (with TWINS no less).

Saturday, December 13, 2008

9 Weeks Update

Weight:  +5 lbs. (alright, fine!  add two more pounds if you're looking for complete honesty)
Fitness:  Prenatal yoga DVD done twice this week
Food Cravings:  fruit and ice cream sundaes with hot fudge
Sleep Count:  8 hrs. nightly, 1 hr. afternoon nap

Another awesome visit.  We heard two hearts beating at around 170 bpm again.  Dr. Skywalker still insists on calling the baby on the left 'Baby A' and the one on the right 'Baby B'.  For a while they were both situated butt to butt, but in this picture 'B'  is facing the camera (already a ham).  I even got to watch 'A' wiggle from side to side (probably singing 'I like to move it, move it . . .').

After a week of fear-ridden panic about carrying and raising twins, I finally found some books on twins that were worth buying.  I'm not too thrilled about the overwhelming statistics leading us towards premature babies.  

For example, a full term twin pregnancy is 37 weeks (not 40 for singletons) but the 'experts' claim 50% of twin pregnancies deliver before 37 weeks.  Here's what chapter two of Twin Set by Boyle & Stahl had to say about preemies:
"According to national statistics, twins are born at 34 weeks on average (remember that twins born before 35 weeks are considered premature).  Furthermore, about 50% of twins spend some time in the neonatal intensive care unit."
Luckily I know a cool chick (Anna's new sister-in-law) who has fraternal twin boys (born at 30 weeks, 5 days).  She's promised to give me every bit of advice she can about what to expect with twins.  Hers were in ICU for 5 weeks hooked up to tubes.  She said the positive side of the experience was having an entire support staff at the hospital to guide her through everything on how to care for twins.  When she got home, the boys already had a routine, and she had 5 weeks to learn from the medical experts (this is why I think she's cool. . . she's so positive about her preemie experience).

Well, we finally bought a Christmas tree and somehow it has to get decorated . . . I better go direct Dave on ornament placement (kidding . . . kinda).

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Keepin' It Real

Yesterday I learned my all time favorite baby clothing store is going out of business--effective December 20th.  I found this out the shockingly hard way by visiting it for the first time as a FINALLY pregnant woman.

I was hopelessly sad.  I've been shopping at this store for 4 straight years buying OPBs (Other People's Babies) cute clothing and dreaming of the day I could legitimately shop for myself!  

So, wallowing in self-pity that fate could be so cruel, I decided to indulge in some premature infant clothing shopping (premature as in I have no business buying baby clothing right now).  I scooped up all I could find that looked gender neutral (the entire store was 50% off-- I didn't stay sad for long).  Of course, 50% off meant the clothing was now reasonably priced.  

Mr. Wonderful loved everything I bought (especially the teeny tiny socks).  He even told me to go back for more stuff if I wanted to (obviously he does not handle our finances, but the thought was super sweet).

In the end the experience was bittersweet.  There's no joy in shopping for twins when you don't know their genders.  If only modern science could tell me tomorrow what we're having so I can clear out the store before next Saturday.

While lamenting in my superficial misery, Kammer calls, notices I sound down and asks why.  I explain the baby store tragedy.  To which point he explains his dilemma.  

See, Kammer's getting married in June (to a perfectly wonderful lady, I might add).  A few nights ago the happy couple was watching the news profile small businesses struggling to survive the economic recession.  Turns out the business being profiled is the location for his wedding in June (not the kind of news you want to hear 6 months before the wedding).

Suddenly my baby store drama seems less impressive.  I can always shop online for my overpriced onesies . . . Kammer on the other hand . . . not so lucky.  

Ironically, the place Kammer is getting married just happens to be the same place the movie Twilight filmed their prom scene.  The View Point Inn is now asking all Twilight fans to donate $1 in an effort to keep the historical Inn in business.  

I encourage everyone (especially my fellow Twilighters) to visit the Inn's website and make a small contribution so Kammer's lady-love can have her dream wedding.  In turn, I will glue my feet to the ground and quit complaining about impractical infant fashion.

Monday, December 8, 2008

But Who Will Take Care Of You?

More loving words from Mr. Wonderful when I told him I was going out of town next week to help Sarah take care of her new baby (personally, I think he's going to miss me).  For one thing, I provide entertainment and excitement, I'm a human space heater and sometimes I clean the kitchen and do the laundry.

On the pregnancy watch, the 'how-to-raise-twins-list-of-confounding-questions' is growing.  The latest question:
  • How does one go grocery shopping with infant twins?
I'm having a hard time finding cool websites with practical advice for expecting mothers of multiples.  Case in point, I've been pretty proud of myself for religiously taking prenatal vitamins.  Until I came across advice on a website suggesting some health care providers recommend increasing prenatal vitamin intake for pregnant women of multiples.  Of course I could do worse than undertake vitamin supplements (like breathing carbon monoxide by accident).

Surely all of these concerns are just normal early pregnancy jitters . . . right?

P.S. 
Kammer, Dave says 'thanks' and 'Bros before Hoes' in response to your comment about sandwich making.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

You're Pregnant, Not Handicapped!

Well folks, the honeymoon's over.  Mr. Wonderful has found his limits.  I asked for a peanut butter/banana sandwich yesterday and was told, rather politely, that I was 'pregnant, not handicapped'.  

Needless to say, I made my own sandwich yesterday, breakfast this morning and lunch later today.  I'm not completely helpless--I just find food tastes better when someone else makes it for you (it's a pleasant surprise when secret ingredients are added).  

In other news, I finally completed one full session of my prenatal yoga DVD today--while trying to poison myself and the babies.  I started our gas fireplace and didn't open the flue.  For those of you with gas fireplaces, you understand venting is necessary to release the carbon monoxide.  Needless to say, after venting the fireplace and airing out the room I finally got to finish the DVD.  

Just a typical weekend for Clan Donovan . . .

Friday, December 5, 2008

Two By Two

This month's issue of Fit Pregnancy redeemed itself with some information in their 40 week guide to pregnancy.  For week 8 (that's me!) it said:

"Your doctor may look or listen for the baby's heartbeat with an ultrasound.  Once you see or hear it, your miscarriage risk drops to about 2 percent. . ."

We heard two heartbeats on Wednesday (beaming on the inside)!!!  Now the reality of twins is slowly setting in (trembling on the inside).  I have so many questions:
  1. Do we have to buy two cribs?
  2. How do you raise fraternal same sex twins (odds are 2 out of 3)?
  3. Do we have to buy two of the exact same things, like clothes, toys, etc.?
Oh, in case you were wondering there is no possibility for quads or triplets at this point (phew!).

Thursday, December 4, 2008

8 Weeks Update

Weight:  +5 lbs. (pre-pregnancy weight)
Fitness:  walking across campus . . . 
Food Cravings:  orange juice, spaghetti, nacho cheese dip, pickles
Sleep Count:  8 hrs. nightly, 30 min. afternoon nap

By far the best visit I've had all year!  We heard two heartbeats, one at 168 bpm and the other at 177 bpm.  Dr. Skywalker said everything looked great and healthy.  The ultrasounds were pretty grainy, apparently my uterus is tilted to the back which puts the babies further away from the 'imaging thingy'.   

Best part. . . he told me to stop taking all my medications (no more progesterone shots, estrogen patches or low dose aspirin)!  Also, I could start seeing my regular obgyn--but I'm not ready to break-up with Dr. Skywalker just yet, so I'll see him one last time next week (maybe bring cupcakes).

I mentioned my belly concerns, I seem to already be showing.  Apparently my ovaries are still pretty large and pushing my uterus upward, which is forcing the rest of my tummy up and out.  Combine that with twins and he told me I'll show like 12 weeks even though I'm only 8 weeks (always the overachiever)

As for exercise and diet, since I've been feeling so crappy since starting IVF I need to ease slowly back into exercise.  That means restarting my strength training exercises but reduce the weights and do more reps.  Instead of doing 30 mins. of cardio do 5 - 10 mins. until I can handle more.

As for school, I survived the worst part of the week.  I'm all caught up and ready for finals next week.  This semester couldn't end any sooner, half the campus has a cold and the girl next to me in history class apparently doesn't understand the concept of Kleenex.

Monday, December 1, 2008

A Caveman's Guide To Pregnancy

Since Dave showed such an interest in my 'Fit Pregnancy' magazine, I thought we'd go find him a book of his own.  So, off to the bookstore 'we' went.  The 'we' being Dave reading comic books while I sorted through the Pregnancy & Family Planning section of the store.

Left to my own devices I opted for the less helpful but more humorous option 'The Caveman's Pregnancy Companion'.  To my utter surprise, Dave agreed to buy it and has been clandestinely reading it.

So far he's made it past the first chapter, which he said was 'insulting' and has since adopted a new approach to pending fatherhood dubbed:  'winging it'.  Personally, I think he's doing a wonderful job as a supportive and dotting husband.  From what I gather his favorite part of all this is bragging to his co-workers about how wonderful he treats me (I married a very modest man).

On a side note, Thanksgiving was wonderful.  We had 5 turkeys--including my Dad, 6 different desserts and a bazillion side dishes.  Luckily my food aversions were gone and I had the green light to eat all that yummy food.  Unfortunately, I'm sure I gained 5 extra lbs. that I cannot blame on the bambinos incubating in my belly.

I'm up for my second ultrasound on Wednesday!  Also hoping Dr Skywalker will tell me to stop the nightly progesterone shots (my backside is killing me--Dave is struggling to find a non-bruised surface to inject).

This is also the last week of classes for the semester.  I've got 5 papers and 2 major projects all due by Wednesday.  Instead of working on them, I'm procrastinating by talking to you folks.  Better get moving . . . 

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

7 Weeks Update

Weight:  +5 lbs. (pre-pregnancy weight)
Fitness:  10 mins. of pre-natal yoga DVD (it's a start)
Food Cravings:  Cheez Whiz (seem to be getting my appetite back)
Sleep Count:  10 hrs. nightly, 3 hrs. afternoon nap

I like this picture better than the 6 weeks one.  Looks more like a human forming in my belly.  I'm slowly learning how to handle the all-day queasiness (last week was rough).  As for the fact we are having twins. . . well, rational Emily is supremely thrilled (irrational Emily is shaking in her boots)!

Dave is being awesome!  On Monday he said his next car should probably be some family-oriented SUV.  If you know my husband, than you know how amazing this statement really is (he loves high performance sports cars).   Additionally, he puts up with my new found hypochondriac behavior ('Is that meat thoroughly cooked?', 'Did you wash your hands before preparing the shot?', etc).  

Happy Thanksgiving folks!!!  


Monday, November 24, 2008

Camp Quinn: The Remake

Dave and I went to Florence, SC this past weekend to chaperon my baby sister's 17th birthday party.  Well, it was mostly Dave chaperoning. . . I spent most of the night feeling like crap in the back bedroom (all-day morning sickness has officially set in).

The party theme was 'Camp Quinn' in honor of the original camp Quinn my dad created in our backyard about 10 years ago.  Here's a picture of the original camp (notice the painted sign that says: 'Camp Quinn').  

My parent's willingly went out of town for the weekend (much to Quinn's relief).  In fact, they told us they were leaving so Dave and I could take full legal responsibility for anything that goes wrong (loving parents).  

Here's a picture of the new 'Camp Quinn' the kids were making smores.  

Happy Birthday Quinnie!  Hope you had fun at your party.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Introducing Our New Babies!

It's official, we got two babies growing right now. We could hear the heartbeat for the one on the right, but we couldn't really see or hear anything for the one on the left.

It was kinda cool. I would be more enthusiastic but I'm perpetually queasy which makes me cranky (poor Dave). We go back in on December 1st for another ultrasound. I still have to stay on all my medications (which is the nightly butt shot and the estrogen patch).

Dr. Skywalker said not to overeat (no worries there, I don't like food right now) and drink plenty of water (I could probably drink more than I currently do). And like everyone else, he said feeling crappy is a good thing, it means you are pregnant (can't help it, still cranky).

Happy weekend to all!!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

2 Dogs: 4 Sale!

If I'm ready to get rid of my dogs when they do something bad, does that make me a future unfit mother?

The only time I can get both dogs to pose for a picture is to lock them outside.  Notice the back door has a ton of scratch marks.  That's because Bailey (on the right with the big antennas) doesn't like being locked outside.  She will scratch relentlessly at the door until you let her back in (this is our second door, we had to replace the first cause it got so bad).  Lavender, on the other hand, will just lick the door repeatedly in her efforts to be let inside (for those of you who've met Lavender, she redefines the term 'licker').

Well, one of them has a bladder problem right now.  We suspect it's Lavender (which is very unusual for her).  Last night we think she peed in her sleep.  She never pees in the house (Bailey will do it out of spite. . . she's the mean one).  

Here's the concern, Lavender had a tumor removed two years ago.  It was cancerous and the vet said there was an 80% chance more would grow back.  She seems healthy.  She likes to chase squirrels, bark at anything that steps near her property, reminds me at promptly 5:00p it's time for feeding, etc.  We don't feel any growths on her fur; but that doesn't count any tumors that might be growing inside her.  

Dave and I both agreed not to spend the money on vet bills to try and have her scanned, etc.  We LOVE, LOVE, LOVE our first baby girl--but not enough to go into debt.  So we enjoy her until she starts showing signs of something serious.  

We're hoping her 'accident' last night was a one time thing.  Which is highly possible, she only spontaneously pees when Dave puts on my old Halloween wigs and walks the house in them.  Maybe she was dreaming last night of Dave in a wig. . . 

Anyway, in other news, Friday is just a day away!  Dave told me this morning he can't wait (how cute)!  Our appointment is at 1:00p.  So for those of you just dying to know the results, we'll try to post by 3:00p before heading out of town.

Thanks for all the stroller advice!  And all the excitement!!!  Till tomorrow. . . 


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

6 Weeks Update

Weight:  +4 lbs. (pre-pregnancy weight)
Fitness:  opened packaging on pre-natal yoga DVD (does sleeping a lot count?)
Food Aversions:  V8 juice, junk food, sweets, anything greasy/fatty
Sleep Count:  10 hrs. nightly, 2 hrs. afternoon nap

Apparently, this is what our babies look like right now (hmmm. . . hard to feel maternal towards this picture).  It looks like a cross between a lizard and a tadpole (maybe a tadard?).  We'll know for sure on Friday how many tadards we're having.

Alright, so Dave and I have been trying to prepare ourselves for the news that we are having twins (for those of you on Facebook who bet on more than 2. . . I'm seriously considering un-friending you).  I know we've been all for twins this whole time. . . until we went fantasy shopping at Babies R Us last weekend.  Twin strollers are just hideous (it's not fair)!

Then we got into a debate over whether both our cars needed to be equipped for two baby carriers (I said 'yes', Dave said 'why').  I'm guessing the idea of buying 4 car carriers was overwhelming for him.  Don't worry folks, we're just going through that initial parental panic stage.  All in all we are still very, very excited about everything.  

I will say, it already feels like the longest pregnancy ever.  Most couples don't start finding out they are pregnant until at 6 weeks.  We've been focused on ours for 2 centuries (okay, just 2 months).  

Friday, after the ultrasound, we are heading to Flo-town to chaperon little Quinnie's birthday party.  The theme this year is 'Camp Quinn'.  There will be tents, a bon fire, smores, etc.  My baby sister is turning 17 (translation:  the rest of us are getting really old)!


Monday, November 17, 2008

Sweet Dreams Are Made Of These. . .

I've always been an avid dreamer so I'm not sure if these dreams are normal or a by-product of pregnancy.  Apparently 'they' (the pregnancy world) say pregnant women experience more vivid dreams during pregnancy.  

Possible causes include:
  • frequently waking up in the middle of dream-rich REM sleep (to change positions, pee, etc.)
  • Increased anxiety because you are pregnant and might be having twins (okay, I added the twin part)
Regardless, I'm having some funky dreams.  No nightmares, just better-than-watching-a-movie-because-I'm-starring-in-them dreams. Here's some highlights:
  • I'm at the YMCA and overhear the Hip Hop aerobic instructor complaining about how I ruin the flow of the class because I'm so uncoordinated.  This prompted me to reach for the intercom and make an announcement to the entire YMCA.  I said something similar to:
    "Excuse me please.  It has come to my attention that the YMCA would like only those members with coordination to enjoy the Hip Hop aerobics classes.  Please discontinue attending these classes if you cannot keep up with the instruction." 
  • I'm attending some huge conference at a hotel.  I become the unwitting third wheel to some government secret agency investigation.  Kerri Russell and Ryan Gosling were the romantic leads (don't ask me why).  I got to dodge bullets, jump from high buildings and play dumb (such a stretch).
  • Dave and I are browsing through Babies R Us and in the middle of the store he grabs my boobies and says 'You think there's enough juice in there for twins?'  (Wait!  That wasn't a dream, that actually happened on Sunday. . .)
In other news, my dear girl Sarah and her charmingly rustic husband, Peter, are the proud parents of one little baby boy!!!  Her friend Amanda posted the details:
Cullen Peter Gerace
November 16, 2008
4:02a
6 lbs. 10 oz.
19" long
13.5" head

Congratulations Team Gerace!!!  Good luck with your little bundle of perfection.  Sarah, you are my hero!


photo courtesy of Meghan Whitney

Friday, November 14, 2008

How Do You Feel About Twins?

That's what my nurse asked me yesterday on the phone when she called with my 3rd and final pregnancy test results.  My hCG levels were (drum roll please):

8997

Phew!  Looks like a party is brewin' in my belly.  Now none of this is confirmation that we are having twins, but these high levels are pretty good indicators.  We won't know until the ultrasound; which has been moved up to 11/21 (a week from today)!  Dave's taking a half day for the ultrasound.  There is a small possibility we might be able to hear heartbeats at this ultrasound!

Thanks for all the weight advice (I enjoyed a piece of pumpkin pie for lunch today--guilt free)!  Speaking of lunch, I spent the day observing at South Meck High School and got to enjoy something pretty cool.

Friday is Mrs. Dobby's Cafe day.  Apparently South Meck has a culinary arts program (Mrs. Dobby is in charge).  Students prepare lunch on Fridays for teachers and create take-home meals during the week for teachers and their families.  This is not to be confused with Home Economics, the Culinary Arts students work in a full service restaurant-style kitchen.

On the menu today was chicken tetrazzini, side salad and sweet potato or pumpkin pie.  Holy Cow!  It was awesome and only $6 (oh, and the students were the waiters).  It wasn't clear if I was suppose to tip. . . 

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Fat-mester

Weight:  + 4 lbs. (pre-pregnancy weight)
Fitness:  purchased pre-natal yoga DVD and Fit Pregnancy magazine
Food Aversions:   BBQ, anything greasy/fatty, most fast food
Sleep Count:  9 hrs. nightly, 2 hrs. afternoon nap

I bought my first pregnancy magazine!!!  It was almost as fun as buying my first bridal magazine when Dave proposed.  Here's the really cute thing, I showed the magazine to Dave and I think he was more excited than I was.  He started reading it immediately (he loves the baby advertisements).

I was somewhat disappointed to read the pregnancy weight gain section (eating-for-two is a myth!?!).  I have a normal BMI which means the current weight gain recommendation is 25 - 35 lbs. for the entire pregnancy.  However, new research is suggesting even this is too much weight and I should only gain 5 - 22 lbs. during my pregnancy (I don't like this particular magazine any more).  

Folks, I'm at 5 weeks and I don't look pregnant, I just look like a sausage (Dave has nicknamed me 'ma petite sausage').  Granted I did suffer from Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome--which caused major bloating and weight gain, but that's over and now I just look thick.  

Enough of my complaining, in other news, my girl Anna is 4 months pregnant!!  It only took her 2 months of trying (but we still love her anyway and are crazy excited for them).  They're even considering starting a blog about their new addition.  I say 'Game On!' you hip and trendy urban New Yorkers!!

I've got to get ready to take my third and final pregnancy test. . . 


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Still Very, Very Pregnant!

I went in yesterday for my second hCG blood test.  As I mentioned last week, the nurse wants to see my levels double each visit.  Yesterday's levels were:

3042

Very good levels and way doubled from the initial 1228 on Friday (by the way, I slept for 12 hours last night)!!  

My girl, Shannon, gave me the ubiquitous 'What To Expect When You Are Expecting' how-to-guide to pregnancy a few years ago (unfortunately my copy does not have the hip mom in denim, but some frumpy lady resting in a wooden rocking chair--Shannon, I swear I'm not complaining).  I've been reading a little bit of it each night.  

I'm on 'Chapter 6:  The Second Month:  Approximately 5 to 8 weeks' and enjoy the 'what you may be feeling' section.  Here's a list of physically what I may be feeling:

  • Fatigue and sleepiness (yup. . . but that's nothing new, I've always had the sleepy gene--my big sis's term)
  • A need to urinate frequently (again nothing new, always felt this way)
  • Nausea, with or without vomiting and/or excessive salivation (no, no and yes)
  • Constipation (a very cruel symptom. . . and yes)
  • Heartburn, indigestion, flatulence, bloating (yes to bloating and probably flatulence. . . now starting to wonder why I decided to share these symptoms with 'ya'll')
  • Food aversions and cravings (yup, seems I lost my sweet tooth, don't like greasy and fried right now, all about fresh veggies, fruits and grilled proteins. . . not my typical pre-pregnant diet at all!)
  • Breast changes:  fullness, heaviness, tenderness, etc. (hallelujah to bigger boobies!)
  • Occasional headaches (nope)
  • Occasional faintness or dizziness (yup)
  • Tightness of clothing around waist and breasts, abdomen may appear enlarged, probably due to bowel distention rather than uterine growth (yup, not a pretty sight right now)
In other news, I'm back in school full-time and only have about 4 more weeks to go before winter break!  I've got a paper to write and some errands to run.  Plus today's my girl Ash's birthday!  Happy Birthday Ashley!!  

Monday, November 10, 2008

Now what?

Well, we've had the weekend to let all this news sink in and now it's back to work for Dave and school for Emily.  We spent most of Friday on the phone with family and friends making sure everyone knew the news.  

Friday night we went to our favorite restaurant, Rooster's, to celebrate.  Dave drank wine, I drank Charlotte tap (that would be water).  With it being a rather emotionally eventful day we called it a night around 8:30p.

Saturday morning Dave played golf (surprise!) with his brother and I slept till noon.  Later that day we went to the mall and walked Pottery Barn Kids just for fun (I think Dave prefers Babies R Us). On the plus side, we did like the same bedding at PB Kids (of course we've got 9 months to figure all that out).  

I've been begging Dave (or as he would describe it--nagging) to write a post for everyone about his thoughts on this news.  He was a little reluctant, so this morning I interviewed him while he got ready for work.  Here's what he has to say:

What did you do after I called you on Friday with the good news?

"I was very happy, very excited.  I called my brother, my buddy James and my parents.  I was useless at work for the rest of the day."

How many babies do you think we will have?

"Well, based on your hCG levels it sounds like we are having 8 babies."

Do you notice any changes in me?

"No change in pregnant Emily verses normal Emily.  You always sleep a lot and ask me to fetch you things."

You put a bell by my side of the bed after transfer, why did you remove it this weekend?

"You don't need the bell any more, you are not on bed rest. . . wait, are you putting that on there too?"

What did you think of Pottery Barn Kids?

"The yuppies and prices scared me.  It seemed very hectic and crazy.  I like Babies R Us better they had babies there and people seemed to smile more.  PB Kids was very claustrophobic."

What do you think our first purchase for the babies should be?

"A new house. . . okay, maybe just a crib. . . or a bassinet, and a new puppy."

How do you think Lavender and Bailey will feel about our babies?

"They are going to be confused and threatened.   It will be competition for our attention."

There you have it folks, Dave's humbling thoughts on our impending parenthood.  As for me, I'm so excited to finally know I'm pregnant.  Of course, now I'm obsessed with all I should do to make sure I stay pregnant, deliver healthy babies, keep them safe, etc.  

All challenges I happily accept!!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Day 16: Moment of Truth

The clinic finally called with my test results.  Here's a transcript from the call:

Nurse:  Emily. . . how are you feeling?

Emily:  (on the verge of tears for the past 4 hours)  I don't know, you tell me.

Nurse:  Well,  you are way pregnant!  We normally like your hCG levels to be at least 100 and yours are 1228.  Those are great numbers, you are very, very pregnant.  We don't know if these high levels mean multiples, all we do know is you are nicely pregnant.

Emily:  (relief slowly taking over)  Okay, what next?

Nurse:  Well, you are 4 weeks and 2 days pregnant.  Your expected due date is July 15, 2009.  We want you back in on Monday and Thursday for more blood work.  We want to see your hCG levels doubling.  Then on November 24th we want you to come in for your first ultrasound.  We'll then know how many embryos implanted.

I'm suppose to continue taking the nightly progesterone shots and Vivelle patches for the next 2 - 3 weeks.

Folks, let me tell you, I've been handling everything relatively okay up until today (no cry-fests, no poor me moments).  The waiting this morning was harder than expected.  I did the blood work at 9:30a and then came home to wait by the phone.  I started going crazy around 12:30p--thank God they called me at 1:00p with the results.  

Now that I feel perfectly pregnant, I think I'll finally get out of bed, take a shower and go window-shopping for something pretty (yes, I allowed myself a day of sloth-ness. . . trust me, it was in societies best interest I not interact with humans this morning).

Phew!!  What a relief!!  I'm so excited and overwhelmed.  You all have been awesome supporters of Dave and I.  Your good wishes really have helped us get through this.  Much love and I'll be keeping everyone posted on the pending details.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Almost There!

We are almost there!!!  After two long weeks of waiting I'll go to the clinic and take a pregnancy test.  I don't need an appointment, I just walk into the lab between 7a - 1p and request a test.  Then I wait for my IVF nurse to call me with the results and further instructions.  This is the first of 3 test and they call it the 'baseline' test.


Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Day Revelations

Dave got up early this morning to go vote, I voted two weeks ago during early voting (along with my baby brother, there he is standing in line).  After Dave voted we talked about our voting methods.  

I voted for Obama and then found myself voting for any feminine sounding name on the ballot regardless of party affiliation (I call it the Hillary-effect).  When I mentioned this to Dave, he told me he did the SAME thing!  

I think his exact words were:
"When I didn't know the candidates I voted for the female, unless her name sounded bitchy like Cherie Berry."  
"Men really haven't been doing that great of a job; why not let women run things for a while.  Plus, men are always doing what their women tell them to do, I don't really see any difference."
"Personally, if electing women to public office means I might get to play more golf--I'm all for that."
Folks,  let's be clear on one thing.  I never influenced Dave's voting decision by promising him golf if he voted for more women (his fantasy world, not mine).  In fact, this was the first real conversation we had about who we voted for outside of the Presidential candidates.  

In other election related news,  my 'guns are cool' baby brother voted for Obama (he had me take a picture of his voting method).

Also, a few weeks ago I got a phone call from Grandma.  She told me she voted for the next President of the United States (via absentee ballot).  When I asked who she voted for she told me Barack Obama (yup, this is the same Grandma that months ago briefly considered voting for Palin)!  

Here is what Grandma had to say about her decision:
"Well, Palin seems to know about as much as I do on the issues and I know I'm not qualified to be Vice President of the United States."
"And did you know that Obama stopped his campaign to go visit his dying Grandmother?  Anyone who would do that has my vote!"
God bless you Grandma!  I love you and your thinking!  

Last night me and the little embryos attended our first Obama rally.  You know, the one in Charlotte that got a ton of national coverage because of Obama's emotional statements about the death of his Grandmother (I was right there).  I stood in line for 2 hours.  Then stood for another 2 hours waiting for Obama to speak.  I stood in light rain, heavy rain, misty fog and probably caught a cold (totally worth it).  

Take a look at my pics!

The back of the line around 3:15p

The line.

Right before the rain.   Waiting for Obama

Jake Tapper from ABC News giving a live report. 

Me taking a picture of Jake Tapper giving his live report on ABC News!

Obama!!!!

Almost iconic 
(if only I'd brought my really good camera)


Monday, November 3, 2008

Day 12: Okay, Fine!!

Irrational Emily has agreed not to take a home pregnancy test--or at least not tell anyone if she does (kidding).  I'm really too lazy to go buy a kit and follow the instructions properly.  The last time I bought a kit was a bit of a disaster.  

Apparently pregnancy tests are considered contraband in Texas.  When I first started Clomid last year I was traveling a lot to Austin, TX.  I was a few days late on my cycle so I decided to buy a test.  Went to Walmart.  Searched the aisles.  Found the tests behind glass casing and under lock and key.  Walked to the pharmacy counter for help.  There were about five workers behind the counter (four of which were female).  Of course they send the only teenage male to open the case.  He's obviously embarrassed.  I felt pressured to make a quick decisions.  Needless to say it was a big waste of money.

In other news, I've got a make-up exam to complete today and Obama is going to be speaking at UNCC this evening!  I'm debating whether to join the masses at the rally or go to my crappy night class (hard choice).  It really depends on if I can physically stand for as long as the rally lasts.  Yesterday Dave and I did lunch and a matinee, I was exhausted by the end of the day.  

Friday, October 31, 2008

"Take Care of Our Investment"

Loving words from Dave this morning before he left for work.  I'll take a pregnancy test a week from today.  The clinic told me not to trust a home pregnancy test because of all the hormones I've been pumping into my body (apparently they might trigger false readings).  

Rational Emily thought this was sound advice and didn't plan on buying any home pregnancy tests.  However, Irrational Emily is starting to nag Rational Emily about this logic.  Folks, I don't know what to do.  Should I take a home pregnancy test next week. . . just for fun?  Or stick to my guns and wait till the official clinic one next Friday?

The waiting is hard but I'll be back in school full-time next week.  I'm volunteering on Election Day to drive voters who need rides.  I'm also going to South Meck High School on Thursday to log some observation hours.  Hopefully, a full schedule will keep me preoccupied.

As for the hyperstimulation syndrome, all my symptoms have faded (yea!!).  I no longer have shortness of breath and abdominal bloating and my weight is slowing moving back to normal.  I do have some lower abdominal cramping when I move too much during the day.  However, this is not a symptom of the syndrome.  If anything it's either my body implanting little Atticus and Bobo or rejecting them (let's hope for implantation).

Happy Halloween everyone!  I've got to run out and get some candy for the six kids who trick-or-treat in our neighborhood (the downfall of city living).

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Adventures of One Cool Chic & The Oprah Show Tricked Me!

Yesterday was a struggle in boredom (thanks to Amanda for shaming me into being creative).  This morning I resurrected my old alter-ego One Cool Chic and drew this little sketch (One Cool Chic was created out of boredom at work many, many years ago).  Whenever I got bored, I invented new stories for her.  This is the first time I've actually drawn one of my stories.

She's a very fashionable Chic (obviously) and believes she can do anything, even though the world constantly tells her she can't.

Here's some close-ups of her story: 


The Slimy Snake says "You can't cross that creek One Cool Chic."

"Oh yeah!?!  Watch me!!" One Cool Chic says.  She begins making a catapult and launches herself over the creek with a rock.  See her flying over the creek!!

One Cool Chic lands on Slimy Snake and says "I can do anything!"

While I was creating my masterpiece, I decided to watch yesterday's Oprah show.  Folks, you've got to be careful with Oprah.  Sometimes she does really depressing or bizarre shows (last year's fixation on transgender-ness got excessive).  I always read the DVR description before watching her show. 

Yesterday's show seemed pretty innocent 'Miracle Children with Celine Dion' (sounded really uplifting).  Here's how the episode was even advertised on Oprah's website:


About 45 mins. into this episode, I got tricked.  They showed a YouTube clip of a little baby born with Trisomy 18 (a fatal disease).  The YouTube clip is really sweet, but after hearing three miracle stories where the children lived, I wasn't prepared for this clip to end the way it did (if you dare to watch it click here).  

The baby lived 99 days.  The miracle is that the baby lived at all (but you don't find that out until the end of the video).  After the video, the cameras pan back to a crying Celine and Oprah (and Emily).

Look, I'm on some serious hormones right now, I'm not interested in situations that will elicit extreme emotions.  I won't even go see a scary movie this weekend with my girl Ash (but I will go see HSM3. . . pretty please, anyone?)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Monday, October 27, 2008

Day 5: Transfer

Yes dear readers, after months of following this ridiculous blog the day has finally arrived!  Our little embryos were given back to Dave and I; they are resting nicely inside my belly.  Now all we have to do (this is a team effort) is stay on bed rest till Wednesday afternoon and wait patiently for November 7th's pregnancy results.

It was a good day.  I met with my acupuncturist this morning for a relaxation session.  She put little gold-plated beads inside my ears (they are attached to an adhesive backing).  I gently rub them a few times a day.  They will help calm my uterus and encourage implantation.

After that appointment, Dave and I went window shopping for an hour before heading to the clinic.  I took my Valium one hour before the transfer (a rather amazing little pill).  I was awake for the procedure (and relatively relaxed).  I got to see the embryos on the video monitor shoot into my uterus (welcome home munchkins!).  Then they wheeled me into a semi-private waiting area where I rested for 30 mins.

Dave drove me home where I spent the afternoon sleeping.  He's been taking care of me all afternoon (he even gave me a bell); he's determined to make sure I stay in bed.

Here's a picture of our embryos:




The mass of cells in the center is what will become our babies.  The outer cell structure will become the placenta after implantation.  Both embryos reached the critical blastocyst stage of development.  That's the normal Day 5 or Day 6 stage in a natural pregnancy; it occurs right before implantation and happens in the uterus.  What does this all mean?  We've done everything right so far.  We have 2 great embryos and now all we do is wait for them to implant.  

We asked Dr. Skywalker if he wanted to name them.  He called them 'A' and 'B' (not very creative).  Well folks, it's up to you.  What do you think we should call these little blobs?  Mind you, these will be their temporary names until Dave and I find some inner creativity of our own.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Day 4: Law of Attraction

I've been forcing myself to finally read The Secret.  I bought it over a year ago (even kept the receipt inside the book because I wasn't 100% about the purchase).  Sometimes I think you have to be in the right mental frame of mind to begin a book like this.  I lovingly describe my current mental state as determined (or desperate, depending on your disposition).  

I'm determined to dabble in anything that will even remotely help the IVF process turn into a successful pregnancy and happy healthy birth!

To date I have done the following:

  • studied the feng shui bagua chart to locate the children area of my home.  It's in the kitchen (which prompted David to say 'What's it doing in there?').  
  • wearing a make-a-wish bracelet which supposedly you wear until it breaks then your wish comes true (my dear, sweet Shannon is feeding the addiction).  
  • carrying a japanese fertility medallion in my purse (since 2006).
Today, Dave and I went to the bookstore.  In preparation for my pending two days of bed rest I wanted to stock up on some books.  Channeling my inner positive thinking I purchased two pregnancy-related books!  I got The Baby Name Wizard by Laura Wattenberg and Belly Laughs by Jenny McCarthy.  

The Baby Name Wizard is a really cool book that maps the popularity of names over the last 100 years.  It uses data from the Social Securities Administration then crosses that data with cultural statistics to show the trendiness of a name.  For example, Mary is a widely popular girl's name ranking in the middle consistently for the past 100 years.  However, it's usage frequency has dropped 95% over the past century.  

It also gives you alternate suggestions to names that you like, but don't want to use and the background of the name.  There's even a website version called www.babynamewizard.com

Belly Laughs was recommended by a complete stranger in the bookstore.  I was sitting in the pregnancy section and this stranger asked me if I was pregnant.  I said 'Yes'.  It seemed the least time consuming response and technically I do have 7 embryos growing. . . just not inside me at the moment (hopefully God will see the greater good in my little white technicality).   The book looked like a lot of fun, so I mentally said 'why not?'

This bookstore stranger further introduced herself and told me about a really neat group here in Charlotte for mothers, mothers-to-be and wanna-be-mothers.  The group is called Charlotte Mommies.  They have a website you join (www.charlottemommies.com) which gives you access to a regional community of babysitters, support groups, tips and recommendations, etc.  Best benefit, this group will deliver meals every other night for the first two weeks after you give birth!

See what the Law of Attraction has done for me already!  I'm ready for transfer, bed rest, implantation, positive pregnancy tests and beautiful, healthy babies!!