Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Beach Babies

Last week we took the dogs with us to Wilmington.  It was a week of firsts for the girls.  Their first overnight stay in a hotel and their first visit to the beach.  

They LOVED the beach.  Here's some photos documenting this monumental occasion:

For those of you who know Lavender, then you will understand the significance of this 'action shot'.  Lavender only gallops if a squirrel is nearby.  There were no squirrels, or birds, just open sand dunes that she zipped through.

More galloping, followed by playing 'tag' with the waves.  This is the same dog that would sit by my feet at the dog park instead of playing with other dogs.  Stare blandly at the lake when taken to the local greenway.  Trot, but never gallop, along a trail in the mountains.

Dave with the girls.  No treats needed to get every one's attention (truly a first).

Bailey chillin' right before a wave comes and freaks her out.  Lavender, aka Energizer Bunny, kept going and going and going . . . 

Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Plagues Of Pregnancy

Everyone told me I'd develop a belly itch during pregnancy.  Silly me thought it would be a mild, slightly irritating itch easily remedied by some belly butter (obviously, I was naive and wrong--and big enough to admit as much publicly).  This itch is so intense it had me on the Internet and calling all my mommy friends for advice--not to mention it woke me up in the middle of the night.  

It started earlier this week, roughly the same time my weekly American Pregnancy Association e-newsletter told me women at 24 weeks might start feeling a belly itch (how ironic).  Initially I thought the itch was psychosomatic based on my reaction to last week's APA email.  

The 23 week email warned of gestational diabetes which causes symptoms like extreme thirst, fatigue and nausea (I had the thirst and fatigue).  Clearly my 'Internet symptoms' proved I had gestational diabetes (I'll do the routine check for that in two weeks at my next doctor's appointment).

Alas, the itch is not in my head.  Everyone I've talked to tells me it is pretty intense and most say it was worse with their first pregnancies.  The BabyCenter.com website said about as much citing the growing belly stretching your skin and increased hormone levels as the main culprits.

It also claims about 1% of pregnant women will develop itchy bumps or hive-like rashes on the belly known as PUPPP, aka pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy.  Might I suggest a smaller, more manageable, medical term like the 'plagues of pregnancy' (because that's what these darn symptoms feel like).  

It's unclear if I have PUPPP, whatever it might be is very obnoxious.  Additionally, there seems to be no solace found when reading the Babycenter website.  Especially when I stumble on phrases like:

"PUPPP usually begins in the third trimester and is more common among women carrying twins and those having their first baby."  (that would be me doubled)

"PUPPP usually disappears within a few days after delivery, although it sometimes persists for several weeks . . ."  (so basically I've got 4 months of this crap . . . clearly a 'plague')

"Fortunately, it seldom appears again in subsequent pregnancies."  (I'm not currently planning to have any more children, but thanks anyway)
Better go butter up . . .

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

What's You're Birth Plan?

I've been avoiding this question until recently.  My dear friend Amanda sent an amazing book called The Thinking Woman's Guide To A Better Birth.  I'm only on Chapter 2, but the book is really interesting.  I recommend it to all mommies-to-be and future mommies (you know who you are).

I have no idea at the moment what my birth plan will be; but I'm pretty sure the more specific the plan the less likely it will actually happen.  That's why I'm just trying to educate myself on all the terminology and procedures.  

I kind of like my friend in NYC's birth plan.  She's in her third trimester and starting to feel miserable.  A fellow pregnant co-worker asked her 'So, what's your birth plan?' to which point she replied 'Get the f**king baby out!'.   (Can you tell she works in the Bronx?) 

I'm additionally fond of the advice given by my two-time-mommy friend Shannon whose mother was a prenatal nurse for years.  Her mom advised I create a birth plan and then throw it out the window because sometimes you just can't control what your body is going to do.

Either way, I'm doing the necessary research at this point (because personally I feel I'm a THINKING WOMAN).  Also I've got twins and am cognitive of the fact this pregnancy is considered high risk.  The end goal for me is to get these 'f-ing' babies out the healthiest and safest way possible.  Oh! and try not to scar the hubby in the process with spiteful comments and hateful stares.

Monday, March 23, 2009

The Sonic Experience

Our house has been on the market for a little over 3 weeks now.  We've had about 17 showings (which our Realtor tells us is very positive).  However, we've had no offers and the 3 potential buyers that showed previous interest have quietly disappeared.

If you've ever tried to sell a house while living in it full time, then you understand the torment Clan Donovan is feeling.  We also have two dogs and try to take them with us when there's a showing so buyers can walk the backyard.  I'm proud to say we  only left them behind once, and that was just a Realtor walk-through without any buyer.

Needless to say, you may wonder what we do to pass the time while buyers look at the house.   If Dave is on his way home from work, we meet at the local church and let the dogs fertilize the bushes (you're welcome Archdale UMC).  

Sometimes I'll drive the car down the street and park it on the side of the road (to watch the buyers leave).  Of course, Dave caught me doing this and called my cell to say 'Could you be any more obvious . . . a lady sitting in her car with two dogs?'  Now I park in a neighbor's driveway who's also selling their house (never met this neighbor, but no one's home when I do it).

If there's a showing during the day and it's just me and the dogs, I'll drive aimlessly around Charlotte.  We went through a car wash once, but that proved too traumatic for the dogs (won't be doing that again anytime soon).  

We had a showing today from 1:30p - 3:00p (personally, anything over an hour is rude in my opinion).  Dave accidentally took both sets of car keys to work with him this morning.  He came home for lunch and we took the dogs with us to Sonics for lunch. 

This is Dave and Lavender re-enacting a scene from Lady & The Tramp (FYI, David is the tramp).  Clearly boredom is the culprit of this photo.

Friday, March 20, 2009

The Reality Check Bounced

This week was busy.  I've been recovering from my first pregnancy cold (I highly recommend avoiding all colds while pregnant).  Not only was I miserable, but to my extreme unhappiness I realized you shouldn't take most of the standard over-the-counter cold remedies while pregnant.  For someone who doesn't like to hear the word 'No' often, I found this bit of information extremely displeasing.

Basically the one drug I wanted was a decongestant, anything containing pseudoephedrine and/or phenylephrine, which came with this warning on the Babycenter.com website (this website has a great chart of recommended over the counter drugs during pregnancy . . . your doctor probably has one too):

Avoid cold remedies that contain alcohol.  Also avoid the decongestants pseudoephedrine and phenylephrine, which can affect blood flow to the placenta.

I must admit I did break down one night and take a half dose of decongestant.  My rationale being the ability to breathe correctly also affects the blood flow/oxygen flow to the placenta (and quite frankly I wanted to sleep).

In other news, I also spent part of the week in Florence keeping my dear friend Sarah company while she was in the hospital.  As an added bonus, I got to get some quality cuddle time with her Baby G (and get another does of reality).  I forgot how exhausting it can be entertaining one baby (holy cow, I've got to do that with two?).  Would it be naive of me to assume letting the twins stare at each other all day be entertainment enough?

Did I mention how heavy the little buggers are the older they get? There's me holding Baby G, after three minutes my arms started getting tired.  What's racing through my mind at this outwardly precious moment are loud sirens, bright flashing lights and the unmistakable feeling of purified panic as I realize I don't have the upper muscle strength to hold one baby (let alone two) for more than 30 seconds.

In addition to all these mental moments, I found myself in constant conversation about said pregnancy with various hospital employees from the nurses to the cafeteria staff.  Here's the typical scenario:

Stranger:  Oh my, you look like you're about to drop!  How far along are you?

Me:  About 5 months.

[Silent pause as Stranger is lost for words.  Various looks forming over Stranger's face from shock to sympathy to judgement.]

Me:  [after relishing the awkward silence] I'm having twins.

Stranger:  Isn't that wonderful!  Hey [insert coworker's name], she's having twins! 

I must admit the attention is bright and shiny, until the reality sets in (yet again) and I realize just how uncommon a twin pregnancy is to most people (myself included).  Maybe it's a good thing I'm having twins the first time around.  Most days I'm clueless and unaware of how big I'm getting and clearly the model poster child for any 'Ignorance Is Bliss' campaign.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Darling, You Give IVF A Bad Name

I'm talking about you OctoMom!  You've done IVF treatment 7 times and ended up with 14 children.  I've tried my best to ignore your story but as an IVF patient myself I feel obligated to point out how you are an embarrassment to other IVF patients and fertility technology in general.

See, IVF is often the last great hope for those unfortunate people struggling mainly to have just ONE child.  It is not an easy process (just read most of last year's posts), nor is it cheap and it certainly is not something one takes lightly.  But now there is all this negative media attention swirling around one woman who clearly misused her IVF treatment.  

I can't help but feel slightly awkward in public when strangers find out I'm having twins (well aren't you little miss trendy).  Having multiples seems so 5 minutes ago:  John & Kate, Marica Cross, Dennis Quaid, Angelina Jolie, JLo, Julia Roberts, etc.--and now you OctoMom.  I'm stilled thrilled to be incubating little Wiz & Nug and don't regret our decision to do IVF.  However, I do feel an unwanted shadow is being cast over IVF treatment now that there is this media train wreck all over the news.
I did find some solace recently while watching The Daily Show with John Stewart.  Contributor Kristen Schaal said it best when commenting on the flawed logic of the State of California.  Apparently Gays and Lesbians are not considered fit to be parents but an unemployed woman, living at home with her mother, who clearly has an Angelina Jolie fetish, is fit enough to have an entire litter of children.  The photo on the left is OctoMom before her 'alleged' plastic surgery and the right is what she looks like today.  It's amazing she found time and money to have these surgeries in between her 7 IVF treatments and raising her existing 6 children (do I hear a Mother of the Year nomination . . . anyone?).

Friday, March 13, 2009

The Real Stars Of This Show

I had my 22 week check up and ultrasound yesterday.  Everything looks good.  The technician was able to scan Nugget's heart and she looks okay.  Both babies are exactly 1 lb. 3 oz. right now, so their growth is good.  Both heartbeats were normal.  

I got to watch them kick each other on the monitor.  Nugget was drinking the amniotic fluid (doesn't she know she pees in that stuff!?!) and Wizard was punching his hand in the air (presumably at the ultrasound wand being pushed into my belly near his head).

Here are the latest pictures:

The technician couldn't get a good shot of both babies together,
 so we'll have to settle for the side by side head photos.

The Wizard (aka baby boy)

Princess Nugget (aka baby girl)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

22 Weeks Update

I love seeing my two little chickadees move further down the pregnancy calender!  I'm not so sure I love the ever increasing belly that comes with each week.  Right now I'm still a manageable size but when I see pictures of other pregnant women at 22 weeks I realize just how much bigger I already am.

Sleeping is hard right now (I know, get use to it).  My hips give me problems at night and I feel a lot of downward pressure when I get up and walk around.  I'm trying to keep up with my yoga and gym visits but I spent most of last week out of town and this week driving the dogs aimlessly around Charlotte while buyers view our house.  So getting back  into the routine is tough.

I go for my 5 (or is it 6?) month check up tomorrow.  They will do another scan of Nugget's heart since she was so camera shy last time.  This is probably the last visit with my doctor here in Charlotte.  I've already contacted a group in Wilmington and have an appointment set up for mid-April.

Keep your fingers crossed on the sale of our house.  We've had it on the market for about 13 days and we've already had 10 showings.  Our realtor tells us there are two potential buyers at the moment, but as of yet no official offers.  One buyer is coming back for a second look on Friday.

PS:  Dave is secure enough in his manhood to openly admit he's a fan of Kelly Clarkson (we've obviously been watching American Idol this evening).  

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Imaginary Nursery

Good folks of this blog, you know we are trying to sell our house and move to the beach for Dave's job.  The only dilemma being we have no idea where we will live when the babies are born.  So how does one decorate a nursery when one has no idea the zip code of said nursery (obviously with a ton of imagination and some severe hope that our house sells this month)?  

On the positive side, a missing zip code will not stop me from creating the nursery of my dreams.  So, here's the world premiere of my imaginary nursery.  We've picked the cribs and some artwork.  

The artwork was found on sale at Anthropologie earlier this year.  I bought two pieces and two additional pieces were Christmas gifts from friends.  The artwork is by Lorena Siminovich (she does fun children illustrations), she did these four collages specifically for Anthropologie (her website is pretty cool www.lorenasiminovich.com).  

As for the bedding, a wonderful friend of mine from college has agreed to make some custom bedding.  Wizard's bedding is inspired by the Owl artwork and Nugget's by the Peacock.  I must admit I finally started getting excited about this imaginary nursery when my friend said she'd make the quilts (God bless talented quilt-making friends)!  Oh, and a shout out to Teppie for suggesting I do custom bedding (she clearly got tired of my complaints about the lack of cool and creative coordinating boy/girl bedding sets).
(imagine two cribs)

Little Nuggest's quilt will have a replica of the Peacock on it.

Little Wizard will have the Owl on his quilt.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Parents In Training (P.I.T.)

As first time parents, it's probably time for Dave and I to get serious and start preparing for the arrival of Wiz and Nug.  Dave's hit the Internet (EBay more specifically) in search of the baby essentials like my favorite childhood book Richard Scarry's Busy, Busy World.  He snagged it for a respectable $45 (some people were paying $150).  

Of course when the book arrived there was a $3.95 sticker on the cover (but really this book is out of print, so we didn't mind the 110% mark up in price).  The one we bought was published the same year Dave was born.  

As for my part in the preparing-for-babies process I've been practicing my bedtime reading skills on our first born children (Lavender and Bailey).  Here's a picture of me in action.  I'm going to make such a good mommy (even if there is a treat hiding in my hand behind the book).

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Fuzzy Math & The Forgotten Month?

How many months pregnant am I?  I'm 21 weeks.  I've got two pregnancy books both of which disagree on what month I'm in.  I say 6 months, but every time I do the math I end up with some extra weeks at the end of the pregnancy.  Here's what I keep coming up with:
    1 - 4 weeks = 1 month
    5 - 8 weeks = 2 months
    9  - 12 weeks = 3 months
    13 - 16 weeks = 4 months
    17 - 20 weeks = 5 months
    21 - 24 weeks = 6 months
    25 - 28 weeks = 7 months
    29 - 32 weeks = 8 months
    33 - 36 weeks = 9 months
    37 - 40 weeks = 10 months

    Does this mean women are pregnant for 10 months but someone forgot to inform society?  I've been trying to take belly photos every month and now wonder what to do at 37 weeks (two 9 month photos?).  

    After some careful Internet research I've found the error of my logic.  Apparently I'm using a lunar calendar to track my pregnancy.  Lunar calendars follow one full moon cycle which is 4 weeks.  While the Georgian calendar, followed by most of humanity, says a month is 4.333 weeks (probably where the 9 months came from).  

    If I calculated my pregnancy using the Georgian calendar my due date would be July 22, 2009--exactly 40 weeks from October 15, 2008.  Which conveniently computes to 9 months (+1 week):
    November 15 = 1 month
    December 15 = 2 months
    January 15 = 3 months
    February 15 = 4 months
    March 15 = 5 months
    April 15 = 6 months
    May 15 = 7 months
    June 15 = 8 months
    July 15 = 9 months (my official due date per doctors)
    Apparently Grandma was right (she often is).  She told me I was 4 months pregnant and I told her I was 6 months pregnant.  We were obviously using different calendars.  So Grandma, you are not losing your mind, I am 4 months pregnant though I feel and look about 6 months pregnant and could possibly be 6 months pregnant if we all started following the lunar calendar.