Wednesday, March 20, 2013

the loss of our matriarch

last thursday morning, march 14th, i heard from my momma that my grandma had passed away, peacefully and with two of her girls by her side. call me naive, but while i knew she had been sick (and was in her mid-80s), i apparently didn't understand the gravity of the situation. i had selfishly hoped she would hang on until the end of the year. i had imagined my family moving back to oregon and taking at least a couple road trips up to visit her and grandpa after my bubs were born and spending one last thanksgiving with the family like i had almost every year growing up. sadly, none of that happened. but thankfully, she is no longer in pain or discomfort and is up in heaven helping take care of my sweet sofia.

today was her funeral. pregnancy, toddler-hood, husband's work schedule and finances kept me grounded in southern california while much of the family gathered together in central washington to celebrate her life and mourn our loss. i couldn't be there in person, but i was certainly there in spirit. none of them have been far from my mind all week, but especially today.

as i think about my grandma's life and her passing, i'm continually astounded by the number of people affected by this loss. most obviously, my grandpa. they had been married 67 years (wow!). i can't even imagine having my husband of 4.5 years taken away from me and what i would do, let alone after living together and loving one another for 67 years! last november(ish?) he was moved from the house to a memory assistance facility as he is struggling with alzheimers/dementia and she visited him all the time. so now, not only does he no longer have a home to come and visit, he no longer has his partner to come and visit him. in addition, in the last few months as grandma has been sick, my uncle, aunts and mom have been around to help a lot...thus able to visit grandpa with relative frequency too. this will be greatly reduced as well.

then there are her kids - my uncle, two aunts and my mom. they have all been such rocks during all the transition and illness in the past half a year or so...putting their lives on hold at times to go and help their parents. i'm so glad that they are such amazing human beings who all get along and work together, especially when times are rough. and now...their momma is in heaven. i know they are grown and i know she was old, but that still can't be an easy thing to swallow.

and the grandkids...some of us are grown and building families of our own. we are old enough to have many, many great memories of visiting grandma's house and getting to know her. some are a little younger and will not perhaps remember as much as we can. and what about the great grandkids who are younger yet and those yet to be born who will never have the opportunity to meet, know and love her?

and of course her community, her church and her friends. she was so involved and has touched so very many people.

it is absolutely amazing (and beautiful, really) how many people one woman's life can affect. makes me want to be a better person myself.

so...while i pondered all the above and reflected back on my memories, a few things really stood out to me. things that will always remind me of my grandma and of growing up. things that to most may sound insignificant or silly, but will always put a smile on my face...or a tear in my eye depending on the circumstance and my mood. ;)

basements (especially ones with scary "shops" at the foot of the stairs), laundry shoots, ping pong tables, red tricycles, glass door knobs, push button light switches, stilts, croquet, twirly kitchen chairs on wheels, a honey pot on the table, cheerios, cinnamon rolls, gliding rockers, quilts, sewing, thanksgiving, "green" salad, the generations old measuring door, plastic cups full of coke, and the warm, homey slightly sweet smell of her house that every once in a while, depending on what i've recently cooked my house smells like...and when it does, i inhale it with joy and smile.

oh, will be so missed. and you are so loved. rest peacefully and watch over us from above like you always did while you were here on earth. xoxo

july 2010 - nolan 5 months old
thanksgiving 2011 - nolan 21 months
the lovebirds - february 2013
march 7th, 2013 -
one week before gma passed

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

restored faith in toddler humanity

as if i hadn't puked enough during this pregnancy, last week (at 33 weeks pregnant with twins) i got the stomach flu. oh good golly. that was rough. i spent about five days puking, feverish, sleeping, generally feeling like poo, dizzy and experiencing all the other digestive goodness that comes along with the stomach flu. gross. i was in the hospital one evening for four bags of IV fluid for dehydration and a shot of something to stop early labor contractions. then it was followed up by a couple of days of the worst heartburn that i think may exist on the planet. all in all, it was really not awesome.

meanwhile, my husband entertained or organized entertainment (thank you to my dad and rog, my mil, our sweet neighbor and a couple servers at sonoma wine garden) for nolan so i could rest. the upside: i got to rest. the downside: nolan doesn't seem to come out of these mom-is-out-of-commission phases very well at all. there is a lot of yelling, screaming, anger, hitting, tantrums, throwing and general discontent. apparently it is rough to be three and have your world (even temporarily) turned upside down. i fear this doesn't bode well for the arrival of two new babies...errr....doh.

for the first couple days of my feeling "better," i still had very low energy and felt generally gross, so though i was "on duty," i was not my normal mommy self. i was tired. i felt dizzy and a little nauseous still and my patience was paper thin. combine that with toddler-hood rearing its ugliest head and things get really nasty, really fast. i will always love my little guy, but man...i did not like him much right then.

and then...there was today.

he was sweet and loving. he gave hugs and kisses. he listened. he helped me unload the groceries from the car and laid down for diaper changes all on his own. he didn't throw anything at fact, he didn't throw anything at all (miracle). he didn't yell or scream. he didn't hit me. it was exactly what i needed. i had been in a rough space and was crying all the time and dreading the arrival of my new bundles for fear of what it would do to him. and just in time, he showed me a glimpse of the sweetness that is within him.  i know that it isn't going to be like this everyday and that we will surely have more rough patches, but today, he restored my faith in toddler humanity...if even just for a minute. thank all that is good.

our one rough patch was at the grocery store when he refused to ride in the cart any longer (which of course had to be the "car" cart that is huge and ridiculous to maneuver around) and wasn't listening when given the chance to walk. half way into our grocery journey, i was hearing, "mommy, up, please," which is really not an option at this point. luckily, i had remembered the ergo (which i haven't worn since i've been pregnant) and managed to finagle him into it on my back. and away we went. over nine pounds of twins (plus all the other weight of two placentas and two amniotic sacs) in the front and nearly 35 pounds of toddler in the back...four bodies walking through the store on two legs. whew. luckily, we made it.

the girls 33 weeks 6 days (combined weights of over 9#)
nolan 3 years and about 35#
my attempt at a full effect pic. :)

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

finding/using my voice.

32+5...all bebe
as you can see...belly is preeeeeeeettttyyy straight out from the front. haha. ( no mind to the mugshot expression. it had been a long morning) ;)

my sweet baby a (32+5) with the cord covering her face a bit. baby b was camera shy. has been a long time...august 2012 was my last post. well, a whole lot has happened, but i have no time for updates now. it is suffice to say that the last time i posted, i had no babies in my belly and now i am nearly 33 weeks pregnant with twin little gals.

the first 20 weeks were hell. i was literally walking (on a good day) dead. to the ER for the day once and a five day stay in the hospital a week later. gross. weeks 20-24ish were slightly better. i was finally off my anti-nausea medications, but still pretty out of it. then i felt good for about one month, which was awesome, but short lived. from about 28/29 weeks until now (and i'm sure as we continue) has been rough again in its own way. low energy, uncomfortable, anxious, nauseous at night...yadda, yadda. when i was pregnant with nolan, i was walking a minimum of three miles daily up until the day i went into labor. i can barely walk the 500 yards down the street to the park without contracting. it is a whole different ball game. and not necessarily a fun game at that.

anyway...this pregnancy has been a HUGE lesson in a) figuring out what i need, b) letting go, c) asking for help and most recently, d) using my voice to express my feelings/opinions/desires/wants when it comes to this pregnancy.

seems like a, b, and c are probably pretty self explanatory and to save time and energy, i will just hope to remember them when i re-read this someday and will focus on d: using my voice. namely in regards to the fact that this is my body and these are my babies, thus...i should be a key player in the decisions being made. thank you. the end. ok...not really...i'm much to chatty for that the be the end of the post, just the end of that particular summed up point. now comes the most recent story/ies.

if you know me much at all, you should be able to easily assume that there is no way on the planet that i was going to have a c-section simply because these bubs are two and not one. thus begins my journey of figuring out how to best assist my body and the girls to move into the most ideal positions. a little more than a month ago, i had an ultrasound that showed they had both turned breech (heads up, feet down)...while there are docs that will deliver breech babies, mine isn't one of them (and insurance is king, isn't it? boo). if they stayed breech (in spite of ALL my to-be efforts that range in level of crazy from totally normal to a pretty nuts), i would have pretty much zero option other than a c-section. don't get me wrong, i am very thankful that c-sections exist for situations in which they are 100% indicated. i just don't believe that is or has been the case with me at any points in the past 33 weeks.

lucky for me...and thanks to a lot of talking to the girls, positive thoughts, praying, listenting to hypnobabies affirmations, essentially standing on my head (a la: and help from the most amazing chiropractor ever with the biggest heart i've ever seen (maura, i'm eternally indebted to you for all your hard work and love) they have turned and stayed turned for the last four-ish weeks (if they decide to flip again, i assure you, i'll get much, much wackier than the above to try to turn them)! crisis averted (at least for a time). however, during the time between the breech ultrasound and the head down ultrasound, you best believe in addition to my spinning efforts, i was researching the sh-- out of breech births and trying to figure out what my game plan was gonna be if they didn't turn. i pretty much didn't sleep for three days.

once they turned, i thought..."yes! as long as they stay, i'm home free!". well, possibly not so much. i guess technically i won't know a whole lot more until my next ob appointment next week, but my most recent appointment with him ended with a bit of a confusion looming over it. babes looked great. position still great, but as we wrapped up, i said i had many questions regarding delivering the girls vaginally. he said, "let's talk about that a little later when it is more certain...because i have a lot of opinions".

 uh...ok. i was a little baffled and wasn't sure what to say. it took me a minute to arrange my thoughts and let that sink in and try to figure out what it meant and by that time, he was walking out the door. so as he went i said, "well, i hope they align with my opinions..." and that was that.

commence freakout. what are his opinions? is there something that he isn't "going to let me do" that i want to? am i not going to get the natural, gentle, vaginal birth i want even though the girls are in the right places? i called my go-to girl (thanks, kari), talked to anthony, called my doula, posted the situation on a facebook group that i'm a part of made up of moms of multiples (or expecting mamas of multiples) who have had/want natural births, messaged a lovely midwife friend and researched like a mad woman.

some of the advice i received was the same, some differed a bit, but it was all incredibly useful. one piece of advice that was hard for me to swallow at first because it didn't give me the hard and fast answer that i wanted was this, "maybe this IS how its supposed to go, you know? so that you can really find your voice in this and hear the truth that is moving through you. you are the one who will be giving birth to these ladies and they have chosen you as their mother. you will find your way and they will help you". wowsa. this wise, wise mama could not have been more right.

i was also given advice that helped me get out of my head, into my heart and onto paper. what ended up happening is that through my research and soul searching, i realized that the "questions" that i had for my ob were not questions at all. they are in fact my hard and fast desires for how this delivery will go and now, backed up with research (because that's just how i am), i feel confident that there is no reason that i shouldn't have it MY WAY (obviously unless there are emergency circumstances as things progress...which clearly there will not be). instead of writing out those "questions," i wrote out my birth plan. and i wrote it out with strength, confidence and oodles of conviction. i no longer have to stew over everything for the time between my appointments, i feel so free! i have found my voice, y'all.

and i got to use that voice again today. practice makes perfect, you know. ;) i visited my perinatologist and again, babies look great. they are still in the same "favorable" positions and perfect size. baby a is 4#10 oz and baby b is 4#9 oz, measuring exactly right for their gestational age. i should note, that also means that i have 9oz more baby in me now at just shy of 33 weeks as i did when i delivered nolan at 40 weeks, 1 day (8#10oz)...woah! my belly doesn't feel all squishy at all. i passed my glucose test (weeks ago) with flying colors and i've only gained 21# from my pre-pregnancy weight (after gaining back the 15# i lost in the beginning). amniotic fluid levels were apparently a little higher than ideal, so she recommended that i re-take the glucose test.

now...if you have never been a pregnant mama, you may not know how much of a pain that stupid test is. first, you have to drink this nasty, nasty sugar drink all chuck full of disgusting things that i don't normally want in my body in the first place. then you have to have your blood drawn and then you get to feel like crap all day because of said nasty sugar drink. i was not super pleased about her recommendation, but my first response was, "gee, that sucks. ok. i'll go next door to the ob's office when i leave to get the nasty drink so i can be re-tested at my appointment next week". and i did just that. then i got home, talked to anthony and re-thought all the points that i mentioned above that point to pretty much zero possibility of me having gestational diabetes and decided to call my doc. he called me back a few hours later informing me that he felt that re-taking the test was unnecessary. phew. had i not spoke up, i would have gone through all that yuck for nothing.

i'm feeling my voice getting stronger and stronger. what's next, docs? bring it on...but let me think about things for a minute before i have to make any decisions because i may have to remind myself again to listen to my body, my babies and my heart.