NEDC’s WEBCAST SERIES CONTINUES

Join NEDC Patient Coordinator Clydene Elkins, RN for a FREE, informative and educational webcast entitled “How To Apply Online If You’d Like to Donate Embryos”.  Clydene will take you step by step through the online application process and discuss what your next steps are.  A good reference for patients who are seeking to donate or adopt embryos as well as medical professionals seeking information for their patients. The webcast starts TODAY at 3:00 Eastern, so if you’d like to attend, head over to www.embryodonation.org/webcast and prepare for an interesting educational experience!

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LUPRON INSOMNIA

A year ago I voluntarily stuck a needle in my stomach for the first time. Yep, I started Lupron…another joy of the pre-transfer process. Because of its amazing ability to cause insomnia, it was probably my least favorite part of the pre-transfer protocol. I don’t think it’s the most common side effect of the drug, but after doing some online research I learned I was not alone. For the period of time that I was on it, which was about three weeks, I don’t think I slept. I would lie awake for hours on end. And when I did sleep for a couple of minutes, my dreams were bizarre. Unfortunately, I cannot hide fatigue, no matter how much concealer I use. Dark circles plagued my face and I felt sorry for anyone who dared cross me during this period of time. I remember thinking that if our September transfer didn’t take, I didn’t know if I could go through with one or two more attempts. I was out of my mind and body and couldn’t stand it. Estrace would soon be added to the mix and I would be even more pleasant to be around. Having Jeremy working third shift probably saved our marriage during this period. I was actually looking forward to my progesterone injections because I knew from taking progesterone after our mock cycle in May that it made me feel more normal.

A year ago we were also anxiously anticipating the birth of my nephew. At the time we didn’t know if he was a boy or a girl and was known only as “Monkey”. Now, eleven months after his birth, Jake is walking and babbling and a lot of fun to be around. On Sunday, Jeremy and I went out with Jake and my brother and sister-in-law on their boat on the Ohio River and had a great time. After dropping anchor in a cove, Jake came in the water with us and I couldn’t help but think that in a year, Grant and Maria could easily be playing in the water with us. Seeing how much Jake has grown and developed over the last eleven months makes me realize just how fast life is going and how soon Grant and Maria will be mobile handfuls. I’ll trade my Lupron insomnia and related fatigue for the craziness of chasing a toddler any day. And while sometimes we struggle with bedtime and only get a full night’s sleep here and there, I’m happy my drug-induced lack of sleep is a thing of the past.

REMEMBER THE SMALL STUFF

This past week was just awesome. Natalie told Brian she loves him for the first time last Monday when he was leaving for work. Then when I was bringing home the twins from church that night I decided to pray aloud in the car for some people who had been on my mind. I want the twins to learn that we pray all the time not just at meal time and bedtime. So I as started praying for these people (I did have a long list), Julian said “Amen,” before I was done. As I looked at the twins in the back seat I saw they were holding hands. It was so sweet. We hold hands to pray at meals, so I guess they thought they should hold hands for this prayer as well. Just when I thought the day could not get any better Julian said, “Mom, church is fun!” That was all in just one day.

On Friday, Julian told Brian that he loves him as Brian was walking out the door to work. So within one week Brian got both the first “I love” out of Julian and Natalie. I have to admit that I would have liked to have at least one of them, but Brian is a great Dad and I am sure my time will come. These are the times that I want to never forget.
When my college roommate told me she is having twins, she knew that I would understand her panic. She already has two and thought she was done, so this came as a shock; a wonderful blessing, but still an adjustment. I can only imagine what she may go through. Thinking about the infant times reminded me of some things I did when I had such a small amount of sleep.

Some of the silly things that I did with lack of sleep include dressing Julian in Natalie’s outfit. At least I did figure it out before we left the house! Another time Brian dropped me off at Wal-Mart to get a few things while he drove around with the twins in the car. When I came out I thought I found our car and proceeded to get in and just as I was about to sit in the front seat, I realized the man in the driver’s seat was not my husband. In fact, he was a different race than Brian. God protected me from more than I can ever imagine, during that time.

Having children is truly a blessing that I am thankful I am getting to experience. These wonderful bundles of joy do come with more work than I ever thought I could possibly do, but God has showed me that with Him all things are possible, even taking care of twins on less than three hours of sleep a night over and over again. Now that they are two I am able to sleep and enjoy them so much more. I also do not mistake my husband for another man!

A GROWING CONCERN

We’ve hit the growth chart! One of our NICU nurses dubbed my milk “boob butter” because of its high caloric content and looks like its working well for Grant and Maria. Grant is tipping the scales at 10 lbs 11 oz and 22 ½ inches long and Maria is now 10 lbs 9.5 oz and 23 inches long. They’ve come a long way from Grant’s 5 lb 12 oz and Maria’s 4 lbs 14 oz when they came home from the hospital at four weeks old. Maria had a huge growth spurt in early July where her cheeks and thighs exploded. Ever since, she’s been neck and neck with Grant. So, for their adjusted age of 2 months they are right in the 50th percentile and for their real age of 4 months they are in the 5-10th percentiles.

We saw a new pediatrician today and really like him. We really liked the other doctor we had been seeing but due to his office location in relation to our house, he recommended someone a little closer to home just for convenience sake. He said if he were us, he would not drive the 30 plus minutes to see him, especially with two babies. This new doctor, like our old one, is supportive of our decision to follow an alternative/delayed vaccination schedule. Some practices won’t even see your children if you make such a choice. Dr. Kamber said they are our children and we have to make the determination of what we feel is in their best interests and I appreciate that very much. One thing he is recommending is that both babies get ultrasounds completed on their hips. Being breech twins puts them at a much higher risk for hip dysplasia and the physical exam doesn’t necessarily catch it. If it’s caught early it’s easily treated in a non-surgical manner. That is scheduled for later this month and prayerfully there will be no problems.

On another note, I employed some yoga in trying to get them to sleep the other night. Jeremy was busy cooking dinner (actually, he was fighting a grill fire) and I was on bedtime duty. While standing and swaying with Grant next to the co-sleeper, Maria started to fuss. I couldn’t take a hand off Grant to pat her because then he would get going and because I like my ability to hear, I had to improvise. I employed some one-legged balance and lifted my leg into the co-sleeper and started to pat her with my foot. This actually worked and she quieted back down and Grant remained quiet as well. Not only has yoga helped me return to my pre-pregnancy body it has now served an important tool in sleepy time. I’m sure it won’t be the last time I get this resourceful.

STAYING FIT

This week is my fourth week sweating through P90X, an intense exercise program. During this time my weight has not gone down, in fact I may have gained a bit. Brian just started a diet, 1200 calories a day, and has lost 11 lbs within 10 days! I have to say that I have not been doing the P90X diet plan just the workouts, so that may be the reason for my lack of weight loss.

It is a miracle from God that I am doing this workout. It is six days a week for an hour or more each workout. When I told my childhood friend, Temple, that I was doing it she could not believe it. She has known me most my life and knows I do not work out and never liked to break a sweat. Well, with P90X I am a puddle of sweat. I pray before and during every workout. So I have to say this is all a God thing that I get through the work outs. I guess I know I need to be concentrating on not eating all the sweets that I so love.

When my Mom first got sick about eight years ago, she gave me the Firm workout because she said that if she died I would be her only child that would not keep in shape. Thanks to my cousin, Heather, I have the P90X program and I hope to get in the best shape of my life. I want to be able to keep up with the twins and be able to do any activity that they want to do; but, most of all live long enough to be their Mom and one day, a very long time from now, be a grandmother who is fit and trim!

LOWING CATTLE

Grant and Maria are 4 months old today and I think it’s safe to say we’ve come a long way. No more tubes and wires coming out everywhere. No more early morning calls to the hospital to see how their night went. No more holding my breath at the daily weight check just praying for a small gain. No more heart rate drops. No more temperature drops. No more of all the little and big things that kept them in the hospital for 4 weeks. It’s all a distant memory. They’ve traded in their chicken legs for ham hocks and have finally graduated out of newborn diapers.

I see how far Jeremy and I have come as well. Jeremy’s patience is growing (or maybe he’s just becoming apathetic). I’m doing better than I ever thought I would without a full 8 hours of sleep at a time. We’ve overcome a rough start with breastfeeding. Lazy (and painful) latching and what felt like continuous nursing is a thing of the past. The hour-long nursing sessions of when they were first home now average about 15 minutes. We’ve learned that no matter how good the afternoon nap was that 7:00 p.m. starts the witching hour at our house and getting them fed and in bed between 7:00 and 8:00 is essential to everyone’s sanity. We’ve learned not to take personally the things that have been said to each other in the middle of the night…better yet, we’ve learned to talk as little as possible during those times. Most importantly, we’ve learned to laugh even when it’s the last thing you want to do. The barnyard antics that go on in the co-sleeper next to us while they fall asleep are no longer frustrating. They grunt and gurgle and do God only know what in the darkness, but Jeremy can roll over and say “the cattle are lowing” and we both laugh as we drift off to sleep.

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BRIGHT LIGHTS, BIG CITY

Karen had invited us to breakfast at their new condo. There has to be at least 10 flights of stairs (yes you read that correctly) to their unit, and we had to walk all the way back down to the street, because we had the wrong building and Brian couldn’t figure from our description where we were. He opened the garage door, and thank God he buzzed us into the elevator for the ride to the 5th floor. Karen made egg sandwiches on English muffins, and we ate these as we enjoyed the view. After we were done, we headed to the tux shop for a fitting, but that was quickly canned because there was only one style and it wasn’t to anyone’s liking. I lucked out on that trip; there was a hobby shop a few doors down that had a cross stitch sampler of a Victorian house at night, and of course I bought it.

I had found a few brochures the day before when we were at Pier 39 in the Tourist info station, and there was one for a guided walking tour of the Victorian houses. I mentioned this to Karen, and asked if she was interested in going with me. If not, I was going to find a time to do it myself. They made a phone call to their friend Alex, who is a docent at the Haas-Lilienthal House. They made arrangements for us to have a private tour over the weekend with him. I’m looking forward to this very much. I love the Victorian houses, and I can’t wait to actually go inside one.

Next we headed across town to the AT&T ball field to see the SF Giants play against the Chicago Cubs. Chad started to lag behind once we reached the Piers on Embarcadero, and we took a ride on a bike taxi the rest of the way. We arrived at the game in the 4th inning with a tied score of 3 – 3. As we took our seats, some one from the Giants hit a home run INTO THE BAY! There are people in the Bay with kayaks and boats to retrieve the balls. There was even two people with inner tubes and a floating cooler! By the end of that inning, they had a Grand Slam which pulled them well into the lead. The Cubs got a couple more runs over the next few innings, and the 9th inning started with a tied score of 7 – 7. Chicago didn’t score that inning, and the crowd went wild as the Giants came up to bat. There were two players on base and someone, I don’t remember the player’s name, hit it out of the park into the stands! I thought it was a home run at first, but Jim said it wasn’t because it had bounced before it went into the stands. Regardless of this fact, it was still very exciting. Everyone was cheering and going wild. I’m not a big baseball fan, but when you attend the game, it is really fun to watch. We had a blast.

We trekked back across the city, purchased Giants t-shirts from a guy who had them laid out on the sidewalk along the Embarcadero, and stopped along the way to pick up a pie for dinner at Karen and Brian’s condo. My in-laws had arrived while we were at the game, and we had plans to spend the evening with them.