Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Doctors & Nurses Part II

Doctors & Nurses Part II

We call the head of the perinatal practice “Dr. Lyle,” after my high school geometry teacher, because he looks like Mr. Lyle, although Mr. Lyle was not the sharpest tool n the shed and you get the feeling that Dr. Lyle is.  But they’re both big and lumbering and they put you at ease: Mr. Lyle because you knew he’d give you an A (unless you were a boy; boys had to show their work); Dr. Lyle because he says things like, “I think you’re gonna be fine.  In fact, you can go home today if you want.”

He also said things like “In my experience, bedrest makes people depressed,” and “I think 24/7 monitoring at this stage is overkill.”

“Dr. Whipple” was the next doctor we saw.  He’s the first doctor we met, the one who’s looking to get us to the 34 – 36 week range.  This is the guy that delivered his first pair of mono-mono twins on his birthday twenty years ago.  He also has twins of his own, four years old, who were born at 34 weeks.  Dr. Whipple recommended something in the middle: stay on this side of the Labor and Delivery ward in my comfy little private room until week 28, just to see how my insufficient cervix is holding up.  Maybe I’d go home after that; we’d see.  We’ll continue bio-physical profiles three times a week and still monitor the twins via ultrasound twice a day.  And then he revoked my walking privileges. 

So Dr. Whipple’s our man.  He’ll write up a plan and the other doctors will follow it. 

Week 28 is January 17 – so that’s the date we’re looking at for a possible return home.

This is a short post so I thought I might include some of the requests I’ve had for blog material.  They are: a haiku, FOML, and a Bryan family movie quote.  Actually, the requests were for a haiku, FOML reference and movie quote for every post, and no guarantees on that one, but here’s a start:

The fruit of Matt’s loins
Are now in week twenty-five
Yea!  My heart is glad

I’ll have to pass on the movie quote.  I can’t think of anything remotely contextual except for: “I’ll have the California health plate.  No dairy in that, eh?”

© 2010 Janine Kovac 

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Doctors & Nurses

Doctors & Nurses

She came to me on Christmas Eve, much like Jacob Marley (who I think technically called on the 23rd)—my favorite nurse, (we’ll call her “Marleyanne”).  She’s the one who gives the knitting lessons. 

She stood at the foot of my bed and her voice lowered.

“During your stay, one of the doctors will give you the option of going home.  Don’t take it.”

Huh?  What?  Really?  Why?

And then she was gone.

“You’re better off in here than you are out there,” the nurses keep telling me.  Which is exactly what Karen Hill says to Henry in the movie Goodfellas when she’s visiting him in prison.

“Karen, Karen!  They can whack me in here just as easily as they can out there!  Maybe even easier.”  Then he convinces her to keep smuggling him Quaaludes and salami and promises to never see his mistress again.

But I digress.

So who was this doctor?  Initially I thought Nurse Marleyanne was talking about the on-call doctor we saw the first night.  We’ll call him “Dr. Spaceman” ala 30 Rock (pronounced “spa-chem-en”). 

If you’ve never seen the show 30 Rock, Dr. Spaceman is the Hollywood doctor who says wacky things like, “Science is whatever we want it to be!” and “Would you like some [pills] before you go?  I’ve got reds, blues, purples.”

Our Dr. Spaceman said things like “I don’t see why you need to have a C-section just because the umbilical cords might get entangled.  You’ll want an epidural of course, because I might have to reach in and grab the second one.”  And then he made this very startling extended reaching and pulling gesture.

He said some interesting things, too (that actually made sense).  Like, “more monitoring isn’t necessarily better.  The more you look, the more you find and a lot of that stuff is meaningless.  But it usually leads to more interventions and all interventions carry risks.”

But Dr. Spaceman isn’t part of the High Risk Perinatal group that treats me.  That means Nurse Marleyanne was talking about someone else.

I knew she wasn’t talking about Dr. Q.  Dr. Q. worked Christmas Eve and Christmas.  

I like Dr. Q.  All the nurses do, too.  But Dr. Q. is recommending that I go to the Labor and Delivery ward at 26 weeks for 24/7 monitoring of the twins.  This is in the event that if an umbilical cord gets crimped, the monitors should catch it right away.  If the cord is truly crimped, then the doctors will have about 6 minutes to do an emergency C-section and pull out the babies. 

A crimped umbilical cord is the single element that makes the MonoMono twin situation a DEFCON 4 pregnancy.  It is not inevitable that a cord will get crimped, in fact, it is very likely that it will never happen.  But it is also not predictable or preventable and no one can promise that it won’t happen, just as no one can promise that you will never get in a car accident. 

Going to L&D is a big deal.  And going at 26 weeks, (especially if I am trying to hold out until 35 weeks) will be a miserable ordeal.  It means that I will be in a labor bed (terribly uncomfortable) even though I will never go into labor.  It means that every time the monitor can’t pick up one of the twins, someone will come in and adjust the ultrasound.  Keep in mind that right now I get monitored twice a day.  The twins are so small and move around so much that of every hour of monitoring, there are probably only twenty good minutes of both twins’ heartbeats. 

When I talk to the nurses, they all smile say the same thing.  “Dr. Q?  Oh, he’s great.”  When I tell them of his recommendation, they get very silent, purse their lips and drift back from me a little bit.  “It’s not respite,” they all say in a very low you-didn’t-hear-it-from-me voice.  Once, when two nurses were adjusting the ultrasound, chasing the Red Baby, one nurse said to the other (as if I weren’t there), “Dr. Q wants her to go to L&D next week.”  The other nurse looked down at me and said, “No sleep.”

So that’s the word from Dr. Q.  He has gently recommended that I talk to the neo-natalogist from the NICU (it’s a pediatrician for preemies) and each time she has come down I have sent her back up again.  One excuse was that I was tired.  Another time I said I wanted my husband to be here with me, as he would have more questions.  The third time she tried I said that I didn’t feel comfortable talking about this in front of Chiara (all true).  She tried her best to pretend not to look offended but still give the message that she had been put out.

I told Dr. Q, “I don’t want to see what a 24 week preemie looks like.  To me it’s like looking at a car wreck; it’s not going to help me be a safer driver.”

Dr. Q. nodded and half smiled and said, “Some people just want to know what they might be in for.”

“I’ll go back in a few weeks and see what a 28 week preemie looks like.  But not now.”

Of course my favorite doctor is Dr. Strawberry.  She was the first doctor I saw when I got here.  I hadn’t been admitted yet, but I had been on the monitors, so the first thing she did was take off her shoes and crawl onto the bed next to me.  After handing me a “favorite toy” and giving me a big hug, and she took the elastic belts and carefully laid them along my belly.

“Here are your ribbons, Miss Janine,” she said as she gently patted my leg.  “Everything’s going to be just fine, Miss Janine.  You’re going to be just fine.”

Unfortunately, “Dr. Strawberry,” as she calls herself, isn’t very qualified.  She’s barely in preschool and this is only her second trip into a hospital since she left one wrapped in a blanket nearly three years ago.  But she has a great bedside manner.  Unless she doesn’t get her nap.  Then she’s kinda cranky.

There are other doctors, but if I told you about them now, what would you read tomorrow?

© 2010 Janine Kovac 

I'll Be Home For President's Day . . .

I was going to include all the technical info in this post and forego the pithy stuff altogether since that was the original intent of the blog and quite frankly, for a while there, I was all out of pith. 
But things are changing SOOOO quickly, that yesterday’s news is so, well, yesterday. 

Here’s what I thought wouldn’t change when I started writing this post just yesterday: I am in the hospital to stay until the twins are born.  This has put a funny spin on it because of course, I want to be pregnant as long as possible and so I am embracing the idea of a long hospital stay.

The Peas are doing really great.  In our bio-physical ultrasound yesterday (we will be doing 3 of these thorough ultrasounds a week now), they scored 8 out of 8.  I didn’t score so well.  The ultrasound showed lots of contractions and a little more dilation than Tuesday’s measurements.  Contractions are normal (at this stage they are just your Braxton Hicks variety) and twin moms experience more contractions than singles, but that’s still too much action for comfort.  Pair an “excited” uterus (as it is called) with an incompetent cervix and suddenly it’s like they’re the Keystone Cops of the Birth Canal, bumbling and stumbling and egging each other onward: the frequent muscle contractions of the uterus encourage the cervix to open which apparently is very exciting if you are a uterus.

So they put my uterus on downers (indocin – the opposite of pitocin) which will continue for another day.  This seems to have done the trick.  Twice a day the twins’ heartbeats and my uterine contractions are measured by ultrasound (without the visuals), and according to the last two readouts, my uterus is, like, totally stoned, dude.  It has literally flatlined.  Which is good because it means they will take out the magnesium sulfate IV, which means I get to take a shower.  God Bless Us, Every One!

So far we have had:

  • Two steroid shots to help with lung development (betamethasone).  If I am still pregnant four weeks from now, they will give me two more.  (insert Barry Bonds placenta joke from Fat Shari post here)

  • Nearly three days of magnesium sulfate drip.  This is to stop contractions (the efficacy of which is disputed) and help reduce the incidence of cerebral palsy in preemies.  Side effects include: feeling warm (which means that my room must be an icebox), dizziness, weak legs, blurred vision, headaches, crankiness, and dangerous retention of liquids.  Luckily, all I feel is warmth (which could be my own sentiment) and crankiness (which could be attributed to not having showered in a while).

  • H1N1 vaccine, the mercury free variety

  • One pair anti-embolism stockings designed to help circulation by cutting it off.  Matt calls them “tourniquet socks.” 

  • Stool softener and lots of prune juice.  (Really, Janine, nobody wants to know about that one.  Nobody.)

Other fun stuff:

Twice a day for thirty minutes to an hour we get ultrasound readings of Peas and The Excited Uterus.  There are two ultrasound that look like “microphones,” one for each of the Peas and one “Toco” for me.  Mine is set at a frequency to pick up muscle contractions.  The Peas’ ‘phones pick up heartbeats and movements.  Because the Peas are still so tiny, this is quite tricky.  Sometimes both Pea microphones detect the same heartbeat, even though they (both sensors and peas) are on opposite sides of the belly.  The heartbeats are constantly fluctuating from 125 beats a minute to as much as 171 (although the tight range is closer to 135 – 150).  This fluctuation literally happens from beat to beat (partially a function, or dysfunction, rather, of the equipment.  It just can’t keep up.)  So while my heart beat readout reads like: 88 . . . 91 . . . 89…..The Peas are closer to: flicker, flicker, 141 . 125 . 131 . 151 . 144 . 122 flicker, flicker.

If the two ultrasound readings are consistently about two beats apart, then they are picking up the same heartbeat.  Sometimes—often times—one reading is completely blank.  Usually this means that the baby is moving, which is actually better than picking up a heartbeat, because if itsa movin’, itsa beatin’.  Doctors like it when the babies move a lot.  Nurses don’t.  It means that they still have to stick around, angling the sensor this way and that until Red Baby stops moving (it is ALWAYS the Red Baby, Baby B).  Further confirmation of babies’ movement is a fourth line on the readout and very often the blank spots on the heartbeat axis are complemented by thick black streaks representing Red Baby’s Dance Along the Uterine Wall. 

Three times a week (starting yesterday) I will go in for the ultra-deluxe bio-physical profile ultrasound.  This is the ultrasound where the twins get graded.  Umbilical cords are checked for crimping and bloodflow and that kind of thing.  On Thursdays they will also take a cervix measurement.  Shortening cervixes are signs of labor BUT sometimes the cervix can lengthen and shorten, widen and tighten.  This is called a “dynamic cervix,” and this is the outcome we are all hoping for.  (So much better than being “incompetent” or “insufficient”)  A dynamic cervix means that this week’s measurements are simply snapshots in the dance and now that the uterus is no longer excited, the cervix is just kinda dancing by herself in the corner, like me at my friend Amy’s wedding.  Or come to think of it, every wedding I ever went to before I met Matt.

Tuesday and Thursday are massage days and once a week a physical therapist is supposed to stop by to move my legs around so they don’t atrophy (tourniquet socks can only do so much for circulation).

Wednesday is support group day.  I haven’t been yet, but I think all the moms pregnant with 20-something weekers gather ‘round and either we feel sorry for ourselves or we walk away (roll away; I think we are all in wheelchairs) thinking, “Geez.  At least I don’t have it as bad as THAT poor nut.”  And I think we learn how to knit, too.  (I’m not joking about this.  One of the nurses feels very strongly about teaching American mothers the lost art of knitting and she figures that a captive audience is an easy target).

As far as stuff that won’t change, the doctor who is the head of the high risk pregnancy practice has stopped by this morning (Saturday, the day after Christmas) and doesn’t think I need three bio-physical ultrasounds a week.  He has cancelled this morning’s BPP (as we call them here on the inside) and prescribed a progesterone suppository to stop the cervix from dancing.  Oh, and he thinks that I could go home if I wanted. 

How’s that for a cliffhanger?

© 2010 Janine Kovac 

Thursday, December 24, 2009

I'll Be Home For Christmas

I’ll Be Home For Christmas . . .

Week 24 is here and with it comes the reminders as to why we started this blog in the first place.  It wasn’t to get all cutesy and share adorable news about Chiara (such as, within a week of moving to the next classroom at daycare she started singing, “Shake your boom-bas, shake your boom-bas” while dancing naked in front of the mirror).  No, it wasn’t for that; it was to let friends and family know what was going on during times when we had news to share but wouldn’t be able to call everyone and give them the update.

We kinda forgot about that this last month or so, mostly because we were in that blissful place where there wasn’t much I could do but take naps and eat triple cream goat cheese.  And so I let my inner Erma Bombeck get the best of me.

But then we had our 24 week checkup.

Here’s the skinny:

(Well, none of us is skinny.)  I have passed my max weight with Chiara by 8 pounds.  The twins are a pound and a half apiece, which puts them squarely in the 50th percentile when compared to lonely singletons.  They are moving a lot and I thought I was crazy to think that I can tell them apart when they kick but then I came away from the ultrasound convinced that it affirmed what I had already intuited: Baby A (to me, the blue baby) is head down on the lower left side and Baby B (the red baby) is transverse with a preference for having his toward the right, although he has been known to flip.  The twins are doing great.

Repeat, the twins are doing great.

Mom is feeling great.  But she’s sick of being pregnant and her body is starting to reflect that.  Had she been carrying only 1 kid, her doctor at yesterday’s ultrasound would have sent her home with orders of bedrest.

But she’s carrying two kids, so he sent her to the hospital instead.  We had been meaning to do a tour of the Labor and Delivery ward, anyway. 

“Can we go home first?”

“Do you have a bag packed?”


“Then you better just go.”

Ah.  So we did.  We checked into the hospital. Five hours later, we saw the doctor.

Which is actually a good thing.  When you are 24 weeks pregnant, and you go to a place where new little people are dropping into the world at unexpected times in unexpected ways, you want to be a low priority.  You want to be the one the doctors keep forgetting about.  You want to be just above “answer text message from wife.”  It’s their way of letting you know that they don’t expect any new little people to drop out of you any time soon.

* * * * *

We got settled right away, however.  In fact, I was in a hospital gown resting in my own private room flipping through movie channels before they had even begun the admission process.*  Bed rest was the important thing to have, so bed rest is what I got.

* BTW - admission takes FOREVER.  First there are the questions about your insurance and where they can come find you if your insurance arbitrarily decides not to cover any of your health needs.  Then there are questions about health history—surgeries, allergies, regrettable romantic relationships—for you, your parents, your spouse, your cousins’ spouses, their parents and then there are some bonus questions about some randomly picked T.V. personality, like Alex Trebec, which I assume is thrown in for extra credit.  There are questions about religious preferences, dietary preferences, and some geography questions (which are a bit tricky if you don’t know all your Russian provinces).  Then there are the legal forms, of course, which all say, “The party of the first clause hereby known as the party of the first clause and the party of the second clause hereby known as the party of the second clause” . . . which is followed by the Sanity Clause, and of course, this being Christmas, and all of you —being Marx Brothers fans or at least savvy Google searchers—know that there is no Sanity Clause. Ba-dum-pum-pum!!!  After they do the legal part (and I am not joking about this) they ask how you best understand and remember information.  Written?  Oral?  Combination?  There were two other choices, but I forgot what they were because the questions were given orally and I am “written” learner.  (Check my file)

I think I’ll put all the technical info in a separate blog post.  For this post, I’d like to just put everyone at ease.

Everything is fine, I’m just in here for a bit so they can take some further precautions to make sure that everything stays fine.  I am not experiencing any kind of early labor, but I do have what they call an insufficient cervix (it used to be called an "incompetent" cervix, but that got scrapped in favor of the less judgmental, but still accurate “insufficient” cervix.  I am totally on board with this one.  I think I would burst into tears if a doctor told me that I might deliver early because my cervix was incompetent.  It’s tantamount to having a moron for a uterus.)

How long is “a bit?”  Yeah, we’re not sure about how long that is.  It’s like the DoctorSpeak equivalent of your Mom’s “we’ll see.”  As Cathy, Matt’s sister, mentioned to me, [some] doctors like to give you time to wrap your head around these things, so, “at least until Christmas” turned into “at least until next Monday” which was followed by lots of lovely anecdotes about pregnant women like me who walked into the Black Hole of Bed Rest and emerged three months later. 

Yes, we will be here for Christmas.  Luckily, they have a open door policy for visitors.  Spouses are welcome any time.  There’s even a chair that pulls out into a bed.  Matt spent the night here last night (Tuesday) and will again tonight (Wednesday).  (Jason & Caitlin stayed with Chiara so that he could do that.  Special thanks, guys.) 

And the hospital allows kids to visit, too! 

(This is not the case at all hospitals.  In fact, I have it on good authority that it is not the case at certain hospitals in St. Paul, LA, Columbus and Tampa.  Because of the H1N1 scare, in many hospitals children under five cannot visit.  When we asked our hospital about their visitor's policy and H1N1 they looked at us kinda funny.  They thought we were asking because perhaps our daughter had H1N1.  And for the record, those children may not visit the Labor and Delivery ward.)

Our doctor suggested that Chiara become as comfortable as possible in my room, even going as far as making a nest for her in the corner if she wants to stay the night.  Which was my first clue that I wasn’t getting out of here any time soon.

I’m kind of OK with the whole deal for now, including the prospect of spending both Christmas and New Years in here.  It isn’t until I think of the song that I get all choked up:

I’ll be home for Christmas
You can count on me
And . . . things that blow?
And presents under the tree

I was in my 20’s going through yet another Christmas away from home before I realized John Denver doesn’t make it home; it’s only in his dreams.

It's that last line that makes me really bawl.  (Although, to be fair, I also cry uncontrollably at the bridge of “Frosty the Snowman.”  My dancer friends can back me up on this.  This was quite problematic the year I was in a show with a tap dancing Frosty.)

So tomorrow (Thursday) is Christmas Eve.  Matt and Chiara are going to get a little plastic Walgreen’s tree and put it in the corner.  We’re going to make ornaments out of Chiara’s “art” projects that I don’t really want to keep but can’t bring myself to throw out.  If I can’t be home for Christmas, home will just have to come to me.

Merry Christmas, everybody!

© 2010 Janine Kovac 

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Survivor Mom

Survivor Mom

This post is dedicated to Amy and all my other baseball fan friends

As I was saying last time, this time is different.  This time, the thought of the unexpected is exciting.  It’ll be like the urban version of Survivor Man, the show where they drop this guy into some ferocious wilderness with nothing but a videocamera and a bottle cap and he has to survive the week. 

If you’ve ever seen the show, you know what happens. The guy takes his bottle cap and carves out a teepee from wet bark and then uses it (pick your antecedent—either the bottle cap or the wet bark—they both work) to trap quail, rabbit and small fish.  The teepee blows over on Day 2 and none of the food he catches turns out to be edible.  On Day 4, sweating and shivering and cross-eyed from delirium, he looks into the camera and admits defeat.  He’s going to call on the emergency phone.  (Wait!  He has an emergency phone?  Isn’t that cheating?)  And then he passes out from dehydration.

But on Day 5, the sun comes out.  And Survivor Man realizes that the maggots feeding on the flesh of the small and dead woodland creatures are chock full of protein.  And then he sees that he can dry out the animal carcasses in the sun and build a new teepee.  Survivor Man does it again!

This is how I picture the next five to seven months.  Like Survivor Man, who just has to last out the week, I just have to last long enough to make it to Cousin-O-Rama on Labor Day weekend.  Even if it means that Matt has lost most of his hair and mine has all turned grey.  I call it Survivor Mom. 

Except that I won’t go at it alone.  Matt will be there.  Chiara will be there (granted, she is limited in her abilities but she will be able to say things like, “Mama!  Quick!  Chester’s rolling down the stairs!”).  And we will get help.  Lots and lots of live-in help. 

Pretty soon I will start shamelessly recruiting 5 months’ worth of family and friends to come stay with us and be part of the madness.  (email me if you have some dates in mind)

Can’t you hear it?  “If you build it, they will come.”

What have we built?  We bring you twin boys.  Not just any twin boys, but the fruit of Matt’s loins.  They will be big.  They will be strong.  They will eat wallpaper.  Come witness the madness for yourself.

Will they have the same cry?  Will they have the same eating schedules?  Will they sleep most soundly sucking on each other’s toes? 

Will you be able to tell them apart?

Most importantly, will you be able to last the week?

Will you fly in on Monday, brightly armed with a videocamera and a bottle warmer prepared to make a meal and do the occasional 2 a.m. feeding only to find yourself in inhospitable territory-- there's me, walking around in a daze in a nightgown (someone else’s nightgown, you realize).  Inside the boys’ room BPA-free teethers and organic cotton burp clothes fly around like that scene from Poltergeist.  Meanwhile, Chiara is at the top of the stairs swaying back and forth: “They’re heeeeeeeeeer-eeeeer.” 

You open the fridge and realize that the Kovacs have been eating recyclable cardboard and lead-free Melissa and Doug wooden picnic food.  All the furniture is covered in spit up and baby snot.

"What’s that smell?" you ask.

Matt is nowhere to be found.  Later you discover that he’s passed out (again) in the diaper aisle of a Whole Foods somewhere in the Bay Area.  In one hand he’s clutching a carton of Luna bars.  In the other, compostable baby wipes.  They found him (again) by following the trail of leaked Pedialyte.

Will your inner Mary Poppins come out and save the day?  Or will you call home on Day 4, shivering and sweating, covered in projectile baby fluids and admitting defeat?

You don’t know.  But I know you.  You HAVE to come and see.  At least long enough to find out what happens on Day 5. 
Can’t you hear it?  It’s Darth Vader’s voice from Field of Dreams : “Ray, people will come Ray.  They'll come to Oakland for reasons they can't even fathom.  They'll turn up your driveway not knowing for sure why they're doing it.  They'll arrive at your door as innocent as children, longing for the past.  Of course, we won't mind if you look around, you'll say.  People will come, Ray. . .  The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been babies.  America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers.  It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again.  But babies have marked the time.  This nursery, this game: it's a part of our past, Ray.  It reminds of us of all that once was good and it could be again.  Oh... people will come Ray.  People will most definitely come.” 

© 2010 Janine Kovac 

Saturday, December 12, 2009



Nothing new to report.  Tomorrow starts Week 23.  We are two-thirds of the way there.  I was supposed to have an ultrasound this Friday, Dec 18th, but we were able to switch it to next Tuesday, Dec. 22nd.  So now our ultrasound and checkup are only a week apart, rather than 11 days apart.  (The doctors like the ultrasound and regular checkup to be as close together as possible, but because of the holidays, there are fewer scheduling options.  Our next regular appointment is December 29th).

When I was pregnant with Chiara, people would ask me if I was excited.  I hated that question.  In fact, that’s when I stopped answering the phone, which has been on vibrate ever since. 

Last time around, I just didn’t know what to expect with a baby, so it was hard to be excited.  When we got our first box of baby hand-me downs from Jeff & Liz (not their real names), I had to stop halfway through the sorting.  Somewhere in my belly was a thing that would fit into these clothes.  Were they tiny or huge?  I couldn’t tell.  So I put the box in a corner and cried instead.

Then there was the Internet search for doula information.  There was page after page after page of mother this/mother that, mother mother mother.  And I thought, “What does my mother have to do with any of this?  When does it get to be about me?”  That’s when I realized that it was all about me.  I was the mother they were talking about.  So I shut down my computer, sat in the corner on top of a box of tiny huge clothes and cried some more.

There were other things to cry about: like realizing that there is no space of time between when the kid is born and when you have to take care of her.

To be fair, there were some things to laugh about (things that wouldn’t be so funny now).  Like, during our newborn care class when we had to give mouth to mouth to a plastic doll.  We were instructed to tap the baby’s foot and say, “Baby!  Baby!  Can you hear me?”  (OK – that still makes me laugh).  And we laughed when Matt, in his performance of the Baby Heimlich Maneuver, would whack the doll on the back of the head and let its forehead smack on the table.  (Less funny now).  And then there was the time we had to dress the resuscitated doll and Matt managed to get half the shirt on right side out and the other half on inside out.  I laughed so hard (and so loud) the teacher had to stop the class. 

But this time is different.  I am SOOOO excited.  I can’t wait.  This time when I opened the box of hand-me-downs from Jeff and Liz (still not their real names), and sorted through the clothes that had gone from them to us, back to them, to Jeff’s buddy from high school and back to us, (are those just hand-me-backs?) I oohed and aaahed and found a little drawer for them. 

This time around, I don’t even think we are going to take newborn care classes.  For one thing, I plan on being too sleep deprived to be able retrieve any newly acquired information and for another, if it’s stuff I already know, why take a class on it?

This time, it’ll be different. 

And that’s where we’ll have to stop for today.  I always write these epic blog posts and I have realized that all the cool kids write short and pithy posts.  So you’ll just have to wait until tomorrow to see how I envision life with a preschooler* and newborn twins.

* I know she’s not in preschool yet but somehow I can’t call someone who reminds me to take my vitamins a toddler.

So much for short posts.

© 2010 Janine Kovac 

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

More Than Halfway There!

More Than Halfway There!!!

I had my 20-week checkup and ultrasound this week.  There was a little bit of drama, like when I called the office at 9:05 a.m. to see if they could move my appointment from 3 p.m. that day to sometime earlier. 

“Actually,” said the receptionist, “I show that your appointment was this morning at 9.”

Oh *%^$#!&*(&@!

I hung up her, changed out of my pajamas and left the house seven minutes later (but not before grabbing an apple, a banana, a tub of yogurt and a piece of homemade bread).  Good thing my mother and stepdad are visiting this week to take care of Chiara.  Otherwise I don’t know what I would have done with her.  “Stay here in the closet, I’ll be back in 90 minutes.  You’ll be fine.”

But that was really the only excitement we had.  I saw the doctor, the head of the prenatal practice, who was wonderfully reassuring.  My weight is up; my blood pressure is down (112 over 68.  Or is it 68 over 112?).  Two heartbeats, check.  OK – come back in four weeks.

The next day we had our ultrasound.  The Peas are too big for us to see both entire bodies in the same shot.  But we saw a bunch of parts. 

At one point we saw a perfect profile of a face.  And then over the chin, a knee.  Over the nose, a shin.  Over the forehead, an ankle and a little foot that repeatedly kicked his brother in the head.  It was magical.

The very best part is that both twins are exactly the same size, measuring at 347 grams and 349 grams respectively.  When I told my brother, the one who works for the Justice department, he said, “Oh.  So that’s about a little less than a pound each.”  (He’s right: it’s about 13 ounces.)  I was so impressed with his conversion skills he felt obligated to explain: “I know because methamphetamine is measured in grams and then we have to convert it ounces.” 

So when I see a fetal weight of 350 grams, I’m thinking like it’s enough prosciutto to feed four ballet dancers and he’s thinking it’s enough to put someone away for at least ten years.  Longer, depending on the purity of the meth, of course.

But the really important thing is not how 13 ounces compares in narcotics and deli meats; it’s how it compares to other 20-week fetuses.  And it’s 2.5 ounces MORE than the average “singleton” at the same gestation, according to this chart  I found online.  Which must be right because I found it online.  (Although, come to think if it, this also is the site where a reader commented on her “fracturnal” twins.)

In the interest of full disclosure, I should say that the error margin is +/- 50 grams.  In other words, ham for plus or minus a person at dinner or plus or minus five years jail time (depending on the purity of the meth, of course).  Or as in online fetal charts, the average weight of a singleton at 20 weeks on the minus side or a 22 weeker on the plus side.  Either way, we’re growing and looking good!  Thanks everyone for your thoughts and prayers.

And lastly, a cute thing Chiara said to me (besides running around naked with a tiara declaring that she is the Mouse King).  Chiara looked at me today—I am in my third trimester clothes already—and said, “Those are some pretty big pants for such a little lady!”

 OH - and this is what 20 weeks looks like with the fetal equivalent of $40,000 worth of meth.

© 2010 Janine Kovac