Tag Archives: twins

“Paciencia Y Fe” – In the Heights

2 May

The day had come exactly four months from when the journey began. I was admitted into the hospital on December 21st and now on the very last day of the 36th week, my babies were finally born on April 21st. While being on bed rest, I have listened to the heartbeats of my twins 244 times and felt them kicking and moving inside of my belly more times than I could count. As I was waiting for the c-section to begin, I could not help but think about how extraordinary it would be to able to meet and hold them after all of this time spent lying in bed.

The night before that amazing day, Brett and I decided to have a date night since it would be our last official night together as a married couple without kids. I was allowed to leave my room and have dinner with him in the family dining room at the hospital. It felt so good just to be able to sit in a chair and eat normally for the first time since becoming bedridden. I definitely will not miss eating lying down with a big towel draped over me. He brought in yummy food from Hillstone which is one of our favorite restaurants and we had a feast with filets and loaded baked potatoes. A much needed break from my usual hospital food dining experience. Dinner was really nice and we got to spend some time out on the patio for some fresh air before going back to the room. After dinner, we arrived in the now famous, room 2524 and the packing up began. Brett started taking all of the decorations off of the walls and little by little, this room went back to the way it was 17 weeks ago. It was very bittersweet in a way because our “Santa Monica studio” had become our new home, but we were so excited to be finally going back to our real home as a family.

The next day, when the time came to go to the operating room, they let me walk down the hall instead of being rolled in which made the start of this next chapter just that much better. Finally on my feet again! My doctor told me how amazed he was that I had gotten this far along in my pregnancy. He, along with all of the nurses were expecting my c-section to be an unplanned event. Typically, women in my situation go into full preterm labor where contractions can’t not be stopped by major drugs and the birth commences with an emergency c-section. This scenario had already happened to some of the other moms here on bed rest, so I always made sure to prepare myself for this kind of potentially scary event. Yet as each week went by, the chances of me delivering too early became less likely and the NICU started becoming a maybe instead of a have to.

In the operating room, I was being prepped for surgery and a sense of calm came over me even though I was being poked and prodded. Then Brett came in and sat down beside me in full scrubs and I knew that the show was about to start. At 5:22pm the first cry was heard from Ella Madison and my own tears could not stop flowing. Then at 5:23pm there was another cry from Ethan Tate and my joyous crying began to echo theirs. Two strong crying babies! They are breathing on their own which means that they could be alright. As soon as Brett came back to me after checking on them he confirmed that they were both very healthy scoring an 8 on their first APGAR test at one minute old and then the score raised to 9 at the five minute mark. No NICU!!! Once they were all cleaned up, they brought them over to me so that I could kiss each one and look at them for the first time. After all of the incredible sacrifice and hard work over the past couple of years, we were finally a family and all of the thousands of minutes spent on bed rest just melted away. Not only were they healthy but everyone in that operating room could not believe their weights! Ethan weighed 6 pounds 2 ounces and Ella weighed 6 pounds even. My petite five foot frame carried over 12 pounds of baby not including the added weight of the two placentas and amniotic fluid sacks. What was even more amazing was the fact that this small piece of string which held my cervix shut for the past four months made this successful outcome possible. My doctor is also an expert at performing the cerclage procedure which drastically helped improved my odds. I heard many horror stories online of poorly done cerclage procedures where the stitch comes loose or falls out, resulting in dire circumstances. When I was being sewn up after the c-section, he was also taking out the cerclage and I requested to keep this miraculous piece of string so that I could never forget how Dr. Tabsh saved the two precious lives of my twins.

*The song “Paciencia Y Fe” is from the 2008 Broadway musical In the Heights which won many Tony Awards including Best Musical. The character Abuela Claudia sings this song about her journey to America from Cuba as a young girl, and how her mother kept telling her “paciencia y fe” which means patience and faith since the transition was very difficult. Since being admitted into the hospital, this song has been playing inside of my head because I knew that patience and faith were two things that I would need to survive this tremendous life event. It was so important to stay positive, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and most importantly…stay in bed!

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Brett taking down the decorations

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Me and Dr. Tabsh the night before the c-section

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The Broadway Babies meet Mommy!

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Proud Papa

“A Quiet Night at Home” – bare: A Pop Opera

17 Mar

There are certain aspects of pregnancy bed rest that are just so ironic when I think about what my new life will be like once I deliver.  I will be going from such an isolated, quiet environment to raising two newborns all at once.  Trust me, I am taking full advantage of this alone time to catch up on reading, watch all the movies in my Netflix queue, and of course write this blog.  But even with these activities to take up my time day after day, bed rest can still be a depressing experience due to the lack of human contact and solitary confinement.  Thankfully, I have created alternatives for myself by starting the Facebook group with the other moms on bed rest and also encouraging friends and family to visit.  Regardless, this experience is definitely in no way a vacation, and having this much time to myself mixed with my lack of freedom sometimes makes me feel like a prisoner.

Just think about it…there are 24 hours in each day.  If I sleep about 8 hours a night, for the remaining 16 hours I am pretty much by myself.  Yes, there will be the occasional visitor and my nurse checks in on me as well, but in general I am alone way more than the average person is on a daily basis.  Definitely a huge change from my old life where I interacted with dozens of people per day.  Being here three months now, I have gotten into a routine and this lifestyle change is not as challenging as it was before.  With a little more than a month to go I have started focusing on what life will be like outside of room 2524.

Is bed rest a nice break before the craziness of being a new parent takes over?  Or does bed rest cause more of a shock to the system going from one extreme to the next?  These four months in the hospital will soon become a blur as I spend the next 18+ years caring for these twins wishing that I could get some of that alone time back.  The bottom line is that no matter how unpleasant this solitude is sometimes, there will probably be many times in the near future when I will realize that I took it for granted.  That is the nature of the bed rest beast.

But as I think back to the many hours of time with me, myself, and I (approximately 2,088 hours at this point), the big picture looks better and better.  When I am in the thick of being alone, it is hard to get out of that funk and look on the bright side since so many thoughts and feelings take over my brain.  Although looking back, I have been very productive and many things that I was able to accomplish here, would not have been possible if I was just home living my life as a normal and busy pregnant woman.  For instance, I was able to spend good, quality time putting my baby registry together online by researching which products had the highest reviews and ruling out what were absolute necessities.  Also, I have been able to read a bunch of books on baby care which I would not have had the time for once the babies were home.  Most importantly, being alone has given me the chance to really focus on the new lives growing inside of me.  Since I am constantly laying down, I have the advantage to feel all fetal movement without any distractions.  I can just stop whatever I am doing to watch a foot protrude against my skin and feel the interactions between both babies as they fight for space and kick my ribs.  They constantly remind me that in actuality, I have never been alone since being confined to bed rest!  The twins have been with me through this entire journey and continue to remind me to focus on why I am here and not what I am missing out on in the real world.  It is way too easy to take the “woe is me” stance when put in this situation but early on I realized that was not my style nor was it productive in any way.  I have so many things to be thankful for in my life and when I finally leave this hospital, I will have two more blessings to add to the ever growing list.

*The song “A Quiet Night at Home” is from the 2004 Off-Broadway musical bare: A Pop Opera, which is a powerful musical that deals with how sexuality and religion can sometimes be at war with each other.  The main story revolves around two gay high school students in a secret relationship at Catholic boarding school and the issues that arise in their world.  The song itself is sung by the character Nadia who is the overweight sister of Jason (one of the main characters in the secret relationship with his roommate Peter).  She is often the outcast because of her looks and this song sums up her feelings about being isolated from her peers.  Like Nadia, I have been in that sad place of feeling like I was missing out on life by being stuck at the hospital.  My feelings have definitely changed as time has gone on because I put the focus on what I could control as opposed to all of the things I couldn’t.  So as I get closer to the end of my bed rest journey, I have accepted the quiet for now but fully look forward to the lack thereof once I get home with my two little rib kickers. :)

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Just some of the baby books I have been reading

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Quiet time with a therapy dog

“How the Other Half Lives” – Thoroughly Modern Millie

4 Jan

I have been told that inquiring minds would like to know what a typical day looks like in my new life at the hospital. It is a pretty fascinating subculture that I am experiencing by living here and I am actually surprised at how much I can get done in a day…or not if my body is screaming for a nap. Being here two weeks now, I have begun to follow a routine which helps pass the time and ensure that I am as productive as possible.

At 5:30am my day starts with the first of my medications being given to me. At this point I am barely conscious but once I am up, I cannot fall back asleep since my next medication has to be distributed at 6:00am. Both of these medications are given to help stop the contractions that I continue to have. The first medication is solely used to coat my stomach and the second one is the actual anti-contraction medication that apparently can be harsh on your insides which is why I get the first pill 30 minutes prior. After that second pill, I get out of bed for the first time of the day and quickly use the bathroom. The nurse has to take off these leg compressions which I wear at night to help prevent blood clots in my legs. In addition, I am constantly hooked up to a contraction monitor but only unplug it when I have to use the bathroom. The nurses watch the results of this monitor non-stop and if I am unplugged for longer than a normal bathroom break, I get someone checking in to make sure I am not doing anything else…big brother is always watching! I have to wait until 7:00am to order my breakfast so usually this is the only point where I turn on the TV so I can pass the time. The TV is annoying to use because I don’t have the modern conveniences of a normal remote control or a DVR so all commercials must be watched or I have to flip through every channel since I only have two buttons which control going up or down. It’s kind of like having dial-up internet again or using a rotary phone…thank God for Hulu and Netflix at least!

Once I have finished eating, my day nurse comes to greet me and checks all of my vital signs…always asking the ever important question “when was your last bowel movement?” Ahhhh…I will not miss that. After checking on me, the best part of my morning happens when they check the babies’ heartbeats with the doppler devices. Most of the time, the twins are busy with their morning swim so a majority of the nurses take about 15-20 minutes just trying to find them and get them to stay still to hear steady heartbeats on the monitor. That sound is such music to my ears! After the assessment is complete, I am given more pills to round out my morning (baby aspirin, stool softener, iron supplement, Pepcid AC, and Tums)…yummy. Then my nurse hands me all of my toothbrushing supplies in bed and my carefully orchestrated teeth cleaning begins using multiple cups for rinsing and spitting in lieu of a sink. I am then set up to give myself a sponge bath in bed which makes me really miss hot showers. My hair only gets washed in the sink about once a week so that day is very sacred. Once finished, all of my bed sheets and linens are changed and I am now ready to start being productive and get very important things done…like this blog.

The rest of my day goes pretty smoothly as I tackle my new “job” of writing the blog. This is my main focus while I am here because not only is it therapeutic, but I love being able to document everything that is happening to me during this unique experience. Plus, I have been researching and signing up to various support groups online and sharing my blog with other women in the same situation. My blog is not here to just help me, but offer support to others since this bed rest thing can get pretty difficult and sticking together is important. In between writing my blog, I am logging on to Facebook to chat with my local bed rest moms next door to me to find out what is the latest and greatest. In between all of this time on the computer, my next round of stomach coating and anti-contraction meds are given at 11:30am and 12:00pm which reminds me that lunch needs to be ordered. Around this time as well, my room gets fully cleaned and the song “I Think I’m Gonna Like It Here” from Annie starts playing in my head. I relish the hotel-like room service with food I don’t have to cook and cleaning that I don’t have take care of. Plus, if I am really lucky, one of the hospital therapy dogs pays me a visit! I am sure that there will come a time after I have been home with the twins that I will wish I was back here!

The rest of my day consists of phone calls to loved ones, hanging out with visitors, answering emails, and reading which gets me through to dinner time where I eat and then have another assessment done by the night nurse. Yay for baby heartbeats to listen to! I get my prenatal vitamins and more Pepcid AC and Tums (lying down all day with your feet higher than your head doesn’t make your tummy happy). I once again perform my lying down toothbrushing act and then settle down by either putting the finishing touches on my blog entry or watching TV or movies on my computer. I do not know how moms on bed rest handled it before laptop computers and the internet! I make myself stay up until midnight because I get my last round of stomach coating and anti-contraction meds at 11:30pm and 12:00am. At that point, I get strapped into my leg compressions and I fall asleep to the hum of my humidifier.

*The song “How the Other Half Lives” is from the 2002 Broadway musical Thoroughly Modern Millie which is set in the early 1920’s. In the song, two new friends Millie and Miss Dorothy, talk about how they want to try an opposite way of living and experience either a poorer or richer existence. Living in a hospital, the grass is pretty much always greener elsewhere because this is not a chosen destination for most. I am getting more used to living here and I do look forward to my daily tasks and new routine. However, it is hard to leave behind your life and sacrifice a huge amount of independence but thankfully, this is only temporary. My goal everyday is to make the best of it and constantly count my blessings. Poor…not me!

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My contraction monitor

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Hard working therapy dog

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Love at first sight

“30/90″ – tick, tick…BOOM!

28 Dec

I never in a million years imagined my 30th birthday being celebrated in a hospital room with me lying down the entire day. The original plan was a few crazy nights in Las Vegas followed by a week long cruise to Mexico..I like to “go big or go home.” Regardless of the change of plans, I was going to stay positive and make the best of my new situation. I did have a lot of people lined up to come visit me and that made me feel a whole lot better.

The day seemed to go by so quickly and when friends or family had to eventually leave I wished that I could have them a few minutes longer. Even though I was stuck in bed, there were still a lot of fun activities going on. My brother brought a karaoke machine so I got to sing a few songs (lying down), there were numerous presents for me to open, plus I got some yummy cakes and food brought in as well. I only wished that I could blow out candles on my cake but since we are in a hospital room with oxygen coming out of the walls, that was not an option. But it would have made my birthday party pretty smoking hot!

The highlight of the day was when my doctor surprised me with an ultrasound in order for us to finally find out the sexes of our babies. He was supposed to check last Wednesday on the 21st but got sidetracked when he saw my cervix and I had to rush to the hospital. Now on my birthday he was giving me the greatest gift of all and it brought so much joy to finally know what our future had in store. Like my husband and I originally planned, we had our doctor write down in a card the results because Brett was still on his way to the hospital and could not be there while the ultrasound was being performed. I eagerly waited for Brett to arrive so that we could find out together. He finally got to the hospital and we opened the card which revealed that we were having exactly what we were praying for…a boy and a girl! Brett’s reaction to seeing the results inside of the card reminded me of our wedding day about 3 1/2 years ago when he saw me for the first time in my dress. He was so happy and overcome with emotion and I think that the next time he has that kind of reaction will be when our children are born. I can’t wait to see that look on his face again because it is so authentic and sweet.

After the excitement passed and all of the party guests left, it turned midnight making it not my birthday anymore. Then I started to get the birthday blues. Turning 30 is such a milestone and with twins on the way I feel like my life is officially starting such a new and different chapter. For nearly 12 years I have been with my husband and it has just been the two of us. So much has happened throughout our relationship and this latest occurrence is bitter sweet. We are finally starting a family but for the last several months before that officially happens, we have to be apart and live separate lives while he takes care of the day-to-day tasks with his job and our apartment. He visits as much as possible but selfishly I wish he could be here 24/7 because I miss him so much.

Other than just missing my husband and my former life before bed rest, I can’t help but think about what my thirties will be like. My twenties were pretty typical of others…the college experience, moving out on my own, getting married, securing a career, etc. Now my thirties will be all about starting a family and raising the children. I guess some people turning 30 might not have a plan yet (not married, no set career, no kids, etc.), so I am very grateful to have a clear path that I am in the process of preparing for. I really do feel like a full blown adult now and this experience in the hospital is kicking my butt by forcing me to let go of my “wild and fancy free” twenties lifestyle. Even though my path is pretty clear, there is always that element of surprise and not truly knowing what will happen which is scary and exciting all at the same time. Life changes in the blink of an eye and everyone has the choice whether to embrace the change or run from it. I choose to embrace it.

*The song “30/90″ is from the 2001 Off-Broadway musical tick, tick…BOOM! which is actually an autobiographical show about Jonathan Larson (creator of Rent). Jonathan wrote the show and performed it solo in 1990 which was the year he turned 30…hence the song title “30/90.” In 2001, the show was revamped and became very successful during its run, now using a three person cast. Jonathan wrote the show at a time in his life when he was at a crossroads. Should he continue to follow his dream and write music or should he quit so that he could make more money at a 9-5 job and start a family like all of his other peers? Thankfully for us, he chose music but unfortunately it was short-lived due to his untimely death in 1996 from an aortic aneurysm. In the song “30/90,” Jonathan talks about how turning the age of 30 can be extremely scary especially when you don’t know exactly what the future holds. I really relate to this song because even though I do have my life pretty much set in place, everything has the ability to change just like that. You go to a doctor’s appointment one minute and then the next, you are being admitted to a hospital for a four month stay. Or more seriously in Jonathan’s case, your musical Rent is on the brink of opening and becoming one of the most successful Broadway shows of all time…but then you drop dead in your kitchen from an undetected medical condition. Fear of the unknown will always be there but you cannot live your life with constant worry. Live your life with this quote in mind: “No day but today.”

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Searching for the sexes

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The big reveal!

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