Sunday, February 29, 2004

Carrie Anne and Allison Jane

Carrie Anne and Allison Jane, born Friday February 27, 2004 at 2:39 and 2:45 p.m. 6 lb 7 oz (2920 gm) 18 ½ inches and 6 lb 1 oz (2749 gm) 19 inches.

Thursday afternoon I was feeling generally anxious about Baby A. She seemed sluggish to me. Melanie had left a Doppler at my house so I had a listen to her heart rate, which was just fine, but I still felt like she wasn’t moving very much and I was looking forward to seeing her the next day on the ultrasound.

Friday morning Melanie came with us to see Dr. Love for a biophysical profile of the twins. We just wanted to make sure that they were doing OK. Dr. Love is very supportive of midwifery and homebirthing, so we knew that we were going into a friendly environment. They called us back for the sonogram, and the technician started taking measurements of Baby A. Her head and femur seemed to be measuring small as compared with previous measurements, which seemed odd to me. She was also not moving very much. Her heart rate was in the 120s, which is perfectly normal but still quite low for her – she had been measuring all along in the 130s/140s. Baby B passed her test very quickly – lots of breathing movements, good muscle tone. Baby A, on the other hand, was quite still, and after 30 minutes of watching her on the monitor it was clear that she was not going to pass. I was holding back tears, partly because I felt a little bit anxious about her health, but mostly because I realized that a homebirth was slipping away from me. I knew I could force the issue at that point and go home and wait, but I wasn’t comfortable any more with waiting, in my gut I wanted her out, and had wanted her out since the day before. Still, I felt anxious about the whole procedure, worried about what the pitocin drip would feel like, and also worried that this might lead to a C-section for Baby B. Melanie was very supportive through the whole process. We spoke to the doctor who recommended a non-stress test, but it was clear that he would be recommending an induction no matter what the results of the NST, so I said why bother, let’s just get this whole thing started. I didn’t want to spend any more time testing. Brian went to get sandwiches (I was determined to have them sneak my some food before labor started – I knew I was going to need some protein to be able to push two babies out and avoid a C-section).

Melanie and I went up to labor and delivery where they immediately roomed us and I got into my gown. This was about noon. The nurse’s name was Melanie as well. I made my wishes clear to her – the usual birth plan stuff. They hooked me up to a saline drip and got the monitors on me. Baby B’s heart rate, as usual, was impossible to find (she spent the last trimester lying transverse and posterior to Baby A). I think most of the time the monitors were both picking up Baby A, but as long as there were some numbers up on the screen no one seemed too worried about it. Brian came in with the sandwiches and snuck bites to me whenever the nurse left the room. I got about a quarter of an Italian sub into me that way…carefully washing down the food before the nurse came back! I hated having the BP cuff and the saline and the monitors on me and all the nurses coming in with the carts and the worried faces. But what could I do. I tried to have an attitude of surrender – I needed to let the experience just unfold, and try to do my best with what I had.

After about 15 minutes of lying there, but before they started the pitocin, I felt a contraction in my low back that seemed an awful lot like a labor contraction. I was hesitant to even say anything because with all the stress of the day it could just have been a regular B-H contraction and some low back pain. But then, five minutes later I had another one. And then, going to the bathroom I had yet another one. I wasn’t watching the clock but they seemed awfully close together. Dr. Love came in and I told him “we don’t need the pit, I’m in labor.” He was pleased, as was Melanie. Everything started to move fast at that point. He checked me and I was about 6 cm dilated. I got out of the bed as much as I could to labor on my feet, even though they wanted me in the bed so they could continue to monitor the heart rates. As the contractions got more intense I sat in a chair and leaned forward on the bed, sometimes rising to my feet so I could move my hips back and forth and help the baby to descend. The nurses were surprisingly accommodating of my desires to keep getting out of bed, in spite of the fact that it made it basically impossible for them to get two heart rates.

Contractions were starting to hurt, now, and I was vocalizing a bit through them. Kind of softly, but it helped. It was frustrating having the monitor strips on me and the IV cord to deal with, not to mention the stupid cuff which kept going off every 15 minutes. But mostly I was being left alone and I was able to stay off the bed. Dr. Love came back and we talked about position – I said the last thing I wanted was to end up on my back unless he felt it was absolutely necessary for getting Baby B out. He said that he thought hands and knees might work. I remember looking at the bed and wondering how I would ever climb back onto it. But then I was back in bed again, on my back. Somebody (the nurse?) checked me and I was a 7. It was 1:45. I said to the nurse, whose shift ended at 3, that I was sorry but I didn’t think she’d be seeing the babies. Melanie said she wouldn’t be so sure. She went back in my record from the previous birth and read to me how quickly I had progressed from 6 to 10. I still thought it would be a couple more hours. It was around this time that transition kicked in and the nurse called for Dr. Love to come back from his office. I had some intense contractions on my back, and I remember feeling like I didn’t want to be in that position, but also realizing that now that I was there, I would probably push from there, and it would be OK.

I was starting to feel a little bit pushy and the nurse checked me – I was at 9 cm. She called again for Dr. Love and they said “he’s on his way.” He walked in while I was having another contraction and I told him, “I think I might be feeling pushy but I’m not quite sure yet.” My contractions were very interesting – I’d have a really strong, difficult one followed by a relatively mild one, back and forth. They were extremely close together and I remember wishing I had a little space in between to collect myself. I had a small contraction followed by a big one which I really started making noise through. Brian was sitting on the end of the bed facing away from me and having a conversation with Dr. Love about something technical. I said, “No talking! Please!” and he shut up immediately. The contraction ended and I said “No talking during contractions.” That’s about as snippy as I got during labor! Brian got the hint and came up to pat me and hold my hand.

With the next contraction I said, “I’m going to try to push.” Brian was back down near my legs and so was Melanie (the midwife). I started pushing and almost immediately felt a gush as the waters broke, the head in my canal and then crowning – I noticed out of the corner of my eye that Dr. Love was walking away from me, not realizing how close the baby was. Melanie and Brian ended up catching the baby together, as she came out in one push (I stopped pushing briefly as she crowned, but basically she came out all in one contraction). Melanie was very nervous about catching the baby as it is technically illegal for her to catch babies in the hospital, so apparently she kept moving to grab the baby and then sort of pulling back, not sure what to do. But Brian of course could do what he wanted so he grabbed hold of her as she was coming out. He was thrilled to have been able to catch her, something he had wanted to do all along.

Dr. Love hurried back over and I remember him saying to Melanie, “we’ll let the cord pulse a little bit,” and Melanie saying, “no, let’s clamp it now.” I can remember thinking to myself, “I can’t believe I just heard a conversation where an MD was advocating for letting the cord pulse and the midwife was saying clamp!” Apparently she took the clamp out of his hand and did it herself! She knew that we needed to move fast on Baby B, I guess. Dr. Love just looked at her funny. Somebody put the baby on my chest, which was when I realized I still had my bra on under my gown – how did that happen? Luckily it was a nursing bra. A minute or two went by as I tried to nurse Baby A but she just wasn’t interested. They got a handle on Baby B’s heart rate, which was in the 80s. I gave the baby to Brian, not really wanting to hold her while I still had more pushing to do.

Dr. Love started moving Baby B’s head towards my cervix while Melanie held the Doppler on me, keeping an eye on the heart rate. Apparently there was a sudden drop in heart rate into the 60s, and I heard Dr. Love say, “go over to the other side and help me push this baby. The whole tone in the room changed. Melanie hurried over to my right side – the uterus was so floppy that the baby had sort of fallen over to the side, and her heart was very low. Dr. Love showed Melanie exactly how he wanted her to push the baby over and down. Meanwhile he was reaching through my canal into the cervix and feeling for her head. They asked me to push and Melanie was pushing down also on the baby, pushing her into the canal. I tried pushing but really had nothing to push against as she wasn’t engaged yet.

I heard someone say “vacuum” – apparently there wasn’t a vacuum in the room and one had to be ordered. Dr. Love said, “push again, keep pushing.” They both were looking really worried and I started to freak out. Suddenly I felt the head in my cervix, fully engaged, and I pushed down really hard. “That’s it!” someone said. Melanie told them to give me oxygen. Dr. Love said “hold your own legs,” which I did, and one of the nurses told me to put my chin to my chest, something I’d forgotten about. I did all of those things and gave it the hardest push of my life, and Baby B was born into the world, still in her amniotic sac, which shredded around her as she came through the canal. I was afraid that I might have torn with the second one since I pushed so hard and without the help of a contraction, but there was no tearing. Then there was lots of calls to “cancel the vacuum!” and I remember being so happy! I had pushed her out on my own. A few more minutes and he would have been ordering a C-section, I’m fairly convinced.

Both babies pinked up right away and were healthy, strong, absolutely perfect. I’m not sure what their apgars were, I need to get the record from the hospital. I also didn’t get the head circumferences.

I had no tearing and felt absolutely great. I immediately finished the sandwich that Brian had brought me for lunch. It was now 3 p.m., just 4 ½ hours since we started the biophysical profile, and 3 hours after being roomed in L&D.

I opted to spend the night in the hospital and come home the next day. Baby A (we still hadn’t decided on names until after we left the hospital) took to nursing right away, Baby B was a little bit slower to catch on, but both are nursing very well now. My nipples are really sore. I had some nasty afterbirth pains as the uterus came down, enough to ask for narcotics (have I mentioned my love for Vicodin? LOL). Pains are mostly gone now, I’m just waiting for my milk to come in and that lovely feeling of engorgement.

The babies are doing great – Carrie Anne (Baby A) is definitely the more aggressive one. She is more demanding, and nurses more eagerly. Allison is quite laid back about the whole thing, but has learned how to latch on and is doing a great job. I am not getting ANY sleep yet, but we’ll figure that out later. They are absolutely beautiful girls, so sweet and pink. Brian’s mother says they look just like he did as a baby. It’s not absolutely clear if they are identical or not, but they are VERY similar looking to me, and everyone mostly agrees. Carrie is bigger and she came out pinker, but my midwife says she is ruddier because she got more blood. They are too precious! Brian is over the moon, of course, these being his first progeny. He could not be happier, it is really sweet to see.

That's it for now. We're all just happy to be home and snuggling up with each other. I think I may not get a full night's sleep for at least another year, but it was all completely, totally, worth it. I'll be sure to post pictures soon.

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

When Will It End?...

Not sure.

My midwife called another midwife that she knows down in the Valley who has had a lot of experience with twins and she said she had NEVER seen a client go past her due date with twins. Tomorrow I am going to see the perinatologist for a biophysical profile. If all looks good I'm willing to wait until early next week, but no longer. If there is any cause for concern then I will probably be induced tomorrow at the hospital. I have such mixed feelings right now -- mostly like my body is failing me. This has been so different from all my other pregnancies and I just don't know how to process it. I've always gone into labor within 4-5 days of my due date, always labored naturally, and now...this.


I'm not sure what the lesson is, or even if there is a lesson, but I'm feeling increasingly depressed about the whole thing and a little scared about the prospect of induction.

Monday, February 23, 2004

Warning: Sappy Post Below

Today, driving to pick up Javier at day care, there was a wild mix of rain and sun and as I headed north towards the day care center I noticed, quite suddenly, a rainbow. The last time I saw a rainbow was on the day we decided to keep the baby (not realizing the baby was the babies of course). And at the very moment that I'm noticing this rainbow, this piece about gratitude comes on the radio, and suddenly I felt enormously, glowingly happy. If you need a little dose of gratitude, have a listen to that segment. I am feeling exceedingly grateful -- for all of the love, security, health and blessings I am surrounded by on a daily basis. There is no better life than mine. There is no better day than this.

Saturday, February 21, 2004

Update for Jody

Nope, not yet.

Friday, February 20, 2004

False Alarm

Had several contractions this morning, enough to call the midwife, not enough to ever establish a pattern, and then they went away. False alarms suck.

That's all the news.

Thursday, February 19, 2004

One Of Us

Dooce has officially joined the ranks of the sleep-deprived:

And I want to say to the grumpy, single me of several years ago — the grumpy, single me who kept up with her eyebrows and had her nails professionally manicured every two weeks — I want to say, FUCKING WHORE! And then I want to choke her and beat her with a wooden club.

And I love her for it.

My Stock is Rising!

It's not just the phone calls that are increasing...

These are the hits on Life in the Big City this month...

Still. Not. Yet.

The "have you had those babies yet?" calls are coming fast and furious and no, I have not. I vacillate wildly between serene and stir crazy, sometimes feeling like whenever they choose to come is fine with me, other times wanting to drive to the hospital and demand a c-section on the spot. My midwife promises me it won't be long now, but I trust no one's opinion any more.

In other news, I got my hair cut yesterday and I'm very pleased with the results -- it's chin length with long layers and a little bit of framing around my face. I wasn't entirely sure about it yesterday but today I'm starting to think it's one of the best haircuts I've ever had.

That's all. Keep those labor thoughts going.

Sunday, February 15, 2004

Playing With Dolls

Meg at Mandarin Design Daily has a cute little Valentine she made for Rob, using the Family Dollmaker website. I don't have any imaging software on this computer yet (I'm getting there, be patient), but I was able to do a screen capture into word and make a little picture of our family. It's like playing with paper dolls on line! familydollmaker.doc

Saturday, February 14, 2004

Not. Yet.

There is snow on the ground, snow on the rooftops. It won't last long, it must have been less than an inch total accumulation, but it's pretty. When Brian got home last night he lit turned on the fireplace and between that and the snow and the candles and the totally cool Goth Valentine's Day card which glows in the dark it was very romantic and cozy and wintery (wintry?) in here. Well, except for the fact that I was sick to my stomach and had been all afternoon and generally felt like crap. I'm a little better this morning but still have intestinal cramps. I'm sick of being pregnant and I guess a little anxious about the labor and delivery, which is unlike me, but I can't help wondering if somehow I'm holding up the process.

Today is my actual due date. But I don't think we'll see any babies today...although you never know.

Meanwhile I have work to do which started accumulating Thursday afternoon and which I have been completely avoiding, so I guess I'd better get it done before this weekend is over.

Happy Valentine's Day everyone. Think labor thoughts for me.

Friday, February 13, 2004

Well the Weather Outside is Frightful...

Yes, even in Austin it can snow. And it's supposed to snow tonight. So I figure this will be the time that I go into labor, when road navigation is most difficult for everyone involved. This morning we had sleet, which was no big deal, but everyone in this town is just freaking out about the weather.

I'm perched on the couch now with my blankie and my laptop, having emptied the house of children, parents and significant others. The animals, although a little restless, are doing their best to stay out of my face. I'm having long conversations with the twins about how this would be a really good time to get the hell out of me and start crying and pooping and nursing their way through life. I'm visualizing labor, willing my cervix to start opening, just pretty much trying to THINK this into happening. Of course I'm delusional if I believe that I can have that much influence, but whatever. It gives me a feeling of purpose. And besides I'm incapable of doing anything else. I have completely blown off my work and can't even begin to imagine doing the dishes or cleaning the upstairs bathroom or getting the guest room ready for Brian's mother who arrives tomorrow night.

Another house guest!

No, really, I'm looking forward to her visit. But it is good to have this interval -- my mother makes me totally batty and she was here for way too long. I need some time to just recover from that before facing another person in my house. I have a feeling that Brian's mother will be helpful without being invasive, however, because she's normal whereas my mother is a stark raving lunatic. And worst of all she doesn't like Brian so you can imagine how much fun it is to have someone in our home for 2 weeks under those circumstances.

Fun! Fun, fun fun! But she's on a plane now and I can breathe again.

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

Another Day, Another Trip to the Pediatrician

Eli has strep throat, an ear infection and swollen lymph nodes. Such fun! Poor guy was in so much pain this morning. He's got some Motrin in him now and his first dose of Augmentin, so he should be feeling better fast. I just PRAY PRAY PRAY that I do not get strep throat right now. That would not be good. I'm washing my hands obsessively.

We have an ultrasound later today to see how the girls are doing. I'm starting to think they're holding out for Valentine's Day, which would be terribly sweet. My little lovelies. Or, then again, maybe they're waiting for Friday the 13th. Heh.

So Eli is home sick but Mom is happy because now she has someone to play with. And I'm happy because children provide an automatic buffer between me and Mom.

We watched Terminator 2 on Brian's new plasma screen TV last night. The kid is less annoying now, for some reason. If I could have Linda Hamilton's body, oh my GOD she is amazing looking in that movie. Not a pretty face, but what incredible muscles -- and without being grotesquely over-defined. I suppose with a personal trainer and lots of money and time on my hands I could look like that too.

Nothing else to report. Just waiting, waiting, waiting...trying to be patient. The pain is the worst part.

Monday, February 09, 2004

My Girl

Rickie Lee's always been my girl. I think I was 12 or so when I got a copy of her first album and I've been head over heels ever since. She played in Austin on Saturday night but there was no way I could make it in my current state. I'm sad, really, because I'm not sure how many more tours she'll do, or if I'll ever get a chance to see her live again.

NPR did a piece on her this morning and they've got a nice little feature on their website. Great links to photos and the Guardian article about her newest album.

Sunday, February 08, 2004

New Commenting System

I've switched from Enetation which was just plain awful to HaloScan which may also be just plain awful but right now it is just plain new. All previous comments have been lost, unfortunately. But I think this may be more reliable. We shall see. Why don't you test it out for me?

Saturday, February 07, 2004


I need a little mantra to get me through the next few days. Or maybe I'll just never leave my room again. My mother is here and she is driving me crazy and Brian crazy too. Mom is trying to live up to some imaginary Norman Rockwellish grandmother ideal, complete with baking cookies and making chicken soup with dumplings from scratch. As Brian said last night, "someone needs to tell her where her strengths lie." Because they do not lie in meal preparation. But she sees it as her purpose here, in part, to feed us all, and frankly I'm tired and unwilling to fight her over it. I'm not the world's greatest cook, and I haven't been much into meal preparation at this point in my pregnancy, but at least I can put something on the table with flavor. Sigh.

Should I shut up about my mother already? Do you hate these ungrateful, adolescent posts of mine? I do. But too bad, I need a place to vent.

What's really getting to me is the baby talk/coddling. Diapers are "dipes," hands are "hanny-hands," I won't share the bathroom words for you, but she has those too. She is SPOON FEEDING my 4 and 6-year-olds, even after repeatedly being asked to stop. She will ask them 5 times over if they want more food. She will grab Eli and take him into the kitchen after a meal to wipe him down, instead of letting him go and wash his own face and hands. She even asked him today if he needed help going to the bathroom. Um, NO. All of our hard-won efforts at getting them to say please and thank you, clear their plates, push in their chairs, pick up their toys, brush their teeth etc., etc. are quietly being undermined by her willingness to just go ahead and do things for them in order to keep the peace and move things along.

And to top it all off she's crippled. Her ankle is so badly swollen from rheumatoid arthritis that she can hardly handle the stairs. She can barely carry the baby, or physically manage him when he squirms during a diaper change. Her hands hurt. She tires easily and has to take naps every day. Last week her heart went into major fibrillation and there was talk of going to the hospital (it ended up resolving on its own, finally). And this is the woman who wanted to add yet another week to her trip to come take care of us! She doesn't seem to get it that she's 73 years old. I think this is the last time I will let her stay for more than a week.

In a way I'm glad the babies haven't come yet, because it will just add more stress to this stressful situation of having her here.

I know, bitch bitch bitch, moan moan moan. I'm lucky she's still alive, lucky my kids have their grandma around, lucky she loves me as much as she does, I know. God forgive me, though, she gets on my nerves. At least she's (mostly) leaving Brian alone, not talking of moving to Texas, not giving me too much grief about my life. At least.

Thursday, February 05, 2004


Has arrived! Congratulations to Heather.

Oh my GOD is she cute.

Time to Make the Donuts

It's never too early to start earning money for your family.


Mom and I were just sitting around talking about sex parties. See, the fun never stops in the big city! She seems to think women don't like sex as much as men. But I'm thinking that's maybe something of a, um, subjective attitude.

Me, I'm not going to any sex parties these days.

Wednesday, February 04, 2004


Apparently now if you click on the archive links you go to some pink place where you can read Linda's archives. Linda, who seems to like pretty Renoir paintings.


I don't know what happened to my archives link and I can't seem to fix it.


This is kind of fun. If you're bored. If you're bored and in pain and surfing the web from your new laptop in bed.

create your own visited country map

create your own visited states map

That's not counting airports/state drive-thrus. I thought that would be unfair.

Monday, February 02, 2004


Looks like Heather is going to beat me to it. Bitch.

It Figures

That I would miss the big Janet Jackson moment.


Still, I gotta say, what an awesome game! I just KNEW that Vinatieri would have to have the game-winning field goal after missing that 31 yarder in the first quarter. I could feel it in my bones that he would get a chance to redeem himself. But good Lord those boys made me nervous.

Commercials sucked.

Sunday, February 01, 2004


38 weeks. Which is good. But I'm tired of the pain. I'm having lots and lots of Braxton-Hicks contractions, which doesn't really mean anything except they are strong enough to wake me up. And then I lie there, hoping for that tell-tale back pain which doesn't come.

My mother is behaving herself remarkably well. It's only been a couple of days, granted. But she's been very good.

Waiting, waiting...