View of the grapevines and setting sun on the trees surrounding us (and me in the corner).
Kinsey Rumba, my shepherd with a lot of personality (mostly a dismissive and aloof type of personality) was my daytime companion when I stopped teaching and mostly ambled around the house, growing two babies. No, no! I took care of lots of errands, tried to complete the ever-growing “to-do lists” around the house, I cooked and froze food and tried to prep for those babies (mostly I wondered what I would need?!)
People would often ask if I took naps and watched TV and the answer was no, mostly. As I grew in size, sleep was uncomfortable at night so I didn’t want to jeopardize my nighttime slumber with daytime naps. The decision to stay home those latter weeks was not because I was told to or to nap and do nothing, but to generally “rest” and not have the everyday stress of work, which in my case involved teaching high school teenagers history– some of whom are not so eager to add “Sumerian” to their vocabulary.
What helped me along those later months?
- Advocating ~ I learned to advocate for myself much more than I had anticipated. Between doctor’s appointments, work, and life in general! While my doctors were good, they weren’t really helpful in educating me on nutrition, weight gain, and overall health (they treated my pregnancy and I’m sure would have jumped had something been wrong). I did my homework on weight gain, nutrition, etc.
- OB visits ~ Staying on top of regular check-ups (which become seemingly daily near the very end) and asking questions, talking with doctor and finding peace after these appointments (versus stress)!
- Resting~ taking it easy most days while trying to incorporate some light walking and/or stretching. Since I didn’t;t nap much during the day, I took long, warm baths. I like baths and found this to be a relaxing, peaceful time. I would talk to the babies during these baths, too.
- Eating ~ As I mentioned, trying to follow the Brewer’s Diet (because it was hard) was an important goal–not only for the babies growing inside of me, but for me, and for the babies later! I was committed to breastfeeding the babies and learned that my diet while pregnant could have an impact on my milk, later.
- Hydrating ~the water bottle was a fixture in my hand and is extremely important in any pregnancy!
- Learning ~ I read lots of books about pregnancy,delivery, breastfeeding, & caring for twins during those last few weeks. I looked into La Leche League (international breastfeeding organization) and found local meetings. http://www.llli.org/ I connected with a local twin support group in my area to meet up with other pregnant moms and moms of twins. The advice (even on forums) was extremely useful– www.tmott.org
- Being Positive ~ thinking good thoughts, imagining things going right, expecting to carry full-term! When I found out I was pregnant, I immediately set to work on locating a midwife for a home birth. When I found out I was having twins, I understood that would not be my reality…When I told this midwife that I was having twins and would be seeing an OB, she left me with a lasting encouraging message. State your affirmations, imagine those babies growing healthy, turning head down, staying inside of their warm womb for the full-term, envisioning a healthy delivery, seeing myself breastfeed…It was hard to imagine any of these things, let alone all of them!
Having said all of that, I did fret, I did have weird pangs (pre-term labor??!!), I was scared. However, arming myself with the confidence to take charge, learn, prepare and be happy helped me. Helped me through each day, as well as the destination.
I voted too!
Here’s to sharing stories of the here and now while weaving some tales of the past. First, context.
5 months pregnant and going…Summer of 2008…
I nearly fell off the side of the bath tub when the nurse told me I was pregnant. It was very movie like in that sense (telephone call and all). I had blood drawn at my doctor’s appointment more as routine work-up than a pregnancy test. We wanted to make sure all was “in good working order” before we embarked on getting pregnant. What?! She was surprised too. I think she was planning on just reading off some hormone levels and then making her next call…
It was nearly impossible to contain myself the next several hours before Stephen and I would be alone and I could tell him THE NEWS. We also had a friend staying with us which made things tricky, so as I walked out of the bathroom, a woman with top-secret information, I tried to act “normal.” I don’t know if I normally walk out of the bathroom with a smile, but I did that afternoon!
Once I found out I was carrying twins (in the ER around 9 weeks after a night of bleeding and in most respects, a night where I thought I lost the pregnancy) and realized this was a “high-risk” pregnancy, I made my pact. I was completely set on carrying these babies full-term. I know mental dedication doesn’t equal success all the time, but perspective and decision making, I believe can have a powerful effect. I started to learn all I could about pregnancy with multiples (twins). Everything I learned made it seem that there were things one could do to make a multiple pregnancy healthier and longer. Diet, stress, lifestyle, and rest.
I started to follow the Brewer’s Diet ( a higher protein guided diet for pregnancy in general), drinking more water than before (which was a lot) and if I made it, leaving work at 33 weeks. There was a ton of proof (mostly from Europe where legislation supports earlier maternity leave) indicating that if pregnant (especially twins) women took a leave from work around 32 weeks, they may very well carry longer than if they remained working. It was not an easy decision to leave work earlier, especially with the financial burdens looming of TWINS, but it seemed like the right chance to take.
I made it to 33 weeks, stayed home. 34, 35, 36, 37…37 1/2…38…!! I was enormous. Gaining up to 85lbs near the end…
Who knew my dedicated efforts would lead me to “exam room collusions” where I’d think up ways to tell the doctor that I was wrong about my dates…that in fact, I am “further along” than we originally thought. I was ready to have these babies! Given that at 38 weeks they seemed to be “weeks late” given all the talk of “get to 34 weeks…36 ideally…”
So, we scheduled the C-section (in case I didn’t go into labor, which I didn’t) for 11/18/08, the first day we saw snow down here. Seemed like a good sign to me, given my roots go back to the North where snow is all abundant.
Brewer Diet Info: http://www.drbrewerpregnancydiet.com/