Calvin Crest, Part I

IMG_3649

Last weekend Rob, Jill, Natalie, and I headed up to Yosemite Valley. Destination: Calvin Crest.

I started going to Calvin Crest the summer after fourth grade. I went every summer until I was 17, for increasingly long periods of time. The summer after my first year of college I spent my whole summer there, on staff. There are two places that I hold sacred, Whitworth and Calvin Crest. Without Calvin Crest there would have been no Whitworth. Without Whitworth there would be no Rob. Thinking of a life absent of these things makes me feel unwell.

I have not been shy about sharing my faith here on the blog, but I understand that isn’t what some people like to read about.  This post is pretty faith heavy. If that isn’t your jam, spend some time here!

Last month, on the way home from Big Bear, I asked Rob if he held anything sacred. I knew this trip to Calvin Crest was coming up. I knew that it would bring me a welter of memories and feelings and probably tears and I wanted to get him ready. We talked about faith and memories and growing up and.. music. Music has always held a special place for me. Praise and worship music is where I go to meet God, and it wasn’t until this past weekend at camp that I came to understand exactly why.

If you have ever gone to summer camp, you know that having to leave at the end of the week is always at the back of your mind. For me, even when I went up for a month at a time, knowing that I was going to have such an intense experience and then have to go back to a day-to-day routine was hard every single time. I was always hunting for a way to take camp home with me, to take my experience home with me. Music.

Music still can take me back to my camp experiences from over ten years ago. More importantly, it can bring me to my knees in a matter of seconds. In worship I am able to be open and vulnerable with God, the way I first was able to at camp. Rob seeing me experience this enabled him to understand me and my faith in a way that I had been unable to convey up until this point.

This weekend did not disappoint. I mean, really…

More to come, next week.  

25 weeks

25 weeks and my get up and go is… gone. I am so tired. And so.. large. However, the tiredness could be due to the fact that I went to Yosemite this weekend. I went on a “hike” and didn’t sleep well in a different bed. I also got covered in mosquito bites. More on our trip in my Thursday post.

This week I finish my child development class and I have three weeks of nothing, unless you count doctor appointments. I am hoping to finally get to my local pool at the YMCA and just spend some time doing laps. Really slow laps. It is nearly August and the heat has been cranked up. Floating in a pool sounds amazing.

Last week I had a specialist appointment to check my cervix and fluids. Everything is still looking good. The girls were flipping around, being crazy, as usual. What I didn’t like about my appointment last week was I only saw a nurse. I was not pleased. It was the first time I actually had a list of questions regarding different high risk stuff. The girls are now entering the time where they are more closely monitored for TTTS and any other growth problems. As I get larger and larger, my perinatologist feels further and further away.  It is about an hour away, maybe 45 minutes without traffic. As awesome as my insurance is, the local perinatologists don’t accept it. It is a whole mess of red tape, but briefly, the hospital I am delivering at contracts out their perinatologists from a different hospital that doesn’t take my insurance. Cool.

Going into the third trimester, I start having more tests. I have non-stress tests, which I believe will go through my OB, but I need to check. Those are twice a week though, so if I have to do them via my specialist, driving an hour is not going to be an option. Rob is going to go with me to my next perinatologist appointment and we are going to decide from there if we should try to switch (or if that is even an option). I would ask my lovely OB about all of this, but the change in the perinatologist system at my local hospital is recent, so all of the perinatologists he usually works with aren’t an option for me. Further, since my perinatologist has never worked with my OB before the reports only get to my OB some of the time… This has been a problem since the beginning but my OB is so chill about it and there have been no complications that it hasn’t worried me. Getting closer to labor has flipped the switch.

I am giving myself major bonus points for being chill about this. I had the appointment last Thursday and am not making any decisions until I see him again next week. As the girls are looking fine right now, there is no need for me to freak out. Plus, I just don’t have the energy for a full blown meltdown. There we go, I have discovered the benefit to being exhausted, it keeps me calm. Ha.

Onto bump watch, week 25.

IMG_7968I feel like I look so squinty with no makeup on.

IMG_7971

IMG_7974I can’t believe I have three months more for this bump to get bigger. E & O are going to at least double in size! My poor skin.

jen pic 2And for comparison, 25 weeks and 11 weeks.

 

Part IV

Part I, Part II, Part III

IMG_8765

At some point during my first trimester my mom said to me, casually, you probably won’t be able to work full time for the next five years or so. I was still reeling from being pregnant with twins, I hadn’t really considered what would happen after the girls were born. I was just content in knowing that I wouldn’t be working while I was pregnant. My OB had already told me the latest he wanted me to work was 20-22 weeks. I didn’t see any point in continuing a job hunt.

Coming to understand that I likely would not working for an extended period of time wasn’t a negative or positive realization for me. It just was. It was different. Not what I had planned. I had all this education and now I was.. a baby cooker. And on the road to being a full time mother, at least for the foreseeable future. So. That’s weird.

Or is it?

I don’t know. Honestly. And that is where this is going to end. Because I don’t have it all figured out yet and I am sort of.. fine with that. Which is about as un-me as it gets. I am not fine with anything. Ever. I am constantly working and planning and doing and looking towards the horizon. And here I am, on the brink of this huge precipice of the unknown and I am thinking, well, I will find out what it’s like when I get there. And this isn’t because I have found zen, or grown as a person, or suddenly stopped needing to plan my life. It is because this is so unknown and so surreal that I don’t even know where to begin so…?

If I took how I feel down to a very small scale, it would be my response to breastfeeding. It is a huge deal for many expectant mothers. Doctors and hospitals put an enormous amount of pressure on it. And I get it, it is good for baby, good for mom, everyone wins. I’d like to do it. But I just don’t know if it is going to work. Maybe my boobs will just say, nope. And then that’s it. Game over.  I have fuzzy thoughts in my head about what I will do whether or not it works, but other than that, eh. I am not planning for something I have so little control over.

And that’s motherhood. I am making rough sketches and fuzzy plans but nothing in stone. Nothing permanent. What if I plan for the girls to go to private school and learn violin and become president and they pop out wanting to work with elephants and move to the jungle? Well then, the violin was probably a waste of time.

So I wait. I make to-do lists, and cross days off my calendar and wait. Wait to see what these girls have in store for me, in store for us. If E and O are anything like their mother, I may as well through my crude plans out the window. They will have plans of their own.

24 weeks

Holy hell, I am uncomfortable. I know that in comparing this week to last week I am not that much larger, but this week has brought a whole bunch of new limits on what I can do comfortably. Driving is now uncomfortable. As is most sitting. And eating. Rolling over takes more effort than I ever thought possible. Literally, I am asking Rob to turn off the lights or hand me things while I am in bed because, depending on where the girls are, just flipping from one side to the other either hurts or makes me out of breath. I am now at the point where if I drop something on the floor I look at it sadly, trying to decide if I can pick it up or if it is even worth it. Usually I decide it is worth it if it is something that is going to trip me later. I am exhausted to the point of ridiculousness. I currently feel like I could take a shot of caffeine straight to the jugular. And I slept for 9 hours last night! Needless to say, I am delightful to be around right now.

I had another appointment with my regular OB last week. I was a bit worried that I was leaking amniotic fluid so he did a cervix check, then high fived me when everything looked normal. I am sure this is standard OB protocol. The appointment was good. Standard stuff. He did tell me that I could go back up on my Celexa if I thought that I needed to. I am not sure if that is what I need or if I just need a nap and more sandwiches. Hard to tell. But it is all a balance. Do we want to expose the babies to a higher dosage of Celexa or a stressed out mom? Which is worse? At this point my anxiety is under control so I have decided to stay the course.

We also had a serious discussion regarding what the next three months will look like for me. Seriousness of any nature usually doesn’t happen with him so it was very odd. I am currently taking a child development class at the local college and I wanted his thoughts on me taking another two for the fall semester. They are both condensed courses so they end mid-October. I was thinking Mr. OB, who wants me to be zen and peaceful, would say heck no. But, he said yes. Do it now. When I told him my anxiety has been creeping up on me and he wasn’t surprised. For an aggressive person like me (yes, that is the term he used) it is very hard to all of a sudden be a glorified incubator. I need the classes for my brain and my sanity. So, I am signed up. Woo! Lets just hope I get to finish the classes. I would be really annoyed to have to take incompletes. Because that is what is important here…

Though this week has been rough, with the bad comes the good. O and E are kicking and moving and driving me crazy, in a good way. Rob has felt E kick a couple times and can now feel both of them under my skin.. in a really weird sort of way. I mean, let’s be honest, all of this is really weird. O likes to flip over and E likes to kick which is one of the ways I can keep track of them.  However, E has been on the left and O on the right since basically forever, so I think they are staying that way.

The girls are apparently ears of corn this week, but my faith in this fruit and vegetable system is waning. Who decided that comparing fetuses to food items was normal?  The girls are supposed to be over a pound at this point, which I am a fan of. I have another high risk appointment on Thursday where I will get a more accurate idea of their weights. This whole focus on weight is for one reason: viability. The chances of a baby’s survival shoot up at 24 weeks. They are still not great, but many doctors consider 24 weeks the mark of viability. Weight plays a big factor in viability. So, I am pleased that both the girls are safely over a pound now. Yes, all of this is insanity and I have had no signs pointing to early labor, but this is where my brain is right now.

Bump Watch, week 24

IMG_7783No makeup, don’t care.

IMG_7784I’m so hot! Girls, are you hot?

IMG_7790This is my imaginary brother, trying to leave for work during my very important photo shoot.

IMG_7792I asked him if he wanted to be in a picture with me and received an emphatic, no. Meh heh heh. Note the sweatshirt and boots. I believe it is in the 90s today. I am about to go put on more deodorant. As soon as I can get up the energy.

IMG_7795

IMG_7796Yay, swollen feet and ankles.  Yay! Healthy baby girls.

Part III

Part I, Part II

IMG_2217

I spent a good two weeks “processing,” or whatever that means. What no one tells you about miscarrying is that it isn’t like, oh, the baby didn’t make it, the end. Nope. As I wrote about before, I had to have a D&C. My body hadn’t recognized that the baby was no longer viable, so it needed some helping along.  It actually was probably better that way for me, as it gave me something to physically do. Going through that process physically helped me go through the process emotionally.

I started trying to figure out what next and I still was thinking perhaps I’d do the next Bar, which would be July.  I needed a job in between though. I couldn’t do nothing but study for five months. I would probably die. So I started applying at colleges and universities for admin positions. I was also considering applying for professor positions. I was more than qualified for the community colleges in my area and was definitely qualified for some of the privates. Luckily, in the LA area, it isn’t hard to find a college nearby. I love, love education and it was a safe space for me.  There is a reason I have eight years of college under my belt. Being back in the world of education sounded like going home.

So I was hunting and healing and we hadn’t really had the conversation about “trying” yet. We weren’t using any form of birth control but we weren’t having “scheduled” sex or much sex at all. I had a rough idea of when my period would show up, but when it didn’t by the end of what was a “reasonable time” I assumed me body was taking longer than I anticipated to recover, which isn’t abnormal for me. I hate when my body doesn’t go at the pace I have set out for it. My friends have already joked that I will expect to be healed from my C-section about two days after the fact. I am not good at “recovery time.” So, when my period didn’t come, I was irritated. Stupid body, not working like clockwork. 

And then the pregnancy test and the OB. At first it changed nothing. First, I wasn’t getting attached to anything at this point. I was not going to be that stupid again. Second, one baby didn’t really change anything about our plans (did this second baby really exist? I was doubtful). I continued under the assumption that I would find a higher ed job and probably take the Bar in July for those two weeks, until our second ultrasound. I don’t know if it was me trying to protect myself, or if I really didn’t believe that it was there at all. As you can read here, our second ultrasound did not go at all how I anticipated. All of a sudden there were two. Two. That changed everything.

I spent the next couple of weeks being shell shocked. I wasn’t even done mourning the loss of our first pregnancy and all of a sudden I had two little lives inside of me. Two little high risk lives. I was terrified for the entire first trimester that something would happen to one of them. It felt so extravagant, somehow, to expect two healthy babies in the place of one. I would tearfully tell Rob, I want both of them. 

A pregnancy right on the heels of a miscarriage, though amazing, was tough going. It took all of my mental capacity to not think about losing the girls day in and day out. I focused on what I could do. I found a perinatologist. I learned everything I could about twins in utero. I started with the optional ultrasounds just so I wouldn’t come to pieces. All thoughts of job, career, the Bar were completely gone…