Saturday, August 27, 2011

34 weeks, adding more, making twins soar

2011-9-1

34 weeks today, I am.

Pregnancy symptoms I experience are sometimes overwhelming:
  • Acid reflux, with stuff actually coming up.
  • Index fingers randomly locking.
  • Retaining water in my legs and on my belly (I didn't have swollen legs with my previous two pregnancies).
  • Feeling pins and needles in my left quadriceps when standing.
  • Difficulties taking deep breaths.
  • Tiredness and weariness that even caffeine can't curb.
  • Difficulty catching my breath when turning from one side to another whilst in bed.
  • The list goes on. . .
Yet, I've decided, so long as most of that damage is temporary, any added time that helps the twins thrive and grow,

will in the end, make me twirl and soar.

***

34 weeks am I today,
but the midwife did say.
Prepare yourself, they could come any day.

Between 2 and 3 pounds I have gained since last week,
may I not be dismayed
if it is growth that they seek.

My fundal height (44 cm) and the twins' position,
she says, could indicate,
time could be approaching to ready for some fun.

As for the particulars of the date,
only time will tell.

But when the painful labor contractions come,
my midwives will determine
whether the babies are getting ready or done.

Until then, I ask for 3 weeks to stay
please, to develop and grow in my belly.
Just wait until after my birthday,
and I'll get my hospital things and go readily.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Difficult adjustments to starting Kindergarten

My baby, my first born, my Isaboo, my Booby-butt, my Bella.

The start at the faraway language-immersion charter school seemed as smooth as one could expect. A few minutes late that first day, but so were so many other families. Arriving, taking photographs, escorting little ones to class; loads of hustle and bustle.

First week went without a hitch. Isabella was so excited about attending this school, she politely asked me not to refer to her as Isabella but to her Chinese name that A-ma and A-gong had bestowed upon her: 張貝拉 or 贝拉 (zhang bei la). The first character is taken from my side of the family, our last name. The second and third characters follow the sound of part of her English first name - Bella. She would sing songs she learned in school. She informed me that A-ma and A-gong are/were Nai-nai and Ye-ye, to which I carefully explained that it wasn't the case that one was right and the other wrong. A-ma and A-gong are Taiwanese terms or terms we use in Taiwan to refer to my parents, her grandparents. The other pair are Chinese terms used in China. She would proudly burst out to friends and family her Chinese name, even if they don't speak Chinese.

I have a Chinese name. It's 贝拉 (zhang bei la) or 贝拉 (bei la).

***

But then, things started to fray at the seams.

At first, not utterly horrible. Friday of last week, the 19th, each teacher approached me, when I picked Isabella from school, informing me that she needed to practice writing. Not a complete surprise, since I had heard that from her preschool teacher towards the end of last school year.

The day before yesterday, I began wondering what was going on. . .

A different friend than usual picked Isabella up from school, and when we met up, she informed me that at when being picked up, Isabella said she needed to go to the potty. A moment later, it was too late. She wet her underpants and her skirt.

Yesterday afternoon, a church friend who has been so graciously been taking Isabella to school every day and taking her home most of the time brought her back. Isabella told me her bottom clothing was almost dry. She had another accident, this time whilst in class.

Strange occurrences, given she hasn't had accidents in a very long time. While in preschool, two days a week, last school year, she did not have one accident. None whatsoever.

This afternoon, around 1:45 pm, I got a call from her school's office. Isabella had had an accident. What? Again? After we had a long talk, trying to discern what was going on? We had talked about how accidents happen and they aren't necessarily bad. After much discussion and questioning, I found out that in some situations, she wasn't sure where the bathroom was and she was afraid of getting lost. My solution involved getting Isabella to ask the teacher to guide her to the bathroom. After all, having accidents isn't comfortable to one's body.

Well, this time, this accident wasn't #1. This involved #2. The drive to her school is 30-40 minutes one way.

***

When I voiced my bewilderment and confusion over how or why Isabella was having trouble three days in a row, since she's not had this struggle before, the school office informed me that such accidents or activity is typical in kindergartners.

The transition is tough. New environment, different people, varying expectations.

And, in Isabella's case, she's afraid of disappointing others and not getting teachers' approval. Furthermore, she's not be away all day, five days a week.

***

Unfortunately, tonight I had to go to her school for a parents' meeting, where children weren't invited or allowed. An information rich session about what the children are learning, what the structures are, and all the logistics. Isabella badly wanted to me to be with her.

I promised her that after she gets home from school tomorrow, I'll be at her side. Not going anywhere without her.

***

贝拉 darling, we'll work through this transition together. Hand in hand.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Expecting twins & things desired

A number of friends have asked recently whether I will having a baby shower for the twins.

Not sure. Would seem rather awkward (at best) and rude to inquire. Only time will tell. Although, we could be running out of time, before the twins join us outside the womb. I'm 32 weeks and 4 days, today. With multiples, it is possible for me to deliver at 35 weeks. However, likelihood is a different question altogether - early, near or on due date, after due date. Anything is game.

For those who have asked, here are some wish-list items (stuff for the twins and for mommy included), in no particular order:

1. Bravado Designs Body Silk Seamless Nursing Bra - size medium; color - butterscotch

Bravado Designs nursing bras have been worth the investment. The Body Silk Seamless Nursing Bra has not only stood the test of time; but it has offered me support, helped me look presentable, and made for easy access to nursing. Regarding the test of time, I haven't stopped wearing nursing bras since December 2005, because I haven't stopped being pregnant or nursing since that time. That's a long, long time to be wearing nursing bras. Plus, I'd like to avoid saggy, droopy breasts or any bras that show my nipples; this type of Bravado Designs bra helps do the job.

Wow, the bra now carries a new, striking color: poppy. Kind of cool.


2. Moby Wrap 100% cotton baby carrier - color: red

With two children already, I am definitely sold on baby carriers. I started out with the Baby Bjorn, which I used to carry my first born exclusively. Isabella spent no small amount of time against my body in the Baby Bjorn. As she grew, my trapezius muscles grew quite sore.

When my second born was quite young, my sister gave me a gift of an Ergo baby carrier. Wow, I felt like I was in baby carrier heaven (comparing the Baby Bjorn and the Ergo). I didn't have a newborn insert for the Ergo. So, whilst Victoria was quite small, I had some other baby carriers that were given to me, which I used.


The Ergo is definitely not out of the picture. But, I'm trying to figure out how to strap two babies to me, if need be. Something along the lines of a Moby Wrap might be the right approach.

And, Victoria and I seem partial to red.


3. My Brest Friend Twins Plus Deluxe Nursing Pillow

I got by nursing my first two children without using nursing pillows. A combination of blankets and pillows seemed to do the trick. I didn't see the need to invest that much mulla in a nursing pillow, when I could use stuff I already had. I nursed my first born for 17 months and my second born for 33 months.

A woman at my church is officially my new mommy nursing hero. Her second and third child were fraternal twins, and she provided them with breast milk for TWO YEARS. She said she wouldn't sugarcoat the work it took for her to be able to nurse for so long. Took loads of hard, devoted work - plenty of rest, eating, and drinking.

The WHO (World Health Organization) recommends breastfeeding for two years. The benefits for mother as well as child(ren) have been obvious in research. So, my goal is to nurse the twins for at least two years. I need all the help I can get. K?

Those of you who desire to support and encourage the health and well being of the twins and me in breastfeeding don't actually have to become wet nurses. You could, if you're close by, help change the twins' diapers, burp them, entertain one while I nurse the other or vice versa, help get a twin or get twins to sleep, cook (so I can eat and keep the breast milk supply up), or help me sleep (again, to keep the breast milk supply up), or take care of the two other (older) children.


4. A snap and go stroller frame -

I remember when the first two children were newborns or infants, going places, carrying the child in the car seat was easier than trying to carry only the child who had a wobbly head or wasn't able to sit up well. So, having a stroller frame that can carry two car seats would be handy with these twins. I save the Graco infant car seat that Isabella and Victoria both used. Someone recently gave me a gently used infant car seat; I have no idea what the make is.

5. Pampers diapers -

For sizes 1 and 2, through trial and error with name brands and store brands, I've liked Pampers the most . . . in terms of preventing leakage, fit, etc. I still have cotton diapers that Isabella and Victoria wore, but with twins, I think I'd cry and pull my hair out having to do laundry every day, several times a day. Got to make my life simpler. Unfortunately, the cost of diapers adds up quite quickly.


6. Huggies wipes -

Also through lots of trial and error and the keen observation of my sister, Huggies wipes seem to be gentler on the bottom and also do the job. Bulk, folks, bulk. I'm not exactly satisfied with various store brands I've tried, because they haven't done well on my children's bums.


7. a new diaper bag -

I've had the same diaper bag for seemingly forever. So long that it has a few small tears on the outside and the lining is coming out on the inside. Plus, my current diaper bag isn't big enough to fill the needs of the children.

Since I have seen this one, I've been crazy for it. Doesn't look like a diaper bag, looks fashionable, and has lots of compartments. Too much of an indulgence? A woman can dream, can't she?!

8. body butter or body balm -

My favorite is stuff L'Occitane makes. But, I also enjoyed body butter a friend got for me from The Body Shop. I blogged about it here.

I have a feeling that keeping my skin moist or hydrated is going to be a struggle.


9. Smiling Planet's "make your mother happy" bowls -

Right, well, I must admit, this is nearly completely frivolous. But, I love the design, love that they are made in the USA, love that they are made entirely of recycled material, and appreciate that they are BPA free.

Super tired pregnant mom vs. highly energetic growing girls

Yesterday, we had a boxing sort of competition, in which there was a clear winner and an obvious loser.

***

In one corner of the ring, we have a super tired, pregnant mom. On the opposite end, we have two highly energetic, growing girls.

Ding, ding, ding. Let the fight begin.

ROUND 1 -

Super tired pregnant mom, at 32 weeks and 3 days with fraternal twins, gets up with the girls at 6:40 am. The younger one is potty training, so the mom gets Victoria to the potty to do her thing. The older one goes to the bathroom on her own.

Cheerios are left within arms reach, in cups, in the kitchen. A cup of water is also within arms reach, available in the kitchen.

And, Mommy goes back to bed.

The girls whine about how the other isn't sharing or is doing something unfavorable. The girls lose toy privileges and gets sent to bed temporarily.

Mommy loses.

The girls are allowed back up. Toys are off limits, since the girls can't play peaceably.

It's 8:40 am. Time to rush to church.

Round 1 is over.



ROUND 2 -

After arriving home from church, give the girls their lunch. Mommy survives by the skin of her chiminey-chin-chin. Barely get story time, before nap time, done correctly. Send the girls to bed with one fell swoop.

Though needing to eat, fails to do so; and Mommy collapses in her own bed. Asleep within minutes.

Round 2 is over.



ROUND 3 -

Late afternoon, a friend and her three young kiddos come over, with the intention of helping me sort through and organize some baby clothes. I pull out clothes that are too small for my 3 yr old. And this Mommy's done.

The other mommy does all the sorting for me.

And, Isabella and Victoria's mommy spends the rest of the time with friends over laying down on a bed, while everyone else is working or playing.

Isabella & Victoria's mommy loses yet again.

End of Round 3.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Just under 2 months to go

I have just under 2 months to go, before I reach my due date of October 13th. I'm 32 weeks today.

That worry about not gaining weight a little while back? Not a worry now. After stepping on a scale at the midwives' office this morning, I've definitely put on some weight in two weeks.

I'm living it large. LARGE.

My left quadriceps regularly go numb. While standing. Sitting used to take care of that problem. Now? I have to find other ways to relieve the numbness and tingling. Baby girl, get off of the nerve that attaches to that left leg.

Acid reflux is still a frequent guest.

Early evenings are hard for me. Don't feel well and leaves me wondering whether I'll make it, whether the babies will make full term.

Other times in the day, I tire very, very easily. Constantly need to sit and "rest." Desire to lay down at different times in the day and drift into partial cognizance quite easily. What in the world was I like before I was pregnant. Was I this pathetic then, too?

I can feel baby movement in my pelvis. Weirdest feeling, really.

Colostrum has been in for some time now.

I get Charlie Horses very easily, early morning hours, if I haven't had enough water to drink. Even overnight.

Am desiring natural, non-medically invasive, vaginal births of two little babies. Lord willing. Still have no idea of how all the pieces will fall together when the time comes.

Am determined to nurse the twins and provide breast milk to them exclusively. My plan and hope is for two years or more. The WHO (World Health Organization) recommends breastfeeding for a minimum of two years, benefiting baby (babies) as well as mother.

Potty training and overnight dryness

2011-8-18

For the first time in her life, Victoria stayed dry overnight. We were both excited, for different reasons. I'm glad she's one step further in the world of potty training. As for her, I had told her, if she continually keeps her diaper dry during sleeping time - whether nap time or overnight sleeping - she can wear underpants to sleep.

Today, I put her in underpants, hoping and praying she would keep them dry. Kept one extra pair of panties and pants, just in case. She stayed dry for my midwife appointment this morning. At some point, at the playground, she had a little accident. Apologized immediately, she did. Disappointed she was, that I didn't have another pair of Rapunzel underpants for her.

You've got to keep your underpants dry, honey. Wear what I brought for you, for now. If you keep your underpants dry, after we get home and you go to the potty, I have a third and final pair of Rapunzel panties for you. But, you have to keep those dry. I have no more clean ones for you.

Okay.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Potty training surprises for Mommy

On the spectrum of potty training, I haven't been anywhere close to aggressive. Haven't made that my full time endeavor with Victoria, who's 3 yrs old.

That doesn't mean I haven't been encouraging her to use the potty or haven't made a huge deal whenever she would go on the potty. In fact, she got a Thomas the Train when she first peed on the potty. Not all her rewards were that grandiose. I took advantage of a 75% after Easter sale at Target, including a set of three Easter eggs, each with a Thomas the train train inside.

When she first pooped in a little potty, I gave her loads of high pitched praises. And, she returned the high-pitched delight. She got a regular, talking Thomas the Train engine. We got various relatives on Skype or on the phone and made a huge deal out of doing her business in the potty.

We've been potty training for a month or two. But, like I said, without any sort of urgency. She hasn't had the bladder control to go through nap time or overnight sleep without wetting her diaper.

Today, this morning, I had loads of errands to run. Much to my surprise, she voiced the desire to go to the potty every time I went. Keep in mind I am 31 1/2 weeks pregnant with twins. Minimally, I was going to the bathroom every hour. Victoria was following suit each time, using the bathroom on an adult toilet. Wasn't intimidated in the least by the size of an adult toilet.

Even more surprising, her diaper was dry for most of the 4 hours we were out running, except towards the end. She wet her diaper, just a bit.

The last errand I had to run for the morning involved buying more diapers. I had this idea of seeing whether she was interested in picking out new underpants. Only to be worn when her diaper is dry most of the time; from her actions, I could tell she understood the message. She was so very excited about getting to pick out brand new underpants.

She didn't show this sort of enthusiasm before.

Once at Target, she kept reminding me that she was to pick up brand new underpants. Eventually we hit that section of the store. Looking at the underpants available in her size, I started reading out her options: Ni Hao Kai Lan . . . Rapunzel.

Rapunzel! Rapunzel. Rapunzel, Mommy!

Rapunzel, it is, my dear.

2011-8-15

I assured her that after she went to the potty at home and took a bath, she could wear underpants until nap time.

She was busy singing for a good bit.

2011-8-15

And exuberant.

2011-8-15

Can you tell the utter excitement?!

2011-8-15

Couldn't convince her to put a shirt on for anything, including a picture. But she was proudly modeling Rapunzel underpants.

2011-8-15

Except for nap time and up until bed time tonight, Victoria has been wearing a pair of her brand spanking new underpants, and she has kept them dry. Never mind the poop I found in her underpants following nap time. I think we've come a long way. Don't you?

I am so proud of you, Victoria.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

When Two Peas in a Pod arrives at my doorstep

I got a little package in the mail yesterday, from Hot Mama. Felt dazed and confused. Did I somehow, with my pregnant brain, make some sort of purchase of which I am unaware? What's going on? Is this some sort of alternate universe?

Then I pulled out the item in the mail bag. It was a shirt I had blogged about at the beginning of this month. See here.Link
Turns out one of my good friends from college sent it. I was and am touched.

2011-8-11

My pod has two peas. Any questions?

2011-8-11


Friday, August 05, 2011

When looking like Mommy is cool

From time to time, I wear my hair in a bun, using a hair tie and a bunch of clips. Yesterday, the girls said they wanted their hair fixed "very beautifully" just like me.

How flattering. Thank you, girls.

So, I bought them their own hair clips.

2011-8-4

I suppose it'd be easier to see how I did their hair if they turned around.

Like this.

2011-8-4


What do you think of my little ballerinas?

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

When putting on weight is a must

With concern and care, I was told that I need to put on more weight in this pregnancy with twins. On the prospective curve of ideal weight gain, I am not even close to what I ought to be gaining.

***

I was told the same thing by someone at my midwifery group not that long ago. When she asked what was going on in my life and whether I was stressed, I broke down crying. Pools of tears and some of my deepest painful feelings came flowing out of me in floods and like word vomit.

***

I haven't gained weight in a month. This is not good. At this stage in the pregnancy, at 29 weeks and 5 days, these two babies should be putting on weight. I should be putting on weight.

***

My confession is that, these days, I tend to feel overwhelmed and stressed with life stuff. When I get together with friends, I am more relaxed and eat more freely and easily. Lord, I pray that you help me find ways to relax, de-stress, take better care of myself, eat better. . .

Monday, August 01, 2011

Two Peas in a Pod


I first saw this particular T-shirt in a Hot Mama store; that was before they decided to discontinue maternity clothes. The original price was $38, a bit steep for a T-shirt. As the maternity wear is phased out and discontinued, that clothing is sold only online and it is being discounted. It was on sale for $32.99. Until August 7th, the shirt is on sale at Hot Mama's online shopping for $26.39. But, as frugal as I am trying to be, I'm not sure I am willing to pay even that. But, that would sure answer many of people's curiosity as to why I am so huge with just over two months to go, without having to utter any words to them.