Monday, November 2, 2009

Wonder Twin Power, Activate!

It's pretty normal for Geof and me to eat dinner late on a weeknight. But, it's not normal for me to feel nauseous after chowing down. That was my first sign that the Wonder Twins were getting ready to activate in a BIG way!

It was about 11 p.m. on the night of Wednesday, Oct. 14, and I had waddled my way upstairs to try and calm the unsettled feeling I had brewing in my belly. After heaving my hefty frame onto the bed to relax after a long day at work, I started feeling what I was fairly certain were contractions.

I had only had a few only encounters previously with contractions, and they were the Braxton-Hicks "fake" contractions. This time, though, I felt certain the sharp pulses of pain were the real deal. I started timing them to figure out how fast they were coming. Judging by my trusty alarm clock, they came about every six to seven minutes and lasted about 30 seconds each time.

Oh boy.

Make that "Oh, girls!"

At that point, I looked at Geof and said, "I think I better call the doctor. I'm pretty sure I'm in labor." Geof did what any smart husband would do. He turned a bit pale, kissed me and furiously began packing suitcases for a trip to the hospital.

I reached the on-call doctor around midnight and explained to him the pace and strength of the contractions. "They aren't unbearable by any means," I said. "Just very uncomfortable."

Dr. Tosky, who sounded tired, asked it this was my first pregnancy. When I replied in the affirmative, he suggested I spend the next few hours trying to get some rest. He urged me to stop watching the clock and call back if I felt the pain intensifying or lasting for longer periods of time.

I agreed, but falling asleep was much easier said than done. Because Twin A was on my far right side and Twin B was sitting in the center of my belly, my balance was all out of whack. When I tried to lie down, it hurt my back. When I tried to prop myself up against pillows, it hurt my back. When I paced around the bedroom, it hurt my back. I could quickly tell there was not going to be much sleeping that night.

Around 7 a.m. on Thursday, Oct. 15, I dragged myself downstairs to the den where I plopped down on the couch and started timing the contractions once again. After a half hour, I deduced that they were coming every five minutes. I was too sleep deprived to tell if they were really stronger than the night before, but they were definitely coming faster.

At that point, I did two things. First, I called work and left a message saying I wouldn't be coming in that day, because I might be in labor. (Seemed like a good reason to me.) Second, I called the on-call doctor who happened to be Dr. Buckley, one of my favorite docs in the practice and the one I'd hoped would deliver my children. I laid out the events of the previous evening and explained what I was currently feeling. He asked me to come to the office for an exam.

Before we loaded up the car and hit the highway, I was bound and determined to take a shower, deep condition my hair and shave my legs. I figured if this was labor, there was a good chance I wouldn't be able to do any of those things for several days. Plus, I didn't really want to appall the staff in the labor and delivery unit with my leg hair. (Hey - it's hard to bend down to reach your legs when you're nearly 35 weeks prego with twins!)

Following this brief beauty regiment, we went to the OBGYN office where Dr. Gausmann examined me. She said I was already dialated three centimeters and was 100 percent effaced. I was in labor! A quick ultrasound showed the girls were both facing head down, so a natural delivery would possible as long as they didn't change positions before or during delivery!

We were elated. And nervous. It was really happening!

Dr. Gausmann sent us straight over to the hospital, which is conveniently located next door to the doctor's office, for admission into the labor and delivery unit. The nurturing nurses had me change into a hospital gown, took my vital signs, and hooked me up to an IV and several other monitors. The hardest part was getting sensors in the right places to track the twins' heart rates. The poor girls were so squished together in my tummy that it made it hard to separate one baby's heartbeat from the other's.

Shortly after getting hooked up, Dr. Buckley came in to examine me. He determined I was only dialated 1.5 centimeters. He said he'd be back in a few hours to check my progress, and if I hadn't made much by then, he'd probably send me home to let the twins "cook" a little bit longer. In the meantime, the nurses encouraged me to walk around and let gravity help move the situation along.

I did. However, I think it took me about 30 minutes to make a single lap around the labor and delivery unit - an unimpressive time for a long-distance runner. I was walking like an 85-year-old woman in serious need of a cane. Or hip replacement surgery. I also had to stop at times when the contractions were especially strong to breathe through them. Geof was there right by my side every step of the way.

As I walked, I sipped on ginger ale, because my tummy was feeling a little off. I hadn't eaten anything since dinner the night before, and no one would let me eat anything but popsicles now that I was in the hospital. Ugh. I was starving! Even hospital cafeteria food sounded good.

After completing my laps, Dr. Buckley did as promised and came back in to check my progress around 3:45 p.m. I was dialated four centimeters! The walking (more like hobbling) had worked. I would not be sent home... or as I joked with Dr. Buckley, he would not be voting me off the island.

At that point, Dr. Buckley decided to break my water. He used a odd, crochete hook-looking instrument to do it. It didn't hurt at all, but the quick gush of warm fluid felt really weird. It was like sitting down in the bath tub. Only I was in a stiff hospital bed, not my big garden tub at home.

In addition to the weird sensation, I was also surprised by how quickly my contractions increased in intensity. Before, when the nurse had asked me to measure my pain on a scale of one to 10 with 10 being "hit by a Mack truck," I said I was a four, maybe a five. The contractions post popping the bag of waters skyrocketed straight to eight or nine.

I tried to breathe through them, but implementing the relaxation techniques we'd learned in childbirth class seemed pretty impossible at this point. Imagining myself sunnying on a secluded beach was replaced instantly with the urge to punch anyone who told me "You're doing great! Keep breathing." Who knew hormones could induce such violent tendencies? :)

For their own personal safety, it was probably a good thing that Geof and Dr. Buckley were having an in-depth conversation at the foot of my bed about surfing. I had been participating in the conversation until the first mega contraction hit and cordial discourse was no longer possible for me. However, I do think it's pretty gnarley that Dr. Buckley is a surfer.

Once the medical team realized how much pain I was in, they called in another doctor to give me the long-awaited epidural. I can't remember the doctor's name, but I do recall how excited he was to hear that I was having twins. He is the father of twins, and as great I as thought that was, I really wanted him to talk less about his kids and focus more on injecting me with serious pain-relieving drugs. It's amazing how your tolerance level depletes when you're about to give birth.

About 15 minutes after receiving the epidural, my legs started to feel warm and a little numb. The pain of the contractions was slipping away, and I felt comfortable for the first time all day.
Hooray for the wonders of modern medicine!

Another check of my cervix showed I was dialated nine centimeters! In the span of about an hour and a half, I had dialated five centimeters! Things were moving fast now.

Somewhere around 5:30 p.m., the doctor determined I was fully dialated and asked the nursing staff to prepare me for delivery. They wheeled my big bed down to the operating room, because despite our intentions to have a vaginal delivery, it was a real possibility that things could change during the procedure, and I would need to have a C-section. By already being in the OR, the doctors could conserve time and focus on getting the babies out, not logistics.

I should also mention the great irony of the day was that Geof, a photojournalist by trade, did not have our camera at the hospital. We had left it at the home of our friend, Sloane, who'd thrown us an amazing baby shower the previous weekend, so the only camera we had was on Geof's Blackberry. Not exactly what I'd imagined using to capture the first images of our newborns!

Throughout the day, Geof had texted Sloane to see if she could bring the camera to the hospital. Unfortunately, her son was sick, and she didn't think she could leave her Wake Forest home to come all the way into Raleigh to make the hand off.

Thankfully, Sloane had a change of plans and was able to drop off the camera. Being the smart reporter she is, she did not just leave it at the security desk in the lobby. She made sure it got upstairs to the labor and delivery unit... and eventually to us.

It couldn't have come at a more perfect time. As Geof was assuming his position at my bedside in the OR, a nurse tapped him on the shoulder and handed him the camera! Alleluia!

After getting me situated on the table and putting my legs in these huge, transformer-looking stirrups (way scarier than the ones at the OBGYN), we were ready to begin. Remember, because of the epidural, I could not feel my lower body or the contractions, so the nurses watched the monitors and told me when to start pushing.

Geof was my cheerleader sans skirt and pom pons. When the nurses said "push," so did he.

"Push! Push! Push!"

Then, he'd start counting. "One! Two! Three..." Although the nurses appreciated his enthusiasm, they did say, "Mr. Demi, can you please count a little slower?" He agreed to reign in the adrenaline and count to their beat.

I personally liked his faster counting, because it meant less time thinking my eyes were going to pop out of my head. I had never pushed so hard in my life. Even when I was pulling nine Gs with the Blue Angels during a media flight in Tucson. The pilot told me to "bear down" like I was going number two. This was WAY more intense, and I wasn't even upside down thousands of feet above the ground.

The pushing paid off quickly. At 6:06 p.m., Avery Caroline Levine came into the world. Dr. Buckley held her wiggling 4.5-pound frame up, so I could see her, and she was beautiful! I was so moved by the enormity of the event that I started crying. I couldn't believe the little person I'd been talking to in my belly for so many months was finally here!

My state of awe didn't last long. As soon as they whisked Avery away for cleaning and analysis, the pushing started again. A mere three pushes and eight minutes later, Alexa Lee Levine was born. At 4.6 pounds, she was just as beautiful and perfect as her sister. Geof, the proud papa, got to cut her umbilical cord.

Although both girls were very healthy and attentive, they were taken post delivery to the Special Care Nursery, because they were about five weeks premature, which is normal for multiples. Thankfully, before the nurses took the babies there, they let Geof and me hold them.

This was the moment I had been waiting for for so long and the real reason why I had felt so strongly about having a natural delivery. I wanted to cuddle with them in the first minutes of their lives and let them know how much I loved them. Thanks to the obedience of the girls (for following our requests to turn head down) and the skill of Dr. Buckley and the Rex delivery team, I got to have my moment.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Lordy, Lordy! Looks Who's in 4D!

I love getting ultrasounds. That's a good thing, because as the mommy-to-be of twins, I get lots of them. I think I've had five, so far, and we've got another one scheduled for Wednesday morning.

It gives me piece of mind to know that the Wonder Twins are healthy and progressing just as they should be.

It also gives me a good laugh when our parents try to decipher the pictures. It's like that generation's version of Where's Waldo.

Geof's Dad, Buzz, just throws his hands up in the air and says, "I can't see anything. I don't know what I'm looking at." Geof responds with "How can you not tell that is her head?" Buzz replies, "Doesn't look like it to me."

My mom's ultrasound interpretation skills aren't much better.

One night after I had just posted some new ultrasound photos to the blog, mom called with the sound of worry in her voice. She said, "I just looked at the pictures, and I'm concerned about Twin A. It looks like she only has one eye."

"Mom, Twin A does not have only one eye," I said. "She is not a cyclops."

"But, it looks like it," Mom replied. "Are you sure?"

"Mom, I'm pretty sure the doctor would've mentioned it to me, if my baby didn't have two eyes," I countered. "You're just seeing a shadow. Remember, the camera has to shoot through skin and fluid. It's not like your digital camera."

I guess our parents didn't have ultrasounds when we were born, so it's understandable that they confuse the dark blobs on the film with missing body parts.

In an attempt to help them and others see our darling baby girls more clearly, Geof and I decided to get a 4D ultrasound. It's the latest trend for our generation, and after taking part in our session today, I can understand why.

The traditional black and white ultrasound that you get at the OBGYN's office is considered 2D. The 4D ultrasound converts that image to 3D, adds color and includes a video component. Bottomline? It's like having a small window into the womb!

Because the twins are almost 34 weeks old, we knew we'd have a great chance to see their nearly developed features. That was evident as soon as the tech turned the camera on in 4D mode! We immediately saw Twin B's ear in crystal clarity. Apparently, she wanted to be close to me, so she buried her head in the placenta. Comfortable for her, yes. Not so good for picture day.

The tech moved the camera around on my belly, trying to get a better angle. After a few attempts, we soon discovered why she wasn't moving much. She and her sister were totally intertwined. It's like they were cuddling! In the photo below, you can see Twin A's arm is wrapped Twin B's face, and Twin B's little knee is right below it.

The tech told us what the stretch marks on my belly had already confirmed - there isn't much room for the babies to move in the womb. So, she tried manually to help them scoot their arms and legs away from their faces by massaging my tummy. Eventually, it worked, and we got some great shots of Twin B's face. Just look at her tiny lips! Her hand is propped up against her left cheek, and to prove she's got Olympic gymnastics potential, she's got her right leg fully extended next to her right ear. I give her a perfect 10!

She's obviously proud of her flexibility, because in this one she's smiling! :) You can also see her tiny eyelashes.

Getting Twin A's elusive face to appear for the camera was even more challenging. That's because she's facing head down, and her sister is lying across her. They're in their own separate sacks, so it's not like Twin A is getting squashed, but I can understand now why she kicks so often!

For a little while, all we could see was the back of her head, her ear and her arm stretched over face as if shielding her eyes from the sun. Or the flashbulbs of the paparrazi. Interestingly, the tech told us the bumpy looking spots on her head are actually hair! I guess she won't be born bald! Yay for pigtails and hair bows!

After much rolling from one side to the other, I finally got Twin A to shift enough, so we could see her face. She has her right arm up next to her head with her elbow sticking up. Her nose is also a little flattened, because she's right up next to the membrane of her little sack. But, she's still pretty darn cute.

Geof talked to my belly the whole time, encouraging the girls to turn and look at the camera. In this photo, it looks like Twin A heard him and was ready to respond. Her little lips are just starting to open.

We have the entire 50-minute session on DVD, as well, so we can see the girls opening their mouths and moving their arms and legs. We plan to pull out a few of the best clips and post them to YouTube. That way, anyone was wants to check out the Wonder Twins in motion can with just the click of a mouse!

Although the 4D ultrasound is a little pricy and not covered by insurance, it's totally worth it. We look forward to meeting the girls in person and seeing just how much they look like these images. I'm sure it'll be much easier for our parents to tell without their arms and legs in the way!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Twinkle Toes

Considering I haven't been able to reach my feet in months, I can't exactly give myself a proper (or pretty) pedicure.

Rather than ask Geof to try for me, I rely on the nice folks at a new nail salon that just opened near my house to pamper my peds. Or, at the very least, make sure I haven't sprouted an eleventh toe. Remember, I can't really see my feet, either.

I can't resist describing this place. When you walk in, the first things you see are two massive crystal chandeliers that look like they were stolen from the Las Vegas strip. The wallpaper is gold, and there are all kinds of random decorations hanging above the pedicure chairs. Some look like flowers. Others... more like colorful peas in a pod. None of it quite matches.

Clearly, the owner wants you to feel you're in a five-star salon. I'm pretty sure it's not threatening the client base at, let's say, Canyon Ranch. But, as long as they're not charging me what Canyon Ranch would to get my toes done, I don't really care. At least, they're trying.

My favorite part about going there is sitting in the massive massage chairs. Today, I got a Swedish massage on my shoulders and lower back, while sipping a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup milkshake from Cook Out.


The funny part about today's spur-of-the-moment salon visit was the reaction from the staff to my big belly. The last time I went in was maybe a month ago. My baby bump hadn't yet blossomed into the beautiful egg-shaped cone that it is today. Apparently, cones are the coolest at wannabe ritzy salons.

As soon as I sat down and pushed the massage button, four petite Asian nail techs gathered around me and started asking questions and making comments in rapid-fire succession.

"When you do?"

"You know girl or boy?"

"You big!"

For some, English was obviously not their native language. But, it didn't matter, because their cheerful expressions and smiles easily relayed their interest in my future family.

When I explained that I'm expecting twins, they started shouted in a foreign language I couldn't understand and waved everyone else who worked at the salon over, so they could look at my stomach. Some even wanted to touch my tummy, which is always a little uncomfortable.

I felt a bit like a pudgy celebrity sitting atop my throne (massage chair). My daughters were stars already!

I wanted so badly to take a cell phone picture of them gawking and pointing at me, but I figured that might be a little awkward. It was just so funny to be an object of such interest in a random nail salon that I thought only a picture could adequately express the hilarity of the situation.

Needless to say, if I don't deliver the Wonder Twins before my next appointment, I might need to bring a baby bodyguard along to control my newfound paparazzi. I'll be even bigger then. That should earn the Maternity Queen some extra time in the massage chair, don't you think?

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Uh oh... is it time?

Around 2 o'clock this afternoon, I seriously thought my work day was going to end much earlier than usual. And it wasn't because I had comp time to burn.

I was in the middle of drafting a press release about the opening of North Carolina's first "green" rest area when I began to feel pangs of pain in my belly and along my lower back.

"Ugh," I muttered as I thought back to my lunch. "I probably shouldn't have eaten that tortellini so fast."

Pang... pang. Pang-pang-pang!

It clearly was not the pasta that was causing this pain. It was something different that I hadn't felt before.

At first, I assumed the Wonder Twins were just pushing extra hard against my tummy. They tend to do that after I eat, which makes my baby bump feel quite firm. Sometimes, the pressure is so great that I can't feel gentle touches around my belly button.

This time, though, it wasn't them lobbying for more womb room.

My heart started to race as I pondered the possibilities. Was I in labor? Was I having contractions? Was the Secretary of Transportation going to have to drive me to the hospital in the state SUV?

Being that I have never been pregnant before, I don't exactly know what contractions feel like. Everyone keeps assuring me by saying, "Oh, you'll know." Yeah, right.

My doctor told me contractions would feel like really bad mentrual cramps. The pain kind of felt like that, especially because of the lower back aches, but there was no rhythm to the sensations. They just sort of pulsed to a random beat.

I whispered, "Please don't come yet, girls. You've got four more weeks to finish developing, plus two showers to attend. It's not time."

They must have heard me, because about an hour later, the pain went away. Apparently, the twins enjoy parties just as much as mommy and daddy, and they didn't want to miss out on any celebrations in their honor!

I really think what I was experiencing were Braxton-Hicks contractions. The fake contractions. They're supposed be sporadic, irregular in intensity and not grow stronger with time. That pretty well describes that I felt.

Thank you, baby books, for reminding me of this phenomenon. And, thank you, Dr. John Braxton Hicks, for detecting it in back in 1872.

Next time, I will not allow imitation contractions to fool me! Oh, no. I will walk them off or deep breathe them away. That is, unless they're real contractions.

In that case, I'll make a beeline for the state SUV.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

The Book Worm and her Squirmy Worms

Beside my bed, there is a large, brown woven basket full of books. One of them is a fiction novel I intended to read last year and clearly never got around to opening. All the rest are pregnancy-related books.

I've got "What to Expect...," "Your Pregnancy Week by Week" and a whole slew of others on topics like breastfeeding and preparing to bring baby (or in my case babies) home from the hospital.

The problem is I haven't really had the time (or frankly the energy) to read them since the middle of my second trimester. Bad mom, I know.

I really think there should be a pamphlet sold with every book that states: "Warning. Planning for motherhood is an exciting, yet time-consuming task. Don't even try to complete this book until you've picked out your baby furniture, registered for gifts, decorated the nursery and childproofed your house. Any attempt to do otherwise is an exercise in futility."

Somehow, I doubt Random House is going to agree with me.

Because I know the Wonder Twins could come at any time in the next few weeks or months, I feel a little guilty that I haven't made my way through more of the book basket by the bed.

This weekend, I tried to make up for my literary deficiency. I overachieved and read the entire end of "Your Pregnancy Week by Week." I am now officially up to date on all things that could possibly happen between now and week 41 (overdue)!

The good thing is I had already learned most of the information in my childbirth class at the hospital.

The bad thing is I think the authors of the book needed some "filler" content for some of the latter chapters, so they found the most disturbing diseases or health problems a baby could possibly suffer from and put at least one in each chapter. Thanks, Nurse Nancy. Now, I won't be able to sleep tonight.

To lessen the nighttime tossing and turning, I try to read in the morning and not just before hitting the sack. It gives me a chance to process the information but not enough time to dwell on it so much that it interrupts my sleep.

That's good news for the twins. They are both extremely active these days, and they tend to launch a physical protest when I move too much at night.

I try to apologize for flipping my giant body from side to side, but I don't think they can hear me. Their response is to push. Hard.

Twin A's new trick is to slide waaaay up under my right rib and push out, forming a big, round bump. Twin B tends to slide to the middle of my tummy and push her head (I think) into what used to be my belly button until it looks like the nose cone of the space shuttle.

Usually, a light tummy massage will lessen the pushing but not always. They are obviously hard headed like their mother.

Their tummy-contorting movements have earned them the nicknames "Mommy's Squirmy Worms."

Perhaps, they'll calm down a little if momma book worm trades her maternity books for "High School Musical 3."

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Name Game

Of all the pregnancy-related questions I get asked by friends, colleagues and complete strangers on a regular basis, the most common one is "Have you picked out names yet?"

My 81-year-old grandmother in Pennsylvania just asked me that yesterday. She's knitting Christmas stockings for the Wonder Twins and needs to know their names before she can start winding the red and green yarn around her needles. You see, grandma knits stockings for everyone in the family, and the name always goes at the top of the sock.

"Can't you start at the toe?" I inquired. "No," she said. "That won't work."

Well, unfortunately, I had to tell her the same thing that I tell my friends, colleagues and total strangers: We aren't saying for sure until we meet the girls.

I'll be honest. It's not like we really think we're going to change our minds in the minutes post delivery. We're really using it as more of an excuse to avoid the following hypothetical, yet extremely awkward situations:

1. As soon as I divulge the girls' names, the face of the person I'm talking to is either totally expressionless (bad) or contorts into a fake smile (also bad) while mumbling, "Oh, those are... nice names." Whatever. You hate them. Thanks for your sincerity.

2. Upon hearing the names, the person immediately exclaims with vigor, "I have a third cousin who's a stripper in Wyoming with that SAME name!" OMG! I'm so NOT excited.

3. After I share the names, the person says, "There are 14 girls with those exact names in my son's preschool class. He doesn't get along with any of them." Great. Have you ever thought that it might be your son?

All of those scenarios and thousands of others would definitely make us question the names we've picked for ridiculous reasons. Since we happen to like the names we've picked, we've decided to avoid the weird commentary and keep them a secret until the big day comes.


We will let you know that the babies' middle names are easily pronounceable family names unlike "Dara" and "Geof." You'd be surprised how many times a day we get "Darrah" and "Gee-off."

We'll also tell you some name combinations that we didn't pick:

1. Demi Levine - Sure, "Demi" works as a first name for movie star "Demi Moore," but not so much for the daughter of someone named Dara Demi Levine. Waaaay too confusing when the teenaged boys start calling.

2. Dara Demi Levine, Jr. - No way. Not happening. Sounds like a weird Jewish country song.

3. Geoffina Levine - First, that's not even a name. Second, her nickname would definitely be "Geoffina Levina," which reminds me of "Julia Gulia" in the movie, "The Wedding Singer," with Adam Sandler. That's just mean. We would like the girls to actually have social lives when they're older.

I'm fairly certain I haven't given you enough clues to figure out their names. So, I guess you'll just have to wait until delivery day to find out!

Don't you just love a good cliffhanger? :)

Monday, September 21, 2009

Things You Learn on the Throne

It's funny what you discover when you're taking the pee test in the bathroom at the doctor's office. For those of you who don't know, mommies-to-be have to take a urine test every time they go to the OBGYN for a check up.

Today, I had two realizations while sitting on the throne. First, my underwear was inside out. That's what happens when you can no longer see your feet and try to get dressed inside a dark closet. Second, I couldn't see the cup, either. Hitting the sterile container was a new physical challenge that somehow I seemed to master. If only my aim were that good on the golf course.

Once I exited the throne room with newly reversed underwear, Geof and I went into a room where the nurse listened to the babies' heart beats. I love the "wah, wah, wah" sound! Twin A measured about 145 beats per minute. Her sister's rate was slightly higher at 147 bpm. Both are considered very strong and healthy.

Next, Dr. Tosky came in to talk to us about the babies' progress. He was the only obstetrition in the practice that we had not yet met, so we were excited to make his acquaintance and pick his brain about some labor-related questions we had.

He had white hair and a funny New York-ish accent, which was emphasized by his kind, yet straight-to-the-point approach. We immediately liked him. Very "Sopranos."

He said it would be possible for us to have a natural delivery, if the twins are both facing head down. At our last ultrasound, one was still breech. Turn, Twin B, turn!

We think she may be trying. A true womb hog, she often pushes hard against the right and center of my tummy, leaving a large, loaf of bread-like lump at my belly button. This acrobatic manuver forces Twin A to my far right side in a similar-shaped bump.

Yes, it is as weird looking as it sounds. :) Even after stuffing myself at Thanksgiving, my belly has never contorted in such positions.

Dr. Tosky said if Twin B doesn't flip over and face head down, it would not be a good idea to try to have Twin A naturally and her sister by C-section. Too much stress on me.

However, he did say that if a C-section is the route we must go, we don't have to schedule it. We can let my body just start contractions on its own timetable. As odd as it may sound, I really want to do that. I don't want to miss out on this phase of the pregnancy if I don't have to.

The other thing we learned from Dr. Tosky was that most twins come into the world at about 35 weeks. That's three weeks from now!!

Breathing. Very. Fast.

No time for right siding underwear. Nesting time is here!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Hooray for Twins Discounts!

Great news from Restoration Hardware Baby and Child where we registered for the Wonder Twins' bedding. It now offers a special discount for multiples! WooHoo!

Twins, Triplets or More Save 15% on Everything With Our Multiples Program
If you're shopping for twins, triplets or more, we have a special program that makes it easier to outfit them. Save 15% when purchasing more than one of the same item, regardless of color. Place your order by contacting Customer Service at 1.800.762.1751, or visit a Restoration Hardware Baby & Child store for assistance.

Purchase two or more of the same full-price Baby & Child item (can be different colors) during the offer period commencing on September 10, 2009, and continuing through and until December 31, 2010, and receive a 15% discount on the purchase price of these items. The 15% discount shall not apply to tax and shipping. Offer excludes sale merchandise. To receive this discount, mention "Multiples Program" when shopping by phone or in-store. Offer not valid for web purchases, purchases made at Restoration Hardware Outlets, Clearance Centers or Warehouse sales, purchases of Home and Outdoor merchandise and/or purchases of gift certificates. Offer cannot be combined with any other offers, promotions, coupons, or program discounts and may not be applied to previous purchases.

BRU offers a similar discount, but it's for 10-percent off, and it has been be on "big ticket" items.

Now, if we could just get a similar break on college tuition... :)

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Baby Bump Pictures Unveiled

Our awesome friend and photographer Leah Charbonneau has given us special permission to post some of our maternity photo session shots on the Wonder Twins' blog! We are SO pleased with the way they turned out. She did a great job of capturing "us."

We can't wait to hang some pictures in the nursery... and pretty much every other wall in the house!

Feel free to puruse the mini gallery below.

To see more of Leah's gorgeous work, check out :) She has already agreed to take pictures of the Wonder Twins after they come into the world. Can't wait!

Daddy's Head has Healed!

In a far less urgent manner than last Sunday morning, Geof, the Wonder Twins and I went to the Emergency Department at Raleigh's Wake Medical Center this morning. Seven days had passed since his traumatic ordeal with the bathroom floor, and it was time to get the stitches out.

We went to the hospital instead of our family care provider, because the cost of the sucture removal was included in our last visit. No need to pay twice!

Unfortunately, that meant we were forced to sit in the waiting area with the really sick people. While I definitely felt sorry for them, I made sure to frequently use hand santizer, because I did not want to catch what they had. Sporting a Michael Jackson-style face mask is not my idea of a successful end to the pregnancy!

After about an hour and a half, we got called back to the minor care area, and Jill the nurse started poking at Geof's stitches. After removing the first two, she declared there was too much "gook" (dried blood and layered antibiotic ointment) caked in Geof's hair to really see the stitches well. So, she scrubbed the gooky area down with some hydrogen peroxide and deemed the wound area much cleaner.

During this process, she decided to tell me all about her daughter who had girl-girl twins last year. Apparently, she did not have an easy pregnancy and ended up in the hospital several times before finally having the babies at 30 weeks.

Ummm... I'll be 31 weeks tomorrow, but that doesn't mean I want to hear about another mother's pregnancy trials and tribulations. Why would you tell me that?

Thankfully, the twin talk ceased when the crooked-looking specialty scissors came back out.

With a few snips, Nurse Jill got all the stitches out with no trouble. She proclaimed that Geof's head wound had healed nicely, but she did point out one spot that would probably still be tender, as indicated by its light pink color. She said Geof should just use sensitivity when washing his hair, and if he had any problems, he should come back in.

Geof is thrilled to be able to wash the back of his head for the first time in a week! To celebrate this monumental achievement, as well as Geof's bravery, we went to Moe's for lunch. The twins must have enjoyed this little Mexican treat, because they are now kicking like crazy! Arriba, chicas!

Again, we'd like to thank everyone for their kind thoughts and prayers during the past week! We are very grateful for Geof's speedy recovery and look forward to our next trip to the hospital being for the babies' birth!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Register This!

Most parents-to-be probably walk into stores like Babies R' Us and get excited about the thousands of items they could register for. From bottle warmers to $700 baby joggers, the list of options is almost endless.

Unless you're me. And, you find the sheer amount of options totally overwhelming, so you run home to read the entire "Baby Bargains" book to determine which type of bottle best prevents colic, which car seat will be safest for the Wonder Twins and which diaper disposal system gets the highest marks for odor elimination. (Remember, we'll have twice the poopy diapers in one room!)

After finishing the book, Geof and I went back to BRU to create our registry. The sign up process was simple. They gave us a scanner, which we immediately turned into a big kids toy. Geof tried to scan my baby bump (sorry, the girls are not for sale), and I used it as a prop in a Charlie's Angels pose when no one was looking.

Armed with "Baby Bargains," we walked down each aisle and started scanning. We began with the big stuff - the really important items we cannot live without like car seats. It's hard to bring babies home from the hospital without them.

After much hemming and hawing, we selected the Chicco Key Fit seats, because they hold infants from four to 32 pounds. All the other seats start at five pounds. Just in case the girls come early and don't weigh much, we wanted to be prepared. The background color of the seats is, much to Geof's disdain, orange - the color of his SEC football rival, the University of Tennessee. Geof plans to remedy this by buying the twins Arkansas Razorback onesies immediately.

Unfortunately, Chicco does not yet make a double stroller for the Key Fit seats to snap into, so we went with a more traditional side-by-side stroller. The Combi model is black with bright green polka dots, which reminded Geof of his mom, Linda, who loved lime green. It folds up like a Tranformer and is pretty light weight for a double stroller. Since the doctor put the "no exercise" edict into effect, I haven't exactly been pumping iron, so my shrunken biceps are grateful for the reduced poundage!

We had heard great things about the Baby Bjorn, but Geof figured he should give one the true Levine test before we double punched the scanner. He gave it the "thumbs up" and already has big plans of dancing around the living room with one of the girls secured firmly to his chest!

I could go on and on about all the other things we registered for and why, but I seriously doubt you'd find that interesting. I will say, though, that we did NOT register for any baby clothes. On purpose. It's shocking, I know.

The truth is we just don't need any. Really. Between my ceaseless shopping sprees at consignment sales and gifts from our awesome friends, the nursery closet is full for the first six months! Our babies are going to be tiny fashionistas!

In all seriousness, feathering the nest for twins is expensive, so we really tried to only register for the items we truly need. And, most of them we need in pairs.

That means I resisted the urge to go scanner crazy and pull the trigger on items like the baby spa, fancy mobiles, and the latest and greatest toys. We don't need them. Well... that is unless the grandparents are buying! :)

You can check out our registry online at Just click on "find a registry" on the left side of the screen and type in either one of our names. It should pop right up!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Daddy Goes to the ER

There are a lot of things in life that I'm scared of. Tarantulas, scorpions, and armed robbers immediately come to mind.

But, on Sunday morning, I saw the most terrifying sight I'd ever seen - Geof lying on his side on the bathroom floor in a scarlet pool of his own blood. This was no dream. It was a real-life nightmare that I hope I never relive again.

At about 4 a.m., I was awakened by the sound of a loud crash. I bolted out of bed and immediately headed for the stairway, thinking Stella the cat had probably knocked something over downstairs.

As soon as I made it to the landing, I realized there were no lights on downstairs, which struck me as odd. I knew Geof hadn't been in bed when I heard the crash. If he wasn't in bed or downstairs, where was he?

I started calling his name and heard a noise coming from our bedroom. I noticed the bathroom double doors were shut. That was my first sign something was wrong. We only close those doors, when we're showering or getting ready in the morning. They stay open at night.

I opened the doors and called out into the dark bathroom, "Geof?" He responded with some mumbling. When I asked him why he was lying on the floor, he said, "I was so tired. I had to lie down." He was not making much sense, and that made my level of concern rise.

He then warned me that the floor was "wet." "Wet?" I said. "Why is it wet?" He replied in a wavering voice, "I think it's blood."

My adrenaline was pumping hard now. I walked over to the light switch, flicked it on and looked in horror at what I saw. Geof, lying between the bathtub and the potty closet, with a wide circle of blood all around his head.

"Oh God! Oh God!" I yelled in a voice filled with terror.

Mom, who was visiting from Cincinnati for the Labor Day holiday, shared my scared reaction and rushed to the linen closet in the hall for clean towels.

We had no idea exactly what had happened or where the blood was coming from, and Geof clearly was in no state to tell us.

We managed to get him upright and seated on the tub, so we could examine his head. There was so much blood matted in his hair that it was hard to figure out where it was coming from.

After some very gentle wiping with a towel, I could see a large gash in the back of his head. I knew this was not good.

Trying to remain calm, we moved him to the bed where we dressed him in warm clothes to try and stop his shivering, and prepared him for a ride to Wake Med's emergency room. His motor skills were slow, and it was obvious he didn't remember anything that had just happened to him.

On the way to the hospital, I tried to focus on driving and not having a total mental breakdown. I knew that would not be good for Geof or the Wonder Twins.

Mom sat in the backseat with Geof, helping him hold a towel and an ice pack against his throbbing head.

Pieces of the morning started coming back to him slowly. He remembered having a stomach ache. He remembered feeling a little dizzy as he got up to go to the bathroom. He didn't remember anything after that.

After what seemed like an eternity, we entered the ER and were sent into a triage station. A nurse listened to our story of what happened, at least what we could piece together at that point, and said Geof would need a CT Scan. She then wrapped his bleeding head in pads and gauze like you'd see in some type of movie about a WWII hospital.

After Geof's scan, he was given a "room" in the ER where we sat waiting for a doctor to tell us what would happen next.

Dr. Berry started his shift at 7 a.m., and Geof was his first patient. He said Geof would need another CT Scan, because the technicians had done the first one improperly. There was a dark spot on the scan, and Dr. Berry couldn't tell if it was blood... or something else.

Something else? I could feel my blood pressure rising.

Shortly after Geof returned from the second scan, nurses came by to do an EKG test, blood tests and hook him up to an IV. They also cleaned the wound with saline, which from Geof's expression really hurt.

Once he had the test results he needed, Dr. Berry briefed us again. He said the scan and the other tests had come back clear - no "something else" to worry about. Just the two-inch long wound in the back of Geof's head that was so deep it almost reached the bone.

He felt Geof had experienced a "vasovagal" reaction. Medical texts define it this way: "A reflex of the involuntary nervous system that causes the heart to slow down and that, at the same time, affects the nerves to the blood vessels in the legs permitting those vessels to dilate. As a result, the heart puts out less blood, the blood pressure drops, and what blood is circulating tends to go into the legs rather than to the head. The brain is deprived of oxygen and a fainting episode occurs."

In layman's terms, Dr. Berry compared it to locking your legs during a wedding and passing out, or fainting at the sight of blood. He said there is no way to predict or prevent it. He just recommended good hydration and slow movements the next time Geof's stomach got upset.

Following his explanation, Dr. Berry brought in a resident from UNC and began the tedious task of stitching up Geof's wide wound.

First came shots of the numbing agent lidocaine inside and outside the cut. I held Geof's hand and urged him to use some of the same techniques we'd learned in our childbirth class for contractions to bear the pain of the injections.

He was such a trooper. By breathing deeply and focusing on staying relaxed, he survived the shots without making noise or shedding a tear.

After determining the area of the wound was sufficiently numb, the doctors put five stitches inside the cut and at least nine stitches on the outside of his scalp. A thick layer of antibiotic oitment made his hair stiff and sticky around the line of blue stitches.

At 11:30 a.m., Geof's head was repaired, and we were finally discharged.

He spent the afternoon on the couch, taking the maximum amount of Advil and trying to get some rest.

Every day since then, he's felt better and required fewer pain relief pills. The throbbing is going away, and the concussion seems to be fading.

I have assumed the role of prego nurse maid. I spent an hour Monday sloughing the dried blood from Geof's matted hair and cautiously cleaning the area where the stitches are. He's scheduled to get them out on Sunday. He's thoroughly looking forward to washing his hair for the first time in a week. :)

We are extremely thankful for the many kind thoughts and prayers that our friends and family sent our way throughout this terrifying time. We are so grateful that Geof is okay and did not seriously hurt himself.

The Wonder Twins are also doing fine. The shock and trauma of the weekend did not affect them in any way. In fact, we went to the doctor this morning, and their heartbeats and my vital signs are just where they should be.

The girls are extremely proud of their daddy for being so brave, but they hope the next time they have to rush to the hospital is for their births, not another accident!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Milkshakes, C-sections and Casserole Delivered

I haven't really had many serious cravings throughout my pregnancy.

I've heard stories of mommies-to-be sending their husbands out at 2 a.m. for something weird like purple gum balls. Thankfully, for Geof's sleep cycle, I am not one of those people.

Don't get me wrong. I can always eat some ice cream. In fact, I'm pretty sure I ate about a third of a container of chocolate chip cookie dough one night while watching HGTV. But, there hasn't been one major food item that I've just HAD to have during the past 28 weeks.

Tuesday, that changed. I had a serious craving for a Reese's peanut butter cup milkshake from Cook Out. I knew it wasn't exactly calorically or nutritionally friendly, but I really didn't care. I just wanted to slurp up the sweet taste of chocolate, ice cream and peanut butter. Now.

The problem was Geof and I were supposed to be at childbirth class #4 at 7 p.m. It was 6:50 p.m. when we pulled into the Cook Out drive thru.

I knew we were going to be late. But not that late.

With shakes in hand, Geof sped (responsibly) to Rex Hospital, parked and dashed with our pillow and yoga mat to the classroom. I waddled as hurridly as possible behind him.

We rolled in at 7:06 p.m. And, we weren't the last ones there. Sweet! So, by the way, was my milkshake. :)

I happily sucked away on the blissful sugary dessert as I listened to our instructor, Caro, talk about C-sections.

On a side note, there is a real chance I will need to have this surgical procedure. You see, one of the girls is head down, but the other is still head up. If she doesn't take a nose dive soon, surgery will likely be our option.

I had already heard most of the information about C-sections before, but what I didn't know was that I wouldn't be able to hold the twins immediately after they're born. I'd have to wait. I found that thought crushing.

So, during one of our breaks, I asked Caro what my alternatives might be. She said if Twin B doesn't turn, I might be able to have Twin A naturally and then deliver Twin B by C-section. Or, she said I could ask my doctor if she'd deliver the baby breech. I definitely plan to discuss all this at my next appointment with her on Sept. 8.

I guess I'm a little weird, but I really want to know what real labor is like. I'm not afraid of the pain. I'm more afraid of missing out on the whole natural experience. I don't want to show up for a scheduled surgery. I want to have my water break while I'm in line at Cook Out. Okay, maybe not at Cook Out, but you see what I mean, right?

Back to class.

After talk of surgery ceased, Caro passed around a Harrod's shopping bag full of various items. Each future mom took one, and we went around the room explaining what we thought the item was for or represented.

I got a wooden spoon, and of course, Geof and I couldn't help but break into our imitations of the Swedish Chef from "The Muppets."

At first, I jokingly said the spoon was for punishment when chores went undone. But, then, I gave a more serious answer: "It's a reminder to let people cook for you, if they offer."

Eureka! I was right.

I learned I'm also supposed to let friends and family who offer to clean do it.

Hey, if you want to clean my toilet or Stella's litter box, go right ahead! I will not stop you, and neither will the twins.

So, if you feel like you need a little practice cookin' up a casserole for us in the future, feel free to start practicing now. We gladly accept anything edible and not made of Spam.

Milkshakes are also welcome.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Smile for the Birdie!

Ever since Geof and I found out we were having the Wonder Twins, we've been looking forward to many things. One of them is pregnancy pictures.

Not cheesy pictures from Olan Mills, either.

I'm talking about artistic photographs taken in just the right light to emphasize the beautiful and bulbous lines of a mother-to-be's body.

Because this will likely be our only pregnancy, capturing great images of my big baby belly was especially important to us.

For that task, we called on our talented friend and photographer extraordinaire Leah Charbonneau.

She came over around 9:30 a.m. today and snapped picture after picture of Geof and me in the morning light in spots around the house and in the backyard.

Leah's lens caught Geof kissing my tummy and talking to the twins, as well as the two of us holding each other and the girls.

She also had us stand belly to belly, which should be pretty darn cute!

Because we know Leah so well, we felt very comfortable - not posed like during school picture day. Remember that? Ugh.

We promise to post images from the shoot as soon as we get them. I'm sure you're just as excited as we are to see them!

In the meantime, check out Leah's awesome Web site -

The Wonder Twins' BFF is Born

"There must be something in the water in Knightdale."
We hear that a lot these days.

That's because two sets of our very close friends who live less than five miles down the road from us in "K-dale" have recently had babies, and clearly, we're next in line.

We didn't exactly hold a group meeting and decide over beers one night that we'd all start trying. It just happened, and we're so thankful.

Mason Charbonneau was born to parents Leah and Mike on May 15. He is already a little "ladies' man" with his darling smile and upbeat personality.

Just last Tuesday, we welcomed another beautiful baby from Knightdale into the world. Emma Owens was born just before 1 p.m. to Lynn and Adam.

We met the Charbonneaus at Rex Hospital that evening to visit the precious newborn. Geof and I (look how big I am!) are on the far right. Mike and Lynn's mom are next to Geof, and Leah is on the far left.

Geof and I had never seen or held a child who was literally only hours old. Nor had we ever been in the recovery wing of the birthing center any time other than on our childbirth class tour. This was not only a special experience for us but an educational one, as well.
We all took turns holding Emma. Amazingly, she never cried. She let out a few soft whimpers, but she never shed a tear. She was incredibly good.

She is also incredibly adorable. She has Lynn's eyes, Adam's hair color and a small dimple just like her mommy. Mike and Leah have already tapped her as Mason's first prom date. :)

As I looked at this perfect infant, I couldn't help but notice the joy she brought to everyone in the room. I also couldn't help but feel very fortunate that Geof and I would share in this same joy (times two!) in just a few months.

Ready? Push!

Geof almost got in big trouble at last week's childbirth class. Almost. :)

He had gone to Ikea in Charlotte to purchase two new bookcases for our office and had just enough time to make the 3+ hour drive back from the Queen City to Rex Hospital for class #3. Or so he thought.

Our teacher, Caro, likes to start class at 7 p.m. Sharp. I was there. Geof was not.

Caro announced that we were going to spend the evening practicing labor and the different methods used to deal with the different kinds of contractions.

I furiously texted Geof. "Where r u?" There was no reply.

Two minutes later, he came bursting through the classroom door, looking a little sweaty and slightly out of breath. He knew being late was not going to be good, so he had run all the way from the parking lot to the classroom.

He looked at me, smiled and said, "You were going to be mad at me."

"Uh, yeah," I said. "If you do that when I actually go into labor, I will kill you."

With all future parents now present and accounted for, we began the process of pretending to have our babies.

Each student read a scenario that described the time of day, the type of contractions and where they were occuring (home/hospital). We then acted out the appropriate breathing patterns and positions to best deal with what we were "experiencing."

I frequently reminded Geof that whispering nice things in my ear was okay, but getting up in my face was not.

I have a feeling I'm going to be a little tense during this process and don't want to instinctively head butt him if his attempts to help drive me crazy.

We also went over things like "back labor," which is when the baby's head is pushing against mommy's spine/tailbone. Apparently, it hurts like all get out.

When practicing ways to relieve the pain of back labor, I asked, "How do you know you're having back labor? Does someone see it on a monitor?"

"Oh no," Caro said. "You'll know!"

Yikes. Let's hope we don't have to go down that road!

We have our fourth childbirth class tomorrow, which is also our 7th wedding anniversary. Learning about the babies seems like a perfect way to celebrate!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

And in This Corner.. Our Two Little Heavyweights

Every time I open one of my many baby books, I read about how much the little bundle of joy is expected to weigh at that particular point in the pregnancy.

Considering those books are written for parents of singletons, I never really thought much about the statistics. I just assumed the Wonder Twins would weigh less than the number stated, because there are two of them.

Not so much.

At Tuesday's ultrasound, we learned Twin A weighs 2.4 pounds, and Twin B tips the scales at 2.8 pounds! They actually weigh the same - if not more - than most singletons at 28 weeks!

Geof and I were totally shocked. Our best guesses put them at less than two pounds each for sure. Nope. They weigh in at combined total of 5.2 pounds!

No wonder I look like I ate a house! :)

The ultrasound technician calculated the babies' weight based on the measurements she took of their heads, arms and legs, stomachs and bladders. Both she and the doctor agree that our girls are healthy and growing just as they should. Hooray!

The other exciting part about the ultrasound? The photos! For the very first time, we actually got several shots of Twin A's face.

In all of our previous ultrasounds, she always hid her face from the camera, while her outgoing sister stepped right into the spotlight. Apparently, Twin A felt like the first week of my third trimester was the perfect time for a coming out party.

It was tough to capture images of Twin A, because she is our little "squirmy worm" and constantly kicks and punches like a kung fu master. But, the technician somehow convinced her to stay still long enough to get a few perfect pictures.

Twin B was her usual photogenic self. We got great images of her profile.

Since Geof plans to paint the nursery next week, we decided to ask the technician to do another anatomy scan just to make sure the girls are still... well... girls.

The pink can stay! The twins are 100% little lady!

As for their positions, Twin A remains head down, which is good. Twin B is still head up. To avoid having a C-section, I need her to follow her sister's lead and dive downward.

The doctor says there is still plenty of time for her to change positions, so we'll hope that happens over the next few weeks.

My next appointment is set for Sept. 8. That is when I will learn the results of Tuesday's test for gestational diabetes.

Basically, I had to drink at pint of vile, gag reflex-inducing liquid at 8:30 a.m., and one hour later, the nurse drew four vials of blood. They'll be tested to determine if the appropriate levels of sugar were present.

We are so thrilled with the progress the girls are making! We can't believe they'll be here in less than three months!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Wedding Bells and Weird Comments

Dum, dum, dah-dum... Dum, dum, dah-dum...

The Wonder Twins attended their first wedding ceremony and reception last night in Raleigh. Although it was not very monumental for them considering they couldn't see anything, I think they did enjoy the vibrations from the organ at the church and the 1990s music mix (think Boyz II Men) the DJ was spinnin' at the Sheraton Hotel downtown.

They weren't exactly kicking to the beat, but they were certainly kicking. At times, it would make my stretchy black wrap dress flutter.

Speaking of the dress, I got a lot of compliments on it. I can't take credit, really, because the dress isn't mine. It belongs to kind-hearted Kelcey Carlson, the morning anchor at WRAL. Upon hearing of my pregnancy, she lent me several suits and nice dresses that she wore when she was pregnant with little Charlie. They have certainly come in handy!

A simple black dress can definitely be elegant on its own, but since I never get dressed up for a night on the town these days (more like put on the PJs and eat ice cream in front of the DVR), I thought this was a great chance to don some of my glittery jewelry and high heels. So, I did.

I got a lot of comments on my four-inch, leopard print Jessica Simpson open-toe pumps. Mainly, people wondered how I could walk in them with my added belly weight.

Frankly, I wondered the same thing. I moved very slowly and very cautiously to make sure I didn't take a tumble on one of my many visits to the restroom. (Don't make fun. You'd go a lot, too, if you had twins sitting on your bladder.)

Those weren't the only kind of comments I got.

The mother of the flower girl asked me when I due, and I smiled and said, "Three months from today exactly." She looked at me wide-eyed and said with hesitation, "Are you sure?"

I thought, "No, I have no idea when I'm due."

At that point, I knew I needed to explain that I was carrying twins. After doing so, the relieved lady said, "Thank God. I was going to say you looked way too big to go another three months." Nice. I appreciate your medical expertise.

The comment that truly takes the wedding cake, though, has to be what a member of the hotel's event staff told me as I was moving from the cocktail hour area into the formal dining room. She said, "You know, a lady's water broke here last weekend!"

What?! Why would you tell that to an expectant mother? I was worried enough about staying upright in my heels. The last thing I wanted to think about was going into labor in the breezeway of the Sheraton!

I managed to mutter an "Oh, wow." She answered back with, "Yeah, it was pretty exciting!"

For you, maybe, but probably not for the poor wedding guest!

I made it through the rest of the evening without encountering any other major faux pas about my budding family.

The waiter did ask me if I wanted a second slice of cake, but I quickly realized he wasn't trying to offend me. There were just several types of cake, and many of the guests (with big bellies and without) were indulging in all the varieties.

When the clock struck 9:30 p.m., Jessica Simpson, the girls and I left the ball to head home, where we could put our sore feet up and rest. Even though we never hit the dance floor, the excitement of the day was enough to wear us out!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Open Up and Say "Floss!"

No one can put a guilt trip on a pregnant lady like a dental hygienist.

I never thought I would say that, but it's true. I swear.

I had my six-month check up back in May. Obviously, I knew I was having the Wonder Twins at that point, so I made sure to tell the dentist about my baby bump before any cleaning (or gnashing) of teeth began.

He went about the regular routine of using that "whurrrring" device to clean my teeth and then hosed them off with the professional grade squirt gun. After he was done, he proclaimed my teeth and gums healthy, and left to take care his next patient.

That's when I got the lecture from dentist's helper, the hygienist.

Instead of just handing off the complimentary tooth bruth and tooth paste and sending me on to the receptionist to schedule my next appointment, she sat down and starting talking about the importance of flossing.

OK, I know flossing is important. I just didn't do it as often as I should. Admit it. You don't, either.

With no solid reasons to back up my infrequent flossing, I was forced to endure the lecture, defenseless.

The hygienist went on to tell me that UNC-CH had done lots of studies about pregnant women and flossing. Apparently, all those strands of string led the Tarheels to a single conclusion - that mommies-to-be who don't floss are more likely to have low birth-weight babies.

Great. How could I not floss after hearing a story like that? I half thought she was lying, because she knew I would be forced to transform into a neurotic flosser, but I didn't feel like investing the time to attempt to disclose her false pretenses.

So, now I floss. Every night. With perfect accuracy.

If I forget, I stumble out of bed and do it in the dark.

By golly, if the twins are tiny, it will NOT be because I didn't floss.

My next check up is scheduled for Nov. 2. Theoretically, the girls should still be in my belly at that time.

When I open up for the hygienist, I will be expecting some "atta girls" for my new found, guilt-influenced dental dedication.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Not One of Blockbuster's Best

Monday marked a return to Rex Hospital in Raleigh for childbirth class #2. On the evening's course schedule? Watching "the movie."

What movie, you ask? You know... It's the one every set of new parents warns you about when you mention you're starting childbirth classes. The warning is usually followed by expressions of horror and writhing movements among the upper extremities.

With that as our preview, you can imagine our excitement when Caro, our instructor, popped the tape into the VCR and hit "play."

It really wasn't that bad until it got to the part that showed the live birth with no epidural. The woman looked that she was on the brink of death, not the precipice of delivering life. The other jarring part was the color of the baby. It was white as a ghost. I remember commenting to Geof: "It looks like a monster!"

I already knew the babies were covered in a white substance in the womb, but I didn't think about them coming out covered in it, too. Let's hope it doesn't take them long to "pink up!"

Geof's aversion was more to the talk of "stretching" the female region. At one point, he had to look away, because it made him a little squeamish.

As long as he doesn't pass out in the delivery room, that's okay with me.

Following the showing of this cinematic masterpiece, Caro discussed pain medication, which seemed like a natural transition. We learned about the types of drugs available, how and when they're given, and the possible side effects.

Apparently, 90 percent of women ask for an epidural. That, of course, made me wonder what the chances are that I could physically endure delivering two babies with zero drugs. Caro said I could do it. I'm just not quite sure I want to.

The other reassuring bit of information I gleened from her was that birthing baby #2 will be much easier than birthing baby #1. She compared it to being a second-time mom. All the "parts" will be appropriately stretched out already, so after two or three good pushes, baby #2 should make her debut. Swwoooo...

Caro rounded out the study sesssion with a tour of the hospital's birthing facilities. I had never really been in a baby ward before, so I tried my best to drink it all in.

The rooms for labor and delivery are pretty spacious. They come equipped with a flat-screen TV and VCR (No, Geof is not allowed to watch SEC football while I'm huffing and puffing through contractions), a recliner chair (Geof's makeshift bed) and curtains in the entranceway to prevent you from sharing your delivery with the rest of Raleigh.

About an hour after the Wonder Twins are born, we'll all be moved to a recovery room. We toured those, as well.

They have most of the same amenities. I liked knowing two things: 1.) I can order three meals a day from room service, and someone will bring them right to me; and 2.) the girls can sleep in the room with us. They don't have to stay in the nursery overnight.

As we waited for the elevator, we saw lots of family members and friends bringing colorful balloons, flowers and gifts to loved ones who had just had babies. How neat to know we'll be there in about 12 short weeks!

In case you were wondering, I like bouquets made of wildflowers... or iced cookies. :)

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Ready. Set. Run?

There are very few things in life that I'm willing to run for, with the sole exceptions of help in the case of a dire emergency and the finish line in an actual road race. I'll explain what this has to do with our Friday activities in a just minute.

Geof and I met at the State Fairgrounds after I got off work Friday evening to shift through the junk and the jems at the Triangle Mothers of Twins and Triplets (TMOTT) semi-annual consignment sale.

We were on a mission. Like MacGyver.

Our goal was to find a gently used double baby jogger that we could take on runs in the woods and to play dates in the park. Considering the price of the BOB Ironman double baby jogger ($500) nearly sent me into cardiac arrest, this seemed like the best way to meet our athletic needs without breaking the bank.

The event organizers were smart and allowed the crowd of anxious TMOTT members to spend about 15 minutes previewing the wares before they opened the cash registers. We made a beeline for the stroller section and much to our excitement there was ONE double baby jogger just waiting for us to take it home.

Since I'm not allowed to run during the pregnancy, I gave it a test with a lame-looking swift walk, and it performed great! Geof double checked the brakes and safety latches, and found them all to be in good working order.

Several people glanced at the stroller while we were pawing over it, and I shot them looks that said, "This is MINE. You don't want to fight a pregnant lady, do you?"

Shortly after the preview session ended, the crowd was corraled back into the hallway. We had each drawn a number, which was supposed to dictate the order of entrance into the sale. Ours was 194. Not so great.

Thankfully for us, the entrance process went a little wonky, and about 15 minutes later, the doors opened and people started spilling into the expo center.

Geof looked at me and said, "Should we run?" I looked back at him and said, "YOU can run. I am not running anywhere." I heard sprinkles of laughter coming from the ladies standing around me. They knew.

I suppose you could say Geof and I compromised and speedwalked our way to the apple of our eye - the jogger. By some type of TMOTT miracle, no one had snatched it before we could get there, so if we wanted it, it was ours.

We hemmed and hawed over it a little longer before finally sealing the deal. Cha-ching! Seventy-five dollars and a brief wait in line later, it was in the truck of the Element, ready to carry the Wonder Twins across the finish line at a springtime 5K!

The other good part is I didn't have to fight anyone to get it.

With our "large equipment" purchase out of the way, we were free to paruse the other sections of the sale, which included tons of adorable clothes. I am such a sucker for all things pink.

We searched through the 0-3 months and 3-6 months racks looking for good deals, and we definitely found them. I got several items with the tags still on them, pristine dresses that I know cost $25 or more for $2, and several darling brand-name sweaters for pocket change.

My favorite clothing purchases were the tiny matching onesies that say "Little Turkey" and "My First Thanksgiving." Both have cute turkeys on them. As I'm sure you know, the girls' due date is mere days before everyone's favorite glutonous holiday. We thought these were the outfits for their first big T-day. Yay!

We celebrated our bargain-hunting success with dinner on the patio of the Mellow Mushroom in downtown Raleigh. We met Leah, Mike and their three-month-old bundle of joy, Mason, there for a nosh and some good conversation.

Geof also got a lesson in baby feeding 101 with Mason. He did a great job making sure the little guy drank his bottle and gave a solid burp afterwards. Check him out! Daddy-to-be is a natural!

It was a great night. We look forward to more evenings out on the town with the twins (in utero or not) and friends!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Notes on the Nursery

I came home from work today to find a wonderful treat in the Wonder Twins' nursery - a freshly installed chair rail! Yay!

This is cause for tremendous celebration, because it is the all-important first step to actually decorating the nursery. We really couldn't start painting or hanging the border until we got the chair rail up.

It looks really great! Geof is to be commended for his hard work. But, he didn't do it alone. He had some help from carpenter extraordinaire Adam Owens and his lovely wife, Lynn, who is pregnant with little Emma and ready for delivery any day now! Many thanks to Team Prego for adding a special touch to the girls' room that will remain for years to come!

As I type, Geof is upstairs armed with Adam's caulk gun. (That thing is dangerous! It's already slung some white gunk on the carpet. I'm waiting for our black cat to be its next victim!) He's filling in the gaps, so you'd never know there had ever been a slight space here or a small separation there.

Tomorrow, he will sand it down and paint it white to match the trim in the room. As soon as it dries, we can begin Operation Paint Can. That entails finding the perfect shades of petal pink and chocolate to add above and below the chair rail. Once that is finished, we can add the final touch - a chocolate border with pink polka dots near the ceiling. Awwww....

Our goal is to finish all the work by Labor Day. We'll see how well we do! I know having it ready long before the babies' birth will lower my anxiety level immensely!

There is just so much to accomplish, and my "to do" list is very long. But, thanks to my wonderful husband and great friends, I'll know I'll have every item checked off in record time!

Until then, I'll just practice the relaxation exercises I learned in child birth class. "Breathe iiiiiiin.... and Ooooooout." :)