Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Aches & pains--anyone else?

(Warning: pregnancy mentioned and its aftermath discussed)

My weird body is at it again.  I think I'm the only twin mom I know who didn't have lots of back pain during her pregnancy.  Sometimes I had pain in my hips (which I attributed to lying on my left side so much), and I had bad pain in my wrists and hands which my OB's NP told me was probably carpal tunnel syndrome. . . . but both of those went away within a few weeks after delivery.

(Oh, and don't have get me started on my c-section-related complaints!  Over five months out, I still have an area between my belly button and my incision which is numb; after healing beautifully for the first few months, a portion of my scar recently has started forming a keloid and often itches; and I sometimes get random shooting pains to the left of my numb area and/or itching that cannot be relieved by scratching or odd cramping feelings around my incision site.  Sigh.)

Back to my back pain. . . . I felt an occasional twinge, likely due to muscle fatigue, when I was home on leave with the boys right after they were born.  But I figured that was normal because I was doing so much lifting and carrying of babies.

The real back pain has started since I went back to work at the end of March.  During the first full week I was sitting at my desk all day, I managed to "throw out" my back just by sitting in a position too long.  It was crazy: one moment I was comfortably seated, looking at my computer monitor; the next, I tried to stand and got halfway up before being seized by a terribly painful muscle spasm which prevented me from straightening up.  The pain and tightness persisted for almost a week after, although after the first two days, I could at least straighten up enough to walk properly.

Before I ever got pregnant, I had suffered with symptoms consist with piriformis syndrome in my right hip, and though I was never officially diagnosed with this, I had treated it with massage and stretching, with pretty good results.  Despite not being able to stretch or exercise, I never had any problem with this while pregnant, but since returning to work, I've noticed a lot of pain and tightness in that area and also occasional numbness/tingling in my right thigh again.

I have tried yoga (not as regularly as I should, but I have done it 1-2 times a week on average), stretching a few times a day, getting deep tissue massage, taking ibu.profen.  All of these things have given me some limited relief, but the pain and tightness persist and are worse some times than others.

In addition to this lower back pain which appears to be interconnected with my hip tightness, I also sometimes have pain in the middle of my back (between my shoulder blades).  That seems to get worse after lying down for a while, so that if I have to wake up in the middle of the night to tend to one of the boys, I sometimes experience a shooting pain there when I try to sit up.  Not sure if it's lifting the boys, bad posture, too much time at the computer at work, or some combination of these that is causing this pain.

I know my core has been weakened by my pregnancy and by a year of very little to no exercise.  In addition, I'm sure my abdominal muscles are stretched out because my lower abdomen in particular looks "poochier" than it ever looked before I was pregnant, even when I weighed more than I do currently.  And when I lie on my back and put any pressure on my lower abdomen--either pressing with my hands or sitting one of the babies on there, for example--it actually causes some discomfort.

I've considered going to my doctor about this, but he is likely to recommend physical therapy, which I simply do not have the time to do.  I am perpetually behind at work these days as it is, not to mention my personal commitments.

If you've gotten this far, thanks for reading.  I guess I just wanted to put this out there and see if I'm the only one who's noticed these changes-for-the-worse post-pregnancy, and if not, what others did about them, if anything.

Monday, June 18, 2012

The battle of the bulge continues

(Today's post has nothing to do with infertility, and pregnancy and children are briefly mentioned.)

Why is it that, as soon as I decide to start a diet, I find myself extra hungry that day?  *sigh*

Remember how I mentioned that I'd lost 16 lbs while pregnant?  (I talked about it in this post.)  Yeah, well, 15 of them are back.  Hrmph.  Guess that's what a return to my usual eating habits coupled with no exercise will do. . . .

So I am once again on the weight loss wagon.  And when our nanny starts (two weeks from today!), I will be going to the gym four mornings a week.

I can't even begin to count the number of times I have undertaken the challenge of losing weight and getting fit.  I've gotta get fit for my sons now, though, if not for myself.  I want to be around to see them grow up!  I'll be 59 before they graduate high school, and I know that, with my family history of heart disease and diabetes, it's not impossible I could be dead (or at least infirm) by that age if I don't take charge of my health.

Here we go. . . .

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Thinking of our donor today

One year ago today, Dr. Dumbledore gently and carefully transferred two beautiful embryos into my uterus.  Now those beautiful embryos have grown into two handsome, charming little baby boys who, in less than five months of life, have already brought MM and me immeasurable joy.

Wherever our donor is today and whatever she is doing, I doubt she is thinking of us.  But I am thinking of her and am filled with gratitude for the life-changing gift she gave us.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Life isn't fair

You'd think that, after having to turn to assisted reproductive techonology to get pregnant, The Universe/Fate/G-d would go easy on women with infertility.  Easy pregnancies, easy deliveries, healthy, living babies.

Alas, this does not seem to be the case.  Why does it seem that so many of us in this community who've had to struggle so hard to get pregnant also have to experience difficult pregnancies and deliveries and, even worse, losses?

My heart has been heavy these past few days, as I have a real life friend who, after a successful IVF cycle, is living through what can only be described as a nightmare.  Out of respect for her privacy, I can't give any more details here, but she and her situation have been much on my mind.  It's so hard to see a friend suffering and to know there's not a single thing you can do to help.

Life is so unfair, and it seems that some of us can just never catch a break.

Friday, June 8, 2012

One year ago today

One year ago today was our donor's egg retrieval.  In some ways, today is a more momentous day in the lives of our sons than the day they were born because it's the day they came into being.  Without June 8, 2011, their birthday of January 19, 2012 would never have happened.

So much has happened in my life over the past year, and yet in some ways, it seems like just the other day that MM and I were heading to St. Mungo's to do my final u/s and his "contribution" to our cycle.  Crazy.

Feeling very fortunate and blessed.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012


(Warning: parenting and children discussed.)


The only thing that is constant is change.

~Heraclitus, Greek philosopher, around 500 B.C.

The quote above is a concept I think of often.  It most often springs to mind as solace for myself, or for someone else, when going through bad times.  But it's good to remember that the same precept applies when good things are happening in our lives.

A variant translation I've seen of this quotation is "Everything flows, nothing stands still."  As new parents, MM and I are seeing this idea in action with our sons.  These days it seems that every day they are changing in big and in small ways.

After seemingly being "stuck" in the newborn phase forever due to their premature birth, AJ & MJ now are developing rapidly.  Nearly every day there is something new that one of them can do that he didn't do before.  Not only are they acquiring new skills constantly, their patterns and behavior are also changing.  In addition to smiling and laughing more, they are more aware of what is going on around them.  While they are getting better at grasping toys (and hair and each other), they are also having more episodes of fussiness at times (perhaps due to frustration at not being able to grab all they'd like, when they'd like to?).

In addition, along with these obvious changes in behavior, they are changing their routines.  For the past month or more, they have been on an every-four-hours feeding schedule during the day.  Their routine looked something like this for each four-hour block:
  • first 20-30 minutes eating
  • next 10-15 minutes in bouncy chair (to let food settle)
  • tummy time for 10 minutes
  • on their backs for stories and songs for 10-15 minutes
  • Bu.mbo chairs for 5-10 minutes
  • swings until sleepy (usually 5-15 minutes), and then sleep until just before the next feeding.
Now, from what MM tells me (and what I observed myself this past weekend), they don't have any predictable routine.  MM still has them do their usual activities and feeds them about every four hours, but their tolerance for the various activities has changed, and they are sleeping much less than they did before. . . and not always at the same time. 

In addition to the (renewed) unpredictability of their sleep, they are crying to be held more during the day.  (This is something they have always done in the evenings, MJ more than AJ, but had not previously done in the daytime.)  And when they want to be held, they now notice if Brother is also being held, and they don't like it.  Yikes.  Poor MM.

As of Sunday, MJ is now rolling over (tummy to back and back to tummy), so they are now sleeping separate cribs.  They have slept an hour-and-a-half to two hours later each morning the past two nights, and I think it may be due to no longer bumping into one another in the early morning hours.  (When they were sleeping in the same crib, they'd always move themselves together, no matter how far apart we placed them.)
With their reduced napping during the day, I'm not surprised they are sleeping longer at night.  And it's not a bad thing, it's just a change.  (Though I will confess, it does make me a little sad, as I used to be able to spend some one-on-one time with each of them most mornings before going to work, and now I don't really get to.  Ah well.)
I often consciously stop and remind myself to enjoy this time in their lives.  I waited such a long time to be a mother, and AJ & MJ are the only children I will ever have.  When they want to be held and rocked and my back and arms are aching, or I am running through the many undone items on my to-do list for that day, I remind myself that there will come a day, all too soon, when my boys don't want to be held or cuddled by their momma.  When they will go to sleep on their own, when they will be embarassed or chagrined by my desire to hug them tightly and cover them with kisses.
I think, especially as first-time parents, that it is natural to look forward to "the next thing" your child will do, the next phase of development.  When they can babble, you want them to form words.  When they can roll over, you want to see them crawl.  Once they are crawling, you want them to walk.  And so on and so on.
But I try to remember that, as exciting as each new step in their development is, it is also a step along a path that will eventually lead them out of babyhood, out of childhood, and out of our home.  So while I am thrilled to see them growing and developing normally, as I know this is what they should be doing (and we would both be alarmed if they weren't doing the many new things they are doing around the time when they should be doing them), I am also a little sad at each new milestone.
Meanwhile, we endeavor to go with the flow and embrace the opportunity we have been given to love and nurture these little boys.