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Returning to Work

Before drawing the contempt of my non-workplace working moms, I think this meme should be changed to say “all moms” because it really doesn’t matter if you leave for a workplace in the morning or stay home, you is tired!

I didn’t think I’d be writing a post on this topic for another 4 months, but here I am. I definitely did NOT want to leave the babies this early.  But, due to my own lack of knowledge and understanding that maternity benefits are incredibly ridiculous in public education (and this country), and an exceptionally long, unforeseen 2 months in the hospital waiting for these boys to arrive eating up my FMLA time – I am returning to the classroom next week.
I will probably save my ire for the lack of benefits for teachers in this country for another (much longer) post. But seriously, if you wanna run for president or even governor why don’t you try the TEACHER platform?  You can throw in the fights of public education inadequacies in there too. Simply raise teachers salaries and give them benefits that are worth a darn, I’ll vote for you, and I have a feeling 300k+ in the state of Texas or 3.1MM in the US would vote for you too! Oh and I bet with an increased value on the educator profession you’ll even see better results in the classroom as you’ll obtain and retain GOOD QUALIFIED teachers instead of the whack job creeps who are on the news running away with 15 year olds. Ok, tangent fully taken.  I guess I didn’t save my opinions for another post.

No offense cable TV installers. Get it together ‘Merica!

Back to the topic at hand.

Anxiety.  Yep. I’ve got it. I am not ready to leave the boys.  I even posed a rhetorical question to my husband yesterday and said “the boys won’t forget me in 18 days, will they?” Of course, I know they won’t.  Who do you think is going to be feeding them in the middle of the night? How can they forget me!  Ha! But, I think this has to be a real struggle for working moms who are going back to work for the first time.  How do you leave them?  I’ve had people tell me that I would be ready to go back to work, to get a break, but I’m not!  I’m not ready to leave their insane screams for no apparent reason, the dirty diapers, and everything that is new everyday.  I want to stay and cuddle them and kiss them for as long as possible before they can be too cool for that.  Yeah, it’s 18 days, it’s not going to break me… or them, I know.  But I can still worry about it!  My anxiety and fear has nothing to do with returning to the classroom and everything to do with what I’m leaving everyday to go there.  My teacher side is happy to finish the year with that classroom full of kiddos that walked in last August & to see them on to 5th grade (and to see the amazing progress and transformations I know they’ve all gone through since I’ve been gone), but my mom side is sad that every day I have to leave these little tiny humans I created! I’m sure it’ll get easier after the first couple of days, and the one benefit teachers get that I can’t complain about, I’ll get the entire summer to pick right back up with these munchkins!

Also, I’m going to preemptively apologize to my family and co-workers for the probable breakdown(s) I will have next week, our nanny for the constant texts requesting updates she’ll receive for those 18 days, and the dumb— politicians who created a system where moms get so little time home caring for new babies for the MANY not so nice words I will speak about you – actually I don’t apologize for the last one, at all!!

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Week 5: Hospital Observation

35 days down. This past week was relatively uneventful for hospital life. The “final day” is fluid at best… 35 weeks, 36 weeks, maybe 34 weeks.  I think it depends on the day I ask the doctor when our estimated due date is going to be.  So, I’m just accepting the fact that somewhere between 9 and 23 days from now two baby boys will be arriving.  I want for them to AT LEAST make it 34 weeks when I’ve been told (read online) that a lot of the short-term problems that could happen are less likely – which is 9 days away.  I think we are pretty much set on some sort of NICU time with any arrival… however at 36 weeks that could be significantly shortened & a chance of no NICU time.  I think as any mom knows though, birth weight and complications aren’t something that we can predict with 100% certainty.

Saturday night I did start having noticeable contractions.  Initially, this freaked me out when they monitored and they were showing up every 10 minutes.  I had read that was early labor and I was not ready to have the babies.  The doctor seemed less worried, which wasn’t surprising given his general demeanor that I have yet to figure out.  I was just told “pre-term labor is common with multiples” – I wasn’t sure if he was telling me I was going into labor or what.  They continued to keep an eye on me (like they do every day) with more questions about contractions and pushing what felt like gallons of water on me.  They got better with the evening or spaced out and didn’t feel as intense so my anxiety subsided and I accepted that it was “normal”.  I slept amazingly last night.  I stopped taking the Ambien on Saturday evening as its effectiveness was noticeably lessening.  Hubs was spending the night Saturday and between his snoring and the contractions I got no sleep at all, so I was weary not taking the Ambien again Sunday night, but I decided to try it out.  It took forever to go to sleep with an overactive brain keeping me up.  After two hours of fighting with falling asleep I finally fell asleep.  I haven’t slept that hard and long in months… I only woke up once in the middle of the night and again for my 5am monitoring.  It felt great!!  The fact that I didn’t have to get up every hour was amazing in itself.

I’ve started to have my pre-baby anxiety.  Granted I consider myself a parent already, but I was blessed with those two kiddos when they were 7 and 4.  I’ve never had a baby & pretty soon I’m going to have TWO!  Life is going to get crazy!  Going home… having 4 kids… two school aged who have to have their lives keep moving without pausing for babies!  I have a wonderful family who I know will be there for us, but there are moments of reality setting in… any day (hopefully a week and a half or more worth of days) our lives are going to completely change… again… and I will have a brand new role of being responsible for two little lives!  That’s a crazy thought.

HOSPITAL LIFE HINTS:
FOOD

UberEATS has been great for overcoming the not so great hospital food!  The only thing I would caution is if you are on real bedrest (where you can’t walk out of your room) it won’t work.  UberEATS here is curbside so I do have to go downstairs but they meet me at the closest entrance. My meal tonight went something like this…

I got what they claim was pot roast and potatoes and immediately pulled up my UberEATS app to order Terra.  I’ve been holding that wonderful mediterranean gem in my pocket (since my husband and mother don’t share my desire of falafel). It was worth the wait.

DO YOUR HOMEWORK (if you can)

If you do know you will be spending some time in an antepartum unit (or any extended period of time in the hospital) I do suggest you go check out the hospital first.  If I could go back that would be something I would have done.  I assumed they were all similar and I didn’t have a choice, and while your doctor may affiliate with a certain hospital second opinions and KNOWING the entire picture is helpful.  Of course, some people don’t have a choice and this happens without knowing.  That is my two cents.  Just as you would check out your L&D unit before having a baby, check out their long term arrangements as well!

Oh yeah, and I should note Valentines Day was in the hospital.  My family came and we ordered some Chinese and ate in the cafeteria.  Very romantic!  I even changed out of my usual oversized t-shirt and shorts for the dinner!

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Week Two – Hospital Observation

 

eat-sleep-monitor-repeat

Another week has come and gone & I’m still here and the babies are still cooking!  I’ve become a little more used to the routine here.  Eat. Sleep. Monitor. Repeat.  That’s my new saying for being here, because it really is just about all you do.

I did get to have a growth ultrasound and see the babies which was exciting.  Cullen is measuring 2 pounds 13 ounces and Jack is 2 pounds 14 ounces.  Both boys are very big for twins and measuring a little ahead of their gestational age.  Praise the Lord!  I read that in the next 4 weeks, they will put on another 2-2.5 pounds on average… EACH.  I can’t even imagine them doubling in size.  Figuring out how in the world they are going to fit in there blows my mind!

straightjacketFor the most part monitoring has gone pretty well in the second week.  Nurses are looking for decelerations in baby’s heartbeat.  To be considered a variable deceleration the heartbeat will drop 15 BPM over a period of 15 seconds.  Our boys have had decelerations (but all babies do) but they recover quickly.  None of the decelerations have lasted more than a minute.  From what I’ve been told, that’s normal for all babies.  Of course they roll on their cord, or grab it, and there will be various decelerations.  They will recover.  It IS frustrating when it happens on the monitoring because some nurses make me start the whole hour over again when they see it.  I don’t like being on the monitors and neither do the boys.  It’s very uncomfortable.  Someone should really design a better system that doesn’t require tight straps and laying down.  I end up feeling like a crazy person at the end of the hour… or even worse the end of two hours!

Things I miss the most after two weeks…. or things I can’t wait to do when I’m out of here (besides love and cuddle my babies).

  1. TAKE A BATH.  Seriously, this one has been hard.  I took a bath every single night before coming here.  14 days of no bath before bed, or when I’m bored – UGH.  Sitting on the handicapped chair in the shower IS NOT the same!
  2. Sleep at 5:30am.  Ok, this may be wishful thinking with two new babies coming home.  But, I’ll pretend I’ll be able to sleep through this hour instead of waking up for monitoring!
  3. Eat fried catfish.  Ha, this one is a craving right now.  Guy’s DDD – Fried Food Edition didn’t help last night.  I can’t order catfish from #UberEATS (Get $10 off your first order with code: eats-jaimew915ue) because let’s be honest, it wouldn’t be good.  & I wouldn’t trust hospital seafood ever.  I really want some good fried catfish!
  4. Not being asked about my… bowel movements.  I really could do without this question every day.
  5. COOK.  I really miss being able to cook whatever I want, when I want, how I want.

 

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Week One – Hospital Observation

Well I made it through the first week!!!!  I can’t say I did it gracefully, but I did it!  I cried a handful of times, probably got a little too snippy with some nurses, and I’m sure wasn’t the most peachy little thing to be around – which I’ll blame on hormones – while really knowing it’s a combination of my control issues, short fuse, and situation.

28-weeks

Hospital bedrest is something I do not think anyone can fully understand until they are living/lived it.  It’s exhausting – as I mentioned before.  Today was a wonderful day though, I actually advocated for myself… or at least asked some questions that resulted in big gains for this girl!  My doctor entered orders for Activity Ad Lib which means I can do what I want – or at least I do what I want within the confines of the hospital campus (which is really big) and my vital signs only have to be checked once per day instead of hourly!!  WOOHOO!!  I took full advantage of that today – I walked around/sat in different places for almost two hours total today.  I even put on some halfway decent clothes to do it.  It was refreshing & I’m tired as all get out.  Do nothing for a week then walk for almost 2 miles in total step, it’ll wear you out!  The babies monitored well today.  They really do well when they straps are loose and they aren’t being pressured down.

do-what-i-want

I think hubs has been having a difficult time adjusting to his new schedule at home.  Trying to shuttle two kids 30 minutes away to school and back, working out in the field for the first time in months, having a wife who can do nothing, oh and a daughter with a broken arm is a LOT.  Yeah, she broke her arm over the weekend to add excitement to our pretty dull story! 🙂  She’s doing well and we’ll check in with an orthopedic surgeon on Wednesday to get a better idea of what’s going on.

So, seven more days down that little Cullen and Jack have gotten to cook.  I will get a new growth scan at some point this weekend to see how much they’ve grown since two weeks ago!  We hit the 28 mark which is officially THIRD TRIMESTER baby and a great milestone! No signs of preterm labor.  Hooray for the end of week one.

 

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Adjusting to Reality

pregnancy-hormones

I have been in the hospital for 3 days now and if anyone tells you it’s easy, well then I have a hard time believing that.  I know being pregnant is a hormonal roller coaster to say the least, but take a pregnant woman, put her in a hospital 24/7 with fetal monitoring 4 hours a day and that roller coaster just got a lot more exciting!

I wish I could sugar coat this for those that may be reading this knowing they are going to experience the same thing, but I can’t.  I want you to know the reality.  Yesterday was a VERY tough day for me – and sadly it was only day 2.  I am a sleeper by nature, coming into this everyone was like “oh you’ll sleep away the first week or so” or “enjoy your time resting before the babies”, heck even I thought some sound sleep doesn’t sound half bad.  I was sleeping rotten before anyway, and I got to make sure the babies were ok so I thought that would reassure my anxious side.  This schedule is not a relaxing, restful one – it’s exhausting and I’m not even supposed to be out of the bed! (More on that later)

screen-shot-2017-01-31-at-2-34-52-pm

My morning starts anywhere between 5-5:30am with my first round of EFM (Electronic Fetal Monitoring) which means I get strapped up over both babies plus a contraction monitor then I have to sit or lay relatively still in order to keep the babies heartbeats readable for an hour.  I get off that about 6-6:30, I attempt to go back to sleep once the monitors are off, and when I finally find the comfy position and just start to doze off one of two things happens… the doctors makes his morning rounds OR the breakfast meal will come neither of which I’m much interested in at 7:30am.  After that point every hour to hour and half someone comes to take my temperature and blood pressure.  At 10:30 we’re back on monitoring and this was the first breakdown point of yesterday, I think I had a very sweet young nurse who wanted to make sure everything was by the book, the last 15 minutes of my monitoring is always touch and go, these boys do NOT like being tied down (they sound like their Dad already) and that time they always come on/off, well they gave us hell… and since the nurse couldn’t get them to stay on the monitor the doctor ordered another HOUR of monitoring… she walked out and I just started crying.  My back was already hurting for staying in the bed, and staying still for two hours seemed tortuous, oh all the while my lunch was delivered and just sitting there.  I was too afraid to even sit up and TRY to eat for fear of knocking a baby off monitoring.  So, I cried and lost it a little bit.  We made it through the hour and I was taken off.  The highlight of the day was my hubby and kiddos came up to visit – I knew we had a little window and I was going to use that wheelchair time, so we went to the cafeteria, it was strange and awkward and I hate for kids to have to “hang out” in the hospital, but it was my first time out of the room in two days.  We got back at my 5:15pm time I told the nurse we could start the next round of monitoring, I got hooked up, the kids colored, hubby sat and watched some TV and then it was time for them to leave for dinner and school stuff.  I sadly said goodbye and remained on the monitors.  No issues this time and after an hour I was done, and dinner was here. Cafeteria food is a lot like school food… a lot to be desired which also adds to the mental adjustment.  I ate and KNEW I wanted to go to sleep as soon as I could, which meant that one more round of monitoring needed to happen earlier than the 11pm time it had been.  So, at 10:15pm they hooked me up – new nurse at this point and she’s apparently a fan of REALLY tight monitoring bands, so I was wrapped in about 12 of them the babies were off/on from the beginning and I knew I was in for a long round.  I was talking to hubby on the phone during and Baby B popped off, after watching for 5 minutes and not getting him back up on my own, I just started crying – I told my husband it was too hard to do this.  Note to any future bedrest husbands NEVER tell your wife to just remember THIS is the easy part.  I promise, it doesn’t make it better!  So I cried and cried and cried, and thought I was going to be on monitoring all night long.  Luckily, we got the baby back on and the nurse didn’t make me go any longer than the hour.  At the end of the hour I don’t know if she heard me on the phone or could tell I was exhausted but asked if I wanted anything to sleep… I finally took them up on the LD Ambien & I can say that was the best decision I’ve ever made.  I fell asleep quickly and slept like a rock!

Can’t get comfortable while monitoring

Today has been a much better day, two rounds of monitoring done, no tears or anxiety – I’m certain to tell every nurse who comes in that the boys like the monitors loose, for my sanity and comfort, their sanity and everyone else involved.  Both times we haven’t had an issue or had the boys kung fu their way out of the monitors.

So, I’ll end this with telling you if you are in the hospital, going to the hospital, or have someone you know in the hospital – a mental breakdown will probably happen.  It’s normal, well it was normal for me and I’m going to tell myself it’s a normal thing.  Ask for something to help with sleep and don’t be afraid to cry.

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Welcome to Hospital Bedrest/Monitoring

What a whirlwind of a day.  It’s currently 12:30am as I start this post.  Today I was admitted to the antepartum unit of the hospital to begin my 7 weeks of monitoring.  A quick recap of how the day has gone…. as I experienced some major anxiety heading to the hospital because I had no idea what to expect.  If anyone is reading before their big day, yours may look differently but this is what I experienced!

Arrived at the hospital around 2:30pm went straight to the antepartum floor, which probably should have been straight to registration, but I was following doctor instructions.  Got my room.

Husband and I met the nurse and awkwardly just sat around as I’m sure some logistical computer magic had to happen since I hadn’t registered once I got here.  I did pre-register online though but I don’t think the information was sent through to them yet.  Again I was just following doctors orders!!

Lots of questions and background are entered into the computer.  Nurse broke down the day to day.  I really felt like she was a teacher and I was a new student coming to school on the 100th day, she was trying to remember everything she’s told 30 other kids a thousand times! 😆 oh and we get to set a daily goal – it’s completely like teaching learning targets.  My first one was totally given to me, and I love it because it looks about like my own learning targets on those crazy weeks – direct and to the point!

Goal Day 1

Mom & the kids came up after their movie.  Almost instantly the kids were bored and wondered how I would live here for two months.  Cant blame them I was thinking the same things!

Doctor came by (not my normal one, but another from the same practice) told me my velamentous cord insertion was “interesting” and he had seen the pictures.  Shortly after that I found out he will be the doctor I’ll see the most… and my favorite… I now officially have bed rest orders.  Yippee!  Monitoring babies 4 times per day for an hour (another surprise as I was told 15 minutes) but that’s ok.  Oh and I also got my first steroid shot to help with the babies lungs should they need it with coming early!   It’s not the worse shot I’ve had but it did get sore a little afterwards.

Hubby and kids left to go home and get ready for school tomorrow.  That was definitely weird to say bye!  I’m sure it gets more normal.  After that my mom and I got my room set up and everything unpacked.  This really made everything feel different.  My own sheets, mattress pad, and no clutter helped remove the hospital anxiety!

Monitoring for the second time (this time the full hour).  Babies were moving and not cooperating as they’ve done before, which led to me laying [or is it lying??] in a very uncomfortable spot so the monitors could pick them up.  We confirmed I am contracting, but babies are ok throughout and I don’t have pain so we’re adding it to a baseline.  Monitoring starts at 5 am then before lunch and dinner and finally before bed.

I snapped a photo of monitoring (with leg compression going on) in the most uncomfortable position I could have imagined!!

After my last round of vital checking at 11:30 I tried to call it a night.  As I’m really weird about noises for about an hour I just moved around and tried to get used to everything that was new.  At 12:30 my night nurse had to come in and inform me that I was getting my second shot.  I’m RH negative so I had to have that shot administered. What a fun midnight surprise!

So now here I lay [lie??] recalling today & not sleeping.  I guess that’s what he next 50+ days are for!  Ha!