Monday, September 25, 2006

Emerging

Now that the Pixels are here, I've decided that a new blog is the most appropriate home for our new life. I'm leaving The Fertility Project as it stands, and who knows but that I might find my way back to it when we discuss a third child. For now, though, that chapter of my life is finished. I got my happy ending, emerged from primary infertility and a high-risk pregnancy to find myself the mother of beautiful and healthy twins, and though I'm not about to forget where I came from, it's not where I live any more.

After I recovered from my attack of mastitis (without hospitalization, thankfully), I started working on coming out of my cocoon. I'd been mostly housebound since the bleeding incident at the end of June, then progressed to more strict bedrest after August's preterm labor. I ventured out once after the bedrest was lifted, but I was so enormous and uncomfortable that I didn't do it again. All told, I've not been out of my house, except for doctor's visits and hospitalizations, in about six weeks, and it felt so strange to go out into the world. Even my neighborhood felt somewhat unfamiliar, and everything was slightly too bright and too fast. With my mother's help, though, I started making a few expeditions, both with and without babies, and getting increasingly ambitious.

First was a trip to the pharmacy and the bank, (not entirely successful -- I drove off from the bank with the pneumatic tube in the passenger seat), then a jaunt to the stationery store for baby announcements, with Mom carrying one carseat and me slinging the other baby. After that was a much-needed clothes-shopping (solo), and then a trip to the pediatrician's, where both babies gained 13 oz (!) in a week and were released from the supplementation routine. The piece de resistance, though, was my very first solo outing, when I took the babies to the clinic's annual IVF reunion.

[Tangent: strictly speaking, as an injectible/IUI pregnancy, I wouldn't normally have been invited to the IVF reunion. However, my mom's brought her other granddaughter for the last couple years, so I felt OK about going, especially since I actually went through infertility treatment (and not just a Clomid cycle or two, either). I skipped the egg retrieval and spent less money, yes, but the rest of it went pretty much as IVF would have -- the monitoring, the injections, the transfer (albeit of sperm, not embryos), and let's not forget the OHSS and the multiple pregnancy. I may not win the Infertile Pain Olympics, but I at least competed in the preliminaries, and I felt like I belonged there, rather than in the "normal family" category. It was good to talk to other twin moms, too, since Dixieland doesn't have a Mothers of Multiples club at the moment (it died off several years ago).]

So the babies and I went, and let me tell you you would not believe how much attention you get when you go out in public with your infant twins. I'd assumed it wouldn't be as big a deal at the IVF reunion, since there were plenty of other sets of twins there, but my babies were by far the youngest. They even wound up on the local news coverage of the reunion because of it! I got a lot of comments about how brave I was to be out and about with them already, but the truth is, I'm finding it pretty easy at this point -- it's a logistical challenge, yes, but they are very good-tempered babies. Since then, I'm making a deliberate effort to get us all out of the house every day, even if it's just for a walk around the neighborhood, and all of the practice is improving my outing management skills. It still takes literally hours for even simple errands, but I am managing to get them done successfully, and it gives me a nice feeling of accomplishment.

The babies' personalities are also starting to appear more strongly as the days pass. For the first week or so, they were so sleepy (due to slight prematurity and jaundice) that I didn't feel like I could really differentiate them, emotionally. Physically, it's always been easy to tell them apart -- while there's a sisterly resemblance, they are definitely not identical -- but I didn't have a sense of how they differed from each other in behavior, and it bothered me. I was upset because I couldn't distinguish their voices, couldn't tell without looking which baby was crying, couldn't seem to focus on them as Claire and as Katherine rather than as a generic half of the twin pair. Happily, this didn't last long, and at three weeks, I now feel like I'm getting to know each of them. Feeding them separately is helpful here -- I do tandem-nurse sometimes, but I'm still more comfortable with one at a time, and I enjoy the chance to snuggle with each girl.

I'm surprised at how confident and happy I'm feeling in my new role as Mama. I didn't talk about it much before the birth, because I was ashamed to own up to having doubts and fears about something I'd worked so hard for, but I was tremendously afraid that I would find I wasn't really cut out for motherhood. As a recovering infertile and twin mom, I expected to get hit with a solid dose of postpartum depression, but so far (knock on wood) that hasn't materialized. I thought I might have trouble bonding with my babies, or find myself bored and frustrated with the basic process of caring for newborns, and I'm somewhat amazed to find how contented I am with it. Again, I think that the girls' personalities are mostly responsible for this -- they are generally happy rather than fussy, have their schedules well-synchronized, and eat and sleep in predictable and manageable intervals (allowing me to be relatively well-rested). I'm still fearful that this is some sort of early honeymoon period, and that in a few weeks I will find myself in colicky-baby hell. However, if that's the case, I suspect I'll weather it better because I've had the gift of this easy initiation to motherhood. I do feel a little bit guilty because it seems to be so much easier for me than for some of the other twin moms whose blogs I read, in the same way I felt guilty for getting pregnant on our first IUI cycle ("easy" by infertile standards). It's an unexpected gift, and while that doesn't lessen my enjoyment of it, it does sometimes leave me feeling squirmy, conscious of having received something I don't necessarily deserve.

So, that's what this blog is for, chronicling the work-in-progress that is my new life as a mother of twins. I can't promise I'll update all that frequently, since that new life contains rather less spare time than the old one did, but I hope you'll all stick around and keep up with us.

4 comments:

Eva said...

Thanks Emma for the new blog. I am so impressed by how well you 3 are doing! I haven't really ventured out of the house since we all came back from the NICU, except for going to the doctor's office 3 times, and am hoping to at least soon venture out on walks and such -- it's just so hard to fit in between feeding and babies sleeping... hope you all continue to do well and enjoy fall weather while you can.

Nico said...

I'm so impressed that you're managing to get out with your girls already. I just took A out by myself for the first time today!

I would love to hear what happened when the twins were born, if you can find the time to write that story!

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