Saturday, April 28, 2007

Sleep training

... no, not for the babies. They don't need it -- they've slept through the night as a rule since 10 weeks, although we are totally in the middle of a sleep regression, which I alternately chalk up to their colds, teething (they have to get some teeth sometime), and learning to crawl (they both are army-crawling and rocking on hands and knees, so it's going to happen any day now). Plus, I don't really think cry-it-out is the right way for us to go anyway; it happens sometimes, because of the twin thing, but although Claire has on occasion cried herself to sleep, Katherine never has and probably never will.

No, the sleep training I'm talking about is for my husband. He's a really heavy sleeper, enough that I never even considered co-sleeping when the girls were very small -- I've seen him nearly roll over on them before. This is usually a minor annoyance, when I need him to wake up at a certain time or something. However, it was a little bit more of a problem today, and I'm agitated about it, to say the least.

We were both really tired this morning, because it was nearly 3 AM before we went to bed (he worked really late, and then Claire coughed herself awake at 1:30), and Katherine woke up at 5 and spent the next three hours in bed with us, alternately nursing and kicking and screaming. (There is no "sleep" when we try to co-sleep, for darn sure.) He went back into the office at 9, and then later in the afternoon, stretched out on the couch to take a nap.

After he'd been out for about an hour and a half, I finally finished up with the babies and got ready to go to Wal-Mart. I have been sick as hell all week and am now in that stage of recovery where you feel really weak, so I didn't think I had the energy to handle Wal-Marting with the babies. I woke him up to tell him that I needed him to keep an eye on the girls; while he didn't stand up or anything, he opened his eyes and said he would, and talked with me for a minute about the grocery list. I thought that perhaps he might doze back off for a bit, but that he was more or less awake and would surely hear them if they started to cry.

I'm sure you can guess where this is going, right? Fast-forward an hour and a half, and I'm coming home from the store, and I can hear the screaming baby from halfway up the walk. I rush in the door, scoop her up, and determine that she's physically fine, just very angry. Then, only then, do I start yelling at my husband -- and I WAKE HIM UP, because he has been asleep the whole entire time. I don't know how long Claire had been crying, but it was obviously some time, because her whole face was teary and snotty and red and blotchy. She was full-out wailing, and he slept through the whole thing.

I'm angry with myself, because I shouldn't have left them with him. But I'm furious with him, because I thought it would be fine, leaving them in their pack-and-play less than four feet from his head. I woke him up and told him he was on baby duty . I trusted him to wake all the way up if they needed him, and he didn't. What if Claire had been crying because she was hurt or needed help? It's not like he would have woken up if she'd just cried louder, because she was already at full volume. How he managed to sleep through the racket, I don't know, but he did.

My mother-in-law told me, soon after the babies were born, that she never left G's dad in charge of the kids if she even thought he might fall asleep. She had too many close calls with him not waking up and hearing trouble, and eventually, she just got too afraid that something terrible would happen and he wouldn't hear it. If I can't trust G to wake up and hear the babies, and today sure argues that I can't, I'm going to have to institute the same policy. This makes me very sad, and very very angry.

G thinks I'm overreacting, because "he was right there with them" and "he would have woken up if anything was really wrong". But I don't believe him, because she was crying just like something was really wrong, and he didn't. Essentially, the babies were alone in the house, just as if he'd left them there -- he was so sound asleep he might as well not have been there. I feel like he really let me, and them, down. I hate that I can't trust their own father to take care of them, but I'm feeling very betrayed right now.

The only reason I'm inclined to cut him any slack at all is because he was asleep, so it's not like was ignoring them on purpose. But seriously, I'm wondering if it is possible to train yourself to wake more easily. I naturally became a lighter sleeper over the last few years, but if there's a method you can follow or something, I'm going to insist that he do it, or I'll have to be very careful about leaving the girls alone with him.

Am I totally overreacting here? What would you do in my shoes?

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

And again

We are sick yet again. The girls have mild colds, just enough to make them fussy and unhappy, but I think it's nothing serious (though it's a little hard to tell, as they are still at the tail end of the bronchiolitis). I, on the other hand, have a sinus infection and am wheezing again, despite the Advair, etc. that was supposed to prevent this from happening.

The girls have been absolute bears for the last two days, what with the cold, and when G worked late today, I called my mom to come over and help me. She lives about two miles down the road from me, so it's no problem for her to come over; I try not to abuse the privilege, but after going from 7:30 to 4:30 with someone crying *the entire time*, it was time to send in reinforcements. Of course, when Mom came over, they immediately got all happy and adorable, because Grandmama was there to pay attention to them.

Mom fed them their solids and gave them a bath, while I laid on the couch and dozed. Katherine has turned into my neat eater lately, because I discovered that she likes diced-up mandarin oranges, which are comparatively non-messy. Claire, on the other hand, ate prunes. If you've never fed your baby prunes, and have a messy eater or are easily squicked, I recommend that you give prunes a miss. I don't think my mom believed me when I told her how much of a mess they make when eating, but she was singing a different tune after feeding them. Claire had prunes in her hair, and prunes between her toes, and pretty much everywhere in between.

Other new discovery of the day: Claire likes mint chocolate chip ice cream. I wonder if she likes it just because it's good, or because it's something I ate a lot while pregnant? My favorite candy bar, and one real pregnancy craving, is Three Musketeers, the same thing my mother craved while pregnant with me. I wonder if, twenty-five or thirty years down the line, I'll be laughing at Claire about mint-chocolate-chip cravings?

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Notes from a highchair

I know Claire is feeling better today, because she ate nearly a whole jar of pears. I was thinking about this, and I realized I haven't bored you all to tears yet with discussions of my children's eating habits, so here goes.

We started both girls on solids just after their six-month checkup, mainly because the pediatrician was concerned about Claire's low weight. This isn't necessarily the best reason to start solids, the concern being that infants will eat solids instead of the more calorie-dense breastmilk and take in fewer overall calories. In our case, though, I was very careful to use them as a supplement and maintain our previous frequency of nursing, and I did a few other tricks to boost the calorie content, such as mixing cereal with the cream skimmed off pumped milk.

Initially, the girls thought eating rice cereal was a good game, if a messy one -- for whatever reason, Katherine felt the need to stick her thumb in her mouth between every bite, and I'll leave you to imagine what she looked like after feedings. Claire was interested in feeding herself, too, which made just about as big a mess. By the time they'd been on solids a week, I'd worked out my plan: strip down to a diaper and bib, feed them solids right after their next-to-last nursing at 6ish, transfer from highchair to bath, and then conclude the bath with nursing and bed. As a bonus, this was a better evening routine than we'd managed to achieve thus far, so I got to stop feeling guilty about how I wasn't providing enough structure in their lives.

Rice cereal was followed by bananas, and then by pears and sweet potatoes. We had a few failures along the way -- peas were violently rejected, and carrots were accepted but later puked up in the middle of the night (not to mention that they stain like anything). They also were not overly keen on applesauce at the initial feeding, although they subsequently mellowed some. Lemon icebox pie at Easter was a big hit, and bites of Mama's pudding or yogurt are always happily accepted.

When Katherine got sick, though, things started going off track for her. She suddenly refused to eat more than a bite or two of any type of fruit, cereal, or vegetable, including the ones she'd previously loved. (She still ate the lemon icebox pie, mind you.) Claire continued to eat for a while, but then she too stopped eating when the bronchiolitis struck. Today was the first day in roughly two weeks that I've gotten her to eat a measurable amount of food, which was bad considering that I'm trying to put weight on her.

Katherine is still refusing to eat anything at all; while she'll open for the first bite, she makes a terrible face, gags and spits it out, sticks her thumb in her mouth, and pushes the spoon away. She couldn't say "DO NOT WANT" any more clearly if she took out a billboard. We've tried everything she's ever eaten enthusiastically, and a few things she hasn't, and it all gets rejected. I'm not overly worried about her not eating, because she is quite a chunkin compared to her sister, but I do wonder when she's going to pick it up again. I give her a couple spoonfuls every time I feed Claire, and one day I'm sure she'll eat again.

I'm currently wrestling with the idea of adding a second solid feed into our day. On the one hand, feeding them solids stopped being fun pretty quickly, and I'm not looking forward to repeating the mess and the cleanup, or figuring out how best to fit it into our day. On the other hand, if I really do plan to wean them by a year, I need to keep moving them toward eating several meals a day. Also, as they get more active, they are really eating me alive some days; this is nice from a weight-loss perspective, but it's exhausting on several different levels. Claire is very near to crawling (belly-scooting and rocking on hands and knees), and between that and her illness recovery, she has been nursing like a tiny newborn.

I never thought I'd see the day when breastfeeding would be the quick, easy, no-fuss feeding method!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Getting better and trying again

Claire still sounds a bit junky, and obviously feels somewhat under-the-weather, but she is materially better than she was on Tuesday. I wouldn't say she is well yet, but at least I can see ahead to when she will be well. Katherine, too, is still short of 100% healthy, but she is approaching it. G, thankfully, is completely recovered, and gods be praised, I never got it in the first place.

What I did get instead was a diagnosis of mild obstructive lung disease. As previously mentioned, I went to the pulmonologist this week to find out why I wheeze and need steroids every time I catch a stupid cold, and it turns out that's why, It's not clear yet whether I have asthma or another disease like chronic bronchitis, because the primary difference between them is whether steroids and bronchodilators help (asthma) or whether it's irreversible damage (chronic bronchitis). The doctor put me on several different and shockingly expensive medications, and I'm to come back in August for another round of lung function tests to see if the drugs work.

I was nursing Katherine in the exam room when the doctor walked in, so we had some discussion to see whether it was OK to start the meds while I'm still nursing. He asked me how long I planned to continue nursing, and I told him hopefully a year. Pre-pregnancy, I was a little uneasy about the concept of toddler nursing, but now I understand a lot better how it happens. I don't think you necessarily start out saying you'll nurse until two, just that it never seems like it's quite time to wean them completely, and I'm aware of how I'll miss the nursing relationship and how easy it would be to prolong it. However, extended nursing is probably not going to be the way for us, because we want another baby.

(Warning: TMI stuff ahead)

As of recently, I suppose you could say that we're trying to get pregnant again. I don't really expect this to actually happen, but we're not using any birth control, so theoretically, it could. I categorically refused to go back on the Pill or any of its variants after the girls' birth, not only because of the breastfeeding but also because I wanted to give my hormones a chance to normalize. I got fitted for a diaphragm instead, and we tried the sponge, but neither of them has worked out very well. We're also not crazy about condoms, and IUD isn't an option right now since we want to have another baby quickly. So, for the first six months, we let lactational amenorrhea and infertility be our primary methods of birth control.

Now that the girls are seven months old (and nearly crawling!), lactational amenorrhea doesn't technically apply any more. I still haven't gotten my cycle back, and it is an open question whether I will or not. I am nearly-exclusively nursing twins -- they are eating solids once a day, but it's still more recreational than nutritional -- and so it's reasonable to expect that my prolactin levels are sky-high and are preventing it from returning. On the other hand, it's not like I did a stellar job of having a cycle back before I got pregnant, so who knows if there's anything to return to. It's like the old question about the tree falling in the forest -- if a woman's hypothalamic amenorrhea is prolonged by nursing, is she still infertile?

In a perfect world, I would get pregnant naturally, and baby #3 would be born roughly two years after the girls' birth. Realistically speaking, the plan is to wean at a year and see what happens, then head down the ART path if my cycle doesn't come back in a couple months. In the meantime, though, we're open to it happening. This is maybe a little sooner than I'd like to get pregnant, but I gave up a long time ago on trying to plan babies. I'm not wildly optimistic about it happening at all, but I'd be lying if I didn't say I had a tiny little shred of hope.

Last time around, we completely skipped the normal have-sex-and-see-what-happens phase. I went off the Pill, and never started my period again, so we got dropped into the world of reproductive endocrinology almost immediately. This time, we can't really go there until I quit nursing, so for now, we do get to try and see what happens, and hope that my cycle will come back by itself. Sure, it isn't back yet, and in the absolute, my chances are still somewhere around zero. But I also haven't yet flunked any of the basic reproductive tests, haven't had any BFNs or rounds of negative OPKs or failed Provera challenges. I'm still normal, even if I know that the chances of descending into abnormality are good. More importantly, unlike the last time, there are no questions about whether I'll ever be able to identify as a mother, or be part of a family and not just a couple. I have two perfect, wonderful, magical daughters, and even if I don't get to have any more, I'll still consider myself beyond blessed.

I guess I'm just greedy for more, is all. I was never much of one for nirvana, and am all the less so know that I've experienced the joy of it once.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007


OK, maybe now we are shooting for a day without a doctor's visit.

Claire went to the pediatrician yesterday morning, who diagnosed her with bronchiolitis, as expected. Slightly more worrying was the fact that she had lost six ounces in two weeks, and her diaper count was getting a little bit low. She was down to 12 lbs 14 oz, which isn't exactly great for a seven-plus-month-old. It was particularly upsetting because we got weighed right after a cute baby who was there for his four-month checkup. The balance scale showed me that that baby, three months younger than my daughter, outweighed her by almost a pound, and it's not like he was fat.

As background, at their six-month checkup on March 7, Claire weighed 12 lbs even (Katherine was 13 lbs 8 oz). She is a delicate little thing, and has always hovered around the 3rd percentile, but at 12 lbs, she had fallen off the bottom of the chart. The pediatrician and I discussed it, and we're both pretty sure it's not a milk supply issue, given how well Katherine is gaining. Perhaps she just doesn't nurse enough or as effectively, and it's true that she is a very active baby. In any case, the doctor wanted me to start supplementing her with solids, which we did, and to come back for a weight check in a month. When I took Katherine in for her second bronchiolits visit on April 2, I popped Claire on the scale just to check, and was pleased to see that she was 13 lbs 4 oz, surpassing the pediatrician's goal of 13 lbs. After the weight-loss issues of the early days, I definitely feel like a failure if my babies aren't gaining adequately; but more importantly, with that kind of a loss, you start to wonder if she's getting dehydrated.

The pediatrician thought Claire was wheezing and seemed unhappy, but that she wasn't seriously ill. She prescribed breathing treatments for her, which I had already started anyway, and recommended that I nurse as much as possible and bring her back if she seemed worse. I did just that for the rest of the day, and while I didn't see much improvement in her, she didn't deteriorate either. She coughed in her sleep a good bit again, but was always back asleep by the time I'd make it upstairs to check on her.

When I went in to pick her up this morning, she sounded just horrible, like she was drowning in her own lungs. I brought her downstairs and nursed her, and halfway through, she started coughing so hard that she vomited. I gave her a breathing treatment and nursed her again, and she had another coughing fit and lost most of that. She wasn't acting like she was in serious trouble -- she was responsive and alert, although she definitely was cranky and miserable -- but we went back to the doctor, just in case.

The fill-in pediatrician said that her lungs sounded pretty junked-up, but that overall her respiration is adequate -- she's working a little bit to breathe, but not enough to need supplemental oxygen. She had lost two more ounces, so we talked about dehydration, but her mouth and eyes were still plenty moist, so he recommended just nursing aggressively rather than rehydrating via IV. He gave us an antihistamine/decongestant and oral steroids to supplement the inhaled steroids, and suggested I do breathing treatments of saline solution in between the albuterol/steroid treatments. He said he wanted to see at least three wet diapers in a 24-hour period, and again, bring her back if she seemed worse.

She has not nursed well today, and has been very sleepy -- she had two 30-minute naps in the morning, an hour-plus midday nap, and then a giant three-hour sleep from 2 PM to 5 PM. She's had two wet diapers and a third one that could be generously described as "damp", and that was a cloth diaper, which always feels wetter than a disposable. She nursed a good bit before bedtime, mainly because she was cranky and wanted the comfort, but I'm not sure how much milk she really took in. We'll see what her morning diaper looks like, but I wouldn't be at all surprised if we go back in tomorrow to check her hydration level and her weight.

I'm very worried about her, but also, I'm getting frustrated and tired of worrying about my babies' health. Someone has been pretty sick for a solid month now, and the constant anxiety is wearing on me. Plus, on top of everything, G woke up with some sort of gastroenteritis thing on Monday morning, and so I'm nursemaiding him too, because obviously he is languishing on his deathbed. In fairness, he has been running a 101-degree fever, so I don't doubt that he genuinely feels bad, and I'll be pushing him to go to the doctor tomorrow if he's still not any better. (For those of you keeping score at home, that will be at least two visits in one day, since I rescheduled my pulmonary function tests to tomorrow so that I could take Claire in today. Hey, if Claire has to go back, that'll be three separate doctors in one day! Aaaagh!)

Still, I'm a little less sympathetic when I'm spending all my breaks from giving the babies nebulizers and meds and nursings by turning the fan off and on, fetching glasses of sprite, making soup, bringing blankets and fluffing pillows, and so forth. If the babies weren't sick, I'd have more energy to worry about G, but as it is I've had to fight the urge to tell him to take care of himself a little bit. After all, I have to do exactly that when it's me who's ill -- he takes great care of me when he's home, but while he's at work, I still have to manage myself and the babies. I have managed to bite my tongue thus far, though, because it's not his fault I'm burned out from sick babies. I did flat-out refuse to go to the grocery store and buy chicken soup at 11:30 PM, but then I made him buttered noodles instead, so I think I earned a few good-wife points back.

He's asleep now, so I can go back to spending all my energy worrying about Claire. She's only had one coughing fit in the three hours she's been asleep, and has passed her is-she-still-breathing checks with flying colors. I'm hoping hoping hoping she is better tomorrow.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Bad things come in pairs

Katherine's breathing has improved a good deal, although she still wheezes if we go too long between breathing treatments. Given that she is better, I suppose it's inevitable that Claire began to cough yesterday morning.

It was just barely there at first, but by the end of the day, she was coughing frequently. She coughed throughout the night, waking herself up a couple times; I would hear her cough, then cry once, and then settle down and go right back to sleep. About 5:45, she had a particularly bad coughing fit, and the subsequent quiet scared me enough that I had to go check that she was still breathing. She was, and slept without further incident until 8:15, but now she is wheezing and bubbling just like Katherine.

Other than the wheezing and coughing, she is not acting particularly sick, so I think we can probably wait for the morning to go see the doctor. The only advantage to Katherine's having been sick is that I think we can be a little more proactive with Claire -- it won't take three visits to get to the bottom of it. On the other hand, I'm not all that sure she actually has the same thing Katherine does, because Katherine began to come down with it a month ago. Claire showed some mild cold symptoms at the same time, but then seemed to get over it quickly.

All told, I think they've been exposed to as many as three separate infections since February: 1) the one that G and I caught in early March and required steroids to get over, when Claire showed mild symptoms and Katherine first began to cough; 2) the upper-respiratory infection that G got in late March, that neither Claire nor I caught (Katherine was still sick from the first one); and 3) the upper-respiratory infection that my sister and niece came down with last week, right after visiting with the babies over Easter. It's possible that all of these could be a single infection getting passed back and forth, or that they are all separate -- I am starting to come down with another upper-respiratory thing myself, and since I already had infection #1, it argues that #3 at least is discrete. Really, though, this is splitting hairs, because the bottom line is that we all sound like a convention of elderly former-coal-miner pack-a-day-smokers.

So Claire goes to the doctor tomorrow, where I will be asking if I should start her on breathing treatments too. I go to the pulmonary lab on Tuesday, for a workup to find out why I start wheezing and need steroids every time I catch a cold, and to the pulmonologist on Thursday to discuss the findings. This will surpass the previous week's doctor record, where I went to the orthopedic surgeon for a follow-up and Katherine went for to the pediatrician for her cough.

I said previously that I'm dreaming of a month without a doctor's visit. Scratch that, because at this point, I'd settle for a week.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Requiescat in pace

Rest eternal grant to him, O LORD, and let light perpetual shine upon him.

Better today

Katherine is doing better now, thank heavens. She seemed improved when she woke up from her nap, and more so after another breathing treatment, so I decided to hold off on the doctor. She is still wheezing this morning, but it's less severe than it's been, so I'm hoping she is on the mend.

She is acting perky and smiling, which is reassuring to see. She's also eating a little better, which I find reassuring as she's given me a giant blister by popping on and off while nursing. It hurts like the devil, and every time she latches, I'm clawing my palms and trying not to yelp. It's just like those bad old early days of breastfeeding, and I'm wondering how on earth I lasted through ten whole weeks of this!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Every breath she takes

As it turns out, Katherine's bronchitis was not, in point of fact, bronchitis. Instead, she has bronchiolitis, probably secondary to RSV (although we didn't do the swab to confirm, since it wouldn't change the treatment). While the fill-in pediatrician we saw didn't feel that she needs to be hospitalized at this point, he did send us home with a nebulizer for albuterol and pulmicort.

I'm giving her breathing treatments every 4 hours or so, which she doesn't like very much at all -- she cries and pushes the mouthpiece away, and outright refuses to wear the mask. She seems a little better after she's had a treatment, I guess, but she sounds just horrible in between times. She threw up all over the place around 11 PM last night, not just spit-up but actual vomiting, and she was bubbling worse than ever. We cleaned her up, and I debated about giving her another treatment -- she sounded so bad, but I thought that maybe that's what had made her nauseated. In the end, I gave her another one, and she slept the rest of the night without incident.

She was bubbling again this morning before her treatment, and I still think she feels under-the-weather. She's been very cranky, and while she's now asleep in her swing, I think it's the I-don't-feel-good kind of sleep. I'm watching her sleep right now and trying to decide whether to go back to the doctor yet again. I don't know that they can do much else for her, except decide whether she needs hospitalization, and we just ruled that out yesterday. On the other hand, she seems worse to me today, so maybe they would decide differently.

I am trying really hard not to be the panicked mother, but I'm not really succeeding very well. I had a friend whose two-month-old got a chest cold thing and died three years ago, and while I never asked her exactly what the autopsy found (how could I?), I can't stop thinking about it and wondering if it was bronchiolitis. I know it's stupid, statistics and freak occurrences blah blah hysterical-cakes, but still it feels like geese walking over my grave, listening to her burble and wheeze, and imagining what could happen.

And oh, there is guilt, too, because I have decided she got it at the gym nursery. Y'know, the one I was just being flip about in Suz's comments yesterday, literally an hour before seeing the doctor. Now, it's true that most of the time, I am legitimately working out the whole time the girls are in the nursery -- I don't do the whirlpool-and-long-shower thing often, only when I'm really just having one of those days. It's even true that at the time she first got sick, I was putting them in the nursery only to go to physical therapy, since I was only a week or so post-surgery. Still, I put my kids in child care, never mind the duration and the reason, and now one of them is pretty sick, so I must be a Bad Mommy.

My real-life former-infertile-and-29-weeker-mom friend Stacey wrote recently about how she's frightened of leaving her boy at the church nursery where he might catch RSV. She and I have talked before about how she doesn't do any of the things I do with the little girls, and I've felt fortunate that my girls (while slightly preterm) were not preemies and didn't need any special precautions. Now, I'm the one whose baby has bronchiolitis, and my carefree attitude about germs has taken a big hit.

I hope she's OK. I hope she's OK. I hope she's OK.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Bad blogger! No biscuit!

I was going to tell Eva I'm not going on hiatus, but then I realized it's been close to two months since my last post, which is definitely hiatus-like. But I have excuses, honest! To wit:

Knee surgery: I had my knee surgery 2/28, to treat the damaged cartilage that my pregnancy left behind. They wound up removing the torn bits (lateral meniscectomy), which meant I had a relatively easy recovery. I was down to one crutch by the weekend, and was able to get rid of them entirely by five days post-op. It took about two weeks before I could walk downstairs holding the babies, but otherwise I managed them just fine. G took a few days off work and helped me out, and once I got down to one crutch, I could manage them by myself. We spent a lot of time hanging out in bed those first few days, but at that point they hadn't really started rolling around, so that worked fine.

I'm now five weeks out, and I'd been doing really well until last week -- I tried to do too much in physical therapy, I think, and set myself back a couple weeks. It wasn't enough that I had to resort to crutches or painkillers again, just enough to make me cranky. I really want it to be fully healed, so I can get back to...

Working out: I'd been doing really well with this one before my surgery. At the beginning of February, I shifted my gym membership to the Y because they have a nursery, and I started back with lifting weights and swimming. Obviously, I haven't been able to do much lower-body lifting with the bum knee, but I was back swimming ten days after surgery, and I've been making good progress with my upper-body workouts.

I got derailed again for a bit with a wretched case of bronchitis (see below), but otherwise, I'm really happy to be back in the gym. Pre-infertility, I was quite thin and in really good shape after losing about 80 lbs, which may or may not have had something to do with why I developed the hypothalamic amenorrhea in the first place. I gained 10 lbs when my thyroid crapped out, then 25 more during infertility treatment (15 lbs in the six weeks of high-dose estrogen alone), so I wasn't thin any more even before getting pregnant. I got a bad case of the awfuckits and quit working out during the IF stuff as well, and with the bedrest and all, I felt so fat and weak after the babies were born. Breastfeeding twins helped a lot with the weight -- I've lost all the pregnancy weight, plus 8 lbs of the infertility weight, and it keeps ticking on down. Now, I'm getting my strength and endurance back, and it's awesome. Time-consuming, but awesome.

Bronchitis: I got yet another cold which turned into lower-respiratory problems, and ended up with me on steroids for the second time in three months. This is the fourth consecutive cold which has ended with me on steroids, and I'm sick of it. I've started to think (OK, hypochondriac me is totally convinced) that perhaps I do have asthma -- aside from the way my lungs close up whenever I get sick, I've had a few episodes of serious wheezing in the past, and it takes me forever to build up substantial cardiovascular endurance. I have finally had enough, and I have an appointment with a pulmonologist for the week after next to check out the asthma angle.

I have this fantasy that someday I'm going to make it a whole month without anyone in the household (me, the babies, the dogs) having to go to the doctor for any reason. Since that hasn't happened since, I think, May '05, I suspect it will remain a fantasy for a while.

Katherine's bronchitis: My husband and both the babies caught the cold, and while G and Claire got over it quickly, Katherine's cough lingered. She got better for a while and then worse again, and I don't know if she got something else -- G got a second cold not long after the first -- or if it was the original cough hanging on, but she sounds rotten. After our second doctor's visit, she's on antibiotics, but I don't know that it's really helping. She hasn't woken herself up coughing in a couple days, at least, so I suppose that's something. On the other hand, the antibiotics have given her a whopping case of diarrhea...

I hate hate hate it when the babies are sick. They've both been sick twice now, which strikes me as a little unfair considering that they are breastfed and aren't in daycare (although there is the gym nursery, I suppose).

Work: Yes, I quit my job, but I still do some freelancing. I'm a computer programmer, and I did freelance work for about four years, so it's easy money. I've been aiming at 10 or so hours a week, but the nature of the business is that you can only hope to average that -- it's 20 hours one week, none the next. I've been busy these last few weeks, and there was even an all-nighter this last week, with another on the horizon next week.

School: This one's pretty much a theoretical source of busy-ness, since I am currently accomplishing precisely nothing on my final project thanks to all of the above. I feel guilty about it, but that doesn't seem to translate into time spent working on it.

My mom's health: Something's going on with my mom, and while we're not sure what exactly it is, it's a stressful situation. Her blood pressure skyrocketed recently, and she started having some mental trouble -- being unable to remember words, doing "boneheaded things", forgetting things. MRI came back OK, so we don't think it was a stroke. There are a couple things which could be going on, but she's convinced it's the early stages of Alzheimer's, which both her parents had, and she is terrified. She left work early today after she screwed up someone's chart (she is an RE nurse), and came over to my house in tears. I don't know how to reassure her when it's entirely possible that's what's happening. She is only sixty, and she's the only parent I have, as my dad died of cancer nine years ago. She's not ready for this. I'm not ready for this. But, as I learned with my dad and again with infertility, what you want from life doesn't mean anything sometimes.

We have a few avenues of investigation to pursue, but I feel like I'm already preparing myself for the worst. Alzheimer's for her is effectively a terminal diagnosis -- after taking care of my grandparents, she is very clear that she does not want to live like that. I don't necessarily agree with that, which is a subject for another post, but I believe her when she says she won't let it come to that. This particular situation doesn't take up much time, but it weighs on my mind.

And oh, yeah, I have a couple babies: They have changed so much in the last month -- it's like a switch got flipped, and they started making progress left and right. They went from only rolling over occasionally to flipping around like little gyroscopes, and now they are scooting around and trying to get their knees under them. I think we'll have crawling in another month at most.

They are increasingly verbal, too. Katherine was more verbal than Claire for a long time, and said "Ba!" and "Pa!" and "Ma!" when Claire just said "Ha" and "pppbbbblttt". In the last week, it's flipped around, and not only is Claire now saying consonants, she's stringing them together and babbling. She has said "Mama" several times, in front of witnesses even; it's not really directed at me yet, I don't think, but it's like a delicious preview of the day when she'll say it and mean it. I get a little teary-eyed every time she does it.

Every day, I think I couldn't possibly love them any more. Every day, I am proven wrong.