Tag Archives: twins

An open letter to some random women

Dear random women I have encountered recently at the grocery store, and the doctor’s office,

We have to talk.

I didn’t talk to you in the moment, because I tend to have an extremely long hang time when startled, and particularly when people behave badly. Especially when I’m upset. And I was really pretty upset. Let me explain.

I’ll address you based on the order in which these things happened.

First, ladies in the grocery store. I feel like twin babies are not.. uncommon. And when I go to the grocery store with them I have become used to the nonstop comments. I’ve even developed strategies to avoid having endless conversations about their age, gender, means of conception, or identical vs. fraternal status. Or whether twins run in my family. And the twins you’ve met before now.

I honestly don’t mind these interactions (except when I’m trying to be efficient in the store), and I thought that’s where our encounter was going when you approached me and the boys. You said something, but I didn’t get to respond before you were in the stroller taking photographs of the babies.

I was so shocked I knocked over a glass bottle of kombucha (shaddup) and made both a glorious mess and commotion. You were not deterred. Why did you want pictures of my babies? What were you doing? What will you use the photos for?

I will never know, because by the time I had collected myself enough to speak words, you were scurrying off, with photos of my babies on your phone. I was rattled for the rest of the night.

***

This brings me to you, woman-trying-to-help, and mean woman.

I didn’t want to bring my twins to the doctor’s office on Monday. Not even a little bit. But I’m not working (for $) right now, and I can’t afford a baby sitter. And I feel very guilty bullying my in-laws into doing it all the time. But I digress. I was with the babies, and they were not happy.

In their defense, they’re 23 weeks old, and the appointment was smack in the middle of a feeding time.

By the time I was done with the doctor– an hour long event that basically entailed her rocking one of the babies and trying to talk over their wailing– the babies were really fed up with… not being fed. I had only one bottle with me, because I am a sleep deprived mess, so I proceeded to feed half to each baby. This satisfied neither, and they both kept wailing.

In desperation, I ran to the bathroom and began filling up the bottle with warm tap water. You came out of one of the stalls. “Tap water?” you (stranger #1) asked, horrified. “Oh no no. You can’t use that. Let me get you some bottled water.”

I looked down at my already-ready bottle, and my screaming babies, and I sighed. You were trying to be nice. So I waited while they hollered, trying in vain to soothe them with pacifiers. After what seemed like a year, you returned with two small bottles of icy cold water.

I know the babies won’t take water that cold. But you hovered, and I sighed, and gave it a shot. And of course, the babies would not drink. As I futilely tried to persuade them, that cold would be “refreshing” you fussed and interfered. And then you, stranger #2, exited a bathroom stall.

You saw the canister of formula on the counter- the result of countless hours of ingredients research and obsessing and self flagellation. And you made a sound of disgust: “Formula, really?”

I just looked at you.

“Don’t you know ‘breast is best’?” You tsked.

Oh good, that old chestnut. Said by someone who has no idea what my baby feeding journey has been like, no regard for the challenges multiples introduce. Said when I was already a hair’s breadth away from crying in public. I was too shocked to speak. So were you, stranger #1, so you fled that shit show. Said something about “leaving me to it”, and bolted.

This is probably the part of the story where I’m supposed to digress and give my readers a sob story about why formula has entered my life. I’m supposed to try to shut down criticism anyone might have. I’m not going to do that, because it’s nobody’s damn business.

After having a good cry about it all in my car on the way home, and later that night, I’m just … disappointed in all three of you.

Like asking someone who isn’t pregnant when she’s due, I was shocked to be confronted by people out in the “wild” who really behave this way. Shocked as I am about people asking me if the twins are “natural”. I do think these people are outliers- I don’t subscribe to any “decline of civilization” narrative.

But I read every week about women being abused for breast feeding in public, and being abused if they don’t. So clearly, there are plenty of people out there who need to get the message that some things are just none of their business.

That is all. Carry on… differently.

(And if you see photos of my twins anywhere… let me know, okay?)

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The Twins’ Birth Story: Part 1

Part 1: 

Our story begins at 35 weeks pregnant and already extremely over it. I couldn’t sit down comfortably for very long, couldn’t stand comfortably, and waddled when I tried to walk. M and I knew that the writing was on the wall for our having date time, so as we enjoyed a leisurely Sunday morning sipping coffee on our patio and chatting, I mentioned that I would love to visit the ocean together. M suggested we head to Kemah, a mysterious beachy-tourist town in Texas that I’d never been to. During the hour long drive there, I felt a little stiff and a bit extra achy, but assumed it was just more random side effects of being that pregnant. It wasn’t until M dropped me off to search for parking that I realized that something different was happening.

I hadn’t noticed any Braxton-Hicks contractions during my pregnancy, and I really didn’t know what a contraction felt like. But I started trying to time these weird sensations I was having- and I was so very inaccurate (as it turned out). After a minute of making weird faces, I texted M to get his butt back to me and not worry about parking, as I didn’t think we’d be staying.

We actually managed to dart over to the end of a pier before driving back into Houston to the hospital. Standing and looking at the waves with my love, I felt calm- but also like I might drop a watermelon from between my legs at any time. Off we went.

On the hospital admitting floor, I was surprised to find that I was 4cm dilated, and definitely contracting- part of me had kind of thought that I was being a hypochondriac. But no, I was promptly admitted. I felt a little bit better about nearly falling on the floor while trying to check in, and circling the “ARHGDHDGJHDGJHG” face on the pain scale. I got a wheelchair ride to the laborin’ floor. 

We texted the doula, but she was sick and said she’d send an assistant. L turned out to be an early 20-something, sweet girl- not quite the birth expert I’d paid for. But I digress. At least she brought lavender oil and heat packs- those made life nicer. 

I’ve never had so many people shove their hands up in my stuff before-  repeated checking to see if I was dilating any further had me wanting to kick a couple of the residents. Not everyone is equally good at those checks. I’m looking at you- short-haired female resident! 

But the main issue was the fetal monitors. I had been hoping to walk around, sit on a birthing ball, take baths, etc. But because there were two babies, I had to have two full sets of monitors on me, and neither were the wireless kind (those apparently can’t be used if you need two of them). I was tethered to the bed, and could only pace a bit nearby unless I wanted to break rules and take off the monitors. When the nurses put a separate pulse monitor on me, I nearly punted one of them. Oh, and I nearly forgot- I hadn’t had the bacteria test thing done yet (because: only at 35 weeks), so I had to have an IV on me pumping me with antibiotics just in case. Y’know, so I didn’t give crotch-monkeys to the babies. 

(Honestly, Baby A was so far down that nobody seemed able to get the monitor to stay on him anyway. The constant poking and prodding and rearranging the monitors was the worst part of the whole thing.)

M and I tried to watch episodes of The Great British Baking Show on iPhone between my contractions, because that was about all my poor brain could handle. The assistant doula napped on the window seat while Not A Lot happened. 

Somewhere in the middle of this, M’s mom arrived with our hospital bags- just in time for me to get another dilation check. I kinda flustered a bit about the idea of having family members see my “business”, so M wound up encouraging her to leave. She offered to pick up my little geriatric dog Mei from our house, and dog sit her- and then she cleared out so I could wave my bits in the doctors’ faces in relative peace. 

But I  wasn’t getting any more dilated, just hungrier and more fatigued. Eventually, I was allowed to take a break from the monitors to get in the bath tub- which had lovely jets, but a nonfunctioning drain. I shoved my heel into it and tried to, y’know, earth mama my twins out into the world. 

Doc made another appearance and told me that it seemed like my contractions had stalled and, indeed, not much was happening. This was the first time I heard that I might be discharged, and I was like “Really? I have to do this again in the future? I have to go back to work tomorrow?” 

When Doc finally made the call that I would be going back home, M went and got us McDonald’s breakfast sandwiches- because that was what was open in the medical center at 4am. Until recently, I hadn’t been to McDonald’s in more than a decade. That morning, it was one of the best things I’ve ever eaten. 

So we went home. We didn’t go to work that day- we dozed on the couch and decompressed a bit, and grumbled and fussed. We didn’t see any more action for two whole weeks. 

Continued in Part 2! 

My crazy morning

Hello again, after so very long. I have so much to update. Here’s the short and dirty version:

M and I got married. I became a stepmom to A+C. We bought a house. I got pregnant. We had the twins, C2+F.

So I overslept this morning because I was just feeling worn out- hit the snooze until seven, and then bolted upright in a panic, because I needed to drive the twins to their aunt’s and then get myself to work. I really, really wanted to nurse the twins, but they weren’t screaming so I focused on getting myself ready and out the door. Coffee. Pumping supplies for work. Glance at the twins’ bag, hoping it was filled with the right things. A bagel for me. No time to shower. Twins in the carseats, and go! Around then my boobs started leaking like crazy. Fine, nursing pads. Keep driving. Thinking about how the reason I am doing the morning dropoff is because I have a doctor’s appointment this afternoon, and this means I will only have four hours at work today. Whether that’s enough to meet a deadline or not, I don’t know. But I am definitely behind on work this week (and I have work to do!) because I leave at 4 to pick up the twins every day- it takes me about 3 hours, round trip, thanks to the Houston flooding, and the beast that is the Sam Houston Tollway/290 circuit.

I finally make it to work around 9:30, but I have to go to the bathroom so badly I’d considered pulling over while driving. My boobs start to leak again. I am getting Skype messages from co-workers asking for things, but I need to pump before I do anything, so I don’t even sit down at my desk. I just run for the pumping room, fumbling with the parts while milk drips onto my laptop and the table, and runs down my chest.

I sit. I breathe. I wish I’d had time to shower and spend some snuggling time with the babies. Happy Thursday.