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Hedra's Pregnancy Journal

Thirty Weeks, Six Days ~ September 24, 2004
   ~ Playing Catch-up

It would be easy to say that being pregnant with twins is physically hard. Okay, it is hard. But it isn't consistently hard.

It is more like the babies grow, and I ache for a bit and then I catch up to that, and then they grow, and I catch up again. I have a vague recollection that the same thing happens with just one, but the cycle is more subtle. You catch up faster, I think, when the growth isn't doubled.

But yes, I still catch up. There are days, and even whole weeks, when I just ache from the weight I'm already carrying, when my pelvis groans and creaks every time I move, when just standing up seems like more effort than it is worth. And then, I catch up. Then, I can walk, standing up doesn't take as much effort, my hips don't hurt all night long, and everything seems to be moving along smoothly.

And then they grow again...

I suppose this gives me a little perspective on the fun ahead, too. I remember my early frustration with keeping up with Gabriel's growth and development. He was always a step ahead of me, always learning something before I expected him to do so, or learning something I had no idea was coming at all. I remember standing in the entrance to the living room, looking at him with a mix of bewilderment and love and frustration, thinking to myself, SLOW DOWN, I only just learned who you were yesterday, and today you are someone new again! Let me catch up! But he never waited, as no child ever waits. They grow. We keep up as best we can. If I get ahead of them for a few days or weeks, it surprises me.

If that's what it is like with just one... keeping up with two children, each growing on their own trajectory, each taking off in their own way... well, no wonder twin-mommies are so frazzled in the first year, when all that development is racing along so fast! I expect, if the pregnancy is anything like a microcosm of what life will be like later, that I will have longer spans of being 'behind', of scrambling to get a grasp of where each of them has changed, and how to handle that change effectively.

It is a little daunting. But then, so is being pregnant with twins. And yet, here I am, doing what mothers do, because there is no other option. We get on, we keep with it, because there is no out but through. It isn't about what I want, it is about what is necessary. My ego doesn't get a role in this process.

So I work with my body, try to remember to use my hypnotherapy to ease the discomfort until my body catches up and gets used to the new, increased load, once more. I remember, again, that walking - as difficult as it is when I do it - makes me feel more stable and strong for days after I've put some work into it. I remind myself to use the kayaking roll to get myself vertical from bed, pressing up with my hands, my head loose and following.

Hopefully I'll be as good at remembering to apply my parenting tools to the times when I'm scrambling to keep up after they're here... Playing catch-up in two different directions will be a learning experience, I'm sure.

***

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Other notes from this week:

I still have not had my 30-week ultrasound. They can't seem to get me scheduled in. Part of the 'problem' is that I'm having twins. That means they have to schedule 2 hours for the ultrasound. If they don't have a slot that big, well, it isn't like they can split up and do one of the babies a week later; they have to have immediate comparison numbers to see if they are growing concordantly or not.

The second problem with the scheduling is that I'm 'old' - I joke about that when people ask whether twins run in my family. Nope, I say, I'm just old. Twins are more common the older you get. But old, in this case, means they want to give us a genetic counseling session, so that means an additional hour in the time slot. More, they INSIST on one before they'll do the ultrasound. I've had two level-2 ultrasounds already, but not at the Maternal-Fetal Medicine center. At this center, it is really a level-3 (a level 2 plus Perinatologist assessment), and they have a requirement that older moms, those of us over 35, speak to a genetic counselor before the ultrasound.

At first, that requirement really irked me. Okay, I'm 30 weeks along, I've had two ultrasounds that show healthy normal babies, and you want me to have genetic counseling NOW? What would I do about it now if they did find something wrong? And I already know that most of the signs that something MIGHT be wrong have not been found. The hearts are perfect, the kidneys are perfect, they are swallowing, peeing, their spines are closed (as far as ultrasound can tell), there are no anomalies in their brains... come on, I thought, I don't need counseling NOW.

But they insisted. And I grumbled. I also grumbled to my OB, who finally put it in perspective for me. It isn't for my sake, it is for their legal department's sake. Older moms have babies at risk for problems that don't always show up on ultrasound. They need to be certain I know what things they CAN identify, and what they cannot, so that I won't sue them for not finding something they couldn't necessarily find on the best of days.

Not that I would sue - I'm not particularly interested in suing 'artists' for not being able to be mechanics. Medicine is an art - interpretation of ultrasound, decisions made for care, even diagnostic process are not hard-and-fast A+B always = C situations. The biological world is just way too variable for doctors to be 'mechanics' of our systems. It is called 'practicing the art of medicine' for a reason. Barring flagrant disregard of basic medical standards, I'm unlikely to do more than get ticked off at variations in interpretation. Even my awful previous OB experience didn't leave me wanting to sue - it left me wanting to discuss, educate, and enlighten. But not sue. But here I am, waiting STILL for my next ultrasound, because they have to fit in the genetic counseling session before they'll see me for anything more. Just so they can cover their legal requirements. At least, now, I understand why they 'need' it.

Also, this week I apparently started looking really huge to strangers. I have started attracting the 'when are you due?' comments, and the shocked looks when I tell them I've got until mid-November, most likely. One trip to the grocery store garnered five separate comments, including one 'should you still be walking AROUND like that?' Ah, well, I'm also getting the 'well, you're not very big, for twins' comments, too - so the general noises are all over the place. Both amusing and annoying, depending on the day.

Anyway, time for me to go back to playing catch-up, this time on my eating. The last week or two have been very low on appetite, but the hungries have kicked in once more, and I need to make myself a couple boxes of macaroni and chreese (cheeseless sauce)... mmmm...

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