Some days I am so tired that I don’t have any energy to do anything else after the kids go down for the night. Bob comes home at 7 or so. The kids have dinner at 6pm. After dinner, they have a surge of energy that makes them run around and climb all over me. They go wild. And when it comes to bed time, they fight every single routine that needs to get done including climbing up the stairs, lying down for diaper change, getting their teeth brushed, and changing into their pajamas. Okra is so strong and determined not to let you help with any of these things. It truly takes three adults every single night to get him to cooperate. Fortunately, my kids fall asleep on their own. That is the saving grace. However, the exhaustion some days is indescribable. Dare I say that toddlerhood is harder than the newborn stage. Maybe because we are way past that so I don’t remember the details, but tiny crying human beings sound a little bit better than two whiny feisty toddlers that yell and protest and fling their arms and hit and scratch. Some of the meltdowns are unbelievable. I have to remind myself that their prefrontal cortex is not going to be fully developed until adulthood so reasoning, logic, and impulse control shouldn’t be expected of them. BUT, some days it is just so hard. I desire to use my me time to continue my online course to learn how to start a private practice so I will be ready to see clients when the kids start preschool in the fall. I want to study the bible and work on my lesson for bible study. These are things that I don’t get to do until the evening. However, some days I just want to veg out in front of a video and drink my wine. During a former coworker’s retirement party, I got to spend time with a number of former colleagues. Some of them have had their first (and only) kids since I saw them last. All of them are exhausted from taking care of their one child and they all asked, “How do you do it with twins?” It is not like I have a choice? The answer is, You just do it. There is no other way. Doing it doesn’t mean it’s easy. Maybe I will be one of the lucky ones that three year old will be easier than twos?? Some of my twin mom friends aren’t too optimistic. I try not to think too much about it, but give myself grace to do whatever I need to do to shake off the tiredness. It is also a part of self care that I need.
One thing that I felt had been lacking in my life was exercises. Ever since I started staying home with my twins, I had been slacking off on my workout. A long time ago, Bob and I attended fitness bootcamp at least three times a week for quite a few years. (Fun fact: The kids gym that Bunny and Okra attended last year was the same gym that Bob and my instructor rented from and did classes at, so we frequented that gym multiple times a week for 5 years way before these kids made their appearances into this world.) A little while ago (back in June), I tried taking a 30-minute walk in the morning. Since our international trip and the later sunrise, it has been extremely hard to be motivated enough to get out of bed to go for a walk. However, the more I thought about it, the more I felt that I needed to do something to improve my health. Not exercising at all is really not going to help me live long enough to see my kids grow to be adults and parents. I figured that if I wanted to do it, early morning has never been a good time because I really have a hard time getting up early. I then asked myself: What if I do it prior to lunch? My kids go down for a nap at 1pm. I could do some sort of workout at 1pm for about 30 minutes before I have lunch. That was exactly what I did. I found low impact cardio exercises on Yout.ube. I changed into my workout clothes and put the kids down for a nap. I turned on the TV and did my workout in the living room. I marched and lunged and jumped and moved around. After a sweaty 30-minute workout, it felt so good. I found myself wanting more the next day, but because we were going to have lunch out, it would be impossible to do the workout prior to lunch. I decided to do it in the morning with the kids in the living room with me. It was hilarious to see them watch me. They were freaking out that I was marching and jumping and side-stepping. They wanted me to hold them. I don’t know why they were nervous. Maybe because they had never seen me exercise like this? At one point I had to stop the video to console them, but I did finish the whole thing! Last week I did three cardio workouts and practice Yoga once. It felt so good to be moving around. I think that this is totally doable if I get in the habit of exercise at that time. Let’s hope that I can keep this one up and don’t quit like I did my walks.
About 4.5 weeks ago, I wrote about my friend whose gestational carrier was 3 cm dilated while carryings twins for her. It was 23.5 weeks or so. Her GC had been placed on bed rest at the hospital since then. The goal was to get to 24 weeks, 28 weeks, 32 weeks, and then 36 weeks. My friend had had some difficulties communicating with her GC in terms of her attitude in general and cooperation with the bed rest rules. I won’t go into details about it but it had been stressful for my friend who lives 8 hours away. Everyday she was dealing with the legal aspect, the GC’s front, and worrying about the babies being born so early, as well as the insurance and the extra cost of having a GC on bed rest. Well, yesterday morning she sent me a text saying that her GC went into labor a little while ago. Yesterday was 28 weeks. She and her husband weren’t told details. They booked the first flight out and needless to say missed their twins’ birth. When they were at the airport, they were told that their babies were born and taken to the NICU but weren’t told their conditions. When she got to the hospital, since her prebirth order was still pending as 28 weeks was still early, she had to get permission to see the babies. She finally saw the babies. They were initially on feeding and breathing tubes. Since then, the babies have been moved to CPAP in the afternoon and they seem to be breathing on their own most of the time. Her GC said No to providing breast milk to them even though the doctors said that it is critical for her babies. Basically, everything is a mess. Her husband has been on the phone with the social worker and attorney to expedite the birth order. They are now 8 hours away from home and will be there for some time. She already feels inadequate and feels like a failure to have to use a gestational carrier to have a baby. I can only imagine how she feels now. If she could carry her babies herself, she would be extra careful with keeping the babies inside for as long as possible. She wouldn’t say no to pumping breast milk for her own babies. She wouldn’t have to be so far away from home and have no control over many things. Looking at her situation, I am so thankful for having a very positive birth experience with our babies. We got to fly on a plane as planned, spend time with Annie as planned, watch the babies’ birth as planned, and fly home with them as planned. No extra care was needed. What I had was a miracle and it makes me cherish having my kids so much. Sometimes their behaviors make me frustrated, but I look at their health and growth, I have nothing but gratitude for Annie’s selfless acts. Please keep my friend’s emotions and physical strength, her GC’s recovery, and her babies’ growth in your thoughts and prayers as they navigate the next many weeks of time in the NICU.
Even though I am no longer trying for a baby, this past weekend was filled with emotional ups and downs in relation to (in)fertility. It started out with my friend who has been trying for a baby for several years. She has banked multiple embryos with her own eggs and has been trying to transfer them to make a baby. Her journey has been quite a roller coaster. She had a miscarriage after her first transfer, which caused her to decide to go back to banking more embryos. After that she finally decided to transfer again. A couple of transfers later ended up in another miscarriage. After that, her lining had been acting up with fluid buildup and what not, which delayed her subsequent transfer. After months of trying to build a decent lining, she had a recent transfer and found out that it was negative on Friday. Saturday was her birthday. She turned 45. She is feeling so sad and depressed. It has been hard to watch her go through such a difficult time. She feels like there is no hope and she can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. I really feel for her. She still has to transfer all of her embryos and if none of that works, she’d start to think about the possibility of using donor eggs. It has been such a long journey for her with all these ups and downs that I feel like I have exhausted all the things I can say to her. I know she appreciates me being present for her, but it feels like there is not much I can say or do.
And then we had a family get together with my mom’s side of the family. Remember my cousin who struggled to have a baby and pursued egg donation? She gave birth to her baby six months ago and made it back to her hometown with her significant other and her baby. I had walked with her from the beginning of her fertility journey until she had her baby in her arms so it was so sweet to see her holding her own child. Meeting her and her baby with the rest of the family members was definitely the highlight of my weekend. It was such joy to witness my cousin coming out of the other side of infertility. During dinner, her younger sister, my only other female cousin, shared with me that she had had three miscarriages in the past year. My heart immediately hurt so much for her and I started tearing up. One of the pregnancies ended after they even saw a heartbeat. She was on Loven.ox for that pregnancy. There wasn’t enough tissues left for testing so they didn’t know the cause of the miscarriage. She is now going to consult with a reproductive immunologist in her area to hopefully find out the cause of her problems. I just can’t believe that all the female cousins on my mom’s side of the family have suffered from infertility. I will be here to support her if she reaches out, just like how I support my friend I mentioned above. I hope and pray for a baby for the both of them in the near future. No more tears and no more miscarriages……