Sunday, August 30, 2009

Nuclear Test Ban-ana

Finally, I'm posting about a fruit in the correct week of pregnancy! (I was behind for awhile.)

Baby gulps down several ounces of amniotic fluid every day, both for hydration and nutrition and to practice swallowing and digesting. And, these days, those taste buds actually work! Studies show that after birth, babies are most interested in tastes they've already experienced through amniotic fluid. Meaning, think about what you want your future child to eat as you prepare your own lunch.

I've actually contemplated this and much to the dismay of Mr. and Mrs. Kathy, I've been eating lots of the foods they hate (a.k.a. the opposite of American meat and potatoes meals) - tofu, chickpeas and hummus, Indian food, Thai food, Ethiopian food, etc. I want the twins to get a taste for the restaurants we like since that's where we'll want to eat.

Also, in banana news, Mark tore open the top of a banana for the first time about a month ago. He was unable to before that. Mark's banana rebuttal is that this is untrue and that he was only sometimes unable to tear off the tops.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Mr. and Mrs. Mark Visit

Two weeks after my parents visited, Mark's parents came to town. (I'm behind on updating my blog so this was a month ago.) If I haven't mentioned before, these will be the first grandchildren on either side of the family. Mark's mom told us ahead of time she had plans to talk to the babies. As soon as I saw her she sweetly got her face down to belly level and promised them lots of future cookies.

I'm going to bake you lots and lots of poppy seed cookies and kuchen and hamantaschen...

I should mention, the last time they visited us (when we weren't getting married), Mark's mom brought us a suitcase and a half of cookies. She actually takes cookie requests before she visits or we visit her. This time we cooled it and only requested three kinds.

The notorious 2006 suitcase of cookies.

We walked around Fisherman's Wharf and visited one of my favorite places, Musee Mecanique, though sadly we didn't see the World Famous Bushman.

Future grandpa with us at Aquatic Park.

I've been trying to take pictures of my belly at different landmarks so I took the opportunity to get some more. These were all taken 7/25 at 14 weeks.

I didn't mean to push my belly so far out here. Just trying to maintain good posture for once.

Lately, Mark, I feel something is coming between us... Alcatraz.

Ghirar-belly Square?

Here are my belly landmark photos taken a week earlier on 7/19 at 14 weeks. As you can see my belly looked much bigger just one week later with the in-laws.

The twins and I at the Chinatown gate.

Here we are by one of the heart sculptures at Union Square. ("I left my twins in San Francisco...")

Twin-a-roni, the San Francisco treat.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Weekly Update: Week 20

Number of weeks pregnant: 20 weeks

Total weight gain in past week: Um, 4 pounds. (Yeah, yeah, I'm having twins, okay?)

Most recent stress out about how something I've eaten or done has hurt the twins:
Bending forward to paint my toenails hurt afterwards; eating sea bass a month ago after reading it was safe in What to Expect When You're Expecting and reading elsewhere recently it's not so good if you're preggers.

Sea bass at The House. How can something so good possibly be bad?

Most recent natural product purchase:
Hippie deodorant with no aluminum.

As a sign of the effectiveness of my new hippie deodorant, I call it "placebo deodorant."

New pregnancy symptom I've noticed:
Bending forward at the waist is really tricky. I have to do a sneak attack on my shoes from the side in order to tie them. And forget sitting on the floor instead of a chair to tie them— I'd never get up.

Other new pregnancy symptom:
Feeling warm. I've had this symptom for awhile and so far I like it. Finally I'm not the coldest one in the room and don't have to drag my sweater everywhere— even in the summer.

Food cravings:
Mango (about the size of each baby). But I wouldn't say any of my cravings have been stronger than they were when I wasn't pregnant.

Used things I'm most excited about:
3 bags of boy baby clothes from co-worker Andrea; maternity clothes from Rachel P.; books from Alison; Baby Bjorn from Jenn.

Maternity clothing news:
On top: half maternity wear, half pre-pregnancy clothing; on bottom: all maternity wear. Pre-pregnancy dresses and skirts... barely.

What I've learned:
Don't stay on your feet too long.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

White Men Cantaloupe Jump

Baby's digestive system is busy creating meconium (a tarry black substance made of swallowed amniotic fluid, digestive secretion and dead cells), which will fill the first diaper after birth. And, speaking of the diaper situation... baby's genitals are now fully formed!

Holy crap! I have two cantaloupes inside me!
Actually it's misleading because it's all about the length of the fruit (not the motion of the ocean?)

I think Mark can have the honor of changing the special meconium-filled diaper.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Weekly Update: Past 19 Weeks

Today I'm starting a new blog feature— the weekly update. This one, however, will cover the past 19 weeks.

Number of weeks pregnant: 19 weeks

Total weight gain in past 19 weeks: 19 pounds.

Most recent stress out about how something I've eaten or done has hurt the twins: Eating tiramisu (I was worried about the alcohol but it's the eggs that make it a bad idea).

Most recent natural product purchase: Semi-permanent hair dye (no ammonia or peroxide) in week 19 so my hair's back to red.

New pregnancy symptom I've noticed: Must go to the bathroom at least once in the middle of the night and many times during the day (I used to be a camel— but with urine. Often on workdays I'd go before I left the house and again at 4 p.m. or later.)

Other pregnancy symptom:
I'm getting slower and slower going up five flights of stairs to our apartment (yes, there's an elevator). My hips and thighs hurt when I sleep on my side too long (from the extra weight?). Also, I sometimes experience light headedness and in one case, blurred vision.

Food cravings:
(Don't read this, Mark's family) Bacon and Pineapple. I also bought pickles a few weeks ago (but not because I had some crazy craving for them).

Between cravings for bacon and pineapple, it seems like a Hawaiian pizza would be perfect. However, this looks rather repulsive.

Used thing I'm most excited about: Activity mat and activity seat from co-worker Jenn; maternity clothes from Rachel R and co-workers Jenn, Julia, and Nicole; travel breast pump kit, baby carrier and books from April G (I've been holding onto them for over a year).

In maternity clothing news:
Maternity corduroys!

I've never seen a higher waistband than on my new maternity corduroys. But by the eighth month that waistband may be south of my belly button.

What I've learned: The nutrition class I took at Kaiser that I thought would be a waste of time, wasn't. Daily I try to figure out what food groups I've had during the day and bend my meals and snacks at night to minister to any deficiencies.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

No! You Can't-Have-A De Mango!

Vernix caseosa, a greasy white substance made of lanugo, oil and dead skin cells (yum) now coats baby's skin, shielding it from the amniotic fluid. (Picture yourself after a nine-month bath, and the need for protection makes sense.) You might actually get to see the vernix at birth, especially if baby is premature.

Since the twins are probably going to arrive a month early I'll probably see the vernix.

I know I reported on week 18 two days ago, but this is my attempt to catch up on fruits since I actually started week 20 yesterday. In the past week though I happened to eat two whole mangos (they're a good source of Vitamin A and C).

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The (Baby) Boys of Summer

Three of my friends welcomed new sons to the world this month (plus or minus a day). I saw all three of them together in March and remember being jealous that they were pregnant... and at the same time! (You definitely want a friend to be preggers when you are - automatic play group!) Little did I know that I would be pregnant a month later.

The pregnancy line-up in March. "Ma'am, which of these pregnant women was your attacker?"

First Alison and Tim's second son, Elliott, greeted the world at home in a birthing tub on June 30th.

Alison knitted this cocoon herself.

I assume the birthing tub looked something like this:
Note: Don't look up "birthing tub" on Google images unless you're prepared to see lots of naked pregnant chicks in birthing tubs.

Then Rachel and Ryan welcomed Oliver on July 12th. (When Mark and I attended Rachel's baby shower I was less than a month pregnant and I remember thinking that nobody there knew I'd be giving birth next. After Rachel and Alison of course.)

Rachel, Oliver, and Anderson Cooper Ryan.

Kelsi and Drew's son, Ari, arrived a few days past the due date on July 31st. Since my prediction of August 1st was the closest, I won the Kelsi Pregnancy Pool. (I didn't actually win anything though... just glory.)

Ari's scrunched up and ready to go back inside.

My last time seeing Preggers Kelsi at her birthday party, July 10th.

Pregnant Kelsi playing the classic baby shower game, "Throwing Darts at (local NPR personality) Michael Krasny."

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

They Yam What They Yam!

Your fetus has become amazingly mobile (at least compared to you), passing the hours yawning, hiccuping, rolling, twisting, kicking, punching, sucking and swallowing. And, baby's finally big enough that you'll be able to feel those movements soon.

I should be able to feel kicking between 18 and 22 weeks. Any day now...

Monday, August 17, 2009

It's a [Gender]! And Another [Gender]!

Tuesday was the big gender reveal day. We were lucky that both babies were cooperative, too. In case you're wondering why I haven't posted recently, Mark's mom was in Toronto so we weren't able to talk to her, and we wanted her to hear the news on the phone before reading it here.

Anyway, drumroll please...

We're having a boy and a girl!

I didn't really want to say my preference in my last post but I was hoping for one of each. I'm sure I would have been happy with any combination, I just felt like hoping for anything beyond healthy babies was asking for too much. And really, I still feel that way - having one of each is just icing on the healthy baby cake.

Remember how I thought Twin A (alien twin) was a girl and Twin B (photo crashing twin) was a boy? Turns out I totally had those mixed around. The technician saw Twin A and immediately said, "You want to know the gender right?" I paused and timidly said "yes." "It's a boy," she said. "He's showing me his scrotum right now." Then she checked on Twin B and saw the distinctive set of three white dots between her legs that indicate it's a girl.

I looked over at Mark and smiled. He knew I was hoping for a boy and a girl and he smiled and rubbed my hand. (Mark didn't have any preference at all by the way. He said he really was happy with whatever we got, which is a really healthy attitude.)

I'm still smiling several minutes after hearing the genders. Right after Mark took this picture the technician gave Mark a no flash photography beat down.

While Mark drove me back to work, I called my parents so Mark could hear me tell them the news. My mom knew why I was calling and despite my dad warning her in the background the whole time that she needed to get over to the offramp on some Memphis freeway lest they get killed (they're driving across country right now), she stayed on the phone to find out the results.

Of course I teased them with my news. This is what I said:

We're having two...
One's a boy and the other's a...
nother baby.
A girl.

This is how Mark told his mom:
We know the sexes. Do you want to guess them?
Two girls?
Two boys?
One of each?
What does that mean exactly?
A boy and a girl.
Nope. It's a girl and a boy.

It's no fun having children if you can't torment your parents when you tell them exciting news.

Also, my due date was moved up to Jan. 6th. Not sure how this technician and technician Wayne calculated my date of ovulation as being earlier than it occurred (since I know the date of conception), but okay...

A lot of people have asked me why we wanted to know the genders before birth. Someone else (who, I'm not sure) once told me there would be enough surprises on the big day and we'd know eventually anyway. (Also, Mark hates surprises and if he can know something he wants to know it... NOW.) It's easier to prepare, too, and now that I know there's one of each I can start buying matching outfits in boy and girl colors.

Twin A hanging out upside down like a bat with his head near the birth canal.

Twin B's head kept blocking the view of Twin A (continuing its trend of being the photo crashing twin). The technician said Twin B was "posing." She had to jiggle Twin B to try to get her to move out of the way. Twin B was having none of it. She turned over and then rolled right back a second later to where she was before.

I have no idea what I'm looking at. Is it a zombie?

Hopefully not Twin B.

Twin A shows off his scrotum.

The spines in these two photos are pretty cool.

Congratulations Dr. and Mrs. Pilloff! It's a boomerang!
Actually this is the photo that indicates the sex of Twin B. See the inside curve of that boomerang? There are three tiny lines showing a developing vagina.

Twin A's scrotum from a different angle. Our technician said, "He really likes to show me his scrotum."
Like father like son? (Mark says, "NO, NOT AT ALL LIKE FATHER LIKE SON

Between having a relatively painless pregnancy so far, two babies that appear healthy (I haven't mentioned but my second blood test was good, too), and carrying a boy and a girl, I feel very very fortunate. That's not even mentioning Mark getting rear ended on the freeway a month ago and emerging totally unscathed. (Our Prius on the other hand required $18,000 worth of repairs.)

Monday, August 10, 2009

Using Superstitions to Predict the Sexes

I think we find out what the sexes are (assuming the twins cooperate) this coming week! In the meantime, I will attempt to use silly superstitions to predict the genders.

That's not me of course. But Mark will be the father of baby (question) Mark.

Silliest Superstitions
  1. Craving sweet = girl. Craving sour or salty = boy. I'm always craving sweet. Pregnancy is no different. = girl
  2. The Chinese birth chart = girl
  3. Mayan numbers. Mother's age at conception and the year of conception. Both even or odd = girl, mixed set = boy. 34 years and 2009 = boy
  4. Bad skin when pregnant = girl, otherwise = boy. = boy
  5. Hang your wedding ring on a string over your belly. If it swings back and forth - girl, if it swings in a circle - boy. It didn't so much as swing in a circle as untwist in a clockwise rotation. I joked that it would be funny if it untwisted clockwise over one twin and counterclockwise over the other, indicating different sexes. = boy?
  6. Sick? That's a girl. (This one actually has some foundation in fact.) I've been REALLY LUCKY and had no morning sickness or nausea whatsoever (not counting a vomitous episode from a few days ago). = boy (maybe twin boys?)
  7. Carrying high = girl, carrying low = boy. I'm told I'm carrying right in the middle. = boy and a girl?
  8. Husband puts on weight during your pregnancy = girl. If he doesn't = boy. I thought it would be cool if Mark got a sympathy belly but so far he's belly-less. = boy

Superstitions I Didn't Try

1. Draino + pee = blue-girl, green-boy. This sounds borderline dangerous. Also, it involves buying Drano which smacks of effort.
2. Pick up a key by the narrow, insertable part = girl, pick up a key by the rounded, non-insertable end = boy. I already read which indicates boy and which indicates girl so I couldn't do it without psyching myself out.
3. What's the heart rate? Below 140 - boy, above 140 - girl. I was hoping we'd hear the heartbeat at the last appointment but unfortunately that wasn't attempted.

Actual studies that seem to have some validity - one even appeared in Scientific American:

Conception at ovulation = boy, a few days before = girl.
This is based on the theory that boy sperm swim faster and girl swim live longer.
We know the date of conception and that indicates...

= boy

Women who consume more calories daily = boy.
The theory is that some selection for males occurs during times of plenty and selection for females occurs during times of scarcity.
I know I'm on the thin side. Plus I've been told that my suggestions on Yelp regarding what to order at restaurants result in not enough food and I cannot be trusted.
= girl

Eat more breakfast cereal = boy; less = girl.
Scientists who actually got this study published in Scientific American suspect it might have something to do with glucose (a by-product of the cereal carbohydrates) which helps the growth of male fetuses.
My previous job gave me the award "Most Likely to Own Stock in a Cereal Company" because I eat so much cereal. I always have three boxes (not counting oatmeal) in my desk.
= Not just a boy, twin boys. Possibly triplet boys. (One per box of cereal?)

Girl = 3 1/2
Boy = 7 1/2 (not counting the ones where I speculated there could actually be multiple boys

Intuition (not factoring in but I thought I'd just add)
I think of the twins as boys, or at least one of them that way. It's only because early on it was easier to think of boy names since there's so much more variation in girl names. After the nuchal translucency ultrasound, I started thinking of crazy alien-looking Twin A who was .2mm shorter (a clue?) as a girl and Twin B as a boy - I know the face is asexual at this point but it looked more like a boy to me, and sort of like Mark.

What does this mean?
I don't know. Two boys? One boy and one girl?

I'm sure we'll be happy with whatever we get. I won't be sleeping with a wooden spoon under my bed for a girl or eating only the ends of loaves of bread for a boy. (These are actual superstitions by the way.)

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Bloomin' Onion

Baby's skeleton is hardening, changing from rubbery cartilage to bone, and fat is finally accumulating around it. The umbilical cord is getting thicker and stronger, and those little fingers and toes are now topped by one-of-a-kind prints.

One-of-a-kind prints? The twins should have gone on their cat burglary spree before. Now it's too late!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Mark's Pregnancy Beard

For an undetermined reason (most likely, laziness) Mark grew a beard for about 17 days last month. Well, "grew a beard" is an insult to people with actual beards. A more accurate term for Mark's would be "stopped shaving." Apparently, many expectant fathers grow "pregnancy beards" so that's what we termed Mark's.

Mark's Pregnancy Beard
R.I.P. 7/5/09? - 7/22/09
"Hair today, gone tomorrow"

Is it beard in here, or is it just me?

Bad cop.

Good cop.

Stupid cop.

(Captions by Mark)

Notice the original architectural drawings for the first ever Chevys restaurant in the background. They're in a place of honor... in our bathroom. (Kathy's Throne to Chevys?)

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Blurred Vision and Blurred Ultrasound

Let me start by saying I'm fine and the babies are perfectly healthy.

I was at La Villa Deli recently ordering lunch with Lila and Brendan when suddenly I felt dizzy like I was going to faint. I started walking outside to the seating area to grab the first chair I could to sit down, but when I got there my vision got really blurry and I started groping blindly for the chair. I must have looked like I was drunk. It was scary and I'm thankful I didn't fall.

Once I sat down I was fine, but could feel myself getting a little light headed again when I stood up. I tried to call Kaiser but there was a lot of construction noise outside and I was worried about standing up again to walk somewhere quieter. Lila was sweet and talked to Kaiser for me, walking somewhere away from the construction noise to get me a number to call. I was feeling well enough when she got back to call the number myself so I called from a quiet store nearby. It took awhile to talk to the appropriate people, and when I didn't return right away to our lunch table Lila and Brendan were concerned that I'd fainted somewhere and sent a search party for me (consisting of Lila). One thing I learned: always have the phone number to your doctor handy, especially if your HMO is Kaiser.

Dizziness is a normal pregnancy symptom but blurred vision is a cause for concern so the doctor fit me in for an appointment on the spot. My obstetrician did an ultrasound on the twins and they're fine. She thinks I just had a sudden drop in blood pressure, probably because the twins were laying on some arteries (thanks a lot, twins). That was a relief, but also left me wondering, if this is happening now, what's going to happen in my final month of pregnancy when the twins are bigger? Kathy constant state of blackout?

Since it would have been a month and a half between appointments, it was nice to know that the twins are still healthy. Below are the newest ultrasounds. The quality is still really poor. Both twins (or at least part of each) are visible in each picture.

Yay. More blurred ultrasound pictures. Why can't Kaiser invest in a decent machine?

The twins were stacked horizontally on top of each other, like they lived in one of these Japanese capsule hotels (probably the same amount of living space).

Monday, August 3, 2009

Holy Guacamole!

Watch what you say... tiny bones forming in baby's ears mean the little one can now pick up your voice. Eyebrows, lashes and hair are starting to fill in, and taste buds are forming. And, if you're interested, an ultrasound might be able to determine gender.

The ultrasound to determine genders is in a few more weeks... Poor twins though - able to hear my pathetic girly sneezes and my talking in "Kathy voice." (I often say goodbye to my friends with a high pitched voice not dissimilar to the one used by Tom Hanks and Peter Scolari on Bosom Buddies. Click on the Peter Scolari link to see the website my friends Lila and Brendan made me for my birthday a few years ago since I'm a big Peter Scolari fan. Um, who isn't?)

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Mr. and Mrs. Kathy Visit

My parents (Mr. and Mrs. Kathy) visited two weeks ago, and it was their first time seeing me since I became pregnant. They also brought us our first baby gift.

Inside were two books: Tails and The Very Hungry Caterpillar, and a soft stuffed dog that plays a lullaby.

While they were here we visited Felton in the Santa Cruz Mountains where Mr. Kathy was excited to visit the Bigfoot Museum. Despite not knowing about my post where I thought Baby 'A' looked like Sasquatch, Mr. Kathy actually suggested the name Sasq for one of the twins.

Mrs. Kathy pats my growing belly.

Mr. Kathy is a few more months along than I am.