Sunday, December 6, 2009

Showering for 4, Part III: The Games

This was the logo made for the shower and used on the Evite and signs outside. Look familiar?

Game #1: Everyone had a picture on their backs of a famous set of twins (e.g. Luke & Leia), a famous parent of twins (e.g. Julia Roberts), or a famous person that has a twin, whether or not they're known for having a twin (e.g. Justin Timberlake). They then asked other people yes or no questions to figure out the identity of their pictures. I had Ricky Martin who apparently is the father of twins, and I thought was of medium difficulty. I thought Mark had the hardest one with Ann Landers and Dear Abby, just because it's hard to guess their field (not acting, sports, or music), until I saw Drew's. He had Lech and Jaroslaw Kaczynski who, as everybody knows, are the President and Former Prime Minister of Poland.

The eyes? The cheekbones? Come on! Who doesn't know that Lech and Jaroslaw are twins?

Game #2: Baby bingo! While Mark and I opened gifts everyone got a bingo card with the spaces occupied by a combination of 1) gifts we might receive (onesies, blankets, something with elephants) and 2) things I might say when opening gifts. I never realized how often I started sentences with "sadly," "thankfully," and "in my defense."

Oddly enough I didn't mention Patrick Swayze even once. Well... until I got this:

But that's just baiting me.

Mark's mom sent us adorable crocheted animals.

Mark off a space on your Bingo card if you have "something with lions."

It's a zoo... plus a dinosaur!

The prizes for the games were socks with crazy prints inspired by my own odd collection of socks, which includes eyeball socks, toe socks (one has cow spots and the toes are udders), as well as socks for nearly every holiday.

Game #3: This was a The Price Is Right style pricing game where we had to rank 12 baby items in order from most to least expensive, and also guess their prices. I think Mark had the second lowest score (you can tell who made the registries).

This card shows the answers, but who knew diaper cream was so spendy?

We ran out of time on our club room reservation so we continued the festivities in our apartment and played the final game. (Unfortunately there wasn't enough time for Lila's chocolate fondue.)

Game #4: Because of my love of TV in general, and 80s sitcoms in particular, Brendan put together two sitcom quizzes. (He and Lila also made TV based games for our bridal shower and one of these was later integrated into Brendan and Jon's awesome online game, Celebrity Guess Who.) The first quiz dealt with identifying the type of floorplan different sitcoms had - whether the kitchen was on the left or on the right of the living room. The floorplans were taken from this site. For the second quiz we were given a blank map of the U.S. and a list of sitcoms and told to identify the city where each show took place. (My favorite two things - geography and TV!) The actual quiz is here. The answers were taken from this site. (There's also a cool map also just showing New York City shows.)

The favors were packets of tea with commemorative "evil David Hasselhoff" seals.

Does KITT also have an evil twin with a goatee?

Saturday, December 5, 2009

What Bed Rest for Two Months Is Like, Part II: I Make Fun of My Mother's Videos

I take a drug called Nifedipine, which is usually used to treat high blood pressure, but for me is key in stopping contractions. I set an alarm to take it every three hours, eight times a day. Just to be safe, at night I set two alarms. In addition because of my gestational diabetes, I check my blood sugar when I wake up and an hour after every meal. That means more alarms. I LIVE by alarms now. My sleeping hours are interrupted by a combination of niphedipine alarms every three hours and waking up to pee every one to two hours (the twins don't give my bladder much space). It feels like this is just preparation for what sleep will be like with two newborns.

All I hear any more...

I also have to do contraction checks twice a day for an hour each time. This actually started before I was ever in the hospital as part of a program to identify labor-inducing contractions and prevent pre-term labor in moms carrying multiples. Contraction checks involve lying on your side while you feel your belly with your hand. A hardening of the uterus is a Braxton Hicks contraction, and they often don't even involve pressure or pain. Contractions are okay (and normal as the pregnancy progresses) but it's of concern if there are too many within an hour or if they're at set intervals. (Thank goodness each of the three times I may have started to go into labor I noticed the contractions right away!) Then I log the number of contractions in that hour in my contraction diary. (This is in addition to my gestational diabetes blood sugar log.) Someone from the "contraction hotline" calls me once a week to record all the contraction totals. I'm not completely sure why.)

"Dear contraction diary... Zombie gynecologist is so dreamy..."

So two hours of my day is spent lying down with my hand on my belly feeling for contractions. Thankfully my doctor told me yesterday I could stop because all they care about now are the stronger ones. All I can do during that time is talk on the phone and watch TV. I often talk to Mark's mom or my mom, who also likes to send me awful Mork and Mindy videos of the episodes where Mork has a baby. I definitely run out of shows to watch. I pick ones I don't watch with Mark, so it's been a lot of Say Yes to the Dress, America's Next Top Model, Survivor, and Models of the Runway. (Don't judge!) Also, I watch reality show analysis on video on Entertainment Weekly's website. (Twins, if you're reading this in the future, I know you now think your mommy is brain dead.)

I know it's hard to believe but Jonathan Winters playing Mork and Mindy's child who ages in reverse does not hold up well.

Did The Curious Case of (Why No One Edited) Benjamin Button steal their central idea from Mork and Mindy but make it creepier?

I also have to sit or lie down to see how long it takes to feel ten fetal movements. It usually doesn't take too long. In the morning you can literally see my belly rolling around from the twins moving. It's not as weird as this video from my mom. (Don't worry, it's not Mork and Mindy.)

Friday, December 4, 2009

What Bed Rest for Two Months Is Like, Part I: What Happened to Autumn?

I've been on bed rest for two months now. It's weird not experiencing the entire season of autumn, or weather at all for that matter. I feel like Haley Joel Osment in A.I. (not that I saw it), asking "What is love?'

"What is autumn?"
"Autumn is real, but he is not."

Most people assume that I'm bored. I'm not-- well, not exactly... The hardest part is being isolated and not seeing people, not going outside, and not having the freedom to move at will. I definitely appreciate when friends come over.

When Mark is home he prepares all my meals and snacks and leaves a pitcher of water for me for the day. Sometime he leaves me a squeaky toy filled with treats which I can bat around to release tasty morsels. It's frustrating not being able to do things for myself, not being able to get the twins' room ready, and not being able to organize and clean the house.

I've had two different types of best rest. Thankfully both included bathroom and shower privileges as well as sitting in a chair to eat. When I was discharged from the hospital for the first time in mid-October, I was on "take it easy" bed rest. I was told to lie down 80% of the time, but Female Asian Doogie said I could also do things that made me happy, like go out to dinner or visit friends (as long as I was resting after I arrived). I didn't want to overdo it and only left the house about twice a week. I was concerned enough about overdoing it that we even wrote an offer on a house I never saw. (Female Asian Doogie recommended bed rest but also said it has yet to be proven to be effective. I will not be a happy camper if in ten years bed rest is definitively found not to help.)

After my latest hospital stint, I was given stricter bed rest. My doctor said I could still microwave simple meals like before, but I really should only move minimally. And I was not to leave the apartment except for appointments. Since being on bed rest I really appreciate just being outside in the car and taking the usual streets to go to the doctor. Until two days ago, when I had back-to-back doctor and ultrasound appointments, I hadn't left the apartment in a week and a half. And the next time I leave it'll either be to see the doc or because I'm going into labor.

I have two lying down spots at home - the bed and the sofa - and especially now I try to stay in each for several hours before moving to the next. That means constantly planning out what I need and then transporting my cell phone, home phone, drugs, glass of water, snack, etc. whenever I want to move between spots. Most of the time I'm on the bed where the laptop is. Unfortunately lying down means I only have one hand free for the computer which in turn means I have to hunt and peck to type. It can be exhausting. On the sofa I'm usually watching TV or going through baby clothes to write down who gave me what.

Being immobile for two months takes its toll on the body. Obviously you take in calories and have no way to burn them off (hello, Kathy beached whale). Interestingly enough, I actually lost about five pounds the frst stay in the hospital and a couple more in the second, just from muscle atrophy. Now I get tired and breathe hard just changing rooms (or turning over - again, slowly like a beached whale). Because of all the lying down, my feet and legs don't get swollen like other pregnant women, but now my hands do. For the same reason my eyes are constantly puffy.

The way I'm cooped up I feel like a piece of veal.

Next Time (Don't Worry It Gets Better)... Part II: I Make Fun of My Mother's Videos

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Showering for 4, Part II: The Attendees and a Photo Essay on Elliott's Mouth

Unfortunately from my limited bed rest sofa vantage point I missed out on getting good pictures of many in attendance including Lila, Kelsi, Brendan, April, Drew, Heidi, Alison, Raelle, and Zack.

Some pictures of the attendees:

Rachel holds a package with a message she transcribed from her four year old daughter.:
"Dear MarKathy, I hope you love your babies. We're making a present just for you. -Raelle"

Lindsey's mom, April, told her she could touch my belly as long as she was very gentle.

Lindsey's dad and local politico, Bryan, with his son Brady.

Rivven as the youngest person ever to wear a Richard Simmons costume. (Halloween was the day before.)

I like to think she was inspired by my Halloween costume from last year. (Mark was the woman who claimed that someone carved a B into her cheek (for Barack) after seeing her McCain bumper sticker, a.k.a. the world's most last minute costume.)

More Lindsey.

Heidi's dog, Strider, is clearly thrilled to be here.

Strider's not sure what to make of Mark's lumbering zombie walk.

I read a card from my mother-in-law while Mark opens the gift.


And now, a photo essay on Elliott's mouth:

Uh-oh. Tim holds his son, Elliott whose mouth looks like it could be full of something...

Phew. I guess it was a false alarm.

Maybe not...

Next time... Part III: The Games

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Showering for 4, Part I: Baby Shower for My Evil Twins

When I was in the hospital during my first pre term labor scare at the beginning of October, we asked our friends to postpone the baby shower they'd planned until after the babies were born. At the time, my prognosis indicated there was a good chance I wouldn't even make it to 10/25, the original shower date, and I was supposed to be on strict bed rest the remainder of my pregnancy anyway (so no leaving the apartment). But then of course I was released to go home on modified bed rest when it was discovered I had a magical shrinking cervix. Baby shower back on!

Mark with me wearing a "Mom to Be" sash and a dress that looked cute on me a month and a half earlier, but resembled a tent by the time of the shower.

The only problem was that the club room in our complex was no longer available on 10/25. (The club room - a big nice room with a living area, kitchen, and seating ideal for large parties - usually costs $70/hour, but last time we negotiated our lease I got one free use of the club room thrown in. I actually had a potential future baby shower in mind!) So we scheduled the shower for the following weekend, 11/1. The timing was really lucky because I ended up in the hospital for part of the day on the original date (a brief pre term labor scare), and then I had an extendo hospital stay starting 11/11.

Of course I was still on modified bed rest during the shower so I spent most of the time on one of the couches, but I could still enjoy everyone's company.

My typical baby shower position, splayed out on the couch. It's hard to read in this picture, but the pretty sign above me says "Happy Twins to You." I may reuse it in the nursery...

Lila, Rachel, and Kelsi organized a great shower with lots of elements customized to us. There was pizza from one our favorite places, Speederia, which is too far for us to drive to while I'm on bed rest; Matthew made his famous lemonade (alas, gestational diabetes!); and there was also a yummy salad and a pitcher of water made fancy with fresh fruit.

This sign was inspired by the one I made for Mark's birthday in March, whch in turn was inspired by...

...this sign from an episode of The Office in which Dwight was in charge of birthday decorations.

There were pictures of evil twins all over the room. It was an awesome theme. Perhaps they'll end up in the nursery as well...

My favorite evil twin picture.

Next time... Part II: The Attendees and a Photo Essay on Elliott's Mouth