The Struggles Of My Twin Pregnancy – Part 2

Twin Pregnancy

There is no plane in existence where I could ever imagine knowing what it feels like to have a miscarriage. Similarly, there is no plane in existence where I could ever imagine what it feels like to lose twins.

To have the ability to carry life is nature’s gift of love, and to be able to do so times two is a bestowment of grand proportions. It is a blessing that comes with emotions I will never be able to describe aptly. To have the opportunity to feel not one set of arms and legs but two! The joy of hearing two separate heartbeats at your ultrasounds. Feeling an equally immense responsibility to assure their survival is almost primeval – something I felt with my other two children but even more potent this time. This time because there was a nemesis working against us that was the same that brought them to life – my body.

I left off my twin pregnancy story with the beginning of my journey to getting a cerclage. (Read the first part here.) As I said then, it carried the risk of rupturing the twins amniotic sac because of my dilated cervix but also the factor that I was carrying two weighed heavily as well. When we were given the time to think about our decision we knew there wasn’t a decision to make. The odds of these boys surviving were far better with the cerclage than just lying bedridden until infection (practically guaranteed because of the bulging sac).

Both options were risky, and if anyone reading this post has dealt with the heart-wrenching decisions that come with complicated pregnancies, I send you virtual hugs. If anyone reading this post has dealt with the loss of a child (at any stage) or loss of twins, I send you virtual hugs. I have pictures to prove that I did not have to deal with one of those realities, but we were lucky. As I stated in the beginning, there is no existence where I could imagine what you feel. My heart goes out to you.

My surgery to be scheduled for the next morning.

When I was in labor with my oldest the nurses gave me the option of having an epidural. Not knowing anything about pain management and the varying types of pain medication available, I just said yes. I was 18 years old. When my daughter was finally ready to be born, I felt nothing. My abdomen, my legs, my insides were all numb, and the only way for me to know when to push was when the graph on the monitor ticked the highest. It was one of the most disappointing moments in my life. (Being pregnant at 18 was only disappointment in that I had followed all the rules for preventing pregnancy but was one of the 1% – or whatever the small margin is – that got pregnant while on birth control – yay, me.)

When the time came, and the epidural had kicked in, I started to panic. The comfort of my coping space had kept me from panicking earlier, but I would be lying if I said I hadn’t thought about waking up to bad news. In that space and time, my façade of optimism started breaking away. The creepy feeling that I could not feel my legs and I could not feel my belly began to upset me.

I thought, “I can’t feel my babies!”

The realization made me panic, and I started crying. Internally, despite my horror, I tried to rationalize and understand that everything was OK, but it wasn’t working. The nurse noticed my despair and suggested that I be knocked out. It wasn’t even a suggestion. She told one of the other nurses that I was upset therefore I needed to be knocked out. No sooner had I realized what was going on before I started to drift to sleep – probably for the best, I figured later.

I don’t know how often you have been put under for anything, but the sensation is the oddest. Every time I’ve gone under and then awakened, I feel like a chunk of my existence was just erased – in reality, I know that is not true. I have been laying on the table the entire time, the world hasn’t just stopped going or disappeared, but in my mind, I’m poof gone. If it were like a dream, it wouldn’t be so weird but even when you’re asleep and dreaming there is still a sense of being and living. Being sedated is different.

Anyway, when I wake up, I want to cry again. This time because I’m disoriented, I vaguely recall my last memory, and knew I couldn’t feel the boys but realize that now I can. I realize that THEY ARE MOVING! At this point, I’m a mess about everything and bless the nurses (men & women) for knowing that I am pregnant and susceptible because when they come to wake me up, they immediately assure me that everything went well. That there is nothing to worry about and that they are wheeling me down to see my family. I haven’t been away from the hospital room for more than a few hours, but damn I miss them.

So, there’s the happy news. The boys are now safe. The cerclage was a success, and after another day of observation, I am allowed to go home. Yay! Except, there’s some fine print written on my discharge order, it says, “Strict bed rest, no lifting, no standing more than 30 minutes, showers no longer than 30 minutes, and sitting only when tolerated and for as long as it is tolerable.”

Yes, this will be difficult, but at least the twins are safe, again.

This is the part when you think everything is going to be ok. The rest of the pregnancy will be difficult, but there won’t be any more surprises – WRONG! I’m not done yet. There are still a few more hospital visits left for me. Apparently, I liked it there. The doctors and nurses were kind, I guess.

Let’s get to it then. This next stage setup is pretty mundane. When pregnant there are a few necessary tests given around approximate gestation weeks. I was due for my blood sugar test. (Yep.)

You probably guessed it already. This wasn’t even a week or two after my discharge. I suppose I didn’t have enough stuff on my plate.

The next stage of this story is gestational diabetes. Whoo hoo!

Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional. The information contained in this blog post is not meant to assist in diagnosing any medical condition. Diagnosing medical conditions is the job of a medical professional; I am not a medical professional. The sole purpose of this blog post is to inform the reader of my personal experiences.

A Mother, A POC And Having Four Children – The Stigma

Stigma

The stigma of being a mother, a POC, and having more than two children is alive and well. Growing up this stigma was seared into my brain by way of watching my mother struggle to raise her four children. Also, by comparing my extended family, like aunts with 5 or more children, to those of my non-Mexican peers at school. Then, by the government and the media where they automatically assumed that a POC family with multiple children is likely on welfare. If I wasn’t drawing comparisons in real life, then I was busy analyzing them from the TV shows on Nickelodeon. Those where the white families of the main characters never had more than two or three brothers and sisters.

Eventually, I learned it would be in my best interest to not have more than two or three children – any more and I would risk looking like a poor, dirty, can’t keep her legs closed Mexican woman. The same as (I admit) I thought of other family members because they were POC, like me. Maybe not that they were dirty or poor, but definitely that they didn’t know how to plan for a family. I thought, “who on earth would want to have more than three children?” “They’re uncontrollable, they constantly cry, and the moms are always mad. I won’t be like that.”

Oh, how naive I was.

Ironically, I have now found myself with one more child than what I considered “ideal.” (Funny how life throws you curve balls.) Here I was, perfectly planning to have my third child, and suddenly I was presented with not one but two.

Now let’s flash forward to today. I have been avoiding going to any store with all my kids for fear of being labeled. How crazy is that? None of the things I once thought of people who fit into that monstrous stigma are real, and yet they are keeping me from going about the regular chores that come with being a mom. The stigma is then aggravated further when I read stories from other moms dealing with strangers’ snide comments about how they “need to learn how to control their children,” or “if you can’t keep them quiet then why did you have them?” Plus other nasty things people say.

So, why is it then that this stigma haunts me? Raising my children has taught me what reality truly is. You cannot plan anything. It was not my fault that I had twins instead of one child for my last pregnancy. My beliefs have evolved. I would have thought I knew how wrong it is to assume anything about any race – that striving to be white isn’t the end all be all. However, I am living in the environment that I idolized on those Nickelodeon TV shows when I was young, where the white family has a beautiful home, nice cars, a SAHM, and nearly the perfect amount of children.

It would seem this stigma has turned into much more.

Luckily, I DO presume my beliefs have evolved. Labels are meant for our food, not people. There should never be a basis of self-worth stemming from the number of children you have and what your skin color is. There is no such number.  Your race is not better than mine.

I want to highlight this stigma because I am well aware of how prevalent it is throughout the POC community. Sadly, even my family has been critical of my brood, and it is unacceptable – even if said in a joking manner.

So, my job as a mother, a POC, is to overcome it and learn – so that I can teach my daughter that she can be a full woman regardless of how many children she has. Irrespective of her skin color and most of all her choice to “keep her legs closed” because what she chooses to do with her body is none of our business.

One of my coping mechanisms is always to put on my brave face and separate the self that cannot with the self that can. So, in keeping with my personal growth goals for this year, I am ready to put my big girl pants on and take ALL my children to the mall by myself. I am opening up to feeling exposed but not being vulnerable.

Finally, if you find yourself in the midst of someone’s unruly children, don’t be an ass. Instead, offer assistance, a gentle smile, or “I’ve been there” knowledge. After all, raising children is hard work and never ends. Let’s not pile criticisms on top of that already tremendous job.

Some Things I learned On My Journey To Turning 30

Turning 30

I turned 30 today. Holy shit. Surprisingly, I’m not upset. Thankfully, I’m not stressed out about it either. Things only get better from here on out. Don’t be afraid – I know there are more of you out there turning 30 this year. It doesn’t mean you’re getting older it simply means you are getting wiser. Just take a look at all the things I’ve learned and gained while growing into adulthood. Then you can contemplate your own stuff – I’m positive there will be some great stuff in there.

  • Somewhere in my late 20s, I managed to pick up three kids – just all of a sudden I came home, and they were there. WTF. (Kidding.) (I already had Denise, so she doesn’t count. :P)
  • I LOVE lavender. Give me ALL the lavender. Give me ALL the things that have lavender in them. (I don’t care that it gives my husband headaches. I enjoy life’s simple pleasures, maybe when he’s not around…)
  • There was this time I went to the grocery store without any makeup on. I didn’t realize it until I was there. I did realize that I didn’t care. My husband still loves me, so, there. (Ha! Unintentional rhyming, love it!)
  • I also gave up shaving over the winter. Again, my husband still loves me. Most importantly, I still love me. Men keep their beards over the winter, so…
  • I am highly interested in politics. However, I am terrible at remembering the name of that senator that I am fond of or don’t like… Regardless, (LOL) I try my best to stay informed as best I can. I try to do my research when it comes to where I’m getting my stories from, and then I discuss what I learn with all the people I can – mostly my husband.
  • When I want to talk about an article I read on a news site I refer to it as “that article I read somewhere,” “it was about some guy,” “it was about some corporation,” “yeah it’s total bullshit.” Stupid details, like the name of the guy the article is about, always elude me (usually not relevant anyway). I know this makes me a pleasure to talk with – not.
  • I’m one of those people that don’t say anything unless I have something important to say. I used to think this was because I was shy, but now I know that I don’t want to contribute to a conversation unless it’s necessary. Sometimes it means I don’t say a word for most of a conversation (with multiple people) and sometimes it means I don’t shut up.
  • Give me all the dark chocolate. The darker, the better. I used to love milk chocolate – what was wrong with me?
  • Music is life. (Maybe I’ll make a Spotify playlist?)
  • Reading is life. (Follow me on Goodreads.)
  • No matter how well dressed I am, inevitably there will be a dirty spot on my shirt, my pants, my face, or my shoes because of 3 under 4. And before my current little ones disagreed with my fashion choices by spitting up on them, there was my oldest because she was a toddler too – basically, I’ve spent my entire adult life always covered in crap. (I’ve learned to love it.)
  • One of my personality traits (that I love) is that I am easy going. It doesn’t take much to please me, and I can easily go with the flow of things. Ever since the day I walked into my house and found those three extra kiddos (refer to the first entry above) I’ve become even easier going and can go with the flow even better than ever – I guess kids do teach you stuff, huh?

If you’ve made it this far I suppose I did something right while growing up, right? Because apparently, the things I’ve learned about me up until turning 30 have been somewhat funny and interesting. There’s so much more to this list, but I could go on forever. My intent for the next decade of my life (wow, why does that sound so bad?) is to continue this trend – hopefully learning funny things, hopefully learning things, but definitely, don’t need more kids. Definitely.

I found a few of my diaries the other day. I read the first one which I started in 2007, exactly ten years ago. On the first page is a list of goals that I made for myself. All of them had to do with being financially independent and purchasing items for one of those goals: my first apartment. While I read the list, I had a moment of realization! I met ALL of them.

At the time I wrote them I was still living with my parents, and my job was not well paid, in the least. However, all you had to do was take a look at me, and you would know that this girl was incredibly stressed but incredibly determined. Within one year I paid off my debts (credit cards), I graduated the IT training program I was in, I secured my first well-paid IT job, I moved on up in the world and got my second much better paying IT job, and I got my first apartment. All in one year.

I already wrote my new year “resolutions” post and put it on the blog earlier this week, here, but I want to add an item to it.

This year I want to get back in touch with that girl that I read about in my diary from 2007. The one that knew what she wanted and went out to get it. That girl got shit done. I’ve been so preoccupied with raising my little ones and don’t get me wrong, that had to be my priority – I don’t regret it – but now feels like the right time to put my big girl pants on, check my ovaries, and get my ass in gear.

One of the reasons this blog exists is because I needed a new space for myself. In the process of starting it I’ve learned so many new things – and while I love that I know these things – I’ve loved the process of learning them more. I even have a neat little list in my “to-do” section that includes new topics that I need to research (insert heart squeal here, he he he).

This year I want to take that new bit of learning motivation that I had when I started this blog and introduce it to the girl that I read about in my diary. The idea is that I will take them with me and together I’ll make great things – for me, for this blog, for my family.

I’m taking it to the next level, and I’m going to love it. So, here’s to the next decade of my life! (OK, now it doesn’t sound so bad after all.)

 

 

Welcoming The New Year – In Memoriam 2016

The New Year

I intended to post this exactly on new year’s eve, but it just didn’t happen. I even wrote a list of a few of my top grappling issues:

  1. Tackling speech therapy for Jacob’s speech delay
  2. The twins first birthday
  3. Facing rejection from my previous job
  4. Coming to grips with having a middle schooler
  5. Dealing with regrets about my education
  6. The election & immigration issues
  7. Starting the blog

There was so much more I wanted to include but not having completed that post is a perfect example of how the only predictable occurrences in my life are the unpredictable ones.

So, with the little time that I have allotted today to write for you, I’ll write about how I’m sitting at my kitchen table with Jacob on my lap (while he’s watching Wild Kratts on a tablet) recalling all of 2016’s happenstances. There were many happy moments but mostly arduous ones. I’m not complaining. Without those moments I would not appreciate the cheerful ones. Mostly, I want to say I’m going into 2017 with renewed vigor and optimism. And finally, that I will continue to look to the motto on my home page “waking up every day trying to be the best me that I can be”.

Additionally, I want to use this blog to send some vital loving juju into the world. It is my opinion that we’ll need it more than ever this coming year.

So…

To all the people who suffered in the Middle East due to this stupid fucking (undeclared) war: I’m sending some love your way. (And a donation to https://www.whitehelmets.org/en)

To all the LGBTQ+ people who are afraid or angry: I’m sending some love your way.

To all my immigrant families who are scared of what may come: I’m sending some love your way.

To all the families of multiples: I’m sending some love your way.

To YOU my reader, for whatever ailment is tugging at your soul, your heart, or your life: I’m sending some love your way.

There are so many atrocities going on around the world at any given time. I hope my bit of love finds its way to where you need it most.

Finally, I hope we all have the strength and courage to take the new year by the horns and kick its ass. Happy 2017!