Freaking AWESOME and Are You Freaking KIDDING Me!?!?

Freaking Awesome – Callie thinks she has been feeling the babies move for a little over a week now.  Initially she thought it was gas, but her gas is usually accompanied by this “gremlins in her gut” sound.  For the longest we have been calling it “aliens”.  She’s been having this feeling, but without the sounds, so we kinda figured it might be the babies.  As she was driving home on Thursday from work, she felt that strange feeling again.  By the time she got home though, she wasn’t feeling much of anything except exhausted and panicked (the phone tag with the nurses from the last entry).  But last night, while we were preparing our favorite lazy Saturday night dinner of chicken nuggets and tater tots (Mary loves it, but we love not cooking more!), I saw callie’s face change. I asked her, “What’s a’matter? Are you ok? Are they moving or something?” She grabbed my hand and put it on the lowest part of her belly.  After about 15 seconds I felt it! The tiniest little push! One of those babies was in there kicking up a storm.  We left the chicken nuggets on the tray and the tater tots mid seasoned (try some olive oil, rosemary, and garlic-AMAZING), and all 3 of us laid on the couch to feel them kicking away.  It was freaking INCREDIBLE!!!! The more I pushed them, the more they pushed back.  The 3 of us giggled and giggled until we realized that 40 minutes had passed and the food was still sitting on the counter where we left it.  So we got up, finished seasoning the tots and put everything in the oven.  We watched Disney’s Maleficent, brushed teeth, tucked Mary into bed, kissedher goodnight, told her we loved her, and retreated to our bedroom.  They didn’t move any more after that, at least not that I could feel, but that was more than enough for me.  I slept and dreamt of my 2 glorious babies trying to use Morse Code to communicate with me!

Are You Freaking Kidding Me?!?!?-  We have been having a pretty difficult time with Mary the past couple of weeks.  She currently has one hour bi-weekly visits with her mom.  The case worker must supervise them.  I’m going to assume that because the summer is a really busy time with families taking vacations and court dates and things like that, she hasn’t really had the time to dedicate to her visits.  The past month (2 visits) have been supervised by a random case worker who has no clue what is going on with our case.  Mary’s mom has been told on several occasions by our worker that she is not say things about Mary’s placement.  For example, stop telling her that she is coming home soon. She is not.  Stop telling her that you are going to buy her whatever animals she wants (like freaking ferrets and sugar gliders!!!) so that she can have them when she comes home. You are not.  And please don’t discuss her moving with her aunt in another state and that she has tons of kids and a huge house.  She does not!  Mary has been coming home from these visits completely bent out of shape and uncooperative.  Her attitude has been the pits, and she is back to her sneaky behavior.  We have a few rules in our home that are non-negotiable.  You MUST make your bed every day.  You MUST brush your teeth in the morning and at night.  You DO NOT go into our room without asking (everyone has that drawer that they do not want ANYONE going in, let alone a kid.  There will be a lot of ‘splaining to do), and no gum chewing in the house! Gum is a special treat.  Her teeth aren’t so great and we have spent time getting gum off of the floor.   We don’t use the negative way of saying it, obviously. So last week, I went into her bedroom to put some of her jewelry away in  her jewelry box.  What do I find inside?

SERIOUSLY?!?!?!

SERIOUSLY?!?!?!

7 GUM WRAPPERS!!! This isn’t even all of them!!! I found the other half stashed in a toy box.  She got in trouble and was not allowed to watch TV or play computer that day.  2 days later, I was looking for my pack of gum all over the place.  I couldn’t find it.  Callie, her best friend Jenny and I are sitting on the couch.  Mary was in her bedroom.  She came over to the living room to give us hugs and Callie smelled the delicious tropical fruitiness that is my favorite gum.  When she stopped, looked and her and said “Open your mouth”, her face turned beet red and she was CAUGHT! Rule #1 broken – no chewing gum in the house.  “Where did you get the gum?” I don’t know! Rule #2 broken -freaking lying!.  I’m gonna ask you again and you better tell the truth. “Your Room” – Rule #3 broken! Take your behind to your room.  No dessert after dinner.  She was not allowed electronics that day.  So today, I’m at work, and I get a text from Callie. “She’s at it again!!!!”  Callie gave her breakfast, went to lay down, and about 25 minutes later, she went out to the living room to watch a movie with Mary.  Mary Surprised to see her, and dove onto the couch, put her face in the pillow and claimed to be sooooo tired.  Callie found it quite curious, so she made her sit up.  As she was sitting up, it was blatantly obvious that she was trying to park the gum in her cheek.  OH MAN!!!! That was it! Callie was furious! “WHERE ARE THE WRAPPERS!!!!!!!!!!”

BEHIND THE FRIDGE?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

BEHIND THE FRIDGE?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

Starburst wrappers, fortune cookie wrappers, Hershey kiss wrappers, gum wrappers, every kind of freaking wrapper you could think of.  Yup, it’s back there.  Needless to say, no electronics for the next 2 days.  And she better not ask me for a treat when I get home from work! I think I’ll lose it! How does a 6 year old get so sneaky, because it was obviously well thought out! Correcting this behavior is gonna be so challenging.  Might have to pull out the parenting book for this one folks! Wish me luck!

14 Weeks and Gender Reveal Planning

It’s been 14 weeks into this pregnancy (well today is 14w3d but who’s counting?!) and things are still rolling along smoothly.  Callie is starting to get what we assume is some round ligament pain. It’s down really low in her pubic area and only to one side.  Since neither of us knows what it’s really supposed to feel like, we’re just sort of assuming that’s what it is.  The “Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy” pretty much describes exactly what she is feeling.  She’s also been getting headaches pretty frequently. They aren’t every day and they don’t last very long, but we’re going to ask our OB when we see him this coming Thursday and make sure that there is nothing wrong or abnormal about that.  We understand that preeclampsia starts with headaches and is more likely to happen when carrying multiples. We bought ourselves a Sonoline B fetal Doppler and we listen to our babies every night, but we do miss seeing them once a week terribly! Pro’s of not going to the fertility clinic every week – Not going every week! Cons- it feels like we NEVER get to see our babies and we were used to seeing them at least once a week, sometimes twice! Hopefully, they might be able to tell us their gender.  Either way, the following week we get to see the Perinatologist who said she would more than likely be able to see as long as they cooperate.  We keep getting told that our babies are very well behaved (stretching alllllllll the way out when we have U/S’s), and that it takes half the time to scan our twins than it does to scan a singleton.  Hopefully, it’ll stay that way!

When life hands you lemons! (Ain't she the cutest?!?!)

When life hands you lemons!
(Ain’t she the cutest?!?!)

Hopefully, they will definitely be able to tell us the gender of the babies by the first week of September because we have already sent out the invitations for our Gender Reveal Party set for September 13th! It’s really exciting, but it would be really bad if we had no idea what they were.  Knowing our luck, they wont want to cooperate.  We’re both very reserved about out “privates” so our guess, our babies will be too! We’ve invited about 60 people, which sounds like a lot, but really isn’t.  Just my siblings, their significant others, my parents, and my nieces and nephews are 14 people. With Callie’s parents, brother, and her grandmother, we are almost at 20, so technically we really only invited 40 people, which is reasonable.  Everyone is so excited because they are ready to shower these babies with so much love, which in our eyes, they already have.  We have to keep telling people, PLEASE NO GIFTS, because they keep asking what we want or what is customary! We just want to share that moment with them.  We did really well with buying all of our decorations.  Thank you Walmart.com for all of your 87 cent stuff! We got enough decorations for 8 tables, pink and blue plates and cups for 100, cutlery, 100 gender reveal napkins, 8 mini honeycomb gender reveal signs, pink and blue balloons, and pink and blue crepe paper. I only spent $43!!!  We are having it at the marina where we keep our boat, under the gazebo, BBQ style. My mom is going to make her famous yellow rice with pigeon peas, and Callie’s mom is going to make her mouth watering Mac-n-Cheese.  Other family has volunteered to make some other stuff, and my sister ( who is a year younger than me and just got engaged Friday night at the Coliseum in Italy—WOO HOO!!!!!) is getting about 50 cake pops for us from a friend of hers.  How are we gonna tell everyone, you ask?  We bought 60 black balloons.  Inside the balloons with be either blue or pink confetti, or both.  Everyone will pop the balloons at the same time and TADA!!!! Confetti color=a lot of excited family and friends. Hopefully, it will all go off without a hitch and no one will pop their balloons too early, but I’ll make sure of that! I’ll have to cut someone! J/K, or am I??? We are making copies of the u/s’s from our first to the most recent, backing them on pink and blue construction paper and stringing them as decorations.  We are painting clothes pins blue and pink and adding little pink bows or blue bows at the top and letting people wear their guesses. There will also lip cut outs and mustache cut outs on straws for good measure.  Should be a good time.  Time to get my craft on!  With my busy schedule, I have to start making all of these things now.  I’ll be posting pics in the next week or 2 with some of the finished decorations.  Until then, I’ll just keep dreaming about these babies, and first pray that they are healthy and safe, and then that I have one of each, so I wont have to throw myself off of a bridge but If I don’t, I’d be just fine…

An Emotional Hot Trainwreck of a Mess…

And that’s just how I have been feeling!!!  I don’t know what is going on, but it feels like I am getting all of Callie’s pregnancy symptoms.  She feels great AMAZING, and I, on the other hand spend most of my days wishing we were together (we work opposite shifts and my days off are Friday and Saturday, so we get one day for “family day” per week), crying as I listen to music and catch up on my TV shows (Thanks A LOT “The Fosters”!), craving chocolate like it’s no ones business, and dealing with the soreness/tenderness of my breasts as I continue on my journey to try and establish a significant milk supply/flow to help sustain my twinfants. I’m basically feeling everything that Callie is feeling (with the exception of the actual babies, which she technically isn’t feeling yet, although this morning she sent me a text that she THINKS she might have felt one of them but it might just be that she was really hungry) even though I’m not pregnant.

As I was driving to work at 5am, I was listening to a CD that Marco made for our drive up to this past weekends hike. Ed Sheeran (with his amazing soothing voice and fantastically ginger hair) started playing a song that I had heard before but never really paid much attention to.  To make a long story short, it has to do with miscarriage and is incredibly touching and heartbreaking (Ed Sheeran – Small Bump).  When I tell you that I needed windshield wipers INSIDE my car, that is no exaggeration.  The waterworks were in full effect.  My first thought was , WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH ME?!?! I started to analyze why I have been feeling the way that I have, not just recently with the whole pregnancy, but for the better part of the past 2 years while simultaneously scrolling through FB.  I was reading a friends post about vulnerability and allowing yourself to be vulnerable, and then it hit me!

For the better part of my life, I was very guarded, as I’m sure many of us are.  I grew up in a family where everything was great, and don’t you dare say otherwise.  “Don’t you dare cry, or I’ll give you something to cry about” kind of home.  Don’t get me wrong, I had the best time growing up.  In retrospect I had the best childhood that anyone could have asked for.  I lived with my loving, accepting, tolerant and encouraging parents who drove us to all of our soccer, field hockey, basketball, softball games and swimming, karate, and attended every concert or musical that we were in.  I have 4 incredible siblings that I would die for.  We are all very close in age (I’m 31, sis-almost 29, bro-27, sis-26, bro-25 as of yesterday) and spent lots of time in cramped spaces, like 8 hour road trips to Niagara Falls.  I wasn’t allowed to go ANYWHERE unless all the ducklings were right behind me.  To this day, family dinners on Sunday at my parents are a non-negotiable, and I love that about my family.  We all live within 10-15 minutes of each other with the exception of my youngest brother who lives in Brooklyn, but him and his boyfriend visit all the time and probably spend the most time at my parents of all 5 of us (Yup! My handsome and hilarious younger brother is gay too and has been with his partner for almost 3 years).  If I’m to speak candidly, (and why wouldn’t I?) sadness was just one of those emotions that got pushed away.  “What are you sad about? Look at how great your life is!” Although this was probably said to teach us to appreciate everything we have and think, “Hey! It could be worse!”, for someone as emotional and sensitive as me, it was pretty difficult to deal with.

I learned very early on to bottle up my emotions.  To cry only in the shower where no one could see me.  To wait until my sisters had fallen asleep so that then, and only then, I could grab my pillow and scream into it until I couldn’t scream anymore.  To take out my aggression and express my anger on the playing field.  To become these characters in the school plays and musicals and in some ways live vicariously through them, even if it was fictional and temporary.  All I really wanted was for my mom to kiss me and my dad to hug me when I was sad or mad (they did plenty of it all the other times, believe me – my family is incredibly affectionate), but they rarely did, and even then it was awkward and uncomfortable.  So being sad or angry was just not something we did well with.

Being or allowing myself to be vulnerable was out of the question. It would mean that I could be hurt, and the hurt would lead to sorrow, and sorrow would lead me into this abyss of darkness, despair, and depression.  For a long time, I lived my life devoid of anything that would lead to the risk or possibility of getting hurt.  For the better part of 16-26, I was just a mess.  Drinking, drugging, cutting class, obsessed with my relationships and my inability to let them go, and not allowing anything to effect me emotionally.  A lot of people even went there, and called me ” A cold-hearted bitch”.  It’s fine because I totally owned it.  I might have even been proud of it! I didn’t give a crap about anything. You’re mom died? Sorry! People die everyday.  You’re dog died? He’s a freaking dog! You lost your job? What the hell am I supposed to do about that? (I didn’t really feel like this, I swear it, but I wasn’t sure how I was really supposed to feel or express any of it) I was so numb that on 3 separate occasions I tried to take my own life (19, 21, 26).  At 26, I decided I didn’t want to feel that way anymore. Another failed 4 year relationship and I was done.  I committed myself to an inpatient hospital where I spent 2 months of my life doing Intense therapy, DBT, and acknowledging that my way of coping was not effective at all.  After that, I moved back in with my parents (who after the birth of my niece have become emotional wrecks themselves and have NO ISSUES WHATSOEVER showing us tears of joy, relief, sadness, anger and every other emotion you can possibly think of).  My mom visited me in the hospital every day, brought me dinner every night, asked how I was feeling, and listened.  Really listened.  They actually said, I HAD to move back home and that they weren’t taking no for an answer. I have no way to repay them for what they have done for me.  They helped me enroll in a full day outpatient DBT program which my dad drove me to M-F and picked me and asked me what I learned about myself every night at dinner. That gesture in itself was therapeutic.

One of the most important things I learned was to embrace being vulnerable. “Open myself up to these things? What the hell for?!?” But the more I practiced, the more I realized that for every possible little bit of sadness that I let in, I was also letting in possible joy.  Even when there was sadness, I had all these amazing feelings of happiness to override that.  That feeling sad wasn’t that bad! You feel it, recognize it, and move on.  I could actually feel things and come out the other side a better person.  Like, really feel them, and feel them with people and for people, and have an appropriate response.  What I realized the most about allowing myself to be vulnerable was that it actually felt like I was living.  I wasn’t simply going through the motions.  I was truly knee deep in life.  All these things were coming at me from every direction (my aunt who is my second mother getting diagnosed with beast cancer, a huge fall out between a ton of my family members, trying to start a new relationship after nearly 2 years of selfishly working on myself, losing a great paying unionized job as a carpenter in NYC because of my time in psychiatric care, moving from the NYC where I had been for nearly 10 years back home to the suburbs which I had outgrown) and I dealt with them.  And I wasn’t the worse for wear. Who woulda thought! I was alive and feeling, and that was okay with me.  Better than okay!  It was amazing!  So now, after having analyzed this, I see that my pseudo-pregnancy symptoms are just me living and feeling and accepting.  Of course I feel sad when I hear the terrible news about someone losing their precious baby, or when pets leave us, or even when something as simple as a rain storm ruins our one family fun day that we had been looking forward to.  How could I not!?! So even though they are sad tears, they are still happy tears for me.  My kids will always know hugs and kisses and validation of their feelings.  They will see their Mamá cry, breakdown, pick up the pieces, pray, laugh, dance, and love.  A Mamá with a big ole’ vulnerable heart.  Mi corazón estará abierto para ustedes…<3

My amazing family...

My amazing family…

photo8 photo22

13 Weeks, Baby Registry, and Hiking with the Bestie

We have officially made it out of our first trimester.  As of Thursday we are at 13 weeks.  Everyone is in one piece including me, although mentally is debatable. Callie is still feeling better than she ever remembers feeling (until that weird feeling of “blah” that took over briefly Sunday morning), and Mary is still with our family and still ridiculously excited about the babies.  We asked her if she was ready to be a big foster sister.  Her reply was, ” They don’t know I’m not your real daughter, so I will just be their big sister. Not their foster sister! Just their sister”. Hello warm fuzzies in my heart!

My beautiful girl at 13 weeks

My beautiful girl at 13 weeks

Now in our second trimester and in the clear, so to speak, we decided to take the leap into “Baby Registry” world.  What we anticipated being a quick 1hour trip to our local Babies “R” Us turned into an almost 4 hour affair, with a lot of “Mary! Stop bouncing that ball!!!” and “Do we really need that?!?” and “You’re kidding with that color right? Because I can’t!”.  We didn’t argue, but I think it had to do with both of us getting a registry gun and sort of doing our own thing.  We did the main stuff together (twin stroller and car seats, pack and play, high chairs, bottles) but all the smaller miscellaneous stuff was done as we walked up and down the aisles, clicking away separately and comparing notes at the end of each aisle.  It’s kind of hard to put stuff on the registry when so much of it is gender specific and we don’t know what we’re having yet.  There was also the dilemma of whether or not to add 2 of everything.  Some stuff we obviously needed 2 of, like car seats and high chairs, but things like a bouncer or a pack and play only needed 1.  Needless to say, it was quite the experience, and the staff was fantastic.  They had ice cold bottles of water for the 3 of us, and even had the general store manager come over and greet us, congratulate us and wish us luck.  The whole same sex parents thing wasn’t even noticed, which has always been a concern of mine.  Being the non-belly mama, you sort of expect to get overlooked often, and luckily, that hasn’t really happened to me yet.  Still waiting though… We ended up with over 150 items on our registry (as big as a Glider for $500 and as small as infant Q-tips for $1.89), and a really happy Mommy who didn’t have to walk to far!

Expectant Mom

Expectant Mom

After the craziness of this past week (lots of catch up laundry, house cleaning, shopping, running around, full time job, part time nanny-ing, fishing for dinner to satisfy Callie’s craving, 6 hours of sleep in 3 days, and cooking) it’s fair to say my tolerance level was nil.  I found myself snapping at EVERYONE, cursing more than usual (which says a lot because I rarely speak a sentence without the F-bomb in there once), and wishing more than anything that I could have a major bitchfest with my best friend on a 10 mile hike in the middle of nowhere.  I didn’t think that was going to happen, as my only 2 days off are Friday and Saturday.  My best friend Marco works weekdays, and Saturday is usually our family day, since it’s the only day of the week that Callie, Mary, and I are all together.  Callie must have known that I was going to blow up soon because when I suggested if it was alright to possibly go hiking with Marco, she was quick to say, “YES! Please go and enjoy yourself.  What time will you be back?!”  So Marco spent the night Friday, to Mary’s delight as uncle Marco gave her cheese sticks and animal crackers for breakfast the next day. And wouldn’t it be just our luck that Saturday morning we woke up to the sound of a torrential downpour! So our 7am start became a 10am start, with an almost 2 hour drive to my favorite place in the world, The Shawangunks.  We were originally supposed to hike Peekamoose Mountain in the Catskills and continue our quest to become members of the 3500+ club (hiking all the peaks of the Catskill Mountains over 3500 ft of elevation), but due to a late start and a possible 3 hour drive, that wasn’t really an option.  Either way, it ended up being just what I needed to feel refreshed, grounded, and ready to start plans for our gender reveal party scheduled early September. I got to gossip, laugh, talk about life and these upcoming twinfants, decompress, get my heart rate up,  and Marco and I got the opportunity to reconnect.  It’s nice to know that our friends are just as excited and riding side by side with us on this journey.

Marco and I at Awostig Falls at Minnewaska State Park

Marco and I at Awosting Falls at Minnewaska State Park

Awosting Falls

Awosting Falls

And last but not least, NY Giant’s Preseason starts today!!!!  LET’S GO BIG BLUE!!!!!!

2 YOU SAY?!?!?!

 Woke up last Friday morning, got our 6-year-old ready for school, dropped her off, and we head out for our appointment at our fertility specialist.  Our first sonogram! How exciting!  We were geeked and couldn’t wait to see our baby.  I mean, let’s be real! We knew it would only be a tiny little black speck in her uterus, but it was OUR tiny little black speck that we have been waiting to create for months!
We get to the Dr. and make small talk in the waiting area. We are so excited we can hardly contain ourselves, but we’re trying our best to be sympathetic to the other couples in the waiting area that may not be as lucky as we are. We’ve been in that position, and our positive attitudes, pregnant with anticipation (no pun intended) are probably the last thing these women need. We speak in hushed voices trying not to let go of our little secret yet.
Our names are called. I spring to my feet, thanks to the 3 cups of coffee I’ve had in the past hour, and do my proud “I’m gonna be a Mama” strut, protecting my lady and my unborn child from whatever dangers could present themselves in the 10 foot walk from chair to exam room. I hold the door and in we go. We are about to see our little Poppy Seed.
The nurse turns out the light and my eyes focus instantly on that black and white screen that only trained professional eyes can understand. I have no idea what I’m looking at, but as soon as the Dr. says, “There’s your baby!” I damn near lost it! My heart started racing, my palms started sweating, and I felt this surge of indescribable love for my Callie, laying there completely exposed, having been through so much just so we can have this incredible moment. I kiss her. I kiss her and I hold her hand and I admire her. I turn my eyes away from the screen for a second so we can lock eyes and then I hear him say it. I hear him say, “And there is the other one!”
THE OTHER ONE!?!?! OMG! The other one! There are 2!?!? There are totally 2! Suddenly, my ears started ringing, my head felt like all the blood in my body rushed to it, and then in a flash…Euphoria. 2 babies. 2 gloriously chubby babies with 20 fingers for hand holding, 20 toes for tickling, 4 cheeks to kiss, 2 bellies for loud raspberries, 4 knees to kiss boo-boos, 4 eyes to show the wonders of this amazing world to. Oh man! It’s 2! Our TWO Poppy Seeds growing in Mommy’s belly. This adventure is going to be even more awesome than we anticipated. 2 little babies…

And So It Begins…

I never thought that I would be blogging, but so it begins! Life for me has begun to take some really interesting turns. Let me fill you in very quickly on who I am and what has been going on in my life so far. I’m 30 years old (15 days shy of 31), and I am engaged to a beautiful, loving, kind, generous, hilarious, and stong woman (for all intents and purposes, we’ll call her Callie). We started dating the summer of 2010, and since then, we’ve been inseparable. Our families love each other, and they love us, separate and together, and that was all we needed before we decided to take our relationship to the next level. We decided to……………wait for it …………………. Start a family!!!! We decided that since Callie is older, she would carry first, but this was all hypothetical, until january 2013. That began our crazy 16 month journey. Our emotional rollercoaster, 2 week cycle living, anonymous donor searching, Dr. visit infested, I cant believe this is happening, is IVF our last option, OMG THIS IS FINALLY HAPPENING 16 month journey!

After 7 failed IUI’s with our reproductive endocrinologist, 2 months off for a second opinion, a crapload of tests which were all inconclusive, 5 failed artificial inseminations at home (mind you all out of pocket), I had a battle trying to communicate with my insurance company to get my domestic partner insured so she can qualify for IVF treatments. My new job has a 6 month qualification period before you can get your partner insured, so we played the waiting game and finally got approved. For $50,000 worth of infertility treatments!!!!!! That even includes egg freezing, travel expenses, and any and all medications! Pretty sweet deal, and well worth the wait! Well, sorta. So after 2 more months of birth control pills, hormone injections, visits to the fertility doctor every other day for blood work and hormone levels, a painful egg retrieval for my honey, and LOADS of anxiety for me, I’m happy to say, WE ARE PREGNANT!!!!! And on our first try of IVF (with 5 frozen embryos left for my future babies)!

So now, the REAL journey begins. The never ending appointments, the nerves, the being strong for Callie, heartbeats & sonograms, prepping for baby or babies, who knows (HcG levels are really high and they DID implant 2 embryos) and lets not forget that we are pretty awesome foster parents to a 6 year old, kick ass little girl. Life surely has taken some really interesting turns, but we are buckled in and ready to go. Hello motherhood. We’re ready for you…

~Non-Belly Mamá