Monday, March 26, 2007

Happy Birthday to me.

who would have ever thought? 18 month old twins at 49. It's great! I couldn't have imagined it any other way. Well, I guess I could probably try to imagine it but then everything would be different , now wouldn't it? In my 20's, I was teaching, going to grad school and moving to Paris. In my 30's, I was living in Paris, going to design school, and starting my own clothing line. In my 40's, I was starting my own businesses AND marrying the person that I actually wanted to have children with. There is still so much to look forward to. Each day our kids do something amazing. I have traveled so much and lived in different places, now we can do it through the eyes of our children. I can't wait: to learn how to ski (again) with them, take them to the beach, go to the city (New York, that is), visit the coast of Maine, spend time in Paris with them, eat all kinds of different foods, take family vacations, teach them "peace, love and understanding" and not to be be judgmental and cynical (like we are!) - I will continue to add to this list.

Right now, they walk but will learn to run. Creed is very close. Zelda will take some doing. How does a blind kid learn to run? Is she afraid? Do we move her legs for her?
They are saying words: Ma, Da, Ba and an occasional "Zelda" and an imitation of "careful", "thank-you" or "bye-bye". Soon there will be 2 words together and word association with objects and actions. Again, different yet the same for each of them.

Right now, we're learning teeth brushing.
Oh, the teeth.
The drs constantly warned us about the effects of the toxo meds on the teeth. Starting at 1 month out of the womb, the twins were put on their "toxo cocktail" - 3 different meds (sulfadiazine, leucovorin, and pyramethamine) to combat the parasite in their system. We shot the meds on a daily basis into their milk , sometime 2x/day. The meds were compounded at a special pharmacy and were refilled weekly due to their limited shelf life. The crazy price of approx $100/week was not covered by their insurance. The delicate balance of their meds was calibrated by weekly weight checks and adjusted for their growth. The amounts worked together in conjunction to keep their systems - blood cell counts, etc - in range. We gave them the meds for 17 months. As their teeth came in, we knew that the meds (suspended in a sugar solution) would work to ruin their sweet baby teeth. We would rub them with a wash rag in the tub, try to get them to chew on the right end of their toothbrush, and give them baby Orajel to encourage a "sweet" experience. FINALLY , they are getting. Creed will imitate my tooth brushing actions and walk around the house with his mini-brush. Zelda - with her strict aversion to anything near her mouth that she doesn't put there! - is now willing to explore brushing with a vibrating, battery-activated toothbrush. Hurray!

Ah, the simple pleasures of parenting...just the other day it seems like I was conquering a 250 title reading list for my M.A., now it's teeth-brushing. Priorities change, pleasures remain - one just needs to keep the mind open!

Friday, March 23, 2007

Zelda Nicolette, 1 day old

Credence Paul, 1 day old

backtrack to 15 september 2005 10:30pm

So, the babies came out - Evan saw them over the sheet. I asked what they looked like and he said long, grey squirrels. They were rushed away but I did have a chance to look up and see Baby Girl B open her eyes and lift her arm up in a wave. My sweet pea! During my pregnancy, the girl had always been referred to as Baby A and the boy as Baby B. (Although we referred to them as Moose & Squirrel or Boris & Natasha). That's just the way they do things in a twin pregnancy - it depends on their positioning. BUT when they emerge, their A or B status depends on who comes out first. So little Z was demoted to B status when Dr Polon, who was standing on my left during the surgery, removed Creed first . Everything I had read about bonding with your newborn, cutting the umbilical cord, banking the cord blood, burying the placenta under a tree in your yard (not!) went by the wayside. These were now critical times. The joys of childbirth were awash in blood transfusions, intubations, hyperbilirubin (that's jaundice), etc. I was a mess...feeling guilty, exhausted, confused and not fully aware of the severity of their condition. I was not ready for any of it!

Thank goodness for the I awoke the next morning I was in a state of semi-shock. We had two 2 lb babies with no names who were in the NICU under pieces of plastic wrap held up by Styrofoam cups in a warming bed. They were furry and skinny and wore little goggles to protect their undeveloped eyes from the bright lights. They couldn't breathe on their own - never mind eat. They eventually inserted NG tubes into their nostrils. AND that's when the "lactation consultant" appeared at my bedside. Yes, I had to start pumping breast milk and I had to start immediately. Lord, I was miserable. To top it all off, our "Toast the Twins" cocktail party alternative to a traditional baby shower was scheduled for that night. You know - plan it 3 months in advance of the due date to be sure that I'd be there in case I delivered early. The irony of it all!

Evan went to the party that evening with photos of our micro-preemies Babies A & B. Boy, were there a shocked group of people!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

This is Zelda...

This is Zelda...she is 18 months old and is legally blind. She is amazing! The other day we went to an art opening - the twins were tiny amidst a sea of legs. Creed ran through the crowd, smiled at the ladies and charmed people. Zelda moved in her usual determined fashion and would stop when she came upon someone worth knowing and began to "pat them" down. That's how she gets to know someone - at least that's how I interpret it. She came upon a man and she began to circle his calves (she's only 28" tall), patting with both hands as she went. The man squatted to talk to her. She rarely looks up so I explained to him that she's visually impaired and that she wanted to say "hello." He was friendly and said he had 4 kids of his own. With that introduction, Zelda proceeded to circle the man. She patted his thighs and then buried her face on his knee for a moment. Then she repeated the same movement at his side, then at the small of his back. Then again at his other side. The man talked to her as she made her way around him and she smiled broadly.

She came upon another man. As she started to pat, he started to speak to her. I again explained that she's visually impaired. The man replied "That is so depressing, I need to go home now." Zelda walked away. No need to waste her time on someone that's depressed - there's too much joy in her world.

Friday, March 2, 2007

Trying to continue...

It's hard to recap the past 17 months of the lives of my twins but I'll try.

My husband and I were (are) lucky...we did it in one try - the fertility thing that is. I became pregnant, we found out it was with twins, one boy and one girl. I was not a comfortable pregnant woman...being slim I tried to eat like a horse to gain the weight that they needed to grow inside of me. It was also Texas in the summertime so it was hot. I ate, I slept, I swam.
EEV, my husband, practically chained me to the house so as to insure the safety of our precious fetuses. Guarded safely by our 2 loyal dobermans, an ailing Sasha who died 10 days before the birth of the twins and a feisty Coco who could only anticipate the new additions to the household, I longed for the days of attending (non-alcoholic!) cocktail parties and looking glowingly cute in my maternity clothes. But those days never came.

As we checked off the weeks of advancing in the 3rd trimester, one day I went swimming, that night I started to spot and cramp...the next day in to see the OB/GYN and admitted to the hospital.
I gave birth by C-section at 10:26pm and 10:27pm to our babies with 14 people in the room. Creed came out at 2lbs 1 oz and 14 1/2 inches long. Zelda was 2 lbs 1oz and 14 1/4 inches. They were born at 26weeks and 5 days. The reason for their early arrival was described as "non-reassuring fetal status". No one knew at that point that they were ill.