Thursday, December 31, 2009

Who's in charge? by Rich

The twins are small, but they’re definitely pulling the strings around here.

On Tuesday, they decided to stir up some trouble by triggering some strong and regular contractions in Kelly’s belly.

On their cue, Kelly was readmitted to the hospital – the same room in which she’s laid flat in in for most of the fall – and I jumped back on a plane from Senegal after just 36 hours on the ground since returning from Christmas vacation in Maine.

When I got to the airport in Portland, my Mom and much of my family were waiting for me, thrilled I’d made it in time for the birth and excited as can be to meet the new ones – certain to come within hours! We drove in a convoy to the hospital, weaving in and out of traffic, fueled by adrenaline.

When I got there, I found my sweet wife getting checked out by nurses. She was having contractions every six minutes and had signed a consent form for a c-section that could happen at any minute. The twins, both over four pounds despite their early gestational age, were gearing up to join the planet earth.

But this adventure has been full of baby-driven U-turns, and so there was another. Within a half hour of my arrival, the contractions stopped and things stabilized. Kelly and I sent the family home and spent the rest of Wednesday watching soap operas and movie videos, and eating Thai food.

So far, on this wintry New Year’s eve day, things appear to be staying quiet.

Will the babies come today? Tomorrow? Next week? In two weeks? Its unclear. A big storm is coming – and some people say the drop in barometric pressure will trigger it for sure. Also, it is a full moon – and amazing things happen during the full moon. But the truth is, no one can know for sure.

The people in charge haven’t arrived yet.


Getting discharged from the hospital was bittersweet. It took a few days to relax at my mother in laws house, as anxiety of not having constant medical care at my bedside alarmed me. But after a few days I began to relax with Richard at my side and beloved family at Christmas. I also realized that bed rest at home is far easier emotionally; eight weeks in the same hospital room really can make you go a bit stir crazy. My 're-entry' to the real world after leaving the hospital was quite bizarre...seeing people walking around, driving past shops, and seeing the daily routines of normal life outside that of an 8x8 hospital room. It certainly reminded me of our week long canoe camping trips where we were in complete isolation with wilderness and no human contact...the reentry can take some adjusting.

Bed rest at home did not last long. Tuesday I was readmitted to the hospital at 3cm dilated and 100% effaced. What a pregnancy this has been! I am 32 weeks and 1 day, and my mom reminded me of a blog entry I posted when I had just hit 23 weeks. I wrote that I would be blessed if I could make it to 32 weeks.

Well, I am certainly blessed.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

8 Weeks and 2 days (But who is counting?)

Me! I'm counting! I have counted every day and every week since I have arrived at Maine Med. In fact, the first thing I do when I wake up is get out my red crayon and cross off a day on my calendar.

On Friday or Saturday, I will be discharged from the hospital. Some of you may be thinking that I must be thrilled and very happy about this. I have to admit, part of of me is excited for the change and part of me is anxious to be leaving my safe zone.

During my early weeks here and even up until now, nurses and doctors have only been steps away from me. They constantly check in with me and monitor my contractions and the babies heart rates. There is so much comfort in knowing that the experts are in charge now, and all I had to do was lay here and listen. I have a call bell in room which at any point in the day or night, I could call for any reason at all...a pain I'm noticing, heightened contractions, shortness of breath, etc.

I am also ambivalent about leaving as I have depended on some incredible nurses to emotionally support me as well. There certainly have been some dark and scary days here, especially when I first checked in. There are some special nurses here that have certainly gone above and beyond the call of me pep talks, wiping my tears, giving hugs... What an amazing staff here at MMC.

Leaving is bittersweet. I can't believe we survived this. I'm nervous about the upcoming change... But in my heart I know that my amazing doctors would not release me if they were worried. I have promised to act the same way I have here...strict bed rest with shower/bathroom privileges. (Crazy to say that going to the bathroom is a privilege!!) However, I am allowed one 2 hour treat a week... I can sit for 2 hours at a dinner table, or go to a movie. I have already decided that my first 'treat' this week will be to the salon...

One thing I will certainly miss though are my wheelchair rides with Sweet Liam on my lap and Lindy pushing us. His excitement about those rides were priceless. I wonder if there is a way to accidentally 'borrow' a wheelchair...

Today I am 30 weeks, and my husband is finally arriving from Africa. Life is good.


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

And a quote...

My Aunt Darlene gave me a Christmas decoration that was so meaningful...

A silver bird with a quote from Emily Dickinson:

'We never know how good we are until we are called to rise'.

I love it.

Tomorrow is 30 weeks and my husband arrives from Senegal. Finally.

Monday, December 14, 2009

A Day to Celebrate...

What a wonderful day yesterday was...a day to celebrate the twins! After all this time, especially the last two months here at the hospital, my days have been filled with worry. Today, it was time to finally celebrate the upcoming arrival of these two miracle boys. It was quite emotional to have a day like finally feel excited and not so anxious.

The 'Thing 1 Thing 2' shower was here at the hospital, planned my sister and mom. The details, time, effort, creativity, and thoughtfulness they put into this celebration were incredible. Thing 1 Thing 2 Dr. Seuss decorations everywhere, homemade cookies and cupcakes, games, gift baskets, red and blue decorations, delicious food from Aurora... not to mention they both went shopping to find an outfit that I felt comfortable in.

It was overwhelming to go in to the room, and see my beloved friends and family, a room decorated with love, and excitement on everyones faces about the twins. I couldn't help but to cry as I felt the love and support for these two boys.

I am still reliving every moment of the shower... Thank you, thank you, thank you. I am so grateful.

Thing 1 Thing 2 Red Velvet Cupcakes with handmade Tindy decorations.

I had never seen this game before and it was quite hilarious to watch. Its called 'Guess the Poop' sister had 5 diapers in which she melted 5 different candy bars in. Friends and family had to 'sniff' and 'taste' the diaper 'poop' and guess the candy bar. I have not laughed so hard in a long long time...watching friends and family sniffing and tasting these diaper samples. The winner.....Cathi Landry! Well done!

And surfboard homemade cookies by Mumma.

Me and my guy. And yes, something happened to my belly this week...It really grew.

Today is 29 weeks and 5 days...


Wednesday, December 9, 2009

29 weeks!

And today I hit 29... The proof is in the photo that Ange took!

I never thought I would make it this far. The boys weigh 3lbs now, and usually during any given minute of the day, one of them is awake and kicking up a storm. Just last night, Baby B knocked the remote control off my stomach. I'm lucky to be so tall, as the boys have a bit more room to wiggle around in...not to mention my own size is not yet in the 'whale' category.

Today is also my 7 week anniversary of laying flat on my back here at the hospital. I still can't believe so much time has passed, or even how I made it through those early weeks. Some days are extremely difficult, some are not so bad....but every day still contains worry and wondering.

It's crazy to think that in a short time (hopefully longer rather than shorter)I will be a mom. My life will be completely different... I can only imagine what it will be like. I can't wait to have these sweet little boys in my arms and healthy.

Lindy, Mom, and Sandra...I don't know what I'd do without your regular visits. Thank you for all you do, your listening, your advice and support, and your laughter.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

It's the little things...

And this is what I look forward to everyday...

And some fresh air too...

Friday, December 4, 2009

Angora Baby Booties

My friend Lolly, passed along this adorable baby bootie pattern. She found it in “Last Minute Knitted Gifts” (by Joelle Hoverson of Purl Soho).

The pattern was intimidating at first, as I have never done 'double knitting' before. Double knitting is working in the round with two needles, or also a way to create a reversible garment.
After spending some time reading and re-rereading the pattern, and even a phone call to Lolly, I finally figured it out.

Would you believe that both booties took an hour total to make?! They are newborn size, but you can adjust your gauge/needle size to change size of the bootie.

I used an angora yarn my sister found for me at Central Yarn shop here in Portland Maine. Believe it or not, she had a difficult time finding 100% angora at the shops. The brand is Fox Brand Superchoice French Angora made in France. It is so soft and had some nice amount of fuzz. One skein is 10 grams, and both booties take exactly one skein if you follow the gauge from the pattern.

Pictured above are the booties that Lolly made, as my camera is in Africa. Lolly added a finishing touch of a two bows to the bootie. The chain pattern can be found on

Youssou N'Dour

One thing that Senegal does not lack, is music. And really really good music. On any given night, there are several music clubs that have live African music that start around 10 and play in to the wee hours.

Just 1/2 a mile from our house lives Youssou N'Dour, who in 2004 Rolling Stone magazine named the most popular musician from Africa. He created a style of music called 'mbalax' (or Mbalakh) which is the national popular dance music of Senegal and The Gambia. Mbalax is a fusion of popular Western music and dance such as jazz, soul, Latin, and rock blended the traditional drumming and dance music of Senegal.

He sings in Wolof, the language of Senegal...a language that Rich is quickly learning from our guard Sonko. He has a club in Dakar in which you can see him on any given night when he is not touring. We have yet to see him, as he typically takes the stage at 3 am.

Below are two sample songs of his music. (Great video! Ha!)

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

28! 28! 28! 28!

Today is week 28...the milestone that we were hoping for. I got up at 6 am because I couldn't wait to cross off today on my calendar with my red crayon. The boys now have a 90% chance of survival with a good NICU. I can't believe I made it this far, considering I checked in here to Maine Med over 6 weeks ago with the situation looking grim.

The boys are very healthy. In fact, they both started hiccuping just a day apart from one another. At first I had no idea what the constant rhythm was hitting my ribs, and had to call a nurse to ask what was happening. The next day, Baby A had the hiccups while I was on the monitor. Talk about amazing.

Baby A is breach, butt down. Baby B is transverse near my ribs, and all of their legs and arms meet in the center of my belly. Because of this, they are constantly pushing against one other, kicking one another, fighting for more space.

For 6 weeks, I have been laying down, shower occasionally, and have only walked five feet to the bathroom. Today, my doctors have told me it is time to sit in the wheelchair once a day for a short while to get out of the room for some 'fresh air'. I suppose they are right, despite how nervous it makes me. I wonder if they think I have lost my mind.

The staff here is amazing. In fact, I adore my doctor here and have become quite attached to a few of the nurses. They see my every mood, and help me fight. They are not just a medical staff, but caregivers. They cheer you on during your darkest days, and are there to celebrate during the milestones. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

My sister and Liam are coming in today for the big wheelchair ride. For the first time since my stay here, I hugged sweet Liam on a trip to the bathroom yesterday. That one hug made me so happy. It felt so good. Today I have decided to go to the gift shop and buy myself a treat in celebration of today.

Rich and I are so lucky to have made it this far. Every day is a gift.

30 weeks is the next goal....And even more better...Rich arrives on that day.