Monday, February 27, 2012


It was a good weekend!  I started off Friday afternoon serving Pizza Friday at Trajan's school.  And he ate eight pieces which is a full large that we serve.  It's the competitive nature of eating the pizza with his friends that really brings out the eater in him I think:
He really loves it when one of us is the volunteer for Pizza Friday, but to be completely honest, he gets more excited when it's Paul.  Paul is planning on taking one of my April or May shifts, so that will excite him.  And, I got smart and signed out of work for the afternoon after it, so I was able to interview a nanny, lounge and get some things done while not overtaxing the body, win!

This weekend was a juggling festival in town that is awesome called Jugglefest. Paul is a juggler and has long been involved with the Texas Juggling Society who puts it on and we go every year (I can juggle three balls and that's it).  It starts on Friday and in the past we've always gone, but decided to hold off until Saturday this year.

We started Saturday off with going to a friend's Circus show that involves his trained dogs and bird and then headed to Jugglefest and it was great!

I worked the desk a fair bit like every year and both boys helped me, with Trajan actually being legitimately helpful this year!
That's our pretty friend Katie who was also working the desk with us.

Chiron discovered stacking cups and was about as cute as it is possible to be with them:

Chiron also mastered his first three-ball trick.  We went to the circus thing in the morning with his friend and his baby who is Chiron's age.  They were sitting side-by-side in laps and had three juggling bags that they were playing with.  He had two of them one in each hand and she had one.  He reached out a couple times to try to grab hers and figured out that he couldn't with the ball in his hand.  So, he reached up and put one of them in his mouth and then grabbed the third ball from her.  Tada, baby with three balls!

After we got home Sunday, I changed and ran out to a friend's half-birthday/adoption day dinner (21 years ago now!) and it was a great time while the boy stayed home for sleep and game night. 

And this morning went to the OB and they are both still alive!  And both still active with everything looking great!  And also both are still girls.  And girl on the left (which is growing on me as a name) gave us a profile shot:

So, all is well in our world! And off to a good work week (though we failed to get groceries for the recipes for the week because of all these activities, so there may be some creativity coming up in our week).

And all the positive thoughts in the world our way on the nanny front!  We were recommended one who seems perfect and so we are looking at starting a few months earlier than we planned.  Our last interview with everyone is Wednesday and then she says she will let us know, assuming we do formally offer the employment contract we already provided her a copy of, by the end of the weekend.  I really think she seems like a great option and so I'm hoping she chooses us.  But I am resisting the temptation of throwing money at her to try to make it happen, because I know that's a bad plan to follow....

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Random Tidbits VI

Bought Trajan clothes a week or so for the first time in two years and got them in 6s!  Gasp!  He has always worn a uniform and since we decided after our tour last week that we are going to send him to the public school for kindergarten, he needed some non-uniform clothes.  He's in 5s now, so went ahead with the 6s.  I was just grabbing from Children's Place or somewhere, but Paul reminded me that the Ralph Lauren stuff has held up much better and they had a sale going on, so I bought from them.  And they ship things in individual boxes, so we have a lot of blue boxes:

Had my first class party as a room parent and it was a fun-filled, hectic success!

The boys are cute:

Sometimes they are funny:
Pancakes are fun for everyone:
The dogs are the principal users of pillows on Trajan's bed:

Trajan prefers to sleep on the floor about half of the time.  This he's done for years, but he set a new record for most "stuff" on the floor with him the other night:
Last eight weeks have definitely led to some belly growth:
We may have a great lead on a nanny.  I'm meeting her in person for the first interview tomorrow afternoon, so will update then.  However, the Texas Workforce Commission is VERY frustrating as I try to figure out all the logistics of being a household employer.

And I think this is the most random of all the random tidbits to date!
I forgot!  So, I'm editing to add the results of our Sequential Screen.  Despite the two values being higher than what I'd seen with the previous three babies and baby on the left coming in at the 94th percentile for nuchal translucency, we got great results, thereby proving somehow that my excessive reading of medical literature is good as I knew that 94th was actually not bad and so haven't been nervous.

Our Downs risk started at 1 in 680 and is now 1 in 4,400 for both babies.
Our Spina Bifida risks started at 1 in 1000 and is not 1 in 1,400 for both babies.

Good job girls, way to ace your first standardized assessment.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Thank God for Black Underwear

My job is largely technical, but as consultants, we also have to present information to clients.  For the first time, I presented one of our largest projects by myself to the board of directors of the client today.  I've done solo presentations before, but they have always been educational or training.  I've also presented projects before, but with at least one other consultant.

I finished my review of the two work projects I was presenting yesterday afternoon along with my preparation of the information I was going to convey and review of potential questions that might come up.  I needed to review one more time before presenting, but since their meeting is held an hour and forty minutes away without traffic, I decided to get ready and head out early and do my final preparation once I'd arrived in the area.  That way if there was a traffic issue greater than anticipated, I'd still be good.

All went well.  I got up, showered and even covered up the face rot a bit (yes, against rules, but have to be pragmatic).  I even found a shell that fit well that wasn't a maternity top so that it didn't look so crazy flowy, billowy under the suit.  Took the time to tighten the elastic things on the suit pants to hopefully prevent the constant pant hike.  Got the boys school bags ready and even saw them to the point of all being dressed and downstairs before I left. Remembered the materials I needed for myself to present as well as copies of the work products to pass out.  Heck, even remembered to reset a trip odometer so I could log my time.

Traffic went pretty well.  Made it to just outside of town and stopped and ate breakfast and worked through my materials.  Made sure I had all the names memorized and got a few key transition parts of presentation in my mind.  It was still a bit early, but decided I would head the rest of the way in as this board always has people there early and would allow for some time to chat with board members.

Got to the building, parked, went to the 25th floor, got my parking validated, made a bathroom run and then proceeded in to the conference room.  All was perfect.

Greeted people and successfully remembered those I had met and those I hadn't.  Got materials passed out among the members and my one notes out and ready.  Got a glass of water and sat down ready to go.  Some meeting preliminaries went on and general conversation.  Then the meeting started.

I then had the sensation that my fly was down.  Maternity pants often have a shorter zipper and this can happen, so I subtly reached my hand down to pull it up.  I did find a gap, but I couldn't find the zipper.  Odd, but ok.  I looked down and was startled to discover that no, my fly was not down, the seam below the zipper was split open!

1.  I do exist under a blessed star. I'm damn glad and slightly amazed that I was not only wearing black underwear, but with a sheen that made it blend with the pants pretty well
2. I take this as an auspicious sign as I have never had a seam fail in my life
3. It was not like that when I went to the bathroom before heading into the conference room, I'm certain of that.
4. How did I not notice this when it happened?  Or if it happened when I noticed it, how did a seam rip while I was sitting still in a chair?

The presentation itself went great.  I actually wasn't fazed at all by the pants and actually didn't even think about the ventilation hole in my pants.  Somehow my brain just processed it as interesting information and moved on.  Other than the one initial check to confirm that my underwear was covering the entire gap when I discovered it, I really didn't even think about it, even when I stood up to leave and walk out. 

When I got back into town, I headed straight to a tailor that I had heard good things about near my house and office.  They had me pop my pants off:
and after less than two minutes to admire the exciting socks I'd put on this morning, they had my pants back to me.  Not only did they look like nothing had ever happened, but they wouldn't let me pay them a thing.  And let's just say, they could have charged me anything up to and including the price of a new pair of maternity suit pants and I would have paid it!  Oscar's Tailors are officially my heroes.

One friend asked why I didn't just close my jacket to cover it up.  This was mainly when brainstorming on what alternatives I could have taken if I hadn't been so blessed in my underwear selection and so had to try to manage it rather than ignore it.  Unfortunately, this seam was below the zipper and so the jacket wouldnt' have made it:

And again, thank you god, universe and any other cosmic powers for the underwear coordination.  Important life lesson here I'm sure, but I haven't quite put my finger on it.

As long as I was taking pictures, I grabbed a side shot for inquiring minds.  Definitely a bit of growth, but nothing dramatic yet.  I think it's much clearer with shirt up, so perhaps I'll remember to grab a shot in yoga pants and sports bra. And yes, my hair really does get limp and done that fast in the day, this is just six or seven hours after it had a little body.  I should probably cut shorter again.

I should do all of our presentations, don't ya think?

Monday, February 20, 2012

XX Variety

 Baby on the left gave us a clear verdict on how they looked: "thumbs up!"

The pictures on top are both baby on the right and those on bottom are both baby on the left.  As the perinatologist said, they both appear to be of the XX variety!  I still haven't mastered seeing the "three lines" that everyone talks about, but I don't see what I saw with the boys and with three separate people saying girl-girl, I'm thinking it's official.  The baby on the right was done first by the tech, but she couldn't get a gender shot, but we came back to her after baby on the left and girl she was.

Both babies looked great on anatomy.  They checked more, but things I can remember include: 2 brains measuring right sizes with right spaces, two 3-vessel cords with attachments looking good (to the degree they can see this at this point), two 4-chamber hearts, four kidneys, two bladders, 20 toes, 20 fingers, no clefts, good fluid on both babies and good spines.  The size discrepancy is less than 1% and both currently measure at 5 ounces!  The size discrepancy plus their continued perfect growth for passage of time is a huge thing.

The baby on the right has an anterior placenta and the girl on the left has a posterior placenta and he does not anticipate them fusing together.  One baby's placenta is low enough that he and the tech looked at it extra when they did the transvaginal for cervical length.  The perinatologist is not worried, but did have her make sure and note it because he does want to follow it a bit more closely.

Today was the perinatologist who I prefer (last time, I'd gotten shifted to a different one) and he was much more in line with what I had gotten from the obstetrician in terms of extra monitoring and risks and all of that.  Actually made me feel better having him sound that way rather than bring back my sense of impending doom :-).  As a result, he said he wants to see me back in 2 weeks rather than four for a cervical check.

Speaking of cervical length, it dropped down to 3.8 cm from the 4.5 cm that it was at 12 weeks (we all have agreed that the measurements the OB tech who wasn't used to doing them took at 8 weeks were so inaccurate that we won't even consider it).  To contrast, I was at 4.38 cm last time at 24 weeks and then 3.7 at 28 weeks after four weeks of pre-term labor and having dilated to a 2 or 3 (note: I didn't have a single cervical measurement with Trajan, what simple times!).  3.8 cm is still more than sufficient, but any drop is a little worrisome, so he definitely wanted to followup in 2 weeks.  He isn't adding any restrictions at this time, but did recommend that I try to pay attention to my body and when I feel contractions, take that as a sign to drink and rest rather than just blowing it off and accepting contractions as something that naturally happens in pregnancy.  While it is true that contractions will occur, it's pretty much impossible to tell if they are contractions changing your cervix or not when they happen, so it's best to treat all as significant.

And another plus is the favored perinatologist agreed with the OB that I should be seeing him in particular instead of just whichever one of them is there and so I am scheduled with him for both the 18 week and 20 week scan.

And in further evidence that I'm a genius, I thought to call the OB's nurse after he switched me to biweekly appointments and have her move my appointments there to the odd weeks (i.e. 17, 19) so that I will see someone each week and get confirmation of continued growth and cardiac activity rather than getting double confirmation every two weeks!

Since I seem to be getting what I'm rooting for, I'd like to officially let it be known that I'm rooting for two babies born alive at 36-37 weeks (since this is where they are capping it).  If the universe really wants to keep being nice to me, let's also add them not needing NICU time, having better jaundice recovery than their brothers and maybe even successfully being born as a VBAC with the rupturing that my OB has said she'll do if they're heads down?  And maybe even add not having to spend any time in the hospital other than when they are born (I'm thinking bed rest, but as long as I'm rooting, perhaps they can avoid the one-week GI stay each brother got) and just the typical twin restrictions?  To be clear though, in case the universe decides I'm getting too greedy in my rooting, live-live is still the real thing I'm rooting for.

The perinatologist isn't using A&B at all and I probably shouldn't admit it, but I really like this.  First off, calling them right and left helps me keep track better of who we are looking at.  Right now they are pretty much side-by-side with the baby on the right just a smidge lower and the girl on the right vertex and the one on the left transverse.  Second, it helps downplay the deja vu sense since the perinatologist always labelled them A&B last time. 

I was a bit giddy, smiley this morning after, as they really do look great!

No clue what this one is!

And girl on the left again to close us out!

Friday, February 17, 2012


Perhaps the most frequent question I've gotten is "what do you want them to be?"  People mean boy-girl, boy-boy or girl-girl, but my answer is live-live.  I really don't care if they are so new model all together, alive is what I want.

As a result, I've had trouble even entertaining the topic of genders.  Yes, we are going to find out.  I like to consider logistics and planning and knowing their genders will help with that a lot.  And, we have one heck of a sibset in terms of names, Trajan Alexander, Aurelia Diane and Chiron Falco, so only having to come up with two more is a huge relief versus FOUR.

But in my continued pursuit to be honest with myself, the internet and my oversharing with the universe, I feel like I need to think through what I really think.  I compromised earlier and wrote out some of my thoughts in a comment, but as we approach hopefully knowing genders on Monday, I think I need to lay out where my mind is, right now.

My earliest thoughts were two: I'd prefer if they are the same sex because either four boys in the house or two girls and two boys seems like it would be easier logistically and the harder one to admit is that I don't want them to be boy-girl.

I'll take the second thought first since it's a bit darker or more unpleasant to have to disclose.  I don't mean I don't want them to be boy-girl in that I wouldn't want them, but that I'd prefer they aren't.  Why?  Well, the politically correct answer is that the logistics of three boys and a girl in the house would be harder.  The more real reason is wanting to get away from the feeling of deja vu that I have been experiencing.  Being either girl-girl or boy-boy will break the cycle on some level.  Not that I will sink in despair if they are boy-girl, far from it (refer back to live-live), but I think it will raise my anxiety some.

Now that I've done the dark side, my lighter analysis on the pros and cons of each option prior to knowing what they are.

Either boy-boy or girl-girl keeps us having an even number of each gender living in the house.  As I'm trying to preserve a guest bedroom as long as possible, I think this will simplify things.

Advantages of two boys: have the clothes, used to boys and  just means we embrace boyhood.

Advantages of two girls: Paul's funny line that we'd be 2/3s of the way to the Brady Bunch (5/6s counting Aurelia, but as she doesn't live in the house, 2/3s makes more sense).  Having an easy label to call these youngest two that would not be "the twins", instead "the girls".  While I know it is unlikely that I will avoid them being referred to as the twins, I'm just not ready to accept that yet and so having this alternative is a plus.  And finally, as I've worried some about Trajan and Chiron losing some of their closeness due to Trajan retreating from the "babies" in self-defence, having the little two be girls could help keep Trajan and Chiron close.  Add in that girls do best in the NICU and fetuses do better for having a female co-fetus and you have some pretty good arguments for girls.

Advantages of one of each:  I honestly haven't considered this one as much, and I know I should work on that, because it is the most likely outcome (assuming they are fraternal), but here's what I have so far.  First, I was the first girl born into the paternal line of my dad's family in 86 years.  I grew up with 8 male cousins and one female cousin and it was always nice having a pack of boys who had my back.  If we have one of each, I hope my daughter has the same experience.  And then there's the Chinese argument (Chiron goes to an Asian American Cultural Center for daycare) that the most blessed combination is boy-girl and they are called dragon-phoenix twins.

I really have no "gut feeling" or anything on what they are.  I do have two bits of circumstantial evidence that have me leaning towards thinking at least one is a girl: of our previous three kids, both boys were called at 12 weeks, making me think there's a greater chance one or both of these are girls and something my OB said.  At my 14 week appointment, she said she couldn't declare them yet using the portable ultrasound, but then when she finished she said, "wouldn't it be something if they are both girls?"  It didn't strike me until an hour later or so, but this seems like it could mean she was thinking they are girls, but just didn't feel comfortable calling them. Those facts plus the fact that Karen says they're girls and that's the entirety of my evidence!

But after all this analysis, I want to draw back to a key point.  I am rooting for live-live and healthy and that is it.  I will not mourn for even a second on being told any of the possible gender combinations if they can just be alive and growing.  But now I've at least thought through my thoughts and documented what I am thinking and feeling.  Including the full-out admission that I've given up on trying to protect myself at all and I love you both, whoever you may be.

Monday morning is the 16-week anatomy scan at the perinatologist and he said at the 12-week scan he would be able to tell us then.  That said, last time neither Chiron or Aurelia would show the goods at all at their 16-week scan, so I'm not counting it as a guarantee.  But I really do hope they are able to tell us, inquiring minds need to know.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Logistics: Strollers

So, transportation is definitely going to be one of our logistical issues.  Whether by car, foot, or kayak, moving three kids in an 18-month-span, plus a 5-year-old brother, seems like it will take some planning.  Definitely expect a post on the car coming up, but first off I thought I’d tackle the stroller question.  Hoping for some thoughts based on the experiences of others!

We will hopefully in July have an almost-5-year-old, an 18-month-old and two newborns.  We will also hopefully already have a nanny in place who will ideally be keeping the three little ones during the day.  Needs that I’ve identified relative to strollers include the need to be able to take the two little ones to the doctor, ability for the nanny to get outside with the three little ones, trips to big brothers events/parties/playground/etc. and just attending to the day-to-day necessities of life.

Previous Approach:
With the two boys, we have never been stroller people.  Both boys have been tucked into pocket slings (love the hot sling as at least the old model without the buckle folds up tiny) when out and about from birth as well as a ring sling around the house some and then promoted into the Ergo as they got larger.  Trajan can still go in the Ergo on my back, which is awesome.

We bought a stroller, I think it's a Bugaboo Cameleon, before Trajan was born and other than for walking the dogs, have probably used it less than a dozen times between the two boys.  Those dozen times have been useful, zoo trips, festivals/fairs, etc., but definitely not a lot of use.

When I was pregnant last time, I realized that carrying two on one body, while possible, would probably not be ideal.  I have learned how to work a Mobey Wrap so could wear one on the front with that and the Ergo on the back, but yeah, not ideal.  I looked into the Bob Double Jogging stroller, the Indie Twin, and the StrollAir Myduo, but hadn't reached a point of really making a decision or taking action when Aurelia died making the decision unnecessary.

My Current Thinking:
I actually saw a set of twins in the Baby Jogger City Select double this Christmas at a model train show and this struck me as an actually reasonable stroller.  It is about the size of a normal stroller, goes through doors and aisles well as a result and seems to steer very well.  And with adaptor bars, it will take TWO Chicco Keyfit 30s at the SAME TIME which is a feature that is lacking in most strollers other than the dual snap 'n go.  And the snap 'n go seems to handle horribly. 

The BJCS also can take a boogie board thing, so as Chiron got closer to two, it might make a way to transport all three for short distances at the same time.  Not sure how reasonable this is, but the possibility intrigues me.

The space between the seats is pretty tight, but the kids I saw in it were three and seemed comfy.  I don't think it would be a great option to put Trajan in, but both seats do have a 45-pound capacity, so it would be an option (he's around 38 now).  He's not much of a stroller rider, so I don't anticipate him using it much, but knowing I could let him get into it if he wanted to is a plus.

I also see the possibility of still wearing one baby on our body like we traditionally have and putting the other baby and Chiron in the stroller (or both babies in stroller and Chiron in Ergo) as a way for one parent to handle all three with just this stroller.

Remaining Questions:
1. So, I think the BJCS is a great option to handle transporting them both to doctors appointments when still in infant carriers as well as one parent handling all three of the younger kids while out and about at an event, but I'm not sure it presents a great option for giving a nanny an option to get out of the house.  Any thoughts on what would a good option for this? 

We live on a dual-cul-de-sac street that has no reason to get traffic other than those who live on it, but the street that it opens onto is reasonable volume (two lane, but people going 45 is not atypical) that is one of the main running/biking streets in the area as well with large bike lanes on each side.  The majority of this street has side walks, but there is a short one-block area just past our street that does not.  We also have the option of a back gate which opens onto another cul-de-sac and all residential streets including about a 3/4-mile walk to the swim/tennis club we are members of which has a playground.

I am kind of thinking starting with getting the BJCS and then talking with the nanny we have in place about what would make her most comfortable would work?  We could look into getting a 3 or 4 seater then?  It looks like the three across ones are very wide and would necessitate being in the street for sure while the three in a row are so long that I worry they would be hard to steer, so I thought maybe a 2x2 quad stroller would actually make sense.  But put this off for now?

2. Is the boogie or glider board thing worth getting?

3. Am I reasonable in my thought that the tandem stroller would be easier to manage in most situations?

4. Anyone have any particular feedback on the BJCS or really any of the strollers and why we should look into buying one or the other?

5. I'm also aware that a cheap umbrella might make sense for quick trips once they are pretty stable in their sitting and heads.  Anyone have any thoughts on this idea or a particular one you recommend?

6. The BJCS has a lot of configurations, but I am thinking we would just get the adaptor bars for the car seats and not the bassinet kits. Our Bugaboo has the bassinet configuration and it seems like it overlaps at the same time as the car seat stage and unless we are planning on taking them on long walks during naps, the car seats would actually be more convenient because wouldn't have to transfer and handle all the buckles?

So, if we do go with the BJCS, does it seem reasonable to just get the second seat kit as well as two adaptor bars?

7. When I was looking last time, I learned about the fact that strollers have model years as the version of the Indie Twin that was coming out was going to take two car seats while the then existing one did not.  Is this something I should worry about in deciding how to time when to buy the stroller? And related, particularly if we are going to use it as a frame for two car seats, should I plan on buying it around the time we expect them to be born/come home?
I may not have made it clear exactly how inexperienced with strollers I am, but I really know almost nothing.  But it seems that factors like ability to fold it up easily, or steer with one hand or adjust the kids' buckles could make the difference between a happy adventure and frustrated, agitated people all-around, so I'd really appreciate ANY thoughts or feedback you might have. 

Any of the main strollers (BJCS, indie twin, myduo, etc.) are going to end up closer to a grand than $500 once we get adaptor bars or whatever, so I definitely want to make this decision with as much feedback as I can.  If we need to buy a second stroller to address a different purpose (such as a triple/quad or an umbrella), I will be fine with that, but purchasing a replacement primary stroller will make me grumble.

So, serious bonus points to the person who will just tell me what to do ;-). Help!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Chiron Today, Contrast

To contrast with the view from a year ago, I thought I'd post just a few quick pictures of Chiron this weekend.  Just a capture of a moment in time.

What a difference a year makes!

Chiron's One-Year Discharge Anniversary!

February 13, 2011 was Chiron's discharge from the NICU!  In celebration of the one-year anniversary, I thought I'd post a photo series of his 53 days in the NICU since there was a pretty much complete gap in my posting between his birth (12/23/2010) and his discharge.

First picture taken of his "life", the diaper in his size I was left with in recovery while he went up to the NICU

Just some snippets of life from birth to discharge.  Last three are Chiron in his car seat to go home, Trajan in the staring position which he still does at times and then Chiron the day after discharge at his first doctor's appointment.

I started to write that hopefully I will write a full post about the picture of Trajan and Chiron immediately after birth, because it represents so much about who Trajan is.  Then something in the back of my mind reminded me that I already had. But it really can't be said enough, Trajan was and is amazing as a brother.  That picture is powerful to most people, but for those who have been in the NICU and can tell that he is touching his brother exactly correctly for that time, it's even more impressive.

Happy anniversary, Chiron!