Concerning Boobies

So I’m going to write about boobs, specifically about breastfeeding. If you’re weirded out by that, (a) might be good to talk to someone about why breastfeeding weirds you out; and (b) you may want to skip this blog.


I’ve always been on the Bigger Boobs side of things when it comes to my own development. For a long time, I still fit into the “big but can still shop at Victoria’s Secret” category, a category that ends with the letter D; but weight gain and eventually pregnancy showed me a whole new set of letters to describe my chest flesh. At the moment, I’m squeezed into an older bra that’s a bit too small for my “pregnant with twins, what’s your excuse?” chest because I really don’t want to get measured and refitted when I’ve still got a while to go yet in this pregnancy.

People talk a good game about wanting gazongas like mine, but they aren’t fun. On the most pragmatic scale of all, affordability, they’re a nightmare. Some maternity stores do go up to my size for cheap(ish), but if I really want to wear something that’s cuter than beige, I have to go online to find it, and it always costs ~$50-60, which is why I own three bras and three bras only. Objectively cuter bras that exist to make me feel good about myself don’t really come in my size, or if they do, they don’t come easily (though I will say that once the twins are born, I’m totally getting a galaxy bra from Torrid and you can’t stop me).

Less pragmatically, my back hurts. A lot. Contrary to what animes would have you believe, big boobs do not function like helium balloons. They consist of fat and sinuses and chest flesh and thus actually weigh something, and that weight must be supported by something, namely your back muscles. Consequently, I’ve noticed that since I went from my high school size of “appropriate” to my postpartum size of “even turtlenecks give me cleavage,” my upper back hurts a lot more. It’s not excruciating, but it’s enough that, when lying in bed at the end of the day, I pray for the funds to get a breast reduction sooner rather than later so that I don’t develop a hunchback before I’m 40.

(no offense Quasimodo)

Now, you’d think with these gazongas, I’d be an enthusiastic heifer, udderly producing way too much milk for one baby, let alone two.

And you would be wrong.

I felt encouraged in this direction towards the end of my pregnancy with Sam. Nobody mentions this, but you leak a lot the further along your pregnancy gets, and I kept developing stains on my favorite shirts and bras (which were more numerous then). It was frustrating, but I felt like it was a good sign: if I’m producing enough to leak right now, I’ll surely be a dairy farm for this kid, and we’ll never have to spend a cent on formula.


Fast forward to Sam’s birthday, the day of his actual birth. After 45 minutes of pushing, the nurses lifted my child with his enormous head and baby slime to my chest, and it was time to breastfeed for the first time. This practice is encouraged for understandable reasons: breastfeeding causes your body to release oxytocin, which causes your uterus to contract, which helps expel the placenta and slow your bleeding. If, for whatever reason, you can’t breastfeed or your uterus isn’t contracting, you’ll get a dose of synthetic oxytocin (known as pitocin) to speed the process along and hopefully prevent your delivery room from turning into that scene from The Shining.


So anyway, I tried to breastfeed. I’d read all the videos, knew all the tips, and figured it couldn’t be that difficult. I held my boy tenderly against me and gently guided my huge freaking gazonga titty towards his face and his face towards the huge freaking gazonga titty. For about half a second, he put in a valiant effort of latching onto the bulbous orb that was suddenly coming towards him… but then that second ended and he decided that no, he did not want the orb.

In the moment, it wasn’t a big deal. I was still on an IV that gave me a steady drip of pitocin because of my induction. The placenta came out, and I didn’t die of too much bleeding, and Sam and I had those moments of bonding together–albeit minus the breastfeeding.

But it’s cool, it’s cool, I told myself. I’ve been in labor for 24 hours, Sam is brand new to breathing, we’ll just keep trying until we get it.

Back in those days, hospitals didn’t really go for the baby-friendly hospital movement thing, so we had the option to let Sam spend the night in the nursery and get some sleep. Exhausted from having been pregnant for what felt like 18 years and going through 24 hours of labor without having slept at all in the 36 hours beforehand, I gladly took advantage of this program. The nurses fed Sam formula while I slept and recovered, about six hours a night.


During the day, we worked on breastfeeding. A steady stream of lactation consultants came in with various tools to help Sam realize that breastfeeding was awesome, but nothing doing. Our most elaborate attempt involved a syringe with a long tube attached that went into Sam’s mouth at the same time as my boob. The idea was that he theoretically wasn’t getting into breastfeeding because my boob wasn’t producing immediate results, which I still think is true, but the syringe didn’t help with that at all. Sam just got angry when the syringe stopped and screamed instead of trying harder, a strategy I can definitely relate to.

But we went home, and I tried to put Sam on the boob every time he needed food. These sessions were, to put it gently, miserable. They lasted at least an hour and a half apiece and needed to start all over again when they ended.

See. First, I’d put Sam on the boob with the mindset of “maybe he’ll get it this time.” Breastfeeding involves a LOT of moving parts, and trying to get your infant to understand which moving parts are which is an exercise in having the patience of a saint and the stamina of a tank. And I did everything the lactation consultants suggested. I used the syringe. I avoided pacifiers at the very start and used breast-shaped bottles to avoid “nipple confusion.” I massaged and focused and switched boobs and did what I could, but even after 45 minutes of wrestling, Sam was screaming with hunger and I was exhausted.

But we still weren’t done, or well. I wasn’t done.

For the first couple of weeks, I had Kyle with me to help, since he had a week of paid paternity leave and then worked from home, returning to work in gradual steps. He would go and mix up a bottle of formula for us, and I’d get out the pump. Breast pumps are kind of weird machines, and it’s impossible to use one and NOT feel like you’ve devolved into some sort of human-bovine hybrid. Even with the most modern and discreet models, you’re being milked, and there’s no way for that to NOT be awkward.

(sorry to shatter any illusions; it’s exactly like this)

So Kyle would take Sam and sit on the couch with pillows and give Sam a bottle so that the poor child would stop being so hungry. I would get myself hooked up to the milk machine, which was… an adventure, to say the least. I’m not sure if it’s easier for people whose breasts don’t fall into the huge freaking gazongas category, but getting everything aligned properly was always a Process for me. After that, I’d sit and pump for a total of 45 minutes, half on the left and half on the right. I couldn’t do anything else during these pumping sessions, because I had to hold the cups in place or else they’d just be trying to milk air, and that’s not very good. And the end product was always roughly 15 drops of milk–a generous amount for, say, a pet mouse, but not very useful for keeping a child alive.

It was exhausting. And by the time I was done pumping and Sam was done eating, we’d have a reprieve of maybe half an hour before it was time again.

I hated it.

What’s more, I hated myself for hating it. Breastfeeding, feeding in general, was supposed to be this wonderful bonding time with the two of us, but I dreaded the very thought. The best part for me was when Kyle would give Sam back to me, after all the pumping and eating and wrestling and angst, and my baby boy would curl up against me and fall asleep to the sound of my heartbeat. The worst part was literally everything else about it. I was miserable.

If I’m honest, the beginning of the end came about 3 days after Sam was born. Maybe four. Our hospital had a policy that if you left before the 48 hours you were allowed to stay following your child’s birth were up, you could have a nurse visit you at home. Sam was born at around 5:45 p.m., which gave us a solid two nights in the hospital, and we didn’t want to deal with rush hour traffic on the ride home, so we left a good four hours before we had to… and two days later, the nurse came.

She brought a scale with her and blood pressure monitors and all sorts of portable tools to measure Sam and measure me and make sure that we weren’t secretly dying. Sam went first; she took his blood pressure, checked out his jaundice (a lot of babies are jaundiced when born, but most end up better after getting some sunlight), and then weighed him. “That’s really impressive!” she remarked. “He’s gained back all of the weight he lost after birth. He’s back to his birth weight. Whatever you’re doing to keep him growing like this, keep it up!”

The remarks were both flattering and embarrassing. We were about 50/50 formula and breast-wrestling at that point, and even Sam’s pediatrician said at the one week mark, “If you want to start starving him a little so that he’ll take to the boob easier, he’s got more than enough weight on him.” But for my own sanity, I couldn’t do that, knowing what it took to get him to even breastfeed for a solid ten minutes.

I don’t remember the specific day I decided to quit breastfeeding entirely, only that Kyle was there and asked if I even wanted to try to put Sam on the boob. And I took a deep breath and I said, “You know what, I think I don’t. Let’s just give him formula.” The breast pump parts started to gather dust, and although my ginormous freaking gazongas still leaked like a haunted faucet (leading to at least one incident of which Kyle has said he learned a valuable lesson about not honking your wife’s boob affectionately while she’s lactating), things started to look up.

Sam kept up his pace of growth, and he was a much happier baby now that he was able to actually eat and not have to deal with having a boob thrust in his face whenever he got hungry. Kyle and I were actually able to function better as well, especially once we discovered various charts describing how much formula we could give Sam based on how big he was and how long we wanted to go between feedings. We were able to take shifts at night, so we both got about six hours of sleep, which wasn’t great but was a huge improvement over the three we’d been getting before.


And, blissfully, Sam started sleeping through the night around three months old. That night is burned into my brain: Kyle and I both decided to crash around 10 p.m., and when Sam woke us up fussing at 5 a.m., we both looked at each other and asked, “Did you get up last night? No, did you?” And then came the realization of what had transpired and life was good.

Four years later, and Sam’s a healthy, happy kid whom his teachers describe as “scary smart.” He is absolutely average in terms of height and weight, and aside from a bout with ear infections well after I would have weaned him anyway, he’s been fantastic all along. I have zero regrets.

And I could go into all of the other things that contributed to the zero regrets: how I had to have gallbladder surgery when he was three months old, how I started antidepressants shortly after that, how scientifically speaking, babies who are formula fed and babies who are breastfed have negligible differences, but… why? What matters here was that breastfeeding was making us both miserable, and everyone was much happier when we stopped.

It’s all making me lean towards not breastfeeding the twins, which is a horrifying prospect when you consider the cost of formula for two babies, but at the same time…

Well, I look at my boobs. They’re still enormous. They could have their own gravitational pulls. I look at how hard it was to convince Sam to even try the boob and imagine doing that, with all its moving parts, for two babies. I look at Kyle and Sam, with their incredible bond that I don’t believe would be nearly as strong if Kyle hadn’t been able to be so involved with Sam’s care in those early days. I look at the almost certain chaos of those early days with two newborns instead of one.

And then I go to the store and buy a dozen more bottles (20% off at Babies R Us!) and say, you know, I think they’ll be alright.

In your head

If I’m being completely honest, I don’t remember hearing about it. It wasn’t an event like 9/11, where the shock and growing horror you feel as you watch events unfold in real time burn everything about that moment into your memory: where you were, what you were doing, what happened before and after, how you felt.

It was the spring of 1999, and I was a sophomore in high school, watching all of my friends who were born earlier in the year getting their learners’ permits and getting our first tastes of that irresponsible freedom that comes with being a teenager. I used to tell my mom that people called them “LPs” for short, but nobody called them that, learners’ permits, I mean. And anyway, I wasn’t really focused on world events at that point in time, except for when I had to be, like in AP U.S. History.

Most of my attention was focused all over the place, because I was a very busy high school sophomore, fifteen and not-quite-sixteen. I had a pretty big supporting role in the school musical that year (stepmother in Cinderella), I had a boyfriend who was in college (automatic cool points and elimination of dating as a distraction in anything ever), I sat state standardized tests (the MCAS exam, which is highly mockable and always has been), I was miserably failing Algebra II, life was busy overall.

I wasn’t thinking at all, of course, about school shootings.

They were on everyone’s radar, sort of, not like they really are today. We all knew about Paducah, we all knew vaguely that this was a Thing That Happened, but it wasn’t something that anyone thought about. School shootings seemed like flukes, like something you’d say “damn that was crazy!” about but then move on with your life, assuming that the perpetrator was bullied or had some sort of vendetta or something.

Somehow, Columbine changed that.

I don’t really remember hearing about it, but I remember the impacts. Not long after Columbine, we had something that was like 50% fire drill but really more of a school shooter drill. This was before you had lockdown practices, of course, because we thought it was a fluke. We all wandered aimlessly out of the buildings, accompanied by our teachers, and hung out on the front lawn until we got the all-clear. It may have been a real threat; I heard rumors that someone had left notes somewhere about shooting up the school, bombing the school, but nobody was really scared by it. Columbine was a fluke, after all.

I remember about six sprillion 20/20 esque programs dedicated to Why This Happened, and everyone had a different thought process. Violent video games! Bullying! The goth subculture! And therefore Satanism (Satanic Panic 2.0?)! Marilyn Manson! Trenchcoats (I’m not kidding)! My boyfriend at the time wore a trenchcoat like it was his job and played Resident Evil almost religiously, so I got a kick out of those theories. I think the newspeople eventually settled on bullying as The Reason, and after that, everything faded… but then later research revealed that the perpetrators were actually more often the bullies than the bullied, so that’s probably not it.

I remember the weird capitalization on certain victims’ lives and deaths. Cassie Bernall was the big one. The story went that she was asked, “Do you believe in God?” and said yes before being murdered. It was a great narrative from a Christian perspective; it turned her into a martyr of sorts, ostensibly killed because she said yes (which was the name of the book her parents wrote about her). Christian recording artists wrote songs about the incident, it was this great wonder and beautiful tragedy and… it didn’t even happen. Students who were with Cassie when she died reported that the shooter only said, “Peek-a-boo!” before murdering her.

But it was still some good music.

And it kind of… went away. Not completely, of course, and certainly not for the victims and their loved ones, but school shootings just anywhere near as common back then as they are now. Oh, they happened. Thirteen shootings happened between Columbine and my graduation from high school two years later. That seems like a lot, but then you realize that 2018 is so far 46 days old and there have already been 18 school shooting-style incidents, and suddenly, 13 over two years doesn’t seem as high of a number.

Next year, it will have been 20 years since Columbine. A lot has changed since then. The weirdest thing to me is that if you go to certain places on the internet, you’ll find pockets of people who are huge fans of the Columbine shooters. I don’t mean assholes who say, “Man, I wish I could shoot up a school!” I mean people who look at the shooters, say they were well within their rights to massacre people or that they did nothing wrong, coo over how attractive they were, and so on and so forth.

It’s… strange.


I always talk to Kyle about meta-fears I have for our kid(s). I call them meta-fears because the likelihood of them ever happening is statistically small, but as a parent, you still sometimes lie awake at night and wonder, “but what if…?” But they’re fears that you have to put on the back burner because if you let them, you’ll become irrational and incapable of functioning because they’re fears of such HUGE things that you have so little control over.

Meta-fears are things like “what if some random person grabs my kid off the street?” Statistically, this isn’t very likely to happen. The vast majority of kidnappings are perpetrated by members of the victim’s family, and while you have some pretty famous stories where that was not the case, they’re famous because they’re so rare. So you hold your kid’s hand and watch them when you’re out of the house, but you can’t let this fear consume you or else you’ll end up locking your kid in a tower, growing out their hair to about 70 feet, and only visiting them on weekends and bank holidays.

Things like “what if my kid gets cancer?” Statistically, this isn’t very likely to happen, even though we all know someone or know someone who knows someone whose kid got cancer. We’ve all contributed to fundraisers and all watched hashtags. One of the towns around here had a big rally for a kid that had one of the worst forms of childhood cancer, DIPG. Their hashtag was #whynotdevin, and it was HUGE around here. And it was heartbreaking, and of course, it made me wonder in my parental way, what if Sam contracted DIPG? 100% fatal, a disease that deteriorates who you are, and the only thing you can do is try and make your kid comfortable until they slip away in less than a year. It’s ridiculously rare (200 cases a year worldwide kind of rare), and you theoretically worry, but you have to put it on the back burner or you’re going to end up losing your mind because it’s not something you can predict or protect against.

Things like “what if this plane we’re on crashes?” Things like “what if there’s a drunk driver?” Things like “what if an asteroid crashes through our roof spontaneously?” Things like “what if nuclear war?”

Things like “what if my child’s school gets shot up?”

This wasn’t a worry when I was a kid. We had fire drills, of course, and those were usually pretty chill. One time, we had a fire drill while we were watching a video about volcanoes, and everybody thought that was hilarious. Another time, some kids brought a ouija board to recess and apparently, the ~spirits~ told them that the school would burn down that afternoon, and when we had a fire drill that afternoon, they all freaked out and that was also hilarious.

But it’s a worry now.

One of the things I’ve had the hardest time reading lately is the swath of accounts from teachers, telling the world who’s never experienced such a thing what it’s like to have a lockdown drill. They talk about kids not knowing it’s a drill, big and tough kids bursting into tears of absolute terror when the assistant principal rattles the doorknob to make sure it’s locked. They talk about teachers not knowing it’s a drill and screaming at their students in a panic, telling them to be quiet and stop talking and giggling, because if there is an active shooter, their silence could be their lifeline.

Fearing that your child’s school could be shot up should be a statistically rare meta-fear, like cancer or a plane crash or nuclear war. It should be something that you can just put in the back of your mind and worry about that bridge if you ever come to it, but it’s not.

Lockdown drills are pretty standard across the board nowadays. I don’t know if our town’s schools do them, or how early they start, but I imagine that they do and that they start very early. It adds a new layer to the meta-fear. It adds a thousand new layers to the meta-fear. I imagine, without wanting to, my sweet little boy with big hazel eyes and blonde hair having to hide in a closet behind locked doors. I imagine him being so terrified that he can’t fall asleep for weeks. Worse, I imagine him having a hard time comprehending what’s going on, being the loud and silly voice, and it not being a drill, and suddenly, I’m planning a funeral for my first baby.

I don’t want to imagine this. I don’t want this to be a fear that we have to take logical preventative measures about, like choking hazards and SIDS and batteries in smoke alarms and car seats.

But here we are.


Of course I have opinions about the whole thing. Anyone who’s known me for more than five minutes knows what those opinions are, but I’m not throwing them out here because I don’t want to attract That Crowd, if you know what I mean. I’m also not throwing them out here because I don’t want to sit around and debate and throw statistics back and forth and scream ceaselessly into the void at a group of people who just will. not. care.

I do want to scream into the void. But I’m tired.

So instead, I take a deep breath. I take comfort in the people I love. I hug Sam extra tight, even when he’s spent the entire day being a little shit (true story: this blog was initially going to be about the emotional weirdness of being angry with a toddler over something they don’t know any better, and it was going to be about poop). I listen to the Cranberries singing, “But you see, it’s not me, it’s not my family,” and wonder what happens to That Crowd when it is their family.

Sorry about the lack of entertaining or diverting gifs; they seemed inappropriate.

It’s been a week…

Today is Sunday, a nice calm Sunday. It’s pouring rain outside, and that combined with the melting snow has made for some soupy lawn shenanigans and a kind of dreary view. But it’s peaceful and calm, and honestly, after this week, I need a nice, peaceful, calm day.

(side note: I totally wrote this last night and it’s so long that I couldn’t finish it until today, oops)

Not that this week was wholly bad, mind you. It was actually really good on a lot of levels! Just… it was one of those weeks where everything happened so much, and by the time I crashed last night, I was relieved to put a pin in it and just enjoy the good memories and the knowledge that next week will be just as crazy (but still in good ways).

Last Sunday, I guess some superb owls were around? I don’t know. We mostly spent the day either at the supermarket or at Target or home. I was craving some chips of any kind, but the superb owls had made off with most of them, which was a little depressing, but not the end of the world.


And even Monday was a calm day. Sam and I followed his usual routine, playing all morning while checking in with his favorite TV shows (Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and My Little Pony, for those keeping track at home), a nice lunch (which he devoured enthusiastically thanks to the promise of dessert cookies), calm naptime and a bit of screen time before an evening filled with him enthusiastically waiting for Kyle to get home. And then Sam went to bed after dinner, Kyle and I relaxed apart and together, and Monday was a wholly normal day.

Tuesday was not.

Tuesday, I had some testing to do–specifically the dreaded three-hour glucose test.


The glucose tests are for the sake of seeing if you have gestational diabetes. As pregnancy complications go, GD isn’t really high on the scale of freaking out. It’s not nothing, and you do have to keep an eye on it, as it can cause plenty of complications (especially later on), but compared to, say, preeclampsia, it’s relatively meh; and the testing for it is probably the biggest nuisance of the entire situation.

When I was pregnant with Sam, there were potentially two GD tests I could wind up taking–the one-hour and the three-hour. The one-hour was the first and was more of a screening. For that test, I had to fast the 12 hours beforehand, get my blood drawn, drink the second-most god-awful sugary drink in the history of the world in under five minutes, wait an hour, and then get my blood drawn again. The drink was awful, but the orange flavor helped… it tasted kind of like a melted popsicle with a weird aftertaste, and while that’s not a good flavor, it wasn’t horrendous. After that one-hour test, I went out for breakfast with Kat and my mom, and life was grand.

And I passed, so I got to skip the three hour test.


This time around, they’d changed the screening protocol. You used to need to fast before the screening, but this time around, they told me to go ahead and eat breakfast, whatever, it doesn’t matter. I still had to drink the gross drink (it’s called Glucola, by the way, and this time it was fruit punch flavored, but really, it tasted like if NyQuil tasted worse) and wait the hour, but they didn’t take my blood beforehand, so the whole thing seemed… kind of screwy, to be honest. Without a controlled test environment, how was the test supposed to tell anyone anything except that if you chug a bunch of soda immediately after breakfast, you’ll have high glucose levels? I’m no scientist, but I’m pretty sure that experiments work best if you have controls in place, so why would they do any sort of testing this way? You don’t know what I had for breakfast. I may have had a completely carb-and-glucose free meal, or I may have chowed down on some chocolate cake. How is that supposed to tell anyone anything?

Which is all to say that I did not pass this time because I ate breakfast.

I figured that the breakfast was the reason, but I still worried, what if it wasn’t? Gestational diabetes is more common in people who were obese before getting pregnant (hi) and people who are carrying multiples (hi). The potential complications of GD weren’t something that worried me too much–with treatment, the likelihood of really nasty complications developing isn’t very high. On the other hand, the treatment made me nervous, since it mostly falls under the umbrella of “lifestyle changes.”

I’m entirely capable of making lifestyle changes; Kyle and I made some major lifestyle changes when we were trying to get pregnant with Sam. I know that, if I had to, I could cut out the carbs and the sugars and make it through the rest of pregnancy without issue… but I really didn’t want to. For one (comparatively minor) thing, my baby shower was coming up on Saturday (more on that in a bit), and I knew that my family had planned quite the spread, food-wise. Macaroni and cheese bakes, an ice cream cake, cupcakes to decorate, a cheese platter with delicious artisanal crackers, the works. I know I could technically still eat all of that if I had gestational diabetes, but not without paying for it, and that made me sad.

I also worried about the impact lifestyle changes would have on the family as a whole. Kyle promised that he’d join me in the dietary changes, but my big worry was Sam. Like most three-year-olds, he has a very… limited palate. He likes foods that are beige, the primary exceptions being chocolate, broccoli, pepperonis, and apples. Sometimes carrots, too. He doesn’t like meat of any kind, and attempts to change that with even the beigest of meats, the chicken nugget, have all been unsuccessful. He’s also thoroughly unbribeable unless you bribe him to do something he already wanted to do.

And, well. I could probably figure out a way to enjoy zoodles instead of noodles or many varieties of carb-free meals, but Sam?

So I went in nervous. The three-hour glucose test is a fasting test, so I went in hungry and very tired, had my first blood draw, and then chugged an 8 ounce bottle of even sweeter Glucola (for the one-hour test, you drink a mixture that’s got 50g of sugar; for the three-hour test, you drink a mixture that’s got 100g of sugar, and let me tell you, you taste every. single. gram.). And then I waited for them to call me in for hourly blood draws until my three hours was up.

The lab was mostly populated with people fighting off some sort of viral infection, so immediately, I wanted to hide. I’m not usually one to shy away from folks fighting off illness–it’s not their fault they got sick, after all–but knowing how nasty flu season has been and knowing how bad the flu can be when you’re pregnant, I was kind of wishing for a hazmat suit, especially when a tween flopped down next to me and proceeded to hack up a lung every two minutes or so without covering his mouth. Hnnngh.

The other most common patients I saw were babies. Babies and lab work are never fun, but they all need it at some point, whether it’s testing for lead levels or something more serious. And, well. There were a lot coming for those tests on Tuesday. The smallest was dressed in red checked pajamas and a pair of sneakers. He seemed to have just learned how to walk and kept toddling over to the lab entrance and then back to his mom when he got concerned. He had the cutest black bowlcut and was basically just charming the hell out of everyone there…

…and then he had to go get his blood drawn and came out sniffling and trying to be brave but failing miserably, and my heart shattered just a little bit.

Anyway. The test was long enough that I got to see the entirety of a snowstorm play out and see that it had all melted by the time I left.

The real snowstorm, the one that made things gross, hit on Wednesday, shortly after I called the doctor and got my results back–negative for gestational diabetes, yes! Kyle worked from home that day, as he had on Tuesday, though this time because of the snow. It wasn’t supposed to hit until that afternoon, but it would’ve made for a hellish evening commute, and he figured he could just work more easily if he didn’t bother.

So it was a typical day with Kyle working from home, and by that I mean that Sam was out of his mind with glee. He loves when his dad works from home, somehow convinced that this means he’ll get more playtime during the day (he doesn’t). He also usually has to be corralled away from the office door so that he doesn’t spend the entire day butting in on Kyle’s phone calls or trying to convince Kyle that he should stop coding and play Overwatch instead.

In short: I did a lot on Wednesday.

That may have been why, as the day wore down, I started to feel a nasty pain around my left eye. Or it may have been the weather. Whatever the reason, by 8:00, I had a full-blown migraine with aura. Now, this would usually just be a sign for me to just go to bed and pray it would improve by the morning except that severe headaches with vision disturbances are also a sign of one of the Big Bads of Pregnancy, preeclampsia.


With preeclampsia, everything sort of goes wrong at once. Your blood pressure rises to dangerously high levels, your liver gives you the finger, and it’s basically a huge emergency situation that means delivery is imminent unless you want yourself and your baby (or babies) to die. It’s another thing that’s more likely with obesity, twin pregnancies, and also with the medication I’m taking for my depression and anxiety.

(and before you ask: I’m still on the medication because I like not being suicidal and/or having panic attacks, particularly when pregnant. There’s a risk of preeclampsia with the medication, but there’s a guarantee of a downward spiral without it)

Anyway, there I was with a migraine that kept me from focusing on the computer screen in the least. Kyle noticed me looking worried and asked what was wrong, so I explained the situation to him. He’s a worrier himself, even more than I am, and when I explained what preeclampsia was and how I was feeling, he said, “Call your doctor. Now.”

“Can’t I just have a drink of water first?”

“No. Now.”

He was right, of course, and I swallowed my absolute loathing for phone calls (seriously, even calling friends, I’m like… why do I have to do this??? The only people I don’t get skittish about calling are Kyle and my mom, and that’s it in the entire world) to call the 24-hour nurse line and ask for advice. They connected me with the on-call doctor pretty quickly, and she said that while my lack of swelling and so-far, so-good blood pressure readings were reassuring signs, she wanted me to come in for testing and observation so that we could completely rule out preeclampsia.

Because you don’t fuck around with preeclampsia.

While this was an overall good idea, it still created something of a dilemma for us, and that dilemma’s name was Sam. We needed to get Sam to my parents’ house so they could watch him overnight, get to the hospital, and hopefully get home, all over VERY icy roads. Fortunately, my parents were more than willing to help out with the entire situation, and Sam was so soundly asleep that the transfer between our house and theirs went almost entirely unnoticed (by Sam, at least). We packed a bag for him to stay overnight, and my mom said that she’d either take Sam to school the next day or just have him stay at the house until I was done with my doctor’s appointment in the morning.

Next, it was off to the hospital. The roads weren’t as nasty as we expected, but everything was quickly gaining a fine sheen of ice, and the temperatures were dropping quickly. If we got to go home that night, it would be a very interesting drive.


Kyle and I both tried to keep things light on the drive in, but we were nervous. I’ve only just hit 29 weeks this week, and that’s pretty early for even the most healthy of babies to be born. Our twins would be looking at a fairly long NICU stay and, what’s more, we wouldn’t be as close to them as we wanted. The hospital we’re delivering at only has a Level 2B NICU, which is great for babies who aren’t that sick or are born past 32 weeks gestation… but that wouldn’t have been us. We’d have needed to be transported by ambulance to our hospital’s affiliate in Boston, Tufts and its Floating Hospital for Children. On the one hand, if you’re going to have a sick baby, Floating Hospital is the place to do it. Boston overall is the place to do it. Our medical facilities are among the best in the nation, and they’re constantly coming up with new technologies and new methods of treatment for all of their patients.

On the other hand, nobody wants to see their baby or babies that sick. And on the other other hand, Boston is a huge drive for us–without traffic, we’re looking at 45 minutes at least, and there’s always downtown city traffic. We’d figure it out, of course, but the idea had us both a little shaken. At a closer hospital, we could visit the twins often, as often as we felt necessary, and it wouldn’t have a huge impact on our lives overall. At Tufts, though?

It was after hours when we arrived, so we had to go through the ER to get to the maternity ward, up on the third level. The nurse at the front desk was more than happy to assist and even called a wheelchair for me, which I blame on the fact that even though the twins are 29 weeks along, I look like I’m at a full 40. Another nurse, apparently visiting from Florida (poor thing, what a night to be visiting from Florida), wheeled me along while cheerfully gabbing away about the weather and the superb owls and other innocuous topics; Kyle shuffled along behind us, bearing most of the nervousness for the rest of the group.

I haven’t taken the hospital tour yet, so getting to see the maternity ward was pretty awesome. It’s a nice place with private rooms and pleasant views from every window. The nursing staff are all really helpful and cool, and I’m grateful for that: although I’ve had nothing but positive experiences with L&D nurses, I know a lot of people who’ve had some absolute Nurse Ratchets, and that’s something that can just ruin the entire experience.

(the niceness of these nurses made me feel extra good about my L&D strategy of bringing in food for anyone who will be helping deliver my babies. Last time, we brought candy, and I think we will again this time, plus granola bars that they can nosh on whenever they have a couple of seconds free)

Anyway, needless to say, I didn’t deliver on Wednesday; it was just a migraine after all. The hospital visit was as unremarkable as they come: I gave urine and blood, I had my blood pressure monitored, the babies were monitored (they kept moving away from the heartbeat monitors because neither of them are fans of having their space intruded on; Carrie, in particular, kept kicking at the darn thing to try and get it off). At one point, I received an ultrasound from the on-call OB resident (who looked to be about 12) because they kept losing the babies’ heartbeats–not because either Isaac or Carrie were in distress, but because neither of them wanted to have any attention paid to them.

All told, we were in the hospital about three hours, and we got sent home after I got Hospital Brand Excedrin for my migraine. Everyone agreed that I’d done the right thing by coming in, so I didn’t feel too bad about “crying wolf,” as it were, and best of all, we learned that–at least on Wednesday night–both babies are head-down. This vastly increases my chances for a vaginal delivery, meaning shorter recovery time and, you know, a lack of major abdominal surgery.

We got home around 1 a.m. and promptly fell asleep because Kyle had to work and I had a doctor’s appointment the next day. Both were similarly unremarkable, to a point: my doctor’s appointment was a nice, quick one that lasted less than 15 minutes and mostly involved a conversation about (a) how they’re hoping I’ll stay pregnant for at least another 3-4 weeks; and (b) what I want to do for birth control afterwards.

I told my provider (not Dr. Solano, whom I’m seeing in ~2 weeks) that I want the whole system removed. I’m 100% serious on this; I don’t know if I can get a complete hysterectomy before the age of 35 without a major medical reason, but I want one like Christmas. I’ve had nearly 25 years of agonizing periods and overall misery. I’m done. I want this terrible pear-shaped organ taken out of my body, set on fire, and peed on by a dog.


My provider misinterpreted this to mean that I wanted my tubes tied (an option, but it means I still get periods, so not the BEST option) and told me that I could get my tubes tied during a C-section or afterwards. OR, if I didn’t want to have surgery in the first year after giving birth, I could have an IUD instead!

I took the pamphlet. I do not want an IUD.

But that was another conversation for another time. My mom and I both got back to the house around the same time, her with Sam and me with a Dr. Pepper. Sam was effusively excited to be home, hugging me and cuddling up with his blankets and having a wonderful time. My mom was glad to have further details of my hospital adventure to put her mind at ease. We had a lovely visit and, when my mom left, it was time for Sam to go up for his afternoon rest.

And this is where things got interesting.

Sam was upstairs for about 45 minutes, and he was playing quietly. I had my lunch and began to tool around online, checking to make sure the minivans we’re hoping to buy next weekend were still around, chatting with friends, the works. At the 45 minute mark, Sam called down to me, “Mommy, I pooped.”

This is not uncommon for my not-completely-potty-trained child, who will do everything in the toilet except poop there. We send him up for rest time with a pull-up on, and that’s usually when he chooses to go. “Alright,” I told him, “I’ll be up in a few minutes.”

I set about gathering the things I’d need to change a poopy diaper, and Sam called down again, this time with a wail of despair. “Mommy, the poop is getting everywhere!”


There are many phrases you never want to hear as a parent. Most pertain to situations in which your child is dead, injured, or in grave danger; but assuming that your child is healthy and safe, and assuming that you are caring for them at the moment, the phrase “Mommy, the poop is getting everywhere!” ranks pretty high on the list of things you DO NOT EVER WANT TO HEAR. What does it mean, that the poop is getting everywhere? Is it on your clothes? Is it on the walls? Is it on the floor? Did you clog a toilet? What happened? How afraid should I be?

Very, as it turned out.

I told Sam not to move and made my way up the stairs, carrying plastic bags, diapers, wipes, and faith. At the foot of the stairs, the stench hit me, an almost visible miasma that I’m 99% sure gave me X-Man powers. It grew stronger as I ascended and nearly brought tears to my eyes when I reached the room.

The sight that greeted me shook me to my core. Sam lay on a pile of blankets, tears in his eyes. His feet were barely recognizable as such, as they were coated with poop. Poop trailed down his legs and arms, though I thankfully didn’t see any near his face. A trail of poop footprints led from the doorway to the blankets, like incredibly pungent ancient fossils. Shadows prevented me from seeing the state of the blankets upon which he lay, but that was probably for the best.

I swore as quietly as I could. In a very PG-13 way, even though my head was screaming obscenities that would get me banned from most decent theaters.

But I had to take care of it. I pasted on a smile. “Alright, buddy!” I said in my chipperest voice, like we were just going to change his diaper in a completely normal situation. “Let’s get over to the bed so I can change you!”

Sam stood. The tears in his eyes began to trickle down, but I kept the smile on. “Come on, bud, I’ve got you,” I said. I lifted him gingerly under his arms and placed as much of his lower half as I could on a plastic bag. And then we began.

The de-poopinating took about 45 minutes, all said and done. And it was nasty. Without details, I’ll say that by the time I considered Sam clean enough for decent society, his poor hands, feet, legs, and butt were scrubbed so hard that they’d gone pink and raw. He spent most of the time crying “Mommy, that really hurts!” and I spent most of the time feeling guilty because SON YOU NEED TO BE CLEAN but oh, I imagine it hurt a lot. And I didn’t want it to.

But he got clean, and then I looked around the room and felt a wave of despair. The carpet was vile. The blankets were terrifying. And Sam himself could probably stand to have a proper bath or shower rather than the wipe down I gave him.

And I couldn’t do any of it.

As I said before, the twins are 29 weeks along, but I’m measuring 40 weeks. My belly is huge. It eclipses half of my thighs. It kicks Kyle out of bed. It weighs a ton. And I cannot bend over, even to do mundane things like putting on socks or shoes. Getting down to scrub the floor, pick up the blankets, even crouching to help Sam with a shower or bath? Absolutely out of the question.

And I still have 9 weeks or so to go!

I set Sam up in Kyle and my bed with his Kindle and told him that I’d be back soon. And then I called Kyle, and I’m not ashamed to admit that I was crying a little when I did. I begged him to come home early. Not too early, I told him, like you don’t have to leave right this second, but there’s so much to be cleaned and if we wait until the usual time you get home, at 7:30, Sam won’t get to bed until midnight.

Kyle is a good husband. He talked to his boss right then and there and was home in an hour, armed with carpet cleaner, treats for Sam, dinner stuff, and a kiss for me. He kissed me, kissed Sam, cleaned the carpets, put the blankets in the wash, and then dove back into work.

And there was morning and there was evening on Thursday.

Friday was blissfully calm. Sam had a wholly normal day, I had a wholly normal day, and Kyle had a wholly normal day. We were all sort of holding our breath for Saturday, though, because Saturday was my baby shower.

My mom and my cousins especially were adamant that I have a baby shower for the twins. It’s been four years since Sam was born, I needed a lot of stuff, and on my part, I really wanted to celebrate this rainbow pregnancy with the people I love most. And they, along with my aunt and uncle, planned a fantastic little party for me, complete with cupcake and onesie decorating, an ice cream cake, Mad Libs, and everyone I loved surrounding me.

I was even more excited about the party, too, because my aunties on my dad’s side were planning to attend. I adore them, honestly, but we live so far away from each other than I rarely get to see them outside of Major Life Events, like weddings and baby showers and so on. BUT they all RSVPed, which caused me to break into my happy dance, and I was seriously bouncing with joy just to see them there. I’ve missed them! I think the last time we were all together was at my cousin Tim’s wedding in 2015, so seeing them again was just awesome, absolutely awesome.

And the whole party had the net effect of making me feel a million times more loved and supported than I already did. I know how much my family loves me, and how we have a very strong sense of being there for each other as a group, but it’s always awesome to have that reminder, seeing the people you love all together and telling you how much they care.

Which is to say, it was a really good end to a crazy week. Next week is going to be similarly busy, though I’m hoping we can avoid the whole hospital visit thing. And I’m hoping that the weeks that follow will be chill enough that we can prepare for the twins’ arrival in relative calm.

But we’ll see.