Monday, September 9, 2013
Numbers Don't Lie...Or Do They?
"We totally need to buy that," I gushed at Jimmi as I pulled the tiny, pink onesie off the rack at Buy Buy Baby on Saturday night. Being a woman, or master of manipulation, I was able to get my husband to the store under the pretense of "just looking," but I barely made it ten steps in before I wanted to purchase every pink or purple item I spotted. But this one shirt was really so perfect. It was just a basic pale-pink onesie, but the words printed on it made me laugh out loud, "This shirt is Daddy-proof" was written across the front. Above that read "Head" with an arrow pointing up, two arrows labeled "Arm" were pointing to the holes on either side and down at the bottom, where the back meets the front, was an arrow pointing down to the word "snap." It was brilliant! Jimmi didn't quite understand why I found it so amusing, but it won't be long before it becomes very clear. We continued walking through the store, out of the clothing section where I could've maxed out my credit cards with one swoop of sequins, glitter and bows, and landed in the pharmacy aisle. "Wow," I gasped as I realized how many new and ingenious breakthroughs have been made in snot-sucking since my boys were babies. There were the basic hospital bulbs, which never really worked. Then I saw a battery-operated mucus removing device, which seemed like something I might put on my registry in the future, and then, "Ewwwww!" I screamed as I grabbed the box in front of me. This can't be what it looks like. Can it? The tool was called the "Snotsucker." No fancy name was necessary for this product, though I couldn't believe how accurate the moniker was. The small package had a very simple cartoon drawing on the outside of it. The lower part of the box showed a smiling baby with great, big eyes. In his nose was a thin, blue tube connected to a clear tube connected to a thin, red tube that was being sucked by what appeared to be the mother's lips. "What the Hell is THAT?!" Jimmi shrieked with the same disgusted look I knew I had. "I think you're actually supposed to suck the snot out of the baby's nose with your mouth!" I had to be interpreting the picture incorrectly so I quickly turned over the box to read the words. Nope, I was right. "Gross!" Jimmi said, and we both decided it was time to move on to a less scary aisle for beginner and renewing parents of infants.
A few more steps brought us to the land of bouncy seats. Well, they used to be bouncy seats. Now they're high-tech, swooshing, music-playing, ocean-breezing, rocking and gliding mega-seats. And there were so many choices! "How do we know which one to get?" I asked out loud as I watched Jimmi's head actually explode. "Ok, we'll figure this out later. Let's look at carseats and strollers," I suggested as we walked past the furniture. "Good thing I still have Dylan and Justin's crib." We entered the travel section and it was almost like a game show where you had to guess which one would be the best option. I'll take the carseat behind Door number three for $450, please! Wait, what? Does that price tag really say $450? For a carseat? And obviously we'd want an additional base for the other car, right? $219? For a BASE? Is it made of GOLD? We tried to find more reasonable options that would still protect our baby in case of an accident but the selection was overwhelming. Though, Jimmi did find a toddler seat made by a popular race car company, and that almost made him seem more excited than scared to death about becoming a dad. Finally we perused the barrage of strollers. "Yes!" I exclaimed, "They DO have a double Snap n Go!" Jimmi's face told me he had no idea what I was talking about. "A Snap n Go is the best invention ever! It's just the bars and basket of a stroller that any carseat will snap into. It's lighter weight and easier than dealing with a huge stroller." I could see he still wasn't processing the "double" part. "Hey, listen. Twins are a real possibility so you may want to get used to the idea."
Obviously I'd considered the twin thing. I mean, we transferred two embryos into Lyndsay, so it's not that farfetched of a concept. But, until that moment, I hadn't actually thought about anything other than having twins means having two babies. I didn't think about two carseats and two high chairs and two bouncers and double strollers and another crib and twice as many diapers and bottles and clothes. The dollar signs started adding up in my head and I must've looked completely bewildered when I heard, "May I help you with something?" I snapped out of my visible shock and answered the saleswoman, "We're just looking right now, thank you." She smiled, "Are you newly expecting?" I felt myself relax as I nodded, "Very newly, yes." She congratulated us and I couldn't help thinking about how much fun it'll be to screw with people by telling them I'm pregnant and watching their confusion as my weight never changes but a baby magically appears in the spring. Maybe I'll even walk around with a beer in my hand for the next nine months!
After returning home that night Jimmi disappeared into the basement to rehearse for his upcoming drumming gig and I went to consult with my good friend, Google. Lyndsay was scheduled for a blood test to determine her HCG level on Monday and I was really curious to know what the number should be for a singleton (one baby) and what it might be if she's carrying twins. What I found didn't help much. Generally the levels are lower with one baby and higher with multiples, but most of the websites I read mentioned that the more important factor is how much the level rises after two days. In order to consider it a normal pregnancy, the number is expected to at least double. If it goes up much more than that, multiples might be possible. Of course, the only true test to determine how many babies we're having will be an ultrasound, but that's not for another week or so.
On Sunday morning I texted Lyndsay to check in. I was a bit nervous to hear that she wasn't feeling well and decided to stay on the couch all day. Being the paranoid Googler I am, I checked her symptoms with early pregnancy and found them to be pretty common. She also mentioned overdoing it a little bit the day before and assumed the extra exertion might have been the culprit. "You're not bleeding or cramping, right?" I texted. "No, nothing like that," she responded and a sense of ease came over me. I thought back to being newly pregnant with Dylan when I decided it was a good idea to hop over the seats at a Bon Jovi concert instead of waiting for the people next to me to exit my row. The next day I was a crampy, nervous wreck and my mom reamed me out for it! Obviously everything worked out and Dylan was fine. I guess our bodies tell us when we need to slow down and rest for a bit. About an hour later Lyndsay sent me a picture of a pregnancy test and I was a little confused until I read the text, "I just took the final test I had cause I'm obsessive!! Look! Lines exact same color. :) Getting darker by the day!" I couldn't stop the smile from overtaking my face at the meaning of what she'd just written. Pregnancy tests respond to the level of HCG (pregnancy hormone) in your body. The more pregnant you are, the more HCG you produce. More HCG means darker lines on a pregnancy test. As far as the latest picture showed, things were still moving along with our little pumpkin!
I heard my phone vibrating early this morning and noticed the Minnesota area code right away. It was the call we were waiting for! Lyndsay's blood test was scheduled for that day and she told me if she was able to get it done before work she should be able to pull up the results by 9:00 AM, EST. Let me first say that we're totally cheating. Aside from the fact that Lyndsay was told not to take a home test, which she and I both blatantly ignored, she is also in a position to get her blood results before our fertility clinic calls either one of us because she works at the hospital! It's nice to have friends on the inside. Anyway, my hand was shaking as I answered the phone. Why was she calling and not texting? Was something wrong and she wanted to tell me instead of writing the bad news? "Suzanne? It's Lyndsay," she said. "I have my blood level results." I have no idea why I was so scared, "And?" was all I could get out. "Five-hundred twenty-three," she answered. Ok, that sounded high, but I remembered everything I'd read about the first test not meaning much without the second. "Is that high?" I asked naively. Her voice boomed into the phone, "That's HUGE! You're totally having twins!" I laughed as I tried not to get too excited, "Well, I read that it might not mean anything yet." She laughed, "When I carried for my cousin my first test was two-hundred and sixty. This is five-hundred and twenty-three!" Ok, I couldn't argue with that. I hung up and texted Jimmi, who was downstairs, "Lyndsay's levels are at 523." He didn't write back but yelled up to me, "Does that mean twins?" I called back, "It's definitely possible!"
I didn't want to over think the number until I heard from our clinic, and the nurse was taking forever to call! Finally, at about 1:00, I saw the number appear on the phone. "Hi Suzanne! I have Lyndsay's blood results," she said cheerily. "We're pregnant, right?" I tried to play dumb. "Yeah, you could say that. Her HCG was five-hundred and twenty-three, so you probably have two growing in there." I needed clarification, "Can you really tell just from the HCG level?" She answered, "Well, not totally. We really need to see how the number rises on Wednesday. But I can tell you that we usually like the first test to be between fifty and ninety. Yours is five twenty-three. Pretty safe bet you're having twins." I tried not to burst with joy since I know more than one person who started out with twins and ended up losing one or both before the first trimester was finished. "I'm gonna call Lyndsay now and let her know her results. I also want her to raise her dose of Progesterone because that level dropped a bit. It's still in the normal range but we want it back where it was. I'll call you on Wednesday when I have her next blood levels," she said. "Can you just tell me her due date?" I asked. "Looks like May 18th," she said, "that would make her about four weeks pregnant." We ended the call and I sent a text to Jimmi at rehearsal...
"Looks like twins."