"Purpose" - Avenue Q

It has been over a year since my last blog post and I am excited to be writing again. I have obviously been extremely busy this past year taking care of my three little ones. Ella and Ethan recently turned three years old and we just celebrated Brayden's first birthday. This seems crazy to me because I feel like I was just pregnant not so long ago. Time still feels like it is flying by and even though my time recently has been pretty limited, I have some very exciting news to share...and no I'm not pregnant again!

Some of my friends and family know that over the last three years since being on bed rest with the twins, I have continued to help other moms on bed rest to support them through the difficult time. I have been a guest speaker at UCLA Santa Monica's weekly bed rest support group, visited moms on bed rest at the hospital, and I have maintained my private Facebook support group that I started while I was on bed rest myself. I always felt the need to give back after my bed rest journey was over because the entire experience was so incredibly isolating and difficult to go through. The best medicine for me was talking to others who had experienced bed rest first-hand, and I have done the same for other moms in order to help them through the long process. After realizing that this was such a needed service, I decided to start my own business doing what I am most passionate about. I am proud to announce that as of today, www.BedRestLifeCoach.com has officially launched!

In the master plan of life, I truly feel that I was given the gift of being on bed rest not only to save the lives of my babies, but also to use the knowledge I gained to give back and coach others. I realized very quickly when I was on bed rest, that the high amount of stress I was feeling about my situation could really take its toll on the babies and cause the pre-term labor to continue. Regardless of being on anti-contraction medication, having a cerclage put in, and lying in bed with my legs up at a 30 degree angle, I experienced how stress could overpower all of the labor-stopping methods. When I felt that stress, my contractions got stronger and more frequent and when I was relaxed and calm, so were my babies. It made so much sense! If I felt that "fight or flight" response, then the twins would too and they were already trying to "fly" way too early to begin with. I was able to recognize this early on during my own bed rest journey and make necessary adjustments in order to cause my experience to be a positive one. Now to enhance my services, I am currently becoming certified as a life coach through The Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC). I am very excited to start the next chapter with my new business, Bed Rest Life Coach and appreciate everyone's incredible support.

*The song "Purpose" is from the 2003 Broadway musical Avenue Q which won the Tony Award for Best Musical that year. Avenue Q was inspired by Sesame Street and uses puppets to help tell the story, but takes on a much more 'R' rated version with adult themes. The character Princeton has recently graduated from college but has no clue where his life should go. He sings about needing to find his purpose as he moves into his new apartment and meets new friends. Like Princeton, I was not sure of my life purpose until a very challenging experience turned into an incredible gift. It is important to look at all challenges as opportunities because you really never know what good can come from it. My favorite quote continues to be "life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond to it" because if my response during bed rest continued to be anxiety and fear, I definitely would not have ended up where I am today.

 These miracle babies are the most important purpose of them all!

These miracle babies are the most important purpose of them all!

"June Is Bustin' Out All Over" - Carousel

June 3rd ended up being the day that my pregnancy stopped being boring. I was half way through the 38th week, looking forward to another couple of weeks to get everything done on my to-do list before the baby arrived and then, I started bleeding...a lot. At first I thought, maybe this is the mucus plug coming out which is usually the first sign that labor is beginning, but there was too much blood than what all of the pregnancy websites described. I quickly called my doctor to see if I should be concerned or if this was part of the labor process which I never got to experience with the twins. My doctor wanted me to come in to be checked out just in case this was something serious. I spent about 10 hours in the hospital while my doctor was trying to figure out where the bleeding was coming from. Luckily, he could not find anything serious going on after performing an ultrasound. If the bleeding was coming from the placenta then I would have been in trouble but luckily, everything internally seemed to be fine. However, he did discover that I was having mild but consistent contractions and was concerned that if he sent me home, the contractions could get stronger. Plus, without knowing for sure why I was bleeding, there was risk in sending me home and having that issue get worse as well. All signs pointed to getting this baby out sooner than later so I was officially admitted into the hospital with my c-section scheduled for the next day.

Ironically, the hospital room that I was waiting in was the same room that I spent my 122 days of bed rest in. So many memories in that room and I strangely felt like I was back home. While I was under observation for those 10 hours before knowing my fate, I started to think back to what I was able to do in the last month of my pregnancy that I never got to experience before. Just one month earlier, I got to enjoy a real baby shower that was not in the hospital family dining room with me lying on a couch the whole time. It was the baby shower I always wanted to have and fantasized about while I was on bed rest with the twins. I never knew that one day I would be able to enjoy something like that...standing up! I got to wear a fancy dress and spend a beautiful afternoon with my family and friends sipping tea and eating scones.

In addition to the baby shower, I also got to have a maternity photo shoot. I had one when I was pregnant with the twins but it had to be done in my hospital room using the privacy curtain as a back drop. Super glamorous. At least the photographer was creative with the limitations of the space. This time around, I got to be outside surrounded by nature...and I was standing up! When your only concept of pregnancy is being on strict bed rest, the normal things that most women get to experience become extremely exciting. Even just being out in public pregnant was a new experience. Random strangers felt intrigued to ask me about my due date, what the gender was, etc. I got the funniest comments when I would be out and about with the twins. Imagine seeing a double stroller filled with two screaming toddlers and then a very pregnant mom pushing that stroller. "Wow...you have your hands full!" "You are a glutton for punishment!" "You're gonna need a bigger stroller!" Yet another perk of having a boring pregnancy. Now all of that would be coming to an end as I anxiously waited for my c-section to happen.

On June 4th at 3:39pm, Dr. Tabsh pulled out a cute little baby from my belly and shouted "it's a boy!" I had decided not to find out the gender and it was a wonderful surprise having it announced in the operating room. Tears streamed down my face as I heard the first cries and realized that this miracle baby was going to be the baby brother to Ella and Ethan. As I was waiting for him to be cleaned up and weighed, I started to think about a name for the baby since that was something that Brett and I had not figured out yet. The name Leo was being tossed around as a middle name in honor of my father, Leonard who passed away just a few months after the twins were born. Other than that, no boy names were in the running for the first name. Ironically, we had a much bigger list of girls names which is what also happened when we were picking names out for the twins. Then, as I was waiting on the operating table, the name Brayden popped into my head and when I finally got to see and kiss my baby for the first time, I felt like that name might just be the perfect one. After talking to Brett and sleeping on the decision, our son officially got the name Brayden Leo.

My pregnancy with Brayden was considered boring, especially compared to what I went through with the twins. However, finding out that I was pregnant during that fateful psychic reading back in December was far from boring. My husband and I were catapulted into this new chapter in our lives over the course of just 6 months. New car, new home, new family of five! Brayden took us all by surprise but we are beyond happy and feel so blessed that we were able to have another baby and got the chance to experience a normal pregnancy. Our story goes on...

*The song "June Is Bustin' Out All Over" is from the 1945 Broadway musical Carousel by Rogers and Hammerstein. This love story centers around the relationship between carousel barker Billy Bigelow and millworker Julie Jordan and was originally based on the 1909 play Liliom. This song was in my head a lot during my entire pregnancy since my due date was in the middle of June and I knew that if I made it that far, my belly would definitely be "bustin' out." It was really sweet to be able to talk to Ella and Ethan about the baby in my belly and try to explain what was going to be happening. They were still too young to really understand that mommy's belly meant that they would have a new brother or sister but now that Brayden is out, they are adjusting quite nicely. Brayden is a lucky guy to have Ella and Ethan to grow up with.

Baby Shower of my dreams
Baby Shower of my dreams
Maternity photo shoot
Maternity photo shoot
Brayden meets Mommy
Brayden meets Mommy
Brayden meets Ella & Ethan
Brayden meets Ella & Ethan
Welcome Baby Brayden!
Welcome Baby Brayden!

"You Two" - Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

Ella and Ethan are officially two years old! It's just crazy how much has happened in this past year with their development and personalities. After turning one, they quickly transitioned from crawling to walking and now they are running...in opposite directions of course! Then the language just blossomed and all of a sudden Ella and Ethan went from making typical baby noises to saying actual words and fully understanding any directions we gave them. Currently they love going over their ABC's and numbers and enjoy singing "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" and "The Itsy Bitsy Spider." These kids are at such a cute age regardless of the "terrible twos" that Brett and I are bracing for. Hopefully they will cut us some slack since we will soon have a newborn to manage in addition to caring for the two of them. In lieu of a birthday party this year, Brett and I took them to Disneyland for the first time. The day turned out to be truly magical and it was such a pleasure to watch their reactions while experiencing so many firsts. The first ride we decided to go on was "It's a Small Word" and Ella and Ethan were just in awe. So many things to look at and point out. It made me think about how many, many years ago I was on this very same ride as a young child sitting on my mom's lap experiencing the same kind of first that my own kids were now enjoying. We went on other rides in Fantasyland as well and then went up to Toon Town to meet Mickey Mouse which was a huge highlight. Ella and Ethan gave Mickey kisses on the nose and could not stop saying "bye bye Mickey" as we exited. It was so cute that I had tears in my eyes! Overall, I think Ella and Ethan's favorite attraction had to be the Tiki Room. They just danced the whole time and loved pointing to all the talking birds and flowers that they saw around them.

For dinner, we made reservations at Goofy's Kitchen in the Disneyland Hotel where they have a bunch of characters come to your table while you eat. Back in December, we were vacationing in Hawaii and got to attend a couple of these character dining experiences at the Aulani Resort in Oahu where Ella and Ethan got their first taste of Disney characters. They loved hugging and kissing the characters back then and I just knew they would have a blast when we eventually took them to Disneyland for the first time. Now at Goofy's Kitchen, they got to have some one-on-one time with Minnie Mouse, Snow White, Mad Hatter, and of course Goofy, to name a few. They each got a special birthday cupcake and both were able to blow out their own candles. Once dinner was done, we put them in the car and they had these huge smiles on their faces as they hugged their new Mickey and Minnie stuffed animals and then quickly fell asleep as we started our drive back home.

These precious moments I was witnessing were such a blessing. It was a huge reminder of how lucky I am to not be on bed rest this time around. I had been planning to take Ella and Ethan to Disneyland for their 2nd birthday for a long time and when I found out I was pregnant, I assumed that the same complications I had the first time around would happen again. I was preparing myself to just miss out on several months of life again. Thankfully, my body has cooperated and I have been able to continue to have a boring pregnancy. This has granted me the opportunity to be there for the continued milestones and wonderful memories with Ella and Ethan in the few months left that we have as a family of four.

*The song "You Two" is from the 2005 Broadway musical Chitty Chitty Bang Bang which originally opened on the West End in 2002. I remember watching the 1968 film version with Dick Van Dyke several times when I was a kid. In this song, Caractacus is lovingly singing to his two children Jeremy and Jemima about being so happy that he has them in his life. I can obviously relate and I count my lucky stars everyday that I have my two angels in my life. Ella and Ethan turning two is yet another reminder of how numerous prayers, miracles, and an amazing doctor got them into this world in the first place. It is hard to believe that our "two" will soon be "three" as we welcome this new baby into our family. Ella and Ethan are incredible children and I have no doubt that they will become a loving and supportive big brother and big sister.

DSC_0140
DSC_0140
Ella and Daddy at the petting zoo
Ella and Daddy at the petting zoo
Meeting Mickey Mouse
Meeting Mickey Mouse
Kissing Minnie Mouse
Kissing Minnie Mouse
Blowing out the candles
Blowing out the candles

"Moving Too Fast" - The Last Five Years

I feel like my life right now is on the fast track in every aspect. It is so hard to believe that with my last pregnancy, I was counting the minutes and seconds while I was held as a prisoner in the hospital on bed rest. Crossing out each day on my calendar and feeling like time was standing still. I became a human incubator confined to a hospital bed with only walking privileges to get up to use the bathroom. Flash forward two years and now I can barely keep up with the tremendous amount of changes and to-do lists that bombard me each day. It took a little bit of time for my husband and I to recover from the shock of becoming pregnant unexpectedly but we quickly knew that with this new baby, we needed to make certain changes to accommodate becoming a family of five. We already got the car situation settled with the purchase of our new mini-van so now, the main focus is moving into a bigger home with a 3rd bedroom. With our limited amount of time before the baby came and the fact that the housing market is not favorable for buyers right now, Brett and I decided we should just look into rentals for the time being. We have been renting a 2-bedroom apartment for the last six years and have been very happy with our cozy place, thinking that when we eventually move, it would be for the reason of buying a house. With our new change of plans, aka baby #3, we had to kick it into high gear and upgrade to a 3-bedroom before this baby made its arrival. The community we currently live in does not have 3-bedroom apartments and we knew that not only would we need an extra bedroom but also more play space in general for our three kids. We were officially outgrowing being able to live in an apartment so the search for a town home or house was in the works. We looked online at numerous properties and then started to view them in person. We eventually found a really nice privately owned town home in Oak Park that fit our needs and now with the signed lease, we are officially leaving Agoura Hills. It is bitter-sweet in a way to be moving from our 2-bedroom apartment because we have so many great memories here. This was the place where we started our life as a married couple and then eventually brought home our first children to. So many milestones and celebrations have taken place within these walls.

At this point, I am less than a few months away from giving birth and amidst the moving boxes and change of address checklists, I am still in disbelief that I am getting to spend this pregnancy on my feet and vertical. I felt some sadness in the hospital since I was not able to nest and put together the nursery. I had the feeling like I was missing out on what millions of other pregnant women were able to do. When I came home with the twins from the hospital, we all got to see the nursery in person for the first time. Now I am here, not only being able to nest but put together a whole new house for this baby and my family, let alone a new nursery. No more FaceTime with Brett while he shopped for paint swatches and arranged the furniture. I was actually going to be in the driver's seat and present to create what our new nursery and home would look like. I am definitely not taking any minute of this for granted! There are an abundance of changes happening but all for amazing reasons and it's hard to slow down at this point to take in each moment. Overall, I am just so relieved that we found a great new home with enough time to get settled and unpacked before the baby's big arrival in June.

*The song "Moving Too Fast" is from the 2002 Off-Braodway musical The Last Five Years which was written by Jason Robert Brown, one of my favorite composers. Brett and I actually got to see the original production when we were living in New York and fell in love with the music instantly. We are so excited that they have made this musical into a movie that will be coming out this year. The story itself is about a five year relationship where the characters are telling the story in reverse chronological order. Cathy starts the story from the end of the relationship, while Jamie starts the story from the beginning of the relationship. They take turns sharing songs about falling in love and getting heartbroken and throughout the show, you slowly see what happened in this doomed relationship as the puzzle pieces of their stories start to connect. Jamie sings the song "Moving Too Fast" which talks about how happy he is to be moving in with his new girlfriend Cathy while at the same time, his career has taken off. This particular song has been playing in my own head lately with all of the major changes that are happening all at once. To go from finding out that I am pregnant, to buying a mini-van, and now moving into a new home within the span of only a few months is very overwhelming. I've got to just keep rollin' along!

Our new home!
Our new home!
 We think we're gonna like it here (sung to the tune from Annie)

We think we're gonna like it here (sung to the tune from Annie)

"Wheels of a Dream" - Ragtime

Before I found out I was pregnant, my car ended up dying on me so Brett and I were on the hunt for a new car with more space. Traveling with two car seats and all of the accessories that come along with having twins can make a car very claustrophobic (especially in our Prius). We started looking at smaller SUVs that had five seats and pretty much narrowed down our choices to the point where we were going to make a final decision by New Year's Eve at the latest. Now with the news that we would be adding an additional car seat and newborn accessories into the car, we had to scrap our plans for a small SUV and start looking at cars with three rows of seats! Most of the cars we looked at that had the third row, lacked any adequate trunk space which was a must for the two strollers we would be storing. Not to mention, all of the cars really did not have an easy way of getting in and out of that third row. Since the second row of seats could not fold down due to the car seats, the only option was to put one kid in through the trunk to get them to the third row. No thank you! Brett and I came to the realization that we would have to consider the mini-van. Personally, I did not really care what I drove, just as long as it was practical and affordable. Brett on the other hand, shuddered at the thought of owning a mini-van so soon in his lifetime. I knew that if we had to get a mini-van, we needed to get one that had some nice features to help convince Brett that it wasn't all that bad.

The Honda Odyssey ended up being the car we chose and all of a sudden we became a family with a mini-van. Things were happening so quickly with finding out we were already more than 3 months pregnant and then all of sudden we were driving the ultimate mom-mobile. With this news, Brett and I knew that we would need to make a lot of changes to be able to fit this new baby into our lifestyle. The next step of course was to figure out how this baby would be fitting into our housing situation. We have been living in a 2 bedroom apartment for over 6 years and it was getting a little cramped with the twins but it met all of our needs and allowed us to be able to wait to buy a home until the time was right. Now we were then having to consider our home purchase to be sped up tremendously or else this new baby was going to be sleeping in the dining room. Considering that the timing was not the best in the market since it is most favorable for the seller, we had to also consider just renting a little longer but at least upgrading to an actual house as opposed to an apartment. So many choices to be made, in so little time.

It's interesting because when I was in the hospital during my first pregnancy, my mantra was "we plan, God laughs" due to the abruptness of being kidnapped from my life. Now the mantra repeating in my head is "God only gives you what you can handle." I am not an overly religious person but I do believe in God and I trust that what was happening to me and my family was always part of God's plan. After all, regardless of all the change and craziness we are about to endure, this baby will be a complete blessing. To think that I was not even considering having any more children since it was not certain my body could even get pregnant again, and now I was not only pregnant but so far having a normal gestation with no complications! My thoughts about having more children were so wrapped up with fear after enduring the four months of bed rest and true fear that came with living through a high risk pregnancy. Assuming I would be doing the whole fertility treatment game for years, be back in the hospital if I got pregnant again, not being able to see Ella and Ethan, etc. made me think that it was okay if we stayed a two kid household. I already felt so lucky to have Ella and Ethan so why push it? Luckily, God made the decision for us and fate has brought us this new addition in the most perfect of circumstances. No fertility treatments, no bed rest, and a chance to actually enjoy pregnancy and get to do all of things I missed out on the first time. Maybe God knew that one complicated pregnancy was all I could handle and I was given a free pass this time. Who knows...but in the end, regardless of the new car and the new house which is just pointless stuff, we are blessed with bringing a new baby into this world and having the love of our family grow stronger. We can definitely handle that!

*The song "Wheels of a Dream" is from the 1998 Broadway musical Ragtime which is based on the classic E.L. Doctorow novel of the same name. In the show, the characters Coalhouse and Sarah sing about the dreams and endless possibilities they have for their new baby boy. This story takes place in the early 20th century where owning a car was considered a huge luxury. Coalhouse is very proud because he just bought a car and in the song, he and Sarah sing about being able to drive their son all over the country and build a new life together. Ironically, when I went to pick up my new Honda Odyssey for the first time, I turned on the Broadway satellite radio channel and this song started to play. As I drove away with this song playing, I could not help but think about what getting this car meant and how it was the first step in truly preparing for this new baby to join our lives. What a dream come true indeed!

 Starting a new "odyssey" as a family of 5

Starting a new "odyssey" as a family of 5

"Miracle of Miracles" - Fiddler on the Roof

I have decided to resume by blog and take a break from writing my book to share some extremely surprising news... I'M PREGNANT!

This news came as a complete shock to me and my husband since I have been told by numerous doctors that it is medically impossible for me to get pregnant naturally without the use of heavy duty fertility drugs and treatments. I spent two years and thousands of dollars to get pregnant the first time with Ella & Ethan due to having PCOS and a defective pituitary gland. Because of my medical condition, I don't get my period at all because it was determined that my pituitary gland does not produce the hormones necessary to ovulate. Regardless of these factors, by some miracle a single egg happened to make it's way out and prove all of the doctors wrong.

What's even crazier is the fact that I had no clue what was going on in my body until 13 weeks into the pregnancy and a psychic was the one to break the news! Let me take you back to the last Friday the 13th we had in December. I woke up that morning bright and early to take a home pregnancy test to prove a psychic wrong...HA! Two days earlier on the 11th, I went to my psychic reading which was an early birthday present from my husband. I had given Brett the same birthday present a couple of months earlier and she seemed legit so I wanted to go for myself to hopefully speak to my deceased parents. I sit down at the reading and the first thing she asks me is "are you pregnant?" and I say no. She keeps pressing me and I finally give up the information of my medical condition and how me getting pregnant without a barrage of drugs would be impossible. She then switched gears and said that I must have a close friend or relative that was pregnant because this vibe was too strong to not be right. I said it could be possible that someone close to me was pregnant and I didn't know it yet. The reading continued but throughout the time we spent together, she kept bringing up the fact that there was a pregnancy. I left the reading with what she said ringing in my ears. At first I was trying to figure out who could possibly be pregnant in my circle of friends and family and then I started to wonder if by some miracle, it was in fact me.

The home pregnancy test I took two days later comes out positive but I did not fully trust the results due to my prior fertility struggles. Could my hormonal imbalance from the PCOS be skewing the test? I went to see my fertility doctor later that morning to get an official blood test and she was very surprised to see me in her office for this reason after all of the history we have together. A few hours later I got the highly anticipated phone call from her that there is no doubt that I am pregnant and I that I need to come in for an ultrasound immediately. I am in complete shock as I jump into my car to go back to her office. While I was driving there I couldn't stop thinking about the lack of pregnancy symptoms I had and thought that it must be really early on. No morning sickness at all...but then again, I luckily never had that symptom the first time around. The ultrasound starts and my doctor could not believe how far along I am. She took a bunch of measurements and estimated that I was 13 weeks pregnant! I completely went through the entire 1st trimester without even knowing it and feel like I can now be featured on the show "I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant." I am in disbelief as I see this fully formed fetus on the screen with a strong heartbeat yelling "SURPRISE!" from my uterus. How did this happen? My stomach was completely flat, I had no symptoms at all, and now in 6 months I was going to become a mother of 3?!?!

The next plan of action was to call my miracle worker OBGYN, Dr. Tabsh who got me through my first pregnancy. Since I was already in my 2nd trimester, the worry started to set in about having to be on bed rest again and if my cervix would start to shorten prematurely. Of course, this was all happening when I was about to get on a plane to vacation in Hawaii with my family. Last time I planned a big trip during my pregnancy, I ended up getting admitted into the hospital for 4 months so my track record was not the best. I was able to get an appointment that night at 11pm so that he could check my cervix and hopefully give me some good news. He was very surprised to see me and husband back in his office after all we had gone through the first time. He did an extensive ultrasound and found everything to be perfectly normal! He even said "have fun on your trip" which was like music to my ears. Dr. Tabsh explained that I will be closely monitored but every pregnancy is different and maybe now that I am only carrying one baby, my cervix won't be as temperamental as it was before. I never thought that my body would be able to have a normal pregnancy that didn't involve bed rest. I am not getting my hopes up since anything could happen from now until June. Plus, once you go though a high risk pregnancy that leaves to hospitalized, you are bound to have some post traumatic stress which causes you to keep your expectations in check.

Regardless of what may happen with this pregnancy, this baby is another miracle that we were meant to have in our lives. Brett and I were not sure if we were going to have anymore kids because of the fertility and pregnancy issues I experienced the first time. Now that decision has been made by a higher power and we are slowly getting used to the fact that Ella and Ethan are going to be a big sister and big brother by June 2014. L'Chaim!

*The song "Miracle of Miracles" is from the 1964 Broadway musical Fiddler on the Roof which ran on Broadway for almost 10 years. This joyous song comes at a part of the show where Motel has found out that he has Tevye's blessing to marry Tzeitel. This is considered a miracle to Motel since Tzeitel would have otherwise had a traditional arranged marriage with a man she did not love. This new pregnancy is truly a miracle because I never in my wildest dreams thought that my body was able to have a baby naturally since my "tradition" has been the exact opposite. I felt like I got my fill of miracles the first time around when Ella and Ethan were born full term and healthy after the tremendous journey we were on. We are extremely grateful that we have been blessed with another angel in our lives and cannot wait to meet he or she very soon!

 Here we go again

Here we go again

 Had no clue this cute baby was living inside of me!

Had no clue this cute baby was living inside of me!

 Finally starting to show

Finally starting to show

"The Spark of Creation" - Children of Eden

Many people have been asking me lately when I will be publishing my next blog post. It has been a while since the last post was all about the twins turning one back in April. I figured I should let everyone know why I have been on hiatus and also get the word out there about my "spark of creation." For several months now I have been struggling with the decision to either continue writing my blog on a regular basis or to stop and focus on a huge goal that I have had my eye on. I wish I did not have to choose and could do both, but being a mother of twins and working full time gives me limits with my spare time. So, I have decided to stop writing my blog (for now), and start developing my story to publish a book!

I always felt so interrupted in a way when I have been writing my blog posts since they can't be too long due to internet blog etiquette. I have aimed at keeping each post to about 1,000 words or less and trust me, there has been so much more that could have been written and expanded upon. Knowing how much my words have helped other moms on bed rest or in similar situations, I feel that I need to get the entire story out there and make it available to everyone that is interested. I have been doing my homework and for me to expand Broadway Babies into a full-fledged book, I will be taking the roughly 30,000 words I already have written and expanding it to over 80,000 words! Like I said, there is a lot of material that has not yet been revealed about what I have been through. This blog just starts to scratch the surface of what the book will contain.

The next step for me at this point while I am in the process of writing those extra 50,000 words is to find an agent and/or publisher. If anyone reading this knows of someone in their network or happens to be an agent or publisher, I have my query letter ready to be submitted so please get in touch with me. Thank you so much to everyone who has been a huge supporter of Broadway Babies and has continued to read and share my story.

*The song "The Spark of Creation" is from the 1991 West End musical Children of Eden which was written by Stephen Schwartz who also wrote Wicked and Godspell, among many other amazing musicals. This show actually never made it to Broadway or even Off-Broadway but has continued to be one of the most licensed shows with productions happening all over the world. The most famous production was in 1997 at the Paper Mill Playhouse where the show was revised with additional songs, etc. The show is based on the Book of Genesis and Eve is the character who sings "The Spark of Creation." She has a hunger for greatness and the unknown possibilities of creation. Whenever I listen to this song, it inspires me to pursue my dream of becoming a published writer. This dream is something that my mother wanted more than anything for herself and never got to see happen in her lifetime. She wrote thousands of poems, children's books, and even a complete musical but was not able to get to the finish line since she got so sick. I'm going to make you proud Mom since that "spark of creation is burning bright within me." Let there be!

 The two best things we have ever created!

The two best things we have ever created!

 Party of Four

Party of Four

 Happiness is Ella & Ethan

Happiness is Ella & Ethan

"Happy Birthday To You And To You" - Side Show

I hear people say often, how quickly time goes by when you have kids. I was realizing this back at home as the months just flew by. But maybe time felt a little accelerated since living in a hospital makes time seem to stand still. Nonetheless, Ella and Ethan are one year old today which means they are reaching another tremendous milestone. Milestones were what I lived for while I was on bed rest at the hospital. "If I can just get to 24 weeks so that they are viable...if I can make it to 30 weeks so that their lungs develop a little more...if I can hang on until 34 weeks, they might not need to be in the NICU..." I would lie in bed praying for these miracles and then finally the last miracle occurred on April 21, 2012 when both Ella and Ethan were born healthy and big. Now exactly one year later, I have two toddlers with completely different and unique personalities. I had always wondered about the nature vs. nurture debate and how much of a person's being they were actually born with, compared to how they were raised. I was so surprised to see that within the first few weeks of life, the twins were already so different with Ella being strong-willed and independent and Ethan being more sensitive and needy (with a cute worried look always on his face). At that point, there was not much nurture to go off of and it really made me see that these kids were born this way.

Throughout the year, these little sparkles of personalities have become more definite with not much changing. Ella is still very head-strong and when she wants something, she goes for it without a second thought. Ella also maintains her "alfa dog" status by doing everything first before Ethan (rolling over, crawling, and now almost walking). Being a girl gives her most of the advantage but deep down, she is one determined little lady. She loves to practice a new trick until she gets it perfect and then refuses anyone trying to help her. For example, recently Ella has mastered feeding herself by holding her own bottle...with one hand! If I try to hold the bottle for her she starts crying because she wants to do it. However, Ethan loves being taken care of and prefers acting like a little prince. He just started crawling after watching his sister on the move for two months. He loved watching her romp around but never really had the desire to do so. Then one day out of the blue he just started crawling, almost as if he realized mommy and daddy are not going to be around all the time to move him where he needs to go. Ethan is still a sensitive soul and is typically the one crying the most when those cranky moments hit. Nothing that a cuddle can't solve which he absolutely relishes. On the other hand, when I try to cuddle with Ella, she is squirming away living up to her "mover and shaker" self. I started to think back to their personalities in the womb and how when the nurses had to perform my daily NST's, Ella was always moving around so much it was difficult to find her heartbeat, while Ethan would stay in one spot...tucked up within my ribs all cozy and content.

It is really hard to imagine life without these two and it makes me think about the fact that we came so close to losing them back when I was only 19 weeks pregnant. Recently, the twins and I went back to the hospital to visit the nurses who had become my family. They could not believe how big Ella and Ethan had grown and how much I had shrunk since the last time they saw all of us. I was also lucky enough to catch the famous Dr. Tabsh who turns into mush when he sees babies. It is so great to watch him when he is in that mood because he is normally known for his unwavering silent focus and lack of bedside manner. Ethan in particular could not stop smiling when Dr. Tabsh was holding him...almost like he knew that this was the man that saved his life. Dr. Tabsh loved every minute of it and I could tell that these kind of moments for him are what justifies the extremely hard work he performs every day. This man probably sleeps a total of 4 hours a night, never takes vacations, and basically lives at the hospital. I know this because I used to literally live at the hospital! I am eternally grateful that today is the first of many birthday celebrations that our family will enjoy thanks to this angel of a man.

*The song "Happy Birthday To You And To You" is from the 1997 Broadway musical Side Showwhich is based on the true story of Siamese twins, Daisy and Violet Hilton. Luckily, Ella and Ethan are not attached at the hip like those lovely ladies but I will say that I am so happy that they get to grow up together and be each other's best friend. Sharing not only many birthdays together, but countless life experiences that hopefully will not pass by too quickly. Happy Birthday to the most fantastic "Broadway Babies" in the entire universe! I love you more than words can express.

 My ONE year olds!

My ONE year olds!

 Ella's famous one-handed bottle trick

Ella's famous one-handed bottle trick

 Ethan's cute "worried" look

Ethan's cute "worried" look

 Reunion with Dr. T...and the door to my old room behind us

Reunion with Dr. T...and the door to my old room behind us

 Flashback to last year

Flashback to last year

"My Favorite Things" - The Sound of Music

When you become a mom, you not only learn how to take care of a baby but you suddenly become a connoisseur of the numerous baby products. When I put together my baby registry in the hospital, I did it all based on online reviews and recommendations since I was never able to go out to the store myself. Since then, I have had a lot of friends and other new moms ask me how it all turned out, so I figured I would share what I learned about the overwhelming world of baby merchandise. As a disclaimer, this is what worked for me and the twins. Every mom and baby is different and having two babies changes some decisions about specific products. Also, keep in mind that I did not get to sample any other brands. Whatever I ended up getting is what I have experience with. Luckily, since the reviews and advice I received was so helpful, these specific brands and products have ultimately become my favorite things. With that said, here is my top 5 list of must haves which my family has enjoyed thus far: 1. Bottles & Accessories: I did a ton of research about bottles because there are over a dozen different kinds claiming to do a variety of great things for your baby. I ended up choosing Dr. Brown's because of the rave reviews regarding how the bottles eliminate air bubbles which helps reduce colic, spit-up, etc. The negative reviews only talked about how these bottles take longer to clean because of the two extra parts which take away the air bubbles. Yes, it might take an extra 20 seconds to clean these bottles, but if it saves me from cleaning the bigger messes that spit-up could cause or dealing with a fussy baby, I will gladly wash those extra parts. Plus, my son Ethan had acid reflux so these bottles really helped minimize his condition. I was lucky that Ella and Ethan liked the bottles too because I have heard of other moms needing to buy several different brands before their baby chooses one that they will drink from. Other than the bottles, I also got the Dr. Brown's bottle warmer and steam sterilizer which get a lot of use since our household has double the amount of bottles at every feeding.

2. Stroller: There are not very many double strollers out there that appealed to me because I never wanted to be that mom getting stuck in doors with this wide thing that is hard to maneuver. Because of this, I opted for the tandem stroller as opposed to the side-by-side. But then the issue with the tandem stroller is one kid is stuck with a bad view if they get the back seat. Luckily, the Baby Jogger City Select tackles this challenge and offers numerous configurations for my twins. This stroller also does not have to be used as a double stroller because it comes in a single version initially, then you can add an additional seat to it. The City Select has been deemed the "swiss army knife of strollers" because there are 16 different configurations that it can do. For example, I love that I can have each baby face each other and be able to interact. Plus, while the kids are using the infant car seats, there are adaptors you can purchase in order to snap the seats onto the stroller so you don't have to buy a separate Snap N' Go stroller. Probably the best news is that it is one of the lightest double strollers out there being 30 pounds. I can lift it in and out of the car without a problem which means a lot after having a c-section and being on bed rest for 4 months!

3. Infant Car Seats: When I was shopping online for car seats, I was mainly looking for ones that would have a longer usage time frame since babies tend to grow out of so many things too quickly. It's not a big deal when they outgrow items that don't cost too much, but car seats are a big investment. I ended up choosing the Graco Snugride 35 for a number of reasons. First and foremost, it had some of the highest safety ratings which is obviously the most important factor. Other than that, this specific car seat can be used until your baby is 35 pounds (that's what the 35 in the name means). Graco also has other car seats with lower weight limits but the higher you go, the more bang you get for your buck. Recently, they just came out with a Snugride 40! In addition, this brand has the biggest variety of colors, patterns, and designs to choose from, compared to other car seat brands. At this point, we probably will have these car seats for about another 6-12 months depending on how fast the twins grow and then we will transition to the next stage of car seat.

4. Swaddle Blankets: Hands down, the Miracle Blanket was truly a miracle for us. The twins slept so much better when they were tightly swaddled and it helped tremendously when they had colic for the first 3 months. When we tried to swaddle them with regular blankets or the velcro type swaddle blankets, they would always manage to wake up, break free, scratch their face, and cry. The Miracle Blankets are basically like little straight jackets that would hold their arms down properly while keeping their hips and legs free to move. These blankets are one of the more pricier swaddle blankets at about $25 each but it is completely worth it. We only used these for 3 months since we weaned them off of swaddling at that point but regardless of how long they were in use, they saved us from a lot of fussiness and helped them get into good sleeping habits early on. Make sure you buy two (you will need an extra one if the other is dirty).

5. Baby Monitors: There are so many choices of monitors out there and you can really get lost in all of the features and not really know what is completely necessary. I opted for a more simpler model without all of the bells and whistles since I had to add to my purchase a second camera because there are two cribs to spy on. I have been very happy with the Summer Infant Slim & Secure Plus video monitor and the reviews were right on about not having any static. I guess other brands of monitors have a bad history of static issues but this brand has a beautiful clear color picture. It is also very easy to use and easy for the grandparents to figure out too. Other high tech monitors that cost a lot more money have cameras that you can remotely move and zoom, a touch screen controller, etc. For an extra $100, it was not that important to me and I was able to use that money for other important baby essentials which have been added to my list of favorite baby things.

*The song "My Favorite Things" is from the 1959 Broadway musical The Sound of Music which originally starred Mary Martin as Maria. Julie Andrews then famously took over the role of Maria in the movie which never seemed to leave my VCR growing up. Overall, what I learned from this whole experience is take the time to do the research. Don't just pick a product to add to your registry without knowing the pros and cons and what other moms are saying about it. We live in an age where we can read a review about pretty much anything before we make the big purchase. By being an informed buyer, you definitely increase those chances of having a bunch of favorite things that you and your kids can enjoy for years to come.

 Snug as a bug in their Miracle Blankets

Snug as a bug in their Miracle Blankets

 Ethan is a big Dr. Brown's fan

Ethan is a big Dr. Brown's fan

 This stroller even lets the twins play footsie

This stroller even lets the twins play footsie

"I Got Life" - Hair

December 21st, 10:00pm, Pacific Standard Time, I can't believe a year went by so fast… Today marks the one year anniversary of finding out that my babies were in trouble which landed us into the hospital for 126 days.  Such a scary event and difficult time brought so many positive and amazing experiences that I never would have thought could happen.  Starting this blog was the first thing I did when I was admitted into the hospital and it has allowed me to share my story with the world and have the opportunity to help other moms on bed rest who are going through or have gone through this tremendous experience.  I have obviously been incredibly busy which has made it very difficult to regularly write more blog posts but regardless, our story goes on and it needs to be told.  It amazes me how slowly time went by in the hospital while I was on bed rest and now, those same 24 hours I would get each day, are flying at warp speed.  So much has happened since April 21st and my life has completely changed.

Coming home from the hospital was at first so wonderful and I felt such a sense of freedom.  Freedom to finally be a mother after so many years of waiting, freedom to walk, freedom to go outside, and freedom to do everything else I was deprived of in the hospital...especially taking regular showers!  But soon I would discover that this "freedom" was not so easy to come by in my situation.  I was extremely weak and in a lot of pain from the bed rest and c-section.  I could not take care of myself, let alone two infants.  All of the things I had been dreaming about doing as soon as I got home were still dreams since I physically could not accomplish anything.  We were very lucky to have so much help from family and friends when we got home but in a way, I wished we didn't have it.  I wanted to do everything myself and not have to rely on anyone since I had been living with so many restrictions and limitations at the hospital.  I was so thirsty for independence that not even being able to change a diaper was depressing to me.  I knew that I would be limited because of my body but I did not realize just how much. Thankfully, I was able to go to physical therapy which helped make me strong again and little by little I was able to regain my independence.

Just when my body was starting to feel normal and I could finally take care of the kids on my own, I had to prepare myself to go back to work after being gone for seven months. Then a couple of weeks before I started back at my job, I got the horrible news that my Dad passed away. Ella and Ethan were just about three months old and now they would never get to know their one remaining maternal grandparent. It was hard enough knowing that my Mom would not be around to watch them grow up, but then realizing that my Dad would not be in the picture was very sad.  Even though he was not much of a visitor when I was in the hospital, he did manage to spend some precious time with the twins right after they were born. He came to the hospital and got to hold each of them which meant so much to me.  All I can think of now is that at least he got to meet them and hold them which is more than my Mom was able to do.  My Dad being able to spend the short amount of time with them was better than no time at all and I am grateful for that gift.

After recovering from the loss of my Dad, it has been so hard for me to have new babies and not be able to turn to my parents for advice or listen to the stories of what they went through as new parents.  Luckily, one thing I do have from them is a textile with the poem "Children Learn What They Live."  It hung in my room when I was a child and I thought it was long gone after so many years.  Miraculously, it was found while cleaning out my Dad's garage and I took the very dirty and damaged textile and got it restored and re-framed.  Like a gift from the great beyond, now my children can enjoy this poem and the life lessons that it teaches.  It is almost as if my parents left that for me to find to know that they are still with me and watching over all of us.

Despite the difficult journey I have been on this past year, I have learned so much about myself and what I am capable of.  I get stopped constantly by people once they see I have a double stroller and realize I have twins.  "You must have your hands full!" and "I don't know how you do it!" are the comments that I get.  Yes, twins are a lot of work but honestly, after everything I have been through, taking care of them and spending time with them is easy and fun compared to trying to keep myself from going crazy lying in bed for four months!  My hands are full...but not full of burden and exhaustion like most people assume.  My hands are full of appreciation and pleasure for getting two beautiful, healthy babies that make every second spent in bed worth the wait and sacrifice.

*The song "I Got Life" is from the 1968 Broadway musical Hair which was one of the first rock musicals on Broadway.  Recently, the new revival in 2009 won the Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical. I absolutely love this musical and its message.  This song in particular really puts me in such a good mood and reminds me that no matter what bad things may happen, I am still alive and healthy and that I also have two new little lives that bring me so much happiness.  It is so important to focus on what you do have in your life, and not what you are missing.

Happy Grandpa
Happy Grandpa
Grandparent's gift from beyond
Grandparent's gift from beyond
1st Halloween (6 months old)
1st Halloween (6 months old)
 Introducing...The Fisher Family!

Introducing...The Fisher Family!

"I'm Going Home" - The Rocky Horror Show

After finally experiencing the momentous occasion of the birth of my twins, the next big event that I had been anxiously waiting for was to go back home. At 122 days in the hospital, I only had four more days to go until my discharge papers were signed making my entire hospital stay a whopping 126 days! April 25th could not come soon enough and unfortunately, those four little days recovering from surgery were going to be harder than expected. Immediately after the c-section, I was taken to the recovery room where we got to spend our "golden hour" with the twins and get some good skin to skin contact before they got whisked away to be fully cleaned up and checked out. My epidural was still going strong so I was feeling really good snuggled up with the kids and just taking in the fact that I had successfully accomplished the biggest challenge in my entire life. Then once the twins left, the anesthesiologist started to transition me from my epidural to regular pain medications since we were only going to be in the recovery room for about two hours. The nurses mentioned that during surgery, there was one complication that occurred which was now under control. I had lost a large amount of blood when the two placentas were removed. This occurred because my uterus was not able to work normally since I had been so inactive these past several months. My uterine muscles were atrophied along with all of the rest of my muscles. My doctor had anticipated this outcome so they put in a Bakri balloon to put pressure on the bleeding so that I would not need a transfusion. This life saving device came with a price because once the epidural was turned off, the strongest of medications did absolutely nothing to control the pain from everything I just went through. They gave me Percocet, Dilaudid, Morphine, and Oxycontin to name a few, but nothing could touch this level of pain. After five long hours, they ended up turning back on my epidural which provided the only relief. While this whole ordeal was going on, I sent Brett out with the twins to spend time with our families who were worried about us since I had not been released from the recovery room. Brett soon returned with the twins once I was stable and after a total of seven hours in recovery, I was sent back to my original room in labor and delivery to be closely observed. I did not get to see my family at all since we got back to our room at 2:00am. After two difficult days recovering, we then made the transition to our postpartum room on the other side of the maternity ward where we would spend our last two nights at the hospital.

After all of the months isolated from the real world, April 25th was at last here and the final packing began. Before we officially left, I decided to take a walk around the hospital one last time. Ironically on this day, the hospital started a new program where all of the moms on bed rest would meet twice a month on their gurneys to discuss their thoughts and feelings with the hospital social worker. Apparently, this program was in the works for awhile and my Facebook group helped make these face-to-face meetings more of a priority. I popped into the meeting briefly to say goodbye to everyone and assure them that every single second spent lying in bed was so unbelievably worth it. Once my babies were in my arms, I would do it all over again in a heartbeat regardless of how difficult or long this endeavor had been. It was nice seeing everyone and being able to leave them with hope that bed rest can lead to a very successful outcome in their own pregnancies.

The last and most important things we had to pack up were of course the twins in their brand new car seats which I got to see in person for the very first time. A huge wave of emotion began to hit me as the room started to look empty with all of our things loaded up on carts to take down to the car. Tears began to fall as a wheelchair was rolled in, signaling that my stay was in fact over. It was very surreal to know that my new life was finally about to begin as I sat down in the wheelchair with Ethan on my lap in his car seat. We started to move and Brett walked next to me carrying Ella in her car seat as we both cried tears of joy. Then after 126 days of confinement, my wheelchair was pushed out into the fresh air and I got to see the gorgeous blue sky for the first time since December. I could see the clouds and the sun and human life happening outside of the hospital walls. I then realized just how much this entire experience completely changed my life and the way I view the world. I had given up four months of my life in order to give my kids the chance to live. A very small price to pay for two beautiful, healthy babies who will get to know that life is extremely precious once they have been told the story of how they came into this world.

*The song "I'm Going Home" is from the 1975 Broadway musical The Rocky Horror Show which then became the famous midnight cult movie The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Frank-N-Furter sings this soulful ballad once he finds out that he is being taken back to his home planet but desires to stay on Earth instead. In my case, there was no way I was desiring to stay at that hospital one more minute, and seeing our car pulled up outside ready to take us all back together was so glorious. The entire car ride home both Brett and I continued to cry that at last we were free to be a family. Brett had made the lonely drive back and forth down Pacific Coast Highway so many times coming to visit me. Now, his wish came true that this final drive back home included not only me, but the twins as well. We all made it through this incredible journey with an enormous appreciation for all of the amazing blessings in our life. Don't dream it...be it!

 My first glimpse of the sky!

My first glimpse of the sky!

 I'm free!!!

I'm free!!!

 Happy tears as we leave as a family

Happy tears as we leave as a family

 A dream come true

A dream come true

"Paciencia Y Fe" - In the Heights

The day had come exactly four months from when the journey began. I was admitted into the hospital on December 21st and now on the very last day of the 36th week, my babies were finally born on April 21st. While being on bed rest, I have listened to the heartbeats of my twins 244 times and felt them kicking and moving inside of my belly more times than I could count. As I was waiting for the c-section to begin, I could not help but think about how extraordinary it would be to able to meet and hold them after all of this time spent lying in bed. The night before that amazing day, Brett and I decided to have a date night since it would be our last official night together as a married couple without kids. I was allowed to leave my room and have dinner with him in the family dining room at the hospital. It felt so good just to be able to sit in a chair and eat normally for the first time since becoming bedridden. I definitely will not miss eating lying down with a big towel draped over me. He brought in yummy food from Hillstone which is one of our favorite restaurants and we had a feast with filets and loaded baked potatoes. A much needed break from my usual hospital food dining experience. Dinner was really nice and we got to spend some time out on the patio for some fresh air before going back to the room. After dinner, we arrived in the now famous, room 2524 and the packing up began. Brett started taking all of the decorations off of the walls and little by little, this room went back to the way it was 17 weeks ago. It was very bittersweet in a way because our "Santa Monica studio" had become our new home, but we were so excited to be finally going back to our real home as a family.

The next day, when the time came to go to the operating room, they let me walk down the hall instead of being rolled in which made the start of this next chapter just that much better. Finally on my feet again! My doctor told me how amazed he was that I had gotten this far along in my pregnancy. He, along with all of the nurses were expecting my c-section to be an unplanned event. Typically, women in my situation go into full preterm labor where contractions can't not be stopped by major drugs and the birth commences with an emergency c-section. This scenario had already happened to some of the other moms here on bed rest, so I always made sure to prepare myself for this kind of potentially scary event. Yet as each week went by, the chances of me delivering too early became less likely and the NICU started becoming a maybe instead of a have to.

In the operating room, I was being prepped for surgery and a sense of calm came over me even though I was being poked and prodded. Then Brett came in and sat down beside me in full scrubs and I knew that the show was about to start. At 5:22pm the first cry was heard from Ella Madison and my own tears could not stop flowing. Then at 5:23pm there was another cry from Ethan Tate and my joyous crying began to echo theirs. Two strong crying babies! They are breathing on their own which means that they could be alright. As soon as Brett came back to me after checking on them he confirmed that they were both very healthy scoring an 8 on their first APGAR test at one minute old and then the score raised to 9 at the five minute mark. No NICU!!! Once they were all cleaned up, they brought them over to me so that I could kiss each one and look at them for the first time. After all of the incredible sacrifice and hard work over the past couple of years, we were finally a family and all of the thousands of minutes spent on bed rest just melted away. Not only were they healthy but everyone in that operating room could not believe their weights! Ethan weighed 6 pounds 2 ounces and Ella weighed 6 pounds even. My petite five foot frame carried over 12 pounds of baby not including the added weight of the two placentas and amniotic fluid sacks. What was even more amazing was the fact that this small piece of string which held my cervix shut for the past four months made this successful outcome possible. My doctor is also an expert at performing the cerclage procedure which drastically helped improved my odds. I heard many horror stories online of poorly done cerclage procedures where the stitch comes loose or falls out, resulting in dire circumstances. When I was being sewn up after the c-section, he was also taking out the cerclage and I requested to keep this miraculous piece of string so that I could never forget how Dr. Tabsh saved the two precious lives of my twins.

*The song "Paciencia Y Fe" is from the 2008 Broadway musical In the Heightswhich won many Tony Awards including Best Musical. The character Abuela Claudia sings this song about her journey to America from Cuba as a young girl, and how her mother kept telling her "paciencia y fe" which means patience and faith since the transition was very difficult. Since being admitted into the hospital, this song has been playing inside of my head because I knew that patience and faith were two things that I would need to survive this tremendous life event. It was so important to stay positive, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and most importantly...stay in bed!

 Brett taking down the decorations

Brett taking down the decorations

 Me and Dr. Tabsh the night before the c-section

Me and Dr. Tabsh the night before the c-section

 The Broadway Babies meet Mommy!

The Broadway Babies meet Mommy!

 Proud Papa

Proud Papa

"Something's Coming" - West Side Story

"I got a feeling there's a miracle due, gonna come true, coming to me!" Four months ago, I was given the goal to make it to 36 weeks in my pregnancy so that my twins had the best chance of surviving and leaving the womb pretty much "cooked."  I prayed for this to come true but was always worried that they would have different plans and arrive prematurely.  Each week that went by became a new milestone and celebration because their chances for being healthy kept rising and the threat of staying in the NICU kept falling.  I was also questioning whether or not my petite body could withstand two babies continuing to grow inside of me, but week by week my belly expanded without hesitation.  Since I have miraculously met this goal, the final countdown to parenthood has officially begun.

Now that my "graduation" is so close I can taste it, I can't help but think what I will actually miss about living in the hospital.  This whole experience is not something I would choose for myself or anyone for that matter, but there are some aspects that will be hard to say goodbye to.  Other than the obvious superficial things like not having to cook, clean, or lift a finger, the saddest part of leaving is saying goodbye to all of the nurses that have become my new family.  I literally spent more time with them throughout my stay then with my family and friends since the nurses were taking care of me for the duration of their long, 12 hour shifts.  When I felt lonely, they were there and I really got to know them well in between medicine distribution, checking my vital signs, performing the fetal non-stress tests, etc.  I definitely plan on keeping in touch with my nurses and bringing the twins by for a visit when we are in the area.

The other women on bed rest that I have met while in the hospital have also played a big role in keeping me sane during this time.  The large amount of encouragement and good vibes has been some of the best medicine I have received while being here.  Plans have already been made to meet up with our babies to keep our little "sorority" going outside of the Facebook group and hospital walls.  Some of the Moms have delivered since I have been here and after I leave, there will be even more on their way to "graduating" themselves.  I also plan on continuing to maintain the Facebook group for all of the future bed rest Moms that will move-in after I have left.  The nurses know how to direct new patients to the group and I look forward to watching the amount of members expand for as long as it can last.  One big question I keep thinking about is who will be the next to inhabit room 2524 and more importantly, who will receive the magical sunflower?  I can definitely attest to its powers having become the next Mom that has successfully reached the coveted 36 week mark.

So the anticipation and excitement has really started to build because I could go into labor at any time now and there will be no need to try to stop it with heavy duty drugs.  If I end up not going into labor on my own, then the doctor will just schedule the c-section this week or the next.  My husband will start to pack up my things and take the decorations off of the wall as we prepare for the birth and the much awaited move to the postpartum section of the maternity ward.  It is very strange to finally be at the end of my pregnancy journey after spending so many days in waiting that seemed to last forever.  Now with time flying by, Brett and I are trying to think of everything that needs to be in place so that we are as prepared as possible once we take that car ride home and permanently leave The BirthPlace.  I remember the last car ride we took together was filled with fear as we raced to the hospital after that fateful 19 week ultrasound appointment.  What a difference 17 weeks makes where instead of fear and worry, our car will be filled with joy, elation, and of course two beautiful babies.

*The song "Something's Coming" is from the 1957 Broadway musical West Side Storywhich is a musical adaptation of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet set in 1950's New York City. The main character Tony, is singing about his future and the exciting possibilities that might await him at the dance that night.  He ends up being right because he meets the love of his life, Maria and both of their lives are forever changed.  I am so happy that in my world, the "something" that is coming are my twins which will forever change the lives of Brett and myself.  We completely appreciate all of the love and support throughout these past four months from everyone that has reached out in our time of need.  It is obvious that all of the prayers and well wishes have worked and our dream of becoming a family will come true before the end of April!  "There's something due any day..."

 The magical sunflower worked!

The magical sunflower worked!

"Free" - A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum

At this point of my hospital stay I have gotten used to missing out on a lot of events that I was supposed to attend.  This latest one being the Passover Seder, and it is probably the first time I have ever missed going in my whole life.  Usually at my family's Seder, we read the story of Passover about how the Israelites were freed from slavery in ancient Egypt.  Then, we talk about our own lives and how over this past year we were "freed" from something ourselves.  Last year for instance, my husband was very excited to speak about how he was finally free from school since he had just graduated from Pepperdine University with an MBA.  This year for me, in less than a month I will soon be free from my hospital bed and allowed to actually leave the four walls of this room which have become my world over the course of four months. But as I near the end of my pregnancy, even though it feels really good to be so close to going home, these next couple of weeks will not be too easy on my body.  I have gained 50 pounds so far and with my limited mobility of being on bed rest, it has gotten extremely hard to walk back and forth to the bathroom since I feel out of breath and exhausted.  While lying in bed, if I need to switch positions, just turning from one side to the other feels like I am trying to complete a marathon.  I have a special bar above my bed which helps me move around by using my upper body since I basically don't have functioning abs at this point.  To help with my motivation, I have hung baby clothes on this bar so that I am always keeping my eye on the prize no matter how difficult it gets (I have to give credit to one of the Moms from my bed rest Facebook group who gave me this creative idea).  At this point, my main concern is just getting home and starting to take care of two newborns with this altered body.  By then, I will not only be recovering from my muscle atrophy and fatigue, but also the c-section surgery.  Regardless of how uncomfortable it is being enslaved in a body that has been put through so much, I will finally get the freedom to be a mother which I have constantly been longing for.

Even though I am in a lot of pain and discomfort right now, it helps me so much to flashback to a time where I gained another huge sense of freedom when my infertility issues were finally solved.  It really felt like my husband and I had a huge loss of control with trying to get pregnant for two years.  Especially when it seemed like everyone else around us automatically got the privilege to create human life without complications.  We were slaves to alternative treatments and drugs with constant appointments to our reproductive endocrinologist and acupuncturist.  Every time there was a failed attempt to get pregnant, it was so devastating and difficult to start all over again with a new plan of action.  You try so hard to stay positive but yet you don't want to get your hopes up too much just in case it wasn't meant to be.  At last year's Passover Seder, I could not help but think about my own "bondage" to these fertility drugs and really prayed that this "affliction" would soon be over.  Luckily, all of my prayers were answered four months later when we finally got good news that there was not only one embryo but two!

So for now, I am just going suck up the pain and keep myself laser focused on what I came here to do.  I have already endured two years with the infertility problems and now almost four months of strict hospital bed rest.  I can certainly last a few more weeks if it means that all of my dreams will come true of having a family of my own.  "Free! Oh, what a word!"

*The song "Free" is from the 1962 Broadway musical A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forumwith music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim.  The character Pseudolus is a Roman slave who wants nothing more than to be free and agrees to help his master Hero find love in exchange for his freedom.  In the song, Pseudolus is fantasizing about what it will actually be like once he is free and starts talking about all of things he will get to do.  I have already romanced this idea in a previous blog post but now with the reality so close, I have taken it a step further and started a to-do list of important things to get done once the babies are born (call the health insurance, get the car seats installed into the car, schedule the first pediatrician appointment, etc).  It will be so strange to be back in society where I am not constantly connected to a monitor and watched like a hawk to ensure that I am staying in bed.  This freedom thing will become very real when all of the things in my room get packed up and then I am getting wheeled into the operating room to start my new life as a mother of twins.

 My bar gets me out of bed and doubles as a rack for baby clothes!

My bar gets me out of bed and doubles as a rack for baby clothes!

"So Much Better" - Legally Blonde the Musical

"Yes that's my name in black and white, maybe I'm doing something right..." On March 27th I was extremely excited to see myself on the front page of the newspaper and could not help but think...how did I get here?  Exactly 100 days ago today, I was a crying big hot mess cursing the world for putting me into this predicament of confined hospital bed rest.  How could this be happening to me?  Why can't I just have a normal pregnancy?  What did I do to deserve this?  Luckily, my dramatics didn't last very long and instead of getting mad or depressed, I quickly knew that in order to survive I had to get my psyche in check.

Initially, my intentions were self-serving because I instinctually knew that I had to talk to others going through my exact dilemma in order to gain some sort of relief.  As mentioned in previous blog posts, I reached out to the other women on bed rest here at the hospital and put together a private Facebook group so that we can all talk together.  That small act of starting the group morphed into an amazing forum to help not only myself, but all of the other women who were hungry for that same connection.  A similar phenomenon happened with my blog since I had started writing it to have an outlet for all of my feelings and to inform family and friends about the latest news regarding me and the twins.  Other than the Facebook group, I was also connecting to women on different online support groups where I shared with them my blog website.  Little by little, I began to get more followers and women who I had never even met before living across the country and in other countries, were leaving comments and telling me their own stories of bed rest and high risk pregnancy.  I started to feel less alone knowing that so many other women out there were dealing with the same issues.

In addition, word started getting around to the hospital administration about my blog and Facebook group.  Eventually the marketing director of the hospital came to visit me because he thought that my story was newsworthy and loved the fact that patient morale and well-being had improved in the maternity ward.  I was surprised to hear that what I had done was of interest to the media but at first I didn't get too excited since I was not sure what would really come of it.  I was then contacted by the hospital's public relations representative so that she could get more information from me in order to pitch the story to the press.  Before I knew it, she had lined up an interview with the Ventura County Star newspaper which is a very popular and well known news source where I live.  They came by to interview me and take pictures which was very fun and I still could not believe this was all happening.  The reality didn't really sink in until I got confirmation of when the story was coming out but I had no clue where in the paper the article would be located.  I figured I would be tucked away in the health section somewhere and even told my husband to flip through the paper before buying it to be sure I was even in there.  To my surprise, I received a text message from him with a picture of the front page and my jaw dropped. Again...how did I get here?

The bottom line is that we all do extraordinary acts which may start out as just plain common sense in our minds.  I had no idea that this seemingly unpleasant experience would change from a negative interruption of my life into a positive life changing event. The newspaper article was a great platform to get my story out and hopefully others who read the article will start their own Facebook groups or blogs if they are in similar situations.  It is easy to lose focus and slump back into the "woe is me" frame of mind but it really doesn't help anybody.  Once I began to see the positive outcomes that were manifesting, it gave me such joy to know that so many others were happier and felt support because of what I had accomplished.  Even though I have done a lot of things over the past 100 days, in about a month, absolutely nothing will compare to the miracle of bringing two new lives into this world.

*The song "So Much Better" is from the 2007 Broadway musical Legally Blonde the Musicalwhich originally started out as a popular non-musical film in 2001.  In the song, the character Elle Woods just found out that she got accepted into a very important internship after working extremely hard in her classes at Harvard Law School.  She originally went to Harvard to follow her heart and try to re-kindle a romance but then got serious about her studies and overcame some major obstacles.  Like Elle, my journey started out in a completely different direction with me just trying to cope and make sense with what was happening.  Then I began getting serious about keeping a positive attitude with a focus on helping others.  By doing so, I started feeling "so much better than before" and if my lungs were not being smushed by the twins, I would sing that extremely long note at the end of the song!

 Extra, Extra! Read all about it!

Extra, Extra! Read all about it!

"Someone Else's Story" - Chess

Initially when I was diagnosed with an incompetent cervix, I really had no idea how close I came to losing my twins.  I knew the situation was serious enough for me to be admitted into the hospital, but I felt like I was well taken care of and the issue was at least under control.  It was not until I began to research my condition that I realized just how lucky I was to have a doctor who was able to stop a disaster from happening.  In doing my research, I found out that a normal cervix during pregnancy should measure 3cm or greater but mine had shortened to just 0.8cm!  If left untreated, I would have gone into full preterm labor probably in the next week and given birth to babies that were not viable to live outside of the womb. My first instinct when I started my bed rest journey was to seek out support from others in the same boat as me.  Right away, I created the private Facebook group to speak with the other Moms on bed rest in the hospital, and then I branched out to all sorts of online support groups which were specific to my exact condition.  I soon began to discover that within these groups, I was a minority since this was my very first pregnancy and I had no history of miscarriage or stillbirth.  More often than not, an incompetent cervix is usually diagnosed only after a woman has gone through one or more losses because it is not caught soon enough and some doctors don't include this test during exams.  I was extremely fortunate to be under the care of a high risk doctor (due to being pregnant with twins) who routinely checks for this condition between weeks 18-20.  I was actually looking forward to my 19 week ultrasound mainly because the sexes would be determined, plus the doctor would be doing an anatomy scan where all of the body parts and internal organs would be measured and examined.  The excitement would soon turn to fear once he informed my husband and I that there was bad news.

With such a shocking diagnosis and treatment plan, I selfishly kept thinking about how miserable the next 4-5 months would be at the hospital stuck in bed all day and night.  But as my research started, I began to shift my thinking outward and fully empathize with all of the stories I came across where women had been through the unthinkable nightmare of losing their babies.  How could I possibly complain or feel bad for myself?!?  So many women would give anything to be where I was if it meant their babies were still safe and inside their womb.  Everyday that I am here is truly a gift and as the days, weeks, and months roll by, I can't help but feel incredibly fortunate that I have gotten this far.

One particular story I recently found online really hit home for me because just two days after I was admitted into The BirthPlace, this other woman Cori, was admitted as well for the same exact condition.  In her own blog, she writes about how it was discovered that she had an incompetent cervix and a cerclage procedure was scheduled on the same day that I was going to have mine...Christmas Eve.  Unfortunately for Cori, her water ended up breaking before the procedure could even take place and nothing could be done at that point to save the baby.  Reading this tragic story, I started thinking that as I was being wheeled into the operating room, this poor woman was already at the end of her journey knowing that soon she would be delivering her baby that would not even get the chance to live.  Later that evening, I was recovering from surgery with the new possibility of delivering full term babies while just a few doors down from me, Cori was holding her angel in her arms and saying goodbye.  As I near the 100 day mark, it seems like a very long time to be stuck in the hospital but I bet Cori or any other woman who has suffered a loss would gladly stay in the hospital over 200 days if it meant saving their baby's life.  Bed rest can be a very stressful and unpleasant experience for most women, but focusing on these kind of stories can really help put things into perspective and completely change your attitude...I know it definitely changed mine.

*The song "Someone Else's Story" is from the 1988 Broadway musical Chesswhich has music written by Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus from ABBA with lyrics by Tim Rice.  The song is actually about a marriage coming to an end but the message in the song is that the woman experiencing this loss wishes her story was not her own.  I am sure that women who have experienced losing their baby certainly wish that this incident did not happen to them.  Originally, when I found out I would be on bed rest for several months, I really hoped that this could have been someone else's story.  But now, I am beyond grateful that this is in fact my story after reading about countless women who were not as lucky as I.  This lesson really makes me count my blessings and be utterly thankful that I have made it 95 days in the hospital with hopefully more days to come.

 On my way to surgery on Christmas Eve

On my way to surgery on Christmas Eve

"A Quiet Night at Home" - bare: A Pop Opera

There are certain aspects of pregnancy bed rest that are just so ironic when I think about what my new life will be like once I deliver.  I will be going from such an isolated, quiet environment to raising two newborns all at once.  Trust me, I am taking full advantage of this alone time to catch up on reading, watch all the movies in my Netflix queue, and of course write this blog.  But even with these activities to take up my time day after day, bed rest can still be a depressing experience due to the lack of human contact and solitary confinement.  Thankfully, I have created alternatives for myself by starting the Facebook group with the other moms on bed rest and also encouraging friends and family to visit.  Regardless, this experience is definitely in no way a vacation, and having this much time to myself mixed with my lack of freedom sometimes makes me feel like a prisoner. Just think about it...there are 24 hours in each day.  If I sleep about 8 hours a night, for the remaining 16 hours I am pretty much by myself.  Yes, there will be the occasional visitor and my nurse checks in on me as well, but in general I am alone way more than the average person is on a daily basis.  Definitely a huge change from my old life where I interacted with dozens of people per day.  Being here three months now, I have gotten into a routine and this lifestyle change is not as challenging as it was before.  With a little more than a month to go I have started focusing on what life will be like outside of room 2524.

Is bed rest a nice break before the craziness of being a new parent takes over?  Or does bed rest cause more of a shock to the system going from one extreme to the next?  These four months in the hospital will soon become a blur as I spend the next 18+ years caring for these twins wishing that I could get some of that alone time back.  The bottom line is that no matter how unpleasant this solitude is sometimes, there will probably be many times in the near future when I will realize that I took it for granted.  That is the nature of the bed rest beast.

But as I think back to the many hours of time with me, myself, and I (approximately 2,088 hours at this point), the big picture looks better and better.  When I am in the thick of being alone, it is hard to get out of that funk and look on the bright side since so many thoughts and feelings take over my brain.  Although looking back, I have been very productive and many things that I was able to accomplish here, would not have been possible if I was just home living my life as a normal and busy pregnant woman.  For instance, I was able to spend good, quality time putting my baby registry together online by researching which products had the highest reviews and ruling out what were absolute necessities.  Also, I have been able to read a bunch of books on baby care which I would not have had the time for once the babies were home.  Most importantly, being alone has given me the chance to really focus on the new lives growing inside of me.  Since I am constantly laying down, I have the advantage to feel all fetal movement without any distractions.  I can just stop whatever I am doing to watch a foot protrude against my skin and feel the interactions between both babies as they fight for space and kick my ribs.  They constantly remind me that in actuality, I have never been alone since being confined to bed rest!  The twins have been with me through this entire journey and continue to remind me to focus on why I am here and not what I am missing out on in the real world.  It is way too easy to take the "woe is me" stance when put in this situation but early on I realized that was not my style nor was it productive in any way.  I have so many things to be thankful for in my life and when I finally leave this hospital, I will have two more blessings to add to the ever growing list.

*The song "A Quiet Night at Home" is from the 2004 Off-Broadway musical bare: A Pop Opera, which is a powerful musical that deals with how sexuality and religion can sometimes be at war with each other.  The main story revolves around two gay high school students in a secret relationship at Catholic boarding school and the issues that arise in their world.  The song itself is sung by the character Nadia who is the overweight sister of Jason (one of the main characters in the secret relationship with his roommate Peter).  She is often the outcast because of her looks and this song sums up her feelings about being isolated from her peers.  Like Nadia, I have been in that sad place of feeling like I was missing out on life by being stuck at the hospital.  My feelings have definitely changed as time has gone on because I put the focus on what I could control as opposed to all of the things I couldn't.  So as I get closer to the end of my bed rest journey, I have accepted the quiet for now but fully look forward to the lack thereof once I get home with my two little rib kickers. :)

 Just some of the baby books I have been reading

Just some of the baby books I have been reading

 Quiet time with a therapy dog

Quiet time with a therapy dog

"I Know It's Today" - Shrek the Musical

Guest blog post: I received another letter from my husband Brett which I wanted to share again in my blog. The first letter I shared was written at the very beginning of this crazy journey and now this letter gives a more in depth look at how this separation has been affecting Brett for almost three months now. For instance, on top of everything Brett is already handling on his own, he also has to prepare for the twins arrival and get the entire nursery set up.  Thankfully, friends and family have helped out but this is just one more example of something that the two of us should be working on together, but can't.  I keep telling people that even though my life has changed dramatically since I was put in this hospital bed, my husband's life has been equally changed in a unique way. Dear Sweety Cat,

I can't believe it's spring-ahead Sunday already — week 31!  It feels like it was just last Sunday.  Sadly, I know for you, this is not the case.  For me, on the other side of our separated lives, time seems like a blur because I am running so fast. I try to sneak in selfish moments of relaxation whenever I can, as that is all I am craving these days.  Sometimes all I want to do is lie in bed for days like you, and sleep, and all you want to do is lead my life, running around, outside of your Rapunzel tower.  I mean, that's sort of how it is for you. "The Maiden in the Tower," but with constant beeping sounds, stale recycled air, and hearing delivering mothers screaming because they don’t want an epidural. What a weird life.

We're now 81 days into this crazy chapter of life living apart.  I have driven over 2,500 miles to visit you, slept in your room 32 nights, and we’re practically family with the nursing staff since they know us so well.  You are “sitting on your eggs” while they develop, and I am running around — working in my new office in Santa Monica, taking care of the four cats in Agoura Hills, as well as all the other nonsense that keeps our lives going.  I ran out of the house so quickly the other day, I completely forgot to bring with me my Burke Williams gift card that you got me for Valentine's Day.  I had to postpone Friday's much-needed spa appointment until next Friday.  Oh well.

So what is it like in my shoes?  For one thing, it’s not nearly as painful and isolating as what you are going through, but probably equally as interesting.  I tell the story of why you are living in a hospital every time I meet someone new, or when someone asks how you are, or what's going on in my life.  Everyone's reaction is the same: surprised, empathetic, and bewildered all at once.  "Oh wow, a girl and a boy — you’re so lucky, an instant family!"  It's really an amazing reaction.  I wish you were present to hear everyone's excitement for us.  It's like when you tell someone you got into a really great university, and they are so excited for you.  It’s a very nice feeling.

Last night at the party I went to, I brought you with me on FaceTime and I had a virtual date.  That was unique. You sort of got to be there, and for about 30 minutes I felt complete again with my other half — albeit electronically.  If this is how technology is today, what will it be like when the Ziggies are our age?

I've been meaning to write this entry for over a month now.  This has been the most challenging, most exciting, most adventurous, and most different part of my life.  No doubt.  I have a new circle of business colleagues, I bike to work, I visit you everyday in your tower, and I am truly blessed to have two healthy babies about to enter our lives in a matter of weeks!  My parents are incredibly supportive and present in our journey and provide you with the nurturing love and support you need to get through this time.

I can’t believe we’re nearing the end.  It’s going to happen soon.  I can’t wait for you and the babies to come home.  Our kitties miss you so much!  I miss you even more.  This has been arduous at times, but I know it will be so worth it in the end.  I know we have been incredibly strong throughout all this, and I know we will be incredible parents.  We’re doing it, we’re doing it well, and we are unstoppable.  I love you so much!  Keep being so amazing and strong!  You are an inspiration to so many people, including me.  You motivate me to work so hard.  This is the beginning of a beautiful chapter.

Love,

Sweety

*The song "I Know It's Today" is from the 2008 Broadway musical Shrek the Musicalwhich is based on the popular animated film from 2001. In the song, Princess Fiona longs for a prince to come find her but the years keep rolling by with no luck and she gets very tired of waiting. As Brett mentions in his letter, I am very much like "The Maiden in the Tower" waiting to be set free. But unlike Fiona, I have my prince and even though I have endured many days of waiting to go back to our life together, I know the finish line is near. The babies keep getting bigger and my due date is fast approaching. Knowing that I have already endured almost 12 weeks here on bed rest, what's another 6? It will be so amazing when I can actually say for certain " I know it's today" and meet my babies for the first time.

 Brett's pile of nursery furniture

Brett's pile of nursery furniture

 Brett putting together one of the cribs

Brett putting together one of the cribs

"You Can't Stop the Beat" - Hairspray

When I was first admitted to the hospital, I quickly realized that a lot of fun plans would be cancelled due to the circumstances. Many of these plans had to do with things I was looking forward to while being pregnant for the first time. I had witnessed several family members and friends have beautiful maternity photo shoots, enjoy baby showers thrown in their honor, and attend child care classes with other young parents-to-be. I wanted all of that so much and had already put plans in motion to get those same experiences for myself until of course, life was put on hold. I called to cancel the child care classes that were already scheduled and all baby shower plans were cancelled as well for the time being. I was also really looking forward to doing a maternity photo shoot in my third trimester but now that would be yet another item added onto the quickly growing list of "not possible." But luckily, I am not one to easily surrender when told "no you can't." Obviously, some of these first-time pregnancy experiences are truly not able to be pulled off while I am stuck in bed so my focus went to the ones that had potential. First order of business was to adjust the baby shower plans and see about having some sort of party at the hospital. There was a social room down the hall which I found out has been used for this purpose before but it was quite small. The solution...have a small guest list for this baby shower and plan a bigger event after the babies are born. Now that the wheels were in motion for this item, the next problem to solve was to find out how to have a maternity photo shoot at the hospital. I discovered that there was a photographer contracted with the hospital who did newborn photo shoots so I emailed them about the possibility of a maternity photo shoot. They said that it could be done and I got a session scheduled right away.

The actual photo shoot was interesting because I could not leave my room and there were not many places to get good shots or lighting. The photographer was very creative and able to manipulate a lot of the pictures to make it look like Brett and I were no where near a hospital. We were not out in a beautiful field like how I had imagined the original photo shoot to be before landing in the hospital, but the mission was accomplished to get pretty pictures of my big belly while I still had the chance.

After a couple months of planning by the "committee," my hospital baby shower finally arrived! I got permission to lay down on the couch in the social room so I didn't have to be on a gurney. The room was nicely decorated and it was so great to see close family and friends all together for the occasion. Unfortunately, one big upset which occurred was that my Dad flaked last minute. He was all set to go to my baby shower and I even arranged a ride for him to ensure he would get there. From the start it was very hard to get him to agree to go since he does not like being at hospitals and he is kind of socially awkward. He would like nothing more than to just stay at home and watch TV since human interaction is not really his thing. My Dad would actually do pretty well on bed rest...maybe he is secretly jealous of my situation? To sum him up, he is not a very normal Dad and has only visited me once since I have been at the hospital and that visit lasted five minutes. I really wanted him at the baby shower but he lived up to all expectations and was a no show once again. It's hard enough not having my Mom around during these special occasions but then my Dad chooses to opt out which just sucks. Regardless of this disappointment, I decided to not let it bother me and to just enjoy the party without him there.

The whole baby shower experience for me was very special not only because I thought it would not be possible for this to occur, but also because I got a little taste of my old life. I put on real clothes, make-up, straightened my hair, and most importantly, got to leave my room for a couple of hours! It did take a lot of energy to get ready and by the time I got to the party, I was very tired. Luckily, everyone was helpful in making sure I was comfortable and deep down, I was just so happy to at least be able to have a baby shower experience in spite of my physical condition. Overall, being on bed rest has forced me make a ton of sacrifices but I have been able to come up with creative alternatives to feel more in control and normal. It is very easy to start feeling sorry for yourself while at the hospital but I am all about coming up with solutions to problems instead of complaining about them.

*The song "You Can't Stop the Beat" is from the 2002 Broadway musical Hairspraythat originated as a John Waters movie in 1988 (another one of my favorite movies when I was growing up). This song is the big energetic closing number that shows when you really want something, nothing can get in your way. It is a very inspiring song that makes you feel unstoppable and it definitely helps me get motivated to make a difference when things are not going according to plan. Now my only goal is to hopefully make it to 36 weeks which is only 6 weeks away! I just have to hope that the twins share that goal and keep the beat going.

 Maternity photo shoot

Maternity photo shoot

 Getting ready for the baby shower

Getting ready for the baby shower

 Hanging out on my couch at the baby shower

Hanging out on my couch at the baby shower

"Home" - The Wiz

Homesickness is a very real illness and I am definitely infected with it. There are so many things I miss about being home and in my neighborhood that I keep fantasizing about what it would be like if I had a 24 hour "hall pass." If I could leave the hospital for 24 hours and not have any of the physical limitations I am currently facing (muscle atrophy, fatigue, contractions), what sort of things would I take advantage of? With all of this time on my hands, I have deeply thought about my escape and what that day would entail. First and foremost before any special outings, I would arrive back home and just enjoy being there. I would spend a lot of time with my cats because at this point, they probably think I am either dead or I abandoned them! After some quality time with my four legged kids, I will take that long awaited shower I keep dreaming about. I would love to take a bubble bath too but on my one day off, I want to limit the amount of lying down for obvious reasons. Once I am fully clean and rejuvenated from the shower, I will put on real clothes (not pajamas) and actually put some shoes on! Wearing my normal clothes, I will venture outside into the fresh air and just take a nice long walk in the sunshine. Not being able to go outside and only breathing air from an air conditioner is unbelievably depressing...especially when I have a window to look out of to taunt me and make me feel like a caged bird. This is probably one of the toughest things to deal with at the hospital because I do feel like a prisoner sometimes. Okay, back to my fantasy! Where was I...oh yeah, in the great outdoors. So I spend a good amount of time just walking around my neighborhood taking in the beauty of nature and doing some much needed people watching. I walk to my favorite local nail salon and get the full mani/pedi/massage treatment as a gift to myself. I loved the session I had at the hospital but nothing beats the real experience of sitting in one of those comfy chairs that massages your back the entire time. Yum!

After fulfilling my mind and body, the next order of business is taking care of my stomach with food! At the hospital, the food has gotten very repetitive and I am not enjoying ordering the same things over and over again. Plus, it never arrives very hot since there is a long path taken in order to reach my room. The same holds true for food brought in by visitors. I love getting variety with outside meals but I am constantly eating food that is luke warm or heated up by a microwave. To top it off, I have only been allowed to eat while lying in bed with a big towel draped over me for spills. Not very appetizing or comfortable. For my hospital day off, I will actually sit at a table and receive piping hot food! The first place I go...In-N-Out Burger, and I will savor every minute of it.

Now that I am fed and have gotten my fill of being outside, I will hop into my car and drive around to run errands and go shopping. This day is not about doing anything extraordinary but literally just doing the ordinary. I miss normal and part of that normal is driving to pick up the dry cleaning, stopping by Petsmart for cat food, and taking a stroll through the mall to buy clothes and eat a pretzel. You would think that on my one day off I would rush over to Disneyland, go to the theatre, or do something really exciting but honestly, it's all about the simple things. The most simple thing being at the very end of the day, where the only lying down I want to do is on my own bed. Sleeping on a twin sized slanted hospital bed is about as uncomfortable as it sounds. Regardless of the countless hours I have spent lying in bed at the hospital, I still just want to curl up in my own bed and sleep soundly without any beeping contraction monitors waking me up. Although this entire day is simply a fantasy, I will get to do all of these things soon enough once I have delivered. Well, maybe not the sleeping soundly part once the babies come home but everything else is definitely possible. Until then, I will have to keep clicking my heels with the hopes that I will soon be back home.

*The song "Home" is from the 1975 Broadway musical The Wiz which is a unique retelling of The Wizard of Oz way before Wicked came along. The Wiz was then made into a movie in 1978 starring Diana Ross as Dorothy and Michael Jackson as the Scarecrow. This was one of my favorite movies growing up which I watched on Betamax...yes Betamax, not VHS. This song in the show is the closing number where Dorothy is about to go back home after experiencing her amazing journey through Oz. She reflects on what she has learned, how she has grown, and how much she will appreciate her life back in Kansas. In a way, I am in my own kind of Oz, far away from home facing challenges and making new friends. Like Dorothy, I want nothing more than to go home and be in my familiar surroundings again. My husband actually gave me the idea for this blog post because he asked me what I would do if I had one day to go back to my former life. This song popped into my head and I started thinking about how Dorothy felt being stuck in Oz. Like Dorothy, I also realize that there is no place like home and thankfully, soon that home will include two little munchkins!

 There's no place like home...with Milo

There's no place like home...with Milo