The BirthPlace

"Seasons of Love" - RENT

44,640 minutes: How do you measure a month? Measure in love. I have reached my one month anniversary here at The BirthPlace and looking back over these past 31 days, I can't stop thinking about all of the people in my life who have reached out to me in my time of need to offer support and love. I am blessed to be going through all of this during a time when I can talk to loved ones many miles away via FaceTime and actually see them instead of just hearing their voice. I have also been able to keep up with what my cats are doing back at home using FaceTime as well! At the beginning of this bed rest journey, I was extremely scared, I was in shock, and I could not believe that I would be living in a hospital for the next four months. From the start, I had numerous family members and friends jump right in to make sure I did not feel so isolated and it has helped my well-being tremendously. Thank you!

Since this was my first hospital stay ever, I had no idea what it felt like to be the one lying in bed since I was always the one doing the visiting. Unfortunately, I had my fair share of hospital visits with my mom throughout most of my life due to her on-going illnesses. I remember that when my mom was admitted to the hospital in April 2007, no one knew if she would be released or if this was it. We realized pretty quickly that she was probably not coming home and she stayed hospitalized until she passed away in September 2007. For those five months, I was going back and forth to the hospital to visit her and saw her about every other day but that still was never enough for her. Now I know why.

Other than getting all of my feelings out through this blog, having visitors has been the best medicine for my emotional health. On days when no one comes by, it gets extremely lonely here and as much as I try to fill my time up with writing, reading, or watching movies, I still yearn for human contact. Thankfully, I typically have a steady flow of visitors, but I now realize what my mom was talking about. Even though this hospital stay is temporary, the day to day isolation is really hard to handle. I keep my outlook very positive because I am on bed rest for such a wonderful reason and I look forward to meeting my babies in the very near future. Even with this "glass half full" mentality, I still have my sad moments which pretty much only show up when I am left alone in my room, especially late at night. Luckily, my husband spends the night numerous times during the week which helps out a lot. Brett has his own bed since sleeping extremely inclined on a twin hospital bed is not too comfortable for one person, let alone two. The hard part is the next morning when he has to go back home to work and take care of the cats because I hate having to say goodbye. One remedy for my loneliness which keeps happening more and more is being able to feel the twins move inside of me. I am really never truly alone here because I have the two of them dancing in my belly! I know that the more these movements happen, the happier I will be because it means that they are growing and that we will all be out of here soon.

*The song "Seasons of Love" is from the 1996 Broadway musical RENTwhich is one of my all-time favorite musicals. This song opens act two and talks about how a year should be measured not using time (525,600 minutes), but measured with love. The theme of the song is how I am viewing my time here so that I am not focusing solely on how many days I have left...but none the less, marking an X on my calendar everyday is still very satisfying! I am thinking about the love I receive from everyone who is taking time out of their busy lives to visit me or connect with me over the phone or internet. I even got a huge surprise the other day from a visitor I was not expecting at all. My dad showed up out of the blue to visit me and it made me so happy because for my dad, getting out of the house to visit someone at the hospital is not something he does, especially after what happened with my mom. Even so, he came to see me for a brief visit and I told him that it really meant a lot to me having him here. Hopefully, this visit will not be a one-time thing and he will come back again. With one month down and three more to go, I will continue to measure in love and can't wait to spend more time with the important people in my life.

On a side note, as an added bonus for coming to visit, we have set up a "Splash Down Pool" for friends and family to gamble and guess when the babies will be born. Since this is like a Super Bowl pool, the winner will get the pool of money if they pick the correct date! Good luck!

The start of 24 weeks!

The start of 24 weeks!

Jump into the pool

Jump into the pool

"Elaborate Lives" - Aida

Guest blog post: While my husband Brett was on the cruise last week, he wrote me a love letter which I wanted to share in my blog. Right now, there is a lot of attention on me due to the circumstances and although my hubby is not the main focus, he is going through a difficult time as well. Everyday he is taking care of all of the business at home, commuting a long distance to see me, and dealing with his own sense of loneliness. Being on hospital bed rest not only alters the lives of pregnant moms in this situation, but their husbands as well. Dear Sweety Cat,

It has been since Saturday night, New Year's Eve since we last spoke. You were the last person I called before I shut my phone off, leaving me with no access to the rest of the world - and I have to say - its been really nice. We need to cut ourselves off sometimes from it all and just recharge. This is what I have needed from all that we have been going through. As I type this on my iPad 2, I can't help but be reminded of Aunt Betty's book, where Ira wrote love letters to Betty during the time before they were married, while living in separate parts of the country. What a time. Totally disconnected, with the primary form of communication being writing letters to one another.

Here we are, over 50 years later, and in a similar situation. Disconnected. I think about you probably every few minutes, if not more. I think about how wonderful you are, how sweet, loving, caring, affectionate, patient, understanding, strong, I could go on and on... From the day we first met up until a few days ago, I think we spoke at least everyday. Even on my trips abroad, we always spoke. This is an odd feeling being disconnected from you since I have absolutely no cell phone reception at sea. Especially at a time when I want to know everything that is going on in your life. How are the Ziggies? How big are they? How were their heart beats this morning? Which nurse do you have today? How was meeting the girls and their husbands on New Year's Eve? What did you do? I am sad I missed the first meetup of your crew, but I hope you plan more so I can meet them next time. Knowing you, you will.

I just think the world of you and what you are going through right now. I can't be more inspired and impressed with what a strong person you've become through all this. It must be incredibly difficult and isolating to be stuck in that bed - day after day - but the time will pass quickly. As we say, "its just a blip." You're smart to be writing a lot in your blog. This is a life event that you'll look back on and will be so happy you have the time documented to remind you of what life was like for four months before our kids were born. I'm also so proud of you for setting up the private Facebook group to communicate with the other girls on bed rest.

How sad is it that in our last four months together as a married couple before our babies arrive, we have to be separated? I know it's all for the better and a higher power is helping us out. Of course we did have over eleven years together to selfishly do as we wanted, whenever we wanted. We were so silly to assume that we'd get to have these last four months completely to ourselves. But these four months will be an adventure! I'm actually very excited about it. However, it's hard to go from living apart for the first six years of our relationship, to living together for the next five years, to going back to the way it used to be. Remember when you lived in West Hills and I in Westchester, and we were 40 minutes apart? Now with you in Santa Monica, it's about the same distance to Agoura Hills.

I have my new weekly routine all planned out in my head. You know what happens when you try to plan, right? In between work, off-season Triathlon training, and visiting you, I'll finish purging and rearranging the apartment, set up the nursery, and fall asleep on the couch each night watching episodes of "The Big Bang Theory" on TBS since you won't be there to cuddle and fall asleep with. Good thing we have four loving kitties that are looking after me, especially Mixie and Milo. I've never had such a big bachelor pad before, and two cars to drive.

But, imagine, after four long months, the excitement of you coming home with our babies. Suddenly I'll have three roommates; a family! One of the best times in my life were the months leading up to when we moved in together. That was January - March of 2006. I had two jobs, was working long hours, and saving up money for the furnishings of our brand new, high-end, luxury, 1-bedroom apartment home in Playa Vista adjacent. That was a fun time! Then on March 26th, I drove out to West Hills with a U-Haul to scoop you and your possessions up to live in sin. The nurses at The BirthPlace say you'll need a U-Haul when you leave. Ha ha.

I'm so excited for the future. This was all very scary and shocking on December 21st, but you and I are in a completely different head space right now. We are both so strong, driven, determined, and independent. I am very confident we well pull through this like pros. We always do. We are an amazing pair. We are so lucky and blessed to have one another. Who would have thought that almost twelve years later we'd be here? Izzy's Deli, across the street from the hospital is where we went the night we first met. And just up the street on 16th and Washington is where I grew up. Santa Monica is so familiar and nostalgic for me every time I come back so I am glad you are where you are because it makes it that much more fun to visit you.

As you always say, "there will always be others who have it worse off than we do." So considering that, we are very lucky! I can't wait to finally see you and speak to you again on Saturday. Until then my love.

With everlasting love,


*The song "Elaborate Lives" is from the 2000 Broadway musical Aida with music by Elton John and Tim Rice. This song reminded me of Brett's love letter because in the show, the two main characters, Aida and Radames, are powerfully singing about their love yet they are forbidden to be together due to circumstances out of their control. They wish that things could just be simple but they have to face a huge sacrifice in order to follow their hearts. Luckily, our sacrifice is not as dramatic and very temporary but while we are in the midst of it, there are a lot of emotional feelings to deal with. Not only do we miss our usual lives together as a married couple, but there is a lot of concern for the health of our babies which is the number one priority. Brett and I continue to focus on the twins and are counting the days until we can all be together at home as a family!

The day we moved in together

The day we moved in together

Brett at home with Mixie

Brett at home with Mixie

"I Miss the Mountains" - Next to Normal

After a week of being stuck in bed, the solitude is already starting to get to me. I went from being extremely social and interacting face to face with several people a day to having a small amount of human contact since most of my interactions these days are by phone, text, email, Facebook, and now this blog. Even in this technological day and age, absolutely nothing compares to in-person interactions/communication. I don't think I will ever take this for granted again. I had a breakdown the morning of my week anniversary here at The BirthPlace because it was the first day that was very quiet. The nurses were concerned about my sad state so they sent in the social worker and hospital chaplain to offer some guidance. Since arriving, I have had a good amount of visitors for the holidays and my birthday because most of my family and friends were off of work. Now, work has started back up for most and the number of visitors are down to a slow trickle. This leaves long stretches of time where the only human interaction I have is with my nurses when they come in to feed me various drugs. Not only is loneliness setting in, but the loss of independence and freedom is equally as frustrating. Since I can only get out of bed to use the bathroom, all other normal activities must be modified versions which are to be done while in bed. For instance, I am not able to take a shower, wash my hair, brush my teeth, etc. unless I am lying down. Sponge baths are my new best friend. Washing my hair is also a challenge because the nurse has to do it in the sink and transfer me to a special gurney which lines up with the counter. Plus, the nurse can only do this in a moment of downtime since it is a little time consuming. This means that my hair is getting washed about once a week if I am lucky. Dry shampoo is another new best friend I have made. Not being able to leave my room or go outside is getting very claustrophobic so I am now leaving my door wide open so I can at least listen for signs of human life in the hallway and sometimes I even get to see one of these humans walk by!

The one thing that really helps keep my sanity in check is this new Facebook group I started shortly after arriving here. I quickly asked the nurses about other women in my same situation who are staying at the hospital too. They were able to confirm that there were a handful of others just like me but they could not give me their information because of patient confidentiality. Instead, I gave permission to the nurses to distribute my information in order for these women to friend me on Facebook. I added them to a private group where we could chat and share our stories with each other. Within a matter of a couple of days, we were all in the group and sharing up a storm. It was so refreshing to know that we all have such similar stories and experiences which helped make things a little less isolating and foreign. In addition, some of the women have either done this before or have been here long enough to give really helpful and supportive advice. On my week anniversary when the tears could not stop falling, I quickly turned to the group to let them know what was going on with me. Immediately, they were all responding to my post and telling me that they have been through the same exact thing and described what they did to make themselves feel better. This strange new sorority has truly been my saving grace and will continue to make this experience more bearable. As we all come and go, I hope that this group will keep going in order to continue to help future bed rest moms who are in need of support and friendship.

In addition to the new friends I have made, I received a very nice surprise from one of the nurses which has helped cheer me up. She arrived with a very large decorative sunflower to hang on my wall and a truly inspiring story to go with it. About three years ago, a mom on bed rest who was pregnant with twins bought this sunflower to hang in her room. Her twins were able to be delivered at full term and were very healthy so she suspected that this sunflower had something to do with the positive outcome. Before she left the hospital, she gave the sunflower to the nurses with specific instructions that this sunflower should continue to hang in patients' rooms for other moms on bed rest, specifically moms with twins on the way. On the back of the sunflower, everyone who has kept the sunflower in their room has their name listed and each and every one of them had the same positive outcome with their own twins. Not only does it brighten up my room but it has magical powers...just like those jeans in the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. Yeah, I know you're jealous of my magical flower. But seriously, this flower helps remind me that even though I have had a drastic change in my day-to-day life, the reason for me being here and making this huge sacrifice is to ensure that these babies stay alive and are born healthy and happy.

*The song "I Miss the Mountains" is from the 2009 Broadway musical Next to Normal which is about a mother named Diana who struggling with bipolar disorder. Not the happiest of subjects, but the show is amazing with great it won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. I obviously don't have bipolar disorder or any mental illness for that matter, but this one song really describes what I have been feeling over the past week. In the song itself, Diana describes how she misses her life before her illness and that she yearns for normal again. Now I have a new version of normal which I am slowly getting used to but it is encouraging to remind myself how temporary this is. There is an end in sight where I will be rewarded with two beautiful angels in my arms and then the sunflower will be passed on.

Magical twin sunflower

Magical twin sunflower