All posts by Sminski

Gall Stones and Pacreatitis

As my daughters turned one week old, I was lying in the ER on morphine. It pained me more than the physical pain I was in to see the clock strike 7:53 and know that I wasn’t with them.

The previous evening I was at home after a full day of visitors feeling very uncomfortable. My back had started hurting and I was convinced I had some trapped gas as a side effect of the c section. As the night wore on it got worse. I kept trying to walk around my house to “untrap” the gas, but I could barely walk. Every position was painful. My back was spasaming. A little before midnight, I called the OB. He suggested taking some Antacids and if that didn’t help, go to emergency. I took a Tums and immediately knew it wouldn’t do anything, so I called my mom.

I left the girls with the baby nurse I thankfully have and we spent the night in the ER. Blood tests, an ultrasound and CT Scan confirmed that I had severe pancreatitis caused by gall stones. Around 8 am I was moved to another room that was a holding area for observations. I saw several doctors that told me the pancreatitis was so bad, that we had to wait at least 2 days before doing any procedures.

I ended up spending 5 days in the hospital while my girls were home with my mom and the nurse. I was finally reunited with them on Friday minus one gall bladder. It almost still feels surreal to have gone so quickly after pregnancy back into the hospital with another surgery. All I wanted was to be back home with my babies.

The gall stones after pregnancy is apparently pretty common although I had never heard of it before. I’d never had an issue, at least not that I was aware of. It was definitely both physically and emotionally draining.

Thankfully I had my family and friends looking out for me. I also had really good care at the hospital. I’m starting to feel like my normal self again.

The Best Day

August 22nd was the best day of my life. Period. There is nothing like the feeling of hearing your babies for the first time.

Elena was born at 7:53 am at 6.8 lbs. Yael was born one minute later at 7.3 lbs. They were the big twins all the nurses were talking about.

Having a baby via c section was a bit surreal. I don’t have anything to compare it to, but there’s tons of activity going on and as the mom I’m laying there with my arms stretched out and a curtain on my face waiting to meet my babies. I got a little skin to skin with each one before they were taken to the nursery and I was sent to recovery.

Those first few days and even now, I look at them with awe. I can’t believe they are mine. I can’t believe I made them. It’s incredible to fall in love with someone so instantly. They are my greatest accomplishment.


T minus 1 Day

When I was trying to conceive, especially during the 2 weeks waits, I was constantly questioning every twinge or possible symptom. I spend tons of time on Google trying to figure out what it might or might not mean. In the last week or so, the googling reemerged as I questioned everything as a potential sign of labor. One minute I was sure I was about to start contractions. The next minute I was convinced they were staying in there until the c section. It’s been a week of trying to rest up and be as prepared as you can possibly be for this.

Tomorrow is the big day. In less than 24 hours, I will, G_d willing, be with my babies on the outside. I know it’s going to be an amazing day and there’s definite excitement, but there’s definite fear as well.

From my end, I’ve never had surgery (besides wisdom teeth and my egg retrieval). I’ve never even had stitches or a broken bone. So, the surgery in itself is scary. Then there’s the thought of potential complications or something going wrong with the babies. I know that it would be rare, but I’m still worried. I was lucky to have had regular ultrasounds, so I have the peace of mind that everything has been OK in there: fetal echo showed everything fine with the heart, all other organs looks good, they are measuring right, fluid levels have been good, etc. But there’s still that piece of me that can’t help but worry until I see and hear them.

It’s the worry of not knowing what to expect or how things are going to go. My whole life is about to change and I have no control over all the changes that will happen. It’s terrifying, yet wonderful at the same time. It’s what I wanted.

Here’s one last bump picture at exactly 38 weeks.

38 weeks

The next pictures will be of my amazing little miracles!


After all it took for me to get pregnant, I have felt grateful for the relatively easy pregnancy that I’ve had. I’ve written it before, but overall I have felt good. There was no crazy swelling (just normal feet swelling when I was working), no high blood pressure, no gestational diabetes, etc. I feel lucky to be able to say I’ve enjoyed being pregnant. While I absolutely cannot wait to meet my little ones, it’s weird to think that I won’t be pregnant anymore. I see my belly in the mirror and it’s strange to think that I won’t have it. I know it will never look like it once did, but eventually I’ll be able to lie on my stomach again.

I did encounter one annoyance of pregnancy recently when I ended up with PUPPs. Like with the pregnancy, it was a minor case and could have been a lot worse from what I’ve read, but it has still not been a walk in the park. If you google PUPPs, you’ll see crazy pictures of women’s bellies covered in red marks. Mine doesn’t look like that. It actually started on my feet, which meant for an eventful time while we tried to figure out what was going on.

It first happened in early July. I all of a sudden had what looked like bites all over my feet and ankles. It was extremely itchy and I was convinced I had some type of bug infestation in my house. I had the Orkin guy here because of termites and showed him my feet. He told me it wasn’t bed bugs, but looked like fleas. This grossed me out because they would be coming from the stray cats all over the neighborhood. After about a week the itchiness went away and I didn’t develop any new “bites” so I figured I was in the clear.

About 2 weeks ago, it happened again. I went to bed with a couple of bites on my feet and woke up super itchy in the middle of the night with bites all over the feet and ankles again. It looked like what happens if I get bitten by red ants, but I spent almost no time outdoors. It seemed impossible to me that I could get that bitten by something and never see any actual bugs around. So I started thinking maybe it had to do with the pregnancy. Maybe I was allergic to something in pregnancy, maybe it was a pregnancy skin condition, etc. Meanwhile the itchiness was killing me.

Thankfully I had an OB appointment the next day, but he was stumped. He brought out this big medical book and in the end suggested I go to a dermatologist. In the meantime I was getting more bites with some on my thighs and even my belly. The dermatologist ended up taking a biopsy of a couple of bites and prescribing a topical steroid to help.

In the end, it turns out it is PUPPs, which is uncomfortable, but harmless to me and the babies. That’s all that matters in the end. It should go away once they are born. Hopefully the marks do too. Even though I did my best not scratching, my feet look like they were plagued by chicken pox.

So I didn’t get away scott-free from pregnancy related stuff, but it was mild in comparison to what others have gone through. As I near the end, I’m cherishing getting my naps in since I haven’t been this tired since the beginning and I’m definitely getting more anxious on what is to come.

Too Close for Comfort?

As my due date gets closer, the anxiousness grows.

I know that this is completely normal and that most, if not all, moms to be start having those moments of anxiety, nervousness and excitement of what is to come. It sometimes still feels surreal that I’m even pregnant, let alone 36 weeks pregnant with twins. I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how well I’ve done and really how uneventful it has been, with the exception of morning sickness. At the beginning, I was sure that by the beginning of July I’d need to be at home all day with my feet up. I thought it was inevitable with twins and my advanced maternal age (lol) that I’d be on bed rest. Once we reached July, I was feeling fine. My feet were swollen at the end of the day and the drive to work was uncomfortable, but other than that, I was thankfully doing well.

Once my OB determined that it didn’t look like Baby A was going to get into the right position, he scheduled a c-section. That gave me a definitive date in sight and also allowed me to give a last day at work so that I could also get some downtime prior to the babies’ arrival.

The date also started my true anxiousness. I’ve had moments of panic thinking, “What made me think I could do this? How did I get to this point?” It’s ironic to have spent so much mentally and monetarily to get here and then now second guess that decision. I’m not really second guessing. I still want this completely. It’s only momentary freak outs.

As I sit here with less than 2 weeks to go, I think about all that it took to get here. A year ago, I wasn’t even sure that I would be able to get pregnant and now I’m surrounded by cribs, baby toys, a changing table and a stroller.

Does Minivan = Mom?

Does driving a minivan make you an official mom? If it does, then count me in!

From the moment I found I was having twins, I knew that a minivan was the only option for me. While I haven’t had the full first hand experience of twins, I’ve been on the periphery of my brother and sister in law raising theirs. I saw how uncomfortable it was for them to fit 2 car seats in a small SUV like mine. It’s not to say that you can’t survive, but being on the taller end, I knew it would mean being pushed up to the steering wheel to accommodate the infant carseat. I also knew it meant only someone with a small behind could sit in the middle (been there done that). Not to mention small parking spaces and trying to wedge between a small open car door to get not just baby, but full on infant carseat out of that car.

They quickly ended up switching to a large SUV which worked great for them. Being a passenger in their car and also traveling with them in a rented minivan, I knew that the minivan was the better choice for me. Comfort over style, I know. The sliding doors and the huge trunk space were appealing features. Plus the fact that I do not have the driving/parking skills of my sister in law to effectively navigate one of those huge SUVs. I have a tendency to bump into walls and that’s just while walking!

So I am now the proud owner of a minivan. I have my carseats installed. I’m all ready for the twins’ arrival. Well all ready in respect to the car. Don’t get me started on all the anxiety of whether I’m really ready, which I know no one ever is.

Preparing for Roommates

The last couple of weeks have been pretty focused on preparing the house for my soon to arrive roommates (both the babies and baby nurse). This nesting thing is real, although it comes in spurts and at weird times. I might be here in my house all relaxed in the early evening and then at 9 PM, I all of a sudden get it in my head that I have to find a place for the toys or really need to move the blankets I stored in one place to another. It’s pretty crazy, but also very useful.

Leading up to the weekend of baby showers, gifts from my registry started to arrive. Once that Sunday evening came, my house looked like an unorganized baby store. I was able to sort everything into categories: bath stuff, toys, blankets, bibs, electronics, etc. That gave it a little more order. Then last Friday, the cribs and dresser were delivered which made it even more real. I spent a lot of time last weekend washing loads of baby clothes and sheets and getting everything put away. While I still have a ways to go, I feel I’m more ready.

Last night or this morning when I was up at 4 AM, I started thinking about charging the camera and getting the baby monitor set up (or at least reading the instructions). I know there’s still much more to do, but at least I feel that if for some reason, they came early, I have enough stuff to get by.

The hard part of all of this organizing and nesting is that I get tired quickly. My body responds when I’m pushing it, so it’s sometimes only a 20 minute spurt and then I need to take a break. It can be frustrating, but I also know that it’s for the best.

This whole prep is a little weird because I’ll be moving a little after their born, so there really is no nursery right now. The 2nd bedroom will be where the nurse sleeps and my living room will have lots of stuff (along with piles of some already packed boxes for the move). I’m trying not to think of the clutter too much and also trying to not stress about the new house. It will all come together and once the babies arrive that’s all I’ll be focused on anyway.

The only thing I’m worried about is making my babies feel comfortable and at home in their environment. A year ago I was going through the disappointment of my 4th failed IUI and now I’m like 6 weeks away from giving birth.

3rd Trimester

I’m probably about 8-9 weeks from having the babies in my arms. It feels surreal to be getting this close to the end of pregnancy. The initial months of morning sickness and exhaustion seem really far away, yet in some way the months flew by.

I have been pleasantly surprised at how well I’ve felt since those first months and how my body has taken to the pregnancy. I always thought I would swell up everywhere, but without doing much of anything, that hasn’t happened. I do feel more and more uncomfortable, which is natural, and I have anemia. Aside from that, I can’t really complain. When I first got pregnant I thought that for sure by this time I’d be ready to stop working; that I might be on bed rest or that it would be too difficult to drive or move around. While the drive is brutal and I am slower, I’m doing OK. Part of me wishes I was done with work, but I know I can make it a bit longer.

This weekend is the weekend of baby showers. I’ve started to receive gifts from my registry in advance. Tomorrow is my work shower and then Sunday in my other one. It’s exciting, but also feels a little strange to be celebrated in this way. I don’t think that anyone has thrown me a party since my 16th birthday.

Tomorrow I’m also going to interview a pediatrician, which hopefully I like and can cross that off the list. I started childbirth classes last weekend and have one more class on Saturday.

My plans for next weekend are to finish buying anything I need for the babies arrival that I don’t get this weekend. Plus to finish organizing my house for the cribs and changing table. Once all of that is done and carseats installed, I’ll feel much more ready (or as ready as I can be) for the babies’ arrival.

Single Pregnancy Precedes Single Motherhood

Have you ever been in a crowded room and never felt more lonely? It’s that dichotomy of being surrounded by people, yet it highlighting the fact that you are alone.

This is how I feel sometimes while pregnant and single. Everyone, even strangers, are asking me lots of questions, wishing me luck, smiling, etc. I should be feeling all the love and warmth and taking that to mean that I’ve actually never been more accompanied by others. What happens though in certain moments is that it highlights for me how alone in this I am.

It’s the reality. It’s what I chose. And I know that it’s still the best decision I’ve made in my life. There are definite aspects of doing this alone that are perks: I don’t have to ask for anyone’s agreement on what I’m buying, choosing the pediatrician, setting a birth plan, etc. All the decisions are mine to make. The downside is not having someone there to share in those random moments like seeing your belly move as you lay in bed or celebrating passing your glucose test with a big bowl of ice cream. Or even having someone to share in those fears that come as you embark on first time parenthood and LABOR.

At times I sit here at home relishing in vegging on the couch with a book or good movie and knowing that pretty soon I’ll have a 24/7 job and at least a couple of people in my house at any given time. I know to appreciate those little moments of calm before the storm that I’m willingly heading into. I also love envisioning my little family and life with my two babies. Walking them in their strollers, kissing them good night, seeing their happy faces as they wake up in the morning. All those moments make me emotional with happiness. I’m sure I’ll have times of feeling alone then, but that’s the life I am excited for.

What I think is difficult is the pregnancy alone. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to be surrounded by people all the time. Every once in a while would be nice, but not all the time. It’s really all part of the beginnings of single motherhood.


I feel like I’ve made progress in terms of preparation. I know I still have a lot to do, but I do feel a little more at ease. I think the biggest thing I was able to check off my to do list was finding a baby nurse. That had been stressing me out the most!

I had interviewed a few and while all were qualified, it felt like goldylocks: one was too expensive, one was too chatty, etc. When interviewing this last one, I felt like we clicked and that was important to me. They all had the experience and had been actual nurses in other countries, but I had to think of who I could live with for a few months and not go crazy.

Aside from that, I more or less have my registry finished, I know baby showers will all happen by end of June and I’ve got basics like onesies, socks, and sheets at home. I also have been packing some of my house little by little over the weekends. Even though I won’t be moving into the new house until probably October, I know that packing will get harder further into the pregnancy and may not even be doable with 2 newborns. I’m basically packing those things that I know I won’t be using even though it means having piles of boxes in the house. So far I’ve packed my books (at least 6 boxes), purses (2 large boxes), and some clothes that I know I won’t be wearing. There’s not much more that I won’t be needing, but I take comfort in feeling like I’m moving in the right direction in terms of organization.

There’s still lots to do, but at least I’ve made progress.