And Now THAT Song Is In My Head. Great.

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Less than 24 hours after returning from a quick romantic weekend, my dearest darling, Ryan, was felled by an intestinal flu, so he’s been concerned that he might have given it to me.

Ryan: How are you feeling? Still okay?

Me: Are you texting to check on the state of my bowels?

Ryan: Yeah, I guess I am.

Me: In the immortal words of Ashford and Simpson…still Solid As a Rock.

Ryan: I’m thinking more fiber for you.

Colonoscopies: 100% Less Awful Than Baby Showers

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Tracy: “Are you going to Kim’s baby shower tomorrow?”

Me: “Ugh…you know how much I hate those things.  I’ll just send her a gift.”

Tracy: “What possible excuse are you going to have to skip this?”

Me: “I just had a colonoscopy.  I’m pulling the colonoscopy card.”

Tracy: “I don’t think that’s a card.”

Me: “I had a camera shoved up my ass…how does that NOT earn me a card?”

Tracy: “Fine, but you have to tell her, because I’m not walking into a baby shower with tales about your asshole.”

Me: “A real friend would.”

Tracy: “A real friend doesn’t text pictures of their large intestine to a group chat.”

Me: “Touche.”

Ask Your Doctor If Your Heart Is Healthy Enough For Sexual Activity

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Matthew: Did I tell you that BJ had a heart attack?

Me: No!  Is he okay?

Matthew: Dude almost dies two weeks ago, and then he posts that he had THIS for lunch.

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Me: Yeah, that is NOT on the heart patient menu.

Matthew: This is the equivalent of saying, “I just got rid of my syphilis, time to rawdog some hoes!”

Me: I’m pretty sure, after a heart attack, they advise against rawdogging hoes, as well.

 

There Will be Nothing Funny About This Whatsoever, Unfortunately

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This post is a clear departure from my usual nonsense, but it’s important to me for reasons that will be terribly clear.  My story ends happily.  It ends with the last 12 years of laughter and dirty, loud chaos that only boys can bring, but I came horribly close to an outcome too terrible to consider.

After finding out that I was carrying identical twins in my 18th week, it wasn’t long after, at 22 weeks, during a routine ultrasound, that a significant problem was discovered. Because, most of the time, identical twins share a placenta, a large number of problems can arise, and in the case of my sons, they were not sharing it equally, and had an “Asymetric Placental Share” or “Discordant Growth”. They were 18 days apart in size, and we were told there was nothing to do, but go home and wait two weeks for another ultrasound.

They had clearly never met me.

I quickly discovered that what was happening was highly dangerous, and that what we were seeing was the beginning of a condition that can quickly become TTTS, or Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome; a condition that, if left untreated will kill 80-100% of the babies it effects, with the few survivors having a high rate of severe disabilities. After spending 24 hours sobbing in a ball, on my bathroom floor, I slowly came around, realizing that SOMEONE, SOMEWHERE had to know what to do about this. I got online, and contacted the TTTS Foundation, located in Wisconsin, begging them for advice.

It wasn’t 8 hours later, that I was contacted by Dr. Julian DeLia, the head physician, and a renowned expert on this condition. He asked for my phone number, and told me, he’d call me from home that night. He did, and during that phone call he laid out a course of action for my physicians to follow, here in Phoenix. Dr. DeLia, during that first phone call, gave me hope. He told me that the only thing I could aim for, was to get them to survive past 30 weeks, so they could be delivered with significantly lower chances of death or disability.

I immediately went on a leave from work, beginning a course of 14 weeks of bed-rest, that included nightly hydrotherapy to increase circulation, and an intensive diet, that involved eating every ounce of protein that I could find, with cans of Ensure between them. If my smaller twin wasn’t getting enough nutrients, he said, let’s push as many as we can.  At my next appointment, the day before Thanksgiving, the doctors here were thrilled to find that my sons were now only 8 days apart…an ENORMOUS improvement, and reason to truly be thankful.

Every day, every minute was terrifying. Every time I woke up, I’d hold my breath, waiting to feel both of my sons move, so I’d know they were okay. The only minutes of peace I had, were when I was in the middle of an ultrasound or stress test, and I could see that they were alive and doing well. Every week or so, Dr. DeLia would call to check on us. He prayed for us every night with his family.  He wasn’t my physician of record. He never sent me a bill. He didn’t expect a dime, and I certainly wasn’t his only patient. He just honestly CARED about the outcome of a complete stranger, who needed expertise that he was able to give.

My sons were born 30 days early. They were two pounds apart in size, weighing just over 6 and 4lbs, respectively.  The difference between them was a full pound more than the last ultrasound, two days before had suggested, and my larger son was born bright red and puffy, a sure sign that my condition had shifted into the territory of TTTS, and he was now full of more blood than he should have received. Had I been pregnant another 24…48…72 hours…they both could have died before they even had a chance to be born.

Because of the excellent medical advice I’d received, from a doctor whose foundation works tirelessly to give advice and help to people in my situation, my sons were born perfectly healthy. We were lucky.

Still, TTTS kills more babies annually than SIDS. One in six identical twin pregnancies results in a TTTS diagnosis, which even with invasive surgical treatment, can only increase the chances of the survival of both twins to 60%, and one twin at around 90%. More HAS to be done, and not just for babies with TTTS, but for babies with all manner of diagnosis.

Since our run-in with TTTS, I’ve had two people close to me also diagnosed, both with more aggressive forms, requiring surgery, and with both losing one of their sons.  Every day, I am grateful for my sons.  I am grateful that I never have to look at one and wonder what his brother would have been like, because that hell was spared me, and I would do ANYTHING to change the outcome for my friends or any stranger going through this.  No one deserves that outcome…no one.

This month is TTTS awareness month, and I want to do my part by screaming from my little place in the internet, so more people know, and so, maybe, more people find the right people to help them.  If you or someone you know is diagnosed, there IS hope.  Please contact The Twin-To-Twin Transfusion Foundation. They will help you find physicians nearest you who have been trained to treat this condition, and who can give you and your children the best possible chance.

Hugs.  Thank you for indulging me.

-Meg

Ssssssssssssso Stupid

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It seems my son has picked up my love of statistics.

Xavier: “Did you know that in 78% of rattlesnake bites, the victims are men?”

Me: “What does that tell you?”

Xavier: “That men are STUUUUUUUPID.”

Me: “Why do you say that?”

Xavier: “Because women don’t poke things with sticks.”

Never Have Balls Been So Disappointing

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Me: I’m at the Diamondbacks game. It’s only 10 minutes in, and they’re down by 3 runs. This isn’t going to be pretty.

Ryan: The season’s almost over. They’re looking forward to playing golf.

Me: Judging from the way they’re swinging, they think they already are.

(fifteen minutes later)

Me: Dear Lord, we’re 0-5 at the top of the 2nd. Is there a mercy rule in MLB?

Ryan: No. There should be a mercy rule that if your team sucks that badly, that you get free food and beer.

Me: This season would have been a Public Health Emergency.

Ryan: Baseball Diiiiibeetus.

A Debt I Cannot Repay…

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I’m just gonna go ahead and show you some flowers first, before I make half of you mad.

I’m going to go ahead and apologize, because while this entire post will be fraught with references to dicks…none of them will be remotely funny. Maybe if you’re new or just really into a good dick story, read about the time I broke up with someone over Jon Hamm’s penis. It doesn’t disappoint.  (Okay, huge lie, it’s an enormously disappointing story on every level, especially for Jon Hamm.)

Anyhooooo…

Today, I want to take a moment to thank Planned Parenthood.  I want to thank them for the education that I was able to pursue, my health which is relatively stellar, and mostly, for giving me control over my future.  It is because of Planned Parenthood, that I have never needed to have an abortion, and for the fact that I’ve never HAD to make a choice.

Thank you for giving nonjudgmental, factual, realistic education to anyone who wanted it, along with affordable birth control, to keep them safe and healthy. Your work has enabled so many millions of people to live full and happy lives, so that, when they are ready, they can have healthy families.

Thank you, Planned Parenthood, for getting me an immediate appointment when I was 20 and thought I was dying, only to find out that I was the victim of too-tight underwear. Thank you again for when I was 33, and convinced I definitely dying this time, because of a chronically unfaithful partner, and for literally holding my hand until the rapid test showed I was safe.

I’m hardly alone…I know my hands aren’t the only ones you held. Thank you for holding the hands of people that I love, who didn’t get good results, and for handling it with such love, compassion, and care, that they didn’t jump in front of buses or swallow every pill they owned. You steered them to medical help, counseling, and showed them that their lives, while altered, were not even close to over.

Thank you for providing prenatal care to women who have no insurance, but who wanted to do the right thing, and for giving easy affordable cancer screenings for women, who otherwise could never afford it, and maybe wouldn’t have gotten help until it was too late.

And yes, thank you for also providing safe and LEGAL abortion services for those that need it. Thank you for being a beacon of light, so my college roommate didn’t have her sexual assault compounded, by having her body taken over, again, by the son of a bitch who raped her.  Thank you for hiring AMAZING staff, who treated her with such gentleness and compassion, that the only emotion she ever had following her procedure, was a deep and profound sense of relief.  Thank you for ending the days my mother lived through, as a nurse in New York, in the 1960’s, where she saw many, many women lose their lives to blood loss and infection, because they were left to butchers when they were too poor to fly overseas, where it was safe.

Thank you for fighting for all of us, even those who fight against you, because you believe we should have options in our lives. Thank you for fighting the good fight, and getting so many millions of women through not only the best most amazing parts of their lives, but also the hardest and scariest.  Thank you for taking care of our brothers, boyfriends, husbands, sons, and friends, who also count on you for their futures.

Just thank you…