Sesame Street Blog

Sesame Family Robinson – From making Muppets to Raising Moppets

Entries with tag tagbirth .


Word of the Day:  Irony

Labor day was finally here.

We were scheduled to start Pitocin at 8 a.m. but were delayed until 2 p.m. because some other baby just did not want to greet the recession yet. Poor Marty had returned from shooting at 10:30 p.m. to get to the hospital by 8 a.m. so he stretched out on the couch for a snooze. A room eventually opened up and my tree-stump legs and I were wheeled down the hallway. We were greeted by the doctor on call, two nurses and my doula, Tara. I was hooked up to an IV and two bags were hung up on the medicine stand—one the Pitocin, the other this horrible concoction called Magnesium Sulfate to keep me from getting seizures from the preeclampsia. And then, the waiting game began. My cervix was barely dilated yet, but hopefully the Pitocin would do the trick. We chatted. Nurses came and went, checking my vitals and cocktails, asking us questions about Sesame Street.  

“When did Mr. Snuffleupagus finally become visible?” (A classic for anyone over 40.)

I definitely had some intense contractions, but after 4 hours my cervix was exactly the same. And the Magnesium Sulfate was making me feel like I had a horrendous flu. But this was labor; it was supposed to be tough, right? So, we continued watching the clock, listening to insipidly calming music matched with calendar art on the TV. Both Marty and I actually slept a little. Hour seven, the nurses were wondering if I wanted my epidural. But it didn’t seem intense enough yet. Didn’t all my friends say the Pitocin was like a kick in the head? I seemed to be stalled in medium-contraction land. My urine was being measured so I would make my way back and forth to the bathroom dragging my IV stand behind me. The magnesium was really making me feel ill. We tried to watch some 70s movie but I couldn’t focus anymore. Hour 12 arrived and my cervix was still THE SAME! The doctor suggested we try putting a strip of inducing chemical directly next to my cervix. Hopefully, it would be absorbed and jump start this event. We did the strip inducer for a short time, but it was becoming clear I was not responding. Here I spent 2 months in bed keeping my cervix from giving out, and now it was a band of steel??? Had I done TOO good a job??? Hour 14, my cervix was unchanged, and my blood pressure and exhaustion levels were skyrocketing. At this point, it was felt that even if I did start to dilate, it could be another day before push time. If the magnesium was making me unable to barely function now, imagine another 12 plus hours. I was stamped “Failure to Dilate,” moved onto a gurney and wheeled to the operating room.  

It was time for a C-section. 

Checking those baby heart beats. It was always a journey trying to find both girls. Often they would keep finding the same beat over and over. The nurse would glide the monitor all over my tummy, making me very gooey and her very frustrated. The missing baby would always eventually be found hiding behind my liver or something.


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Curriculum of the Day:  Teamwork

C-section was not on our birth plan, but it was now. Since both babies had been head down for months, we all assumed they would come out the traditional way without too much agony. Oh well.

I was wheeled into the operating room and was immediately surrounded by people in their hospital costumes doing everything from shaving me to laying me out in a position with both arms straight out to my sides and strapped down on boards. Suddenly, I was feeling mighty fine. A magnificent drug had obviously been administered, overriding the magnesium. Marty and Tara were suited up in scrubs and now at either side of my head. In front of me was a blue cloth obstructing my view of all the activity below my chest. A burning odor filled my nostrils. Marty popped his head over the blue partition and informed me they were burning an incision across my abdomen.   

“Realllllly? Cooooool!”  

These were superior drugs.  

Then we were all given a blow-by-blow narration of my C-section by Marty who was allowed to stand and watch the entire event from his place by my head. (We were informed later that they usually don’t let husbands observe and talk. I like to believe that Marty was so entertaining, the doctors let this rule slide.) Marty described every moment as the doctor reached into my abdomen, broke my water and pulled out Lyra. She was rushed over to the receiving table to be weighed and cleaned. 5 pounds, 15 oz! They brought her around to me so I could get a good look and have a few pictures taken before she was carried off to the neonatal unit. I remember feeling very overwhelmed and wanted to touch her but I was still nailed to the cross. 

A second team took the place of the first—new baby, a new team who had been waiting on deck. The doctor reached in deeply, fishing for Baby B. She was a slippery one, hard to find. Marty might be exaggerating when he says the doctor was inside me up to her elbows.   Finally, she snagged my little girl. There was another gush of water and out came Ripley. She was supposed to be the same size as Lyra from the ultrasounds, but everyone immediately exclaimed she was smaller as she was placed on the scale. 4 pounds, 9 oz. When they brought her over to me, she looked like a little monkey. She resembled what Marty will look like at 100. Then, she was rushed off to the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit). She needed an hour or so on the respirator to be sure her lungs were clear. (Our maternal medicine doctor rechecked the ultrasounds on Ripley later to see why they were so off on her weight. It was because she was extraordinarily long, so she fooled the computer.)

Meanwhile, it was time to put me back together. The doctor was now being quite effusive, showing Marty my uterus, ovaries and fallopian tubes. My bizarre meter was beeping as my husband told me my uterus is brown like a teddy bear and the umbilical cords are a beautiful rainbow color. At some point, I fell asleep listening to this astonishing information and Marty was brought to the NICU to visit with our newborn baby girls—Lyra Lorraine Evans Robinson and Ripley Patricia Evans Robinson. I’ll never know how many people were actually in that operating room with us, but they knew the concept of teamwork. Perhaps they’d watched Sesame Street as children.

Marty and Lyra. A first moment.

Those healthy lungs getting exercise.  

Vampire Annie

Word of the day:  Transfusion

My labor and delivery was a train wreck. Not one thing seemed to go right except two healthy babies! Annie, the human incubator, was not having a good go of it.   

The morning of the third day after my delivery, I looked like a vampire, or the victim of a vampire. I was so pale it was frightening. My blood count came back very low so they rushed me down for a CAT scan of my abdomen. I was bleeding internally around the incision. They couldn’t tell if it had stopped or not but I needed some blood—fast. If it didn’t stop, they’d have to go back in and give me a hysterectomy.    

I was shattered for so many reasons. First, it meant I’d have to stay in my room and have blood dripped into me for the entire day and night. I wouldn’t be able to feed or visit the twins at all. They couldn’t visit me either since they weren’t allowed out of the NICU yet.  I could only pump and have any milk sent down; only I felt so lousy my desire to pump was zero. My blood pressure was up and down so I was on medication for that as well. A hysterectomy wasn’t high on my to-do list. 

I could feel the despair rising in me. More surgery? All sorts of terrible thoughts raced through my head. All surgery is dangerous. I’m going to die and leave my new family without me. Tearfully, I wrote letters to each of my beloveds—Marty, Lyra, Ripley. Despite what little I knew of them so far, I wrote sage motherly advice in case they ended up motherless.  

Ripley: Keep grabbing at life. Be that little pistol you are. Don’t be afraid to make people angry. Go for what you want.  

Lyra: Don’t worry about being the quiet one, the person who is slower than the rat race. Enjoy that bottle of life at any speed you want.    

Marty: You’re the love of my life, from the moment I saw you.   

I read them to Marty when he got to the hospital with tears streaming down my face.  Clearly, my raging hormones were greatly involved in this scenario. He listened with patience and respect, and then went down to the NICU to feed our twins.

The next day, my blood levels came back to normal. No need for surgery at the moment.  

While I was transfusing, Lyra was eating.

The world’s largest binky.

Daddy and Ripley bonding over the bottle.

Our little Ripster monkey.
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Like your family we have twins, boy/girl, that turned three last month. I saw your blog entry for January and it looks like we have something in common, potty training twins. Like one of your girls, my son WILL NOT pee in the potty but his sister was doing well until she caught on to "Bubbie" not trying. I was just letting things run their course but our local pre-schools/mommy day out programs require the children to be potty trained and this mommy needs a day out. Bribery isn't working. Have you had any success?


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How often is the telly puppet renewed or replaced?

Katherine Sydney, Australia

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I read in 40 Years of Life on the Street about an incident involving Snuffy's puppet where a sombrero caused the wood frame to collapse on you and Bryant Young. Did they rebuild the puppet after that or did they just make a new one?


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I just wanted to say thanks for the blog. My daughter Kylie (who just turned two yesterday) loves to ask if we are going to see "the babies." Thank you so much to you and Marty for bringing the joy of Sesame Street into our lives every day.

Kendal and Kylie Montreal, Canada

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I've noticed that there are fewer Muppets and people in an episode now than there were twenty years ago. Does everyone show up on the set for filming days or only certain ones? Who decides who gets to play the Anything Muppets? There are some voices I hear more than others.


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