Sesame Street Blog

Sesame Family Robinson – From making Muppets to Raising Moppets

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The Last Ultrasound

Curriculum of the Day:  Science and technology

We recently went to what will probably be our last ultrasound with our maternal fetal medicine doctor. He has been our cohort in cervix-watching these past two months and has enlightened us on how to see our girls on this magic machine in his office.   

Lyra applauding the ultrasound machine.

Marty and I are both getting very good at seeing their full bladders which we did NOT know empty just like a baby outside the womb. What was a little disconcerting to learn is the urine becomes part of the amniotic fluid, which they re-drink to practice being little breathers and drinkers. (A fascinating cycle I’m glad ends upon birth). What has been miraculous is to see them grow from little heartbeats barely visible, to two babies that no longer can be fully viewed on the screen. From their measurements, the doctor can actually figure out their weight! Go figure! Today, we even saw little heads of hair (I hope they have their father’s curly locks). I once wrote a show for Elmo where he learns what sinks and what floats. He was constantly astonished by these simple facts of science. Astonishment is not reserved for 3-year-olds.  

This really does look like our daughter Ripley Patricia Evans Robinson!


Curriculum of the day:  Music

I keep hearing that song in my head—“Freedom! Freedom! Freedom!”—a cry from the 60s because I have been released from bedrest! I want to dance and sing and do funky backup singer choreography in a mini-dress. Since it takes me five minutes to duck walk from upstairs to the kitchen, and a mini-dress wouldn’t make it beyond my belly button, I won’t be doing that. But, I have been granted the permission from my doctors to rise from my eight pillows. They WANT me to walk around, even if I get more contractions (pre-term, not labor) so I can start to get some muscle tone back. I am allowed to get ALL my own meals now that Marty is back in the studio shooting Season 40. There is still so much I cannot do— like bend over, or pick-up my 12-pound dog, or move a piece of furniture in the nursery. And I’m nuking all my food, not cooking four course meals (not that I did that before I was pregnant). But I can go up and down stairs more than once a day. And sit up straight when eating and watching TV. My feet swell up like balloons if I’m on them for too long but it’s a fair exchange for release from bed prison. Sesame Street fans know that we’ve always been a bastion of fabulous music and today my song is, “FREEDOM!”  


Word of the day:  Preeclampsia

This morning my legs were as large as tree trunks. We had an ultrasound scheduled at 2PM with our maternal fetal medicine doctor, so I figured we might as well pop-in at our OB office to check my blood pressure.    Swelling is normal in all pregnancies, but it’s also a sign of preeclampsia, a condition dangerous to both Mom and babes. Sure enough, my pressure was up at 154/90. Suddenly, Marty and I were being marched off to Labor and Delivery. Dr. Ruben, my OB, told us I wouldn’t leave the hospital again until my babies were born. Maybe even tonight!   

OHMYGOD! We can’t go to the hospital now! We can’t have the babies now! Our dog Nell is in the car!

I am just short of 36 weeks and we know the babies are both already over 5 pounds (according to other ultrasounds), but reality suddenly is upon us.  


Marty rushed the dog back home and I was further assessed. It was decided that I wasn’t that deep into the preeclampsia yet. So, I’m going to stay in the hospital to be monitored until the doctors induce me, allowing the girls to go all the way to 36 weeks.     

Bye-bye freedom. Hello hospital bedrest.  

Hospital Days

Number of the day: 4

Time to inducing—4 days and counting.   

Meanwhile, entertaining myself in the hospital is not easy. The TV is so far away, it gives me a headache. The food? Lacking in all ways, especially since Marty has been cooking such wonderful meals for me. I also keep wondering why they’re giving me cookies and pudding for dessert when I have gestational diabetes. I have a small cold which isn’t helpful, making me cough and feel lousy. Nurses come and go, changing shifts, which makes the entire event feel like purgatory. I try to keep people laughing to entertain myself. When Marty is here, we have fun making silly, hospital movies with Telly Monster. Staff keep visiting our room to meet the “Sesame Street” people, which is lovely sometimes and interrupts shots other times.   Thank goodness for the computer. I write this blog and write skits to keep my mind occupied when I’m alone. I’m about to become a mother and it is a bit overwhelming. I’m afraid of what’s coming up, wishing I could somehow go back to life without these strange creatures inside me that are about to utterly alter my existence. I’m in no-babies-yet land as time ticks onward. 5-4-3-2-1—ACTION!


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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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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