Monday, December 24, 2012

Joy Comes in the Morning

My heart is full and my cup runneth over.

Introducing my beautiful children.
Who have captured my heart
and shown me that joy does come in the morning.
I can never express my gratitude,
and complete, never-ending, heart-filling love
that I feel for these two little chipmunks.

Andrew William
Born on December 17, 2012 at 8:20 am
6 pounds 7 ounces, 19 inches long

Annalise Marie
Born on December 17, 2012 at 8:21 am
5 pounds 4 ounces, 18 inches long

Joy does come in the morning.  At 8:20 and 8:21.

Everyone is healthy and doing well.  

Saturday, December 8, 2012

What Pregnancy Has Taught Me

I swore if I was ever pregnant again, I would never complain.
I would appreciate every little ache and pain.
I would revel in the beauty of my ever-expanding belly.
Well folks, I have tried not to complain.
I've worked really, really hard.
I know there are bucket-fulls of women who would pay and do a lot to be in my position.
I was one of them.
I got annoyed when I read and heard about women complaining about how
awful they felt.
But, I have learned over the past few months that
my complaining does not mean that I don't want this.
Or I would rather not be in this position.
Rather, my complaining is more because I am ready to meet them.
And have them here.

So, I am writing this in the spirit of "what I have learned through pregnancy"
rather than "I am complaining about pregnancy."

What I have learned:

  • God has a giant sense of humor.  Just when I think that my belly has reached its max limit, it grows a little bit more.  I'm pretty sure that if we kept this up, my skin could be see through. And I could watch Herbie and Puckett like I used to watch the polar bears through the glass window at the zoo.  And, there will be no skin pictures on this blog.  This wonderful miracle of growing babies is not always a beautiful miracle.  
  • As I have mentioned before, karma is one nasty lady.  The cankles continue to grow and, just to be funny, I suppose, my feet only fit in Crocs.  Which is unfortunate in itself.  Cankles would be one thing.  Adding Crocs to the mix just makes it oh-so-much-more-humbling.
  • There are some kids that know a lot about pregnancy and babies (others don't know a lot at all).  Questions that have been asked (males and females):  How do you think nursing will go?  Are you going to have a c-section? Did you know if you push hard enough that you poop? Are you going to keep their umbilical cords? 
  • I haven't quite learned why other things need to accompany pregnancy- such as other changes to the body that I will not mention.  Some things don't seem completely necessary.  They are just big pains in the butt.  Literally.
  • My husband is wonderful.  He has now taken over all of the household chores, such as hand washing all the floors every weekend, vacuuming, washing the dishes, doing the laundry, cleaning the showers, etc.  I haven't done any of these things for a long time.  And I am very appreciative.  And I am not really looking forward to the time when I get to do some of these things again.
  • My belly is a perfect level to knock little kindergartners in the face.  It's also a perfect level for them to stare at. And they are not subtle.

Baby and such update

How Far Along: 36 weeks and 3 days.  Yes, that 3 days is important.

Size of Babies:  Not sure officially. At my 35 week appointment, boy was weighing in at approximately 5 pounds 8 ounces and girl was weighing 5 pounds 3 ounces. However, this is very approximate and this was a week and a half ago. I have faith that they have gained since then. I would love if they were both over 6 pounds when they are born.

Weight Gain: None ya.  But, I have gained weight.

Belly: It hasn't gotten any smaller.

Go ahead and laugh. Other people do.  And then they realize what they are doing and then feel badly.

Sleep: Same as usual.  Better than when they arrive.

Movement: They are still moving and still definitely trying to find their own little special space there.  However, I think that is impossible.  At 35 weeks, girl was laying diagonally across my belly, with her head under boy's tummy.  This explains why my belly is totally uneven at times.

Latest Doctor's Appointment:

1.  I had a doctor's appointment this past week (36 week appointment).  That was my goal- get to December 5 and I made it.  And, I even made it while teaching full-time.  Bam.

2.  I was about 1 cm dilated and a little effaced- not much of any action. Dr. E thought that there wouldn't be anything happening this week.
3. They passed their BPP tests (movement, tone, fluid, and breathing) and their NST again.
4. I also asked Dr. Eck if I could deliver them on 12-12-12.  I thought I might as well try.  It would be a great birthday because of the obvious reasons and because my nephew's birthday is on the 11th, my coworker's is on the 12th and my dad's is on the 13th.  Unfortunately, she just gave me a smirk that said, "Nice try."  She felt like the 12th was a little early if they are still comfy in there.  Which, I completely understand.  I know that the longer they are in there, the better.  But still.  12-12-12?
5.  We did decide on a date!  Prep for the Twins' first home game will be  Monday, December 17 at 5:30 am.  The game will start at 7:30 am. To say that I am thrilled and excited and terrified is an understatement.  We covet your prayers over the next week or two as we prepare for this--a day we have been waiting and praying for for many years.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

No news is good news.

How Far Along: 34 weeks manana.  How did that happen?

Size of Babies:  Not sure officially. I'm thinking they will get measured this week.  I continue to grow, so I am hoping that that means that they are growing as well.  Babycenter says that at around this stage they are about 18 inches long and weigh about 4.75 pounds (about a cantaloupe).  I'd say it is completely believable that they would be about that same size. It does feel like I am carrying some melons around.  In my belly, that is.

Weight Gain: It fluctuates, but anywhere from 40-50 pounds. (Sidenote: if you're a nurse and are recording weight, please don't tell the patient, "That's okay, honey. You're carrying two."   Just keep your thoughts to yourself.  And tell me I am glowing.  And that I have really skinny ankles.  And only one chin.

Belly: Good golly, Miss Molly.  When I look down, my belly doesn't seem so huge.  But then I look in the mirror.  Or at pictures.  Or when I wear clothes.  Or when I lay down.  Or when I can't breathe. Or walk.  It's then that I realize that my belly keeps getting larger.  It's kind of amazing actually.  Like just when you think, "It can't stretch out anymore.  It's just not possible," God goes ahead and is like, "That's funny. Let me stretch your tummy out a little further.  Just far enough that when you try to squeeze past kids through a door, that you knock them over."  That kind of thing.  So, yeah.  My belly is full of melon-sized babies. The bonus is that I get to rid gansta-style in my car with my seat so far back.  Once again, it would be a lot cooler if I drove like that in a city.  Not through Kansas fields.
I don't know what my actual fundal height is.  Maybe about 2 or 3 yards by now? :)

Sleep: On the left side with intermissions throughout the night to pee and readjust my ear and knees.  It's fine.  I'm at least sleeping throughout most of the night.

Movement: Because baby melons are not able to spread out like they used to and since they are bigger, their movements are becoming painful and much more defined.  I do absolutely love watching my belly form into different 3D shapes (sphere to cube to rectangular prism) when they move their arms and legs.  I love the assurance that they are okay.  But, I will be honest and say that it hurts.

Other things:
1.  I will never make fun of anyone's swollen feet or cankles again.  You know what they say about karma?  Well not only will she come back to get you, she comes back to get you and gives you ginormous Flinstone feet in the process. Lo siento, Min.

2.  I had a doctor's appointment yesterday.  I will not mention that I was there for 2 and 1/2 hours.  Or that I was admitted to the hospital.  Because those weren't the main events.  (Seriously, I was admitted to the hospital but it was because I went there for my ultrasound and non-stress test.  And I guess they have to admit you for anything.  I was even asked if I would like visitors.).
  • I am not dilated at all.  Which means, hopefully, I still have several weeks to go before delivery.
  • I do have some swelling in my feet and ankles.  I knew this already from the elephant feet I have attached to my tree-trunk calves.
  • Both babies passed their BPP ultrasound tests again (8 out of 8 points!).  Of course, they did it on their time schedules, not mine.  They still have great movement and tone, lots of fluid around them, and both performed their breathing exercises.  
  • We got to see Puckett sucking on her umbilical cord.  Which is really cute.  Until you think about it.  And then it's gross.  But then, whatever.  She'll probably eat poop sometime in her life.  So an umbilical cord is not a big deal.
  • I don't know about how I/they did on the NST.  They were moving like mad but because of that it was difficult to consistently monitor their heartbeats.  
  • Both babies are now head down.
  • A date has not been chosen. A method has not been chosen.  The method I pick is the one where they are are born alive and screaming and healthy. 
  • My goal is to make it to December 5 and not go past December 19. Anything in between is fine. Especially 12.12.12.  Because that would be rad to have that birthday.  And my nephew's birthday is the day before, my friend's is the 12th and my dad's is the 13th.  But seriously. I don't care.
3.  After my appointment I had nursing class.  Since all the appointments took me forever, Dave had run and gotten me dinner.  So, I was that pregnant lady in class with a thing of fries.  And, Dave gets extra points for husband of the year award since he went with me to breastfeeding class.  Thankfully, he was not the guy hiding his face or playing on his phone the whole time. That was another dude.

4. We had our first shower this past weekend which was hosted by D's work peeps.  It was great fun to see and chat with people and eat delicious snacks and watch people drink delicious drinks.  We also got some wonderful things for the twerps.

5.  I also got this great, fantastic, beautiful, perfect diaper bag from my aunt (and uncle). She is an expert bag maker and she made this one for Dave and me.  I know she probably didn't even notice, but I noticed her fabric choice:  

On this side, two deer (for the twins) and one baby bird on the orange deer's back.  I thought that was Nugget right away.

On the other side, there is a bigger bird flying, which is obviously Maggie.  Imagine it. I don't have a picture.  And then, the amazing inside of the bag. She even made a wet bag and a changing pad to match.  

6.  And finally, some clothes from my wonderful family in Germany.  They will be the coolest cats in Kansas.  Fergs agrees.

Last thing...
Did you read about this lady? And her triplet boys?  She is a rockstar for sure. Just another reminder that I will get over my weight gain and remind myself that I am doing it for them and their health.  I can't even imagine--20 pounds of baby? 4 gallons of milk? That doesn't even cover placentas, amniotic fluid, Twinkie remnants.  Bless her.  And her husband.  And those little guys.  

Sunday, November 4, 2012

I think we've got everything. Except a clue.

I had my first weekly appointment with Dr. Eck this week. It consisted of:

  • An ultrasound with a biophysical profile
  • A doctor's check-up/appointment
  • A non-stress test
And, I will be doing this routine every week until delivery.

The ultrasound was to check the baby's growth and measurements (even though this gets less and less accurate the further along in pregnancy you are).  Boy (A) weighs approximately 3 pounds 13 ounces and Girl (B) weighs about 3 pounds 5 ounces.  Normal measurements since B always tends to be smaller and girls also tend to be smaller as well.

The other part of the ultrasound was the biophysical profile.  The test is checking on 4 things for each baby, which they get 2 points for each thing- his/her body movements, muscle tone (flexing arms/legs or opening and closing a fist), breathing movements, and the amount of amniotic fluid surrounding them.  They both got 8/8.  Their first A+.  Bam.

Right now, Baby A is head down and quickly running out of room.  Baby B is head up and is facing my back with her head tucked up (and slamming into) my ribs.  Her feet are either over her head or slamming into her brother's head (which is below her).  We will continue monitoring which positions they are in as we get closer to delivery time.

Of course, we got pictures but little girly wasn't cooperating.   She would rather ram her head into my ribs.  The sonographer popped over to the 3D option (or is it 4D? I never know.) and got a sweet picture of Herbie, though.  He looks like a real freaking human being!!!!  No longer a little seahorse or  a huge headed alien or really gaunt looking baby.  He looks cute (minus the umbilical cord in front of his one eye)!

And then.  Then.  To top it off?  She went ahead and showed us this.

What is this craziness?  The 2 dots in the middle of the picture are blurry arrows pointing to the blurry/cloud poofy things to the left.  But, the amazing thing is that the cloud/blurry things on the left is hair!  That's a head (I forget who owns that one) with little peach fuzzy hair.  And they both had it.  And that, my friends, is the cutest and sweetest thing I have seen in a long time.  Baby fuzzy hair on little noggins.  You can't beat that.

After that I had my doctor's appointment where I got my fundal height measured (don't know what it was), blood pressure, she squeezed my cankles for awhile, and we talked about delivery.  Here's the plan/deal/decisions we need to make:
  • The latest I will go is 38 weeks (that is December 19 I think).
  • If Baby A (boy) stays head down I can opt for a vaginal delivery.  I could deliver him and then she would go in and flip girly girl around (if she is still breech).
  • Of course, there are risks for delivery vaginally, which we discussed (risks that you would have with just one baby two, but also additional ones that come with 2 babies).
  • If I wanted, I could just opt for a C-section.
  • She said that there is more stress on the mother for a c-section (especially the recovery afterwards) and more stress on the babies during a vaginal delivery.
  • In addition, it could happen that I delivery one vaginally and something happens and I have to have a C-section with the other one. Which would be dumb.
  • So, we haven't made any decisions yet.  And, we don't have to at this point--until we get closer to delivery time.
  • I am not one of those people who must have a natural delivery or must deliver vaginally or whatever. I know there are risks with both and that having a c-section is major surgery.  However, my goal is not to win the award for least meds used or most natural delivery. My goal is for my babies to be born-- alive, healthy, screaming, and with the fewest complications and stress on them.  That is my goal. Nothing else.  
I then did my non-stress test. Lay there with a pink and blue tube top around my belly with monitors strapped on my belly for heart rates and contractions.  I then got to press a button whenever I felt movement.  Results from that looked good and normal, too.  But, let me tell you.  If you ever want to relax and almost fall asleep, just have some background noise of listening to heartbeats. It's ridiculously relaxing.

I am feeling okay. I would be lying if I said that I was feeling fantastic.  I am struggling but keep thinking about the outcome and why I am doing this.  I will make it through this- millions of women have done this.  And it ends eventually.  And I don't want to deliver now--they need more time to bake and gain weight.

This last weekend I went to the store and got all of the must-haves before they arrive so that I can start packing my hospital bag.  There were a few things that we still needed and I think we are all set (we will get the rest of the stuff after they are born).  Now, I think the only thing we still need is a clue on what the heck we are doing.  But my sister said you never have a clue as a parent.   

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Week 30. And then some.

You get this again.  Because it is easier.  Paragraphs seem quite overwhelming right now.

1.  I am 30 1/2 weeks.  I have sworn not to complain because I have sent up a gajillion prayers to get to this point and I know how many women would tell me to shut up.  As they should.  So, I won't complain.  Let's just say the X-Large maternity whale shirts that I bought 3-4 weeks ago?  They are not quite covering the belly anymore.

2.  And I refuse to compare myself to full-term singleton pregnant bellies.  Because it makes me feel a bit jealous. Not jealous of the fact that they are losers and are only having one kid.  But because their bellies look like mine did at approximately week 5.  I know I should be huge and chubby.  So, I will not compare. At least not out loud.  Inside my head I am pretty sure I could be giving birth to a T-Rex.

3.  My students have named Herbie and Puckett "Billy" and "Emily."  I am not sure how that got started but it is going to be weird calling them by other names when they are born.

4.  We have cancelled all of our magazine subscriptions in order to save money.  We figured we needed to save the money and we will not have time to read them either.

5.  I am pretty sure we have picked out names.  This was not fun for me- it felt like a lot of pressure. And Dave hated every name I did or ran it through his "16-year-old-locker-room filter" and decided that certain names just wouldn't work, even if we absolutely loved them.  I don't know if I should be impressed if that filter in D's head still works like it did 15 some-odd years ago.

5.  Pictures from October 15- Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day.   Fergs still loves to join in.

6.  My very thoughtful coworker and friend (who serves me ice water every morning) remembered October 15 and brought me flowers.  Amazing woman with an amazing heart and an amazing memory.  Thanks, little one.

7.  I am also trying to get as much Christmas shopping done now as I can. No matter what happens, I will not be going shopping.  I will either be a whale and whales cannot and should not go shopping.  Or I will be home with Herbs and Puckett and I refuse to take them out Christmas shopping.  And I will probably refuse to change out of sweat pants.  So, I won't be going.

8. I got a package in the mail from my old coworker/boss.  She is a woman, I must admit, that I kind of idolize.  She is not only an incredibly talented educator, but she has a heart of gold and a sense of humor that rocks my world.  Thanks for the adorable, onesies, JS.  I especially love the bears brushing their teeth.  And oh look, there's my belly.

9.  My mom's neighbor also visited me at school the other day.  She dropped off a whole slew of gifts for me.  An adorable wall hanging for the nursery and some ear warmers for me that I'll definitely use for recess duty.  But the best part of the gift? Just look at these things! Obviously, her sewing talents are ridiculous.
Square-toed quilted boots for Herbie.
Round-toe quilted books for Puckett.
10.  Another package came this week too.  From Dave's parents and sister and family.  It was a box filled with goodies for us and the babies.  Dave's sister made us yummy bread and cookies. And they also included some baby clothes and blankets that they had acquired through (I am assuming) my other sister-in-law.  Then, also, there was an ear thermometer (that I was too cheap to register for) and some handmade, sewn car seat covers.  I had looked on for some and registered for some, but they were super expensive and a lot more cover than what we need here in Kansas.  She made these and they fit the carseats perfectly--complete with zippers and velcro face cover flap things. I think I should get a job writing product descriptions.

11. No belly pics.  As that requires energy. And a wide-angle lens, which I don't have.

12.  I have another Dr. appointment on Thursday.  I will have an ultrasound, which will include a biophysical profile, meeting with the doctor, and a non-stress test.  I'm pretty sure I'll be there until midnight at this rate, but I don't care.  They are doing everything they can to make sure they are growing the way they should, have the muscle movements that they should, and are practicing breathing as they should.  I'll sit there for days if I need to.

13.  I don't remember the last time I read a book.  That is sad. Maybe that is why I am becoming dumber.

14.  Does Eli Manning look like he is a 13 year old boy?  Like he should be going to a private boarding school for pre-pubescent boys.  No?  Just me?

15.  The baby room is starting to be done.  By that, I mean that if babies came we would be fine.  We just wouldn't be able to walk around that much.  Here's a sneak peak.

One crib came.  Not sure where the other one is.  Stuck somewhere. I need to call but that would require my cell phone to work inside my house.  Ugh.  The cribs we ordered were one of the top five on Consumer Reports for safety, construction, and ease of putting together.  They also convert to toddler beds and full beds.  And, kitty cannot get in it.

The dresser D painted and the frame my sister got my after Maggie died (it has the e.e. cummings quote on it). I'm still not sure what picture to put in it.  Ideas?

The bookshelf on the opposite wall of the dresser.  Momentos and baby books, etc. I've picked up along the way.  The blurred parts are either pictures of inappropriate things. Or the first letters of their names.  You choose.

 One of my favorite parts of the shelf- can't forget my original babies, Maggie and Nugget.  Since no place makes hawk anything, I went with the birds instead.

One of my favorite Curly Girl prints (see up close at the top of this entry and I used it in this post right after Maggie was born) and a bull for D that I spray painted. On the driveway. In a box.  When it was windy.  Wife Fail.

The cribs will eventually go along the right wall under the long, skinny window.  The desk and tubs and piles o' crap will be moved.

16.  I think that is it.  I am full of baby. I love it.  I wish December would be here already.  And they cannot wait to meet everyone.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

October 15

1.  Monday is October 15- Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness day.  Please light a candle at 7 pm to remember those who have lost children through miscarriage, stillbirth, birth defects, SIDS, and other causes.  Last year I lit candles in honor of Maggie and in honor of other families as well.

This year, I will do the same.
I will light a candle to remember Maggie and Nugget.
And I will light others to remember
and Owen
and Isaac
and Faith
and Harrison
and for the unnamed.
And what could have been
and what should have been.

And I will add another candle this year.
On Friday I learned of another family that will experience loss soon.
At 5 1/2 months pregnant, they know they will lose this baby, but it is a matter of when.
Thoughts that no one should have to sit with.
And decisions that no one should ever have to make.

2. I passed my 3 hour glucose test!  They called the afternoon after I had finished and said that everything was fine. 4 hours in the blood lab of the clinic was not that great. I read a lot of People magazine and talked to a lot of people.  Unfortunately, no old lady fights this time.

3. The nursery is getting closer to being done. Clothes are washed and folded and put away.   Some things are hung.  We still don't have cribs and for some reason I cannot get myself to order them. I know which ones I want (they can convert into toddler beds and full-sized beds later on, which hopefully will save us some money).  But, it just seems like that big thing and once I get it, something will go wrong. The same with the milker (as D calls it).  Those things are expensive and I guess I just want to make sure that this is actually happening before dropping that kind of cash.

4. Herbie and Puckett are still moving around and continue to dig around and set up camp.  They are active little things, especially over the last few days. It's fantastic.  And, if it means that Puckett is growing extra chubby while she's squatting in my ribcage, I will take that.

5. I have another appointment on Wednesday afternoon for my regular check-up and to get my Rho-Gam shot. Not looking forward to the shot, but I'll do what I have to do.

6.  My parents saved my rear again.  I got a flat tire on Friday, they came and put the donut on and took it to get repaired. I ended up with 4 new tires and new windshield wipers.  But, I'd rather be safe driving than not and I'd rather this happen now instead of later.   Mom also found a steal of a deal for some baby clothes--most stuff was 99 cents or so, so we were able to stock up on some sleepers and things.

7.  And a beautifully written article from Still Standing Magazine.  Go read it.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

13 + 1 Things

1.  Puckett is currently kicking the crud out of the right side of my abdomen.  It's fantastic, but I'm curious if her unending movement and endless twitching is a sign of what's to come.  She may have inherited some of her father's ADHD. If so, she should crash and burn within a matter of minutes (does anyone have a husband who can be leaping off the walls and sprinting throughout the house (and singing the Beach Boys) and 5 minutes later be asleep and snoring on the couch?  It baffles me.).

2.  My week was kind of a bummer.  I will try not to be Debbie Downer (that ones for you jjrrmgt ladies) but I did help myself to a healthy does of pregnancy hormones and wailing on the couch.

3.  I went in to do my glucose/diabetes testing.  I got fruit punch flavor and it wasn't too bad.  Melted lollipop or snowcone maybe?  Two things regarding this:

  • There was a smack-down in the blood lab.  To keep a long story short, 2 60 year old women were going to have a cat fight due to some money one of them owed on a dog or whatever.  And, instead of stopping the fight, all of the people at the lab just watched and listened.  
  • I failed my glucose test.  I was 5 points over. I wasn't actually really shocked and I know it's not the end of the world- that if I do have gestational diabetes, that there are meds, diets, etc that will help with that.  I lost it when the lady told me that I would need to fast and come to the clinic at 7:30 am and it would be pushing it if I would make it to work by 12:15 (which would be my time to report back to work if I took a half day).  So, now I will use another sick day (which could be saved for munchkins) to sit in a nasty blood lab, drink a nasty drink, to find out what the deal is.  Hoping I can keep myself busy- but the phlebotomist told me I couldn't leave, smoke, or sleep.  So, now I don't know what I"m going to do.
4.  If you are a teacher, you will understand my angst and pain with this one.  We talked about and read over our new Common Core Standards this past week.  I got to the part about teaching mythological characters so that kids can determine the meaning of new words ("such as Herculean..." it read).  I couldn't decide if I should cry, crap my pants, or go stuff my face. I did none of the above.  I waited to get home to do 2 of the 3.  

5.  My mom washed about 15 loads of blankets, hats, bibs, clothes, etc that were baby clothes from my sister.  She is a gem of a ma.  Remember when I said Herbie would be buck-naked? Not so much the case- especially once he is a little older.  I think I should be fine with clothes once they get older, but the small newborn/premie clothes are still slim pickins'--my sister's kids were beasts (cute but fatty) and I have a feeling mine will not be quite as big (at least I am hoping).

6. I got a great dose of friend time yesterday.  Several of us met up to go to a Barn/Craft sale (if you live near south-central Kansas, you should hit it up--look for it on The Rusted Chain website to find out when it is next year.  I didn't buy much, but there was a ton of vendors and lots of fun stuff (and people) to look at.

7. After the barn sale we went to some consignment shops, ate lunch and what not, and then headed to the big town of the 'Ta so they could help me register. I was totally fine with Dave not joining me for several reasons.  #1- when I told him that we should probably register he said, "Register to vote? You're already registered."  Huh.  Sign #1.  #2- if I recall any of the registration for our wedding, he wanted to scan other things, such as bags of candy, DVDs, and boxes of cookies.

So, I went with friends.  And it was quite enjoyable.  I didn't scan a thing.  Instead, a dear friend took ahold of it and went to town, which was perfect.  The other two said which items I needed and which I could without.  To say the least, I was a bit overwhelmed.  It seems like it would have been easier 20 years ago, when there weren't 3,757 kinds of baby monitors- with or without video or wifi/smart phone capability.  Just stuff 'em in a dresser drawer and you can hear their muffled cries that way. Easy smeasy.  But, I think we've got it done.   We obviously didn't register for the big things or the totally unnecessary things (like the cutest clothes known to man kind), but I feel like we're at a good place now as far as baby tools are concerned.

8.  After all of the walking from yesterday plus the charlie horse cramps I had in my calves last night, I wouldn't mind either being a quadriplegic today or having a motor scooter.  My first choice is obviously the motor scooter.  Please don't get all offended.

9. I spent most of last night organizing clothes and separating them by sizes and genders.  Clothes for the next few months are hung and folded and, I guess, ready.  And I loved every second of it.  This is something I've been praying to do for so many years now.  

10.  Newborn baby socks may be the best invention of all times.  They are like little backpacks for baby carrots they are so small.  Or maybe sleeping bags for Lego guys.

11.  D has been a gem to help me out a ton the last couple of weeks. He's been unloading all of the baby stuff into their room, getting dinner ready, massaging my swollen feet (gross, I know), unpacking things, making schedules for me so that I can take my meds at certain times, vacuuming, doing the dishes and yardwork, offering to help me grade papers, and still making me laugh.  

12. I met with Dr. Eck after my glucose stuff (and they ran my blood work so that I could get my RhoGam shot at my next appointment. Vomit.).  She said that my belly is measuring that of a 34 week pregnant singleton woman.  And I need to cut back on my sodium and put my feet up more so that they are less Flinstone-ish.

13.  About 8 weeks away from hitting the 36 week mark (which is the average for when twins deliver). How in the world did that happen? That is so fantastic.  I can't wait to hold those little things. And, the weird thing? I can't wait to hear them.  Their little squeaks and loud cries.

14.  Isn't 13 a bad number to end on?

Monday, October 1, 2012

I keep forgetting

And, one more thing...

A long time ago.  Like a long time ago I was in elementary school.
And I met this girl.
And we were in the same handbell choir.
And we both curled our hair
and wore sweet outfits in the 80's.

We lost contact but reconnected with the help of the face-twitt-my-tube.
She is now kind of a big-deal blogger
and mom to three boys.

And awhile back she did a review of the movie "The Odd Life of Timothy Green."
I haven't seen it yet.
Not planning on it until I can rent it.
But, even as a mama as three, she got it.
I mean, she Got. It.
She knew that it is the story that a lot of couples have.
It is story that no one wants, but many of us have.

Go here to read her review of the movie 
and then browse her blog for some ideas of what you should be doing instead of sitting on the couch.

Almost 27 Weeks

Herbie was looking a bit down in the dumps.  He was sad because Puckett had her feet smashed against his face for most of the appointment.

Puckett did not cooperate for a 3D picture, but we were happy with a profile view.
I had another ultrasound (we have started the every two week appointments) today and I go back on Wednesday for my Glucose thing, my needle-is-the-size-of-a-hose-Rho-Gam shot, and my appointment with Dr. Eck.

How Far Along: 27 weeks on Wednesday

Size of Babies: Herbie (boy) was measuring 2 pounds, 2 ounces and Puckett (girl) was measuring 2 pounds exactly.  Both had feet that were about 5 centimeters.  They are right on track with all the normal singleton statistics.

Baby Foot and tootsies.  Squee!!!! This are adorable.
Weight Gain:  I am up about 32-35 pounds, which goes right along with Dr. Luke's goal of 1 pound to 1 1/2 pounds a week.  I can eat consistently but not in large amounts like I used to be able to.  But, I am still packing on the pounds.

Belly:  Continuing to grow as it should be; starting to get in the way when tying shoes, scooting into the table; bending over, etc.  It gets tired of hanging there after a day of work, but other than that, I love it.  And I love seeing it move and twist.  I will find out on Wednesday how I am measuring compared to a singleton--I am guessing 33-34 weeks if I am continuing on track like I have been.

Sleep: I actually can't complain at all about this.  I have been sleeping pretty well minus the bathroom breaks and such.  I am getting way more than I will, so I am enjoying my slumber.

Movement:  They are both moving a lot lately and depending on their positions, their kicks and movements are almost uncomfortable (almost, but not....).  They are still able to flip positions and such, so now both are bottom down (little stinkers) and finding ways to annoy each other.

Puckett, in fact, moved to a quite gymnast-like position- where she was folded in half and her legs and feet were up on top of her head.

Other things:
  • We are slowly getting the nursery ready.  Although I still feel like it is early, I know that the average 36 week delivery mark for twins is only 9 weeks away. And when I think of it like that, I freak out just a little bit.
Awesome cell phone pic.  Our start to the nursery.  The box in the corner is all of Maggie and Nugget's things.  The cribs will go along the wall on the right.
  • We haven't bought a ton of stuff, but instead, I am collecting up Maggie's old clothes and going through bags that my sister had from her kids.
  • If I didn't buy anything, Herbie would be buck-naked for the first few months of his life.
  • I did wash some of the clothes and sorted them.  The toughest part is I am not sure how much they will weigh so I am not quite sure which size clothes I will need.  And, Maggie's due date was in July.  So, a lot of clothes are from opposite seasons so I may have a garage sale.  Or we may just try for another kid.  And then end up like the Duggar's.
  • And speaking of the Duggar's, their daughter Josie was born at about 2 pounds. I looked her up to see what my little ones look like. 
Source here.  Josie weighed 1 pound, 6 ounces when she was born.  And my little things are bigger than that!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

24.5 Weeks

This past Thursday I had another appointment with the Maternal Fetal Medicine doctor in Wichita.  I was a bit anxious for this appointment, as my 24 week appointment with Maggie ended way differently than I ever imagined it would.

We got the joy of having another hour and a half sonogram due to the fact that both Herbie and Puckett were not cooperating with the sonographer.  More details below.

How Far Along: 24.5 weeks

Size of Babies: Baby Boy (A) weighs 1 lb 8 oz and Baby Girl (B) weighs 1 lb 4 oz.  They are about a foot long, from crown to heel.  They both are continuing to gain weight and grow as they should and are right on track with singleton pregnancies.

Weight Gain: Since my last appointment with the MFM I had gained 7 pounds (in 5 weeks). They were happy with that growth but continued to encourage me to continue to eat good fats, calories, and proteins, and eat enough of protein.  Proof of the weight gain is my quadruple chin that is forming quickly.

Belly: Continuing to grow, which is great.  That is reassurance that they are gaining weight and growing the way they should.  It is getting tougher to find shirts in my closet that fit (medium maternity shirts are getting snug) but I refuse to buy more clothes until I absolutely need to and the weather has cooled off. 

Sleep:  Same as the last post.  Decent sleep with some bathroom breaks or switching from side to side.

Movement: I feel them all the time now- mostly when I am sitting or laying down.  And, since I had the sonogram, I now know which movements are coming from which baby.  They are active and I am now seeing their movements outside of my belly, too (the remote will move around if I lay it on my belly).

Food Cravings: No cravings anymore.  Just continuing to eat as much as I can and eat enough healthy foods, too.

Appointments:  As I said, I had an appointment with the MFM on Thursday.  We were mostly concerned with the growth of Puckett (girl) and the size difference between the two babies wouldn't increase and wouldn't be greater than 20%.  

Since our last appointment, Puckett gained 11 ounces and Herbie (boy) gained 13 ounces.  So, the doctor did not seem concerned and actually seemed pleased with both of the growth that they were making.  Since Puckett is a girl she may just be small to begin with and the smaller size is because of her make-up--not because there is a problem.  She is still measuring in the 33rd percentile for a singleton pregnancy.  

Because of all the good news, we have graduated from the MFM doctor and will not go back unless other issues arise.  We will continue to watch Puckett's growth and make sure she is making the progress she needs.

My next appointment is with Dr. Eck next week.  We will start scheduling appointments every two weeks from then on.
Emotions: This past week was difficult for me- for several reasons.  Last Friday, the 7th was Nugget's expected due date.  And although I never said anything, it felt weird (there is no word to describe my feelings) to know that I probably would be delivering a son if things hadn't gone the way they did. 

I was also struggling because I was the same time gestationally that I was when I lost Maggie.  Plus, I had the appointment so between the two I had flashbacks and worried that the same thing would happen again.  

More about my thoughts on all of this in the post below.

Other things:
  • I am having some pinched nerve issues and pain issues in my leg and lower back.  There's nothing much I can do except stretch and not stay in one position for a long amount of time.  And I can only expect these pains to increase as time goes on.
  • My feet have started to swell after certain situations (sitting for too long, not putting my feet up), etc.  Enough that most shoes won't fit me but fortunately this is not happening all the time.
  •  I had one of the best weekends in a long, long time.  My girlfriends from college visited me from Indiana (minus two of them).  Remember them from last year?  More on that later this week after I recover.

All in all- a wonderful week- a week that made my heart soar and be full of thankfulness, so matter how many tears were shed.  So thankful and feeling blessed and full of joy.

One more thing, prayers for a few family members who have experienced  some heartbreak over the past week or two.  And although their life events are completely different, they are still heartbreaking.  
They are both loss of hopes.
And dreams.
Just know, you two, that you are in my prayers.
That I think of you often.
And I know my words bring no comfort.
Or answers.
But I will continue to pray.
And hold you both in my hearts.

Hitting Some Milestones

This week I passed another major milestone.
A major one that has been on my check-off list for awhile.
24 weeks.
and done.
We have passed that major hurdle.

I have been dreading this week for awhile as I knew that along with this milestone came another major doctor's appointment.  And I was terrified that our appointment would turn out like the last one.

I thought a lot this week.
I prayed a lot.
I cried more than I have in a long time.

This was my struggle and maybe some of you who have been on this journey can help me out.
I am incredibly thankful and excited and ecstatic and everything-else-good about Herbie and Puckett.  I am so excited to meet them face-to-face and hear their screams and feel their movements in person.
But how do you feel all of these things without feeling guilt about losing your last child?
Let me explain...
I know that without Maggie dying (and without losing Nugget), that I would not have Herbie and Puckett.  I feel badly for being so excited when I know that the only reason they are here is that Maggie and Nugget didn't survive.
How do I celebrate the lives and arrivals of Herbie and Puckett when I know that my celebration is because of previous loss and sorrow?
Any advice?

while I was cleaning out my car, I found
a CD that my cousins sent me after Maggie died.
It was Steven Curtis Chapman's Beauty Will Rise  album-
the one that he wrote after his daughter died.

I listened to the CD quite a bit last March and April
but I put it in again this past week.
And listened to the lyrics to and from work.
And, I heard new things.
Or, at least, I heard things and they meant something totally different to me now than they did then.
I remember listening
and hearing the parts about joy coming in the morning.
And in my heart, I knew that it would happen.
But I didn't really believe it.
Or, I had no idea how I would feel joy and life again.
But, now I get it.
Joy is coming
and is on its way.
And out of all the ashes,
there is beauty rising.

And I am in awe of the fact that out of ashes that seemed so completely devastating
and heartbreaking
that something so beautiful can arise.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

22 Weeks

How Far Along: 22 weeks

Size of Babies: Almost the size of a ruler and about a pound each.  

Weight Gain: You don't need specifics, right?  Up a lot because of the new diet.  Which I am fine with...I do not want to be one of those ladies who complains about being chubby and fat. I realize how chubby and fat and big I will get. I do not care.  I will make fun of myself because of it if I know that it is helping Herbs and Pucks.  

Belly: I am enjoying my belly. It gets in the way (but not too much).  It is fully of baby wonderfulness.

Super cellphone pic- taken at 22.4 weeks.

Sleep: I am exhausted by the end of the day so going to bed and falling asleep is not an issue.  I sleep with a body pillow which helps me get comfy.  I've been waking up about 3-4 times a night because of 
  • Kicks (best feeling in the world). I wouldn't trade those kicks for anything.
  • Leg cramps.  
  • Full bladder.
  • Sneezing husband.  Allergies are bad here lately.
Movement: I feel them everyday now, which is fantastic and my heart flips every single time I feel them.  I can usually decipher which one is which unless it's in the middle of my belly, where the two meet.  They like to move around mostly when I am sitting (driving in the car, reading to my students, sitting on the couch, or laying in bed) or after I have eaten (they like peaches).

Food Cravings: No cravings.  Just trying to get enough calories that are healthy and enough protein that I need for those little nuggets to grow.

Clothes: All maternity clothes except for t-shirts, which are now tight (and show off my sweet outie belly button, which is not cute).

Appointments:  I had one last Monday with Dr. Eck (this was the 3rd time I had to reschedule because of deliveries she had).  Everything went well except that I found out Missy, one of the nurses, is leaving and she has a replacement.  

I have an appointment in the middle of September in Wichita with the MFM again and the following week I have another appointment with Dr. Eck.  After that we will start to make my appointments every 2 weeks.

Emotions: Meh.  Trying to stay positive, but we are reaching the 24 week mark. The time when I delivered Maggie and I am getting nervous that something is going to go wrong between now and then, like it did last time.  I am just crossing my fingers that we make it to this milestone, as the next one is 28 weeks at viability!  

Other things:
  • People in the waiting room are fascinating to watch. At my last appointment I saw many awkward things, which included:
    • A couple expressing their intense love for each other by cuddling, draping their legs on each other and nuzzling each others' necks the whole time.  Seriously.  
    • That same couple, commenting to each other when they watched another couple come out of the office.  The lady said to her husband, "That couple is old."  I wanted to smack them and hug the other couple out of excitement.  Who cares if they are older than what the norms baby-birthing age is? It made me ecstatic.
    • Another pregnant woman came in wearing high heels and a mini-skirt.  Wowza.  Impressive that her feet still fit in them and that she was able to successfully walk in them from chair to receptionist's desk.  Way to go.
    • Another couple walked out from seeing the doctor.  They saw some people they must have known.  The other people said, "Oh! Are you expecting?"  And the couple said, "No, we are trying."  My heart sunk.  But I was also impressed- that they stated the truth and did not shy away from it just to make it less comfortable.  

  • People have been asking me about working after they make their appearance.  Ask all you want, but I don't have an answer for you.  My answer will be "I don't know."  That's my answer because I really don't know. There are so many factors (like their health most importantly) that go into making that decision and it is a decision that is for Dave and me to make.  It is a personal decision and I know that whatever decision we make, someone will disagree with it.  And, I know that I will feel guilt for whatever decision we do end up making.  I do not need other people to add to the guilt.  Like most women and mothers, I am good at making myself feel overly guilty.  More coming on this topic later.

  • But, I will be going back to work to at least finish the school year.  I do not know how long I will be gone or when I will be gone or when I am delivering or when I am returning to school.  Again, this is something that depends on a lot of things- like bedrest, when I deliver, how the delivery goes, if we need NICU services, etc. 

  • I will stop my rant.  
  • One more thing. My parents are amazing.  
    • Almost every night this week my mom or dad has made a meal for me to pick up and take home so that I don't have to cook.  The menus have included ham, meatloaf, chicken with marinara sauce, baked sweet potatoes, fried rice, peach bread pudding with a butter-rum sauce, pearsauce (like apple sauce), and pear crisp (like apple crisp).
    • In addition, my mom has been starting to make baby food so that we can save some cash (and feed them yummy and healthy things).  She has completed pureed pears and is moving on to peaches and apples.
    • I realize that this is rare and I am so appreciative of their generosity and thoughtfulness.  I only hope that I can be parents to Herbs and Pucks like they are to  my sister and me.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Today was kind of a big deal.

Today we had our 20 week (I'm 19.1) anatomy scan with the MFM.
This is kind of a big deal.

I realize that most of you will skip forward through my babble
and get to the part about the babies' goods.
That's fine.
But, to me, to us, that is not the most important thing.
Our biggest concern was if they were healthy.
And growing.
And doing what they should.

I will cut to the chase and tell you that they are wonderful.
And, at this point, are healthy and looking normal.

We had a 90 minute sonogram.
The sonographer was ridiculously good and
it was obvious this was not her first bull ride.
She measured everything and looked at everything
to make sure organs were developing properly
and things were working the way they should.
We got to see toes
and eye sockets
and the 4 chambers of the hearts
and femurs
and baby kidneys
and total cuteness abounding from H & P.
It was a squee!fest for me the entire time.

Unfortunately, she couldn't tell us good or bad news.
She shows the doctor the images
and then the doctor reports to us what is going on.

After the sonogram we had 20 minutes for lunch
and returned to the office to meet with the doctor.
Not surprisingly, she was 45 minutes late.
Which didn't calm my nerves at all.
I was starting to convince myself that something was wrong
if it was taking that long.
She finally came in.
And the words, "We don't see anything that looks concerning.
Everything looks really good"
were the most beautiful and relaxing words I have ever heard.
An answer to prayer 748,473.

We discussed more,
which may or may not come in a later post.

Let me just say,
that it is way fun texting and calling with good news.
And my cheeks hurt from smiling
and my heart is full of...
is there even a word for this feeling?

Here is Herbie, also known as Baby A.
And a thumbsucker.
And a boy.

A beautiful, 11 ounce boy.
And the calmer one of the two.

And here is Puckett, also known as Baby B.
And a mover and shaker.
And a girl.
A precious, 9 ounce girl.
Her little peanut nose about does me in.

We are blessed.
With a little boy and a girl.
Another little son and daughter.

They are healthy.
They are full of life.
They are mine.
I could not ask for more.

And really,
my cup runneth over.
My heart overflows.

Disclaimer: Again, my heart does not forget the sorrow, sadness, and heartbreak that posts like this bring to other people.  I realize that any announcement, of any sort, brings bitterness and questions to the forefront once again. I have not forgotten what it is like to be on that journey and my prayers and thoughts continue to be with those families who feel this sorrow.  I have not forgotten.  When grief carves such a deep hole in your life for so long, one cannot forget.  

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Doctor & Diet

Today I had my first of two appointments this week.
Unfortunately, Dr. Eck was not able to be there.
I wasn't mad about it though.
She had 2 deliveries and an emergency c-section today
so she was at the hospital.
Great reason not to be at the clinic.
And, it reassured me that if I had any emergencies,
that she would be there to help me out.
I can easily reschedule.
Those other mamas needed her help.

But, I wasn't going to give up the chance to hear Herbs and Puckett.

Nurse found both heartbeats pretty quickly.
Then both varied between 152 and 159,
which are great rates.
And, it's great that they go up and down when she was checking.
That's what we want.
I rescheduled for next week, after my appointment with the MFM tomorrow.

Some people have been curious about the diet that I've been on.
Diet isn't the right term.
Gluttony may work better.
Stuffing my face works, too.
But, I am willing to sacrifice for the good of the family.
Really, I'm sacrificing my body for science.
You're welcome.

So, basically, the diet comes from a book written by Dr. Barbara Luke out of Michigan State University (the book is When You're Expecting Twins, Triplets, or Quads).
It was a suggestion by several people to read this,
as this lady is kind of a big deal
(as are most people from MSU, right Uncle Russ? :) )
And she kind of knows her stuff about pregnancy with lots o' babies.

So, I haven't read the whole book, as I'm taking it one step at a time.
Right now, I am focusing on the "growing-the-babies-so-they-survive-and-they-don't-have-to-go-to-the-NICU" part.
I will admit, I had a dichotomy of feelings after reading her book.
I was excited after reading all that I needed to eat (and didn't need to feel guilty about).
But I was also overwhelmed.
Because, working full-time, being pregnant, and cooking/eating well-rounded meals is difficult.

So, anyways, she says that after all of her research, her patients have been shown to have a much higher success rate of healthy twin delivery.  They are born bigger and healthier than those who do not follow the plan.  In fact, each baby (in a twin, triplet, or quad pregnancy) has the make-up to grow to be born at the same weight as a singleton baby.  We just have to give them the environment to allow that to happen.
Yes, that means I will be full of baby if I do this right.
It means that I will probably be a bit rotund, if you will.
Yes, that is a bit overwhelming and scary
when I think about birth
and recovery
and everything else.
But, if that means that they don't have to spend as much time in the hospital
or that they do not struggle with life,
I'm great with that.
And I'd much rather be overwhelmed now
than overwhelmed because they can't breathe
or I can't hold them.

Onto her magical plan...

  • I should gain about 40-50 pounds throughout the pregnancy.  The most important weight gain is until 28 weeks. Meaning, I should focus most on gaining weight earlier in my pregnancy, not later.
  • I need to eat every 2-3 hours.
  • 3,500 calories a day.  At first I was like, "Yay!" And then, when I tried it, I was like, "Seriously?"  And the 3,500 calories should not come from one visit to Old Country Buffet.  I still need a pumping heart, afterall.
  • My goal should be 176 grams of protein a day, 350 grams of carbohydrates, and 155 grams of fat.  
  • Per day, I should try to have 
    • 8 servings of dairy (ice cream is included as a dairy! bam!)
    • 4 servings of veggies
    • 7 servings of fruit
    • 10 servings of grains
    • 6 servings of fats/oils/nuts
    • 2 servings of eggs
    • 3 servings of meat/fish/poultry
    • 2 servings of red meat.  
    • A day.
  • In addition, to the smorgasbord of superfluous amounts of food, I need to drink 128 ounces of water a day.  Which, magically equals out to a gallon of water a day.  Hello, water buffalo.
  • And then there are the vitamins.  I take about 11-12 a night and 1-2 in the morning.
So, there is no.freaking.way that I can eat all of that.  
That's just a load of food that cannot fit in my belly.
Also, having access to all of that food is difficult, too.  
I am doing the best I can--making sure that I eat frequently and making sure that what I eat is healthy and not just crappy calories. But, my tummy hurts from eating that much (I know, it's such a bad problem to have- first world problems, right?).

Also, I have not quite figured out how I am going to continue to eat and drink that much (and then visit the lavatory) while teaching and not leaving the class unattended and not teaching with my mouth full of protein bar and pudding.  

She also suggested taking 2 or 3 20-30 minute rests/naps throughout the day.  I kind of laughed out loud at that.  Because my break is in the morning.  And, then I get a 20-30 minute lunch and then the kids are back.  Which is why I want that roller scooter thing.  

At first when I read about this, I thought the lady was nuts.  
Because, a lot of what she was saying was going against what I had read or heard from the others about eating and pregnancy.   
Here's the dealio, though--this is not a singleton pregnancy.  
All the babycenter and bump and websites are focused on singleton pregnancies.  
They rarely, if ever, discuss multiple pregnancies.  
And, what they do say is just stupid.  
Like, "Your belly will be bigger" and "You will see the doctor more frequently."

So, here's why I need to eat so much.  
Later on in the pregnancy, I will not physically be able to eat as much as I need to.  
In fact, I will not be able to intake as many calories as both babies need to live and keep growing. 
 My belly will be too full of baby goodness.  
Therefore, I need to pack on the pounds now. 
I need to get a "reserve" going so that later on, when I cannot eat, and they still need to grow, they will have an Old Country Buffet o' Fat to help themselves too. 
I will probably start to drop some pounds but they will be able to continue to gain weight from what I have stored up for winter (I am, in fact, like a bear going in for hibernation).  
That is why so many twins are born small. 
Because mothers cannot provide the amount of calories the that the 3 (or more) people need to live.

So, if you are pregnant with multiples, 
read this book (it's even available for Kindles).
It is so much more helpful than googling "Twin Pregnancy."
(Because inevitably you get the photos and
wonder how it is physically possible to have your belly hold that much).

More in the next day or two on Herbie and Puckett's anatomy scans.

P.S.  How many of you just went to google "twin pregnancy" so you could see those larger-than-life bellies?  Shame on you.

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