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.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Brain Dump: Week 19

So, I'm not going to apologize for not posting for approximately 3 weeks.
Because, I feel as if I have some good excuses
as to why I have not been blogging.
1.) School.  I have been back pretty regularly.
2.) I am growing two humans. I am tired.
3.)  The Olympics need my support.

And, since I am tired
and my creativity has been sucked out of me by school and said babies,
this update is going to be a list.

Me, Herbie, and Puckett.
1.  Physically, I am feeling pretty fantastic.

2.  I hurt more in the evenings, but that is to be expected.  That will probably continue until Dave starts his nightly massages on my back. (Ahem).

3.  My belly is, thankfully, growing as it should.  It does hurt by the end of the day if I am not wearing any support around it.  And, it sometimes hurts when it is full of food.

4.  I am feeling them pretty consistently now--mostly at night after I drink my protein shake.

5.  I can feel them separately.  Recently, Puckett is more active that Herbie but I can feel each one.  And it is fantastic.  My heart flips every time I feel them.

4.  Emotionally, I am a bit of a wreck.  Or a lot.  It depends if you talk to me or D.

5.  If I don't feel them when I usually do, I freak out.  This has happened several times.  I lay in bed on my side (after drinking my night cap of protein shake) and wait and wait and wait.  And I pray that I will feel something.  And I don't know if I do or not.  And then my fat cat jumps on my face.  And I cry.  Because my cat is morbidly obese and because I'm pretty sure I am going to have to go back to that hospital and leave empty handed.  Again.

6.  Thankfully, D has an ultrasound machine at work.  I have gone to the clinic twice to get ultrasounded.  And both times, when I am standing there, not looking at the screen, the little flicker has shown up.  And they have both been moving around and waving and kicking and being cute little thangs.  Praise the Lord.

7.  Dave usually measures me as a bovine. Moo.

8.  Have I mentioned my twin diet? (If you are pregnant with multiples, you need to read by When You're Expecting Twins, Triplets, or Quads by Dr. Barbara Luke.  It is so helpful and makes so much sense.) 3,500 calories a day.  I thought it would be awesome to eat that much. It is not.  The only thing that is great is that ice cream counts as a serving as dairy. And I'm gaining weight.  (Another post on that later.)

9.  I have an appointment on Wednesday afternoon with Dr. Eck for a regular check up.

10.  On Thursday I have an appointment with the Maternal Fetal Medicine doctor for the 20 week anatomy scan.  Prayers appreciated, as we will find out if Herbie and Puckett are measuring the way they should be and if things are growing properly.  It's kind of a big deal.  And, we may be able to find out genders, too.

11.  I wish I would not be so paranoid and worried.  And I wish I could enjoy this.  But, I just want it to be done.  And have them here.

12.  I will be 19 weeks on Wednesday.

13.  I feel guilty for having to get a long term sub for school. I feel badly for the students and families to have to deal with a different teacher for awhile.  A wise woman once told me that every teacher is replaceable.  Great advice and completely true, but I still feel guilty.

14.  I feel guilty because I know that my joy and happiness brings sorrow to others who are wanting to expand their family and they can't.

15.  Despite all of these feelings of paranoia, doubt, worry, and guilt, I cannot help but feel so excited and thankful.

16.  And, I feel overwhelmed sometimes too.  But in a good way.  And in a totally selfish way too.  Like, I like to sleep.

17.  I am looking for a scooter or wheelchair of some sort.  Not really. But kind of.  Wouldn't it be nice if I could scoot around school in something like this?  Then, I could make sure I am sitting more often.  And, I could roll over people's feet when I don't like them. Whoops, sorry ma'am.  And, I could chase down kids at recess.  Win. Win. And win.  Stupid not to get one, if you ask me.

18.  I can't think of anything else.  I have used all my brain juice for the evening.

19.  Future posts include: diet for growing multiples and update on Dr. appointments this week.

20. And, because I couldn't end on 19. It just didn't feel right.

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