Sunday, June 30, 2013

T Update

My friend T was diagnosed with placenta previa at her anatomy scan. Around 23 weeks she had some bleeding and landed herself in her local hospital. They monitored her that night and sent her home. A few days later she had a big bleed and ended up back in the hospital. From there they transferred her to the higher level perinatal center with a level 3 NICU about an hour and twenty minutes from her home. 

She spent 6 weeks a that hospital and had a few smaller issues during that time. There were some contractions and smaller bleeding incidents. All along the baby did great. 

T left the hospital a little over a week ago to go to the Ronald McDonald house. She was 29 weeks pregnant at that point and hadn't had any issues for a while. 

She spent about 5 days before having some contractions and a little spotting. Last Sunday she went and got checked out and was fine. 

On Tuesday night she woke up at 2 AM to another big bleed. Back to the hospital she went. She will likely stay at the hospital until she delivers. On Wednesday she will be 31 weeks. She got about a week away from the hospital and we joked it was her "vacation". 

I bring her dinner every Thursday after yoga (our "date night") and try to visit at other times as well. She's really positive about everything and I'm so amazed by her strength. I can't imagine how hard it is to be on hospital bed rest for so long. Please think of my friend T. 

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Cloud 9

On Monday I had an ob appointment with an ultrasound. Mama-Dukes attended but hasn't been feeling like herself lately so was a little detached from the whole thing. The ultrasound technician was running behind and took me in 20 minutes late. She is usually very prompt. She then said something about how they didn't book me a long enough appointment because it was twins. The scan was very quick and she didn't point much out. The babies had their heads right next to each other on my right side. She quickly measured their heads, abdomens, and femur bones to get an estimated weight for each baby. She printed one crummy picture for each baby and sent us into the waiting room. I was disappointed to say the least. 

We were then called back to see the ob. He was super positive and said that the babies were both around the 50th percentile and weighed around a pound and a half each. My cervix measured 5.4 with the help of my super full bladder. All of this was such great news and I left in an amazing mood. 

Yesterday marked 24 weeks. This is a huge milestone that we had been waiting for. 24 weeks, or viability, is described as, "The time in pregnancy when the baby, if born now and prematurely, has a reasonable chance of survival. The chances of survival increase with each day after 24 weeks, and the risk of complications decrease." 

W and I went out last night for a nice dinner to celebrate this milestone. He had a beer and I had a root beer and we exchanged huge smiles as clinked our glasses together. He also "bought" me some hydrangeas from our yard and put them in a vase on my bedside table. We went home and went up to bed fairly quickly. We played some music for the babies and W felt them bopping and moving around like crazy. 

Today we had an appointment with the perinatologist. W came along and I was so happy he did. The ultrasound technician was amazing and really took her time. She told us everything she was measuring and got some great profile pictures of each baby. I asked pretty early on whether they did 3D there or not and she said they had it but didn't do it unless necessary. As she neared the end of the scan she checked her schedule and said she could try 3D. We were so happy she did because the babies both cooperated and were absolutely adorable. We got some really great photos of their faces. They are so ridiculously cute. She then gave us the pictures with an envelope to put/hide them in since she wasn't supposed to do the 3D. 

We met with the doctor after waiting forever and she once again confirmed that everything was great. She also discharged us from the perinatal center. She said they could easily see me again if necessary, but that for now I no longer needed to be seen by them. 

Being at 24 weeks and having everything going so well (knocks on wood) is amazing. We are just so happy to finally be smooth sailing after all of the bumps we experienced getting to this point. I'm so happy and amazed with my body and how well everything is going. I honestly couldn't be happier. 

I figured I's do the 24 week update since it's such a huge milestone. Feel free to skip the following. I just like to document this amazing experience, and blogging has been the best way I've found so far. 
Babies- Both measured 1 lb 8 oz at today's appointment. Their faces are looking chubbier and they are moving like crazy. I love it!

Weight Gain- I'm up about 19 pounds from the starting point W and I agreed I should stick with. 

Belly- Tonight W and I both saw movements from the outside. It was all baby b, she's always the mover and shaker. My belly is definitely getting closer to my steering wheel of my car and I'm starting to wonder how this is going to work for much longer. Being only 5'2'' my arms and legs aren't the longest. Moving the seat back should be interesting. W said I need platform driving shoes. 

My uterus measured at 31 weeks on Monday. So much for things slowing down a bit, they've definitely picked up speed. I've been consistently 6 weeks ahead this whole pregnancy and now I'm up to 7. 

Someone today told me I looked like I "was close" and I just laughed at her. 

Cravings- Still the same. I do love a Starbucks decaf frappuccino when I can find one. 

Symptoms- Is euphoria considered one? Heartburn is better. Peeing at night is ridiculous. 

Sleep- Last night was the first night the girls have woken me up with their movements while I was sleeping. I got up so many times to pee and slept horribly. Oh well, hopefully tonight will be better. 

Mood- So overwhelmingly happy this week!!

Memorable Moments- Getting to see the babies twice this week and learning how big they are. I guess those milkshakes really are helping. Seeing their adorable faces in 3D. 

Being discharged from the perinatal center. 

Learning my cervix is super long and closed. 

Seeing movements on the outside of my belly. 

Buying wall art for the nursery.

Celebrating 24 weeks with a nice dinner out. 

Handling the first 90 degree days. 

Having a good conversation with my boss and feeling supported with what I want. 

Upcoming- Wedding in NJ this weekend.

Next ob appointment July 8th.

Receiving and hanging wall art in the nursery. 

I'll try to update the belly picture and ultrasound picture pages soon. 

Saturday, June 22, 2013

23 Weeks...4 Days Late

This week was the first week I have been behind in my picture taking and blogging. Time is just going so quickly and it feels like there's never enough time to do everything I want and need. 

I'm beyond elated to be this far and have been feeling the girls move like crazy. It seemed like yesterday baby A got started at 6 am and didn't stop moving all day. It's so unbelievably amazing to feel them bopping, kickboxing, and squirming around in me so regularly. I don't think the feeling will ever get old. 

Since I'm so late getting my 23 week post up, it means I'm only 3 days away from the highly sought after 24 week mark. W and I are definitely planning to celebrate that milestone!

Babies- They are growing like crazy and are around 11 inches each. I've read that they weigh over a pound, but who knows with it being twins. I know at 18 weeks for the anatomy scan they were both 8 oz. I hope they are close to that pound mark now. Babies are hearing loud sounds and they have a better sense of movement. They definitely like music when we play it for them. I should probably try more relaxing music, but so far we know they definitely like reggae. Both babies get moving to some good Peter Tosh. 

Weight Gain- At my unscheduled ob appointment last Monday I was up another 3 pounds to put me up 15 pounds total from the weight I averaged pre-IVF, or 20 pounds from when I felt really sick around 7 weeks. I'm feeling pretty good and only really see the weight going to my belly. There's a little extra in my thighs and boobs as well, but it's definitely centered on the belly. 

Belly- It's getting BIG. I can't believe the change in the photos I've taken over the past month or so. Random strangers are asking when I'm due and I feel like I have to add that it's twins or I get the wide-eyed-double take. 

My linea nigra line is getting darker and my belly button still has just a little bit of integrity left. I told W to feel my belly button the other day and he replied, "what belly button?"

 I've been feeling lots of bigger kicks and movements and love it! I think I can (roughly) tell where each baby is, but movements in the middle are quite questionable as to which baby they are coming from. 

Cravings- Italian salad dressing, ice cold water, and chocolate milkshakes. I went to the grocery store the other day and bought so many delicious looking fruits and vegetables. And then I hid the cocoa puffs in the bottom of my cart under all the healthy stuff. 

Symptoms- The heartburn remains but hasn't been as bad lately. I'm back to feeling pretty tired by the end of the day and extended patience is hard to come by. The middle of the night extreme thirst is back which doesn't help with bathroom trips. Speaking of bathroom trips, they are getting much more frequent. One night I counted that I had gotten up 6 times. That's pretty average now. 

Things that were easier in the beginning are starting to get a little harder like turning over and getting up in bed, getting up and down from the floor for work, and finding a comfortable position on the couch. I also notice that my prenatal yoga class is getting a little harder. I'm so grateful and happy to continue going, it's just getting a little more challenging. 

Sleep- Oh, uninterrupted sleep, how I miss you. Like I said, about 6 times per night. This does not equate to restful and amazing sleep. I'm back to napping or lying down most days because I feel like I need it by the end of the work day. 

Mood- Patience, where did you go? Work has been particularly trying. I feel like I haven't been as nice to the kids as I could be, but it's HARD! Otherwise, I'm just so grateful and happy to be at this point. 

Meds- I started taking some Vitamin D and fish oil at the urging of my chiropractor. When I had my TSH, Vitamin D, and iron levels tested a few weeks ago all were normal. I guess growing 2 babies is just hard work and exhaustion is normal. 

My Lovenox shot has started bleeding hours after I do the shot. This has resulted in 2 blood-stained shirts. I bought little circle band-aids and then my skin had a terrible reaction to the adhesive. I can't win. 

Memorable Moments- There have been so many since I last posted! 

W got the other crib painted to match the one we already had and we set both cribs up! It looks amazing. 

We also got a glider from the same woman we got the crib and changing table from. W tried it out with our dog Pepper and it worked great. We need to wash the cushions, but it's really nice. 
We picked out some wall decorations on Etsy and now just need to order them. The nursery is coming together! 

W felt big kicks for the first time on Father's Day morning. We celebrated Father's day for the first time as well. I got him a flag pole to put on the house and a Syracuse University flag to fly on game days. It's something he said he really wanted. Also, I got him a little board book called Daddy Kisses to read to the girls when they are here. He loved it!

We sent out baby shower invitations and I set up 2 different registries. One is at a big chain and the other is a website with cloth diapers and accessories. The baby shower will be July 21st and I'll be almost 28 weeks. I didn't want to wait too long and either be super uncomfortable or on bed rest. My MiL and SiL are hosting the shower for me and W has planned a boating/beer drinking alternative for the guys. 

I joined the local Mom's of Multiples group.

Today we took our first boat ride of the summer out on the lake and it was beautiful. Our dog Pepper came for his second ever boat ride. The first time was years ago, but all I can say is....both ends! He had a much better time today. 
This is W, our nephew, and our dog Togie. Pepper had already been dropped off when this pic was taken. 
I've been spending lots of time with Mama-Dukes since she got home and love that I can just call to chat whenever. It's so nice having her back. 

Also, my friend T finally moved out of the hospital after 6 full weeks of being there. She is now about 5 mins from the hospital at the Ronald McDonald house. I visited her there Thursday night after yoga and it's absolutely beautiful. She seems really happy and I'm glad she's in a more comfortable and homey place. 

Upcoming- Ob appointment on Monday with an ultrasound...finally. It's been 6 weeks since I've seen the girls and I'm just so excited. Mama-Dukes is coming with me and will get to see them for her first time. 

Perinatal appointment on Wednesday with another ultrasound that W will get to come to. 

We are going to W's cousin's wedding next weekend in NJ. We decided to skip the rehearsal dinner and just go for the wedding on Saturday and breakfast on Sunday. It was going to be too much otherwise. Also, it took a while to find someone wiling to take the dogs. 

Hopefully the bedding will come in soon for the cribs and I can get motivated again to work on quilt #2. 

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Better Safe Than Sorry and Changes

On Friday I was out shopping with my MiL. As I waited in line at the checkout I felt some pretty intense cramping. It only got more intense and then came some back pain. I ended up having to sit down, but didn't make a big deal out of it. 

On Saturday morning I got out of the shower and once again felt cramping. My body told me to lie down so I did and it passed. 

Sunday night after getting up to pee in the middle of the night I felt the same thing. 

3 days in a row of a single episode of intense cramps. It was enough so that I had to sit or lie down until it passed. I figured the best thing to do would be to call my ob. 

They told me it was likely round ligament pain and I disagreed. I've had more round ligament pain then I ever cared to experience in this pregnancy, and know it wasn't that. When I told her it lasted about a minute and I felt the need to lie down she offered for me to come in and get checked out. I took her up on that offer and called my Mom (Mama-Dukes) to see if she could join me for the appointment. She said she would and would come over to my house before. 

I worked that morning and we left around 1:15 for the appointment. In the waiting room I ran into a co-worker I rarely see and we chatted while I waited. 

When they called me back they took my blood pressure, weight, and a urine sample as per the usual and then brought me to a room. They asked me to undress from the waist down in case he wanted to do an exam. 

I had requested the only ob in the practice I was yet to meet (#5 Dr R). He came in fairly quickly and first used his doppler. He easily picked up both babies' heartbeats and we chatted for a bit. He asked me what I did for work and whether I was going to get the summer off. I sadly informed him that no, I would be working this summer, but to a lesser degree. He told me that since I was past the half-way mark in my pregnancy if I started to feel like I was having more bad days than good days, it would be perfectly reasonable for me to stop working. I was really surprised to hear him say this. 

He basically told me the cramping was likely contractions but that they are nothing to worry about since they aren't consistent. Everything is growing so quickly and it's putting a lot of stress on my body. He said I really need to listen to my body and take it easy when it tells me to. He said if I was feeling the same thing 4 or more times per hour than I should call right away, especially if any discharge or bleeding accompanied it. 

So last night I emailed my boss back and declined a summer case for work. I figured since I was reducing my caseload it made sense to not add or any more right now. I want to work as long as possible, but not add anything at this time. This afternoon my boss responded by saying, "I know caseloads will be changing July 1st. Please let me know how many visits you need." 

Cue my stressed out tears. Technically, to be considered full time and continue to receive my benefits I need to do 35 visits per week. It always fluctuates and generally they understand that summers are slower. Well, my summer right now looks like about 17 visits per week and I'm not really interested in increasing that. 

I'm looking forward to cutting back. I've been doing a lot more than 17 for quite a while. Earlier in the year I was up to 43 visits. After this week everything is supposed to slow down. I still want to work. I know I would be bored if I wasn't and I still feel like I can. I just know I can't keep up the pace at which I've been going. 

 I came home this afternoon and made W call his insurance company. They said me cutting back on work is considered a life-changing event and that it would be a possibility to add me at that time. It's not cheap at all, but it's good to know the option exists. That's the plan for when the girls get here anyway. There's also the FMLA, but I'm not ready to take that yet. I'm not even positive my work offers it. 

I really thought my reduced caseload will slide by without them noticing it (at least for a little bit) but I guess declining that case last night made them think about it. I'm thinking about asking if I can sit down with my boss and go over everything with her. I have no idea right now who will be taking over my caseload when I go out and they don't know that I'm not planning to return to work right away. It's tough when families ask me who would take over when I leave and I have no idea. It's hard not knowing what is offered and not to me in case I need to stop working. 

When Dr. R said I could stop working if I I needed to, a small smile spread across my face. Then, when the logistics of it came into perspective, the tears started to flow. I've worked full time for 4 years at the same company doing the same thing. Changes can be good, but also incredibly scary. 

Saturday, June 15, 2013

My Mom (Mama-Dukes) is Home!!

A while back we started calling my mom Mama-Dukes. She embraced it fully and now signs letters and emails to me and my sister MD. We joke that she became Grandma-Dukes when my sister had her baby.

My mom, step-dad and brother left for Costa Rica in January. My step-father is a college professor and took a sabbatical semester. My Mom retired last spring so it worked well for everyone. My brother is 11 and was along for the ride regardless. 

In February when my sister had her baby my mom returned for about 10 days. Since my sister lives about 3 hours away I didn't get to see her much. 

At that time we knew we were pregnant but weren't ready to tell my mom yet. She has a hard time keeping secrets. It was still too early. 

Well, last week they arrived back in the US. They stayed in Florida for a few days, traveled to the D.C area, and then stopped at my sister's house to see the baby before heading home. 

On Thursday night we went to their house which is about 8 minutes up the same road to see them and have dinner. It was so nice to see my mom and be able to share everything with them. She brought home some of the cutest little dresses for the girls.

Although we talked some over the phone while they were away, it was so nice to just be together again. I'm so happy my mom is home! She's going with me to my next ob appointment and will get to see the girls on ultrasound. I don't think she's seen an ultrasound since she had her own almost 30 years ago.

 It's so great to be able to share things (in person) with her.  
Mama/Grandma-Dukes is on the right. Next to her is my step-dad. W and I are in the middle with my little bro S, and my sister and her husband are the ones on the left. 

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

A Very Proud Non-Mommy Moment

I feel like I've said this a million times, but for clarity sake I will mention it again. My job involves working with young children (birth-5). 

Even though I'm a speech pathologist, I work on overall development and overlap with other disciplines (occupational therapy, special education, etc.). I try to help support each child in every way that I can. It's not just about speech and language. 

Today was my session with little C. He turned 4 in May and I've been seeing him for therapy since just before he turned 2. I've known him for half of his life and see him 3 times a week. I'm very connected to him and enjoy my time with him. A little over a year ago I went to his developmental evaluation and sat in the room as the evaluators told his parents that he had PDD-NOS (Pervasive Developmental Disorder- Not Otherwise Specified). Feel free to read more about it here. I've also watched him go from being non-verbal and unable to imitate simple mouth and facial movements to talking in age-appropriate length phrases all within a year. He's my little super star client and has made me proud so many times before. 

Well, C's mom has been trying to potty train him for months. It really just seemed like he didn't get it. He would go into the bathroom and play with the toilet paper dispenser, rock back and forth, ask about any little noise he heard, and just be overly distracted. He didn't seem to get the concept and it became somewhat frustrating to everyone. His mom wanted to give up so many times. 

Well, his mom had something on Facebook yesterday about how he peed on the potty for the first time. Today when I got him from his preschool classroom for therapy he looked like he had to pee. I told him to go to the bathroom as I had so many times before. Like usual, he asked about noises, tried to pull up his pants after about 1 minute, and played with the toilet paper dispenser. Then, he got super quiet and looked down all focused. And he peed! For a long time. 

I can't even begin to describe how proud I was of him at that moment. Even though I'm not his mommy, I felt overwhelming pride for him and his accomplishment. When his mom came to pick him up I got to share my excitement with her and she was so happy. All of his classroom teachers were super surprised as well. 

It was such a great and proud work moment. Most days I really love my job, and especially on days like today. 

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

21 Weeks

Yay for 21 weeks! I'm so happy and grateful to be at this point. Only 3 more weeks until viability!! Can you tell I'm counting down? This week has definitely been dragging compared to the past few weeks that felt like they just flew by. 

Babies- They are both about 10 1/2 inches long and that blows my mind to think about. I can't believe how big they are! They weigh about 3/4 of a pound each. 

Weight Gain- Honestly, not sure. I have another ob appointment this Friday so will find out then. We don't have a functioning scale in our house.

Belly- Random kids at preschools and daycare facilities have starting asking about my belly. Last week a boy came up to me, pointed at my belly and said, "What's that big thing in there?" When I told him it was 2 babies his eyes got super wide. He thought about it for a minute and then asked me if the babies get scared of the dark in there. I thought it was super insightful for a 5 year old. A little girl today, "Do you have a baby in your belly?" It's funny to see the little kids reactions when I tell them it's 2 babies. 

My belly button is getting shallower and my lap scar looks stretched. I can lightly see my linea nigra line, but still only lightly.

I'm feeling kicks and bigger movements this week. They are much stronger than the wiggly sensations I was feeling and I love it. 

Cravings- Jell-o, mashed potatoes, icy cold water, and egg salad. Super random, but all so delicious. I've been totally turned off to eggs for a long time so to crave egg salad was weird. 

Symptoms- Heartburn, heartburn, and more heartburn. Someone at yoga recommended papaya enzymes as a natural alternative to Tums and they work equally well. I keep those in my car and the Tums in the house. Some days I get lucky and don't get heartburn with every meal or snack. Other days, forget it. 

Last week I totally overdid it a couple days and really paid the price. I felt so crappy. I've realized I need to listen to my body a little better and have been resting most afternoons. Work alone is pretty draining so I'm lucky to survive a full day of that. I'm pretty useless beyond that to be completely honest. 

Sleep- I'm definitely getting up more at night to pee. I'm great about drinking water in the morning until about lunch time. From lunch time until dinner I'm never very thirsty. So from dinner to before I go to bed I'm super thirsty. I know I need to listen to my body and drink so I do. This leads to more peeing at night. Lately it's been about 4 times/night. On a good night that averages every 2 hours. My least favorite is when I get up to pee and the birds are chirping and it's getting light out. I hate knowing I won't have much more time to sleep. 

Like I said before, I'm also napping most afternoons again. I feel so much better when I do so it's definitely worth it. 

Last night I decided it would be a great idea to go get milkshakes at 9:15. Needless to say, the caffeine in the chocolate kept me up past midnight. W was snoring away after about 10 minutes. 

Mood- I wish I could say it was better, but my patience has been fried with work. It seems like the kids have been especially difficult lately and this doesn't help. This week has not been good but I think it's because I'm just not in the mood for work. Hopefully this will improve. I joked today that if I could buy patience, I'd be broke. 

Meds- No changes there. Fewer bruises from Lovenox is always good though. 

Memorable Moments- Buying super cute curtains and installing them in the nursery. Ironing them was a lot of work and they still aren't perfect, but I love them. They are also blackout and work well. 

Getting a closet organization system for the nursery.
Feeling real big baby kicks on the outside. W has been feeling little movements for about a week now. He missed the big kicks as he was snoozing away last night. 

Finishing the first quilt topper and loving it. It was super frustrating at times since I just looked at a picture online and decided to make it without directions, but I figured it out and it looks great. 

Having my sister and baby Ben come out to visit. We've lived here almost 3 years and this is only the third time. It was really nice to spend time with both of them. My MiL even came over to meet Benny. 

Switching from reading pregnancy books to reading about babies. 

Attending a multiples class at the hospital where we will deliver. 

Upcoming- ob appointment this Friday. W is not coming so my MiL is.

My mom, brother, and step-dad returned to the US from Costa Rica yesterday. They are in Florida for a few days and will be back home in about a week. I'm so excited to see them. I haven't seen my mom since Feb and my step-dad and brother since Jan. 

Perinatal appointment June 26th. My mom is going to come for the first time. I know there will be an ultrasound so I'm excited for her to see the babies. 

W should finish painting the crib this week and hopefully we can start putting things in the nursery. I'm really anxious for it to start actually looking like a usable room. 

Monday, June 3, 2013

Worth Waiting For

Every night when we get into bed the girls are really active. Night time is the time I feel them the most, especially when lying down. 

Most nights we read or have the laptop with Netf.lix in bed with us. Whenever they start moving I tell W and he puts his hand on my belly. In the past week or so he has started to feel their movements. 

It's such an amazing thing to lie there together, feeling our babies move around. We smile and rarely say a word. 

It's these moments that make everything we've been through worth it. This is one of those things we waited so long to experience. And, to be honest, it's even more amazing than I ever expected.