Monday, July 8, 2013

My List of Twin Essentials

I'm sure everyone has their lists of must-have baby things but there have been a few things that I have found essential for my life with twins. There aren't many... yet... but I'll tell you what I have so far.

-Rock and Plays!!! These are AWESOME and have probably been the most-used baby item we got! The twins hated sleeping in the double-bassinet pack&play and that thing was so bulky so we quickly started using the rock&plays instead. They sleep sooooo much better in them and it is awesome to reach over and rock them if they fuss in the middle of the night. Right now, it's the only place they sleep but we are going to start transitioning them into the crib very soon.

-A twin nursing pillow!!! This is probably equal to the rock&plays. I have a My Breast Friend twin pillow and I could not imagine nursing twins without it. It's not comfortable to lean back in so I have tried figuring out other set-ups when I'm really tired but it's really difficult to maneuver and place two (usually crying and squirmy) babies on a bunch of pillows. Like, REALLY difficult.

-The SnapNGo Double stroller frame. It's the one you put the car seats on. This thing is the only reason I can get out with the babies without help. It's super light, doesn't take up a ton of space, and is easy to fold/unfold/put car seats in. Car seats are heavy and it is nearly impossible to carry two, with babies in them, plus a diaper bag. The stroller is tandem and not very easy to maneuver, but it beats the hell out of lugging the seats and it has a huge basket (even though it's a bit hard to get things into and out of it). We did get a super-nice double side-by-side but the kids are still a bit too young to use it for more than walks in the neighborhood and that thing is HEAVY! I have a hard time getting it in and out of my SUV trunk by myself. At this point its so much easier to leave them in the car seats. Bonus: it's only $99 and you can sometimes find it used for really cheap.

-Muslin swaddle blankets. We love the Aden&Anais. They're super soft and thin enough to use in summer, but can be as warm as you need them, too. They're great as nursing covers, stroller/carseat covers, and as impromptu burp cloths. Best baby blanket to have.

-Activity mats. Get two different ones. They didn't have much interest in these at first, but it was a good place to lay them down and the music would keep them quiet for a little while... now they love laying on them and looking at the lights and toys and hitting/kicking the low ones. 

-A changing station in the living room (or where ever you plan on spending most of your day). It's hard to carry two floppy babies and you're not going to leave one in a different room to change the other... not to mention they will usually both need to be changed. Those changing mats are okay, but I really prefer a designated, solid set-up. We're using a changing pad on the sofa table behind the couch.

-Boppies. I used them a lot in the beginning to prop the twins up for naps on the bed because they hated sleeping flat. When we started using the rock&plays, the Boppies went unused for a few weeks, but now that the babies are becoming more alert, we prop them up in the Boppies on the couch and they love to sit and look around or interact with us.

-Baby carriers/wraps. I didn't get one at first because you can't carry twins anyways, but you will need one... or two, or four. Harrison is an "in-arms" type of baby so there have been days that the only reason I can get something to eat or even go pee is because I put him in the carrier. I started with a Moby, which is great but very hot, then got a mei tie, a front-to-back type carrier, and an Ergo that Patrick uses. My favorite right now is the mei tie because it's easy to use and cooler than the Moby. The babies LOVE when Patrick puts them in the Ergo and wears them while he cooks and sings to them (he can only do one at a time so I'll have the other one). If all else fails, putting them in the carrier will usually calm them and put them to sleep.

That's pretty much it. As far as swings, bouncers, noise machines, etc.? My advise is to wait until your babies are here, then take them to the store and try out to see if they like it before you buy. Or just buy one and see how it goes. Olivia loves the swing but Harrison hates it. He ended up liking a bouncer but we tried 5 at the store before he liked one (it had to have the right amount of bounce and vibration and be at the right angle... he's picky). 
Baby stuff is so expensive and there is no guarantee your baby will like the "latest and greatest". Also, don't be afraid to buy second hand. Most things are outgrown quickly or rarely used and you can get awesome deals.

I'm sure there will be more things as the twins grow. Anyone... feel free to add your baby essentials in the comments!

Thank You, God, for our precious miracles!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Welcome to Motherhood- Times Two... And a Baby Photobomb

The twins are a month old (well they were when I started this post... its taken me a month). And what a crazy month it has been!

It's amazing how much life has changed in just a few short weeks. Motherhood comes with a lot to learn, and the learning curve is STEEP! You think you're prepared, but having a baby is one of those things in life you can never truly prepare for until it happens. 

I don't want to sound self-righteous and say that "having twins is twice as hard" because I don't know that. I've never had a singleton and honestly, my babies are pretty good, so I can't compare them to one colicky, demanding, or high-needs baby. I will say, though, that twins comes with their own unique challenges. So here is what I've learned in my first month with twins.

-You will need help. Not all the time, but definitely in the beginning when you're all learning, and occasionally there will be times when you just can't do it all by yourself. And on that note...

-Sometimes you just can't do it all by yourself AND THAT'S OKAY! Ask for help. If help isn't available right that second, it's okay if one or both babies has to cry for a minute while you do what you can. You don't have to be Supermom.
There are times that both babies are fussy, but I can't carry both so I put one in the swing and hope it calms them for a bit while I soothe the other, then I switch. At least once a day they will wake up at the same time and both will be screaming their heads off while I change them and get set up to feed them. There are also times that they will both be crying and I just have to let them because I have to pee or grab a Cliff Bar because I can't remember the last time I ate or peed! 

-Breastfeeding sucks for the first two weeks and you will want to quit... but it is so rewarding if you stick it out. Get help from the nurses and lactation consultants in the hospital. Olivia had a shallow latch, a really strong suck, and a will of her own in the beginning. She wanted to latch herself and would pull away if I tried to make her take more nipple. The nurses helped me trick her into taking a whole mouthful but she would still sometimes latch badly and it hurt so bad! The second week (days 7-14) is the worst because your nipples are raw and tender. Harrison had a great latch with almost no help, but it was still painful some days. Those days I almost dreaded feeding Olivia because she had such an aggressive suck, it felt like she was going to suck my nipple off! All I can say is, it does get better! After those first two weeks my nipples toughened up, the babies got better at latching and sucking, and I actually started enjoying the bonding and sweet moments that breastfeeding brings.

-It is possible to exclusively breastfeed twins. I did question if I was making enough milk for them because I never got engorged. In fact, the only reason I knew when my milk came in was because the nurses were making me pump between feedings since the twins lost over 10% of their birth weight. It started coming in on day 4, but I could only pump less than an ounce using the hospital grade pump. The next day I could definitely tell I had milk, but it was not even close to the engorgement I had been expecting. At our follow up appointment with the pediatrician that day because of their weight loss, she told me it was because two babies nursing every two hours wasn't giving me a chance to get engorged. 
I still questioned my supply sometimes, but at their two week follow up both babies had regained their birthweight. Harrison had gone from 5lbs1oz at birth, to 4'8 at discharge, to 5'11 at two weeks. Olivia went from 6'2, to 5'10, to 6'3. Both grew an inch. Today, at their one month checkup, Harrison is up to 7lbs8ozs and two inches longer, and Olivia is 7lbs10oz and an inch longer! In just one month, my little guy has completely caught up to his sister! It happened almost overnight, too. One day he fit in the premie clothes my mom had bought him, the next day they were too small. Literally.

-Make sure you have a pediatrician that you like, who supports your wishes, and that you're both on the same page. My last day in the hospital, the on-call pediatrician made me supplement two feedings before they let us go home. He said if I could pump enough breast milk, I wouldn't have to use formula, but my milk was just coming in that day and I wasn't getting close to enough to feed them both. I was pretty upset because I felt like I was being pressured into formula even though the twins didn't seem hungry or upset at my lack of milk, but I wanted what was best for them and we REALLY wanted to go home, so we gave them the formula. They discharged us with instructions to follow up with our pediatrician the next day. I was worried that she was going to encourage the supplementing as well and make us come in for frequent weight checks, but she told us that even though the babies lost more than they like to see, it was still normal, and since my milk had just come in, she wasn't worried and we would just check their weight again in two weeks and go from there. It was such a relief that she supported my breastfeeding and the break from medical personelle and appointments was just what we needed. She has continued to support and encourage us and our decisions and she has fully earned our complete trust in the care of our children. She cares about what's best for all of us instead of just jumping to medicines and interventions to make things "easy".

-Just because they're twins, doesn't mean they're clones. They are two completely different babies, with completely different personalities, needs, challenges, patterns, and development. Olivia could possibly be the world's easiest baby. She is very laid back, rarely cries, doesn't spit up, and sleeps between 4-6 hours at night. Harrison, on the other hand, is a bit more demanding. He doesn't sleep longer than 2 hours at a time, spits up quite a bit, has tummy/gas issues, HATES to be put down, and tends to just be fussy. Had I just had him, I would have thought "this is just how babies are", but since Olivia is so easy, it made me question what was wrong with Harrison. After questioning the pediatrician and listing his "ailments", she told me he is perfectly healthy and normal. Babies spit up. They have gas and it upsets them. They're fussy. She told me that Olivia is part of only 10% of babies that never spit up and that I need to stop comparing them because I'll make myself crazy.

-Google/forums/birth boards will make you crazy. Within the first week home I had convinced myself that Harrison was fussy because he was sensitive to the dairy in my diet, so I cut it out almost completely. Then I thought he had reflux. Then I read about "silent reflux" and saw Olivia did some of the things they describe so I thought she had it. Then I thought we all had thrush. Then back to the reflux. Turns out, I just have a forceful let-down and "over-supply" (it would be over supply to a woman with one baby but is needed to feed twins) and the babies just have a hard time keeping up with the milk flow. I have since gone back to my "no Google" rule.

-Try to get them on some sort of routine. You don't have to put them on a schedule... but have a "reset" routine to get them back in sync (if you want to tandem feed). The first two or so weeks I just fed on demand and went with what they wanted. Well, Harrison fed more often than Olivia and they quickly got on separate schedules. At first I was okay with it because it was easier to take and feed one baby than to set up my nursing pillow and position and latch both. Pretty soon, all I was doing was feeding babies.

Okay, that's enough for now. Here's some pictures of the twins!

Two days old-

3 days-

Day we came home-

Home for the first time-

Harrison@1 week

Olivia with Montana

Harrison sleeping on Daddy

Sleeping on the nursing pillow after eating

Sleeping on the bed in the morning after daddy went to work- (about 2weeks old)
Sleeping in the same pose! (Holtz was guarding them)

Holding hands for after-meal nap

Harrison @ 6 weeks (he loves checking out the hotties on Toddlers & Tiaras)

Olivia wearing her brother's clothes because she had a major diaper blowout and it was the first onesie I could find while Harrison screamed his head off

Harrison making crazy faces

Olivia at BabiesRUs

Posing for the camera at 7 weeks

Harrison talking to the dogs

Harrison smiling at my mom 4th of July @ 2 months

Olivia with her great-grandma

Intrigued by my mom's curtains

Harrison playing with mommy

Olivia being silly

Harrison cuddling with Daddy

The announcements

I told you it was a photobomb! I can't help myself!! They are getting to be so much fun.

Thank You, God, for giving us these two precious miracles!!!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Harrison and Olivia's Birth Story

Our twins are here!

The babies that I have hoped and prayed for for so long are finally here. I am a mom.

Olivia Celeste was born on May 6 at 7:23 am weighing 6 pounds, 2 ounces and 18&3/4 inches long.
Harrison Rodger was born at 7:24 am weighing 5 pounds, 1 ounce and 17&3/4 inches long.

Everything happened so fast, I was amazed. But let me start from the beginning:

I slept literally only two hours the night before my c-section. I was way too excited. I spent most of the night looking at the clock, waiting for the alarm to go off. We had to be at the hospital at 6, so we got up at 5... well, the alarm was scheduled to go off at 5, at 4:45 I couldn't wait any more and woke Patrick up. We got dressed, I put on a bit of make-up for those first OR pictures with the little ones, we gathered the last of what we needed for the hospital, and headed out.

The streets were deserted at that early hour and it was a very surreal feeling, knowing that it was the last time it would be "just the two of us". Just Patrick and I. I mean, of course we'll have time alone, but from that day forward, we would always have two more people to love, care for, and worry about. It was an emotional drive for both of us.

The hospital was quiet. No one in the halls except the nurses and one wide-eyed, nervous-looking father-to-be with all the hospital bags, waiting to be allowed back into where his wife was. We didn't have to wait long to be taken back to the pre-op/recovery room. The hospital had recently changed their c-section protocol, moving all scheduled sections to the second floor, but multiples and emergency sections are still on the first floor, right next to the NICU, so we were the only ones in there. Seeing the incubators/warmers next to the bed and set up for the babies made it very real.

The nurse hooked me up to the monitors and started my IV. She had to go get a pair of scrubs for Patrick because the paper jumpsuit they normally provide was way too small. He thought he was hot shit for getting actual scrubs and he was making everyone laugh saying he was going to scrub in and help and that he was going to pretend to work there and see who noticed. 

At around seven the nurse called my doctor and the anesthesiologist because neither were there yet and she suspected they had gone upstairs. She was right, and both got there a few minutes later. That's when things really got moving. 

***Warning- some of this might be a bit upsetting/scary so if you're feeling particularly sensitive, you can skip the details and know that everything turned out just fine!***

They took me to the OR and sat me on the table (which is MUCH more narrow than I thought it would be!) Everyone was bustling about, getting things ready and my doctor came over to hold my shoulders and talk to me while I got the spinal block. I was really nervous about the spinal, but it really wasn't that bad at all. The shot to numb the site stung worse than the actual shot to numb everything and it was all done so quickly. I immediately felt the medicine "flowing" down my legs and everything got tingly. They were fast to lay me down while I could still move my legs, though I did need some help. They told me to lay my arms out on to the side, but thankfully didn't strap them down, and then started prepping me for the delivery. 

I started to panic a bit because I had always assumed that I would be completely numb from the spinal, but that was not the case. I could still feel my toes and feel the nurses and doctor prepping my skin and touching me. It all felt like tingly touches, but I was getting worries that I would feel them cutting me because I wasn't completely numb. Just as my anxiety was really starting to spike, my doctor asks, "Can you feel me pinching you?" and I felt nothing. I told him "no" and they called Patrick to come in. 

They started cutting before he even sat down all the way. I know this because I could feel it... but not in the way you'd think. It felt like my doctor was running his index finger along my stomach. It was WEIRD! A minute later the doctor asked, "Okay, who do you want to be born first?" The question caught us off guard and Patrick just blurted out, "The boy."

Well, Olivia had other plans. She's been baby A the whole time and she was coming out first, damn it! She had the cord wrapped around her neck twice, but it wasn't an issue and she cried right away. The moment I heard her cry I started bawling! They showed her to us and took her to the warmer to get cleaned up. She was beautiful and perfect and I cried even harder when I saw her.

Immediately after I heard Harrison cry. I looked over at Patrick and he had tears in his eyes, too. They brought Harrison over for me to see and they held him close so I could touch him before they cleaned him up. It was such a beautiful and amazing time! Patrick headed off to take pictures of the babies and watch them get evaluated.

I noticed immediately that Harrison was a lot smaller than Olivia. She looked full and plump, but he was skinny and looked so tiny! The nurses put the babies on the scales and called out the weights. We expected both to be over/around 6 pounds. Under 5 pounds is automatic NICU time. They called out Olivia's weight at 6 pounds, 2 ounces. There was a pause as they weighed Harrison. The nurse called out 5 pounds 1 ounce and everyone cheered that he didn't have to go to the NICU! Olivia scored 9 out of 9 on her APGAR and Harrison scored 8/9!! I was so happy!

Around that time I heard my doctor order for the pitocin to be started "full flow" and I started feeling very nauseous and a bit whoozy. I thought it was from the pulling sensation as they sewed me up and "massaged" my uterus back down. Patrick came over holding both babies and beaming like a proud papa! He held them for me to kiss and touch. The nausea was getting worse and I told the anesthesiologist. He gave me some Zofran through my IV and I immediately felt better but I was getting really tired. I figured my adrenaline was crashing after the excitement of the morning and the two hours of sleep was catching up to me. 

The nurses led Patrick and the babies back to the recovery room to show him baby care basics while the doctor finished up with me, but I joined them not even ten minutes later! My doctor works fast! I went in just after 7, got prepped, numbed, and draped, Olivia was born at 7:23, Harrison at 7:24, and I was back in recovery before 8!!! 

In the recovery room they brought me the babies to hold for the first time. The nurses unsnapped my gown and tucked the twins in on my chest, skin to skin. I started to feel really nauseous again and was having a hard time keeping my eyes open, but I didn't want to say anything because I wanted to savor these priceless first moments with my babies. 

Finally, I told them I was going to be sick. Patrick told me after that I suddenly lost all color in my face and he knew something was wrong. Someone brought me a bag and I started throwing up. My stomach was empty so it was just bile. My whole body was tingling and felt like it was pulsing. The nurse calmly said she was going to check me. She lifted my gown and I could see a flash of alarm on her face. 

"She's bleeding, someone take the babies."

Then all hell broke out. I don't remember too much because I started slipping in and out of consciousness at that point. Two nurses began furiously kneading my abdomen and they called my doctor back in. I caught a glimpse of Patrick standing frozen off to the side, a baby in each arm, with a look of terror in his eyes. My doctor came rushing back in and examined me. He's usually very funny and laid back, but I saw the serious, get-shit-done, DOCTOR side of him. 

I'm still not 100% sure what happened, but as far as I understand, my uterus was so stretched and was trying to shrink back too fast, causing me to hemorrhage and clot too much at the same time, and made my blood pressure crash.

My doctor said he was going to try to "pull the clot out", but when he checked my cervix it was only 1cm dilated. He started yelling for something to open my cervix and told them to get the anesthesiologist back immediately and re-prep the OR. Had I been more with-it, I would have been terrified. As it was, I was sad that I was losing that time with the twins and praying for the weird sensations in my body to end. 

They wheeled me back to the OR and the anesthesiologist put the nasal cannula on me. "This is just oxygen." Then I was out.

I woke up in recovery to Patrick hovering over me, still holding the babies, asking me if I was okay. I was so relieved to be feeling somewhat normal again! I think I asked what happened, and I think someone explained it to me, but I was still woozy from being put under so I don't remember very much of that day after the twins were born. I plan on asking my doctor at the next checkup. I know I had two to get two liters of blood and I think they did a D&C.

Patrick said it was the happiest and scariest day of his life. He told me he thought he was going to have to raise the kids by himself and everyone was so busy running around and taking care of me that nobody would tell him what was happening until he stopped one of the nurses and demanded answers. Poor guy. 

I was really swollen that night, but the nurses said it was probably from the IV. That night my blood pressure started creeping up and by the next day it was really high. They did a urine collection and, lucky me, I had post-partum pre-eclampsia so I had to go on blood pressure meds. I had ZERO signs of pre-eclampsia before the birth so my doctor was pretty surprised. Luckily my blood pressure regulated itself after only 2 weeks on meds.

Because of the complications, I had to wait until the next morning to have my catheter removed and to get up. They also had me on mega doses of antibiotics so I had to have my IV in for an extra day and a half and they kept me in the hospital for an extra day as well.

Since Harrison was so small he had to have more tests and prodding done. The first day he had to have his blood sugar tested three times (they poke the heel for a blood sample), both babies had to have their newborn screenings (another heel poke), he had his circumcision, and he had to do his car seat challenge test (we had to put him in his car seat and take him down to the NICU so they could monitor his heart rate and breathing for an hour and a half to make sure he could handle being in the seat so we could take him home. Since the NICU is busy during the day, we had to go down there after midnight!!) He also failed his first hearing screening so it had to be repeated the next day. Luckily he passed then. It was so sad to have my tiny little baby taken and know they were poking on him. Patrick went with him for every procedure and test, and when he came back to the room during the circumcision,  he broke down and we both cried for our little boy. BUT!... he passed every test and handled every procedure like a champ! Our boy is small but mighty!!

Both babies took to the boob really well! Olivia had a shallow latch in the beginning that was really painful, but the lactation consultants, nurses, and my mom worked with us and showed us how to do it right. Harrison was a breastfeeding pro from the start. It did take four days for my milk to come in and both babies lost over 10% of their birthweight so the pediatrician at the hospital recommended I supplement with formula the last day there, but I only supplemented one feeding. After my milk came in, I produced enough to feed them both.

I'm so thankful for all the doctors and nurses in the hospital! They were all wonderful and helped us so much. Despite the complications and surprises, the twins are healthy, happy, and got to come home with us. They are thriving now and we are so happy with our new little family! Even the dogs are totally in love!

Here's a picture of our lovies! (I blurred out Harrison's boy parts) ;)

Proud Papa

Happy family!

And for good measure... my last belly shot the morning of delivery. Excuse my haggard appearance... it was 5:30 in the morning and I'd only slept two hours.

Well, this post has taken me over a week to write/finish. Things are pretty hectic around here right now, but I will try to get another one up soon about what the first month with twins has been like!

Thank You, God for giving us these two precious little miracles!

Monday, May 6, 2013

The Big Day

I did it! We made it to full term!!!!

It's 4:30 in the morning and I should be asleep but here I am, up since 3 after only sleeping two hours. Why am I awake? Because today is my scheduled c-section!!! In less than 4 hours, we get to meet our twins! How the hell am I suppose to sleep with this much excitement?

Patrick's alarm will go off in thirty minutes and we'll get everything to go to the hospital. We have to be there at 6... surgery is scheduled for 7. I can't believe the day is finally... already... here!

Everything is ready for them. WE are ready for them.

I didn't really expect to make it this far. I'm 37 weeks, 4 days today. I made it to full term, made it to my goal date, and could probably make it further if I had to. I'm so proud of my body. By mid-day, I'll be a mom! I can't believe it.

Thank You, God, for this amazing blessing!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Playing the Waiting Game

Patrick and I have a bet going as to when the babies are going to come. After my little vay-cay in the hospital, we've been pretty much convinced that they could come at any moment. My contractions have been picking up despite the higher dose of Procardia AND the addition of P17 shots that are meant to stave off preterm labor. Every week at my OB appointment I get nervous because I think he's going to check my cervix, tell me I'm dilating, and send me to the hospital. But every week he checks me, tells me my cervix is still closed, praises how well I'm doing, and sends me on my way.
So my money has been on next Thursday, April 25. I'll be 36 weeks, have a checkup and ultrasound appointment that day, and it's a full moon. Again, I've been telling myself that I'm going to go to the appointment, U/S is going to show a short, dilating cervix, and they're going tell me it's time. Patrick thinks the cervix check and full moon are going to put me into labor for the next day, April 26. After today's appointment, though, which showed still no cervical change, I'm really starting to think that I might make it to my scheduled date! My doctor thinks I'll make it... barring the random rupture of membranes.
We'll have to see what happens over the next few days. Patrick came down with an upper respiratory virus a couple days ago. It only lasted about three days- he told me he felt like he was getting sick Monday night, I made him go to the Redi-clinic Tuesday so they could treat him before it got serious, they told him he had a fever and it's a virus, he was miserable Tuesday night, missed work Wednesday, better by last night, and back to work today. He's pretty much just been dealing with a nasty cough. I was really hoping I wouldn't catch it, but I woke up this morning with that pre-sick scratchiness in my throat. I've upped my vitamin C intake in an effort to help fight it off. The last thing I want is to get sick right now. I would be devastated if my water broke during a coughing fit and I had to deliver them early, while sick, and be unable to see or care for them because of my illness. I did tell my doctor about it this morning, though, and he acknowledged that it was going around and told me that if I do catch it, just take Tylenol and Mucinex as needed and I should be fine. I'm praying it just goes away.
I must say, I'm pretty damn proud of my body! It may have given me a really hard time getting pregnant, but it's doing an amazing job now that I am.
We have everything we need ready for these babies. The nursery still needs some finishing touches that I haven't been able to do while on bed rest, but they won't be sleeping in there at first so we have some time to get it done. All their clothes, bedding, and fabric stuff has been washed. Stuffed animals and soft toys have been steamed (our washer and dryer have a really nifty steam sanitizing feature for non-washable fabric items). Strollers, rock&plays, bassinets, cribs, changing stations, and car seats are all assembled and ready. Bags are packed. Hospital checklist hung on bathroom and back doors. We are ready!
Now we wait.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Invasion of the Body Snatchers

*Warning-this post contains TMI*

Pregnancy is a beautiful, weird, stressful, scary, amazing time.

A lot of times, I feel like my body is no longer my own... but I have no problem giving it up for my two little babies. I continue to be surprised and amazed by the things happening with my body.

I'm not going to lie, the first few months were hard. I was constantly nauseous, often sick, and had a really hard time eating and keeping food down. I was lucky that I only lost six pounds during that time (my doctor said he's seen some women lose 20 pounds or more and need to be hospitalized) but knowing how important weight gain was for the twins, not being able to eat was stressing me out.
It was also weird to me when the food aversions kicked in. The most unexpected... and strongest... was my aversion to meat. Especially chicken. I loooooove chicken! But once the morning sickness kicked in, just the thought of chicken made me retch. I couldn't look at raw meat of any kind, or any big piece of cooked meat. The only way I could eat meat was if it was small enough pieces to be mixed in with other food. Eventually, I started craving beef and it would make me feel better after I ate.
Weeks 6-12ish I pretty much lived on potatoes, pb&j, crackers, and cereal. Then potatoes started making me nauseous. Pretty much half the things I put in my mouth, as soon as it touched my tongue, would instantly make me want to puke. The next couple weeks I mainly just ate snacks. Those were the hardest weeks.

I was so relieved when my morning sickness finally went away. I still had aversions, but I was finally having cravings, too! Patrick and I joke that the twins are going to come out speaking Spanish. I want Mexican food all the time! Nachos are favorite and I eat them at least once a week. I'm also loving hamburgers with lots of tomatoes, chicken fried steak with white gravy, Chinese food, and fried shrimp.
My weirdest craving to date: peanut butter and banana sandwiches. That may mot sound weird to most, but I have not eaten bananas since third grade. A kid I went to school with use to poke holes in them and squish the insides out through the holes and it was so gross! I haven't been able to even look at bananas without gagging since then. So for me to want, and eat, and ENJOY anything with bananas is pretty amazing.
My appetite has really picked up within the last month or so, and after getting the steroid shots, I have been ravenously hungry! My food aversions are officially gone and I'm eating like a stereotypical pregnant woman. If its food, I want it. And if I want it, there is not going to be any left when I'm done. And within thirty minutes of stuffing my face, I'm going to want a snack... and another snack thirty minutes after that.
But I'm gladly eating everything in sight because I know it's helping my babies gain weight.
I thought I loved food before I got pregnant, but it's crazy how absolutely amazing food can be now! Especially when eating something I'm "craving"... I've actually caught myself humming while I chew it makes me so happy!

Another bodily change that caught me by surprise was the boob leakage. I mean, I knew it would happen, but I started leaking colostrum at 18 weeks! The first time it happened, Patrick and I were cuddling on the couch, watching a movie, and when we got up to go to bed, I thought I had spilled some water on myself because I had a wet spot about the size of a quarter on my left boob. But when I took my bra off, I realized I had been leaking! My left had leaked a quarter-sized spot completely through my bra and my right had left a spot the size of a nickel just on the inside of the bra. Luckily, my leakage tends to happen at night so I haven't had any embarrassing incidents yet, but I have had a few times where I have soaked spots the size of my palm on my sleep shirts.
One night, I was laying in bed in my pj pants, watching the twins move my belly, when all of a sudden, after a particularly active bout of movement, my whole stomach tightened up and colostrum just flowed out of both boobs. It lasted a few seconds, my stomach relaxed, the flow stopped, and the babies started moving again. A few minutes later they had another really active bout, and the same thing happened. This repeated itself a few more times for about thirty minutes, until the twins finally calmed down and went to sleep. It was pretty interesting.
What has sucked, though? I've gotten mastitis... twice. I didn't even know you could get it while pregnant but apparently you can. Both times has been in my right boob and it hurts like a sonofabitch! The first time was much worse and I had to go on antibiotics because my whole boob was swollen, red, and hot to the touch with big, hard lumps that were so tender I couldn't wear a bra. The second time my boob just got swollen with those hard lumps, but it wasn't as painful and cleared up on its own after a day or so with hot showers.
I'm hoping this all means that I'll have a plentiful supply once the twins come.

One of the most amazing things has been feeling the babies move. Now that they're bigger and stronger, it can get uncomfortable and sometimes downright painful, but I love feeling them.
I feel Olivia a lot more because she's in the front, her body coming up the right side of my stomach with her butt right below my ribcage, and her placenta is posterior. Harrison is on my left side, but he sits further back towards my spine, and his placenta is anterior. They both had their feet on my right side for a while, so my ribs on that side got quite a workout, but as Olivia has dropped further into my pelvis, Harrison has gotten enough room to move from "oblique" to fully vertex and has moved his feet to my left side. His placenta is close to my ribs on that side, so while I do feel the strong rib kicks, I'm more protected on that side.
I mainly feel him when he is attempting to escape through my belly button. Little man is convinced that this is the way out and he likes to punch me square in the middle, then drag his fist around in hopes of finding the escape route. Sometimes he's shy when I rub the body parts he sticks out and pulls them back, and other times he'll let me rub them for a while.
Baby girl, on the other hand, has come to love being rubbed! Since she's so far forward, I can usually feel some body part close to the surface so I tended to kind of mess with her a lot. At first she would pull back whatever was sticking out, then she started "playing" with me (I'd rub or poke and she would hit back, then move her arm or leg and stick it out somewhere else until I rubbed or poked the new spot. She'd keep it up for 10-15 minutes and if I didn't rub her, she would just stick the arm/leg out further until it got uncomfortable) Now, when I rub her, she will actually wiggle and push into my hand!
She is also apparently convinced that the best way out of my stomach is to just bust through... and if she can take one of my ribs with her that'll be even better. This child is so active, and STRONG, it makes me wonder if she actually will just bust out! I'm definitely getting worried that she'll break my water.

Feeling them move is one thing, SEEING them move is another. It's amazing and I love to watch them, but it is crazy. Patrick gets a bit weirded out when they're particularly active because he says it's too "Alien"-ish and I have to admit that when both of them are really moving, it does look a bit.... odd. The other morning, it was like they were fighting in there! I had a flurry of movement along the midline, then they separated and my belly went flat in the middle as they bulged out the sides like they wanted away from each other!
And while I usually just see Harrison's fist or part of his foot sticking up, Olivia likes to push out her whole foot, or stick out and move around her entire lower leg, or whole arm! These are not little movements. When she gets going, you can see it through my clothes!

Those are the biggest changes for me... or at least the most significant. Since this is getting pretty long I'll bullet-point the rest of my pregnancy quirks.
-Peeing has become a chore. Olivia has settled on my bladder so I have to go a lot, and I have learned to shift around on the toilet to make sure my bladder is empty. Otherwise, when I lean over to wipe (which has gotten a bit difficult as well) I pee on my fingers. Luckily, I'm a fast learner so it only happened twice, but it was still gross. Pair my toilet aerobics with getting up 4-6 times a night to pee, and I have started thinking that a catheter might be the way to go. Or at the very least, I have debated getting some Depends. Oh, the shame!
-Acne. Not too much on my face but my chest is not very pretty and my back is AWFUL! It's really gross. I was lucky as a teenager that I never really had skin issues so this is a pretty major insecurity for me now. I blame little boy with his testosterone.
-Back hair. Not a lot, and not very noticeable, but Patrick pointed it out to me when he was scrubbing my back one night. He says they're dark, but thin and fairly short, and go down my spine. He's started calling me "Were-wife". I again blame Harrison.
-Weepiness. While I don't cry randomly or extremely easily, I'm definitely much quicker to cry over things that affect me. Something that would normally just be touching, will now make me cry, and I cry when I get angry, which I normally don't do. Oh... and I did cry because Patrick threw away (or ate, I can't remember now) some left-overs that I was just going into the kitchen to get. This one I blame on Olivia.
-Pregnancy brain is a real thing. I forget things all the time. I say stupid things that make no sense. I got out of my car once without even turning it off! Thank goodness my sister was with me and said something or I would have just waddled myself into the store and left my car unlocked and running!
-Insomnia. Everyone tells me "get plenty of rest before those babies come!" Yeah right. I have a hard time falling asleep at night, it's hard to get comfortable, impossible to stay comfortable, turning over has become an Olympic event in my book, and I'm up every few hours to pee. Sometimes I wake up hungry or have a hard time falling back asleep and get hungry, so I have to argue with myself over whether or not I should go eat something or stay in bed and hope for sleep.
-Swelling. Luckily, I haven't had much swelling in my feet or hands. My feet have only in the past few weeks started to get puffy as the weather warms and, though I switched my wedding set for one of my mom's gold bands that's a bit bigger, just in case, I don't think it was really necessary. The unfortunate victim of my swelling has been my lady bits. Now, I have been unable to see anything happening south of my navel since about 20-24 weeks, but I like to sit in the bathroom sink to do my makeup (and yes, I usually get ready in the buff... the bathroom gets hot!) and I couple weeks after I lost sight of my "southern belle", I was getting ready to go somewhere and caught a glimpse of her as I was hoisting my pregnant self onto the counter. I was horrified by what I saw! A lady on one of the due date boards described herself as looking like she was "smuggling bratwursts" and I have to say that's a pretty accurate description. I had no idea that would happen! I asked Patrick why he hadn't told me my girl parts were so grossly swollen and he just shrugged and said because he didn't think it was important and he thought I was sexy no matter what. Good man. But I still have not gotten back on that counter or tried to look down below again. Patrick is helping me groom what I have now named my "mystery jungle" this weekend in preparation for delivery, and I wouldn't be surprised if we discovered new plant species down there!

Well, now that you all know waaaayyyy too much about me, I'll leave it at that. I'm 35 weeks tomorrow and so thankful every day to have carried these babies so long and made it this far. Only two and a half more weeks until my c-section date! I want them to bake that long and make it to term but I am so ready to meet them!! Some days I think I'll make it, others I feel like I'll go into labor at any second. Either way, I know they'll be in great hands and, chances are, they'll be perfectly healthy. Makes all these pregnancy discomforts totally worth it!

Thank You, God, for blessing us with these two little miracles and for giving me the ability to carry and grow them for as long as I have.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Wake Up Call

Well, it's been an unexpected couple days.
I'm 32 weeks pregnant now and the last few weeks have been pretty easy and uneventful. At 27 weeks, Olivia (baby A), decided to flip head down and settle into my pelvis. My cervix was still measuring 4cm, with no funneling, but her head was putting pressure on it and my Braxton Hicks were picking up so my doctor put me on modified bed rest and prescribed Procardia to calm down the contractions. I've been back once a week since then to make sure everything was still doing good... and it has been.
At my 31 week appointment last Thursday, we did another ultrasound, which showed my cervix had shortened a bit... down to 3cm. Olivia's head was putting a lot of pressure on it, but there was still no funneling, and everything was still closed up tight. Harrison had also flipped head down, squeezing his face down as close to his sister as he could. They were estimated to weigh 3.5lbs each, my uterus was measuring 37/38 weeks, so my doctor was very happy with how my body was handling the weight/size/etc of a singleton pregnancy at term. I mentioned that I was still getting some contractions even on the Procardia, which he said could be expected at this point, but he recommended starting P17 (progesterone) shots once a week to calm my uterus a little more, and gave me a prescription/orders to go have steroid shots at the hospital "just in case". The steroids are two shots, spaced 24 hours apart to help mature the twins' lungs in the event that they do decide to come early. We didn't have time to go that day and since it wasn't anything urgent we didn't want to take up the nurses' time during their busier nights and weekends. We were planning to go Monday, but a leaking pipe in our bathroom had me spending the day waiting on the plumber.
On Tuesday, Patrick came home at lunch time and we headed to the hospital for the first shot. Despite all my IVF experience with shots, needles, and blood draws, I was a little nervous about the steroid because I had heard somewhere that it's not very pleasant... it was no worse than PIO. The nurse took my blood pressure, gave me the shot, listened to the babies on the Doppler, and then showed us around Labor & Delivery since all the tours have been booked since February.
Wednesday, I woke up at 5am and couldn't go back to sleep. I tossed and turned for an hour and a half until Patrick got up for work, then puttered around the house with him as he got ready, ate breakfast, settled on the couch when he left, then got ready for my 10am checkup at the OB. I left the house thinking it would be a quick checkup, then I'd run over to the hospital for my second shot, and I'd be home within two hours. That didn't happen.
My appointment with the doctor was pretty quick and routine. My doctor did check my cervix since it was time for my Group B Strep test anyways, and my cervix was still high and completely closed and everything seemed perfect. Next up, the hospital.
This time, after the shot, they hooked me up to the monitors "for about 30 minutes" to check on the babies. Well, turns out I was having contractions. Olivia HATES the Doppler or the monitors and always tries to get away, so she was doing her best to try to escape under my ribs, which made the contractions worse. Since I had taken my Procardia two hours before, I should not have been having that many contractions (one every 3-8 minutes) and they were also pretty uncomfortable.
Four hours, three shots of Tributaline (not pleasant), two bags of IV fluids later, I was still contracting every 5-10 minutes, though they were much less intense, so I was admitted. They immediately started me on magnesium and it finally helped.
Patrick left work and came to be with me just before I was officially admitted and I could tell he was totally flustered when he got there. The "overnight" bag he packed contained our toothbrushes, toothpaste, my deodorant, my phone charger, iPad, two pairs of his boxers, one of his t-shirts, and a pair of his jeans. My mom came after work and brought me some pj pants and relieved him for an hour to go get dinner (I wasn't allowed to eat or drink anything besides ice chips that night), check on the dogs, and get some clothes to sleep in. Poor guy was beside himself!
I didn't get much sleep that night. The nurse came in every two hours to check on me and I had to stay on my back to keep the babies on the monitors. The lady in the room next to mine had a little girl just before midnight and it made me smile to hear the baby cry. I got about a four hour stretch of sleep between 1-5 but then I couldn't sleep any more.
Patrick had to go in to work that morning because he was working on a big case with one of his top agents and they were hoping to get it done before the holiday. He went home at six to take care of the dogs and get ready to go in.
The on-call doctor from my OB's office came in to talk to me at about 7. He told me the babies were doing awesome and my contractions were pretty much gone. He said the plan was to take me off the magnesium at noon and put me back on the Procardia at double my original dose. If the contractions stayed away, I'd get to go home the next morning. He also cleared me to eat and drink whatever I wanted. The nurse immediately brought me some jello, applesauce, cereal, and a sandwich. My grandma came to visit around 8 or 9 and stayed until almost noon. I think I drifted off to sleep for about an hour while she was there.
At noon they came and turned off the magnesium and put me back on the oral meds. Patrick left work and came back to the hospital around 1 or 2 that afternoon. He had taken the dogs to my mom's because they were majorly stressed at home.
The nurses had gotten me permission to shower that night because I felt so gross. Shift change is at 7 am and 7pm, so as soon as the night nurse came in she capped off my IV, covered the site with plastic, and freed me from the monitors for a greatly appreciated shower. The soap in the shower is the all-in-one, body wash/face wash/shampoo industrial stuff, but it was what I had and I scrubbed every inch of my body that I could reach! What is it about being in a hospital that makes you feel so dirty?
Last night I slept even worse. My back and neck hurt and nothing I did helped me get comfortable. My longest stretch of sleep was about two hours. There were two more babies born last night, too. I was just counting the hours until morning and my potential release!
My OB was on call today and he came to talk to me when he got there around 8 am. He said I was having random contractions on the Procardia but they were mild and some contractions are totally normal and expected, he just didn't want me having 6 or more an hour, and not as intense as they had been on Wednesday. My bed rest has been upgraded from "modified" to "strict", but he said I could go home. Good news is, the twins still seem happy staying put... my cervix hasn't changed or dilated from the contractions, but even if something changes, I've gotten the steroids to help their lungs and we are at a "good" place in the pregnancy if they HAD to come early. My next follow up is Thursday and I'll have another ultrasound so we'll have a better idea of exactly how much things have changed.
This was a pretty big wake up call for us! I had gotten pretty content with how smoothly everything has been going and wasn't really worried about not making it to my c-section date of May 6. Now I'm focusing my goals two weeks at a time... First get to 34 weeks... Then to 36... Then concentrate on the 1.5 weeks until the original eviction day.
I'm also packing mine and Patrick's hospital bags this week and we are making plans of exactly what to do with the dogs while we're at the hospital. We need to be ready. Anything could happen at this point.
The nurses at the hospital were so nice! I'm very happy with the hospital in general. They sent me home with a bag of goodies for the babies even though they're not here yet. Diapers, some receiving blankets, some bulb syringes, etc.
I'm just so happy to be home and that the babies are still where they need to be! Now they just need to stay there for a few more weeks! I'm excited to meet them, but we're not ready yet, and neither are they. I want them to be able to come home with us. That's the most important thing... keeping them out of the NICU. Just a few weeks left!!

... Sorry if this post is jumbled, or all over the place, I'm still exhausted, even after a nap this afternoon.

Thank You, God, for keeping my babies safe and growing inside me for a little while longer. Please keep my contractions away and let the twins stay in until May.