Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Pregnancy Update: Week 23

How far along: 23 weeks!  Amazing to have made it this far!

How big are babies: they each weigh a little over a pound and are roughly 1l inches long

Cravings: none to speak of

Aversions: none here either

Belly button: I think we're on our way to an outie. 

Movement: Still not very strong, but feeling them on and off at times, especially when it's quiet and I'm still.

Leg cramps: none this week!!  I'm actually surprised by this considering that I'm no longer getting any exercise.  I must be getting all the right vitamins and minerals I need.

Sleeping: I am getting sleep, can feel the babies move a lot more while I'm in bed trying to fall asleep.  And of course, I do have to get up 2-3 times during the night.  Being on bedrest, I'm actually surprised I've been able to get to sleep each night without lying awake for hours.  So that's good!

Ultrasound/Appointment: My last two appointments were last Thursday.  I reported on those in #1 on this post.  My next appointment is with ultrasound this coming Friday morning.

Notable this week: My mom is here with me this week which has been nice.  Just sitting around talking and watching TV.  It is nice to have her here so she could take me to my dentist appointment on Monday and she'll take me to my ultrasound appointment on Friday.

Very glad to have made it this far!  Feels a bit surreal.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Seven Quick Takes Friday, vol. 15

I knew it had been a while since I had participated in "Seven Quick Takes" just didn't realize it had been almost a month!!  I guess now that I'm on bedrest I don't have much of an excuse.  So time to jump back in ...


At my appointments yesterday (Thursday) we got some good news.  Yay!!  The cerclage is holding and everything is closed now, as it should be!  My OB measured me and at 22 weeks now I am measuring at 28 weeks.  Ah the joy of a twin pregnancy!  I left with two more prescriptions and two future appointments on the books.  One of those prescriptions, we discovered last night, is incredibly expensive and not covered by insurance.  So I haven't gotten it yet, the pharmacist is going to check it again with my doctor and let us know.  The second is one I will take to the hospital in a couple weeks for two steroid shots (24 hours apart) which will help the babies' lungs develop.


The whole bedrest thing is going well.  Of course I say that only one week in and with many more weeks (hopefully) to look forward to.  But I am keeping up with email and blogs, reading the pile of books I had accumulated, listening to podacsts, and thinking about other projects I could do from my couch location.  My husband's office is also not too far away so it is easy for him to come home for lunch.   And I've had friends volunteer to come by and bring me lunch as well.  One is coming today.  So I have some diversions here and there as well.  The one thing I am trying to avoid is turning on the TV.  I have some, but once it is on, it stays on the rest of the day and I don't do anything else.  I don't want to spend this time vegging in front of the TV.


I've complained before about how I fail at finding prayer time.  Wouldn't you think I'd now have the perfect opportunity to put it in every day?  Even something simple?  Well, so did I.  So far I have managed to do one rosary all week.  I'm sure it is because I don't have a habit of it.  So that's what I'll be working on some in the coming weeks.  Plus Lent is coming up and I think I'll be adding something this year instead of giving something up.  Just seems to fit my situation better.


Baby Names.   We don't plan on sharing the names we have chosen until the babies are born.  This gives us the opportunity to discuss it as much as we like and no one else has the opportunity to offer their opinions, positive or negative.  But we are stuck on boy names.  We have two girl names, just not boy names.  We joke that maybe we'll name boys Cyril and Methodius, but we won't!  I want them to be saint names or derivations of a saint name, possibly family names (usually as a middle name), and I don't like the common, common names.  Hubby prefers names that are a bit more common than I usually like.  It's hard with boy names!!  They are either incredibly common or incredibly strange with almost nothing in the middle.  I am also not a huge fan of nicknames.  If a name is really long we'll use a nickname, but I would prefer a name that was easy to say with or without falling back on a nickname.  Our last name is German with a hard syllable at the end and hubby is adament about the last syllable on the end of a first name not being the same.  I find myself drawn to Irish names (I can't help it) and many seem to go well with our German last name, but hubbby usually doesn't care for them.  He keeps promising that he'll look at the baby name book we have and come up with suggestions, but he hasn't yet.  I'm feeling like we need to have a decision made soon (what if they are born around 24 weeks!!), but he doesn't seem to have feel the same pressure that I am feeling. 

I know in the end it'll all work out, but I want it to come together now.  I'm curious about what your boy names are for your male children.  Both first and middle.  I just like looking at suggestions and hoping that something will strike me.


Last night I finally started looking at baby equipment for the first time.  I found a website that discusses baby equipment for twins with lots of comments in a variety of categories from other twin moms.  That was helpful.  I explored more of the website and while there is lots of good info, it looks like it is now an inactive community and the pages haven't been updated since 2004.  But at least the info that is available is still pretty useful.  One of the things I was looking for was a bassinet.  There appears to be one bassinet out there for twins.  It's a playard with a top that has two bassinets.  But after reading the reviews on it, I'm ambivalent about purchasing this item.  Lots of negative reviews and the ones that were positive were usually more positive about the playard itself and not the bassinet part.  I love the pack n' plays with the bassinets attached, but two of those are not going to fit in our bedroom.  I think I might be looking on Craig's List for two used bassinets.  But I'm only at the beginning of my search..  Much more research to come ... and I have plenty of time to do it in now.


Next week my mother will be here visiting with me.  It'll be great to have her here to help me out and get me to my appointments.  It'll also give hubby a break so he doesn't have to work is work schedule around taking me to appointments.  I hve two next week (a dentist appointment and an ultrasound).  Plus maybe with her here we can get started on a baby registry, because honestly I have no idea what we really need.


Last and most certainly not least, I just wanted to brag on my husband.  He has been great this week, even despite being sick himself for a couple days.  He came home from work on Monday to have lunch with me; he went to his 6am adoration hour on Tuesday morning and then came home to have breakfast with me (and ended up staying home and working from here since he was sick); he took a half day on Thursday to take me to my appointments and ended up missing a lunch meeting he had wanted to go to; and he's done laundry, all the clean up and dishes after each meal, and has made several runs up and down the stairs when I've accidentally left something on one floor after moving to another.  He's been great and I love him!!

For more Quick Takes check out host Jen's post at Conversion Diary and check out all the links there to many wonderful Quick Takes across the blogosphere.
Have a  nice weekend!!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Pregnancy Update: 22 weeks

How far along: 22 weeks!!  Zachary has been on my mind a lot this week.

How big are babies: each weighs about a pound and is approximately 11 inches long, the length of a spaghetti squash.

Aversions: none

Cravings: nothing in particular

Bellybutton: hubby reports that it is much flatter, barely an indention.  May be an outy soon.

Movement: Feeling some slight movements still.  Mostly at night.  Still mostly feels like little pops and bubbles.

Leg cramps: none this week.  Did talk to the doctor about it, though.

Sleeping: The babies' movement is not so much to cause any sleeping difficulties.  Since coming home from the hospital I've been sleeping somewhat differently.  Still using the pregnancy body pillow, but more so to prop my legs up some.  I usually use two pillows and am now using only one.  All this takes any potential pressure off my cervix, which makes me feel better.

Ultrasound/Appointment: tomorrow I go in for a cervical length check and a growth check on the babies.  My appointment with my regular OB is right after.  I'm wondering if this may be my last appointment with my OB since she herself will be going on maternity leave soon.  While in the hospital they told me that I would probably be cared for through the high risk doctors from here on out anyway.  So we'll see what happens tomorrow.  The doctor who did the cerclage will be in ultrasound tomorrow, so I'll see both her and my regular OB and between the two of them they should tell me what's going on from this point forward.

Notable this week: kind of goes without saying, the cerclage and now the bedrest.  Bedrest is going okay.  I've done a lot of reading, napping, a little TV, lots of email, and a little prayer time.  Next step is to fill out the FML forms for work.  I hate the idea that FML will now start as of last Thursday and end on May 4.  My due date is June 22.  Not that we're going to go that far, but if the babies are in NICU for several weeks I hate the idea of going back to work as soon as they can come home.  Blah!!  At this point, there isn't much reason to fret about it, as we get closer I'm sure things will fall in place better and we'll just see what happens.

Please pray that the cervical length check tomorrow goes well.  I'm nervous about it.  Thanks!!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Must Watch

I've seen this video before and it was recently brought to my attention again.  It is so stunningly powerful!!  And beautiful.  Maybe it's all the pregnancy hormones but it makes me cry to watch it.  This is a must watch video!!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Couch Duty Day One

My accomplishments for the first day of bed rest includes:
  1. Read the Sunday paper, pretty much the whole thing
  2. Did the Sudoku puzzles in both last Sunday's paper and this Sunday's paper
  3. Read our diocesan paper: the one that just came out; I'm usually at least a month behind!
  4. Coupons: Got rid of all the expired coupons, clipped two weeks worth of new coupons, and organized them all in my coupon file
  5. Internet: Read email, Facebook, and some blogs
  6. Emailed some with work: leaving at evaluation time is a bit tough, plus figuring out my medical leave in a way that I will still have something left once the babies are actually here.
  7. Sorted laundry: no heavy lifting, I promise.  I had hubby dump the hamper out before he left this morning and bring the laundry basket up to our bedroom.  That way I could sit on the floor, sort, and put one load in the basket.  He took care of the lifting and actual washing tonight when he got home.
  8. Took a shower!!  My hair actually looks  normal for the first time in days!!
I wonder what tomorrow will bring?

Friday, February 11, 2011

Week 21 Update

This post was started on Thursday evening in an attempt to write and post from my iPod Touch, which turned out to not be a good idea.  It is now Friday evening.  Circumstances also warrant me writing a different kind of update than my previous ones.

In my last update I mentioned that at my ultrasound last week my cervix was shorter. The next day I saw my OB and we discussed what was involved in a cerclage and what we can expect to happen from here on out. I left that appointment feeling better.

The rest of the week went just fine, had a nice weekend with my family in Atlanta (see last post), and Monday and Tuesday this week were uneventful. No cramps, no contractions, nothing. Wednesday I went back to ultrasound for another look at the cervix. The news wasn't good.

I left there and headed straight to the hospital where I sit now.

My cervix had actually dilated 2 cm and the sac had descended down. I was checked out last night and admitted. I spent the rest of the night and most of today laying tilted back toward my head. I went in for surgery on Thursday around 1:30pm Eastern time to have the cerclage put in. Sleeping on my head worked! The sac had retreated some and the doctor was able to put in two stitches. She was very pleased. The worst part was getting the spinal and even that was not all that bad (even if they did have to try numbing me in about 4 different places to find a spot that would work).

I finally got to eat tonight and I'm feeling much better now (it had been over 24 hours since I had eaten). We checked the babies' heartbeats once I was back in my room and they going strong both at around 149/150.

This was the end of what I wrote Thursday.  It is now Friday.

It is now Friday and I'm still here.  I'm receiving antibiotics through an IV at various points during the day.  This is just to be sure that no infections develop, which is the biggest risk to us (me and the babies) at this point.  I'm told I'll probably go home on Sunday morning.

Future plans as of now: I'll be seeing someone once a week and I'll be on bedrest, probably from here on out.  Once we get to 24 weeks, I'll start getting a shot once a week of steroids to help the babies lungs develop.  They want to get me to 28 weeks at least, with the hope that we can go further.  My doctor is pretty sure I won't go all the way to 37 weeks, but we do hope to go past 28 weeks.  If the cerclage holds and nothing else comes up, we should  be able to.  I'm hopeful!

Throughout all of this I know many, many people have been praying for us.  The word spread fast on Facebook and I've appreciated all the notes, comments, prayers, emails, and wall posts I've received.  I may not be able to thank everyone individually, but I do appreciate all of it!!  Thank you all!!

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Pulling off a Surprise!

This past weekend my family all got together to celebrate a wonderful occasion.  My mom just recently passed her 5-year mark of being cancer free!!  Definitely something worth celebrating!  Without her knowledge we planned a dinner out together with all of us.  It was so fun!!

My sister, The Planner, started the ball rolling about a month ago.  We picked a weekend that was free for everyone, got my dad on board, and made a reservation.  She also contacted the rest of the extended family and told them what we were doing.

Just so you understand, most of the extended family lives in the northeast part of the country (my parent's siblings and the majority of our cousins).  My parents and my siblings all live in and around the Atlanta area.  My husband and I live in Kentucky, about a six hour drive away.  I also have an aunt that is in NC, also a 6 hour drive to my parent's house, and she was able to join us as well.

My aunt in NC came to visit for the weekend.  She is hoping to move there soon so her and my mom went looking at houses Thursday and Friday.  Since she was coming to visit, my mom suggested to my dad that they go out to dinner one night together.  My dad thought it was a great idea and told her he would make a reservation.  Haha!!  A reservation was already made!!  So later he told her that he made a reservation at a place in downtown Atlanta.

Saturday my husband and I left for Atlanta arriving at my sister's house about mid-afternoon.  My brother and youngest sister arrived at the restaurant with their significant others first.  My father was trying to stall my mother in some shops near the restaurant but eventually made their way over before the other four of us arrived.  My sister and I and our husbands arrived and saw my dad first.  He told us that she was with the others and so we went to mee them.

The restaurant was around the corner from where we had parked and we had to also go down a flight of stairs to the front entrance.  My sister headed down first followed by my husband, then myself, and my brother-in-law following behind.  I think at this point my mother was still surprised that two of her children happened to show up at the same restaurant she was at and hadn't fully comprehended what was going on.  Then she saw my sister, but the appearance of my husband next followed by me totally shocked her!! 

My mother's two sisters had sent a bouquet of flowers and some balloons which were waiting on our table for her.  We had a lovely dinner and then went back to my sister's house for dessert.  It was so nice to spend an evening with all of my family; we hadn't all been together since Thanksgiving and I don't know when we'll be able to all be together again.

At the end of the evening my husband and I went to my parent's house for the night and a card had arrived that day from one of my dad's brothers.  More cards of congratulations would all be arriving this week.  I know she was very touched by all the attention on this special occasion.  It was definitely one worth celebrating!!

Here is a picture of all of us at the restaurant: my aunt, my parents, my three siblings and their significant others, and my husband and I.

Congrats, Mom!!  So glad we could all be there to celebrate with you!!

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Pregnancy Update: Week 20

How far along: 20 weeks, half way!!

Aversions: Had an issue with some broccoli earlier in the week, but I don't think I'm swearing off of it.  It might have been a little over cooked that one time.  Otherwise, still no aversions.

Cravings: Still none, chocolate doesn't count.

Bellybutton: A bit flatter.  I can't even see it anymore without looking in a mirror.

Ultrasound 1: Had an ultrasound today and the babies look good.  No measurements were taken today, so I don't have approximate weights for this week.  But the babies were moving around a lot and were laying side by side with their heads together.  We saw a lot of cute shots.  Including a knee on the other's head at one point.  Like I said, there was a lot of movement today!

Ultrasound 2: I also had my cervical length checked.  The news here wasn't bad, but not as good as the previous two times.  My cervix is shorter and is close to 2 cm.  Normal should be between 2-4 cm.  Previously I have been around 3 cm.  So this is a bit of a concern, especially given my history.  So I am going back next week for another cervical length check.  Based on our conversation today with the doctor, it's too early to talk about a cervical cerclage (in basic terms, they "tie-up" the cervix surgically), but he said if it gets down to 18-15 mm then we would probably have to do it.  This makes me nervous, but hopefully things will work out since I'm being watched so carefully.

Appointment: Have one tomorrow and I'm sure we'll discuss the results of today's ultrasound.

Movement: I'm starting to feel a lot more movement and recognize it.  I realized today that I probably felt Zachary moving a lot more than I realized.  I'm feeling the little bubble sensation and possibly even more.  I like feeling them, it's a bit of reassurance that they are still doing well.

Leg Cramps: Had another one this past Saturday morning.  This is on my list to discuss with the doctor tomorrow.  Even when I don't have leg cramps I have a hard time sleeping if I feel any tenseness in my legs.

Sleeping: Some nights are better than others.  The leg cramps don't help nor the potential threat of them. I still get up frequently during the night, but I'm getting used to that.

Notable this week: I think the recognition of movement has been the biggest positive thing for me.  The scariest thing is the shortening of my cervix; hopefully there will be no change next week.

Thanks so much, once again, for all the prayers.  I can't tell you how much it means to me that so many people are praying for us.  Thanks!!

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Feeling Closer to Mary

I have had several random thoughts in my head over the last week of thing that I might blog about.  But time just keeps getting away from me this week.  As it is, it's getting late in the evening and I should be winding down and going to bed, but instead I finally decided to write another post.  So here I am, hopefully for not too long.

Tonight I attended a meeting at my church which is really just a group discussion.  We've been reading a letter (really, too long to be called a "letter") from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops on the topic of Stewardship.  In the last section that we had to read for tonight there were no reflection questions, so instead our priest leading the group asked us to pick out a sentence that struck us and tell us why.

I panicked slightly since I had not read the entire thing before tonight and had only skimmed this last section right before we started.  But near the end there was some mention of the Blessed Mother and one small section had stood out for me.

Of course, before I could mention it someone else mentioned the exact sentence I was thinking of.  As I listened to him and reflected on this more my eyes moved down to the next paragraph and my attention was caught again, and much more profoundly.  Here is what I read:
As Mother of God, her stewardship consisted of her maternal service and devotion to Jesus, from infancy to adulthood, up to the agonizing hours of Jesus death.
I read this passage several times and when I finally got a chance to speak I mentioned that this was one part that touched me.  But I found it hard to vocalize why.  I have been contemplating it more ever since I got home tonight.  (Maybe not having a TV for a few days is good for me!)

The first thing that struck me was how much Mary understands the loss of a child.  She had to go through a most agonizing loss, one I could never imagine.  No matter what I have been through, she understands and she is there for me to lean on.

Over the last several years I have leaned on Mary more and more.  Despite growing up Catholic, I never understood how a devotion to Mary could be so special.  But she has played a greater and greater part in my faith life in recent years.  Part of that is because of the losses I have suffered.  She knows my pain and grief and has experienced it herself on an even more agonizing level.

More recently I have turned to Mary to ask for her intercession for the health of the two babies I am currently carrying.  I find myself praying to her almost daily: asking for her prayers for my babies, for other friends who are suffering loss, dealing with infertility, trying to get pregnant, and for healthy pregnancies for those who are expecting.

As I contemplated the passage from the Bishop's letter regarding Mary and her stewardship I realized that this sentence is also about motherhood.  Motherhood itself is something I have really given very little thought to.

What I mean is, yes, I have thought about how my life will change being a mom; how I will be responsible for more than just me on a daily basis; and how having little people around all the time will change our family dynamic.  But what I really hadn't thought about was motherhood in terms of stewardship, that is service and devotion to the family.

There was a lot in Mary's fiat to the angel Gabriel.  It wasn't just that she would carry and give birth to the Son of God, it was also that she would raise Him to be a man, watch after Him, teach Him, and one day have to let go of Him.  He wasn't hers.  He was God's ... He was God!  She had a duty and a responsibility that she had to put her whole heart and soul into without expecting anything in return.

I guess this is what motherhood is.  We receive our children as gifts from God.  They aren't really ours, they are His children.  But He gives them to us and we become responsible for teaching them about Him and to follow His will.  We will pour our hearts and souls into raising our children, but one day we will have to let them go.  They will become adults and move into the world and we just have to hope and pray that we did our jobs, the jobs God gave us to do.  Hopefully few of us will have to watch our children go as Mary did.  But I can imagine that the letting go when they go to college or move out on their own or whatever can be just as hard for a mom.

For me, mine are still "baking" and some of these thoughts are years down the road.  But just thinking of the awesome responsibility of motherhood is a bit overwhelming.  Not that this is like consuming my mind or anything, I'm just having a deep night.  (Maybe its because I actually slept some last night without getting up 6-7 times!  Plus the thing about not having a TV currently.) 

So is this a new thought or do you experienced moms already know this?  "This" being the idea that motherhood is a service and act of stewardship given to us by God to raise His children.

I will say that on some level, yes, I did know this.  But I guess I hadn't truly internalized it until tonight as I contemplated the idea of Mary as a steward in her maternal service to Jesus.