Thursday, March 31, 2011

Third Anniversary

It was a day like any other.  It always is.  No one ever expects these things to happen.  You start your morning, go to work, make dinner, do a few evening chores, and watch a little TV.  Just another normal day.

But then your whole world changes.  And not for the better.

That was my day, exactly three years ago today.  A completely normal day, until just before bed.  That's when it happened.  My heart raced and I felt panic.  I didn't know what to do and felt completely helpless.

Nothing prepares you for the reality of a miscarriage.  Feeling helpless is an understatement.  You learn very quickly that you really have no control over anything. 

I started bleeding just as we started getting ready to go to bed.  We headed to the hospital and I was put in a room in Triage on the Labor & Delivery floor.  It was the first of many, many trips we would end up making to Triage over the next three years.  We were there for several hours, I had an ultrasound, bled a lot, and had a lot of very painful cramping.  It was one of the scariest nights of my life.

That was the night we lost our first baby.  I was only about 8 weeks pregnant and we had not shared the news with anyone.  But I could not ignore the life that I knew had been there, no matter how short it had been.  So we started telling our families and eventually our friends and as more and more time has gone by we've been more open about this child that God gave to us for a short time. 

We didn't know if we had a girl or a boy, but we wanted to name this child anyway.  Give him or her an identity.  We selected the name Casey Marie and entrusted her care to Our Blessed Mother.  Over time we have also started to identify Casey as a girl.  We don't know why, but it must have been put on our hearts by God.

I still miss Casey and think about her often.  I can't believe it has been three years already.  Of all of our children she was with us the shortest amount of time, but she was still our child.  A daughter we never got to hold, never got to see smile, never got to watch as she discovered the world around her.

Today I remember her specifically.  Not just the physical and emotional pain we went through three years ago today, but the child that she was.  She was a gift from God, His child given to us for a short time.  She is His child, always was and always will be.  That's what she taught me in her short life.  Our children are never really ours.  They are God's and He gives them to us as gifts, to care for and nurture until He brings them home, whether that be for only a few weeks or for many, many years.

The loss of a baby weighs heavy on me today.  Not just because of the anniversary of losing Casey but also because this day comes only one day after a friend of mine just lost a baby and the promise of motherhood that seemed so close. 

Casey Marie, my little saint in heaven, please pray for us.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Pregnancy Update: Week 28

How far along: 28 weeks!!  No one thought I'd make it this far.  It's quite amazing!  And we're officially in the third trimester!  Totally cool!

Chinese cabbage, weighing about 2 1/4 pounds.
How big are babies: The pregnancy app puts the babies at about 2 and a quarter pounds (about the same as a Chinese cabbage).  However, the babies weighed this much last week, so my guess is that they probably weigh closer to 2 and a half pounds.  The app also says the babies are about 14.8 inches from the top of the head to the heels.

Survival chances: Everything just got a lot better!!  Babies born at 28 weeks to 31 weeks and 6 days have a 95% chance of survival.  Severe or moderate disability among survivors has dropped to 12% while minor disability among survivors remains the same at 25%.  (Gunter, The Preemie Primer, 2010)  My doctor told me today that if I were to deliver now they would expect the babies to stay in the NICU for about two months.  But with each week further that we get, that's about a week less they have to stay at the hospital.  If we get to 36 weeks there is a good chance they will come home with us.  Don't know that we'll make it that far, but here's hoping!!

Weight gain: Was weighed at the office today and my doctor said I had gained about 20 pounds.  I realized then that she was using a different base number than I was.  I was thinking of what I know I weighed just before I got pregnant; I believe she is using whatever I weighed at my first "official" appointment for this pregnancy, which was not actually my first appointment and was probably around 12 weeks.  My base number shows my gain at about 30 pounds.  But if she says 20, that works for me, too!  Either way, I'm doing pretty good for carrying twins and being on bedrest, i.e. getting no exercise to speak of.

Cravings: I've been wanting something sweet!!  We have some sweet things around, but not the bad sweets!  Hubby made chocolate cupcakes this week, which was awesome!  I'm not a huge fan of the broiled coconut frosting, but it's not bad.  I would have prefered a more traditional frosting.  I also had a coupon for 2 bags of candy that expires at the end of the month.  Hubby didn't seem excited about using the coupon, but I apparently wore him down.  He bought me a bag of mini York Patties and a bag of the assorted mini Hershey bars.  So awesome!!  I'm going to have be careful or that weight gain may go up a bit more than it should!

Aversions: Nothing I can think of.  Yay!

Belly button: Well, I was an outie, but it seems to be getting stretched flat now.  I think it might disappear!!  Haha!

Leg cramps: I'm tempted to take this off the list, but as soon as I do I'll probably get one again.  So far, though, none since sometime in January!  Yipee!

Sleeping: I can't believe I am sleeping better.  Well, maybe better isn't the best word, but I'm not getting up as much during the night.  Usually only twice now, maybe three times, but that seems rare.  Getting comfy is still hard, my back is hurting more making it difficult to find a comfortable spot, and trying to turn over is almost impossible.  Almost.  Check back in a few weeks.  I've been starting to dream of having one of those side sleeping pillows I've seen on TV that have a hole in the middle.  You know what the hole is for?  For your ear!!  Yes!  That's what I need so my ear stops feeling so sore after being smashed against the pillow in one spot all night long.

Ultrasound: Was back in Ultrasound again today for another cervical check.  We're still holding steady at 1 cm.  This may be short compared to most women, but it's great when you consider where I was 7 weeks ago: 2 cm. dilated!  Since I've been holding steady at 1 cm. and we're now at 28 weeks, they are going to stop checking it so often and, as the doctor told me today, start "weaning me off" of the ultrasound.  Fine by me, this is not my favorite type of ultrasound to be doing every week.  So the next ultrasound is a growth check of the babies on April 11.  Wow, that seems so long from now!

Appointment: Today was my last appointment with my OB.  She goes on maternity leave next week and I'll most likely deliver before she gets back.  But she wants to know what the babies are and when I deliver, so she told me to call when everything happens.  In the appointment itself we just talked about several things, she answered the questions I had, we took a look at the babies' heartbeats with the portable ultrasound machine, and she measured me.  I am measuring at 36 weeks for a singleton!  No wonder I feel so big!  My next appointment will also be on April 11, but with the Fellow for the High Risk Clinic.  No one felt comfortable having another one of the OBs take my case on, so this way I'll be with someone who works closely with the High Risk/MFM doctors.  I also met the Fellow briefly when I was in the hospital, so at least I know who she is.

Notable this week: Some friends of mine held a baby shower for me on Sunday.  It was sweet of them to do and we had a great time together.  It was really nice to have a small shower with just a few close friends.  And now there is more baby stuff in the house ... but nowhere to put it.  Not to worry, we'll be doing some work this coming weekend to finally start getting ready.

Prayer Request: I just want to take a moment to ask all the prayer warriors out there to please offer some prayers for a friend of mine.  I don't know all the details, but she and her husband were supposed to be adopting a baby this week.  Things did not go as planned, unfortunately, and I believe they are back home already (the adoption was taking place out of state).  I feel absolutely heartbroken for them.  Please offer some prayers up for them and all involved.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Joy Moments (2)

Time for Joy Moments!!  Want to participate?  Keep reading for more info!

I have two Joy Moments this week and they are related.  Both were this past Sunday.

First, the "big" Joy Moment was a baby shower hosted by my friends in the SHE group.  It was so nice to have a small, intimate shower and to be in such a joyful atmosphere!  It was probably one of the best showers I've ever been to.  Someone mentioned that same sentiment while we were together and everyone agreed.  I think for this group in particular having a shower where we all know each other, know each other's struggles, and have supported each other in those struggles just made everything so much more relaxing for everyone.  Not to mention, it was just so nice to have these girls share the joy of my pregnancy with me.  It brings tears to my eyes!!  Definitely a Joy Moment in my week!

As we were wrapping up the shower there was also a small Joy Moment when someone's husband stopped by with their daughter who is about 4 months old.  It put a smile on my face to see some of the girls making cute faces with the baby and eating her up.  Just so cute!!  I hope so much that there will be many more baby shower celebrations in the future for the girls in this group.

Did you have a Joy Moment (big or small) this past week that you want to share?  Blog about it on your own blog and post the link to your post here in the comments section (and include a link in your own post back to this one).  Or, for those without blogs, share your Joy Moment in the comments here. Looking forward to hearing everyone's Joy Moments!!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Seven Quick Takes, vol. 19

I've gotten many questions, particularly from my doctors, about how I'm handling bedrest.  For those who may be new to this blog, I have been on bedrest with my twin pregnancy since I was at 21 weeks (currently at 27) following a cerclage surgery (this link explains a normal cerclage, I had a rescue cerclage because I had already started dilating, thus the reason for bedrest).  For this Quick Takes, I thought I'd list some of what I'm doing to keep myself sane and "busy."


The first thing I decided early on about being home and off my feet for an indeterminate amount of time was that I would get up each morning and have breakfast with my husband before he went to work.  The main reason for this is so that I will sleep at night.  So I get up each morning, have breakfast, and then move to the couch.  In addition to this, no naps.  I make every effort to not nap during the day for the same reason: I want to be able to sleep at night.  Sometimes I doze off anyway, but this has been fairly minimal.  Having a consistent schedule, I think, has been very important.  (Not that I don't sometimes sleep in, I'm not that strong!)


Everyone seems to think that I must be watching a lot of TV.  I just can't do this.  I would feel like such a lug each day if I just left the TV on and did nothing else, because for me nothing else would happen if the TV was on.  Instead, we watch some morning news during breakfast and I try to turn the TV off around 9am or so.  It'll go back on for the evening news when my husband comes home and we'll generally leave it on watching a variety of programs (news, prime time shows, Food Network) for the rest of the night.  Otherwise, I try not to watch during the day.  Not to say I don't occasionally turn it on to watch a little HGTV or TLC, but not everyday!!


Email/Facebook/Blogging: This is probably my most frequent activity.  I am much better at keeping up with my email account now and I keep Facebook open for a good part of the day.  My blogging has been a bit more regular now and I have done a better job of keeping up with the blogs I follow as well.  I also check my work email account every few days and answer important questions, delete all the junk mail, and go through all the listserv email.  Checking my work email account does help keep my brain working well, which is nice.


Get showered and dressed everyday!  I would feel like such a bum if I didn't do this.  It just helps me to feel normal to be showered and dressed each day, not to mention clean.  Sometimes I may not do this until after lunch, but it doesn't matter, as long as it happens I feel better (I skip this maybe only once a week).  I even put shoes on, because to me you're not dressed unless you also have shoes on.  

(I'm the type that always has my shoes on; I'll take them off at someone else's house only if they have a "no shoes" rule, otherwise I keep them on; and I find it so weird (rude even) when someone takes their shoes off automatically when they walk in my house ... ick!)


I've been trying to listen to more Podcasts since being relegated to my house.  I have five that I am listening to now and I am still several episodes behind on at least four of them.  I'm trying to catch up and listen to at least two a day.  Doesn't help when I fall asleep listening to them, though; sometimes it's hard to avoid those naps!  (Here's a post about the podcasts I am listening to.)


Read, read, read!  I haven't done as much of this as I thought I would (and wanted to do).  I have several books I want to read and I am reading bits and pieces of them, but not nearly as much as I wanted.  On the other hand, I am doing a fairly good job at keeping up with the reading that comes in the mail: a few magazines, the diocesan paper, and some newsletters.


I actually do have some professional work I have to do which bedrest can not change.  Some deadlines are just non-negotiable, especially when you are working with a professional journal.  I have a column (my first one, actually) that has a June deadline.  I had given myself a March deadline assuming that if I was going to be off from work earlier than expected it would be sometime after March.  I ever expected to be out starting in mid-February!!  Luckily, remote desktop is a wonderful thing!!  So I have been able to continue working on my column and am actually very close to finishing.  Plus, I need to start working on gathering all the data for 2011 that will be the basis of my next column to be published in 2012.  It's nice to have this distraction and the work isn't all that hard: mostly data gathering, number crunching in spreadsheets, doing some math, creating some charts, and putting it all together.

All these things have kept me sane during these past 6 weeks and hopefully will continue to do so for many more weeks.  I think I would go insane without the Internet!  With it, I am still connected to the world and don't feel like the walls are closing in on me.  I think it is important for those on bedrest to have some consistency in their lives with a variety of things to do, otherwise it most certainly can start to feel like a prison sentence!

For more Quick Takes, check out Jen Fulwiler's blog Conversion Diary!!
Lots of links to many wonderful bloggers doing their own Quick Takes.
Happy Weekend all!!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Pregnancy Update: Week 27

Edited: Had my appointment day wrong in my original post, it is not tomorrow but next week.

How far along: 27weeks! 
Side Story: When I was 21 weeks and sitting in the hospital after having the cerclage surgery, one of the doctors visited me during rounds.  It was my last day there, I was being released later, and she gave me the same speal I had heard from all the other doctors.  It was about bedrest and how they don't really know for certain that it helps, but since there isn't something better to recommend, this is the best idea they have.  She then said that she had a patient that was in similar circunstances to me and she was on bedrest and currently (at that time) was at 27 weeks.  So she was a believer.  I remember thinking, "27!!  Wow, that seems like such an impossibility!"  But here I am!!

Cauliflower, apparently 2 lbs!
How big are babies: At the ultrasound we had today the babies were estimated to be about 2 lbs., 5 oz. and 2 lbs. 4 oz. each.  The pregnancy app I'm using estimates about 2 lbs. for 27 weeks (apparently what a head of cauliflower weighs) and about 14 1/2 inches long.  Does a head of cauliflower really weigh 2 lbs.!?

Survival chances: We're doing so well in this area!!  Although their lungs are immature (and hopefully the steroid shots I had a few weeks ago will help) they can function outside the womb with medical assistance.  From 27w 0d to 27w 6d, chances of survival are now at 90%.  The chances of severe to mild disability among survivers is the same as last week, 25% (The Preemie Primer, Gunter, 2010).  I love seeing these stats moving up!!

Weight gain: Haven't weighed myself since last week, so let's just say I'm still at around a 25 lb. weight gain.

Cravings: I was in the mood for French fries this week; had some on Monday and again tonight.  They were good!

Aversions: Stil none, thank goodness!

Belly button: What belly button?  Well, okay, it is definitely an outie, but also seems to kind of be disappearing.  It's also starting to be visible through my clothes, though that depends on what I'm wearing.  Heehee!

Movement: Definitely!  Becoming more often and much stronger.  Starting to get into that stage where I can also see it.  It's very weird to see me belly move, like there is an alien in there or something!  We even talked about the movie "Alien" tonight!

Leg cramps: Still none!  Yay!

Sleeping: What is sleeping?  Can someone remind me?  Obviously this is not going well.  I wake up in the morning feeling like I've been beat up during the night.  Between the babies' movement (the most minor of the sleep issues), the effects of the prometrium, the frequent bathroom trips, the new back pain I'm starting to have, and my inability to move positions (which is probably causing the back pain), I'm extremely uncomfortable.  That's pretty much an understatement.

Ultrasound: Had one today.  I was a little nervous going in after the results of the one from last week.  Luckily, all looked great.  Twin A had a heartbeat of 143 and weighed in at 2 lbs, 5 oz.  Twin B had a heartbeat of 140 and weighed in at 2 lbs., 4 oz.  The discrepancy between them came in at only 3%.  Excellent news!!  Next ultrasound is a week from today.

Appointment: My next offical appointment is next week, but I can update on the glucose test from last week.  I failed the one-hour test, but not by much.  So I went in on Monday morning for the three-hour test and I passed that.  Thank goodness!

Notable this week: I'm suddenly having more trouble getting up from the couch, getting out of bed, and just basically moving around much at all.  I realize this is mostly because the babies are getting bigger and thus so am I.  But I think the fact that I'm on bedrest plays a role as well.  I need to stretch my muscles more and do little exercises so I don't turn completely into jelly.  Love it when hubby is home!  He's been helping me get up from the couch when he's around.  Otherwise, I'm on my own. 

Almost in the third trimester.  One week to go!!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Joy Moments

Is it easy for you to find joy admist tough times?  Or are you like me and finding those bright spots in tough times is ... well ... tough?

What about joy in just the everyday?  Do you easily recognize those fleeting moments of joy admist the housecleaning, work, errands, diapers, etc.?  Or does the day go by and leave you feeling joy-less?

I don't always recognize those fleeting "joy moments" in the everyday.  And in terms of difficult circumstances, forget it.  I tend to get too wrapped up in the circumstances themselves and don't see those precious joy moments when they come.  No matter how small.

I've been thinking about this a lot lately.  I do think that no matter what is happening in someone's life it is important to still recognize those small moments of joy that can crop up unexpectantly.  For me, even when dealing with the loss of a pregnancy, there were moments of joy that I'm sure I didn't recognize at the time.

It's good for our health as well.  Just to smile one time can do a world of wonder for our bodies.  Not to mention our souls.  And I believe sharing those joy moments with friends can help lift up the spirits of those who are dealing with difficulties and aren't able to recognize their own joy moments.

I said above that I sometimes find it difficult to recognize what I call "joy moments."  And yet, when I hear other people's joy moments I start recognizing them in my life as well.

Joy moments don't have to be big, most likely they will be small.  A sunset that catches your attention; the mildew on a morning spiderweb on the back porch; your toddler smiling at you; hearing form a friend who you haven't talked to in a while; the cashier at the grocery store smiling and being polite when you've had a rough day.  If it brings a smile to your face, even for just a moment, that's a moment of joy!

Being on bedrest was what got me thinking about this.  One of my doctors talked to me about depression and while thinking about that possibility, this is what came to mind.  The best way to deal with endless days on the couch in the same room, is to recognize the little joys around me when they occur.

Now, I can't say I've been particularly successful at this.  But I am trying to keep it on my mind so that I will recognize the Joy Moments in my life.  So once a week (Tuesdays?), I plan on posting at least one Joy Moment.

But I also want to hear about your Joy Moment!!  You can leave a comment on my post, or post about your Joy Moment on your own blog and leave a link to the post in the comments here.  We'll see how far we can spread this, maybe if enough bloggers are interested we can look into adding a Mr. Linky or something.  But we'll start small for now.

So with that intro, my recent Joy Moment:

After Mass on Sunday a lady who I see every week but have never talked to approached me and asked when I was due.  She also asked for my name and said she would be praying for me.  I've been so touched by all the prayers and support from so many and it was even more touching to have a stranger approach me and offer to pray for us.  It made me smile and thank God for the wonderful people in my parish.

What is your Joy Moment?
Leave a comment or write about it on your own blog and leave a link to the post in the comments here.  Looking forward to sharing our Joy Moments!!

Friday, March 18, 2011

7 Quick Takes, vol. 18


Had my glucose test done on Wednesday and I did not pass.  Very disappointed.  Only good news is that I was really close: 148 and they want it under 140.  I'll be back at the lab on Monday for the three hour test, which I should be able to pass considering how close I was.


Due to the glucose test from Wednesday I have a very large bruise on my arm.  It's about the size of two quarters side-by-side and about two shades of purple with a little blue around the edges.  Lovely!  I hope it's gone by Monday.  Can't image if this happens again how they are going to find four places to take blood within those three hours.  I can only imagine what I'll look like by Monday afternoon!!  Can you say "pin cushion"?


I got some really good and very exciting news from work this week.  I don't think I can give details yet, but I'm very excited!!  There are some challenges on the horizon, for sure, and a lot of work, but it's going to be great (for both me and for my family)!  I can't wait to share more in the coming months.


I like making lists!  I keep lots of lists at my office and we have some around the house as well.  But since being on bedrest I haven't been making lists.  At the beginning I figured all the projects I wanted to do that did not require physical activity would get done while I sat around letting the babies cook.  Five weeks later, almost none of those projects have been done.  So I think I need to start making lists again.  Then I'll have something I can cross off (because that's the best part of having lists) and it will guilt me into working on these various projects.


I had an apple with my lunch today and with that the fruit draw in our fridge is completely empty for the first time since early December.  This may sound kind of silly, but since December Hubby has been buying two huge boxes of oranges once a month from a truck that comes up this way from a orchid in Florida.  Most years we buy one box at a time (there are only two of us living here afterall), but Hubby decided to do two this year.  December was oranges, January temples, and February he got one of each.  So the fruit drawer and the bottom shelf of the fridge have been full for months.  We recently finished up the last of the oranges and now the other fruit we had recently bought is also gone.  Wow!  Can't remember the last time the fridge looked so empty!


Hubby asked me the other day about buying a new washer and dryer.  Oh my goodness, how exciting!!  I wasn't expecting to get something new until we moved, though we don't know when that will be.  But he figured with two babies on the way and the fact that I'm considering using cloth diapers, maybe it'd be best to go ahead and get something.  I would love something bigger (the drum in our current washer is T-I-N-Y!!) and I have been so missing my top loader since we got married over three years ago and I sold my place.  Yes, I am NOT a fan of the front loader. Honestly, I hate it.  And now that you can get high efficiency top loaders, I am so ready for something new!!  Oh I hope it happens soon!! 


Today is Hubby's paternal grandmother's birthday.  She is 94 and still living on her own!  Happy Birthday, Grandma B!

For more Quick Takes, go to Jen's blog Conversion Diary.  Not only will you see Jen's post, but you will see links to lots and lots of other bloggers' Quick Takes posts.  Enjoy!!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Pregnancy Update: Week 26

How far along: 26 weeks, which is 2 weeks past the first short term goal my docs had for me and 2 weeks until the next goal!  According to The Preemie Primer: babies born at 26w 0d-26w 6d have a survival rate of 85% with a 25% chance of either severe or minor disability among survivors (Gunter, 2010).  We're making progress!!

14 inches, approximate size of a baby at 26 weeks,
though hopefully baby isn't as skinny.

How big are babies: They are approximately 1 and 2/3 pounds and about 14 inches long, similar to the length of an English cucumber (pictured right).

Weight gain: I have now gained approximately 25 pounds.  Had a two pound gain this week which is the most I've had in a while.  Doing really well, which is totally surprising me!

Cravings: Thanks to both hubby and my sister, my cravings from last week were more than satisfied.  As of now, no cravings ... unless chocolate counts.

Aversions: Nothing here either.  I'm happy eating most anything!  Which makes my slow weight gain even more mysterious!

Belly button: Outie all the way!!

Movement: Oh my, this has really been getting stronger!!  I feel them a lot more now.  Have even been playing music on my iPod to my tummy and feeling the babies move a lot while the music is playing.  (My music of choice for babies has been my classical channel on Pandora, which consists primarily of classical works for winds and clarinet music.  Yes, I'm going to bias them toward wind music from the very beginning!)

Leg cramps: Believe it or not, still none!!  Another surprise.  Restless is another story, but I'm working on that.

Sleeping: Not much change here.  A full night of sleep is now an elusive dream.  Feeling the babies a bit more keeps me up some, the frequent bathroom trips don't help, and the prometrium is also making it hard to sleep.  I mentioned the medication to the nurse at my appointment today and she said that she has heard from others too that it can make sleep difficult.  Good to know I'm not crazy for blaming the medicine!!

Ultrasound: Had one yesterday.  Cervix is still stable at about 1.2 cm.  The doctor was very pleased with this, as am I!  The babies both looked good as well, though no real measurements were taken since this wasn't the point of this particular appointment.  The only concern that came up was with the fluid levels around the babies.  One had about 5 cm., the other 8 cm.  8 was a little high but 5 is adequate.  So no one is too low, just one of them is potentially a little high.  They had two different techs take measurements in order to confirm this.  On the other hand, the Doppler measurements (on the cord blood flow) were good and about the same for each, which is actually a more accurate measurement than the fluid measurement anyway.  At the moment, they are not yet concerned, but they want me to come back in a week for a full growth ultrasound.  We'll get much better numbers at that appointment.

Appointment: Went in today for this and we discussed the ultrasound results more.  I feel better about things after talking with my doctor about it.  Saw the babies again briefly and heard their heartbeats (160 and 120; yesterday they were both about 144).  Also got some tips on dealing with heartburn, which I may need to use tonight.  She also measured me and I am measuring at 34 weeks for a singleton.  Oh, and I took the fun glucose test!!  The orange drink wasn't too bad.  I downed it with a straw in about 2 minutes (totally impressed hubby!).  The blood test was also really quick and painless.  You just can't beat a good phlebotemist!  The bruise and lump on my arm, however, is another story.  Guess she burst the vein.  Overall it was a good appointment.

Notable this week: For this week, no particular event stands out.  Instead, I am just thinking about how grateful I am to be where I am and to have the love and support of so many friends and family and others who read this blog, whether we know each in real life or not.  I've been touched on several occasions lately by comments people have left me and by private messages that have been sent (whether on here, on Facebook, or email messages).  I also found out a couple weeks ago that several people I know through the local Cursillo community and others are doing or have done a novena for me.  All these things are just so touching and I am amazed at the love and support that I have been shown.  Even today, I went back for my appointment got weighed and then walked down to the exam room.  The nurse did what she needed to do, we talked some, and then she left.  A few moments later she poked her head into the room to tell me that one of the residents who had been in on my cerclage surgery was in the hallway when I walked by and she wanted to know how far along I was now.  It seems that there are doctors, nurses, residents, and fellows everywhere that are thinking of me. 

All this in the midst of the tragedy in Japan and other areas around the Pacific that were effected by the earthquake and tsunami, just leave me in awe of the support that is being shown to me.  I am no one special (thus the name of this blog), and yet somehow I am being made to feel so loved and supported.  Thank you to everyone for reading along, keeping me, hubby, and our babies in your thoughts and prayers, and for the love and support you provide to us during this time.  It is definitely felt and appreciated!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Catholic Media Promotion Day

Today is Catholic Media Promotion Day! Check out their Facebook page and “Like” it before midnight tonight (Eastern Time) and you can win a free iPad2. Today, Catholics involved in various media are taking time today to promote their favorite 3 blogs, 3 podcasts, 3 other media, and 3 random Catholic things online, as well as promoting their own projects.

So here is my list of favorite Catholic things. Hope you enjoy and will participate as well.

3 Favorite Blogs
1. Snoring Scholar: just another day of Catholic pondering by Sarah Reinhard. This is probably one of the first blogs I ever found when I first got into blog reading and I’m still following it! Sarah has great reflections and a variety of guest posters.

2. Conversion Diary by Jennifer Fulwiler. I’ve been regularly following Conversion Diary for a few months now but have read it on and off for a couple years. Also great reflections, insightful conversations, and Jen hosts the weekly 7 Quick Takes every Friday. During Lent she is doing a series of posts on the Our Father word by word that has been very interesting.

3. Fear Not Little Flock: anonymous thoughts on family, spirituality & religion from a Catholic priest’s wife. This blog is a more recent find for me and one I've really enjoyed following.  It's interesting to read and learn about a different Rite within Catholicism.

3 Favorite Podcasts
One caveat about this category: I am still new to podcasts. But here are three that I am enjoying so far.
1. Among Women. I’ve only listened to two episodes so far (have 5 waiting in the queue) but I’ve really enjoyed it.

2. Catholic Moments Podcast. Another great one to check out, contains short segments by regular guests as well as good discussions.

3. Faith & Family Live! Podcast. A fun podcast to listen to; makes you feel like you’re sitting around the kitchen table chatting with friends.

3 Favorite Other Media
For “other media” I decided to go with some of my favorite iPod apps. I don’t have an iPhone or iPad, but I imagine these are all available for at least the iPhone, if not also the iPad.
1. Word on Fire app. This is from Fr. Robert Barron’s ministry. It includes the podcasts of his weekly sermons, links to his blog, videos he has made on a range of topics, articles from his ministry (written by him and the people who work with him), news, and a description of the Catholicism project (Fr. Barron’s latest project) along with the trailer and links out to learn more.

2. Divine Mercy app, from the Marians of the Immaculate Conception. This is a very cool app for those who have a devotion to Divine Mercy. It include the chaplet, excerpts from St. Faustina’s diary, a timeline, biographical info on St. Faustina, a Way of the Cross, explanations of the 3 o’clock hour, a novena and other prayers, and info on the Marians, the Marian Helpers, and the shrine as well as so much more.

3. Mass Times app. You may already be familiar with the website. I love the app as well for when I’m traveling. I can also bookmark entries for churches I’ve been to making it easier to know where to go the next time I travel to the same location. In addition, it also contains the mass readings of the day as well as a Saint of the Day with biography and it contains videos of masses.

3 Favorite Random Catholic Things Online
I chose three websites that I have bookmarked over time that have lots of great info on them.
1. Lots of good info: prayers, Lent resources, the Bible, a Catholic Life section, News, Saints, and more.

2. Our Sunday Visitor. I don’t actually use the website much, but I get the newsletter sent to my email each week and I enjoy going through the various articles. If you get the print publication, I believe there is much more in it than what I get in the email version.

3. Again, I don’t use the website a whole lot, though it does have lots of good info, but I have also “liked” them on Facebook and I see the Saint of the Day they post each day. It’s a website I really should explore more; they really have lots of great Catholic resources there.

My own Projects
I don’t really have any projects planned at the moment, and definitely not 3. One thing that have been on my mind though is:
A book idea on pregnancy loss from a Catholic perspective. My hope is, should I ever do this, that I can put together a resource not only for parents who have lost a child but also for friends and family who want to understand and be supportive of their loved ones as well as for clergy. Don’t know if this idea will ever come to fruition, but it has been on my mind a long time.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Seven Quick Takes, vol. 17


Lent began this week and for the first time in years I missed Ash Wednesday Mass.  Even though I know it is not a Holy Day of Obligation, I hate that I had to miss it.  But that Mass is always so long and the pews in my church are just hardwood.  Sitting there for just an hour on Sundays is hard enough for me right now, I knew I wouldn't survive a longer Mass.


I have had a difficult time this year deciding on what to give up for Lent.  I'm already stuck at home and can't drive, I already don't drink soda or coffee (pregnant or not), I'm not grocery shopping so I have no temptations in front of me (and hubby doesn't buy sweets and snacks much, so unless I specifically ask for something he doesn't buy it), and although I do watch TV, not much and have generally been avoiding it while on bedrest, otherwise I won't do anything else.  So nothing has come to mind.  Instead I'm focusing on prayer this Lenten season.


So speaking of prayer, I am finally focusing on doing a daily Rosary again.  It's been a long time and I'm so glad to be getting back into it.  I also made a list of general intentions for each day of the week to go along with the mysteries of the Rosary.  Within those general intentions I can still remember specific prayer intentions on each day as well.  I think this will help provide some nice focus as well.  I have a few other prayer plans for Lent, but this is the big one.


Almost 11 years ago I moved to Kentucky, I was 25 at the time.  Prior to that I had NEVER heard of being able to take part in whatever you gave up for Lent on Sundays.  I had lived in 5 other states before coming to Kentucky and not once did I hear that this was practiced by some people.  I remember after moving here and hearing this during my first Lent here and then mentioning it to my mother who was just aghast to hear that.  So I'm wondering, do you not count Sundays as part of your Lenten sacrifice or do you?

And I know all the arguments for it.  Sunday is the Lord's Day, we celebrate the Resurrection every Sunday, if you take the Sunday's out of Lent you get exactly 40 days, etc., etc.  I'm still not convinced, it just doesn't feel right to me.


Woke up this morning to hear about the giant earthquake in Japan.  How horrible and devastating!!  I have a friend who has been in the Philippines for the past couple months and according to her Facebook page she was heading to the airport to come home yesterday morning.  She is supposed to be back here on Friday (today).  I have no idea where she is right now or when she is supposed to be landing here.  She's very much on my mind today and I'll be stalking her Facebook page until I hear she is okay.  I hope my friends who live on the west coast will all be okay as well.  I know the tsunami threat is still a very real concern.  My prayers today are all with those effected by this.


I mentioned in my Pregnancy Update this week that I had a craving for pizza.  Hubby is planning on making pizza, which I really like, but there is something about the chain pizza places that I was really wanting!  It's so bad, and yet so good.  I posted that on Wednesday evening.  Thursday afternoon while I'm eating lunch the doorbell rings and there is a Papa John's delivery guy there!!  I told him I hadn't ordered anything, so he left.

I sit back down and a moment later my phone rings, I don't recognize the area code, and the person asks for someone who doesn't live here although the name was familiar to me, but it was my sister's father-in-law's name.  A name that is not an uncommon name so I dismissed it as a coincidence.

A few minutes later the doorbell rings again and the pizza guy is there again.  He tells me that the pizza was ordered and paid for already and was intended as a surprise for me.  The person he said who paid for it was the same name as I had been asked for on the phone.  Now I'm really confused, but I thank him and take the pizza.

It even had my favorite toppings on it!

Earlier in the day I had been instant messaging with my sister, so I jumped on the computer and asked her what was going on.  I finally learned that she had ordered the pizza for me.  So you understand, my brother-in-law's name is the same as his father's, but he goes by his middle name.  Although I am aware of this fact, when I hear his father's first name I don't tend to think of my BIL.  But I guess he has things like credit cards in his legal name rather than the name he uses.  Thus my confusion.

But how awesome is my sister!!  Thanks, sis!  It was definitely a surprise!!


Something interesting I've learned about bedrest: apparently I'm expected to look sick?  I've been surprised at how many people have been over or seen me at church and have commented on how good I look.  I know they mean well, so I always smile and say thank you.  And it's easy to smile, I find the compliments kind of funny!!  But I can tell by the way they say it that the expectation is that I should look sick or something. I'm not really sure.  Yes, I did have surgery a few weeks ago, but the surgery was actually not that bad.  They had me up and moving around by that night.  Like I said, people mean well and I always take the compliment.  I laugh to myself wondering what I'm expected to look like.

For more Quick Takes check out Jen Fulwiler's 7 Quick Takes post and the links to many, many others!!  Enjoy and have a great weekend!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

It was inevitable

I've avoided doing this for this entire pregnancy.  I've actually never done it for any of my previous pregnancies and it didn't make sense to start now.  With my history of loss I just didn't want to get into some of the "memory makers" that people like to do ... just in case.

But I gave in the other night.  And so I'll also share here with my readers.  Here's my very first "belly pic" of the pregnancy at 25 weeks.  Long after most people have started taking the belly pics.

25 weeks with twins.  Not too bad, if I do say so myself!
I can't promise that there will be any future pics.  This may be it.  Or maybe not.  We'll see how I feel in a few more weeks.

Thanks to my friend Christine for insisting on taking the picture and then sending me a copy.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Pregnancy Update: Week 25

How far along: 25 weeks!  Survival chances are now up around 60%, possibly better since I'm delivering at a hospital with the best NICU in the area.  All good news!

Rutabaga: about 1 1/2 lbs.
 How big are babies: My handy dandy pregnancy app tells me the babies are approximately 13 1/2 inches long. They also weigh in at about a pound and a half, the size of a rutabaga (see picture).  That means I have about 3 pounds of baby I'm carrying around.  Wow!!

Cravings: I keep wanting pizza but hubby won't give in.  He may make homemade pizza this weekend.  I may order something for lunch one day.  Homemade is good, but there is just something about Papa John's or Pizza Hut pizza.

Aversions: Still nothing here either.

Belly button: We're pretty much at outtie stage now.  Thankfully it doesn't stick out enough to see it through my clothes.  But it is weird looking.

Movement: Starting to get stronger this week!

Leg cramps: Still none, let's hope that continues!  On the other hand I think I'm starting to have Restless Leg Syndrome.  So I do make sure to get up and walk a little just to stretch them a bit.

Sleeping: This is getting rougher.  And it's not because of baby movement.  They still aren't quite strong enough to keep me awake, but my belly is getting bigger making it harder to change positions.  But the biggest sleep challenge has been one of the medications I'm on.  I have to put it in before bed and I think it is making me have to use the bathroom once an hour for the first 3-4 hours I'm in bed.  I sleep in between, but it is rather annoying to be constantly waking up.  I'm also not crazy about how the medication makes me feel for the first couple hours it is working.  Maybe this is normal and I'm needlessly blaming the medication, but I do think it has something to do with it.  It'll probably be good practice for when the babies are here!

Ultrasound: Next one is next Tuesday, March 15.

Appointment: Next one of these is next Wednesday, March 16.  I'll also do the glucose test prior to that appointment.

Notable this week: Hubby has finally been able to feel the babies kick for the first time!  That was fun!

Friday, March 04, 2011

Seven Quick Takes, vol. 16


If you follow this blog regularly you know that I had surgery a couple weeks ago, related to my pregnancy, and I am now on bedrest.  I've had lots and lots and LOTS of suggestions for things to watch on TV, movies to get, etc.  I'm not much of a TV person.  I'd much rather read the books I have that I've never read, catch up on my blog reading, and read the magazines and newsletters I get in the mail.  I also want to finally listen to the podcasts that I recently subscribed to and have only listened to a few of.  So what podcasts am I listening to?  Continue reading to find out!


Among Women was recommended to me by some readers of this blog.  So I subscribed a while back and finally yesterday I listened to the first of 6 episodes that had downloaded to my iTunes account.  I really enjoyed it and am looking forward to catching up on the other 5 episodes soon.  A podcast for women, by women, and about women.  In the episode I listened to the host told the story of an early Christian martyr and then also interviewed a blogger and writer about her work.  This will be a great podcast for learning about women saints as well as the amazing work and accomplishments of Catholic women in today's world.  I'm looking forward to listening to more!


I first downloaded the Catholic Moments Podcast  in December and have listened to a couple episodes.  This is another great one.  It offers a variety of things in each 30-40 minute episode.  I especially like Sarah's Mary Moments section, but the whole thing is great.  I highly recommend this one.


EWTN has several podcasts available.  We don't have EWTN in my area (unless we want to spend a ton of money on cable just get add that one station along with a ton of others we don't want).  So I'm not familiar with all the offerings EWTN has.  I was pleased to see that I can listen to their shows through podcasts, but I don't have time to listen to them all.  So I downloaded one. I have The Journey Home with Marcus Grodi.  This has been a good choice because I love conversion stories.  He interviews people on his show that have come into full communion with the Church or converted to Catholicism from a variety of backgrounds.  I listened to his interview with a former Church of Christ minister and was fascinated (and a little shocked) with what I learned about the Church of Christ and by his amazing story.  My husband has listened to this one with me on occasion, too.  I'll turn it on during dinner or if he comes home to have lunch with me we may listen to an episode.


Another favorite I've found is the Faith and Family Live podcast.  I subscribe to the magazine and have known about this podcast for some time.  A sister-in-law sent me a link to one of their older episodes on Pregnancy Loss several months ago.  I finally went in this past December and listened to it and subscribed to the rest of the podcast.  I've listened to a few episodes and love it!  I have four in my account that I still haven't listened to, but will be soon.  Check this one out!!


Finally, I highly recommend Fr. Barron's Word on Fire Sermon podcast.  This is a 15 minute, once a week podcast on the Sunday Gospel reading.  I've heard Fr. Barron speak, read some of his articles, and seen his commentary on current events/issues on You Tube.  He's a great speaker and has wonderful insight.  This is one podcast that I am actually caught up on; I only have one unlistened to episode in my account and it's his sermon for this coming Sunday.  So maybe I'll listen on Saturday to help prepare myself for Sunday's mass.  This is also what I listened to when I came home from the hospital a few weeks ago since I had missed mass that weekend.  (There is also a Word on Fire iPhone app, but I'll save discussion of that for another post.)


Random Quick Take: Today I take the last of one of the medications I'm on.  Yay!!  This will leave just two vitamins and one other medication (prometrium).  I'll be taking these three the rest of the pregnancy.  But that's just fine with me!  Hopefully no more.  I've been on so much stuff in the last three weeks!!  So glad to see it decreasing!

For more Quick Takes, check out Jen Fulwiler's blog, Conversion Diary.  (This week, you'll be redirected to another blog for the complete list; Jen is on a temporary break since she is speaking at a conference this weekend.)  Enjoy!!

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Pregnancy Update: Week 24

How far along: 24 weeks!!  Wow, we're at viability.  I learned today that chances of survival are approximately 50% at this point.

How big are babies: According to the Pregnancy app I have, the babies are just over a pound and almost a foot long (picture an ear of corn).  However, at my ultrasound last Friday the calculated that they are both about 1 pound 4 oz.  I know it's all approximations, but since Zachary was 1 pound and 12 inches at 22 weeks, I'm thinking that the app is a bit conservative. Either way, they are doing really well!!

Cravings: None still, just wanting to graze a lot more, doesn't really matter what it is.

Aversions: Nothing here either, thank goodness (see above).

Belly button: It's very flat, will probably be an outie very soon.

Movement: Feeling them more and more when I do feel them.  They are more active at certain times of the day than others.  But the movement is now unmistakable.

Leg cramps: Amazingly still haven't had any in awhile.  I was expecting this problem to increase with the addition of bedrest, but so far nothing.  Let's hope it continues!!

Sleeping: Still getting plenty of sleep.  Even if I do get up a few times a night to use the restroom, I am able to fall back to sleep pretty quickly.  About the time I go to bed is also when the babies start moving around a lot, but it doesn't last long.  I'm still impressed that I can even sleep as well as I do despite lying around doing nothing all day.

Ultrasound: Had another ultrasound on Friday.  Like I said above the babies weighed in at approximately 1 pound and 4 ounces each.  Taking that into account along with the measurements of the sacs and fluid levels, they estimate a discrepancy of about 3%.  That discrepancy number has to do with the possibility of Twin-to-Twin Transfusion, a potentially dangerous and fatal issue with twins who share a placenta.  3% is a great number!!  No concerns unless they reach a 20% discrepancy.  So we're doing well here!!  Everything else looked good as well, most especially the cervix is stable.  Yay!  Next ultrasound is scheduled for March 15.

Shots: Between appointments and ultrasounds I also had to go in this week for two shots.  I had to go over to the hospital for this, one on Monday and one on Tuesday and they had to be 24 hours apart.  This was a steroid shot to help the babies' lungs should they be born prematurely.  Depending on how far along we get I may have a second round of these.  But for now we're playing it by ear.

Appointment: Had an appointment today.  Doctor did a quick ultrasound and we saw the heartbeats, both around 145-150.  Both are still head down as well (which is where they were at Friday's ultrasound).  It's cute seeing their two heads together.  We also talked about my future care (since doc is going on maternity leave herself soon), pediatricians, a few scenarios on potential NICU stays depending on when they are actually born (all conjecture, of course, but I like to know what the possibilities are), and what childbirth classes are worth our time taking or not considering we don't know when the babies will come, how long they may be in the hospital, and my current state of being on bedrest.  The childbirth class itself is also offered in an online format, so we'll probably do that.  The other offerings we can do at any time.  I think we'll skip the Infant Nursing one for now and probably just contact a lactation consultant for one-on-one time.  Will probably be a better option anyway.  Next appointment is March 16 and I'll do the glucose test then too.  Brought the lovely bottle of orange fluid home with me today.  Fun.

Notable this week: So much of this past week is already spelled out above, I'm not sure there is much else to comment on.  I will say that at this point in the pregnancy I have gained just over 20 pounds!!  Thank goodness I lost so much weight before getting pregnant this time, I now weigh just over what my highest weight was non-pregnant.  Everyone is also very impressed that I haven't gained more since being on bedrest.  I don't know what I'm doing right, but I'm going to keep doing it.

Next week I have no appointments!!  That's a first in quite a while!!  Only downside, I guess, would be no distractions.  Maybe I'll be able to finally catch up on the 17 various podcast episodes that have built up in my iTunes account!!

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

The Depth of God's Love

There were several things that struck me in each of the readings at Mass on Sunday, but it is the words in the very short first reading we had from Isaiah that keep coming back to me these last couple days.  As a refresher, here it is, from Is 49: 14-15:
Zion said, “The LORD has forsaken me;
my LORD has forgotten me.”
Can a mother forget her infant,
be without tenderness for the child of her womb?
Even should she forget,
I will never forget you.
As short as this is, it stirred up several thoughts for me: pregnancy and miscarriage, abortion, child abuse/neglect, and most importantly God's great love for all of us.

It was miscarriage that first came to my mind when I heard this reading proclaimed.  Having loved and lost three unborn babies, I can't fathom the idea of ever forgetting them.  They have been and always will be a part of my life and a part of who I am.  No, I can't forget and I will always have a tenderness for them in my heart.  I don't understand why anyone would want to forget.  I know many people like to believe that a child was not present when they suffer the loss of miscarriage and try to forget and "move on" with their lives, but that seems to be a form of just covering up the pain of loss.  God would never do that to us.  He loves us all and He "will never forget you."

Secondly I thought of abortion and child abuse or neglect.  It is interesting that the question in the passage from Isaiah asks whether a mother can be "without tenderness for the child of her womb."  First notice the use of the word "of" in that line.  We're not just talking about the child in the womb, but all children who have been in the womb at some point, i.e. all of us.  The tenderness of a mother for her children is one of the most cherished things in human society.  Or is it?

With abortion and child abuse and neglect so common these days, it is sometimes hard to see a mother's tenderness in today's society.  Which is just so sad.  To see so many mothers choose abortion for their child rather than lovingly bringing them into the world breaks my heart.  One of the greatest gifts a mother can do is to bring a baby into the world and give that baby to a loving family through the gift of adoption.  And the thought of a mother abusing and neglecting her child ... oh how horrid!  But we know it happens and it saddens our hearts when we hear of it. 

Maybe at one time in history (Isaiah's time?) some of these things were unheard of.  A mother's love and tenderness for her child could be a nice analogy to God's love for His people.  Somehow I doubt it though.  I think, unfortunately, that the pain and suffering of abuse and neglect (a category that includes abortion, in my mind) has always been around. 

Yet there is hope which is the whole point of this reading, right?  God's love is beyond these things.  No matter what, He loves us.  And that love is so much greater than anything we know here on this earth. 

Contemplating the above brought me to that mind blowing conclusion: God's love is the single most important thing in our lives.  At least it should be.  This passage reminds us of that.  As much as we love our children and know we will never forget them, God loves us more.  It's truly a mind-blowing concept.  Unfathomable, really.  I honestly believe that we can not truly comprehend the depths of God's love for us.

We can imagine it, try to understand, relate it to the love we know and understand in our human relationships, but when it really comes down to it, we are all flawed humans.  Thus no love we experience here in this life can match the love that God has for us. 

I hope one day that I will make it to heaven and there will be able to experience the true depth of what real love truly is.  As much as I love my husband and my children, as much as I love my family and friends, and as much as I know I love God, none of it, I'm sure, can compare to the love He has for me.  For all of us.

A mother's tenderness for the child(ren) of her womb may be a good analogy even today for the love God has us.  But it is only an analogy.  Only in the next life can we truly understand what this means to its fullest extent.

What are your thoughts on this passage from Isaiah?