Saturday, March 25, 2017

31 Weeks Twin Pregnancy Update

What a week! I had three doctor appointments this week for the twins. The first was my MFM appt where we did BPPs on both babies and checked Everett's heart for the PACs we saw the previous week. Thankfully, we saw none! His heart was in normal rhythm the entire time! Praise!

My second appointment was my biweekly Obgyn appt. I love my obgyn practice and my doctor. At the office I go to, they don't assign you one doctor but make sure you meet with all the doctors and midwives so that when you're in labor you feel comfortable with who is delivering you. I had the same doctor office during my pregnancy and birth with Isla and since that was such a great experience, I went back for this pregnancy. The doctor I see most frequently (Dr. P) was so happy to see how well my body is handling this pregnancy and felt confident I can make it to the goal 34-36 weeks! This office is also very non-intervention and won't prescribe drugs unless really needed. They also listen to what you want and make you feel like you have a lot of control over your birth and delivery. She feels confident that I can have the natural delivery I want and that was very reassuring!

The last appointment was yesterday and it was our visit with the Pediatric Cardiologist. She performed the ultrasound herself and spent about two hours going over Everett's heart. The first piece of news was that she doesn't think it's a calcification but rather a mass/tumor. Obviously that word is scary but she reassured me that most malignant cardiac tumors look very different from the one Everett is showing. She is also not entirely sure if the tumor is in his heart (right atrium) or the hepatic vein and pushing into the heart. We won't know for sure until he is born and we can run some more tests. The very good news is that the blood flow in the heart looked normal, the blood flow in the hepatic vein looked normal and once again he didn't show any PACs (I think cutting that afternoon coffee did the trick)! After he is born they will run a bunch of tests (MRIs, Echocardiograms etc) to figure out what it is and where it is but if he isn't showing any signs that is obstructing or causing problems we will probably leave it alone and just monitor it.

Whew!

Emotionally and mentally this has been a really rough week for me. I haven't been the kind of mom to my girls that I like to be. I have been impatient, yelling easily and getting so frustrated with them. Physically, it's such a challenge just to pick them up or cuddle them when they need it. It hurts! My belly is so big and it feels like a giant bruise so any pressure on it at all is miserable. I feel like both girls have been crying and acting out a lot. It makes me feel like I can't meet anyone's needs and freaks me out for when I have two new babies and the girls to care for while my husband is gone. I know that God is there for me and will help me but I've also been getting inside my own head too much. I get so overwhelmed just trying to do my normal daily things that when the girls start crying- I do too. It's been hard. I try to tell myself that I am just weeks away from giving birth to twins, I've been solo-parenting for over two weeks and this is going to be hard! Trying to think I should be handling it better is only setting myself up for disappointment.



Babies are the size of...Winter Squash! I will have a growth ultrasound this week but on average each baby should weigh just over 3 lbs and be about 16 inches long. The final organ - their lungs - are finishing developing and they are shedding their lanugo.


How far along... 31 Weeks

Maternity Clothes? Yep!

Weight Gain:  +2.4 lbs! (32.7 lbs total) I can't believe how quickly the weight is coming on. Most blogs I've read, the moms weight gain slows at this point. Not me!

Symptoms: Same old same old. Contractions, shortness of breath. My feet feel tingly and swollen. My belly hurts. I am short-tempered and oh-so-tired! I know this is my last time to be pregnant and as much as I wanted to enjoy it- it seems like there is always some major stress going on...whether it was preterm labor, or a problem with a baby....it's been nothing like my normal, healthy pregnancies with the girls. It's always in the back of my mind and I know it's what is causing me to be extra cranky. 

Stretch Marks? That mark above my belly button looks pretty weird. I used to have a belly button piercing but took it out when I was 19 or 20 years old. This week it looks like the piercing ripped through the inside. It's bright red from the piercing hole down to my belly button. 

Sleep: It feels like I never get enough sleep. I am usually ready for a nap by 9:30 in the morning. Some days I get to nap while Isla does and I sleep so hard during that time. I wake up 5-6 times every night to chug water and pee. Some nights I still have insomnia when I wake up and other nights I go back to sleep very easily.

Movement? I've been freaked out this week because it feels like there is only movement on the left side of my tummy. I was trying to not stress too much. The cardiologist yesterday told me both babies legs and arms are on that side so that made me feel much better. It feels more like smooth rolling of knees and elbows rather than kicks (but I still get those too). I am also feeling them get the hiccups as their little heads bump into my pelvis and bladder over and over. I try to soak in these moments because I know this is my last pregnancy.

Genders and Twin Type: Identical Baby Boys!

What I Miss... being energetic and in a good mood!

Food Cravings:  Grapes mostly. I haven't been hungry at all really. I don't have much space. My major craving this week has been ice tea. I make a giant 2 gallon pitcher full and drink it in two days. Since I can't have any extra caffeine I've been doing herbals like lemon and hibiscus.

Looking Forward To...my friend Shannon is coming to stay with me for the weekend! She used to live next door but moved to Houston. I can't wait to catch up with her. She is one of those friends you can just pour all the crazy in your head out to- and she listens and understands. :)

Saturday, March 18, 2017

30 Weeks Twin Pregnancy Update

30 weeks seems like such a huge milestone for this pregnancy! I only have six weeks left (maximum) until I meet our little boys!!!

This has been a great week because we found out that baby Everett is no longer considered SIUGR! He jumped from the 6% to the 15th percentile at this week's growth scan. This is great news for him and for me since it means I don't automatically have to have a c-section. Obviously the chance of having one is still pretty high all things considered but I at least would like to attempt a natural delivery if it's safe for the babies. 


There was a small concern about Everett (poor kid) during his ultrasound. I told y'all that they found what we believe is a calcification in his spleen (we think) at my 16 week ultrasound. We've been keeping an eye on it and it hasn't grown at all. But, during his scan, Everett was showing PACs (Premature Atrial Contractions) - basically a few extra heartbeats. He would have 4 normal beats then two extra beats. The MFM told me that these aren't something they normally worry about too much but because that calcification is so close to his heart, and also seeming to be pushing into that area now - we are going to a pediatric cardiologist. She also wants to see me back Monday morning. The pediatric cardiologist appt is Friday and I have my regular Obgyn appt on Tuesday. It's a busy week with lots of doctors. I welcome your prayers that his heart is okay and the PACs go away. 


I asked her what types of things can cause PACs and she mentioned caffeine as one thing so I've greatly reduced the caffeine I'm drinking (down to one 8 oz mug in the morning). I sure hope it helps!





Babies are the size of...Butternut Squash! Everett weighed in at 2 lbs 10 oz placing him in the 15th percentile and Cullen weighed in at 2 lbs 13 oz (22nd percentile). While these are low percentiles, they are actually average for twins. The average twin weighs 2 lbs 12 oz at 30 weeks so they are right on track. Also, both babies are head down! I sure hope it stays that way until delivery!


How far along... 30 Weeks

Maternity Clothes? Yep!

Weight Gain:  +3.4 Lbs  (30.3 lbs total). Okay guys I am a little freaked out by gaining 3 lbs a week for the last few weeks. My original weight gain goal for this pregnancy was 35 lbs but now that I need to eat such a high amount of protein a day I think I will surpass that. I do hope I can stay under 40 lbs total but at the same time I want big, healthy boys so whatever it takes. 

Symptoms: Tons of contractions! I was so relieved to see my cervix still measuring at 2.9 this week because there have been a few nights it has felt like full-blown labor. Other than that just feeling really big and really heavy. I am out of breath all.the.time. and I have started to swell a little bit and can't wear my wedding rings anymore :(. 

Stretch Marks? There might be a tiny one above my belly button. I'm not sure.

Sleep: Sleeping is getting more and more uncomfortable as I try to support the weight of my big belly. No matter which side I sleep on, I feel like I'm squishing one of the babies. I woke myself up from heavy breathing the other night. I thought someone was in my room because I had never heard that noise before- then woke up and realized it was me! yikes

Movement? Yes. The move the most when I am laying down. I don't blame them because when I'm sitting up there isn't any room to move around anyway.

Genders and Twin Type: Identical Baby Boys!

What I Miss... not feeling so heavy. Just walking up the stairs takes me forever and I am so out of breath!

Food Cravings:  Not anything specific. I have been SO BLESSED with friends bringing me meals these past few weeks Brandon has been gone and even if I'm not hungry before I take a bite- once I start eating I can finish. The food has been soooo gooood! Thanks you guys!!!

Looking Forward To...finishing the nursery. I got Brandon's childhood dresser this week from my father in law and I need to sand it down and chalk paint it. I also have to refinish the nightstand to match. The last thing I need is a lampshade and a small book shelf for the corner. Fingers crossed I can get it all done before these babies arrive!!

Saturday, March 11, 2017

29 Weeks Twin Pregnancy Update

I don't even know how to describe the love that has been poured out on myself and my family in the past week. It's honestly overwhelming (in a good way) and it's something I will never forget.

Yesterday was a perfect example. My friend Laura asked if she could come over and help and I knew I needed help with the baby clothes. I have had so many generous moms give me clothes for the twins and I am forever thankful! Brandon moved it all to the nursery before he left but every time I tried to sort it, I would get so overwhelmed I had to stop. The clothes equaled over 20 boxes!!! What a blessing!! So Laura came over and she and I worked for hours sorting through everything and repacking it all by size. I even had extra to give to a friend who is due with a boy a few months after me!

I haven't had to cook one single meal since Brandon left and that has been such a huge help! I made a care calendar but I've even had friends making me extra meals on top of those. This has been such an amazing help because by 3pm I am so exhausted and hurting there is no way I could go in the kitchen and prepare and clean up even a simple meal. My girls have loved every dish and we can stretch each meal for two days easily. On top of the dinners, a woman from bible study surprised me by having two huge boxes delivered from Walmart filled with easy meals for the kids (applesauce, mac-n-cheese, puddings, soups etc). 

Along with the help with meals and clothes, my friends have offered to babysit the girls anytime I need. My father in law came up for the day today and my mom is coming for 5 days next week to help. You can see why this is overwhelming right? 

This past week has been the very definition of grace. I haven't done anything to warrant the love and generosity poured out over me. Honestly, I haven't even asked!! And still, grace upon grace has been filling up my house. It makes me cry just thinking about it. God uses people to show us His love and I have never felt more loved and cared for in my life.


I have really lowered my standards for myself. I am wearing pjs and haven't had makeup on in a week. I'm definitely in survival mode right now. ;) And that belly size is seriously unreal....how in the world I am supposed to continue growing for 7 more weeks is beyond me! Imagine if they let me go to 40 weeks?!


Babies are the size of...Winter Squash! They weigh anywhere between 2.5-3.5 lbs each. They are also 15-17 inches in length. I have my MFM appt with a growth scan on Wednesday and can't wait to find out if Everett has caught up. 

How far along... 29 Weeks

Maternity Clothes? Yep! Some of my shirts are already too short...my belly is getting so big!

Weight Gain:  +3.2 Lbs  (26.9 lbs total). Increasing my protein is going to cause me to gain more than I expected. It takes about 3,000 cals a day to hit the protein goal the doctor gave me but I'm willing to do whatever it takes to have two healthy boys!

Symptoms: Still having lots of contractions, mostly in the afternoon or if I have to walk around or sit in a chair for too long. I am pretty short of breath since there is very little room in there. My heartburn has been on next-level this week and I'm finding myself taking a Zantac at night as well as morning. The rib pain has improved as long as I don't sit in a chair for too long.

Stretch Marks? Not yet! 

Sleep: If I get woken up, I can't go back to sleep for a long time! Isla fell out of Avelyn's bed a few nights ago and I was up from 12-5am. I was horrible since I knew the girls would be up at 6:30 on the dot. I have to take a nap most days and when I can't it's miserable. I am so tired. I remember this from when I was pregnant with Isla and being so scared about caring for a newborn when I was already exhausted. At least now I know it goes away after giving birth and I live off of pure adrenaline for the first three months or so.

Movement? Yes. They don't kick very much (that I can feel through that massive placenta) but they roll and jab and twist.  

Genders and Twin Type: Identical Baby Boys!

What I Miss... having energy!

Food Cravings:  None. My appetite is really dwindling but I force myself to eat so I can hit my protein goals.

Looking Forward To...the growth scan on Wednesday!

Saturday, March 4, 2017

28 Weeks Twin Pregnancy Update

This has been a crazy week.

I saw my obgyn on Tuesday for my follow-up and my glucose test (I passed). I told her I couldn't do bed rest anymore, I was going crazy. I even started crying. She agreed to a compromise where I could get out of bed and do a little more as long as I wasn't on my feet for more than 30 mins or so. I left that appointment pretty bummed that I was still on restriction. 

The next day I saw my MFM doctor. I got great news that my cervix was measuring 2.9 (it was 2.2 previously) and she said she was very happy with that! She also said she saw no reason I needed to be on bed rest at all. She told me that there is little evidence that bedrest will even prevent premature labor and that in some cases it can be detrimental to the babies and the mom. I was elated!!! She told me that I still need to take it easy, no heavy cleaning or going crazy....but that light chores, grocery shopping and caring for the kids was okay. YAY! That means husband gets to go back to work. We are trying to spend these last few days preparing for my three weeks alone. I am getting food that doesn't require much cooking, get the house in order etc. My mom will also be coming for a week while he is gone to help.

The not-so-good news I received at my MFM appointment was in regards to Baby A (Everett). He has fallen way behind in his growth compared to his brother. Cullen measured 2 lbs 5 ounces at 27+4 weeks which put him at the 27% growth percentile. Everett came in right at 2 lbs even and at 6%. At the last appointment they weighed the exact same amount but Everett was 18% and Cullen was 20%. 

The doctors don't start to worry until a baby drops below 10%. So the plan from here is to go to the MFM weekly (on top of my weekly OB appts) for BPPs (biophysical profiles) and then biweekly for growth scans. She also instructed me to make sure I'm getting 175g of protein a day. It doesn't sound bad but after a few days of tracking, it's actually really hard to hit that! I bought some Organic Premier Protein Shakes from Costco online and some bars to help fill in the gaps. 

Another bummer is that in order for the doctors to allow me to attempt a vaginal delivery for the twins, baby A must be bigger than baby B...right now it doesn't look like that's going to be the case. I am trying not to worry too much about delivery right now but it's in the back of my mind. 



Babies are the size of...Papayas! Cullen is 2 lbs 5 oz and Everett is 2 lbs even. They are both about 15 inches long.




How far along... 28 Weeks

Maternity Clothes? Yep!

Weight Gain:  +2 Lbs  (23.7 lbs total). Increasing my protein is going to cause me to gain more than I expected. It takes about 3,000 cals a day to hit the protein goal the doctor gave me but I'm willing to do whatever it takes to have two healthy boys!

Symptoms: All day and night yesterday I was in the worst pain -  mostly my entire rib cage and back. I couldn't even take a normal breath because the extra space needed felt like it would break my ribs. I went to the chiropractor but it only helped for a short while. I also took a few baths which relieved the pain while I was in the tub but it came right back when I was out. I took tylenol (which did nothing) and finally at midnight I took a painkiller so I could get some sleep (as instructed by my doctor on call). This morning I don't have any rib pain so I guess the baby who was stuck up there found a new position. Other than that, just normal pregnancy complaints...I feel super hot all the time (ice water is my bff), my belly and pelvis ache constantly and I rolling over in bed is becoming quite the chore.

Stretch Marks? Not yet! 

Sleep: Some nights are good and some are bad. The rib pain last night destroyed my sleep. I still wake up at 3:30 am about every other day. I am just trying to get as much sleep as I can before Brandon leaves.

Movement? Yes. Sometimes it's downright painful! I don't remember being in pain in my singleton pregnancies. I was uncomfortable at the end but not in pain like I am this time. 

Genders and Twin Type: Identical Baby Boys!

What I Miss... oh ...what don't I miss.,..the end is in sight!

Food Cravings:  I had two big cravings for Chuy's this week and Brandon went and picked it up for me. YUM!

Looking Forward To...finding out if the extra protein is helping Everett grow.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Maxed-Out

The other day I read an article that hit home for me in so many ways. I won't even butcher it by telling you what it's about but click the link below and read it yourself:

To the moms of one or two children from a mother of five


People tell me the same thing all the time, "I don't know how you do it!" I think in my case they are wondering how I do it with a husband who is gone for 6 months out of the year. But, Sarah Short's answers and my answers are the same. I think they must be the same for any of us maxed-out moms trucking along with our kid(s).

Having my first baby was the biggest life-changing, all-consuming, identity-stealing, overwhelming and scariest thing I've ever done. It's probably why God didn't wait for me to decide I was ready to be a mom and just gave her to me on my honeymoon. Brandon was gone for 9 months out of that first year. I didn't have any mommy friends in my new life stage yet because I was barely even a newlywed! I didn't have any iPhone to connect to the world during those months of non-stop crying and rocking and shushing and swaddling and repeating. I felt so isolated and alone in a way I never knew was possible.

The main thing that got kicked to the curb that first year was all self-care. I couldn't even think about putting myself together. For one, that baby weight wasn't coming off and none of my old clothes fit anymore. I was trapped in the weird, soft body I didn't recognize. The closest I came to pulling myself together was yoga pants and a baggy t-shirt.

Making friends at the library during storytime was the best thing that happened to me that year. They were all first time moms just like me. I lived for Tues, Wed and Thurs. I even found other libraries for us to go to on Mondays and Fridays. To this day, those are still my mommy-friends and Avelyn and some of her friends even go to the same Mother's Day Out.

Somewhere between 18 -24 months the fog started lifting. Avelyn wasn't sleeping through the night but we at least figured out a few things and it started to get the tiniest bit easier. This is usually when your body starts telling you that you need another baby. One year later, we had Isla.

As a "seasoned" mom during my second pregnancy, I was pretty sure it wouldn't be so bad. I mean I hadn't killed the first kid yet. I was working out and even putting jeans on (occasionally). All of my fears memories of that hard first year were quieted with my confident self telling me it was only hard  because I didn't have a clue what I was doing. Go ahead and laugh now.

Isla Rose rocked my world just as hard and Avelyn did but in a new way. I had this whole, new baby to learn and feed and care for...oh yeah and a little girl going through the terrible twos. I was sleep-deprived but now never got to rest. Right when I needed all my resources to band together and remain calm during what I remember as gorilla warfare, I had no resources. This is where my relationship with God started to change. My time with Him every day wasn't optional anymore. There were very marked differences on the days I woke up early and spent time with Him and the days when I didn't. You see, He was the only one who could quiet the crazy going on in my head.

I can't do this, Lord. No, you can't. But I can.

I spent night after night sitting on that step at the top of the stairs having that same conversation with Him. Our relationship grew deeper. He showed me that the more I gave to Him, the more He would surprise me, impress me, humble me, love me. He used the women He put in my life to encourage me and lift me up. He showered me with grace. I learned how to apologize to a three year old. We prayed together and asked God to help us both love each other better.

Finding out I was pregnant again wasn't in the plans. You see, I had gotten to that place where it's not quite so hard again. But this time I didn't want to go backwards. I wanted to soak in every memory with my girls. I wanted to have new adventures like vacations, travelling, big kid activities. I wanted to be done breastfeeding and have my body belong only to me. I was in the best shape of my life (not the skinniest- but the most fit) and sitting my butt in the sand on our first family vacation when I knew I was pregnant.



I tried to talk myself out of it. I took a few tests way too early since I knew they should show I wasn't. Once I was far enough into it to have a positive test, I refused to do it. I would have kept happily along in my denial but a friend was about to face a huge battle of her own and I realized I needed to get my crap together so I could be there for her. So that afternoon I took a test. Positive.

Oh boy, here we go again I thought. It's like ripping off a band-aid. Let's just move forward. I told Avelyn pretty soon after I found out thinking it would be a while before she understood, but wrong again, she told the entire line of preschool moms the next morning...and anyone else who would listen that "her mommy had a baby in her tummy!" I decided to just go ahead and announce it on Facebook since there were few people that didn't know at this point. I gave myself a pep-talk. Three wouldn't be that hard. I mean, I've already done this twice. If I am organized enough and prepared enough, it won't be too bad. I started watching a friends vlogs who had three kids and getting tips from her. I had all sorts of ideas on how it was going to be managed - and not chaos like last time.

Haha just kidding, it's TWINS!!

I left that first ultrasound in the deepest shock of my life. There is no way. Regular people like me don't just get pregnant with twins. We only weren't super careful that one time (like it would take multiple times to get twins). How? What? Why?! Why God, whyyyy?! I whined and cried to Him for weeks...in between vomit sessions. This pregnancy has been on a whole new level. That first trimester fatigue and sickness stripped away most of my super-mom attitude right off the bat. The second trimester has taken away all of my idols, those things I rely on to get me through. Working out and that much-needed endorphin and energy rush...my OCD cleaning and laundry schedule...my emotional stability...my ability to physically care for, feed and love on my girls... But you know what, God and I have gotten closer than ever.

I can't do this. I can't. There isn't enough of me for 4 children. Two newborns at once, God! I can't.

No, but I can. Trust me.