Wednesday, December 26, 2012

32 weeks and counting!

Had an appointment this week - oh thats right, I have appointments for various things EVERY week.   Thus the story of my life these days.

The appointment went well though.  My blood pressure went up a little bit which was more concerning for me than for the dr.  It was 124/64 (my typical is in the 90s).  Doctor didn't seem concerned though.  We are still hoping for a natural delivery of the boys and the doctor seems confident about whatever we decide. Baby B has flipped back to breech, so either he'll need to be flipped after Baby A is born, or he'll be delivered breech (unless the little booger wants to flip before then!).

We had a Biophysical Profile where they watch babies breaths and movement (I'm not sure what else as I've never had one before, so I'll follow up in another post about what this really is). Both boys passed with flying colors immediately.  The entire scan was scheduled for 1 hour but only ended up lasting 10 minutes!  Baby A is approximately 3lbs 8oz and Baby B is measuring approximately 4lbs exactly. Thats a whole lotta baby going on!

I have developed a rash though, its miserable.  It itches. It burns. Nothing helps and the only treatment is birth.  I have found Benedryl cream and Calamine lotion seem to help - at least a little bit.

Speaking of birth! Our doctor is fine with us attempting natural delivery as long as Baby A stays head down.  She said due to my size already she doesn't want to see me go past 38 weeks. So if at 37 weeks I am still sitting around waiting for babies to come, then we'll start "stripping membranes" and doing other things to try to start labor without Pitocin (I had that before, that stinks!).  So hopefully they'll come on their own prior to 38 weeks, but hopefully not before 36 weeks - I'd like to avoid NICU if at all possible and we'd also prefer to delivery at the local hospital instead of having to travel 15 miles to the one with the NICU.

The Braxton hicks have started up again recently.  Occasionally I get one that stops me in my tracks for a moment. The doctor didn't seem concerned about them though so thats reassuring.  I won't know until they start doing "checks" at 36 weeks if there's any progress going on.

Its crazy, I feel huge. People always tell me I don't look like I'm having twins, but I sure feel it.  I'm measuring 40 weeks (for a singleton) so I know I'm big.  Its hard to move, its hard on my ribs and back. Its hard to bend, stoop, and pick things up off the floor these days.  I do feel lucky though, I was afraid that I'd be much much bigger at this point than I am, I expected to be much worse off than I am - guess the body really does adjust well. 



Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Amazing 3D experience - you have got to see this.


Had an amazing experience at Enlightened 4d Imaging today.  I saw on Facebook that they had just updated to a new, more updated system.  The pictures looked amazing and I was slightly bummed that we didn't have this option a month ago when we did our ultrasound with them.  Lucky for me, we've built a relationship with the family that runs it and they offered to let me come in so they could experiment more with the new equipment. 

This was incredible.  Not only did they do it all for free, but they gave us all the still shots as well as a DVD of the entire session.  They were able to learn more about their machine and I was able to get some awesome pictures of the boys - win win.



Baby B on the old system at 24 weeks...
Baby B on the new system at 31 weeks!

 
 
Baby A on the old system at 24 weeks...





Baby A on the new system... This is the only good shot of baby A we have gotten because of his position!


This is babies head, the top left side is the back of babies head,  All that fuzz? HAIR! Both babies have this!



I was so impressed that at 31 weeks with twins they were still able to get some really good shots. I really thought it might be too late in the game to get anything good, but they did! 

We also learned that Baby B is working on flipping over. Right now he's "transverse" (sideways) but almost aiming down... sort of.  

I was also very happy to hear that they would continue offering their services to those parents expecting a loss.  Even though it didn't work for our situation, I imagine it would have been incredible if it had, and also for other parents in coping with what they are going through. But, I wouldn't expect anything less of that family - they really are amazing.

Monday, December 10, 2012

30 week appointment update!



Had my 30 week appointment today.

Everything is looking great.  Baby A had a HB of 130 and Baby B was 140.  Doctor says everything looks great.  I am measuring 40 weeks (for a single baby - obviously doesn't mean much for twins aside from the fact that I am HUGE).  

We talked some about labor/delivery options.  She was a little concerned about how I'd be emotionally given everything from the last time I gave birth and the last time I was in the hospital. I told her I have a wonderful doula that has been with me for both my births and shewill be able to help me through.  She did say that I'd be an excellent candidate for a c-section if that's what I chose to do - but they'd do whatever I want as long as Baby A stays head down. She felt around and *thinks* baby B may have also been head down today, but we won't know for sure until our next ultrasound after Christmas.

Starting after Christmas, I'll be going in once a week for biophysical profiles and growth scans. A biophysical scan is where they do an ultrasound to monitor the babies movements, breathing patterns and such to make sure everything is ok. The growth scans are to make sure both babies are still growing as they should be. I didn't have these with my other babies, so this process is new to me.  I'm guessing its because being twins I am in high risk status - which I've never been before.

Seeing as how I'm already measuring 40 weeks, she said they probably won't let me go past January 30th (instead of February 6th).   She said depending on the doctor, some will say 37 weeks some will say 38. Personally I'd like to see these guys go as long as possible.  Most likely given my size I will be delivered by 37 weeks.  That's provided my body doesn't go into labor on its own, if it does so after 35/36 weeks they'll just let me go at that time. 

She also gave me a prescription to help with all this rib pain I'm having.  I spent much of last night awake tossing and turning in bed because my ribs hurt so bad. It feels like they are spreading apart much of the time.  Derrick does his best to massage them and make me more comfortable but that only works for so long.

Everything seems to be looking good for now!  Neither baby is appearing ready to come anytime soon, so we're hoping to make it to 35 weeks and beyond!  Fingers crossed!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Gabriel's First Birthday

 
I wasn't sure what to expect from myself today. I had no idea what emotions would roll through me as I look back on those moments holding my son.  Its been 1 whole year since I held him in my arms, one full year since he was placed in the arms of God.

Surprisingly, I'm at peace today.  I've had my moments of sadness and pain, but for the most part I've been looking back at the time we spent with him with joy and love in my heart. 

I woke up this morning to many loving and wonderful messages on our Facebook.  Its amazing how much love and support we've recieved as we've traveled this journey.  Every bit of love and prayer has meant so much to us. 


A fellow loss mom gave me this idea.  Each year we are going to donate a toy in Gabriel's age range to a toy drive for his birthday.  Evelyn was more than willing to give a toy this year...


After our donation, we went to the cemetary where we decorated his Christmas tree.  As we pulled in Evelyn was in the back seat saying "Baby?  Baby.  Baby bye bye?"  And as my heart broke all I could say was "yup, we're visiting the baby who went bye bye... We're gonna see your brother Gabriel."    We chose to put solar lights on his tree  so that it would automatically turn on each evening. 



 
We tied his birthday balloons to his hook instead of releasing them.  We did this because releasing balloons when its cold doesn't usually work very well - and it was chilly out there.  The balloons probably won't stay inflated for long, but that's not the point.




We brought him a birthday cupcake and lit a candle.  I was just going to allow the candle to burn out on its own, but it never did.  We stood there for a long time waiting for it to go out but the flame just flickered and danced in the breeze.  I said out loud "That's ok, Evelyn didn't really blow out her first candle either... Your big sister will show you how its done."  Its amazing how talking to him, talking to a rock with his name, has become so "normal" for us. 



 

 
Before we left, we had Evelyn say "Love you Gabriel" as we walked away. She struggled with "Gabriel" but got out "Love you" loud and clear.  It's so sad that she has to learn live with this too, at such a young age she understands that this was our baby, and baby went "bye bye". 
 
It was pretty cold, so we came home and had cupcakes. We sang happy birthday and talked about how very different this day would have been if he was here with us to celebrate.

Evelyn thoroughly enjoyed one of her brother's birthday treats :)




Later, we were joined by a few family members at the cemetary to see Gabriel's tree lit up. 


 
Overall, the day was good.  We felt love, we felt warmth even in the chilly Minnesota weather.  We spent the day reflecting on those moments we spent with Gabriel and all the moments since. 
 
We miss you little man, we love you and we'll never ever forget you.

Friday, December 7, 2012

29 weeks 2 days pregnant, L&D, & approaching Gabriel's brithday.

Appointment Update

Had my 28 week appointment last week (I was actually 27 weeks 5 days). They did a growth scan beforehand and everything looks good.  In fact, baby A has picked up a couple days. 

Baby A had a heartbeat of 140 bpm, he's measuring exactly 27 weeks exactly and is about 2lbs 1oz (32%). So he's now 5 days behind our due date instead of 7.

Baby B had a heartbeat of 152bpm, he's measuring 28 weeks 1 day and about 2lbs 9oz (56%) and is ahead of our due date by 3 days.

I was not happy with the doctor I saw this time. There's 5 in the practice and whichever one is on call when I deliver is the one that will come in.  I've only seen 3 of the doctors now, 2 I like - this one not so much. She did nothing but sit there and tell me I'm gaining too much and everything else I'm doing wrong. Without going into detail, the second half of my appointment was not good.  I've gained 30 lbs total so far in this pregnancy. At week 28 I don't think thats bad. My doctor said to plan on 45-50lb gain by the end. Given that I only have 10ish weeks left, I think 30lbs isn't bad at all and not far off from that target weight.  This doctor said I should only be gaining 40lbs total.  (um, ok, I gained 35 with each of my singletons, how on earth am I only alotted 5 extra pounds when there's an entire second baby in there??). Given some of the things she said and didn't do  (she did nothing, no measurements or anything) I'm just blowing that appointment off and patiently waiting for my next one.  I like this next doctor I'm seeing. Then after this I'll be seeing my main doctor for the rest of my appointments - Yay!

I'll start seeing the dr every 2 weeks now. My next appointment is already this coming Monday. Time is flying by quick, I can't believe I'm already into bi-weekly appointments. My next ultrasound is the day after Christmas, then after that they want to do growth scans every week to check on the babies... That seems like a lot to me so we'll see what happens.

My goal date right now is to make it to 35 weeks (which is right around January 15th).  That's next month!  Just over 5 more weeks and I've reached my goal!  After that I'm shooting for February 6th (38 weeks).  Here's to hoping babies stay put for awhile yet! I'm not ready for two newborns in just 5 weeks!

A trip to Labor and Delivery.

On Friday (November 30th) I had noticed that my normally very active baby B was being unusually quiet. I didn't worry too much because I know babies have lazy days too and figured he was just having some quiet time.  While at work Friday night I started to worry some. It had been at least 12 hours since I really felt him move around and that was very abnormal for him. Remember, this is the baby that drives me crazy because he moves around so much!  By the time I went home, went to bed and woke up multiple times, I got myself worked into a panic.  It was 24 hours and still nothing. This is far to close to Gabriel's birthday for comfort.  Even Derrick was begining to panic. I had been downing juice, sugar, pop, candy, and resting, I was doing everything I could to make him move - nothing was working. After a quick call to my doula, and a quick call to my mom to come get Evelyn,. we made a trip into labor and delivery.  They hooked me up to the monitors, found both heartbeats and had may lay there flat on my back for 1 full hour. We were listening to all the movement going on in there - only some of it I could feel (now thats wierd haha).  Everything is fine, both babies sounded great.  The assumption is that Baby B just switched positions on me so now for some reason I don't feel him so much.  The last few days though, he has been kicking up a storm in there - he seems to be back to his old self.

Gabriel's birthday.

Its crazy to think we're already almost here. Almost to Gabriel's 1st birthday.  Its been a rocky road the last week or so, hormones are flying high and emotions are too.   We haven't planned a memorial or party or anything this year. It doesn't feel fitting.  His funeral was small and personal and his 1st birthday will be too.  Thats not to say we aren't doing anything, because we are. Just us.  (that'll be its own post). 

I had some stress with work, for awhile they weren't going to let me have this weekend off easily.  I was really stressing out about it, after standing my ground though they figured it out.  Now I can spend this weekend with Derrick and Evelyn and focus on what I need to be thinking and feeling.  I think its going to be crucial that I am able to just feel as I need to and not feel like  need to mask it for a guest or fellow employee.


Well, I guess that's a long enough update.  I'll post again after Gabriel's birthday and show you how that went for us. 

Friday, November 23, 2012

Being thankful amidst darkness.

As we quickly approach Gabriel's first birthday, I find it difficult to be very grateful for things.  Emotions are running on high in our house and flucuate daily.

Taking a step out of the darkness and into the light I find so many things I have to be grateful for:

~ The precious months we spent with Gabriel safetly tucked inside, and the 35 minutes we spent with him snuggling in our arms.  All the things he taught us about unconditional love. All the blessings he's provided us like the coming together of family and friends, a wonderful amount of love and support, and an incredible amount of thoughts and prayers.  I'm grateful for the opportunity to have him a part of our lives despite the longing and sadness that comes along with it all.

~ I'm eternally grateful for Derrick, for everything he does for me. For being my rock when I feel weak.  He has been so supportive and helpful throughout this pregnancy, back massages, taking over housework when I just can't anymore, taking Evelyn when I've had enough, putting up with my hormonal mood swings, for listening when I just need an ear...

~ I'm thankful for our beautiful Evelyn who never ceases to amaze me.  She always knows how to melt mommy's heart and make mommy smile - even on a bad day. She's incredibly beautiful and smart.

~ I'm thankful for the two beautiful little boys still safetly baking inside. I have been blessed with an opportunity many never get to experience - twins.  I feel like its a tough road to take on many levels, but a remarkable one for sure!

~ There's so much more I'm grateful for it would take all day to list them all...  The support group I've joined, my family, my job, the January 2012 moms, my friends who continue to be there for me, my siblings, my blog followers, my doctors, my doula,  everyone who has in some way or another helped us with our wedding and preparing for the beautiful twins who will soon enter this world. For everyone who supported us through our grieving process... Like I said, the list goes on and on.

So yes, although there is a darkness looming in our lives right now as we approach Gabriel's birthday, its nice to look back and remember everything we've been blessed with in the last year and everything we are continuing to be blessed with.

On Monday I have another regular appointment where I'm hoping to talk to my OB about what she's thinking my labor/delivery is going to be like (Planned c-section, natural, induction etc).  After that we'll have another growth scan hoping that baby A has caught up some - or at least not fallen any further behind.  The babies move and kick like crazy right now, its sometimes really uncomfortable when they really get moving.  I'm hoping some of that movement is baby B trying to flip over! Come on baby, head down! Head down!

Monday, November 5, 2012

24 weeks, a long update, and the greiving process continues.

A long awaited update :)

Last week we hit 24 weeks, we also reached 100 days or less till the babies get here.  24 weeks is viability. At least 50% of babies born around this time can survive.  This is a pretty big milestone! The babies need to stay put for quite awhile longer, but at least they would have a fighting chance if they HAD to be born today.

At our 24 week appointment they also scheduled me for a growth scan.  The babies looked great!  Baby B is breech and measuring 24 weeks 3 days. Baby A however, has fallen further behind.  He is now measuring 23 weeks 3 days (a full week smaller).  I realize its only a matter of ounces at this point, but this is the baby that has given us so much worry this whole time... I was told by another twin momma not to worry till they get closer to 2 weeks difference in size. Seeing as how my doctor hasn't called me with concern I'm going to take that advice.



This last Saturday, we popped over and saw our friends at Enlightened 4d Imaging.  We got to see the babies in 3D!  We did this with Evelyn and tried to do it with Gabriel (Gabriel's didn't work since he had no fluid) but it worked ok with the twins. There's so many body parts and squishy baby peices that it was a little tough!  But we got some.


Poor little baby A is really squished in there!  He's buried way down deep in my left hip with his face pressed against the membrane that separates the two babies.  It was really tough to get good pictures of him, they certainly tried and tried though!

Baby B is in a much better position for pictures! At first he had his arm/hand covering his face but soon enough they got it to move for some great shots!

Here's a picture of them together if you can pick out the baby parts! 
 
 
I'm worried that poor baby A is gonna come out all bruised up!  Baby B's feet are right in his head and at every ultrasound he is kicking is brother in the face. You can even watch as baby A's head gets pushed to the side with each kick.  Is it possible for them to bruise eachother in there? Guess we'll find out soon enough!
 
 
Then, yesterday, I went and had maternity photos done with a friend of mine. She is a wonderful photographer who got a lot of really great pictures!  I can't pick favorites but I'll sure try!  
 






 
A huge huge thank you to Jessica Ruckowski Photography for taking such wonderful photos!  I can't wait for our next shoot together when I'm HUGE and Derrick and Evelyn can join us!  



Greiving

In 3 days Gabriel would turn 11 months old... Hard to believe that was 11 months ago. Its amazing to me how much has changed in that time and how much he still remains a huge part of our lives. I've sort of changed my tune though.  I was planning to do a huge gathering for his birthday, but now I think I'm just going to not plan anything. This could change, but I feel like his funeral was so small and personal his birthday should be too.   I have many more years that I can do something big for him.

We never really did just blurt out about our pregnancy.  We've sort of let people figure it out on their own (aside from our wondeful blog followers who knew right away).  As people find out I get asked a lot of "ackward" questions.  "So is this your first one?"  Me: "No, this is my third time through, but these will be living children numbers 2 & 3."   Another one I get a lot is "So how many kids is this for you?"  Me:  "This will be babies 3 and 4, living children numbers 2 and 3."  I find this is a subtle way to acknowledge Gabriel as my son, not make it so depressing for others and really ease into our story for those that don't know already. 

I attended my favorite support group last week where I was able to get out some emotions I've been struggling with and didn't understand - lucky for me I have found a wonderful group of people who do understand and can help me comprehend.  Its weird and I still don't really understand why I'm feeling this way.    Last year at this time we had known we were going to keep Gabriel with us till term.  We started to dread his impending birthday and started realizing how little time we had with our tiny baby.  Lately, I've been feeling dread over the impending twins birthday.  The confusing part is that this birthday should be a happy one, it should be an exciting one. Why do I feel dread? Why do I feel scared and worried?  The only thing I can think is that my brain/emotions seem to be resorting back to this stage of pregnancy at this time last year. Perhaps I'm feeling dread because last time I gave birth I didn't get to bring home a baby to show for it.  Perhaps its my subtle way of protecting my heart.

As excited as I am for the twins, I can't help but worry that something could still go wrong, that in the end I may not end up with both babies, that perhaps I'll be leaving empty handed yet again.  I notice I have struggled to truly "bond" with these babies like I did Evelyn.  Again, my way of protecting myself? Maybe.  Don't get me wrong, I love these babies, I can't wait till they are here and safely in my arms. I love feeling them move and kick and play (despite my terrible vision of baby A getting kicked in the face).  I just don't feel as attached to them as I have in previous pregnancies. Doesn't mean I love them any less, just means my heart doesn't want to be broken again.

But for now, I love my babies and I can't wait till they are here and in my arms, breathing, crying, pooping and snuggling. The emotional rollercoaster continues, and I'm just along for the ride.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Just an update.

Wanted to come and give an update on how we're doing and what we've been up to.

Not being able to see your feet is dangerous.  Last wednesday, we hit 20 weeks - officially half way there. To celebrate I spent the night in the ER getting stitches because I might be the biggest clutz ever. I tripped on a peice of frame glass in our hallway and cut my toes pretty bad.  It was painful, especially the next day when I felt like my foot/toes my fall off. I ended up with 4 stitches in my toe and some pretty bad bruising. To say the least chasing a toddler and babysitting my neighbors 2 month old has been interesting this last week.

On Friday we had our check up.  Babies hearts were beating away, I learned that I'd gained 8 lbs in 4 weeks.  Guess I got my appetite back :/  Its ok though because before that I hadn't gained much so this is a total weight gain of 14lbs. Not too bad for 20 weeks with twins.

We went in and had our anatomy scan this last Tuesday.  Both babies are still boys and are doing wonderful.  Baby A (the smaller baby that gave us the heartattacks early on) is still measuring smaller at 12 oz, has a good strong heartbeat of 139.  She confirmed both kidneys and showed us how the arteries flowing to that area as well as the big dark spots where the kidneys are located, then she started having trouble with getting good pictures of the heart because baby was moving like crazy!  This little guy is head down still and is vertical on my left side - way down low.  Baby B (the larger baby) was also moving around like crazy and is positioned diagonal across my belly butt first.  They said there is still plenty of time for that baby to flip over. He is about 13oz and his heartbeat was 144 BPM.  So we have two very active little boys on the way - yikes!  I'm blaming it on the candy corn I ate (per Evelyn's persistant requests) earlier in the day... oops.  

 

They said there is a 25% chance they are identical and we won't know until they are born.  If they come out looking alike than I will have them do the DNA test to determine if they are or not.  But, Gabriel looked an aweful lot like Evelyn so I'm guessing these two may look similar too.  Brought up an interesting conversation between Derrick and I - what if one or both of these two come out looking just like Gabriel.  Its something thats been on my mind, no doubt I worry about how I will react if that is the case.  I can't prepare for something like that or how to handle it, but I imagine its going to be difficult none the less.

The babies have been moving around like crazy but everytime Derrick puts his hand to feel it - they stop.  Poor guy wants to feel it so bad, he loves these guys so much, but they are shy... or stubborn.

We have been working diligently on the nursery trying to get it all done before we hit 28 weeks.  I made this my goal because I don't want to be huge and trying to finish it all.  We still have a bit to go before its done, but I'll show you a picture of our progress so far.

 
Evelyn seems to be starting to understand that there are babies in mommy's tummy.  I think having baby Sophia around has made her comprehend that a baby is not a doll haha.  She now points at my belly and says "baby" and gets very upset when the cat ends up in one of the cribs! "Move Boris, BABY!"  (all animals are Boris - which is one of our dogs names).
 
We are now 21 weeks 1 day.  Here's a picture of our progress (taken at 21 weeks):
 
 
 


Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Pregnancy and Infant Loss awareness month...

I just hit me, right now -  it's October.  October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month.  October 15th is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day.   

Last year, I was still pregnant and anticipating the loss of our baby.  I can't even begin to explain the feelings I had knowing that every year for the rest of my life there would be this month, that day commemorating our impending loss.  Last year we recieved so much support during October, people from everywhere knew what was happening in our lives and wrapped their love around us.

I will be going out tonight to find a special candle, a special candle that I will light every night this month, but also a second candle that I will allow to burn all day on October 15th. 

I can't believe its been nearly 10 months since we last saw our little man, our son.  Now, 10 months later we have 2 more coming, 2 more little sons on the way.

This month, make a phone call, send a text, let those families with angel babies know that you are there and you are continuing to think of them and their babies.  Let them know that you remember...

On October 15th, no matter what time zone you are in, light a candle at 7pm to remember those babies who we've lost.  Those babies that will never be forgotten...

We love you Gabriel, and miss you every single day.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Baby Names

For the longest time Derrick and I were only able to agree we liked 1 name.  Seeing as how there are 2 we definitely needed more than that.  The hard part is that Derrick is very stubborn about naming boys (as my sister has learned).  My only criteria is that I won't use names of people I know in real life and I wanted them to flow well with Evelyn and Gabriel.

Finally last night I cornered him and told him we needed to add names to our potential name list.  And we did, now we have many many options for our little boys and I'm thrilled that we finally have a decent list.

My plan is to go to the hospital with a few name pairs and pick when we are there. We won't be coming out publicly with our choices till then though :) Gotta leave some sort of surprise!

So now we'll narrow down the options to just a few and ponder on those until the babies get here.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

That Mom.

I hate being that mom. The one who doesn't give the typical number answer when asked how many kids we have... Its hard sometimes to determine how in depth should I go when asked that question.

Do I just say I have one 2 year old and the twins and walk away? Do I say I have a 2 year old, a son who didn't make it and the twins? I hate to bring people down when they are so excited finding out I'm pregnant, it sends a negative spin on what should be a very positive experience. At the same time I feel so terrible if I don't acknowledge Gabriel's existence when I get asked.

Of course now the conversation goes something like this: 
"Are you pregnant?!?! - Congratulations!"
"Oh thank you, we're actually expecting two!"
"Oh how exciting! How many kids do you have then?"
*Insert ackward silence.*


Now, we've reached 19 weeks along.  This marks 1/2 way since we won't be going past 38 weeks.  It seems crazy to me that we are halfway through our twin pregnancy.  Its amazing the reactions we get when we tell people we are now expecting twins. Outside of our blog we haven't really spread the word around to much so people are sort of finding out one by one.

Looking forward to our appointment next Friday, then we have our anatomy scan on the 9th of October.  There shouldn't be any surprises at that ultrasound because we've already done a complete ultrasound and looked at everything.  I'm looking forward to just being able to enjoy an ultrasound for a change instead of feeling panicky about what they might find wrong this time.

However, having a fetal dopplar and measuring tape ease my fears a lot.  I measured today and I'm measuring 24 weeks and I'll only be 19 weeks tomorrow!  That means I've gained 4 weeks in only 2 weeks time! YIKES - no wonder I already feel so big!

Overall I feel really good though! Energy is ok, appetite is still in check, and everything seems to be going well!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Gender Reveal!

I hopped into bed last night and sobbed myself to sleep, but this wasn't the regular tears I was normal to, these were tears of pure joy, relief, happiness and love.  For 5 minutes I layed there and enjoyed a moment of no fear, no worry, no heartache.  I've never cried those type of tears before, not since Gabriel was born.

The reveal part of the ultrasound!
We told the tech our plan, we wanted to know if they are the same or not.  She immediately said "Yes, the are the same".  I looked over at Derrick who immediately started twitching, I started laughing "Figures."  I watched Derrick for a minute, this wasn't going to work - he is going to have to know.  So I gave in, I told the tech he was going to have a panic attack if we don't find out, let me take a look and see if I can figure it out first.

She put the wand on Baby A, I thought I could see, but I wasn't sold. After a couple minutes of looking I asked her to put it on the other baby - obvious, right away without a doubt I knew exactly what it was, I looked at Derrick:

"That's a boy! 100% A Boy!!! Hunny they're boys!!!" 

Derrick walked into a corner and cried. It was the most heartwarming thing I've ever seen, the tech said "Yes, you have two healthy perfect little boys."  And we all cried together.




I'm having a hard time being truly excited that they are boys.  Don't get me wrong, that was *almost* what I was hoping for (I was secretly hoping for one of each haha, but boys was my second wish).  I think I'm in such a state of relief that they are healthy, I feel an overwhelming sense of joy that they are perfect, I can't celebrate the fact that they are in fact our sons... Not yet. But I will, after I've celebrated that they are so healthy I'll celebrate that we will have sons to raise.

Monday, September 10, 2012

The U/S....

We walked into the office, I was holding it together ok.  This was the same clinic that confirmed our diagnosis for Gabriel, I was nervous. We checked in 10 minutes early and waited... and waited... and waited. 25 minutes after our scheduled time they finally called us in!  Our anxiety was on high by then and my heart about jumped out of my throat.

Then we walked into the same room where we were with Gabriel, with the same ultrasound tech! Now I'm really freaking, but trying not to let it show too much.  We caught up, shared pictures of Gabriel (the tech remembered us) and shared stories. 

The two babies looked so big in there compared to last time!  Beautiful to see really.  She immediately said that our Baby B is now Baby A because thats the presenting baby.  She said the sacs look great and Baby A (previously known as baby B) is still 4 days behind.  Throughout the entire ultrasound she was talking us through it: "heart looks great" "Brain looks perfect" "Cords look wonderful" etc.  I was so grateful she was talking us through this instead of keeping us in the dark like so many other people have in the past.

She started with (the new) baby A.   First checking for kidneys.  She saw the bladder was full right away - a great sign!  Then she saw the bloodflow to the kidneys - 2 beautiful functioning kidneys! Yay!  (We cried).  She spent lots of time looking over baby from head to toe, baby was perfect. 4 chamber heart already, perfectly shaped head and plenty of fluid.

Then she moved onto baby B (previously known as baby A). She checked the heart and brain, then realized she forgot to check kidneys first!  She confirmed bladder was full, then spotted the same bloodflow - 2 more healthy functioning kidneys! Amazing - I broke down and cried and cried. Such a relief to see, kidneys never looked so beautiful to me. 

She confirmed that she got both babies measurments, then asked about our plans to find out or not. We told her what we wanted to know.  After she answered our question Derrick started to twitch and I knew at that moment, he had to know which the babies are.  Sadly, I am on lockdown until tomorrow as far as the gender(s) go because he has a few people he wants to tell first.  So tomorrow, I will post a "gender reveal" photo.  Bet you can't wait huh? 

Till then, I just wanted to make sure everyone knew how it went today and that our little babies look absolutely perfect at this point.  I wanted to say a huge thank you for all the love, support, thoughts and prayers we have recieved. Its so overwhelming to know how many people care about us and our babies.   A certain someone upstairs definitely heard every single prayer said. I can't put into words my gratitude for everything everyone has done for us. 


Saturday, September 8, 2012

Change of heart, changed our mind

Yup.  Changed our minds and came to a compromise.

From the moment we saw our positive test result, we knew we wanted to wait to find out the baby's sex.  Then, today, Derrick surprises me by saying he sort of thinks we should find out what the babies are!  Oh boy. As if I wasn't having a hard enough time holding out myself! He said he thinks people will bond with the babies more that way, that we'll be able to really connect with them.

So I consulted a group of friends online and Derrick and I agreed on one of their suggestions.  We'll simply ask the tech if they are both the same sex. 


~If they are NOT the same, then we'll know we have one of each, but we still won't know which baby is which. 
 
~If they are the same, then we'll be waiting to find out which sex they are.



I'm probably going to have the tech write down down what each baby is so that we can find out on Christmas morning. We don't know for sure if we'll do the Christmas morning reveal, but we definitely want to keep it as an option.

Also, if there is something wrong with either baby, we will absolutely be finding out exactly what they are.

We have our big kidney ultrasound on Monday. I don't know if they'll be willing to tell us since we'll be just shy of 17 weeks.  So in the meantime I'm trying to fill my time with fun things and positive things to keep my mind excited about the ultrasound.  So I've added a poll! Make sure to vote!  -->

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Panic Mode.

5 days. 5 days till we walk into the same clinic that told us Gabriel had a terminal condition, they'll now tell us if these babies have the same condition or if both babies have all their vital organs.  5 days.

Panic mode has set in this week.  Neither of us is doing well. Our emotions are on high and we are depending on eachother to keep composed.  I've subtly put myself into hiding so I don't pawn off my anxiety on everyone around me, but it also gives me a chance to feel what I am feeling as I'm feeling it. (Thank you Dawn - you know who you are).  I'm clinging to this thought this week, it seems to be pulling me through. I didn't "plan" for how I'd feel in the days leading up to the ultrasound, although I did assume it'd be overwhelming.  I'm also not planning how I'll handle that day, I'm just going to go with what I'm feeling and let it happen.   Derrick mentioned to me that maybe we should cancel and just wait for our 20 week scan.  I told him no, I'd rather go through this, get it overwith and know whats going on in there. Otherwise I'm going to be feeling this way for the next 4 weeks. I know I need to do this, I need to know, I need to walk this path and its something I prepared for in getting pregnant - I knew this would be part of our journey - I just didn't expect it to be x2.

Yesterday I recieved a wonderful gift. A friend sent me a fetal doppler to borrow.  I realize that hearing the heartbeats has nothing to do with the kidneys and also doesn't guarantee anything, but it does bring me momentary comfort to know that they are both in there and - if nothing else - their hearts are still beating, at least in that moment I can have some peace and comfort. Its a little worrisome to wonder if I'm finding the same babies heartbeat twice or if I'm finding the two separate ones. Lucky for me I've timed them and they vary slightly so I seem to know.

We did have our 16 week check up today.  I was hoping for more weight gain (I may be the only person in the world to say that) as I've only gained 5lbs.  The doctor wasn't worried though, she said "but feel free to eat more" haha, thanks for the approval to eat like a horse :)   My blood pressure is higher than whats normal for me. Usually I run in the 90's - today it was 118.  I'm blaming it on the stress of our upcoming ultrasound. I guess we'll see if it goes back down after or not. The doctor wasn't worried about it because its still in normal range. One babies heartbeat was 166, the other was 160, they are on opposite sides so she's confident she found two separate heartbeats.  She also said that it feels like I'm measuring around 20 weeks, that brought me some comfort too just knowing that they are growing in there. She said they would normally do a growth scan but because I have an ultrasound on Monday there was no need to do an extra one, they'll check all that on Monday.

So we wait. We hope. We pray. We ask for thoughts, prayers, and finger crossings.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Big kidney appointment scheduled...

Panic mode is setting in.  Our ultrasound to check for kidneys on these babies is set for 10am on Monday September 10th.  This appointment sits a little too close to the date we found out Gabriel's diagnosis for us - but emotionally it has to be done.  Luckily we have 3 weeks to move past that thought... hopefully.

I wish they could have done it sooner, this 3 week wait is going to be terrifying. I'm holding faith in the genetic councelor telling us it was incredibly unlikely to happen to us again. Oh how I hope and pray that she is right...

We have a standard OB appointment on the 5th so hopefully there won't be too many surprises for us a few days later at our ultrasound.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Post #100...

Uffda... 100 posts, that seems semi crazy to me.  I can't believe how many thoughts, emotions, and experiences I've fit into 100 posts in the last year (or so).

I've hit a bit of a wall today.   1 year ago our journey hit a major scary fork in its road, we recieved Gabriel's diagnosis.  Looking back on that day is like a flood of emotions. I remember laying there, hearing the words being said but not processing what those words mean, being in such denial that you can't even begin to understand what is happening. Then all of the sudden it hits you, "There's nothing we can do, I'm so sorry." Its what I imagine being hit by grenade would feel like.  Your brain gets overwhelmed in thoughts: "How can I fix this?" "How do I save my baby?" "What do I do now?" "How is this possible?" "This isn't supposed to be happening to us."... My first thought once reality hit was that I needed to get out of there.  We walked out and sat in the parking lot crying and crying and processing what happens now.  I was in a fog for a few weeks. I don't remember much of that time, my focus was on my baby and how to fix it.  The following months took us down a path that we never prepared for, we never thought we'd have to.   Its amazing to look back and think about how naive I was, how much of a different person I was then and who I've become now.

And here we sit, 14 weeks pregnant, and a mere weeks away from finding out whether or not our current babies have kidneys.  The clinics are causing this process to be much more complicated than it needs to be.  It takes all my courage and strength just to pick up the phone and call about this appointment, and we have to go to the same string of clinics we went to when we recieved Gabriel's diagnosis - just over 1 year later.  Our clinic and that clinic are not communicating well and its taking many phone calls and a mess to get this appointment set up.  Their disorganization is causing so much unnecessary stress about this - I really don't need them to add to my already emotional state.

Yesterday, we went to visit Gabriel, I had some things from some loved ones that needed to be dropped off for him.  It was a pleasant visit on a really nice day...  Afterwards we went to my mom's and picked up the crib she had sitting in her playroom, we came home and set it all up.  I was fine about this, excited that we will finally get to use these items.  Now we just need to find a second crib similar to that one... Today I walked into that room and the feeling was a bit different.  I know Gabriel would be grateful that we have the opportunity to use his things, to finally be putting it to use.  There's still that part of me that imagines what he would look like sleeping in that crib, wrapped in those blankets. 

I worry about the twins constantly.  I worry about Baby B and hope that it will pull through and everything will be fine.  I worry that we could show up at our next appointment only to find out one of the babies isn't living, or we'll go to this next ultrasound and learn that something is wrong with one of them.  I try my best to keep everything composed, but seriously, I can't be 100% all the time - especially with the date being so close to the date we recieved Gabriel's diagnosis.   I feel tiny little pokes but I can't wait till I can feel them both moving constantly for some comfort measures. I realize that doesn't mean something won't happen, but at least in that moment I'll know they're ok.  At this point, its still somewhat hard to decide if the "pokes" are really just gas bubbles or them moving... Oh how I wish I could tell the difference.   I began feeling Gabriel around 14 weeks so I'm hoping this will happen soon. 

This post has been pretty emotional to write, so I'm going to leave it short about the current pregnancy.  I'm still exhausted, I'm less nauseous than I was before, and I'm growing out of my clothes.  We've completed 102 days of this pregnancy and only have 182 more days to go!



Wednesday, August 15, 2012

2nd trimester

There's much controversy (In the maternity world) about when 2nd trimester starts.  Some say 12 weeks, some say 13 weeks and some say 14 weeks.  I go by:  40 weeks divided by 3 is 13 weeks 3 days per trimester.  I round it off.  13 weeks is close enough for me. 

So today I reach 2nd trimester.  Yay, 1/3 of the way baked!   2nd trimester was a tough one for us.  Thats the trimester we were in when we learned Gabriel wouldn't live, we spent much of the 2nd half of 2nd tri deciding whether or not to carry our terminal baby to term, then spent the rest of the trimester learning how to live with that decision.

I am afraid that 2nd trimester this time may be emotional as well, but in a different way.  As we start to feel the babies move, have our kidney check, and our anatomy scan, we'll experience emotional flash backs to Gabriel.  I hope that, like many other things, this will bring a smile to my face and bring me back to those few precious months we had with him safely tucked inside.

13 weeks - peaches!

The babies are now the length of peaches!  (Or your pinky finger, whichever is the better comparison for you).  Either way you measure, babies are about 3 inches long and weigh about an ounce.  Their finger prints have formed. They could starting to sprout some hair on their heads already!

As the weeks go on, I feel myself getting bigger and bigger. Derrick still continues to remind me "You're not even that big yet" as I take belly pictures each week. He obviously doesn't get it haha.  Regardless of what I look like, I'm starting to feel huge - although I realize I'm in for much much worse!

The nausea has gone away for the most part (Thank you God!), but now I feel more and more exhausted.  I was hoping for more energy as I reached second trimester, but apparently I was really wrong about that...     It could be because I'm struggling to sleep, Its not comfortable on my back, or on my tummy, and sleeping on my sides is messing with my back.  I remember going through this stage (although a few weeks later in pregnancy) with the other 2 babies... Eventually my body figures out how to be comfortable.  It does make me worry about how I'm going to sleep when I'm HUGE...

I've been lucky enough to have a twin momma or two who have been through this journey before. I've been using them as resources for preparing and getting through a twin pregnancy.  I'm pretty lucky to have these resources at my finger tips. 

3 weeks from now we'll have our ultrasound to check for kidneys.  I am feeling a tiny bit more nervous now about that check than I was last week.  I'm fairly confident these babies will be ok though.



Wednesday, August 8, 2012

8 months + 12 weeks

Sweet Angel,

8 months ago, we met you. We held you, we loved you, we cherished you.  I can't believe it was already 8 months ago that I last saw your beautiful angel face.   I think about you every moment of every day.  I wonder what you would look like now, what you would be like.  You'd be well into eating solid foods, what would you like, what would you not like?  Would you be crawling? Pulling yourself up on things?  Would you be a good sleeper like your sister was, or would you keep us up at night?   Its these things that I wish I knew about you.  We love you so much and miss you more than you can imagine. 

I watch for signals and signs from you.  I don't feel like I've had much of an "ah ha" moment since the day you were born.  Someday, I hope you will send us a sign that says "Mom, I'm here!" 

12 weeks!


I can't believe both babies are already the size of plums!  So big, its no wonder my belly seems to grow everyday!  Over the next week they'll gain an inch each! Wow! 

This week:  The fingernails are well formed and soon they'll be able to open and close their fists.   They are moving all around, although I barely feel flutters at this point. Babies vocal cords are developing, but we won't hear those wonderful sounds for at least another 5 or 6 months.




Monday, August 6, 2012

Sweet Relief.

Woke up this morning feeling terrified.  I was so scared we'd be hearing bad news today. I couldn't eat, was shaking, and really thought the nerves may cause me to throw up.  I sat and waited and tried to pass the time by keeping busy.

When we got there, I really just wanted to walk out.  I'd been feeling ok about everything until this morning.  I didn't really want to be there.

Evelyn sat down with her snack and Derrick took my hand.  I layed down and the hormones and emotions nearly got the best of me. Then, when she put the wand on my belly I THOUGHT I saw a baby and 1 empty sac, but apparently I was wrong.  She did confirm both growing babies with two beating hearts.

This is a head shot because its the only angle she can get them both in!


















Baby A was measuring 11 weeks 6 days (1 day ahead) with a
heartbeat of 174.  Baby A was also being CRAZY!  Doing flips
and kicks the entire time.  It looked like it was kicking off the
gestational sac wall and flipping over.  It was so fun to watch.

Baby B was much more relaxed.  but had its back toward
 us so we couldn't get a good profile shot, it was also
curled up in a little ball.   But B was measuring
 10 weeks 6 days with a heart beat of 161.
The tech said the sac was still looking small but said
nothing else.


Then, we waited for the Dr.  She came in, weight check, urine sample, and blood pressure. Then she listened for the heart beats. (we could see them on the ultrasound but didn't hear them until she tried). She was able to find both but could only find A's breifly because it moves too much.  She said she doesn't see any reason for concern, she isn't worried about B's sac size because the baby is still growing perfectly fine. She specifically told us not to worry about it.

She offered for us to see a genetic councelor about any concerns we have regarding Potter's Syndrome. I told her we had talked to one who answered all our questions and I still hang onto her contact information incase any more concerns were to come up.

She said that being pregnant after a loss is stressful enough, but being high risk after a loss is so much more.  She said if I ever feel overwhelmed with concern and worry to call and they will bring me in to listen for heartbeats.  I was grateful for that offer.

She wrote me a referral to have the kidneys checked.  She also said she wants to see me one more time before that check is done.  So in 4 weeks I'll have 2 appointments, first a standard prenatal, then a kidney check. 

We both walked out with huge smiles on our faces. We both felt so much relief after hearing that there was no apparent cause for concerns right now.  I don't think either of us have felt that good in awhile.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

11 weeks + new support group

Last night I was able to attend a new support group. Unfortunately Derrick couldn't get off work to join me, but I'm sure hoping he will next month.   We had some trouble with our other support group, just personal preference things.  One thing being that there wasn't enough time in the session to do anything more than an introduction, and since it was always different people showing up (I think we were one of the only "regulars") it was always long intros and then out of time.  We never felt like we truly bonded with anybody because they rarely came back.

In this new group, not only are there more members which allows for much more indepth conversation, but there isn't a time limit and it seems like a bunch of them keep coming back.  We did short intros (the abbreviated version of each person's story) and then jumped into conversation topics like: triggers, signs, and anything else anybody needed to talk about. It felt like people wanted to get to know you after building a relationship with you, slowly getting to know more about your story as time goes on instead of trying to tell every bit of your story in one long introduction.

There were people there with 20 years behind them, 16, 8, 9 months, 8 months, and even 3 months. It was nice to have the variety of length in peoples greiving.  To understand that it never goes away, you will always be dealing with the loss in different ways.  It was also nice to get help and advice from people who have been exactly where you are in years gone by.

I was a little nervous about showing up - being pregnant and all. I didn't know how the other loss mom's would react, especially since the group isn't geared towards pregnancy after a loss.  But the others seemed very open to talking about being high risk after a loss and everything that goes with subsequent pregnancies. It was so nice to feel the love and support of everyone there. 

I had the pleasure of finally meeting another loss mom I've been interracting with online since December.  We discovered that we lived in the same area and have been in touch ever since.  It was great to finally meet her, especially since we are travelling the same path.


BABIES!
Today, I am 11 weeks pregnant!  I woke up yesterday morning to quite the surprise -


All the sudden there was significant baby belly!  That came nearly out of nowhere! I'm hoping and praying that this is a good sign that BOTH babies are in there growing perfectly.  We don't have our next ultrasound until next Monday, that's when they'll tell us how Baby B is doing.  Its been a really long 3 week wait to find out if we still have 2 healthy babies in there.

I've been thinking a lot about these days when we had Gabriel with us.  How differently I was feeling both physically and emotionally.  I remember feeling those first kicks he gave me and am wondering how I'll feel when these two start.  I remember that I was finally settling into the idea of having another little one and getting excited.  Only to have that hope and dream ripped away from us. 

Derrick and I often talk about what these little buggers will look like when they come out.  My guess is that since Evelyn and Gabriel looked alike, these two will probably resemble them as well.  I'm hoping that won't cause an emotional issue for either of us when they are born. 

Getting excited as we are getting closer and closer to finding out Baby B's status and inching closer and closer to 2nd trimester!  Yay!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

10 weeks 1 day

"Pregnancy after a loss brain" has got my mind whirling and twirling in circles some days.  The other day I had a dream, Baby B was born at 13 weeks (somehow we knew it was a boy) and obviously wouldn't live. But I was still pregnant with baby A and that pregnancy went on as normal.  Do I see this as a premonition? No, I see it as my brain going crazy about the minor concerns with Baby B. But does it worry me - absolutely.    Then last night, I had another dream that we went in for another ultrasound and Baby B was gone.  Again, I don't see this as a premonition, but instead as my brains way of working through my real life fears and worries.

We still have 12 days until our next scan of Baby B and the wait is killing me.  I know that doctor I talked to said that its very minor concerns, but after a loss - even minor concerns feel major.  So I try to think positive and that everything will be ok, but sometimes I don't feel that way at all.  It just depends on my mental stance that day.  I sure wish they wouldn't have made us wait so long for another scan, it seems like its still forever away.

Then, we'll get through this scan and shortly after they'll start checking for kidneys and function. Yet another pregnancy after a loss stresser.  I'm confident that these babies will be ok though.  They don't need to be perfect - I just want two healthy alive babies.

But, the good news is this: We're at 10 weeks! 1/4 of the way there! 25%! Yay! Cook babies cook! 

I'm feeling pretty good, I think the water intake is helping with the cramping (its much more minor now), the bloat I get is rediculous and the nausea is starting to subside.  I find if I eat many small meals (and SLOW) then I feel better throughout the day.  Of course these things have my mind going in circles too because these are the symptoms that make me confident its still twins in there, but nearing 2nd tri means symptoms will start to go.


I know Gabriel is watching out for these little ones, he's definitely pulling for these two.  I think back to how I was feeling at this time with Gabriel - I wasn't as excited, I wasn't very  happy and I think deep down I knew something was wrong.   I'm so glad I don't feel that way with these two, I feel much more confident (and I hope this certainty doesn't come back to bite me in the behind).  I'm so excited for the twins, but I still would rather have had Gabriel here, to not be pregnant again and instead enjoying my 7-8 month old baby.  But I'm moving forward with life, playing life's game with the cards I've been dealt all while knowing that Gabriel's still here with me and watching over us. 

My mom said something that has stuck in my mind: "Gabriel went back up to God and told him what wonderful parents you were to him, that you gave him life and love that he may not have gotten with someone else, he told him that you deserve another baby and God said 'x2'"

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Update to: Yolk sacs?

I just talked to a dr (not mine, but from my clinic and he was very very nice) who was able to answer some questions for me :) He said that abnormally shaped yolk sacs are not uncommon and not a reason for concern unless there are signs that baby is struggling. (not growing right, low heartbeat...) I also mentioned that one babies gestational sac was smaller than they'd like to see at this stage but that they didn't seem concerned and he said thats fairly normal too. He said that he looked and he sees no reason for concern, just a few things to check on in a few weeks. He said, since babies are still growing normal, appear normal and have good strong heartbeats he's totally fine with it. So YAY! He made me feel much better!!

Yolk Sac?

Had our appointment this morning! YAY! Its been a long wait wondering and worrying if both babies are going to make it.   What a relief it was to see both babies on the screen hearts beating away like little hummingbird wings. 


We are currently 9 weeks 1 day along.

Baby A is measuring 8 weeks 6 days with a heartbeat of 186.  Everything looks good so far :)

Baby B is still 4 days behind, measuring 8 weeks 2 days with a heartbeat of 184.  They did say that Baby Bs Yolk Sac is a little bit abnormally shaped.  They said that its a concern, something to check again, but it could be absolutely nothing.   She said everything else looks ok so she doesn't think its too big of a deal, but sometimes is a prewarning that the baby isn't viable. :(  back to the waiting game.

Of course, they couldn't tell us everything looked fine and dandy.  But for now they are both strong and doing well, so I'm going to try my best to not allow this to ruin my days waiting 3 more weeks for yet another ultrasound to confirm that everything is or isn't ok. Ugh.

I like this clinic, but I'm not used to them, I like my Dr. much better. They are so text book at this clinic, thats not me.  I told them I don't want to do any extra scans except for kidneys (they said they wouldn't look till 20 week anatomy scan, I'll talk to Dr Landers about it instead), asked about delivery of twins (I really just wanted to know if I'll be able to deliver at Woodwinds or not - they said if they are born after 34 weeks we can).  They were a stickler about not taking pictures of the ultrasound on my phone, which I've never had an issue with before. Its just a change, a change I'll get used to I guess.  But I did get the OB I was hoping for so thats awesome news :)

I told Derrick, if baby B pulls through, this baby will be our trouble child. Joy.

For now I'm just going to enjoy knowing that both babies are in there growing, hearts beating.  Today I'm still pregnant with twins, and today I love my babies :)