Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Another good appointment

I had another NST/BPP today at my high risk doctor's office.  It went well!  They don't give you too much info, but I passed, which is the good news.  I was happy to hear that the boys are now in a head down position.  Soooo, with that development I'm going to talk to my regular OB to see if I could possibly attempt a normal delivery.  Only if it wouldn't put the boys at risk.  They've never been in the correct position before, and I'm hoping they'll stay head down. We go back to the cardiologist Monday to recheck the boys' hearts.  Then a more detailed "growth" ultrasound/NST Tuesday at the high risk doctor's office.  When we're done with the testing there, we're going to meet with the speech pathologists to discuss the feeding issues Adam will encounter due to his cleft.  So lots of new info to come next week :-)  I can't believe that I will for sure have the boys in 5 weeks or less!!!!!!!!  I'm so nervous and excited at the same time! 

When Nolan got home from school today he took Jazzy outside so she could go to the bathroom. I looked out and there he was with the leash in one hand, and a toy gun in another hand pretending to shoot at who knows what.  He was really into it, acting out some sort of war scene.  It was so cute.....he's getting so grown up and I am really cherishing him still being a little boy.  I know it won't be much longer until he's way too cool to pretend play.  I love my Nolan <3

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Fun Weekend and Worries

We had a nice Thanksgiving - low key, but that is how it had to be in my "condition" :)  We had dinner with Mark's parents Thanksgiving day, and then my parents came Saturday to celebrate Christmas and Thanksgiving.  It was really early to celebrate Christmas, but I can't travel and we don't know when the babies will come, so we wanted to make sure to get a celebration in!  It was really fun.  It was weird to say goodbye knowing that the next time I'll see them will be once the babies arrive!

We also celebrated our wedding anniversary, which was super fun.  We went out to eat at The Melting Pot.  Nolan had actually requested his birthday dinner to be at the Melting Pot.....since we knew that wouldn't be possible with the twins (they'd be too young to leave with a sitter, and that restaurant is certainly not infant-twin-friendly!!), we decided to all three go and do a celebration for both events.  It was a perfect evening.  Good conversation, lots of laughs, and awesome food.  An embarrassing moment was when we had to ask for a different table because my belly was too big to comfortably fit in the booth!  LOL  Oh well.....at least I have a good excuse for being so big! 

I am officially freaking out about having a C section.  I know I need to calm down....I don't know if it's the hormones or what, but I cannot stop worrying!  My main worries are as follows:

1.  Bleeding to death
2.  The spinal not working, and having to feel the surgery (when I got an epi with Nolan it didn't work because "my spine was too tight"?!  So I have a fear that my spine won't cooperate this time either!!)
3.  Getting stapled shut - that just sounds horrible to me.  Stitches sound much better!
4.  How I'm going to manage recovering from a major surgery while caring for two infants
5.  Feeling "out of it" from pain meds, and not being able to bond with the boys right away
6.  Having a major allergic reaction to the antibiotics they give me (the doctor is using one that is related to one I'm allergic to, based on the statement from me that I *think* I've had it before and was okay....I even backpedaled and said I really wasn't 100% sure and maybe it won't be safe.....but he still plans on using it?!?!)

The silver lining is that I'm not worried about the boys, because I know a C section is the safest option for them.  So I'll take my insane worries any day over having a normal delivery and worrying that one or both of them will be harmed from it.  I plan on discussing the surgery at length during my next appointment.  Maybe that conversation will put my mind at ease.  I sure hope so!!!

Worries aside, it's been a great long weekend at the V household.  I feel very lucky to have such a nice family <3  

Friday, November 26, 2010

Passed another NST!

Today I had my second NST.  Babies did a great job!  I had the test at labor & delivery at St. V's....they were able to find both heart rates easily so it wasn't as long as the one I had Tuesday.  And no one had to be pressing on my stomach the whole time, which was nice!  I'm so glad my little wiggle worms are doing well :-)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Mopping for the Modern Day Mopper!

I can't believe I'm writing a blog entry about mopping, but it's been on my mind a lot!  That might seem odd, but considering that our house does not have any carpeted areas (everything is tile or laminate), it's an issue.  We have a huge area rug in our living room, and also an area rug in two of the bedrooms, but that is it.  For someone who HATES to mop under normal circumstances, the thought of mopping once the twins arrive makes me want to run and hide!  My issue is that I can't find a good mop.  I'm not going to get on my hands and knees and mop the entire house, and all the mops I've tried just don't work that well.  My latest mop to try was the Swiffer Wet Jet, but it leaves kind of a weird residue.  Plus, my back aches soooo badly when I'm done b/c I have to hunch over (the handles are never tall enough) and press down so hard to make the mop get the floors cleaned.  Since I've been off of work it's been impossible for me to mop at all. 

The good news is, my mopping hell days have ended!  I found the answer to my prayers - the Eureka Enviro Steam mop.  It was the best $65 I've spent in awhile.  Tall handle, so no hunching.  Water tank creates enough weight so I don't have to press down at all.  It felt like I was ironing the floor!  Not only does this mop do a fantastic job, it sanitizes the floor!  The water heats up to 225 degrees in about 3 minutes.  It. Is. Awesome.  You just use water, no chemicals.  And the mopping pad is machine washable, so no more having to keep buying expensive chemicals/pads to use with the mop.  When the twins start crawling I won't be worried about what their little hands are touching.  It's quick and easy, which is essential to a mom of twins!!

Hooray for the EnviroSteam :-) 

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Quick baby update

Today was our first biophysical profile (BPP)/non-stress test (NST).  The boys passed with flying colors!  The BPP watches their movements, checks blood flow, heart rates, and amniotic fluid.  They were going crazy, the tech was laughing.  Now they are both breech!  The NST was a nightmare.  That test monitors contractions, and watches their heart rates in response to movement.  So they are looking for heart accelerations and decelerations.  For a long time the machine was saying that she was on the same baby.  So the test went much longer than normal, and I had to deal with her being draped over me while pressing down hard on the monitors (they were on my stomach).  I was on an uncomfortable exam table so that was the first issue, and I started having hot flashes.  Then I had trouble breathing, which I discovered happens when I have contractions!  I've been wondering why I have breathing troubles at times, and now I know.  The contractions are painless, so that is why I never made the connection.  But I survived and the boys look great.  I go back Friday for another NST - ugh!  I hope it doesn't take as long as the one today.....

We also interviewed a pediatrician practice today.  I have a pediatrician in our town for Nolan, but I was looking to switch because of our insurance changing.  We really liked the new practice.  They have great hours - open until 7pm throughout the week and have Saturday morning hours.  Very experienced doctors and it seems like a good place.  So I'm going to transfer Nolan there and get Adam and Luke set up with them.  I'm glad to have that all taken care of.

All in all a productive and positive-news day!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Breathe. Smile. Love.

My mom sent me a book, Ready or Not...Here We Come!.  The book is written by a mother of twins and it's full of advice about surviving the first year with twins.  I am not finished with the book yet, but I LOVE it so far!!  It's written with a sense of humor and is full of down-to-earth advice.  One of the author's recommendations is to come up with a mantra that you can say to yourself when things get rough.  She gave many examples, but my favorite was "Breathe. Smile. Love."  What a great way to realign your attitude.  There are many instances in life when we can either cry or laugh, and I think this mantra will help us choose laughter over tears!

We're trying to balance optimism with realism.  I don't think it would be helpful to convince ourselves that it's going to be easy to have twins.  There are going to be really tough days that will make us question whether we can make it through.  Luckily Mark and I work well as a team.....we both like the breathe-smile-love mantra and we'll be there to help cheer each other up when one of us gets too overwhelmed.  We both believe that in the midst of all the baby demands, there will be a lot of joy.  We are so lucky to have two little boys on the way.  I love feeling them move around in my stomach.  I wonder who they will look like and what kind of personality they'll have.  I have visions of them playing in the backyard, taking them to the farm, looking up to their big brother Nolan, and of our house being filled with happiness.

What will happen on those not-so-great days?  We will breathe, smile, and love :-)    

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Baby update!

Today we had our 31 week "growth" ultrasound.  Things are looking pretty good for the babies!  Adam is in the 33rd percentile for size, and is weighing in at 3 lbs. 3 oz.  Luke is in the 50th percentile for size, and is weighing in at 3 lbs. 14 oz.  There is an 18% difference in their size, which the doctor said is fine.  They don't worry until there is a 20-25% difference in size.  Amniotic fluid levels look good and I'm not showing signs of impending labor yet.  All great news!!  The babies are laying in weird positions.  Adam is breech and is straight up the middle of my stomach.  Luke is laying transverse, right under my ribs.  So they are in a T formation.  Luke's body is laying over the top of Adam's head.  Weird!  Now I know why I feel such odd movements lately :)  Both boys had their faces turned towards my back, so they didn't get face shots of either baby.  So they weren't able to examine the cleft/tongue situation for Adam.  All in all, the doctor feels like things are stable and I'm supposed to continue to keep my feet up, stress levels down, and eat well!  It's so nice to have positive appointments, vs. the doom and gloom we dealt with previously..... 

Next week marks the start of my non-stress tests and biophysical profile assessments.  I'll go twice a week for those.  The doctor said that space starts to really become an issue at this point in the pregnancy.  He said to expect the boys to lose ground in their size percentiles from here on out, since their growth will be restricted due to lack of space.  I'm glad they'll be watching them so closely because things can change quickly in a twin pregnancy!  Today the doctor said that if I haven't gone into labor by 38 weeks they will deliver the twins.  So that means I will have my boys in my arms in 7 weeks or less!!!!!  I am so excited!!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

The Great Re-Organization

I don't know if I'm experiencing "nesting" or what, but my getting-the-house-ready-for-the-twins instinct has kicked in big time!  (actually I think this is a little early for nesting...hope this isn't a sign the twins are coming early!!!) 

Organization has never been one of my strong points.  I'm good at staying on top of things that need to be done at work, paying bills on time, remembering appointments, meeting deadlines, etc.  My downfall is organization of possessions.  I have a hard time finding good places to put things....therefore after awhile closets, drawers, etc. are a mess.  I think my mom cringes every time she comes to visit and opens a drawer (my mom is queen of organization)!  I don't know much about raising twins, but I know enough to realize that organization is going to be key to things running smoothly.  I can imagine that a household can become total chaos very quickly if we don't stay on top of things.

So, tomorrow is going to be Mark's worst nightmare....  We have a lot of closet/cabinet space at our house, but we're not utilizing them effectively.  So I've come up with some plans for changes in the kitchen cabinets/pantry, and the bathroom/bedroom closets.  It's going to be a pain to make the changes, but things will be in more logical locations and I *think* we're going to be able to stay more organized this way.  It's going to be a nightmare for Mark because he'll be doing all the physical labor involved since I can't!  But luckily he agrees that changes need to be made and that it'll benefit everyone.  My good hubby :)

After tomorrow, I'll feel pretty good about our level of readiness for the twins.  We have all the needed supplies purchased, washed, set-up, and ready to go.  Our house will be in tip-top shape.  We can do this!!

Friday, November 12, 2010

New belly pic

I'll post a belly pic every couple of weeks.  It just keeps growing and growing!  The biggest change I notice is the "fullness" of my stomach.  There is baby from right under my ribs on down.  It's so weird to sit and watch my stomach bounce around!  Now I can see and feel body parts when they are in certain positions.  I just can't imagine how huge my stomach will be when I deliver.  This is the time period when they gain 1/2 lb. a week each - so stay tuned for some rapid growing!!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Some random thoughts....

With all the time I have on my hands nowadays (it's so weird to just prop my feet up and grow babies all day!), I've been doing a lot of thinking about life and parenthood.  I think back to when Nolan was an infant - it's funny how how clearly I remember certain moments that were 9 years ago!  With Nolan I think I was young enough and clueless enough that I didn't know what to worry about.  When I got a positive pregnancy test, the thought never crossed my mind that there could be complications or health issues with the baby.  Just picked a name that sounded good and moved on.  I blindly bought baby supplies - whatever was on sale - no researching involved.  Got him circumcised and vaccinated without blinking an eye.  I had no idea what I was doing, but somehow Nolan and I both survived.  Nolan is a great kid - healthy, does well in school and sports, has friends, and generally just does the right thing (most of the time :) ).

Sometimes I wish I could go back to that blissful ignorance :)  With this pregnancy, I was acutely aware of the risks from day one.  Every twinge would cause fear - what if something is wrong?  And the risks and complications became a reality for us.  Ultrasounds were so much more than getting to see our babies - there was the fear of what will they find this time?  I research EVERYTHING.  I hate to guess how many hours I've spent online reading product reviews, hoping to find the perfect choice for every type of baby supply.  I've read articles about circumcising baby boys, and about vaccinations and weighed the pros and cons.  Naming the boys was quite the undertaking.  I think through what life is going to be like when the twins arrive.  How we will handle certain situations and make all of this work.  The 23-year-old me vs. the 32-year-old me - what a difference!

I'm glad I've become more enlightened in some ways.  I think the "stuff" we've gotten for the boys is great....and without researching products I probably would have ended up with some not-so-great stuff (sorry Nolan, a lot of your baby supplies were just not good!).  I'm still going to get the boys vaccinated and circumcised, but I feel like I'm making an informed decision vs. just blindly agreeing to things.  I wish I could worry less and just enjoy the journey.  That is my task for now.  Enjoy each moment and take things one day at a time.  Thousands of families have had twins, and they somehow survive!  Life will get crazy and chaotic at times, but it'll be a happy chaos :)  

Monday, November 8, 2010

Naming our boys

So I love names.  Months before we were even pregnant, I was thinking about names.  Names follow you forever, and I like names that have meaning and history linked to them.  Given the fact that we had a very difficult journey to even get pregnant, I wanted special names linked to the Bible for our boys.  I feel that they are such a miracle and gift from God!

Finding suitable names had many obstacles - with our last name being what it is, giving our boys a complicated or unusual first name was not an option.  Then you have to factor in Mark being from Belgium, and being unable to pronounce certain names in English.  And finally, Mr. Nolan.  Nolan is 8 years old, and one might not think an 8-year-old boy would concern himself much with the naming of babies.  Most probably wouldn't care - but Nolan is not most boys!  Nolan took the naming process VERY seriously - he literally broke down and cried over some name suggestions.  So trying to find names that pleased three picky people was not easy.

A month or so ago we thought we had reached a concensus - Adam Matthew and Caleb Joseph.  We were all satisfied and life was good.  I am going to put the boys' names on the wall above their cribs - each time I would think about going out to get the wooden letters, something would stop me.  I started having a nagging feeling about Caleb - and I finally admitted to Mark this weekend that I didn't think I could name one of the boys Caleb.  Luckily he was open to looking at names again.  We cycled through many new possibilities, and finally setted on Alexander John and Dominic Joseph.  Nolan was at his dad's this weekend, and returned last night.  I was nervous to tell him about the change, but felt confident that he would like the names.  WOW was I wrong!!!  He was devastated and hated the names.  *Sigh*  So it was back to the drawing board again.....

I printed off the top 100 names from the Social Security website.  We all had a copy, and had to mark the names we liked.  We hoped we'd have two names that we all picked.  Surprisingly, we had four names in common!  Matthew, Benjamin, Adam, and Luke.  After some negotiating, we came up with a pair of names we ALL LOVE!  Drum roll.........

Adam Joseph and Luke Alexander

How do I know these are *the* names?  I finally feel ready to go get those wooden letters.  Nolan and I are going to get them after school today, and will start working on painting them :D  Nolan has been so sweet during the pregnancy - he's very interested in what is happening and has been awesome about everything.  Naming the boys was ultimately going to be the decided by Mark and I, but I really hoped Nolan could be a part of it.  So I'm thrilled that it worked out to let him be a part of the process.  He's going to be the best big brother....

Our new blog

I decided to give blogging a try, so we'll see how this goes! 

A little background about what lead me to start this blog...

We received wonderful, exciting news in early May 2010 - we were pregnant!!  We were beyond thrilled.  Since then, it's been quite a rollercoaster.  We found out in June that we were having twins - WOW!  The beginning of the pregnancy was somewhat uneventful - had an episode of bedrest in July, but babies looked good and the pregnancy was progressing well.  We had our 18 week anatomy scan in August, and we were so excited to find out the gender of our twins.  We are having two boys :D  I feel so lucky to have three little boys to love!  At the anatomy scan, the technician found some abnormalities.  It was an awful experience because she dropped the bomb that one of the babies might have a cleft lip/palate, and there looked to be a heart issue.  She mentioned these possibly being linked to Down Syndrome or Trisomy 18.  It was really scary and upsetting!  We had to wait a month to get a higher level ultrasound at a maternal-fetal medicine clinic.  Those were four long weeks...

In September we had our level 2 ultrasound, and received even more upsetting news.  One of the babies does have a unilateral cleft lip/palate on the left side.  Both babies were missing an artery in their umbilical cords (single umbilical artery - SUA).  Both babies had abnormal brain ventricle measurements, called mild ventrigulomegaly.  One baby had a spot on his heart, and there looked to be some sort of blood flow issue.  One baby has an enlarged/protruding tongue.  I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes.  Some type of syndrome was suspected, due to the fact that there were multiple issues discovered.  It was an appointment we'll never forget!  We were so scared and unsure about the future of our babies.  Further tests were ordered - fetal MRI, and fetal echocardiogram.  Everything required more waiting and left many unanswered questions.  We started praying - churches all over added us to their prayer lists and we all were hoping for the best. 

Since September, it seems that a miracle has taken place!  One by one, issues started clearing up with the babies.  First, one baby starting have normal ventricle measurements.  Then, the heart issue disappeared.  Then the other baby starting have normal ventricle measurements.  And now, my gestational diabetes has made drastic improvements to the point where we're not sure I even have it anymore!  It's been absolutely amazing!!  Now we are left with one baby having cleft lip/palate, and the single-umbilical artery issue - that's it!  Of course a syndrome could still be discovered at birth, but at least both babies are healthy.  There is still a question about the protruding/enlarged tongue, but it could be from the cleft lip/palate.  The cleft lip/palate will require surgeries and will cause feeding/speech issues.  But we can deal with those things.  And really the cleft seems so minor now compared to what we initially thought we would be dealing with.  We feel so blessed!!!!

I am done working and I am on modified bedrest.  Basically I just have to take it easy and keep my feet up as much as possible.  This will help prevent preterm labor, high blood pressure, and helps with my blood sugar levels (which have been fantastic since I've stopped working - to the point we're not sure I still have it!).  We are watching the growth of both babies closely to make sure the umbilical cord issue isn't restricting their growth.  So far so good.  My next ultrasound is November 16th, and I'll be 31 weeks at that point.  I can't wait to see our boys, and to see how much they've grown!  Stay tuned for updates on our little guys :D