Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Pregnancy Ups & Downs

I've been listening to this podcast called PregTastic.  I know, it sounds silly, but it's actually pretty informative.  It's usually a discussion with 4-5 pregnant women and an expert in some area (e.g. an OB or an expert in baby safety or baby wearing).  Usually at the end of the show, they go around the circle and give their pregnancy up & down for the week.  So I thought I might do that this week.

My up for the week is that I'm going to be able to see my family (brother, sister-in-law who is due with her first baby in June, niece and mom) and friends in Pasadena this weekend.  Some of my dear friends are throwing a shower for me on Friday night, and I'm just really excited to see all of them.  They are the best.  I was also able to see my dad at the Atlanta airport yesterday during my layover.  It was great to see him, even if it was only a couple of hours.

I have a couple of downs for the week.  First, I'm feeling my first "wow, I'm getting really out of shape" feelings.  I don't mind feeling round and I love my growing belly, but I'm starting to realize that more than my belly is growing and it makes me uncomfortable.  I'm trying to focus on being sure that I eat responsibly and that my babies get the nutrients that they need instead of worrying about the size of my butt.  And I try to remember that I will be able to run again someday and hopefully make it go back to its normal size.

My other down is from my OB appointment yesterday.  Everything looks good, except that my cervix is shortening.  It was 4.5 cm at somewhere around 12 weeks, and it was 3.1 cm at my Level II ultrasound, which was around 19 weeks.  That sounds like a pretty considerable decrease to me (30%).  This is something that they worry about with twin pregnancies, because it's increased pressure on your cervix, and cervical shortening can lead to pre-term labor.  So they're going to measure it again at my ultrasound on April 27 (that's my growth scan ultrasound).  In the meantime, the OB told me to take it easy and take my 3-4 mile walks down to 2 miles.  I used to run 5 or 6 miles a day, so walking 2 miles a day sounds like barely moving.  Now I'm so paranoid about the cervical length that I don't want to go walking at all.  The idea of not even walking makes me worry more about getting even more out of shape.

Of course, the joy of having these two babies by far outweighs any body issues that I have.  Please pray for my cervical length to hold strong so that these babies stay put for as long as they need to and so that they are born big & healthy.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

21 Weeks and Off to California

Here we are at 21 weeks.  They're getting much bigger lately.  I feel like my belly has exploded over the past couple of weeks.  I don't think this is the most flattering picture ever, but you can get a sense of my size now.  I'm scared to think of what I'm going to look like in 10 more weeks!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Lots of Kicking and Another Trip to San Diego

The babies have started to move a lot lately.  I really love that.  I seem to feel them the most in the morning and the evening.  They also seem to move when I eat or drink something with sugar or caffeine in it.  Last night when we were lying in bed, we were both staring at my stomach.  At least twice, I felt a pretty good kick and could actually see my stomach twitch a little bit.  I'm sure as the pregnancy progresses, it will become easier to feel and see, but it's just really fun for us to be experiencing this for the first time. 

Tomorrow, I'm going for another regular OB appointment and then heading to RDU to go to San Diego for work.  On the way there, I have a short layover in Atlanta, so I'm going to get to visit with my dad for just a couple hours.  On Friday night, I'll be heading to Pasadena to see my family & friends.  My brother and sister-in-law live there, and my mother and niece will be visiting also.  Some of my dearest friends are going to have a little shower for me that evening.  It will be great to see them.  I'm really excited.  I have wonderful friends.  I already know that the weekend will be too short.

Oh! I just felt another kick...

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Side Table & Grill

Today has been a very productive Saturday for us.  We slept in and ate breakfast.  Then we decided to go to Lowe's to buy a grill that Jason has been wanting.  They were sold out at all of our closest Lowe's, so we had to go to Garner (a grueling 20 minute drive) to pick one up.  We had a 10% off coupon, so we got a decent discount, considering that it's hard to find any good grill sales this time of year.  Jason has been wanting a grill since we moved here, but we just didn't make it happen last year.  I'm glad he finally got his grill.

After picking up the grill, we went to Chipotle for lunch.  A couple interesting facts about Chipotle:   
  1. The babies and I are loving Chipotle right now.  I probably eat there at least 2 or 3 times a week (which is probably too often).  This is a little weird, considering that I can't eat anything even slightly spicy.  Even the mild salsa clears out my sinuses.  
  2. Jason cannot pronounce "chipotle" (or "nuclear") to save his life.  It's endearing - at least there is something he can't do.  =)

Then we came home and put the grill together.  They didn't have any assembled at the store, but we tend to like assembling things, and it was a really nice day to spend outside.

Jason stands among the pile of parts, boxes and styrofoam.

Here he stands proudly with his assembled man grill.  =)

Earlier this week, I put a couple of coats of white paint on my side table (the bed stand from my old, old bedroom suit).  At Lowe's this morning, I bought new knobs for it - the finishing touch.  I'm thrilled with it!  It will be perfect for the nursery.

Here is the original bed stand.  First, I sanded it by hand (definitely my least favorite part).  I kind of gave up on the spindly legs, because it was taking a painfully long time to sand them.

This is with one coat of primer.  I figured this would help on the sections where I got lazy with the sander.

And here is the final product!  I put two coats of white semi-gloss on it and the new knobs from Lowe's.  I'm really happy with it.

We finished up the evening with a trip to Kroger and a delicious steak dinner courtesy of my wonderful husband.  We also grilled some green pepper and onions.  We ate some sliced mango for dessert as we watched the first episode of the Life series from the Discovery Channel.  It is a phenomenal show - beautiful images of wildlife across the globe.  I'm really looking forward to the next three episodes that we're recording tomorrow.

These days, I'm looking really pregnant and I'm feeling the babies move a lot lately.  It's just the neatest thing.

Friday, March 26, 2010

When Are You Due?

A lot of people ask me when I'm due, and I have a hard time answering this question.  My normal "singleton" 40-week due date would be August 11.  Singletons are considered "full term" at 40 weeks.  But twins are considered "full term" at 37 weeks, which would give me a date of July 21.  So I guess my actual due date is July 21.  Some physicians will induce if twins go much beyond that - I think this is because they run out of room to grow.

Anyway, so for everyone out there wondering, I guess my due date is July 21.  I'm going to try to remember to ask my doctor about this at my next doctor's visit next week.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


I'm sure that I was tiny once.  I guess I was a tiny baby about 31 years ago.  In the last 31 years, I do not remember anyone ever calling me tiny.  Never...

...until I got pregnant.  Over the past couple of weeks, I have had at least 5 people tell me that I look "tiny" for carrying twins.  On the other hand, I have had a couple people have a response like,"Wow, you're only at 19 weeks?!  Looks like you're in for a hard pregnancy," (because they're used to singleton moms at 19 weeks who are much smaller).

I guess I should just relish in the idea of people calling me tiny, even though the scale said 173 this morning.  I was joking with Jason last night that I should go on the Bigger Loser pregnant... though I guess having a baby is a "cheating" way to lose weight.  ;-)

20 Weeks - Halfway There!

We're at 20 weeks today.  By normal pregnancy standards, that would be our half-way point.  But because I'm having twins, I'm probably slightly beyond the half-way point.  The average twin pregnancy is about 36 weeks.  That would make my real half-way point at 18 weeks.

Of course, it's impossible to tell how many weeks I'll go before I meet these babies face to face.  If they're growing, then going the full 40 weeks would be great!  Well, it would be great for them but probably not so comfortable for me.  I'm just hopeful that they get the best possible outcome, even if I'm ridiculously uncomfortable.

The babies are supposed to be the size of a cantaloupe or a banana by now (depends on which book you're reading and what kinds of fruit they prefer, I guess).  I'm glad that we've passed the mango point.  I think we had mangoes in there for at least 2 or 3 weeks.  Though mangoes are one of my favorite fruits...

My dad is visiting my brother and my sister-in-law this week.  She is due in early June, and he said that we look like we're about the same size.  I read somewhere that I should probably look like a pregnant mommy of a singleton who is 6-8 weeks ahead of me, so I suppose that's just about right.

I continue to feel them move, and it's just the neatest thing.  They have been pretty snoozy this morning, but I'm sure they will be swimming around more by tonight.  They seem to move the most in the morning and at night.

We had a gentleman from our church come to talk to us about painting a mural in the nursery.  He is a retired IBM employee, and he's a wonderful artist.  He painted many of the rooms in the children's area at our church.  He has some great ideas, and he's going to come back to us with a sketch and an estimate.  We have no idea how much this type of thing will cost.  We're keeping our fingers crossed that it won't be too expensive.  We have a much lower threshold for cost now with our huge income change right around the corner (and 25 diapers a day)!  But it would be so neat to have their room painted up.  If we do that, I'll post some pictures, of course.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

I Feel Movement!

Over the past couple of weeks, I've felt some slight movement from the babies.  It has felt almost like goldfish swimming around in my stomach - weird, I know.

Last night, I felt a lot of movement while we had some friends here and while we were watching TV.  There were some very clear jabs or kicks.  I can't tell whether they're kicking or whether they're jabbing me, but it's fun to finally feel them.  It seems like a lot of it is coming from the right side, where our little boy is.  I've felt a little bit this morning, too.

We took some new belly pictures this weekend and some incredibly unflattering pictures during a hike at Umstead Park (which I cannot bring myself to post on the internet).  Here's a picture of the nearly 20-week belly (we will be 20 weeks tomorrow):

During the trip to San Diego, I had my first "Congratulations!" and "When are you due?" from strangers.  It's good to have confirmation that I look clearly pregnant now, because I was starting to feel like I look really overweight.  At least now I have an excuse.  ;-)

Sunday, March 21, 2010

A Week in San Diego

I'm so behind on both writing and reading blogs.  Sorry that it's been a while.

We had a great week in San Diego.  It was my company's client conference, so we had a ton of clients there and every day was non-stop.  Luckily I was able to catch a few naps here and there, because my back was hurting from sitting and standing so much.  My back only feels really comfortable when I lie flat, which I'm not supposed to do. 

The plane rides over and back were not very much fun at all.  At least on the way out, I had an aisle seat, so I was able to get up quite a few times between Atlanta and San Diego.  I have found that sitting down for a while, then standing for a while, then sitting for a while... this all makes my back a little less sore.  On the flight back, I had a window seat, and I didn't want to ask someone to switch with me.  So I sat in my seat for the entire flight without standing up or using the restroom once.  This is bad for two reasons:  1.  I'm supposed to stay hydrated, which should mean that I should be using the restroom at least once in a 5-hour period.  2.  I'm supposed to not sit or stand for more than an hour (which is really, really hard to do, if you think about it).  I was DYING to get off that plane in Atlanta.

While I was in San Diego, my company surprised me with a baby shower.  All the ladies from the company were there.  I was so surprised that I cried (I cry a lot at sweet/sentimental things these days).  They had some fabulous food, a beautiful cake... just a great time.  Then they gave me some adorable baby gifts.  I'll have to post some pictures later.  They also gave me some ridiculously generous gift cards to Babies R Us and Target, and then the Executive Team offered to pay for live-in help after the babies are born.  Needless to say, I cried over and over... I was just blown away by their generosity and kindness.

It was a great week, but I'm glad to be home.  I got home on Friday night at 1 am and slept until 11:30 on Saturday.  I seem to be back to a normal schedule now.

I'm going to go in the garage and put the first coat of white paint on that bed stand.  Hopefully I'll have some pictures of the finished product soon.  I need to buy some knobs for it.  If anyone knows a good place to buy knobs (cheaper than Pottery Barn), let me know!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

New Belly Pics & New Good Deals

I realized it's been quite a few weeks since we took any good belly pictures.  We took some this afternoon.  These aren't exactly glamor shots, but you can see the twins getting bigger and bigger each week.  I think I'm starting to feel them move, but it's hard to distinguish their little movements from other gastrointestinal gurgles.  =)

18.5 Weeks

Today, I put a coat of primer on an old bed stand than I'm hoping to use as a side table to sit beside the glider in the nursery.  I think it was my mother's when she was a little girl.  (Is that right, Mom?)  Then I used it as a little girl, took it to college with me, took it to California with me and now brought it to NC with me.  It will give us a place to put a little lamp and a drink while we're rocking the babies or feeding them.  I'll post pictures of the finished project later.  Here's what it looked like in its former state (I'm painting it white):

And on to good deals.  A couple of weeks ago, I bought two bouncers from another mom of twins.  They look practically brand new, and they were $20 each (retailing $50 brand new):

Yesterday, we bought two Chicco carseats from another twin mom.  (I know, buying used car seats is not always the safest idea, but I think these will be perfect and they've never been in an accident.)  We got both car seats and a double Snap N Go stroller for $200.  These seats are $180 EACH brand new and the double Snap N Go is $100 (so we saved $240 versus buying these brand new).  Chicco seats are supposed to be the safest, but they are so expensive.  These seats looks like they have never been used.  I think a lot of twin moms don't get out very often.  =)  Jason took some quick shots for the blog:

I think at this point, we've bought most of the bigger stuff that we're going to be buying online, so now it's on to the fun things like the little baby clothes and the more practical everyday items.

I'm taking the babies to San Diego this week for work.  I'm not looking forward to being away from Jason for 5 days, but I'm glad that my morning sickness has mostly gone away so that I can be myself at these meetings.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Kicks or Vampire Nightmares?


So I'm reading the last book in the Twilight series - the books about teenage vampires.  I know, I know... this may be somewhat juvenile of me, but they are pretty entertaining.  =)

In this book, the main character marries a vampire and basically becomes pregnant with a vampire baby. The vampire baby breaks her ribs, her pelvic bones and her spine as it's kicking her from inside her belly.  It's really not quite as morbid as it sounds (everything turns out ok in the end), but it's pretty bizarre.

So I'm reading this, and then I fall asleep.  Sometime that night, I either felt one of my babies kick, and I woke up.  Or I dreamed that this happened.  I'm not sure whether it was real or whether I dreamed it.  I have no context to the supposed "kick" whatsoever except for remembering the way it felt either in my dream or in real life (I'm still not certain which one it was).

I often dream things that directly relate to whatever I read or watched the day before, so this would not be surprising.  I also haven't felt any kicking since then, so maybe it was just a weird vampire baby dream.

Vampire twins... now THAT would be a handful...

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

18 Weeks

We're 18 weeks today.  I want to say something like,"We're almost halfway there!" or something like that.  The problem is that I don't know if we'll get to 40 weeks.  Most twin pregnancies are born around the 36 week mark.  So I'm technically due on August 11, but 36 weeks would be July 14.  If I knew I would deliver at 36 weeks, I could say that I'm halfway there now... but who knows what's going to happen?

I have a strong hunch that the last half is going to be harder than the first half, though I did feel incredibly nauseated for the first 3 months of my pregnancy.  Once I have two babies kicking around inside of me and struggling for space, I can only imagine that it gets very uncomfortable very quickly.

We really do need to take some new belly pictures now.  We haven't been very good about that lately.  I'll try to do it this week.  Every time I go to take a picture, I start scratching my belly because it itches.  Then I look like I've been attacked by a wolverine or something in the pictures.

Monday, March 8, 2010

I Can't See My Toes!

I noticed this weekend that I can't see my toes without leaning forward.  That feels really, really weird.  I started wondering this weekend whether I would eventually come to a point where I can't paint them myself.  I think that's somewhat likely, but I'm not sure.  I'll have to research that a bit.  I guess it's a good excuse to actually pay for a pedicure.  I haven't done that for a long time now.

We had wonderful weather this weekend, and we took advantage of it.  On Saturday, we walked 5 miles on a trail - the farthest that I have gone in a long, long time.  It felt very good, and it was nice to get some fresh air outside.  Yesterday, I took a monster nap in the afternoon, but we got out for another 2.5 mile walk just before the sun set.  I'm hoping that this warm weather hangs out for a while now.  It's hard to believe it was snowing just a couple weeks ago!

We have a list of names narrowed down now.  We have something like 6 girls names and 9 boy names.  I think we have some good candidates.  I really don't want their names to sound matchy-matchy.  But some of them do start with the same letter (by coincidence only).  It's going to be hard to decide which names to pick in the end.  I have a feeling that we won't have these nailed down for a long time.

I don't feel too much pressure about this now, because I just read that Jermaine Jackson named his fourth son Jermajesty.  Wow.  Well, we couldn't possibly pick a worse name than that.  =)

Friday, March 5, 2010

I'll Take One of Each, Please

We went for our level 2 ultrasound today.  It was absolutely amazing.  We were both distracted by the technology of the ultrasound machine and it's interface, but you're probably more interested in the machinery of our babies than the ultrasound machine itself.  Drumroll, please...

We're having one of each.  We couldn't be more thrilled.  I cried when they told me that Baby A was a boy.  And I cried when they told me that Baby B is a girl.  I would have cried no matter what they would have told me.  I'm just so excited to be able to imagine them now.

And we are 100% sure of each of their sexes.  With the detail of these ultrasounds, it would be virtually impossible to have these incorrectly identified (you'll see below).  Not only could they clearly see Baby A's boy parts, but they could also see Baby B's girl parts very clearly.

They both look perfectly healthy.  We went to Duke OB/GYN to have this ultrasound done, because it's a special ultrasound that they only do with high-risk pregnancies.  Twins are considered high risk, even though they're pretty common these days.

This ultrasound was extremely thorough.  It lasted about an hour and a half, and they took over 150 ultrasound pictures of them.  We got 5 pictures that we could bring home with us.  Julie, our friendly ultrasound person (I don't know what the proper term was - she was clearly a very well-trained and educated medical professional, so I'm sad that I don't know what to properly call her), was wonderful.  She talked us through all of the body parts.

They looked at their spinal cords, kidneys, stomachs, bladders, leg bones, arm bones, feet, hands, heart details (including red and blue images of their actual blood flow - AMAZING), arteries and veins, placentas, umbilical cords, brains, number of bones in their 5th fingers, measured their heads... seriously, they looked at everything very closely to make sure that they are developing properly.

After Julie finished our 1.5 hour photo session, the images were sent to a physician (I'm not sure what exactly his proper specialty is, either - perinatologist?).  He looked at them for a few minutes and then came in to talk to us to let us know that they look perfectly healthy.

And, luckily, everything looks great.  All the parts are where they are supposed to be, and there were no abnormalities.  God is good.  We are so happy.  And now for the pictures.

Baby A is a boy.  Jason and I have had some discussions about the disproportionate size of his "endowment."  We think that's probably a common characteristic of a fetal little man, but it's still pretty interesting.  And, yes, we are proud.  =)

Here is our little man's footprint.

Baby B is our beautiful baby girl.  Here are her lovely girl parts.  (My kids are probably already embarrassed that I'm posting their privates on the internet.

Here is her lovely profile.  I think this is my favorite picture of this series (with the penis picture a close second).

Another profile of my gorgeous girl

Here she is yawning.  It looks kind of scary in the picture, but it was so cool to see her open her mouth and give a big yawn in real time (and to know that she's doing that inside of me).

I learn something new every time I go to the doctor.  We asked a lot of questions today.  My twins are very clearly on the right and left-hand side of me.  Sometimes they can be sort of "diagonally" on top of each other, but mine split pretty much straight down the middle.  Baby A (boy) is on my right, and little girl is on my left.

Both babies are pretty much the same size.  Baby B is about 4 days behind Baby A, but still well within a normal range.  

Their placentas connect to the back of my uterus, which is good, because that means that we could have a vaginal birth.  This would not be the case if the placentas were lower (over the cervix).  That is good news.

All in all, this has been a really wonderful crazy day.  I'm so excited to have a son AND a daughter.  We're still looking at lists of names... no decisions there yet.

We can't wait for all of you to meet them.  We can't wait to meet them, too.  =)

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

17 Weeks and Bunnies

We're 17 weeks pregnant today.  You might be wondering what this has to do with bunnies.  Well, not much... except that I finished making these little bunnies for our friends' children.  Their daughter asked me for a bunny a couple months ago.  They are coming home from China tomorrow with their third child - a beautiful 3-year-old that they just adopted.  So I made a bunny for each of the kids

We're going to the airport to bring them their van so that they can drive home.  I think I'll put each bunny in the prospective child's car seat.  I'm not sure if the kids will even be awake enough to notice them (after something like 20+ hours of travel time), but I'm glad that I finally kept my promise to their little girl to make her her own bunny (with a purple tail). 

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

So Far So Good

I had an uneventful standard OB appointment this morning.  They weighed me and listened to the babies' heartbeats.  Everything looks like it's on track.  I've gained more weight in the past month than I had the month before, so I don't want to keep this same weight gain rate.  The doctor said she thought I had probably gained more lately because I didn't gain very much at the beginning.  I think I'm probably somewhere near 15 lbs now.

The babies' heartbeats were right around 140 and 150 bpm.  She would listen to one of them on the left side of my belly button and then listen to the other on the right side of my belly button (to be sure that she was actually listening to two different heartbeats and not the same heart twice).  It took her about 5 seconds to find the second heartbeat, which made me get a little worried for a couple seconds.  But then it came in loud and clear.  The doctor said she thought that baby had hiccups, because you could hear these little noises.  Then there was one loud noise that she said was probably a kick.  It was pretty entertaining.  (Now, how you tell the difference between a "hiccup" noise and a "kick" noise with that little machine?  I have no idea.)

Anyway, everything looks good.  We'll be at 17 weeks tomorrow.  And on Friday, we get the big news on what kind of babies we're having.  I got my first "hunch" last night that at least one of them is a girl.  I don't give much credibility to hunches, though, since these hunches are based on absolutely no actual information (except that I keep thinking of one of them as "she").

And on an economical note, we already sold one of the three cribs I bought.  So now we have an equal ratio of babies to cribs.  I'll try to keep it that way unless I come across yet another unbelievable deal. 

Monday, March 1, 2010

Deliver Me

Jason and I (or maybe I should say Jason is being forced) have been watching the occasional episode of Deliver Me on Discovery Health.  I am NOT the kind of person who would usually enjoy this type of show, but now I can't get enough of it.  It seems both educational and hopefully desensitizing (I have a pretty serious needle phobia and watching c-sections makes me tense up my entire body into a little ball of anxiety).

It is really weird to watch shows that are taped in LA (which are most shows, after all) and see people that you know on them.  This one is particularly weird for me because Dr. Alane Park (the physician on the right in the photo above) was my OB/GYN in Los Angeles for years.  Jason was joking that if we still lived in LA, we would be on the show.  I'm not sure that I would want those "moments" captured for the entire world to see.  It is really weird to see the waiting rooms and exam rooms where I would hang out in the little paper "gowns" myself.

While watching an episode this weekend with 3 (count 'em THREE) c-sections, Jason suddenly said,"Wait!  Go back!  Go back!  I know that guy!"  It turns out that one of the dads on the show is a guy that Jason met at orientation for JPL.  We saw his wife deliver his second child via c-section.  Now, I feel like I know him, too.  =)

If anyone else has recommendations for good baby shows (things that involve giving birth), let me know.  I find this particular show very educational, because they discuss the various conditions that some of the women have and some of the possible complications.  And it's reassuring to see other people successfully give birth (though I have yet to see an episode with multiples).