Aug 29, 2012

Buying All of The Things: A New Car Part 1

Along with these two new wonderful additions that will be joining our family in 2013 (we hope!) come a lot of things! It's amazing just how much stuff such tiny little people will need. In this series, I am going to walk you through our decisions as we are making them. We will talk cars, cribs, DSLR cameras, strollers, and other registry items.

To bring babies home from the hospital the only things you really truly need are car seats and a car to transport them. We are pretty well set on what car seat we want, but we don't own a car that will fit one car seat, let alone two!

Debs, our sporty little Volkswagen Eos convertible, only has two doors and a tiny little back seat. No rear facing car seat can sit there. Old Betsy, our old but reliable Saturn, has three doors but still a tiny little back seat that can't handle a rear facing seat (although she has held a forward facing convertible seat before). When we first started talking about a new car we were still trying to conceive. Debs was having electrical issues and her warranty was almost up so we started looking to replace her. We decided we wanted a small crossover SUV. We looked at the Infiniti FX, the Cadillac SRX, the Ford Edge, and many others. We briefly looked at a few of the larger crossovers, but felt like a third row was excessive for our little family. That was, until we saw the Infiniti JX which we both loved. Sadly, the JX is brand new this year so no older models or huge dealer incentives to help with pricing.

When we learned we are having twins, our needs list for a car changed. All of a sudden, a third row wasn't excessive. Instead, it is necessary so I can sit in it to be with the babies during longer car trips. Here is a list of what we are looking for in a car:

Car Needs:
  • Third Row Seating
  • Easy Access to Third Row (I'll need to be climbing back there so I can see the babies on longer car rides)
  • Movable Second Row (to ensure rear facers fit well)
  • Ample Cargo Space (for a big double stroller and all of the other THINGS we need)
  • LATCH system
  • Rear View Camera
  • Heated Seats (we were spoiled by Debs and yes this is now a need)
Car Wants:
  • Power Liftgate
  • Remote Entry
  • Push Button Ignition
  • Navigation (I know my phone has this, but I would rather never have to look at my phone with the babies in the car)
  • Air Conditioned Seats (I'm not a fan of the just peed my pants sensation of air conditioned seats, but Casey is)
  • Good Gas Mileage
So we have started making a list of cars we are considering:
  • Infiniti JX -- if price wasn't a consideration this is easily our first choice
  • Buick Enclave -- a close second choice
  • Mazda CX-9 -- we've never seen this in person but it looks like it has everything we want
  • GMC Acadia -- similar to the Enclave but a step down in trim level; might be cheaper?
  • Chevrolet Traverse -- no power liftgate available
  • Hyundai Veracruz
  • Kia Sorrento
  • Toyota Highlander -- This is considered a crossover but Casey and I both think of this as a full SUV. Maybe we need to give it another shot?
  • Honda Pilot -- We like the Pilot, but think the price is high compared to others on our list. Going to contact a dealership and see what types of offers they are running.
Since I am unable to do a huge car shopping day and go look at all 9 of these and really compare them, we need to narrow down this list.  Today, I am going to e-mail dealerships to get features and pricing and hope to fill out this spreadsheet by the end of the week. Then we can buy a new car within the next few weeks!

 Or you can download the full spreadsheet with updates as I add information from dropbox here.

What information am I not collecting that as a first time Mom I should be thinking about?  What information specifc to twins should I be thinking about?  Do you have one of these cars and love it? Hate it?  I really want to hear from you!

Aug 28, 2012

Scary Things Happen on the Internet: My Craigslist Experience

All morning I have been getting weird emails from guys. Things like: 

  • Some guy is posting your picture on CL and got me curious. Anyways, if you're open to meeting new friends and all, send me back a message and we can get to know one another. I'm 29 years old, attractive and pretty fit. Hope to hear from you.
  • Hey I would love to show you a good time. !!!!
  • I dont care about ur past. Call me (phone number then included)
  • Wow u r hot. Lets hang!!!
  • Why are we being warned to stay away from you on Craiglist? What did you do?
just to show a few. I finally responded to one of these emails. They were all coming from real email addresses not spambots and I was starting to get really uncomfortable. 

None of the messages said anything threatening, but it was very disconcerting that they knew my name and email address. I was feeling violated and nervous, so I decided to email one of the guys back and try to see what was going on.

The guy I responded to was actually really sweet and sent me the link to the Craigslist ad that was showing my email address.

I am obviously not a 21 year old girl in Sacramento. I've never lived in Las Vegas. And that photo is clearly not of me. But, how scary that a guy can post your name and contact information on a webpage with no repercussions.

I love shopping on Craigslist and we have found some great deals on it, but today served as a reminder to me that scary stuff happens on the Internet!

Week 14

Marination Time:

Baby Size:

The Bump and BabyCenter both agree that this week Pip and Pop are grwoing to the size of lemons. We have our next ultrasound on Thursday so hopefully we will get measurements and can see how they compare to 3.4 inches. For the boy perscpective, His Boys Can Swim, tells Casey to think of Pip and Pop as stress balls. He's already feeling some of the pressures and stress of twins and a high risk pregnancy!

Baby Milestones:
Pip and Pop can now suck their thumbs, wiggle their toes, produce urine, and breathe in the amniotic fluid. Their little systems are developing! They are also growing lanugo, which is a thing, peach-fuzzy hair all over their little bodies to help keep them warm.

Bloody noses. Tired. Lightheaded/Dizzy. Headaches. My nipples HURT, especially when they get cold. This is why I can be seen wearing a fleece vest around my house. In August. In Texas. The nausea and vomiting seem to have returned, but it's very mild compared to what it was a few weeks ago.

How I'm Changing:
I'm growing. Daily. I still think I look more along the lines of fat than pregnant, but obvious belly protrusion is happening.

What I'm Eating:
The toddler eating continues. Hot dog cut into mac and cheese? Delicious! PB&J? For sure. Fluffer nutter? Why thank you. Healthy salad? No way. I'm still pretty anti-chicken. I tried a chicken flauta at a Mexican restaurant and it tasted awful. I smelled chicken salad at my Mom's and almost lost my lunch. I have tried to cut back the Gatorade, but the first day I didn't drink any (still was super heavy on water to stop dehydration though) I noticed I was swollen and puffy again. It was particularly noticeable in my upper abdomen. Apparently I still need Gatorade in my life.

My biggest issue now is quantity. Dr. Barbara Luke's "When You're Expecting Twins, Triplets, or Quads" recommends gaining 24lbs in the first 24 weeks of a twin pregnancy. To do this you need at least an additional 300 calories a day (and for many women more like 1,000 a day). The book says to put yourself on an eating schedule and eat every two hours, hungry or not. I can't do the forced feedings. No matter how hard I try, forcing myself to eat when I'm not hungry doesn't work for me. Since I'm not eating a meal every two hours, I'm a bit concerned by how little I eat at each meal. 1/2 a slice of pizza - full. 1/4 of a BBQ sandwhich - full. Less than 1/2 a burger - full. The so uncomfortably full I can't eat feeling actually reminds me a lot of my bad OHSS days when the free fluid was pressing on my stomach making it small.

Bloody noses still continue, but I've been in really good spirits this week!

I think I am starting to feel a bit of my energy returning. This is probably just wishful thinking though. Especially goven how much I still sleep!

Full sized meals.

Belly Button Watch:
No change. Still an Innie!

What I'm most excited about:
Next ultrasound is Thursday and I'm excited to see Pip and Pop again. It's been three weeks -- who ever knew that could feel like such a long time! I'm also thrilled to have officially entered the second trimester as of last Thursday.

I am also thrilled that we are now officially shopping for baby things. First on the list: a car, a DSLR camera, and nursery furniture.

Previous Weekly Updates:
Week 13
Week 12
Week 11
Week 10
Week 9
Week 8
Week 7
Week 6

Aug 27, 2012

Amazing Faith - Kids at Munger!

Today was an incredible life-changing kind of Sunday at Munger Place Church! It was Kids Sunday and the kids band, led by a rising sixth grader and including only elementary students (plus one Pre-k on the Bongos), and the full kids choir, made up of all of our elementary kids - plus a few pre-k kids, led the worship portion of the church service.

I was up front helping lead the kids choir and remind them to sing, smile, and dance.

I was also fighting furiously to keep in together and not bawl! It was just so incredibly touching to see these young Christians on stage praising our Lord and to see the amazing adults that have led and guided them on this journey.

Our kids program has been incredibly blessed with a supply of talented male musicians acting as Christian role models for the kids in the band. Truly inspiring!

I am so thrilled that Casey and I are part of such an amazing family of faith. We are so fortunate to know that Pip and Pop will grow up in such an amazing faith community and be given opportunities like a kids band.


I originally planned to post the short video Casey took on my iPhone during the performance, but I received an email with links to all of the YouTube videos, so check them out!

Enjoy the videos!









Aug 24, 2012

Casey's Stress: Vacation Days

Note: When this blog began years ago, it was intended as a place for both Casey and I to share and update about our lives. I got into blogging, Casey never did. This means all of the posts are written by me, but when their is something I want to share about Casey I like to verify with him before posting. This post was actually written two weeks ago, but I kept forgetting to ask if he was okay sharing. Better late than never?

Aug 23, 2012

Week 13

Marination Time:
Late again -- Posting in Week 14 at 13w0d (oops!)

Baby Size:
The Bump says that over the course of week 13 the babies will grow to be peaches. For the male readers, His Boys Can Swim tells Casey to think of Pip and Pop growing to the size of a the gas cap on the car.  It also makes a not so nice joke about pregnancy gas.... BabyCenter says that they are medium shrimp.  Reminds me of my childhood when my Dad used to call me shrimp and sing "shrimp boats is a comin'".

Baby Milestones:
Pip and Pop's are no longer all head! This week their little bodies are working to catch up. The heads are now only a third the size of the bodies.  They are also forming vocal cords (they don't cry yet though), teeth, and fingerprints!

Bloody noses. Tired.  More bloody noses.  Still tired.  More bloody noses (seriously, as many as five in day!). Lightheaded/Dizzy.

How I'm Changing:
I apparently now look pregnant.  Awkward conversation at a baby store this week:
          Saleswoman: Have you registered here at Buy, Buy, Baby with us?
          Me: No.  I'm not far enough long to have registered yet.  I'm just starting to think about baby things.
          Saleswoman: How far along are you? Wait no let me guess..
          Me: umm..please...
          Saleswoman: You have to be at least 25-26 weeks? Due in October or November right?
          Me: Umm...No.  I'm 12.5 weeks. It's twins though.

          **Cue awkwardness**

What I'm Eating:
The toddler eating continues.  Hot dog cut into mac and cheese? Delicious! PB&J? For sure.  Fluffer nutter? Why thank you.  Healthy salad? No way.  I'm still pretty anti-chicken.  I tried a chicken flauta at a Mexican restaurant and it tasted awful.  I smelled chicken salad at my Mom's and almost lost my lunch.  I have tried to cut back the Gatorade, but the first day I didn't drink any (still was super heavy on water to stop dehydration though) I noticed I was swollen and puffy again.  It was particularly noticeable in my upper abdomen.  Apparently I still need Gatorade in my life.

Bloody noses.  They can attack at any time.  Anywhere. And get on anything.  So so gross.

Constantly. Getting more uncomfortable when I lay down again.  That might be because I spent three nights this week at Mom's house instead of my own bed.  Had to escape the aerial mosquito spraying just in case!

I cheated and drank a decaf hot black tea this week.  I'm not supposed to do the decaf products until week 14.  Oops.

Belly Button Watch:
Innie.  But I think it will eventually turn.  It's a line not a circle.

What I'm most excited about:
I started looking at baby things this week and seriously thinking about furniture, a nursery, strollers, video monitors, etc.  Letting myself feel excited about all of those things makes it feel much more real that in a few months (168 days at the most!) I will be holding two beautiful babies!

Previous Weekly Updates:
Week 12
Week 11
Week 10
Week 9
Week 8
Week 7
Week 6

Aug 22, 2012

West Nile Virus and Pregnancy

I have gotten a lot of tweets, emails, and Facebook messages about West Nile Virus and pregnancy, so I am going to attempt to brain dumb.

First some background, I am on bed rest and so have a lot of time to research and watch the news. West Nile has made huge headlines in Dallas County (where I live) for most of the summer. The CDC is calling this the largest West Nile outbreak ever in the U.S., with over four times the usual number of cases. Of those, over half are in Texas and nearly a quarter are in the Dallas Metroplex (Source). In fact, with over 500 West Nile cases and 16 deaths in DFW, both Dallas County and the City of Dallas have declared a state of emergency. Other DFW counties/cities have followed. Specifically in Dallas County, their have been 278 reported cases and 11 deaths. 11 cases are in my specific zip code, with 2 in my local little neighborhood (Source1 Source2).

In light of the severity of the West Nile outbreak, most of the cities in Dallas County have opted to move beyond ground spraying and engage in aerial spraying of a chemical called Duet. This is a synthetic compound which acts as an adulticide and kills all adult mosquitoes in its path.

As a woman pregnant with two helpless babies who solely rely on me on for their safety, I am thankful this is being taken so seriously. Their is little research on West Nile in pregnancy as only 77 pregnant women are known to have gotten the virus according to the CDC. However, they take the risks quite seriously. While bug sprays containing DEET are not typically recommended during pregnancy, they are if you live in a West Nile hot spot. This is because it is possible to pass West Nile Virus Disease to the unborm child, resulting in neurological problems. West Nile Virus is no joke people!

Therefore, I am firmly in favor of aerial spraying. But, I have a bit of a NIMBY attitude. Well, actually, I want it in my back yard, and my front yard, and any place I might be going. I just don't want to be around when it is sprayed. This is because their are a number of mixed reports about the safety of the chemical being sprayed. I was most intrigued by this article on D Magazine. It compared the risks of Duet to other widely used chemicals and notes that we didn't recognize the dangers of and left me with a better safe than sorry feeling.

I am so fortunate that my family lives in nearby suburbs and would all be willing to let the dog and I spend a night or two. So, both nights aerial spraying has occurred over the house we have packed up and gone to stay with my mom.

Was leaving necessary? Probably not says this article also in D Magazine online. But I'm not willing to risk my babies on a probably.


Aug 14, 2012

Date Night and Bump Pics

Tonight Casey and I headed out to Fearing's for dinner and an amazing date. The food was, as always, delicious. And, because it was part of KRLD Restaurant Week, our meals included a $7 donation to The North Texas Food Bank. I enjoyed a "mocktail" while Casey had his wine while we enjoyed four delicious courses:

1) I got a duo with watermelon gazpacho with a tamale. I've never had watermelon gazpacho and really enjoyed it, but the portion was huge! The tamale was also bigger than I could eat, but delicious. Sadly, the slaw on top of the tamale had cold seafood in it and I've become so scared of listeriosis that I didn't eat it. Casey got the street tacos. This appetizer portion was big enough to be an entire meal!
2) We added an extra course to our meal off of the regular menu. We really love the crispy oysters (don't worry -- they are fully cooked!) and order them every chance we get! Highly recommend!!
3) I chose the beef tenderloin and it was delicious. Casey ordered the trout and neither of us were impressed by it. Sadly, this pregnant lady can't eat much at a sitting so didn't enjoy the main course as much as I wanted to.
4) The dessert trio included vanilla pudding with a blueberry topping, a chocolate tart topped with ridiculous whipped cream, and a scoop of cookies and cream ice cream on a cookie crust. AMAZING!

All in all, I think it was a successful date! We talked. We laughed. We talked work. We talked jobs. We talked friends. We talked babies. But we didn't talk pregnancy. It was a no stress kind of conversation! I truly love my husband! I have no idea how I got so lucky to find the perfect man for me at such a young age (started dating at 18 and married at 21) but tonight was a great reminder of why he is the perfect life partner!

I struggled to find an outfit that was nice enough for Fearing's and still fit. I think I somewhat succeeded! This is the bump at 11w5d!

Finally just for laughs:

Casey and I are going to a wedding on Saturday and I don't have anything appropriate to wear. I ventured to Pickles and Ice Cream yesterday to try some things on and thought the fake bellies in the fitting room were hilarious!

I couldn't resist trying the creepy foam stomach on -- so here is me at 11w4d without and then with the creepy belly!

Week 12

Marination Time:
Baby Size:

The Bump says that over the course of week 12 the babies will grow to be plums, while BabyCenter compares the size to a lime (which is the fruit The Bump used last week). For the male readers, His Boys Can Swim tells Casey to think of Pip and Pop growing to the size of a small tape measure.

Baby Milestones:
Pip and Pop's major systems are almost all complete! Now they start into a stage of growth and maturation.  They are also working on reflex development and while I don't think I feel them (a few times I've thought I was being tickled from the inside but I'm not really sure it's them) they are busy moving and if I poke my uterus they would wriggle in response.
EXHAUSTED. Cramping. Aching stomach. Bloated. Pain from stretching (called round ligament pain according to my tweeps). Bloody noses. Fluid in ear. Bigger boobs. Lightheaded/Dizzy. Queasiness.
How I'm Changing:
I am noticeably bigger than I have been, but it still not noticeably pregnant.  I'm sure many folks look at me and think I need to lay off the Oreos. I swear I have only eaten Oreos once since the nausea went away.
What I'm Eating:
I'm still heavy on the Gatorade and loving Jalapenos.  I'm not as anti-chicken as I was.  I am now able to eat it (in select instances), although the smell is still awful. It still can't be cooked in my house though. I've also noticed that my taste buds have regressed to toddlerhood. I've always loved PB&Js and PB&Bs and that hasn't changed. But now let's add hot dogs (organic, all-beef, nitrate free) to the list.  For lunch one day this week I found myself cutting a hot dog up into my (whole wheat) mac and cheese.  Toddler eating!
Bed rest. Spotting. Cramping. Worrying.
Nothing this week. Just happy to be pregnant!
Belly Button Watch:
What I'm most excited about:
I still can't stop watching the videos we posted last week.  I love seeing Pip and Pop wriggle around and know that they are healthy and thriving.  Despite all of the bad things my body is doing to threaten them, they are doing great!  Some uterine bleeding and monsterous ovaries and cysts aren't slowing them down at all!  They are just happily growing along!

Previous Weekly Updates:
Week 11
Week 10
Week 9
Week 8
Week 7
Week 6

Aug 13, 2012

To Doppler or Not?

I think I am going to buy a Doppler. I worry I will regret this choice and become even more neurotic if I only find one heartbeat instead of two, but after this past weekend, I think I need the comfort!

This next paragraph may be a bit TMI -- feel free to skip it:
I am now on day four of spotting. None of the days have been heavy flow at all (just a bit of fresh, red blood when I wipe). I have had heavier bleeding days in this pregnancy. But I have never gone this many days in a row. It started Friday afternoon and is still going today. The logical part of my brain knows that this small amount of blood doesn't mean anything. The emotional part is struggling with this going on for so many days.

So this post is a request for suggestions. Who has a doppler they recommend? Did you buy one and love it? Hate it? Rent one? Decide not to get one with a compelling reason I should consider? I want to hear all of your Doppler experiences!

Aug 11, 2012

My First OB Appointment and Question List

On Wednesday I had my first appointment with OB/GYN at Adriatica Women's Health.  Casey and I made the decision to stick with an OB that we know and trust, even though the office is in McKinney (about 35 miles from our house) which means the delivery hospital will also be in McKinney.  We struggled a bit with this decision because it means if I end up on hospitalized bed rest, I will do that in McKinney (probably at the brand new Baylor McKinney facility).  This will make it hard for Casey to come see me every day (silly rush hour traffic to the suburbs), but after talking to other folks who did hospitalized bed rest, it seems the still working husband frequently can't visit every day even if the hospital is close.  At least if I am in McKinney my mom and sister are both nearby to visit during the day. We really trust Dr. Halderman and know she will take great care of me, Pip, and Pop.  In the end, that trust won out over any possible inconvenience.

I ended up going to this appointment alone, my first post-pregnancy appointment without Casey.  He was with his family at the graveside service for our sister-in-law's father who passed away last week.  We were both exactly where we needed to be, but it was hard being apart.  I both wanted to be with Casey and our family offering my support and condolences and wanted Casey to be with me at the appointment asking his questions and acting as another set of ears to help understand what we learned.

The appointment was completely painless and I left feeling really comforted by where we are in this pregnancy.

First, I went back for an ultrasound and got to wave hi to Pip and Pop!  They both looked great and we got heart rate measurements for the first time.  Both babies sounded great with rates of 167 and 185 (185 goes to the wriggly baby from these videos). I was told anything over 120 is healthy so we are really happy with those numbers!

Next, I met with a midwife who gave me information about services, diet, questionable foods, delivery hospitals, classes offered, and explained global billing.  Global billing means we will be billed for everything pregnancy related all at once when the babies are born.  She also gave me TONS of things to read and look over during the next few weeks.

Finally, I met with Dr. Halderman who performed a basic exam and then asked and answered lots of questions.  I had A LOT of questions written down! 

Some highlights of the Q&A (I won't bore you with every answer - this was an hour long discussion people!)

  • The OHSS is still a concern, but only due to the size of the cysts.  We will check my ovaries again at my next appointment in four weeks and see how it is progressing and talk more then.
  • The SCH is also still a concern, but again not a huge concern.  Typically for a hematoma, Dr. Halderman doesn't do full bed rest and didn't seem anywhere near as concerned about this as the RE did.
  • I am at higher risk of gestational diabetes because I am carrying twins, but research shows no increased risk from PCOS and insulin resistance.  There is nothing special I should be doing at this point.  I just need to eat healthy and gain weight to help Pip and Pop grow.
Bed Rest
  • In hugely exciting news, my bed rest has been modified even further.  In fact, it really isn't even bed rest anymore!  I am allowed "one activity" each day to get out of the house and get things taken care of.  I can go to church, to bible study, to dinner, on an errand, on a quick shopping trip, etc. as long as I only do one thing each day.  I also need to be smart about what I do.  No leisurely stroll around the entire mall, but I can hit up one or two maternity stores to find some clothes that fit. 
  • In light of this, I now have a handicap tag to make parking during my one activity less of an issue.
  • On Friday, I used my one activity to head to Target and look at buying a super cheap new bra that fits.  I was there for about 45 minutes and got what I needed.  Victory! Sadly, that night I had red spotting again.  Very disconcerting.  I know that the amount was so small that it isn't a big concern, but I hate that I have to think about it at all.  This SCH has got to go! 
General Health
  • At 14 weeks, I can start drinking decaf tea!  This is really exciting.  Chamomile and peppermint tea are both delicious, but a cup of black tea is really my favorite.  Silly caffeine restriction from OHSS.
  • West Nile virus is an issue (although certainly not a huge one) and I will do a full post on this at some point next week.
  • My ear pain and the fluid in my ear is deserving of a trip to an ENT. The fluid is probably just from the additional fluids being produced by my body to support the pregnancy, but the concern is that it isn't draining well and so led to an infection.
  • Dr. Halderman agreed with the medication step down schedule from the RE so no complications or issues there.
  • I am free to travel at 15-16 weeks for my cousin's wedding.  Yay!  I'll do a full post on the conversation Casey and I had about this sometime next week. (I'm promising a lot of posts - hope I remember to deliver!)
  • In terms of prenatal classes and multiple classes, Dr. Halderman recommended taking these between 20 and 30 weeks. That is hugely comforting! One of my books on twin pregnancy said to have all classes completed by 20 weeks to ensure you finished them before any need of bed rest.  The idea of trying to fit that in by 20 weeks was really overwhelming so doing it between 20 and 30 is much more comforting!  The only question is whether Baylor McKinney offers a multiples class.  It is not currently listed on their offered classes, but perhaps they will have one by November when we need it. If not, that class will have to be taken at Baylor Dallas.  Dr. Halderman is going to check on this for us.
Delivery  -- I saved this category for last because, at least in my opinion, the answers here were the most exciting!
  • Dr. Halderman doesn't allow twin pregnancies to progress past 37 weeks due to increased risks (some quick googling revealed that twin pregnancies in later weeks can have higher risks of complications and still birth due to the placenta breaking down).  This means that while our due date is technically February 28, our last possible delivery date is February 7!  It is crazy to see that in print.  At the latest, we will meet Pip and Pop the first week of February!
  • While we are hoping for 2013 babies, a good estimate for birth is between 30 and 37 weeks.  This puts our range between December 20 and February 7.  Obviously, the longer they cook the better, so we are not hoping for Christmas babies (like my Dad was!) or New Year's Eve babies (like me!).  2013 sounds like a great year to be born!
  • In terms of delivery method, Dr. Halderman only recommends vaginal delivery if both babies are head down, which is extremely rare.  If only one baby is head down, you risk having dual delivery methods if the second exit-er requires an emergency C-section.  If it turns out both are head down, we can reconsider my hippie desire to have an intervention free birth, but since I'm not at all interested in a full-birth experience, I'm thinking a C-section sounds like a good plan! 
Overall, the appointment was a really positive experience!  I am feeling more and more hopeful that this pregnancy will actually result in babies! I don't go back for another four weeks.  On the one hand, this is really comforting.  It means the babies aren't in danger and so she doesn't need to see me.  On the other hand, I haven't gone more than a week without an ultrasound this entire pregnancy.  How am I supposed to go four weeks without knowing for sure the babies are okay?!? 

I am bit nervous because they were unable to schedule my next appointment while I was there.  Dr. Halderman's schedule was full so they are going to have a scheduler get back to me and see what can be put on the calendar.   I have no doubt it will get worked out, but it is just one more thing to worry about!

Aug 8, 2012

Week 11

Marination Time:

Baby Size:

The Bump says that over the course of week 11 the babies will grow to be limes, while BabyCenter compares the size to a fig (again BabyCenter chooses a pretty random fruit!). For the male readers,  His Boys Can Swim tells Casey to think of Pip and Pop growing to the size of a golfball. At our measurement on 10w4d both babies measured slightly ahead of schedule at 11w1d (4.40cm and 4.38cm). They are already slightly ahead of the estimate of 1.6inches for week 11.  Go Pip and Pop!  Grow babies grow! Still our little overachievers! 

Baby Milestones:
Pip and Pop are feeling a little top heavy this week, with heads that are equally as big as the rest of their bodies.  Seriously, look at the video. You can see them. Their oversized heads are starting to develop hair follicles while nail beds are forming on the fingers on toes. They are also now able to do somersaults and forward rolls.  Again, see the video.  One baby performs for us! 

EXHAUSTED. Bloody noses. Lots of bloody noses. Sore boobs. Lightheaded/Dizzy. Aching stomach. Sharp pains in left ovary region. Queasiness.

How I'm Changing:
Nothing new.  The nurse at the RE said that much of my bump is now uterus and baby, not just swollen ovaries.  Although my ovaries are still swollen and big, they have come down in size A LOT. I am still having complications from OHSS and SCH.

What I'm Eating:
Gatorade. More Gatorade. Peanut butter. Almonds. Chocolate covered almonds.  Dairy. Avocados. Fish. Jalapenos.

Bed rest.


Hot tea. I would even be happy with a cup of decaf hot tea! I was told to drink caffeine before my final RE appointment to get wriggly babies for their video debut, but it was SO HOT outside I couldn't even consider my beloved hot tea in the middle of the afternoon.  I drank an iced tea instead.  It wasn't as satisfying as I hoped it would be.

Belly Button Watch:

What I'm most excited about:
We graduated from the RE on Monday and have our first OB appointment on Wednesday. Big week! At our RE appointment we saw them wriggling around and moving at our last appointment! Here, look:


Previous Weekly Updates:
Week 10
Week 9
Week 8
Week 7
Week 6

Aug 7, 2012

Pregnancy Complications: OHSS and SCH Continue

Yesterday was our graduation appointment from our Reproductive Endocrinologist.  We had such a great experience with this doctor and all of his staff and I know I will miss seeing them every week.  They have been so supportive and caring through this process!  It was bittersweet leaving. 
At this appointment I asked a lot of questions about my OHSS and SCH because I knew it was the last time I'd see them.

  • My ovaries are still swollen and large. I still have a gargantuan cyst (plus additional small ones) in my left ovary. I still have several small/medium cysts in my right ovary. The free fluid amounts are down and no longer a huge concern.
  •  I can probably pull back on the Gatorade consumption, but not on protein yet. Although I still don't particularly like Gatorade, I see its benefits and will probably continue drinking it, but I'll enjoy a few more glasses of refreshing water than I have had!
  •  I was told to expect my OB to know little to nothing about moderate/severe OHSS* and to call their office if I have any problems with my ovaries or issues my OB is unaware how to deal with. I love my OB and I'm not really concerned, but it was sweet of them to say anyway.
  • Their estimate for resolution is at least another 4 weeks and perhaps even longer before my ovaries return to normal size. I asked a follow up question about how we will know when I am okay and was told if I am still in pain much beyond that, it might be time to aspirate the cysts. Not a pleasant thought.
  • While on vacation, I experienced sharp shooting pain in my left ovary. It was bad enough to wake me up on several occasions. The pain went around my back and even shot up and down my leg. It was awful. One particularly bad night, I was up for 45 minutes crying. Apparently, I should have gone to the ER for this. Apparently, these are classic signs of an ovarian torsion associated with OHSS and I am lucky my ovary untwisted itself. If the ovary remains twisted, it is not receiving any blood flow and could completely die causing me to lose an ovary. Anything over 30 minutes or so of this level of severe pain is a problem. Next time I'll know. This time, I am fortunate that God was watching over me.
  • My SCH is smaller!  Wahoo! Sadly, it isn't gone.
  • Since it is still there, they are keeping me on very modified bed rest.  It actually sounded more like the restricted activity I was on back in June, but they still called it bed rest.  I see lots of cheating in my future.  I got the impression they believe bed rest should continue until the SCH is completely resolved, but are more than happy to pass this off to my OB.  Apparently, OBs are typically much more experienced with SCH than REs are.  Many OBs don't subscribe to bed rest as a prescription for it, so I might get taken off bed rest at my OB appointment!

*This is because only patients who go through IVF will experience it (and only about 1% of births in the U.S. are from IVF) and even among IVF patients moderate/severe OHSS will only occur in 1-3% of patients. Even among those, less than 10% will still be expressing symptoms by the time they transition care to an OB. So, at most 0.003% of the patients a typical OB sees will have symptoms of OHSS while under their care.

Aug 6, 2012

The Bedrest Blues and our Florida Vacation

I'm going to talk about my experiences thus far with bed rest, because really what else do I have to talk about.  I've been on bed rest for a weeks now.  I don't do anything interesting.

I know you're thinking "I would love to be on bed rest. It sounds like a vacation!" or "Enjoy the rest now, because you're having twins!", but the reality is no vacation. 

This was a vacation.

We spent last week on vacation in Florida.  My RE gave us permission to travel and put me on modified "beach chair rest." I had an amazing time!

Flying was no where near as bad or painful as I imagined it might be (So now I am REALLY glad we didn't drive.  I would have needed to test out every gas station rest room between Dallas and Florida and I'm sure there as some through Louisiana and Mississippi I'm happier never visiting!) We arrived in Orlando on Friday with no issues and began the drive to Ormond Beach.

On Saturday, our friends Matt and Kathryn drove down from Charleston and it was amazing seeing them!  We did absolutely nothing (seriously we didn't even swim!) other than sit around, chat. and eat. I didn't get a single picture with them.* Sad panda. Sunday afternoon, they left to begin the drive back to Charleston. Sad sad panda. It was really great catching up and I can't wait until Kathryn graduates and we can have a longer visit (Good luck Kathryn!).

The rest of the days all blur together.  I had a few really rough nights (one is detailed in this post), but for the most part our days were great.  We slept in until 9ish, ate breakfast, spent a few hours in a lounge chair, headed back up the elevator to the condo for lunch and nap time.  Nap time took most of the afternoon and by the time I woke up, I would hang out on the patio enjoying time with my family until dinner.  After dinner we walked down to put our feet in the ocean a few nights, although some nights I wasn't up for that much walking and so we curled in front of the TV to cheer on Team USA in the Olympics.

Photos above are stolen from my BIL and SILs FB pages*

Unlike many years, Casey and I didn't ever go walk the cute little boutiques, we didn't drive to St. Augustine to walk the cobblestone streets, we didn't do a day at the outlets, we didn't do a Disney day.  We really just relaxed at the resort the entire week.  And the week FLEW BY.  Before we knew it, it was Thursday night and the folks that drove were packing cars preparing for the long journey home.

That folks was a vacation.  It was fun. It was relaxing.  I didn't spend every day alone in my house wondering about all of the things that could be wrong or go wrong with Pip and Pop.  I was surrounded by my family and people who love me and I love.  Casey and I got to spend good, quality time together.  It was an amazing week.

And then it ended.

You are still trying to figure out what this has to be with bed rest I'm sure. You are still thinking "I would love to be on bed rest. It sounds like a vacation!" or "Enjoy the rest now, because you're having twins!", but the reality is this is not an extended spa visit with attendants waiting on me handing and foot. No one is around to feed me grapes and bon-bons or fan me with palm leaves or plumes. In fact, no one is around.

Casey leaves for work each day around 5:45 to make it to the office for a 6:00AM call. Some days he runs a bit late and doesn't leave until 6:00 and has to listen to the call in the car. Either way, he is out of the house before I wake up. He works long hours to support us and isn't home until after 6 most nights. There was a time he used to get home around 5:00, but it has been a long time since that has been his norm, although their is still the occasional early Friday.

This means that I am alone in my house with only Rory for company ALL DAY. I have days in my head when I make this out to be pure torture, but for the most part I am able to focus on how happy and excited I am to finally be pregnant after trying for so so long. I will so anything it takes to keep these babies safe, and if that means restricted activity, full bed rest, or the less restrictive modified bed rest, I am completely willing.

But, after such a great week, I am now even more aware just how lonely and sad being on bed rest is.  I sit at home with a book, the TV, my iPad, twitter (and my amazing tweeps), some phone calls from friends, but really I do nothing.  I have attempted to work on my dissertation, but I can't sit at the computer for a long period of time without causing cramping to start, so I don't get to work.  I'm just a human incubator.

Florida reminded me on the life I used to live.  It reminded me of the fun I used to have.  It was a taste of what could be.  It makes it even harder to accept my prison sentence bed rest. 

After my last visit to the RE, my sentence continues.  And I will willingly continue to watch amazing Olympic events (seriously, did you see yesterday's soccer game! The goal with 30 seconds remaining by Alex Morgan - incredible!).  I will willingly read the poorly written free books from the kindle store (because at a book a day I can't keep buying best sellers).  I will willingly make my way through every Law and Order and Law and Order: SVU episode.  I will do anything to keep Pip and Pop healthy.  But I do miss my life.  I miss my friends.  I miss being able to hang out.  I miss going places.  I miss me.

A few pros and cons of bed rest:

1. I am able to focus on growing healthy babies.  I am not dealing with the pressures and stresses of life.
2. Casey is absolutely amazing and has truly stepped up.  He is cooking, cleaning, shopping, taking care of me, taking care of the dog, and still going to work every day. I don't know where I would be without him!
3. I have plenty of time to read pregnancy books and twin books and get excited about babies!
4. I have learned of so many wonderful people who love both Casey and I.  We are so blessed to have so many prayer warriors speaking to God on our behalf.  Pip and Pop are both so loved already! Without all of these complications and problems I don't believe we ever would have realized all of these inspirational Christian examples in our lives.

1. I spend a lot of time stressing that I am not completing my dissertation.  If I don't write it now before they come, how will I ever finish and graduate?!? But if my max time at a computer is about an hour before cramping and pain start, I can't even run my Stata files in that time.  People keep telling me to just sit and write now while I have time, but I don't know how to do it when too much time in a hard chair leaves me in tears.  And feeling more stressed.
2. I am constantly reminded that Casey is doing everything while I just lay there and watch.
3. I have plenty of time to read pregnancy books and twin books and learn all of the awful, scary things that can happen. Dr. Google is certainly not my friend.
4. The only contact I get with these amazing people is via twitter, facebook, email, or phone calls.  Actually, I've cheated on bed rest and been to church a few Sundays and so have been able to see a few people there at least!

My Bed Rest Calendar:

June 6th: Egg Retrieval
June 9th: Enlarged Ovaries. Placed on Full Bed Rest
June 12th: Embryo Transfer. Bed Rest For Five Days
June 16th: Back to my normally scheduled life.
June 20th: OHSS diagnosis.  Placed on restricted activity.
June 27th: Weight loss day.  OHSS resolution seems eminent.  Back to my normally scheduled life.
July 9th: OHSS returned.  Worse than before.  Placed on Full Bed Rest.
July 11th: SCH found. One more reason for bed rest.
July 26th: Bed rest changed to modified bed rest.  Some restrictions lifted.  Reminded to get enough walking around the house to minimize risk of blood clots.
August 6th: Last appt with RE.  Modified bed rest continues.  Described more like the previous restricted activity. Decide I'm okay to drive again (thank goodness!).

*Not getting pictures is what happens when you drop the camera taking this photo.  We are currently camera-less!  Well, we have iPhone photos.  We are currently shopping for another camera.  Post coming later asking for camera advice!

Aug 2, 2012

Week 10

Marination Time:
I'm a bit behind getting this update posted - blame vacation! I did take a "belly shot" during week 10 though. I started to take the photo, and Casey jumped in with his "two." He is so ridiculously excited! I love it! This photo is from 9w5d.

Baby Size:

The Bump says that over the course of week 10 the babies will grow to be a prune (isn't that a pretty image!) while BabyCenter compares the size to a kumquat (I've never actually seen a kumquat so this comparison isn't so helpful!).  For the male readers, the author of His Boys Can Swim put together a man-friendly baby size comparison, so Casey is thinking of Pip and Pop growing to the size of the  head of a hammer this week.  At our measurement on 8w6d both babies measured slightly ahead of schedule at 9w0d (2.31cm) and 9w1d (2.46cm).  Way to go little overachievers!  They achieved the 9 week milestone of little green olives like champs!

Baby Milestones:
This week bones and cartiledge are forming and small indentations indicate where knees and ankles will go. The elbows have finished developing and the arms can already flex (although they are only about size of this number 1!). This week the babies will also start developing teeth under their little gums.  If either baby is a boy, this is the week his little body would start to produce testosterone.

EXHAUSTED. Bloody noses. Sore boobs. Lightheaded/Dizzy. Aching stomach. Sharp pains in left ovary region. Queasiness.

How I'm Changing:
I am feeling some hardness inside all of the belliness, which is "the babies home."

What I'm Eating:
Gatorade. Gatorade. More Gatorade. Peanut butter. Almonds. Chocolate covered almonds. Milk. Cheese. Guacamole. Fish. No chicken.

Bed rest. Cramping. Fear. Nerves. OHSS. SCH. Drinking Gatorade. Boredom. Crazy ovary pain.


Hot tea.  I would even be happy with a cup of decaf hot tea!

Belly Button Watch:

What I'm most excited about:
We saw them wriggling around and moving at our last appointment! I am also excited to have traded in bed rest for "beach chair rest".  Vacation sure is nice!

Now, this is my bed rest view! I'm also spending every morning in a lounge chair outside. Of course, my overprotective husband is very concerned about my core body temperature every time I step outside, so afternoons are spent indoors. In Casey's defense, the doctor was also concerned about keeping my core temperature down.

Previous Weekly Updates:
Week 9
Week 8
Week 7
Week 6