Oct 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween!
Casey, Lexy, Pip, and Pop

Oct 30, 2012

Week 23

Marination Time:
22w5d (100 days until last possible delivery date!)
Baby Size:
The Bump told us that Pip and Pop are as big as grapefruits, while BabyCenter compares their size to a mango. His Boys Can Swim continues to use an over-inflated football to describe their size (until week 24).
Baby Milestones:
Pip and Pop now have fully developed facial features and will spend the upcoming weeks storing fat to fill in their cute little baby cheeks. Their lungs continue to develop to prepare them to breathe after their entrance into the world (in just 100 days!). The Ps are also now interested in listening to the sounds around them. They are adjusting to sounds like voices and the dog barking.
Tired. Trouble bending over. Trouble standing up. No balance at all. Clumsy. Headaches.
How I'm Changing:
As I said last week, I continue to grow rounder each week. Because Pip is sitting so low, I am not as popped out as some women though.
Pip and Pop experiencing their first SMU Homecoming at 22w2d
What I'm Eating:
Red meat. Rice. Bananas. Odwalla Chocolate Protein Monsters.
I didn't eat a whole lot this week actually. On Thursday (22w0d), I spent the day in bed sick with a nasty stomach bug. I couldn't keep much down. By Friday, I was keeping food down but spent most of the day sleeping and recovering. One good thing about my sickness? I came out of it no longer hating chicken! The idea of a plain grilled or baked breast is gross, but I've eaten a few chicken dishes this week. Yay!
Everyone told me pregnant women don't get cold and I'll enjoy the winter. Everyone lies.
I slept A LOT on Thursday and Friday when I was sick, but now we seem to be back to my 3 hour stretches.
I miss comfy jeans. I have three pairs of maternity jeans (all different panel styles) and all three dig in across my lower abdomen where Pip is sitting. I've been told this is a common problem for women when the baby sits low. Of course, my long torso and twin belly make finding shirts long enough for leggings a challenge!
Belly Button Watch:
What I'm most excited about:
I am really celebrating that we are no more than 100 days from delivery! My OB won't let us go past 37 weeks, or February 7, which is 100 days from today!
Coming up this week: My first baby shower in my hometown of McKinney on Saturday!! I am so blessed to have so many truly amazing people in my life.
P.S. I am still working on a new blog name, and do have a prize if someone comes up with the one Casey and I chose. I've gotten some great ideas via email, twitter, and the comments. Would love to see more!

Previous Weekly Updates:
Week 22
Week 21
Week 20
Week 19
Week 18
Week 17
Week 16
Week 15
Week 14
Week 13
Week 12
Week 11
Week 10
Week 9
Week 8
Week 7
Week 6

Oct 29, 2012


When I relaunched my blog earlier this year, I was inspired by a quote:

God is not only a Redeemer of our sin, but He is a Redeemer of our circumstances as well. He will not waste a single problem, a single heartache, a single tear. Our God is a Redeemer God, and He stands minute by minute before us, inviting us to let Him have the sorrow, to let Him have the pain, to let Him have the disappointment. To trust Him to make something useful, something creative of every tragedy that darkens our lives.
I dedicated a post to why I was returning to blogging and said "But unless I am being open and honest about our journey, God can't use me. So this is me, opening my heart to all you people of the interweb hoping that just one person finds hope in our journey."

I have been so fortunate in the past 8 months because God did choose to use me and to speak through me. When I began opening up about our infertility journey, I was contacted by hundreds of people I have known throughout my life (seriously, multiple hundreds). Many offered support and words of encouragement. I have no doubt that your prayers are a huge part of why I am now 22 weeks pregnant (and with twins no less!). The majesty and power of prayer are incredible.
God can do anything, you know-- far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.
(Ephesians 3:20 - The Message)
Many others were kindred spirits. It was overwhelming the number of Facebook and in real life friends I have who are silently dealing with this disease. Also incredible is the amazing network I am now plugged in with on twitter. Hearing that 1 in 8 are affected by infertility is much more meaningful when friends start coming out of the woodwork. You shared your journeys and found a permanent place in my heart. From members of our church who did IUI and IVF to college friends who aren't TTC yet but already have an infertilty diagnosis. From friends who deal with the monthly, agonizing pain of endometriosis to older women I know who struggled with multiple miscarriages before they could do genetic testing to determine the cause. Some of you supported me in ways you will never even know by sharing your journey. All of your emails, Facebook messages, texts, and cards meant so much to me. I am floored and honored that so many of you chose to open up about your journey. I want to continue to be here to support you just as your words and honesty supported me.

Casey experienced a similar response. As he started opening up to coworkers and clients about our infertility struggles, many told him about their IVF children, adopted children, and current treatments. He has also had an amazing opportunity to minister to others fighting this daily battle.

We are both so blessed to be able to minister in this way. We are honored to be able to share because if our story helps one person, one couple, feel less alone and reconnect with their faith, it is all worth it.

So the challenge:

The best possible outcome for any infertile couple is to bring home a baby. For an infertility blogger, this means watching as your infertility blog morphs into a pregnancy blog and eventually a mommy blog.

But, the transition isn't easy.

I have been posting weekly pregnancy updates and writing about baby things and nurseries and ignoring my dear friends who are still in the trenches of infertility. Y'all are still giving yourselves injections, deciding how many treatments are too many, weighing the benefits of adoption, and worried about how you will ever be a mother. Reading weekly pregnancy updates when all you want it to be pregnant is upsetting, and I hate that i may be adding to your pain. I have no idea where the line is between allowing my own joy and happiness to shine through and being that annoying shiny person who forgot the struggle to get here in the first place. I am working to find a better balance. I know I don't have it right now.

Am I still infertile now that I'm pregnant? I think the answer is yes. My experiences and feeling haven't changed. Infertility isn't over for me. I know I'll be back fighting infertility again when we decide to try for baby three. I know my infertility journey isn't over. I know that the 2.5 years it took us to get pregnant will forever shape Casey and I as parents and as people. My infertility diagnoses also bring lifelong health problems (primarily the insulin resistance (from PCOS) and early menopause (from DOR), but others are possible as well) and I will have to face them too. I will always be an infertile woman. We will always be an infertile couple. Even pregnant, we are infertile. Even after the boys arrive, we are infertile. We may not be in the trenches right now, but we can't forget what it felt like in that foxhole.

So.... This is a blog about my life, my walk with God, and my struggles in my faith. None of that will change.

But the struggles I face will.

While I pray about where my blog goes next and how to best stay true to the purpose I believe God called me to, I know that my blog needs rebranded.

The season of my life has changed and I'm not crying as much as I once was. God is still using me and I hope He will continue to use my past experiences to provide a beacon of hope to others. I never want to forget our journey and where we came from. I never want to forget those days in the trenches fighting a battle to have a family. But I also don't want to focus on those tears and heartbreak when I have two precious boys on the way. How do I do both?

For that reason, it is time for some rebranding to happen. God has used my tears. He used me. He has put me in contact with so many if you who have been here and are still here fighting infertility. But, now, He has, in His perfect timing (which is so different than mine), chosen to put me on the path towards mommyhood.

So, I am prayerfully considering new blog names. I am trying to figure out who I am as a pregnant infertile woman. I am determining my identity and my labels. I would love your suggestions for a new blog name for Casey and I.

Bear with me.

** Leave your name suggestion in the blog comments. There may be a prize if we use te name you suggest!

Oct 28, 2012

Let's Talk Vaccines

Last week, Casey got vaccinated against the flu and against whooping cough.
Everyone (should) know that if you are going to spend time with an infant you need to have a flu vaccine. Babies (especially preemies) don't have developed enough immune systems to fight it and they can't get the vaccine. But you can!
Less well known is the need for Tdap. This is a combined vaccine against tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (more commonly known as whooping cough). Everyone should be getting a booster for this every five-ten years, BUT some doctors only give a TD booster which doesn't include vaccination against whooping cough. In fact, the CDC reports that less than 8% of adults have a current Tdap booster!
The American Academy of Pediactrics (AAP) and the US Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) both advise that anyone who will be in contact with an infant update their Tdap, regardless of the last time it was given. From the AAP: "A single dose should be given to adults who have contact with infants even if they are older than 65." Whooping cough is a serious illness that can be fatal to infants and so every precaution should be taken.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) explains what pertussis is:

"Whooping cough—or pertussis—is a very serious respiratory (in the lungs and breathing tubes) infection caused by the pertussis bacteria. It causes violent coughing you can’t stop. Whooping cough is most harmful for young babies and can be deadly."

The CDC continues:

"More than half of babies younger than 1 year who get the disease need care in the hospital. About 1 out of 5 babies and children with whooping cough will get pneumonia (a serious lung infection). Whooping cough can also cause seizures (jerking or staring) and brain damage."

There are numerous real life stories of preventable infant death from whooping cough. And, this year is a particularly bad year for whooping cough. The CDC is estimating this year will see the most reported pertussis cases on record since 1959 and potentially the most deaths as well (source). Texas has been hit pretty hard, and DFW is not immune.
Babies can't get their first of the immunization shots until they are two months old and aren't fully vaccinated until they have completed the whole series of vaccines. So, the only way to prevent whooping cough in infants is through a practice called cocooning:

"Recently the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended a strategy called "Cocooning" to protect infants against pertussis and other infectious diseases. Cocooning is a practice of vaccinating all close contacts of infants to protect the newborn from disease by keeping all those around them disease free—in this case, free from pertussis (whooping cough). Close contacts include mother and father, grandparents, siblings, other relatives who may come in close contact with the infant, and other caregivers and potential caregivers. Close contacts also include health-care providers."

So, Casey and I hope you will prayerfully consider getting vaccinated. Unless you are part of the 8% you probably need it, both for your own health and the health of any infants and small children you come into contact with. Getting the vaccine is easy and can even be done at CVS, Walgreens, or Target.
The Ps would really appreciate if you would look out for them, because they are too small to look out for themselves.

Oct 26, 2012

Fragments for Friday: October 26

Sometimes things happen throughout the week that are interesting and blog-worthy, but they just aren't a full post. Fragments for Friday to the rescue! All of those random thoughts collected over the week can go in one place: Fragments for Friday. Not a Myrtle and I are so excited so offer you the chance to link up and share your Fragments for Friday. So jot your notes and link up!
  • I obviously know it is October and know that it is Breast Cancer Awareness month, but I totally forgot that means it is Panera Pink Ribbon Bagel month. The cranberry, cherry, white chocolate goodness is a favorite and I almost missed it! Don't worry - I corrected that mistake this week!
  • What is up with Breast Cancer Awareness month? Is there anyone out there who is still not aware of how deadly and treatable breast cancer can be?! Early detection is key. Do self exams monthly. We (should) all know this message by now. So instead of covering the world in pink for a month for awareness, why aren't we hosting Breast Cancer Cure month? Or bringing attention to a lesser known disease?
  • I keep seeing my UK friends tweeting about Downton Abbey Season 3 and getting really jealous. I can't wait until January to watch it! I'm ready now! Is it available online anywhere?
  • On Saturday I went to Market in the Meadow, a holiday bazaar put on by the middle school down the street. It was so disappointing! Most of the items for sale were clothing and knick knacks being resold (in other words, branded items) or people with direct sales businesses (scentsy, thirty-one, etc). I was hoping for fun, homemade items like I have found in years past. Not so much. Even the few booths that had cute baby things didn't excite me. It was all for girls! Where were the cute, smocked john-johns? Any suggestions on where to get these for little boys?
  • Choosing paint samples is hard work! Choosing carpet for all of the bedrooms is even harder.
  • I posted a full blog on this so it really isn't a fragment,but my head still isn't comprehending that at 21w5d I was already carrying around 2.5lbs of baby. Add in placenta (1-2 lbs each), amniotic fluid (roughly 2lbs per baby), extra blood volume (up 50% for a singleton is 3-4 lbs, but volume increases even more for twins), enlarged uterus (over 2lbs), and enlarged breasts (1-2lbs) (source): I'm not sure how this math works since I'm only up 13lbs. Maybe I'm shedding some excess pounds and trading them in on baby necessities? Hey, a girl can dream. And then go back to drinking her high protein, high calorie, high everything Choolate Protein Monster.
  • Speaking of, Odwalla Chocolate Protein Monsters are this pregnant woman's crack. I get really sad when we run out (which explains the four GIANT bottles in our fridge). They are a delicious chocolatey milk flavor that isn't too sweet, or too thick, or too anything. They are just right!
  • I spent Thursday in bed with a stomach bug. Started throwing up around midnight and lasted on and off all day. I blame Casey. His stomach has been upset all week, but no fever and no vomit. He shared and I got it even worse! Thank goodness I didn't have to report for jury duty while sick!
  • My prayer list lately has gotten really long. I truly believe in the power of prayer and know that God listens and responds. He is all-powerful, all-wonderful, and all-capable. He is capable of infinitely more than infinitesimally more than we can even imagine. On my heart:
    • Jenny's Dad who suffered a heart attack yesterday and is in the ICU.
    • The wife of a friend of Casey's who is dealing with severe OHSS following IVF.
    • A friend (my best friend's SIL) who has her first beta today and will find out if IVF worked.
    • Jen has been on hospitalized bed rest since 32w (3 weeks). They have taken her off labor preventing meds and so Ethan should arrive any day now!
    • Drake and Kennedy Gilstrap. Kennedy heads home this weekend! Drake will stay at the hospital fighting and preparing for surgery.
    • Casey's cousin, Jill, delivered a healthy baby girl yesterday. Parker will be just a little bit older than the Ps and I can't wait to see them all grow up together.
    • Randi, a friend from college, is now cancer free! If you have some time to spend on her blog, do it. Her journey with The Lord is absolutely inspirational. It takes an amazing amount of faith and strength to turn a breast cancer diagnosis into a positive, God-affirming experience and Randi does.
    • Numerous twitter friends going through infertility treatments, pregnancy complications, bed rest, waiting for adoption or surrogacy, and the struggles of raising kids. In particular I want to raise up:
      • @EndoJourney and her son, MB, who was born at 25w and is fighting in the NICU.
      • @GritsandPatience who gave birth to a beautiful son this week.
      • @Waiting4aBaby who is being induced today.

Write your own Fragments for Friday and link up with us!


Oct 25, 2012

Not Doing My Civic Duty. Again.

The first time I ever got a jury duty letter was in 2009 at 24. I was an alternate, which means you call the courthouse hotline at lunch time and a recorded message tells you if alternates are needed that day. They weren't.
Fast forward to now.
I got my second ever jury duty letter this month! Once again, I was an alternate. Once again, I called the courthouse promptly at 11:00. Once again, I heard a recorded message that alternates aren't needed.
I'm not going to lie. I had really mixed emotions about my jury duty letter this time.
I am fascinated by the justice system in our country and love the idea of being on a jury and doing my part for a functional civic society. I think too many educated people are eager to get out of it, which makes the "jury of your peers" part much more difficult. I would truly like to serve. I love my country and I love that we have a functioning justice system. Even though I frequently disagree with it and I do think it is flawed, I don't know of a better system in the world. Even though I get very frustrated looking at the composition of many juries, I know that I do trust our system gets it right most of the time.
I'm pregnant. And big. And uncomfortable. And the idea of sitting in a waiting room chair for hours on end made me feel queasy.
To console myself, I'm guessing not many lawyers would want the woman who is 22w0d pregnant with twins on an interesting multi-day trial anyways, so what fun would it have been? A short public-intoxication trial is not what dreams are made of.

Oct 24, 2012

Week 22

Marination Time:
Baby Size:
The Bump told us that Pip and Pop are as big as papayas. BabyCenter compares their size to a spaghetti squash. His Boys Can Swim used an over-inflated football to describe their size from now until week 24. I guess it just depends on how overinflated it is? The Ps are on the big side at 1lb4oz each, which puts them in the 95th and 97th percentile. Check out more information about their latest growth scan and see adorable baby pictures here.

Baby Milestones:
Pip and Pop have more developed facial features and are really starting to look like babies (seriously! Check out their profile pictures!). They even have tiny tooth buds below the gums. Their little eyes have now formed, but the irises still have no pigment. I wonder what color eyes they will have? So many things to wonder about! Will the Ps have the same eye color? They are fraternal twins so they are no more likely to look alike than any other siblings. They are also now sleeping in cycles (not that I am any good at discerning a pattern in when I feel them) and getting 12-14 hours of sleep a day.
Tired. Bloody Noses. Feeling like a beached whale. Trouble bending over. Trouble standing up. No balance at all. Clumsy.

How I'm Changing:
I'm looking pretty obviously pregnant at this point and have outgrown my first set of maternity shirts. My maternity pants all still fit, but I am carrying REALLY low (Pip is literally using my cervix as a pillow) and so the stretchy part of maternity pants starts above where he is sitting. So while, yes, I can get them on, I choose not to because they are gosh darn uncomfortable.
What I'm Eating:
Red meat. Fruit. Cereal. Odwalla Chocolate Protein Monsters.

I bought cottage cheese to try again this week. It's individually packaged with fruit this time, so I can't open it and stare it down. When I open it, I will have to brave enough to try it. Lumpy texture aside I've heard it is really good. But the texture....

My clothes don't fit! I don't really want to go out and spend a ton of money on more clothes that I will only wear another three months (at most) so I am just rewearing things. A lot. People I see in real life, I promise I am doing enough laundry and the things I'm wearing are clean, even if I did wear it just three days before.
Sleeping in 3 hour stretches on my left side. Pip is still not so fond of that choice and does fight back! It's kind of cute how opinionated and feisty he is! I think we're in trouble after his arrival.

I miss comfy jeans.

Belly Button Watch:
What I'm most excited about:
Pip and Pop are healthy and big and growing! It's hard to top that in the excitement category.

I'm also eager to see some crib process. It looks like plans are finished and wood is chosen. It will (potentially) be purchased Friday night as long as Casey gets off work on time (and the lumber yard has enough in stock). I love that my husband and his dad are making cribs for our babies and can't wait to see them all finished.

Coming up this week: SMU Homecoming on Saturday and Trunk or Treat at church on Sunday. Big exciting weekend!
Previous Weekly Updates:
Week 21
Week 20
Week 19
Week 18
Week 17
Week 16
Week 15
Week 14
Week 13
Week 12
Week 11
Week 10
Week 9
Week 8
Week 7
Week 6

Oct 23, 2012

As Big As Dinosaurs

We knew we were planning on a dinosaur nursery (seriously check out these awesome head mounts that should be arriving at our house any day now!), but we had no idea I was incubating dinosaur sized babies!
At today's ultrasound we got to see Pip and Pop again and check out their growth. I'd talk about how cute and little they were, but they aren't so tiny!
At today's ultrasound the babies gestational age (time spent marinating) is 21w5d. The typical size for a baby in week 22 is less than a pound.
But Pip and Pop are far from typical!
They both have an estimated fetal weight of 1 pound 4 ounces!! This puts Pip in the 97th percentile and Pop in the 95th percentile. My OB said this is the weight she normally sees for a 24 weeker! (Look at this BabyCenter chart for more information on average fetal weights.) At our last growth scan, they were big, but not like this!

Baby A (Pip)

Baby B (Pop)

PositionHead Down (called Vertex)head resting directly on my cervix Head Up (called Breech)
LocationMy Lower LeftMy Upper Right
Placenta Anterior
(in front of baby)
Posterior(behind baby)
Weight1lb4oz (590g)1lb4oz (569g)
Average Ultrasound Age (Gestational Age is 21w5d)23w1d23w0d
Size Percentile97.68%95.08%
We also got some information about me and how I am doing.
Everything is great!!!
My blood pressure is being completely controlled by limiting my activity level and listening to my body. My cervix is long (almost 5cm) and lean, perfectly normal for week 22. Short cervical length is an indication of preterm labor so this is great news! We went over all of the details of my bloodwork from the preeclampsia scare and everything looked normal and great. I was told to just keep doing what I'm doing and listening to my body.
Such praises to God that everything seems to be going well!
And now, the fun part you all kept reading for:

baby pictures

This next picture is a bit hard to decipher, but it shows Pop with his little hands up defending his face blocking his brothers blows. Pip spent most of the appointment kicking Pop in the head. Poor little Pop was just getting wailed on! It wasn't until the very end that Pip calmed down and we were able to get a good profile shot of Pop (seen above).
Is this what Casey and I have to look forward to?

For the Birds

This morning I woke up really early. 4:00 kind of early. I only managed to doze a few minutes off and on the rest of the morning. After Casey left for work at 6:00, I got up to eat a wee bit of breakfast. But seriously, 6:00 is too early to start my day so after my eggs, I brought my water and banana back to the bedroom to snuggle and watch a little show.
Apparently turning on the TV was all it took to fall asleep because the next thing I knew it was 9:50 and my phone was ringing. Casey was calling to verify the address of our OB for our 11:00 ultrasound appointment. Uhoh! It's a solid 35-40 minutes to the office and you are supposed to arrive 15 minutes early to all appointments.
I ran to the sunroom and opened the door so the dog could run around a bit, quickly washed my face and got dressed, and then went to the kitchen for a bowl of cereal. Typical running late kind of morning. After my cereal, I headed back to the bedroom to grab a few last things and brush my teeth. While I was in the bedroom, I could hear the dog going BONKERS. She was barking and whimpering and just acting generally unhappy.
I came into the kitchen to see this:
That's right folks.
A bird.
In our kitchen.
Seriously folks these birds keep invading our house! Does anyone else have a bird problem?
I left for my appointments with the bird still running loose in my house and the poor dog locked in the game room. When I got home, the bird was flying around in our bedroom. A least he she it was contained!
Casey came home and once again used the dog gate as a bird shield and shooed it back towards the big sliding glass door in the sunroom. I would show you the video of Casey playing "You're Getting Hotter" with the bird, but he is embarrassed I even took video. So it's a no go for the blog.

Oct 19, 2012

Fragments for Friday: October 19

Sometimes things happen throughout the week that are interesting and blog-worthy, but they just aren't a full post.  Fragments for Friday to the rescue!  All of those random thoughts collected over the week can go in one place: Fragments for Friday.

Years and years ago I did this series on my blog and it was so nice to have a place for all those random tidbits and life events each week!  It's back! Get excited.  I am.

  • #ponyup  Last night was AMAZING.  SMU beat Houston 72-42!  What a game!  After last weeks crushing loss to Tulane (breaking their 0-15 losing streak) this win was really needed.  Sadly, I don't have the physical strength to sit on a uncomfortable, hard, non-supportive bleacher for a full game, but we really enjoyed the first half! I totally forgot to take a picture. But trust me.  I looked really cute in my red sweater.
  • I was so proud of myself this morning for getting a few thank you notes written to folks who have sent us baby gifts in the mail.  So so proud.  And then I realized I'm out of stamps.  Womp. Womp.
  • We're up to seven cloth diapers in our stash!  I'm trying not to buy too many ahead of time because (fingers crossed) we'll get at least a few off our registry and then I can use the few we have to determine which brands work best for us and order the full 40+ I will need to cloth diaper the twins.  But, when I saw these minky dinosaur diapers on Zulily I just couldn't resist! (Sidenote: need a Zulily invite?  I'll get store credit if you join and order using this link.  More store credit means more adorable baby things for Pip and Pop.  Zulily has deals on things for both mom and baby so you don't have to have kids to enjoy it.)
  • I have mentioned before on the ol' blog about God's perfect timing and majesty, but I have never really gotten into the details of my current job working for my church and the blessing it really is. Remind me to post that at some point. In the meantime, this week I went to CPR and First Aid training for my job (Feel free to go into cardiac arrest around me. I'm certified.) and was absolutely amazed by how streamlined all of the information is now compared to what it was 9 (gasp!) years ago the last time I was certified for life guarding. I love that they have made it so much simpler!
  • Casey and I have been having a lot of deep discussions about how babies will change our lives and our priorities.  A lot of these deep discussion are happening via text message and I love looking back and seeing our conversations!

  • I have become a really boring person.  In fact, I have become one of THOSE people.  You know, those people who only talk about their kids.  I don't have kids yet and I'm already doing it.  Twice this week we hung out with friends who aren't to the baby stage of life yet and twice this week I left the encounter totally embarrassed that I had nothing interesting to talk about.  I'm blaming it on restricted activity.  I have nothing else.  Except reality television.  I watch a lot of that.
  • So lets talk reality TV instead.  Who watches Project Runway?  Am I totally missing something about Fabio's collection?  What did the judges see?  I saw a bad 80s tie-dye job on some shapeless potato sacks and non-supportive sport bras. Where they saw genius colors, I saw a glass of water spilled on a kindergartners water color painting so all the colors were just washed out.  Further proof that I'm not fashionable I guess.
  • I know that I mentioned this already, but I am so blessed to be part of the amazing family of faith at Munger Place Church.   What started this week as a room that had accumulated 4.5 years of things that need donated, is ending the week as out future nursery thanks to the kind heart of Terri, one of the many inspirational women I have had the honor to meet there.  I know I shared this picture already, but I am still so so amazed that I have to share it again:
On the left you can see three different shots of the room and all its messiness before we started working.  It housed 21 bags on clothes to be donated, four lamps, numerous bags and purses, almost 20 pairs of shoes, some home decor, a half set of glasses (the rest broke over the years), and holiday decorations we don't use.  In the top right is our dining room currently ready for me to schedule pick up with a local nonprofit.  The bottom right is the (nearly) empty nursery.  It still has a few boxes of trash that will go out on Tuesday (trash day), a recliner, a coffee table, and a mattress all of which will either be donated or listed free on Craigslist.
  • In our children's curriculum at Munger Place Church, we have a big idea and a memory verse for the kids each month. The Big Idea is written on a bracelet and the kids can collect each one; by the end of the year they will all have quite the rainbow arm party.
    I try and wear my bracelets all of the time too. I have run into kids in Target and such and they love seeing that I am wearing them. I also love wearing them because I need reminders about these fundamental truths to! For September, the big idea was "God is with me when I need help." This month it is "God is with me in times of change." How true these statements both are. It is so comforting to look down at my wrist and see these daily reminders that God is Able.
  • Big Tex, a Texas State Fair icon went up in flames this morning.  We have been to the state fair every year (sadly not this year) but never seem to remember to get a photo in front of Big Tex.  To commemorate, a few favorite Big Tex photos:
2007 on left and 2006 on right

  • Not a Myrtle and I are so excited so offer you the chance to link up and share your Fragments for Friday.  Go check out her blog and then come back and a link so we can all see yours!

October Big Idea:

God is with me in times of Change!

October Memory Verse: Because the Lord is good, his loyal love lasts forever; his faithfulness lasts generation after generation.  Psalm 100:5

Oct 17, 2012

Week 21

Marination Time:

Baby Size:
The Bump told us that Pip and Pop are as big as pomegranates. BabyCenter and His Boys Can Swim both make comparisons to length this week and say that in Week 21 Pip and Pop are as long as a carrot and beer bottle, respectively.

Baby Milestones:
Not much to report this week. Pip and Pop are growing eyebrows and preparing to open their eyes in the next few weeks. They continue their baby yoga classes and are working on muscle tone. The twins also have working taste buds and swallowing several ounces of amniotic fluid each day. They can taste different flavors in the amniotic fluid depending on what I eat each week.

Tired. Abdomen sore - especially if I try and bend or lean over. Bloody Noses.

How I'm Changing:I'm growing and so are Pip and Pop. Even though I know that they are growing really well, it is still difficult to hear when people comment on how small my stomach looks. This past week I was been told (by a total stranger) that she was bigger at 20w week her single and I'm obviously not eating well enough for them. She then asked if I was sure both were still alive. Why yes, in fact, I am sure. But thanks for making me worry! Good thing I have a Doppler at home to verify with.
What I'm Eating:
Red meat. Fruit. Cereal. Odwalla Chocolate Protein Drinks (seriously people, they are DELICIOUS).

None! After last week's huge scare, it is hard to be annoyed by anything! I am just so so grateful that Pip, Pop, and I are all doing well.Well, maybe one annoyance: bloody noses have returned.
Sleep:Sleeping in 3 hour stretches on my left side. I'm getting better at falling back asleep quickly on my left though. Missing:This might sound odd, but having my activity decisions controlled by my blood pressure means I no longer miss having energy. I am content to listen to my body and let it tell me how much I can do. After our preeclampsia scare last week, I am still emotional, raw, and so grateful that Pip and Pop are doing well. Belly Button Watch:Innie. What I'm most excited about:We have a nursery theme (Dinosaurs) and colors (primarily blue and green). Casey has loved dinosaurs all his life and it was so neat seeing some of his dinosaur things from childhood. His Mom was really wonderful and pulled them out of storage for us. As soon as we have a dresser, I'm excited to go back through Casey's childhood things and get items for Pip and Pop. For now, a picture of Casey with a baby quilt made by Grandma Parker:
We also have some nursery progress! Terri is a true example of the heart of Christ and we are so blessed to be in a kitchen group with her. She came over this week and helped turned our donations/junk room into a potential future nursery!
Previous Weekly Updates:
Week 20
Week 19
Week 18
Week 17
Week 16
Week 15
Week 14
Week 13
Week 12
Week 11
Week 10
Week 9
Week 8
Week 7
Week 6

Oct 12, 2012

Buying all of the Things: BabyWearing

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.
Keeping with my indecision from this post (buying all the things: car seats and strollers), we aren't registered for just one baby carrier. We aren't even registered for just two. To see our full registries, look here (and feel free to leave me feedback - are we missing something you couldn't live without? Do you absolutely love something you see?).

Newborn Carrier

We are registered for two different newborn carriers, the BabaSling by Joovy is not your typical ring sling. It is designed to hold kids up to two years old, but I have heard mixed review on baby wearing a child that heavy. One factor that at least makes it possible to wear a heavier baby (up to 33lbs!) is that the strap is padded so it (theoretically) wont dig into my shoulder. Unlike many ring slings, it has a pocket that helps hold the baby more securely and a quick release buckle so you don't have to try and untangle the baby if they are asleep. In a word, the BabaSling is easy.
The Baby K'Tan is also not your typical sling because it goes over both shoulders to better distribute the weight. Reviews say the K'Tan is really easy to use because it is all fabric with no buckles, snaps, or rings to worry about. Unlike a wrap carrier, their are no pieces to be wrapped or dealt with although it is a wrap style. It is easy to put on yourself and designed to fit preemies! (Not many of the carriers are!) The drawback to the K'Tan is that they are sold by size. Hopefully Casey and I can both fit into the same size - otherwise this isn't so useful.

Baby Carrier

For when the babies get older, we put the Ergo Carrier on our registry. Unlike many backpack style carriers, the Ergo doesn't allow the babies legs to just dangle down which can lead to hip dysplasia. I'm not sure I buy into the whole Baby Bjorn carriers are awful and will ruin your kids hips argument, but since we don't own any carrier why not get one that doesn't run the risk. The other thing I really like about the Ergo is that it can be worn both front or back depending on the age and preferences of the baby. The baby always faces the parents, in line with the recommendations of most pediatricians so they can see mom or dad for comfort, facial expressions, social cues, and so they are not being overwhelmed by excess stimuli. The Ergo can also be used forever! While it recommended up to 45lbs, it has been tested up to 90lbs. I'm not sure I am physically capable of strapping a 90lb kid to my back (or why anyone would ever want to!) but it does bring confidence that you could carry a toddler in it.
We have already received an Infantino child carrier and so figure if we get one of these three of the registry then we will have two babywearing carriers and we'll be in great shape!

Oct 11, 2012

A Reminder -- He is Control Not Me

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
(Romans 12:12 NIV)
Starting last Friday, I was having some weird TMI issues* but ignored them because we were leaving that evening for Oklahoma and I didn't want to miss our short trip! Saturday morning, my TMI issue* continued and so I decided to google my symptom to see if it was a big deal. A few possible causes came up:
  • The first google result was for preeclampsia. Since preeclampsia is something that happens late in pregnancy and normally involves swelling, I knew this wasn't the cause.
  • The next results included a bladder infection or UTI. Obviously neither of these would be fun, but a few antibiotics would clear it right up.
  • The next group of results said the baby (or even babies) is sitting on my bladder causing the discomfort and it is totally nothing. This honestly seemed the most likely since I only had one UTI or bladder infection symptom, so I went about my day.
We had a really great day on Saturday seeing Casey's grandparents and family and celebrating Casey's cousin, Jill, and her baby girl who is due this month. (A full blog post on the weekend is coming soon. I intended to have it completed Monday or Tuesday, but the drama of this week distracted me from anything else).
Jill and I at her baby shower (Jill is 37w. I am 19w2d.)
My TMI issues* continued after we got home and through all of Sunday and so Monday morning I sent a text message to my OB, Dr. H. She told me to head up to the office to get checked out. My appointment wasn't with her because she was in surgery. Instead, I was seen by one of the midwives in the practice.
Just like every appointment at the OBs office, it started with a urine sample, checking my weight (back up a bit after this post - protein shakes must be helping!), and then getting my blood pressure checked. The nurse who was checking my blood pressure immediately told me to roll onto my left side and wait for a bit. My blood pressure (BP) was too high (160/90) and she wanted to retest. I lay on my left side for a bit waiting and wondering what all this meant. When the nurse came back, she retook my BP and the result was no longer scarily high, but it was elevated a decent amount above my normal range (I traditionally have very low blood pressure).
The nurse left and I was again in the room alone laying on my left side waiting, this time on the midwife to come in and check me out. When she came in, the TMI issue* I came to the office for was completely ignored and all attention was given to my BP. The midwife was concerned enough that she told me to wait in the room while she went to consult with another doctor about wether I needed an ambulance to the hospital or could drive myself.
Ummmm?? Midwife say what??? Going to the hospital for what???
The midwife was concerned I was displaying signs of preeclampsia. Preeclampsia is incredible rare before 20w (on Monday I was 19w4d) but does happen. I had two symptoms of early onset pree, decreased urine output (my TMI issue) and the high blood pressure. Early onset pree is associated with increased morbidity because the only cure for pree is delivery. Labor is induced before viability because pree can be life threatening to the mother. It can cause her liver, lungs, and kidneys to fail. It is also bad for the babies because it causes your blood vessels to constrict, reducing the amount of oxygen and nutrients delivered to the baby and can lead to low birth weight. With 4.5 weeks until viability (24w is when a babies odds of survival outside the womb are above 50%) I was terrified.
The decision was made that I could go home and do a 24 hour urine collection and use a home monitor to watch my BP. I needed to come back in 24 hours to bring my collected urine and get bloodwork done. For that 24 hour period I was put on strict bedrest. This means only getting out of bed (where I was to lie exclusively on my left side) to collect urine.
The next 24 hours were awful. Their were lots of tears, worry, praying, bargaining with God, and stress.
The next day I headed back up the office for labs. They drew my blood, took my BP (elevated but not high at 135/85) and I was able to speak to Dr. H. She didn't say anything different than what I had heard previously (basically nothing can be diagnosed or done until the labs come back but lots of prayers it isn't preeclampsia) but I felt so much better after talking to her.
This really reinforced that our decision to stick with an OB who was further away but we know and trust was the right choice!
Sadly, this appointment didn't yield any answers. I was waiting again. I kept repeating Romans 12:12 to myself: Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. I was once again faced with the harsh truth that I am not in control, He is.
Let me repeat that (more for myself than anyone else):

I am not in control of this pregnancy at all, God is.

Overall, I do feel at peace that God has blessed us with two healthy boys thus far and I know that God has a plan and this is all part of it. I know that He is a God of love and abundance and wants what is best for me. But, I also know that what is best for my eternal salvation is not always what I want or what I pray for. I know that being a Christian is not all happy and shiny. It is no guarantee of a struggle free life and in fact, the opposite is true. Being a Christian IS a struggle many days. I was left once again crying out to God and praying for Him to protect me and protect my babies.
Since Tuesday afternoon I have continued monitoring my blood pressure at home (ranges from low to high - my BP is all over the place!) and waiting and praying.
Today, we got the first results back. My urine does not contain an overly high volume of protein! This means I don't have preeclampsia!

I do not have preeclampsia!!

What this means exactly I am not sure. I have elevated blood pressure. I have my TMI issue*. They probably mean something, but at this point I am just ecstatic it isn't preeclampsia!
* TMI Issue: read at your own discretion.....
I am a heavy water drinker: 3-4 24oz Camelbak bottles of water each day, plus at least 24oz of something with each meal (typically tea, milk, or half apple juice half water). This means I typically have good urine output. No, this doesn't mean I go to the potty a lot, because I have a fairly large bladder to accommodate my heavy drinking. Starting Friday, I was having to urinate with the same frequency as normal (no more or less), drinking the same amounts as normal, but my output per potty break was very low. I wasn't swelling or feeling any discomfort. No pain when I urinated. No kidney infection type constant need to go. Just low output.