In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. ~ Proverbs 3:6

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Our Twin Birth Story

The last baby bump picture taken right before we left for the hospital.

         It was the Friday morning of March 21.  One day after our five year wedding anniversary.  I had my routine 37 week checkup that morning.  I was ready to deliver my babies.  Like the previous week, I took my hospital bag with me to my appointment, just in case I was dilated enough to be admitted to labor and delivery.  I had reason to hope for that.  At 31 weeks, I went to the doctor for pelvic pressure only to find out that Baby A’s head was so low on my cervix, the doctor could feel him with a routine pelvic exam.  By 33 weeks, I was already dilated to 1 cm, and the doctor told me she didn’t think I’d make it much longer. Unfortunately, it took me two more weeks to get to 2 cm.  However, I was encouraged at that 35 week checkup when the doctor told me that Baby A had descended even more, and she thought I would go into active labor as early as the weekend. 

Baby A entering the world....

          I was so miserable, I stopped working that week.  I was just physically to a point where as much as I hated it, I could no longer efficiently do my job well.  And so I stayed at home that week and waited….and waited….and waited for my body to go into active labor.  Oh I was having contractions…And they were even consistent most of the time…..But after several hours of consistent contractions, they would ease up instead of intensify, preventing me from going into active labor and being admitted to the hospital.  I was so disheartened at my 36 week checkup, when I learned that I was still only dilated to two!  As miserable as I was, I had not progressed at all that week!  I left that appointment in tears.  I cried and cried, because it was looking more and more like I was going to have to be induced.  Hospital policy would not induce me until 38 weeks, and I did not know how on earth I was going to be able to physically carry my babies inside of me much longer. 
Baby B entering the world.....

          I didn’t sleep much the following week.  I was up every night with contractions that were 3-5 minutes apart.  Yes, I had been experiencing Braxton Hicks contractions since my 25th week, but these contractions were not just the tightening of the stomach.  These contractions were painful.  The only rest I got that week was during the few hours of the day when the contractions would let up.  I called labor and delivery several times that week, only to be told that if I could still walk and talk and my contractions were not intensifying, then I was not in active labor. They encouraged me to take warm baths and Tylenol, and to wait it out at home. 

          And so on Friday, March 21, I waddled into my routine weekly appointment.  At 37 weeks, I looked and felt miserable, and my doctor knew it.  When she checked my cervix, I was dilated to 4 cm.  The fact that my contractions were still inconsistent, meant that I was still not in active labor.  She explained to me that my body had probably been trying to go into labor for weeks, but my twin uterus was overextended and could not produce strong enough contractions to put me into active labor. She said that her hands were tied with hospital policy, and she could not induce me without valid reason until I reached 38 weeks. What she could do was strip my membranes in the office and send me over to labor and delivery to monitor my contractions for a few hours to see if my labor would progress. If I progressed, they would admit me to the hospital.  If I did not progress they would send me home.  And so, that is how my twin labor started.  As uncomfortable as it was, I let my doctor strip my membranes to bring on my “bloody show”, in hope of it putting me into labor.

          We left the office to grab a quick bite to eat after my appointment.  By noon of that Friday, I checked into labor and delivery to be monitored. They monitored the babies’ heart rates, my blood pressure and my contractions.  Ironically, it was not my contractions that ended up giving them reason to admit me to the hospital that afternoon.  My contractions were not really intensifying, but my blood pressure was going up.  I had perfect blood pressure my entire pregnancy, but that afternoon my blood pressure became a concern.  It wasn’t dangerously high, but it was high enough that they didn’t want to send me home.  Not only was my blood pressure a concern, but they could not get a consistent external read on Baby A’s heart rate to monitor him, because he had descended so low into my pelvis.  The only way they were going to be able to monitor Baby A’s heart rate, was to do it internally.  To do this they would have to break my water, and screw in a fetal scalp electrode to Baby A’s head to monitor his heart rate.  Believe it or not, I actually found this process to be more painful than when they stripped my membranes.  I was told that it would be less painful, but in my opinion it was more painful.
Baby A

Baby B
          Once they broke my water around 4pm to monitor Baby A, my contractions quickly intensified, and I was dilated to 6 cm by dinner time.  I thought for sure we’d have babies by midnight.  Boy was I wrong!  Unfortunately, as my contractions increased, so did my blood pressure.  Knowing that I would have to have an epidural anyway (due to all twin births needing to be prepped to deliver in the OR), the doctors went ahead and gave me my epidural to ease the pain of my contractions and bring my blood pressure down.  The epidural did bring my blood pressure down, but it also slowed my labor down.  Pitocin was then given to intensify the labor and bring on strong contractions.  I felt like the epidural and the pitocin were going back and forth in my body, creating a vicious cycle of slowing down my labor and then progressing my labor.  I can’t tell you how much pitocin I had to have pumped into me, but I know it was a lot.  I also had to have my epidural refilled two more times before I delivered.  Worse than that, the epidural made me very sick.  Each time it started to wear off, they had to refill it and I was even more sick than the time before.  I was nauseous for the majority of my labor.  After throwing up several times from the anesthesia, the nurse took my ice chips away, and I was only allowed to rinse my mouth out with water and spit it out for the remaining part of my labor.   As if it’s not bad enough that the only thing you can have to eat or drink during labor is ice chips. 
Proud Papa

          Labor was progressing slowly.  I was dilated to 8 cm by 11pm, and the doctor said we’d have babies by sunrise.  Once again, a doctor told me wrong.  Sunrise came and went, and still I had no babies.  By 2am I was dilated to 9 cm, but that is where I stayed for several hours.  By 10am, I had shown no progression.  The doctor came in and explained to me that it was time to call a c-section.  I was sick….I was tired…and even if by some chance my body decided to dilate the last cm, I was so fatigued I would have a very difficult time with pushing.  He explained to me that with my epidural, it would probably take me at least two hours to push the first baby out, and then another hour to push the second one out.  As much as I hated it, I knew it was time to call it.  It had been nearly 24 hours of labor, and we had to call a c-section.
Holding my babies for the first time.....

          I had a really hard time emotionally with that decision.  Much like our difficulties with getting pregnant, I felt like my body had failed me once again.  I had gone my entire pregnancy with both babies head down.  This made it possible for me to try to deliver my twins without needing a c-section.  It was supposed to be an ideal twin birth, yet the birth was not at all what I had imagined.  I knew birth wasn’t going to be pretty, but I didn’t think that it would take so long or that I would be so sick.  I didn’t even let my husband take pictures during the actual labor process, because the only thing to take pictures of was me getting sick.  And now here we were 24 hours later, and I was realizing that we were indeed going to have to be prepped for surgery.   There would be no skin to skin contact directly after birth.  There would be no Daddy cutting the umbilical cord.  There would be a long recovery for me, in addition to trying to take care of newborn twins.  To be honest, I missed the entire birth.  When they prepped me for surgery, they had to pump more anesthesia into me, and I threw up during the majority of the surgery.  Matt managed to get the pictures that we have by using his iphone.  I’m so glad that he got a few pictures for us. 
Our first family picture!

          I remember few things about the birth of our babies.   I remember the being sick part and the shaking uncontrollably as they rolled me into the OR. I remember being very cold.  I remember the doctors talking about their weekend plans and golf games as they were cutting into me.  I remember the nurses looking at how swollen my body was from the hours of pitocin and saying, “This poor girl, I haven’t seen someone this swollen in a long time.”  Seriously though, I was pretty swollen.  I looked like the blueberry girl off of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.  But I also remember Matt’s reaction as he saw his babies for the first time.  Such a proud daddy he was.  He must have taken a hundred pictures on his phone in those few minutes we were in the OR.  I remember the nurses placing my babies in my arms for the first time and me being completely overcome with emotion.  I didn’t know what to think or say.  All I could do was cry.  My babies had me from their first look.  I was quickly reminded of what my mother-in-law told me nearly a year ago, after we had once again been disappointed with another failed month of pregnancy.  She said that the moment I held my baby in my arms for the first time, whether through pregnancy or adoption, all of my heartache would be a distant memory.   How true that statement was!  I do still remember what it was like to not be able to get pregnant.  I do still remember the void in my heart that longed for a child.  But how quickly that void was filled in the moment I held my babies.  I have no words to describe a mother's love.  It was something that I never knew until that moment....the moment I became a mother. 
Aaron Elijah

Ethan Matthew

         And so on March 22, 2014, at 11:00am and 11:01am, we welcomed two healthy twin boys into this world.  Our twin birth did not go as I had planned, but it was still pretty perfect none the less.  I thought for sure they were going to come before 37 weeks.  At the time, I was so miserable being pregnant, I came to a point where I was ok with them coming a little earlier.  In hindsight, I’m glad I made it as far as I did, because we were able to take them home with us when we were discharged from the hospital.  We are very thankful that they did not need to spend anytime in the NICU.  Baby A weighted 5 lbs. 7 oz and Baby B weighed 6 lbs.  They were both beautiful and perfectly healthy.  Aaron Elijah (Baby A) and Ethan Matthew (Baby B) have completely stolen our hearts.  Our lives are changed for the better.  Now that they are here, it is hard to imagine how we lived without them.  Our journey through infertilty and pregnancy has come to an end.  We look forward to our new journey of parenting twins.  I could not possibly end this story without saying that these babies are our answer to prayer.  We prayed desperately for a child, and God chose to give us two! How very blessed we are!

For this child I prayed; and the Lord hath given me my petition which I asked of him: ~ I Samuel 1:27

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Letters to my Babies - Finally Here!

We are so thankful for this pregnancy! After sharing our journey through infertilty on the blog, I knew I wanted to log our newfound 40 week journey of pregnancy on the blog as well. Not knowing if I’ll ever be able to experience pregnancy again, I have chosen to log our pregnancy by writing occasional letters to our babies. The letters will keep my readers posted on how we are doing each week, but the letters will also be something that our little ones can go back and read, as a reminder of how much he or she was loved from the very beginning of their existence. You can read previous weeks by clicking on the following posts: Week 5, Week 7, Week 9, Week 12, Week 13, Week 15, Wee16, Week 18, Week 19, Week 21, Week 22,Week 24, Week 28, Week 30, Week 33, Week 35.

You’re here!  We did it!  We successfully brought two healthy twin boys into this world!  37 Weeks.  That’s how long I made it with you inside of me.  That’s full term for twins.  Those last few weeks were physically awful!  Neither I nor my doctor thought that I would carry you that long!  I was dilated for weeks….I was having contractions for weeks…..I had Baby A’s head on my cervix for weeks…. yet somehow, I managed to keep you inside of me until my 37th week of pregnancy! 

I continued working until the 35th week.  Those last two weeks at home waiting for your arrival went by slowly.  Daddy would come home from work and find me crying every day.  I truly did not know how I was going to be pregnant any longer!  Towards the end, my belly was so heavy I could barely walk.  In hindsight, I’m glad I was able to keep you inside of me for as long as I did, because on March 22, 2014, after twenty-four hours of labor and weeks of misery (and yes, I will always remind you of that), we welcomed two healthy, beautiful baby boys into the world. 

Aaron Elijah (Baby A), entered the world weighing 5 lbs. 7 oz.  Tiny but mighty, you are my dominant twin.  I love how when you sleep, you often have your hands up by your head, as if you don’t have a care in the world.  Your personality in the womb is exactly what we expected outside of the womb.  You have a set of lungs on you, and if you don’t like something, you have no problem letting us know.  You hate diaper changes, and losing your pacifier in your sleep really annoys you.  You love to be held.  You are my needy little guy.  If someone would hold you all day long, you’d be thrilled.  Daddy said that as soon as the nurses started washing you off after birth, you were looking around at your new world, bright-eyed and full of curiosity.  You speak with your eyes.  Your eyes let me know if you are angry, happy or just being mischievous.  While you look a lot like your brother, your physical features favor your mama.  My newborn pictures look a lot like you, although you and Brother are looking more and more alike as each day passes.

Ethan Matthew (Baby B), entered the world weighing 6 lbs.  You are much more laidback than your brother.  The only time you really fuss is if your pacifier falls out of your mouth while you are trying to fall asleep.  I love how you constantly have your hands on your face or cheeks, just like you did in all of our ultrasound pictures.  We call you the lazy one, but really you’re just an easy going fella.  The looks you give with your eyes, chubby cheeks and half smile melt my heart every single day.  You favor your daddy more than you do me.  You definitely have more of the Asian features, especially in your eyes. In general, you’re just a content little soul, and you are the yin to your brother’s yang.  You balance one another well. 

I’ve had you home with me for a little over a week now, and I’m still in awe of the two little miracles God has given us.  Taking care of twins is a lot of work, but I wouldn’t trade this new life of mine for anything in the world!  I am more content falling into the role of motherhood than I have ever been with any other job I’ve ever had.  Yes, I am tired, but the feeling of love, peace and contentment overwhelm the physical feelings of fatigue and exhaustion.  I have a sense of completion when I look at our little family at night.    

To my two sons, this is my very last letter to you in this blog series.  I have thoroughly enjoyed journaling my journey through this pregnancy.  The same emotions that overwhelmed me when I saw that positive pregnancy test months ago, overwhelmed me once again when the doctors placed you in my arms for the first time.  No words….I had no words….just tears from all sorts of emotions wrapped up into one moment.  That’s how this journey started on that late summer morning when I saw two pink lines on a HPT, and that’s exactly how it ended on an early spring day when I saw you and held you for the first time. You have given me a new purpose in life.  I truly never knew the love of a mother until I became one.  There is nothing quite like it.  What a gift you have given me.  At just a few days old, you’ve already shown me a new kind of love.  A deeper more intense love that I can not possibly explain.  We are truly blessed.  Life as I know it will never be the same.  From the moment I held you in my arms, you changed me for the better.  We thank God everyday for choosing us to be your parents.  We don’t take lightly the responsibility that He has given us, as your parents, to love and nurture you and to raise you in a way that would honor and please Him, our Creator, the giver of life and the One who has blessed us with the gift of parenthood.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

20 Things that Helped me in my Pregnancy.......

Being able to experience pregnancy has been one of the greatest gifts I have ever recieved. There is nothing quite carrying a life inside of you, or in my case two lives, and feeling them move within you and grow until there is no more room left for them to grow. It has been a surreal that I will not ever take for granted. But let's face it....pregnancy is not all candy, hearts and roses. Physically, a woman's body is put through a lot during pregnancy. Here are some of the things that have helped me through my pregnancy journey.

1.  Sea-bands – I didn’t throw up too much in my first trimester, but I did feel nauseous ALL the time.  Someone from church gave me sea-bands, and they did help a little with the nausea.  You can find them at most drug stores.

2.  Pregnancy pops or mints  – You can find pregnancy pops at local organic grocery stores.  I personally didn’t like the flavor of the ginger ones, although ginger is supposed to be really good for nausea.  Peppermints also helped me when I felt sick. 

3.  Wheat thins and sprite – This was just about all I remember eating in my first trimester.  I had a box of wheat thins on me constantly.  Truthfully, I just did not have an appetite.  Nothing sounded good to me in the beginning.  I do recall being able to stomach eggs in the beginning, until I once threw them up in my morning bath.  Needless to say, that was the end of eggs for me.  I think PB on toast was also pretty tolerable for me during the first trimester.  The good news is that at 12 weeks, my nausea completely went away.  It went away as soon as my doctor told me I could go off of the prescribed progesterone he was giving me to prevent a miscarriage.

4. Mucinex and Tylenol Sinus – In my second trimester, my sinuses started acting up.  These were the only two things I could take according to the list of medicines my doctor gave me.  They didn’t always work.  I had a couple sinus infections where I just couldn’t take it anymore and had to go to med-check to get an antibiotic.

5. Vitamin C drops for sore throat – Along with the sinus infections, comes the constant nasal drip.  I still have this.  I really hope it goes away right after I deliver, as it is really annoying and causes a sore throat constantly.

6.  Pregnancy tea to soothe a sore throat – I have avoided caffeine in this pregnancy, and most herbal teas are not recommended in pregnancy.  Sometimes I just wanted hot tea with honey for my throat, especially on a cold winter day.  You can find pregnancy teas at most organic groceries.

7.  Water, water, water – I drink water constantly!  I haven’t been able to get enough.  Even now, I easily down about seven bottles of water in a day.  I don’t like the flavor of our tap water, so my husband buys me a giant case of bottled water twice a week.

8.  Milk – I have no idea why I have drank so much milk in this pregnancy.  I haven’t really had any specific cravings for anything.  I wouldn’t say my need for milk is a craving, but it is about as close as it gets to a craving for me.  I easily drink a gallon of milk on my own in less than a week.  I guess my babies must need the calcium.  I don’t know, I rarely drank milk before I got pregnant.

9. stretch mark cream – Cocoa butter, bio oil, coconut oil….you name it, if it’s out there I’ve tried it.  They don’t work.  Truthfully, I’ve read that stretch marks are genetic.  You either get them or you don’t.  I guess I have my mom to thank for this one.  If nothing else, all of that lathering up gave me soft skin.

10.  a great pair of maternity jeans – Maternity clothes that make you feel good is a must.  Might as well show off that bump while we have it.  A friend of mine let me borrow some of her maternity clothes, but then I’ve also been really lucky to find some cute things at consignment sales.  I also found one Goodwill in my area that has a maternity section, and I’ve found some really cute stuff there.  Tops are easy to find, but a good pair of jeans can go along way.  I’m short, so I needed a pair that fit my body.  While most of my maternity items were only a few bucks, I did fork out $35 for a good pair of jeans, and it was probably the most worn item in my closet while I was pregnant.

11.  maternity belt – Someone in my church gave me a maternity belt as a gift when I got pregnant.  I carried the boys so low in my second trimester, that the support belt came in very handy.

12.  pregnancy shoes – I’ve suffered from edema for most of this pregnancy.  The swelling has been intense.  My size 5 foot quickly went to a 6.5 before I was even 20 weeks pregnant.   Everyone says not to stretch out your regular shoes when your're pregnant.  Honestly, I couldn’t even fit into my regular shoes, let alone try to stretch them out.  I bought a couple pair of really cute flats just for pregnancy that I could wear with casual jeans or dressier clothes.  Great investment, as I still can’t fit into my regular shoes.  Even my flip flops leave marks on my feet.  My doctor said that a few weeks after delivery, my swelling should go down.  I can’t wait!
13.  foot bath – When I come home with swollen feet, I soak them in Epsom salts and lavender oil, and then my husband tries to rub the swelling out for me.  I didn’t buy an expensive foot bath.  A dish pan from Wal-Mart was really all I needed.

14.  heating pad – This was a great investment on the nights that I would come home from work and my lower back would be so sore.  I’d put the heating pad on low and sit on the couch with my feet propped up to get some relief.

15.  antacids - Heartburn and acid reflux in pregnancy has been insane.  All I can say is that antacids have been my friend and an absolute must on my survival list.  Maybe that's why I go through so much milk?  I do drink it often when I want instant relief for heartburn.

16.  PUPPS supplies - The PUPPS rash has been the worst part of pregnancy for me.  I have a list of things that have helped me to try to keep it under control.  I won't go into it now.  I plan on writing a blog post soon about what has helped me cope with a horible rash that less than 1% of pregnant women get.
17.  my blog -  Journaling this pregnancy on my blog has been a way to keep family and friends updated about everything.  I don't have to say the same thing 35 times, because most people in my life read my blog updates.  It's also been a way for me to capture pregnancy in a way that I will always be able to remember and cherish.  Yes, at times pregnancy can be hard, but I know that this pregnancy is a gift....a gift that I prayed for and truly do cherish.
18.  a supportive husband – I do not think I could have gone through this pregnancy without him.  He has been there to hold my hair back when I was throwing up….to rub my feet when it hurt to walk….to offer back rubs….to help with housework… run errands for me….to wipe my tears when I have been physically exhausted and the end still seems so far away….to tell me I’m beautiful and always will be when I look in the mirror and realize that even after I lose the baby weight, my body will never look the same.  He’s been my encourager, lover and best friend. 

19. encouraging people who pray – Encouraging people who remind you they are praying for you is a blessing.  Many people have been there to encourage me, especially in these last few weeks when I feel like it has gotten really hard to carry twins.

20. grace and patience  – This one is hard, but I know I need it.  I have no idea how much longer I will have to go before these babies enter the world.  If it was tonight, I would do a happy dance.  But for all I know, I may have to go a couple more weeks and have a scheduled induction.  In the meantime, may I be filled with grace and patience as I wait out the next few days or weeks.



Saturday, March 8, 2014

Letters to my Babies - Week 35

We are so thankful for this pregnancy! After sharing our journey through infertilty on the blog, I knew I wanted to log our newfound 40 week journey of pregnancy on the blog as well. Not knowing if I’ll ever be able to experience pregnancy again, I have chosen to log our pregnancy by writing occasional letters to our babies. The letters will keep my readers posted on how we are doing each week, but the letters will also be something that our little ones can go back and read, as a reminder of how much he or she was loved from the very beginning of their existence. You can read previous weeks by clicking on the following posts: Week 5, Week 7, Week 9, Week 12, Week 13, Week 15, Week 16, Week 18, Week 19, Week 21, Week 22,Week 24, Week 28, Week 30, Week 33.

35 weeks….we’re almost there!  I’m dilated to two cm, and Baby A is very low on my cervix.  The doctor said it could be any time now.  It’s simply a waiting game of when I get to meet you, and I’m ready.  Yes, we are ready in the sense that our to-do-list is pretty much completed.  But more than that, I’m just physically ready to be done with pregnancy. 

Physically, I am more than ready to deliver you. The physical limit that my body is being pushed to with this twin pregnancy is something that I could not have quite prepared myself for.  I think I was doing really well and staying optimistic until about 30 weeks.  After 30 weeks, everything just started to get really difficult.  By that time, I was already measuring full-term for a singlton pregnancy, so I'm using that as my excuse.

The third trimester has definitely been the hardest for me.  Just so you know, the things that my body has gone through over the last two months will forever be held against you and used as guilt for the rest of your life.  I’m just sayin’…..when you misbehave and let me know what an awful mother you think I am in the moment, you should expect to hear all about the things my body went through to carry you into this world. Yep, it’s gonna happen.  I’m sure of it.    

In the first trimester, I was just so overjoyed to be pregnant that the constant state of nausea and fatigue were easily overlooked in my mind.  

In the second trimester, my energy came back and the feeling to vomit went away, so while the following pregnancy symptoms were unpleasant, I didn’t think it was too much to complain about at the time:  sinus infections and constant nasal drip, swelling from my edema, heartburn and acid reflux, lower back pain, fast weight gain and placenta previa for Baby A. 

The third trimester has been a whole new story.  I still have the heartburn, swelling and the constant nasal drip from the second trimester, but on top of that, the following pregnancy symptoms have made this last trimester almost unbearable to me:  the PUPPS rash started at 26 weeks – this is by far the worst part for me.  I scratch myself until I bleed.  I have scars all over my legs.  There is no cure and very little relief.  I feel like I've had chicken pox for nine weeks, and the itching is not guarenteed to go away after delivery.  If I didn’t pray so hard for a child and know the feeling of not being able to get pregnant, this rash alone would make me want to have my tubes tied after I give birth to you; stretch marks – I was doing pretty good with stretch marks until I got the rash that starts and spreads within stretch marks.  In less than ten weeks, I’ve gone from a few stretch marks below my belly button, to big deep stretch marks from my thighs to my chest.  They’re not just ugly, they are painful and itchy.  My stomach has stretched so much that it literally feels bruised.  My body will forever be scarred, and I’m pretty sure my belly button is permanently misplaced on my body from being so severely stretched; rapid weight gain – I’m as big around as I am tall.  I know a lot of it is water weight from the swelling, but I’m downright huge.  I keep telling myself it took nine months to put it all on, so allow myself nine months to get it all off;  lack of sleep – I do not get more than an hour or two of sleep at a time, simply from sheer discomfort or the constant need to go to the bathroom.  They say this is the body’s way of preparing for motherhood.  I say it’s a cruel way to prepare me for the exhaustion that I already know is coming once we bring you home; contractions - I’ve been having contractions since 23-24 weeks.  They have progressed from an annoying tightening in my stomach to being downright unpleasant, and I have to breathe through them to get rid of them; pelvic pressure – there’s only so much room for you in my short 5’ 2’’ body.  You are running out of room quickly.  Baby A’s head has been on my cervix since week 31.  I’m not even going to try to explain to you how much discomfort that can bring.

Yep, I think that about covers it. And I haven’t even experienced labor and delivery yet, so expect that to be added to this list of things that I will forever remind you of on the days that you and I are not having our finest mother/son moments.  

In all seriousness, I know that the two of you are worth every one of the unpleasant things my body is experiencing.  And if I could experience the past 35 weeks all over again just to have you, I would do it in a heartbeat.  The reality is that pregnancy, labor and delivery will seem short-lived compared to the joy that motherhood will bring.

So to my two sons, if this is the last letter I get to write to you before you enter this world, know that you have been worth every bit of unpleasantness along the way.  I waited a long time to see those two pink lines on a pregnancy test.  You were worth the wait.  And while I may be ready for pregnancy to be over, I would experience everything ~ from the heartbreak of negative test after negative test, to the uncertainty of fertility treatments, to the discouragement of medical bills, to all of the discomfort of pregnancy ~ just to be able to be your mama.  We love you with all of our being and are anxiously waiting for these next few days/weeks to pass.  We can’t wait to hold the two little blessings that were created from two human beings who pleaded with God for the gift of a child. We begged God for one, yet He chose to give us two.  We are truly blessed that God has chosen us to be your parents.


Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Maternity Pictures - Twin Pregnancy

It recently occurred to me that I have yet to post our maternity pictures on my blog, so here they are…..


We had our pictures taken by KINGFISH Photography.  They did a wonderful job!  We are blessed to know them personally and to have had them photograph our pregnancy.  From our first trimester announcement, to our second trimester gender reveal and now our third trimester maternity session, we are very pleased with their work.  I highly recommend them if you are in the Indianapolis area.  Be sure to check out their Facebook page for more details.

When researching when to take maternity pictures, most of the things that I read said that 30 weeks was a good time to have pictures scheduled.  You want to make sure that you have enough of a baby bump for pictures, but are not too big and uncomfortable. 

For a twin pregnancy, I read that you definitely wanted to take them before 30 weeks, simply because you are too big and miserable after that point.  We had ours taken around 28 weeks, mainly because I wanted a winter session in the snow, and we needed to take advantage of the weather.  Truthfully, by 28 weeks I was already pretty uncomfortable, and it wouldn’t have hurt to have had them taken a little earlier. 

I wasn’t 100% sure that I wanted maternity pictures taken, just because…..well, let’s face it….I’m having twins, and I’m HUGE!  I'm only 5' 2" with a short torso, so while some women might carry their pregnancy weight beautifully, I find that I only have so much room in my belly for these babies to go.  Plus I have had really bad edema for much of my pregnancy, so my swelling and water-retention were also in the back of my mind when deciding about maternity pictures.  Believe it or not, these pictures were taken nearly six weeks ago, so my belly is even bigger now than it was in these pictures. Hard to believe what two growing babies can do to a woman's body! 

While my husband and other people around me might say that my baby bump is beautiful, we as women are always most critical of ourselves....that's just the way it is.  So yeah, I was self-conscious about capturing all of my baby weight on camera, at a point in my pregnancy when I was already measuring close to a singleton pregnancy that was full-term.
However, I have logged my entire pregnancy on my blog, Facebook and Instagram.  I’ve tried to capture as much of this journey through the eyes of a camera lens as possible, so it just made sense to suck it up, keep it real and have a maternity session.

For the record, I’m really glad that we did it.  I might not love the way I look at the moment, but the memories that these pictures will bring back to us in the years to come are far more important to me than the size of my belly. 
Here are a few of my favorites from our maternity session.....


Monday, February 24, 2014

Letters to my Babies - Week 33

We are so thankful for this pregnancy! After sharing our journey through infertilty on the blog, I knew I wanted to log our newfound 40 week journey of pregnancy on the blog as well. Not knowing if I’ll ever be able to experience pregnancy again, I have chosen to log our pregnancy by writing occasional letters to our babies. The letters will keep my readers posted on how we are doing each week, but the letters will also be something that our little ones can go back and read, as a reminder of how much he or she was loved from the very beginning of their existence. You can read previous weeks by clicking on the following posts: Week 5, Week 7, Week 9, Week 12, Week 13, Week 15, Week 16, Week 18, Week 19, Week 21, Week 22, Week 24,  Week 28, Week 30.

We've made it to 33 weeks!  Only a few more weeks to go!  A lot has gone on since my last post three weeks ago.  For one, the snow has finally started to melt, and for the first time in a long time I can see the grass again!

More snow is sure to come, but the green grass is just a sign of spring being around the corner.  This year particularly, the arrival of spring means the arrival of my babies, so forgive me if I am a little more excited than usual about melting snow and sunshine!

Also, Daddy and I celebrated our last Valentine's together as a family of two.  He is always so thoughtful, and I couldn't ask for a better man for the two of you to look up to and hopefully one day be just like.  As you grow up, notice the way he treats me....with love and respect. This is the kind of treatment that will be expected from you towards your Mama, your future wives, and women in general.  Don't just learn by me telling you, but learn by the example he sets for you.

Along with celebrating Valentine's Day, Mommy turned thirty last week.  Turning thirty marks a big life change for me. Motherhood is just a few weeks away, and I don’t take that for granted.  A year ago, I spent my 29th birthday recovering from an IUI to try to get pregnant, only to find out two weeks later that the procedure would not take, and we were not pregnant.  When I go back and read this blog entry about those IUI results, it still brings tears to my eyes.  I spent the next few months accepting that I may not ever be able to get pregnant, yet here I am one year later, pregnant with twin boys. It turns out being 30 isn't so bad.  You can read more about my simply perfect birthday here

Other than snow and celebrations, the past few weeks have brought changes to my body.  I’ve really noticed my body preparing itself for your arrival.  1) Braxton Hicks contractions are happening frequently, and at times they are more than uncomfortable.  I know they are not active labor contractions, because they are still very sporadic.  At times, my contractions may be five or six minutes apart, while other times they are still an hour apart.  To cope with the contractions, I'm resting a lot more than I would like to be and am drinking plenty of water.  2) You boys have dropped since my last post, and carrying you so low is quite uncomfortable.  I swear it feels as if you are going to fall right out of me some days!  3) I'm just getting downright big!  I seriously don't know how my body is going to stretch anymore than it already has.  My stomach literally feels bruised, and each time you move the soreness only intensifies. 
I am now at a point in this pregnancy where I am seeing the doctor on a weekly basis.  Around 31 weeks, I called the doctor, because I was having a considerable amount of pelvic pressure.  During that appointment, the doctor was checking my cervix and discovered that Baby A’s head was right on my cervix. This was clearly the culprit of my pelvic pressure and discomfort.  During that appointment, my cervix was still closed, but partially effaced. I was sent home without any restrictions, although I did start to cut back on some of my physical activity after that appointment.

At 32 weeks, we had a routine growth ultrasound and discovered Baby A jumped from 2 lbs. 12 oz. to 4 lbs. 3 oz. in one month's time, while Baby B jumped from 2 lbs. 9 oz. to 4 lbs. 5 oz.  You’ve been around the 50th percentile this entire pregnancy.   While you were still measuring in the 50th percentile for your 32 week growth ultrasound, the very thought of delivering two normal sized babies to 38 weeks was overwhelming to me.  The following Facebook post clearly shows how I was feeling right after that appointment…….
“We went in for our 32 week growth ultrasound this morning. The babies have definitely grown this month. Baby A (Aaron Elijah) measures 4 lbs. 3.oz and Baby B (Ethan Matthew) measures 4 lbs. 5 oz. So at 32 weeks, I already have close to 9 lbs. of baby in me, plus they each have their own placentas and amniotic fluid. They will not induce me until 38 weeks. I'm not gonna lie, the very thought of having to make it six more weeks brings actual tears to my eyes. With an expected weight gain of .5 lbs. per baby each week from this point on, 38 weeks puts the boys around 7.5 pounds each. That's 15 lbs. of baby in me! As I was lying on the ultrasound table doing the math in my head, I actually started to cry thinking of that thought. And in the waiting room as we were waiting to be seen by the doctor after the ultrasound, I'm sitting there sobbing, looking like a pregnant mess to others I'm sure, telling my husband that "I just can't do it...I just can't go six more weeks....I can't deliver 15 lbs of baby.....I can't make it that long.....I'm so miserable already.....I'm only 5.2 with a short torso and I married a tiny Asian man, how in the heck did we create two average sized babies....we're not big people, I thought for sure we'd make tiny babies....I haven't had any pregnancy cravings, have been watching my sugar and do not have gestational diabetes, how am I ending up with two 7+ lbs. babies in me by the time they want to induce at 38 weeks!" Yeah, it was not my finest moment for sure."

At 33 weeks, my fears of having to deliver 15 lbs. of baby were put to ease.  At that appointment, the doctor told us she highly doubts I will make it to a 38 week induction.  She expects you to arrive in a couple of weeks, as I was already starting to dilate at that appointment.  I was less than a cm. dilated, so I was sent home without any restrictions.  Every woman is different.  I could be walking around dilated for a month before going into labor, or it could happen much sooner than that.  I will say that I feel like I could go into labor at any time.  Even small amounts of physical activity puts me into contractions, so I am forced to take things much easier than I would like to.  We really do want to keep you in till at least 36 weeks.  Even though I have no specific restrictions from a doctor, Daddy and I have agreed to cut back my hours at work considerably, so I can spend much of my day off of my feet and resting.  He is also not allowing me to do much of anything around the house.  He has taken on all of the grocery shopping, the cleaning and the cooking.  While I love that he is so concerned about all three of us, it kills me to not be able to do those things.  I hate having to watch him work a full day and then come home and take care of responsibilities that I would normally be doing. 
Other than all of the physical discomforts of this last bit of pregnancy, we are still making progress in preparing for your arrival. Since my last post, we had our church baby shower. We are certainly blessed with a wonderful church family who can’t wait to meet you.

We’re feeling more and more prepared as each week passes. Over the past few weeks, we've....

1) purchased the remaining items that we needed for your arrival
2) packed the diaper bag, and it's ready to go
3) packed my hospital bag, and it's waiting by the door with a list of last minute items for Daddy to put in the bag before we leave
4) have the carseats ready to be put in the car, and Daddy is taking them to get inspected this weekend
5)  have the stroller ready to go
6) have the bassinets ready for you in our room
7) put the baby moniter up in the nursery
8) assembled all of the baby gear and put batteries in everything
9) took a birthing class at the hospital to better prepare us for labor and delivery

We still have a few more small things to buy here and there, and I want to make sure the house is cleaned really well before you come, along with getting the freezer and pantry stocked up. I guess those are all things to work on next weekend.

Other than that, I think that we are as ready as we are going to be for our big day.  We are certainly looking forward to meeting you face to face.  It feels like it's taken forever to get to this point.  It won't be long now.   Seeing you face to face will be here before we know it.