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

Monday, October 28, 2013

Letters to my Babies - Week 16

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.
We had our sixteen week ultrasound on Friday to check on the placenta previa for Baby A.  I am thrilled to say that Baby A has moved up next to Baby B, and placenta previa is no longer a concern in this pregnancy.  Since Baby A has moved up, it also appears as though both babies are now close to the same size and weight.  Aside from the good news about the placenta previa, both babies also appeared to be healthy and well.  Heartbeats were, as usual, in the mid 140’s for both babies, and both babies were VERY active.  You both moved so much it was hard to get pictures that didn’t look blurry!  Considering how active you both are, I asked my doctor why I still haven’t felt any movement.  She explained that it is unlikely I will feel any movement until around 22 weeks.  Both of your placentas appear to be facing out, meaning that you are literally kicking into a giant pillow instead of my tummy.  I asked if the placentas would be this way until birth, and she said yes.  While I would really love to feel some movement at this point in pregnancy, the good news is that the position of the placentas should make all of that movement at the end of my pregnancy a little more comfortable. 
Baby A 16 week ultrasound
Baby B 16 week ultrasound

Any time we go into an ultrasound, I am always filled with anxiety.  My biggest fear is that they will find something wrong with one of you. As soon as I hear those heartbeats and see two healthy babies, I take a big sigh of relief.  In this particular ultrasound we were even more thrilled to find out that Baby A had moved up.  To top it all off, we were also able to find out your genders! Had we not had to check on the placenta previa at 16 weeks, we would have had to wait until our 20 week ultrasound to find out your genders.

We knew that there was a possibility of finding out your genders at 16 weeks, although our doctor never even mentioned it to us. It was a little early to find out for sure, and it often depends on how well the baby cooperates. Believe me, neither one of you were shy when it came to finding your genders.  Once we got the good news about your basic health and wellness, the ultrasound tech checked to see if we could see if you were boys or girls.  She checked Baby A first, and there was no hiding it.  You are a Boy!  She then checked Baby B, and once again there was no denying the fact that you too are a boy!  We are very excited to know that in just a few months, we will be welcoming our two SONS into this world! I pray you will be brothers and the best of friends for a lifetime!  Daddy and I took a few days to enjoy the news all to ourselves, before having a few pictures taken (all gender reveal photos taken by Kingfish photography) and revealing the genders to our family and friends. 

It’s funny, because Daddy and I had not really given your genders too much thought.  We've been so busy going from one ultrasound to the next, that we just haven't really had too many conversations about whether we were having two boys, two girls or a boy and a girl.  Of course the possibility of what we could be having has crossed our minds, but we certainly never said I hope you are a girl or I hope you are a boy.  The few times that we did discuss what we thought your genders were going to be, Daddy had thought we were having a boy and a girl, and I thought you were both going to be girls.  Much to our surprise, we were both wrong!

I admit that I was surprised to know that all of the pink I had envisioned quickly turned to blue.  However, I was even more surprised by my reaction to finding out your genders.  I'm not sure if my reaction wasn't what I had thought it was going to be, simply because this wasn't really a gender reveal ultrasound.  It was more or less an ultrasound to check on Baby A.  The gender reveal was just a bonus.  Either way, because we didn’t have a preference on what we were having, I thought that whenever we found out your genders we would both cry and be so excited just like we were when they told us we were having twins.  Yet, when the ultrasound tech typed BOY the first time, I thought to myself, “Really? Are you sure?”, simply because that’s not what I had pictured in my head.  And then the second time I saw BOY being typed on the screen, I found myself thinking, “Really, two boys?  Are you sure that’s not just an extra hand or foot or something else?"  Let me assure you, I wasn’t at all disappointed with having two boys…..seriously, how could anyone possibly be disappointed about that?  I was more disappointed that my reaction wasn’t how I had envisioned it, probably because I was so surprised that it wasn’t what either one of us thought it was going to be.  When my doctor noticed that I didn't seem myself, I explained to her that I felt like an awful mother for not reacting differently.  She assured me that I was not an awful mother, and that my reaction was not uncommon.  She said it was completely normal, and that she was the same way when she found out she was having a son, simply because in her mind she pictured ruffles and bows.  Her mind had gotten attached to all of the pink, and in an instant she had to adjust her mind to think Tonka trucks and mud.  She was a great comfort to me when she said that I will not be delivering two grown men, but two little cuddly babies who will take one look at their mama and love me the way I already love them.  The shock of two boys wore off quickly, as Daddy and I celebrated over dinner and had our first official shopping trip for you.  Even though my mind was excited to decorate a girl nursery and to buy hair bows, pink sparkly shoes and ruffled dresses……I have quickly adjusted to the fact that we are going to have two of the cutest little boys around!  I’ve already planned out a new boy nursery in my mind, and the more cute stuff I find for the two little monkey’s moving around inside of me, the more excited I get about your arrival.  Let the planning and preparing begin!  This is the fun part for me…the part that involves shopping and decorating.  For Daddy, this part is not so much fun:/ It won’t take you long to learn that spending money never makes Daddy happy;)


Monday, October 21, 2013

Adoption Update - Pregnant but still Planning to Adopt

I’ve had a lot of people ask me if we are still planning to adopt, now that we know we are pregnant.  The answer is yes.  Our choice to adopt really was not about us not being able to get pregnant. Adoption was always something that we had always wanted to do, but not being able to get pregnant certainly affected the timing of our adoption journey.

In my last adopotion update, I shared that in November of 2012, we decided to pursue both fertility and adoption at the same time.  We reached out to an adoption contact in January and applied for international adoption.  We then met with an agency in February, only to be told that the country our hearts were set on adopting from, China, would not accept any of our paperwork until I turned 30.  The paperwork could not be more than six months old when China received it.  Since I did not turn 30 until February of 2014, we were basically told to wait until August of 2013 to get back with the agency and continue our adoption process.  From there, we could dig into paperwork, schedule and complete our home study and prepare our dossier in the fall of 2013 before sending everything to China in February.  It was a little hard to be told that we had to wait to pursue our China adoption, but it did give us a chance to start saving up the money for the adoption.  While I was a little disheartened that a trip to China seemed like an eternity away, Matt saw it as a blessing and an opportunity to prepare financially for our adoption journey.

In January of 2013, we decided to put $500 a month into our adoption fund, with the hope of having about half of our $30,000 saved up by the time we were ready to finalize the adoption.  I’ll be honest, I didn’t know if that was always going to work.  We looked over our finances, and decided that we really thought we could step out in faith and make it happen. If by some chance money was tight a certain month, we would make a choice to limit everything necessary to continue banking away our commitment of $500 a month into an adoption fund.  Can I tell you we haven’t really had to limit ourselves too much financially like I thought we were going to… least not yet. Matt has made every bit of our adoption money in monthly bonuses this year, which we are beyond grateful for. I’m not saying it will always be that way, but I am saying that so far God has provided more than we expected.  And yes, it is a little scary to think that we are having two babies and going back to one income in a few months, but we know who provides our needs.  Matt can cover all of the monthly bills on his base salary alone, but we have certainly wondered about hospital bills and our commitment to this adoption fund when I’m not working.  All I can say is that we trust it will all work out, and even with one income, we still plan on keeping our commitment to our adoption fund.

While we were basically told to play the waiting game on our adoption process, fertility treatments were not getting us anywhere either.  After our failed IUI in February, we took a break from treatments.  It was certainly a depressing time for me, to be told we couldn’t pursue our China adoption right away and to realize that there was a good chance that we could walk away from fertility treatments all together without conceiving a baby.  And then July came.  We sought another round of fertility treatments for the last time.   July came and went, and on August 2, we found out we were pregnant!  Two weeks later, we found out it was with twins! 

At the same time we found out we were pregnant with twins, we were supposed to get back with our adoption agency, because we were now six months away from my 30th birthday and could continue the adoption process.  And so we contacted our agency.  We shared our pregnancy news with them.  Knowing that we would have to redo a home study once the babies arrived, we asked if we should continue the adoption process or wait unti the babies were born.  We also had some questions about our finances changing once the babies came.  We more than meet the finacial qualifications to adopt right now, but once the babies come, our annual income will drop to only Matt's income and our debt may increase depending on what kind of delivery we have and what kind of hosptital bills may come with that.  

The agency was very excited about our pregnancy news, and after all of our questions were answered, they advised us to wait until after the babies were born to continue our adoption process. For one, any time there is a change in the family dynamic, such as the babies being born, the adoption process is put on hold until a home study has been updated and sent back to China, which is an additional $800.  Secondly, we were told that the dossier and home study can, in general, be a stressful process.  The lady from the agency we have been keeping in contact with, who has also adopted from China, told us that if it was her, she would enjoy the pregnancy and wait until the babies were a few months old to continue our adoption process.  We agreed and decided to listen to her wisdom and advice.  As far as our finacial concerns, we were told that while having the twins will make our financial quallifications go up, Matt's income alone should still qualify us to adopt from China.  However, any time there is a dramatic change in income, paperwork needs to be updated anyway, so it just makes sense to wait until after the babies arrive to continue with our adoption process.

So that’s where we are with adoption.  We are waiting AGAIN and continuing to save up the money for our adoption, but YES, we are still planning to adopt a son or daughter from China.  We cannot wait to meet him or her, as this process seems like it will take forever.  Because we have never felt the need to adopt an infant, we know that there is a chance that our little one is already born, and we pray for him or her daily.  We pray for their wellbeing and that God would already be preparing their heart and our hearts for when we can finally be a part of each other's lives.  I have no idea when or if this adoption will ever be completed, or in our case when it will really even get started, but we still believe that adoption is the right choice for us and are doing what we can to prepare ourselves for the journey. 




Sunday, October 20, 2013

Letters to My Babies - Week 15

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.

I'm settling into my second trimester and feeling much better than I did in those first few weeks of pregnancy.  Overall, I'm feeling really good.  They say I’m supposed to get all of my energy back in my second trimester. That hasn’t happened yet.  I’m still pretty tired most of the time, but it is nothing like it was before.  At this point in my pregnancy, all sickness has subsided, my appetite is back, and I no longer feel bloated.  I also find myself sleeping through the night again.  While I do sleep through the night, falling asleep can be a little difficult. Trying to get comfortable in bed with a pregnant belly is not as easy as it sounds.  I know this will only get worse in the coming weeks.  Heartburn is also the most recent reason falling asleep has become a little difficult. I don’t notice heartburn throughout the day.  It seems to show up right around bed time and laying down makes it worse.  Let's just say, antacids have become my new friend.

My baby bump had a noticeable growth spurt this week, indicating that the two of you are growing just as you should be. My weekly pictures don't show much growth from weeks 11-14, but from week 14-15, I definitely notice the growth in my belly. It's weird, because I can actually feel my belly stretching some days.  It's a hard feeling to explain. I had that feeling a lot around week 12, and then this past week, it was very noticable again. I find myself lathering up with cocoa butter to prevent stretchmarks, but I'm not sure that's working too well. 

We have less than a week until our next ultrasound. Daddy and I can't wait to find out your genders!  We go back to the doctor at the end of the week to check on the placenta previa for Baby A, and we are secretly hoping to maybe find out your genders during that ultrasound. For some, 16 weeks is too early to know, and if that is the case for us, we will be forced to wait until our 20 week ultrasound.  We are anxiously waiting the planning and preparing part of your arrival, but so much of our planning is determined around whether we are having two girls, two boys or a boy and a girl.  We’ve been taking advantage of consignment sales and garage sales in our area, but we are limited on what we can buy, until we know what we are having. 

Daddy seems to think we are having a boy and a girl. I have no idea what to expect.  Any time we go in for an ultrasound, I find myself filled with anxiety and am just thrilled to hear heartbeats, so I haven't given your genders too much thought yet. We'll soon see if Daddy's supsicion is right.  We don't really have a preference on what we are having. There are advantages to both.  For example, if you are a boy and a girl, Daddy will get his boy to play sports with and do all sorts of whatever guys do to bond, and I will get my girl to dress up in ruffles and pink, have tea parties with and take with me on shopping trips.  At the same time, if you are the same gender, I can see you having a stronger bond throughout life and forever being the best of friends.  And I have to admit, it would be a lot easier for me to decorate a nursery if you are two girls or two boys.  Two girls would also be a lot easier to pick names for.  I think we know what we will name you if you are girls.  If you are two boys, I have a feeling you may forever be called Baby A and Baby B, because it seems as though Daddy and I will never agree on boy names.  Whether you are a boy and a girl, two girls or two boys, it doesn't really matter.  As long as our next ultrasound shows that the two of you are healthy and well, we will be thrilled.  We already love you both so much.  As each week passes we get more excited about your arrival.  Boy or girl, we just can't wait to safely deliver you and bring you home! 

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Letters to my Babies - Week 13

 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.

       We have officially made it to our second trimester!  We made it to 13 weeks of pregnancy yesterday!  To celebrate the end of our first trimester, we had a friend take a few pictures for us.  I'm sharing some of my favorite ones today.  Thank you Kingfish Photography for your time and talent!   Look them up on Facebook to see more of their work!

       In my ideal world, I would have kept this pregnancy private until my first trimester was over.  I always envisioned announcing the news with a fun creative photo shoot around 12 weeks. I’ve obviously been on Pinterest too much!  


       We did not keep our pregnancy a secret for obvious reasons.  We chose to share our pregnancy as soon as we knew, because we were publicly sharing our infertility on my blog.  People knew we started working with our fertility doctor again in July, and they were bound to ask us in August how that went.  We knew we couldn’t keep it a secret.  Truthfully, my belly would have given away this pregnancy a few weeks ago anyway, so I would have never been able to keep it a secret through my first trimester.

       Even though we announced our pregnancy around 4 weeks, we still went ahead and had some pictures taken around 12 weeks.  For us it wasn’t so much to announce the pregnancy…..everyone already knew.  It was more or less to celebrate the fact that we made it through what was supposed to be the high risk part of our pregnancy.  At 12 weeks, we have already had three ultrasounds.  We have had countless doctors appointments from the day we found out we were pregnant.  For us, these pictures symbolize the end of the scary part of this pregnancy.  The part where the doctors told us there was a chance we could lose our babies.  With each week of pregnancy, the risks went down and the chances of having a viable pregnancy went up.  Now that we have made it into the second trimester, the risk factor is no longer there.  We can now have a somewhat normal pregnancy…..well, hopefully we can.

       We are thrilled to enter our second trimester.  We have been so busy just trying to make it from one appointment to the next that we really have not fully enjoyed this pregnancy.  I’m looking forward to the next several weeks of planning and preparing for your arrival.  We love you both so much, and can not wait for you to make your grand entrance into the world! 


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Letters to my Babies: Week 12

         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, someday, be something that our little ones can go back and read over, as a reminder of how much he or she was loved from the very beginning of their existence. You can read week 5 here , week 7 here. and week 9 here.

We made it to 12 weeks of pregnancy this past Friday! That was a big milestone for us. For one, I no longer have to take 200 mg. of progesterone each night….yay!  Also, it indicates that the end of my first trimester is near.  I am already feeling better.  I still don’t have a lot of energy, but I’m no longer feeling sick all of the time.  I’ve also officially started to show within the past two weeks.  I think I’ve felt bloated and fat most of this pregnancy lol, but around 11 weeks, a pregnancy bump was definitely evident and has continued to grow.

Twin Baby Bump - 11 Weeks
Twin Baby Bump - 11 Weeks

Twin Baby Bump - 12 Weeks

Twin Baby Bump - 12 Weeks

We had our 12 week ultrasound and appointment on Friday.  It was our first ultrasound with our OB.  Overall, it went well, but we quickly noticed that it was less personable than all of our RE appointments and ultrasounds.  I’ve seen our OB numerous times prior to this pregnancy.  It’s the same doctor I have seen for a few years, and the same doctor who discovered some of our fertility issues and referred us to a fertility specialist.  We have a very good doctor.  Apparently, she is so good that everyone seems to want her as their doctor.  As a result, the nurses tell us she is one of the hardest doctors to get an appointment with.  All of my past appointments have always felt a bit rushed, but I will say that she has always listened to me and my needs.  Friday’s appointment was no different.  Both our ultrasound and 12 week appointment felt a little rushed, and once again made me ponder the benefits choosing of a midwife and a home birth over a typical doctor/hospital birth.

Midwives have become very popular with other women my age.  Some hospitals even let midwives or dulhas assist in the births at the hospital.  To my knowledge, our hospital does not have that policy.   I also do not believe that our insurance covers it, and with Daddy’s insurance changing in January, only offering a high deductible plan, we are already a little curious about how high our delivery cost will be.  We plan on delivering you at St. Vincent Carmel, and while the facility is very nice, I am a little hesitant.  For example, I don’t like the idea of knowing that my doctor may not even be delivering you.  Which ever doctor is on call will be delivering you, so there is a good chance it will be a doctor I’m not even familiar with.  I also know that there may be some complications with twins that may require a c-section.  I am obviously open to a c-section if it is necessary, but I don’t want to feel pressured into to having a c-section.  I haven’t even discussed a birth plan with our doctor yet, but seeing as how this may be the only pregnancy I get to experience, I truly do want to experience every aspect of pregnancy…...even delivery, as crazy as that may sound.   

Daddy is completely against the idea of a midwife or home birth, considering the possible complications of this pregnancy.  I too understand that a midwife may not be for us, considering the fact that medical technology has played a big role in how the two of you were conceived and have continued to thrive thus far.  However, I do love the idea of a midwife.  In my ideal world, we would have said years ago we wanted to have a baby…..gotten pregnant right away….hired a midwife….had a joyous uncomplicated pregnancy……delivered at home naturally…..and would have even hired professional birthing photographer to capture all of the emotions of birth on film for us to have for a lifetime (maybe I’ve been reading too many pregnancy blogs lately lol).  But we do not live in an ideal world.  In my real world, we couldn’t get pregnant right away.  We sought medical treatment to help get us pregnant.  We DID get pregnant with help…YAY….but we were told it was high risk for the first trimester and had to be watched carefully up until this point.  So in my real world, I will not be surprised if I have a not so ideal labor.  Realistically, my labor and delivery will happen how it happens, and that's just the way it is.

Other than feeling a little rushed at our appointment on Friday, it went fairly well. The ultrasound showed two healthy babies with two healthy heartbeats.  Baby B has always been a little bigger than baby A, and this third ultrasound showed the slight size difference once again.  Neither baby was active in Friday’s ultrasound. The ultrasound tech said you were both probably sleeping.  They did find a minor problem with Baby A.  Baby A has not moved up into my upper uterus like Baby B.  Apparently, Baby A is content to stay low and grow right over my cervix, creating a condition called placenta previa. Placenta previa is not a huge concern at 12 weeks, but it is something to keep an eye on.  We have to go back at 16 weeks for another ultrasound to see if Baby A has moved away from my cervix.  If not, then we may be a little more concerned.  We are trusting that Baby A is just a little slower than Baby B and will move up in time. Right now it’s not a huge concern, but it could definitely cause some complications in the second half of my pregnancy if Baby A doesn’t move up into my uterus.  Basically, placenta previa can cause hemorrhaging and early labor. You can read more about placenta previa here. 

I don’t have any 3D ultrasound pictures to show today.  The pictures that I do have are not the best.  We had a new tech on Friday.  As I said before, it was a little rushed.  Only a few quick pictures were taken to see that the two of you were healthy, and then the ultrasound was over.  Such a change from the first two ultrasounds, where our RE and tech were just as excited to see the two of you on the screen as we were.  In both of those ultrasounds, they took the time to get us the best pictures they could, and they always labeled the two of you Baby A and Baby B.  Friday’s ultrasound was just less personable, and you were labeled Fetus A and Fetus B.  I am sure that is just proper protocal, but you are not just a 12 week old fetus.  You are my precious babies that I have watched grow every few weeks and will continue to watch grow over the next two months.  By the time you are 20 weeks, I will have had five ultrasounds.  Not too many people get to see their baby’s grow inside of them, so it has certainly been special to watch the life inside of me grow from only six weeks of pregnancy.  There is no doubt that you are life!

Baby A 12 week ultrasound

Baby B 12 week ultrasound