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

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.