Saturday, July 25, 2015

Week 25 Update

25 weeks 2 days
For some reason my first thought is, what is the deal with my flat hair in this pregnancy? I know pregnancy can change your hair and in some ways my hair seems better than ever -- extra long and thick. I find I really haven't done my hair much the past 6 months -- is it the tiredness? The hand and arm pain and numbness (definitely makes it hard to do much as far as makeup, hair, or even getting dressed sometimes)? Maybe just laziness? Maybe that's why it is flat.

I feel excited for every week after 24 weeks. I am fully expecting and planning to have a normal, full term pregnancy. But I also know twins add some higher risks and are more likely to come early. So every additional day (and week!) of being pregnant makes me happy. Keep cooking in there little guys!  In the meantime I am putting my (swollen) feet up as much as possible and flossing as best I can (again, that hand numbness and pain makes this difficult. Thank you for those floss holders!) as poor gingival health has been associated with pre-term, low birth weight babies! (The dentist in me had to throw that in there.)

I started really feeling the babies, especially Baby Girl the past 4 or so days. Sometimes it is hard enough it makes me jolt. It is nice to have more evidence they are in there! I am wondering if my patients might start getting some baby kicks in the face as I get bigger and they keep moving!

Overall, I am feeling like things are going well. I'm still working full time. Yay! I'm eating healthier (so grateful for enough energy to occasionally grocery shop and do some minimal cooking), the nursery is even closer to being put together, our registry is coming together, and I am signed up for my breastfeeding and birthing classes. I feel like I am even looking and feeling pretty good for being third trimester big. I still wonder what it will be like to be fourth trimester big (I know that doesn't make mathematical sense but you get the point)?


 
Week 25:
Weight: 172.2
Total  Weight Gain: 30.2 lbs
 
Symptoms:
baby kicks -- feeling them a lot more and a lot bigger the past 3-4 days. I feel baby girl the most. I think baby boy may be transverse, I only feel him just left of my midline
evening tiredness
arm/hand numbness -- more swelling (sausage fingers!) -- thank you hot summer weather
hand and foot swelling -- is it normal that they itch and are so uncomfortable as soon as I stand up and the swelling begins?
discomfort -- it's getting hard to move!
insomnia and nocturnal bathroom breaks!
mild acne flare up
no leg hair! I've gone weeks without shaving
TMJ popping and pain -- I guess all those joints are loosening up!
mild stretch marks popping up on my hips and booty (mostly on the right -- am I growing lopsided?). I still have a long way to go!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Week 24



 

Week 24 -- Viability!


We made it to the accepted time frame that pre-term babies can be born and survive, which seems like a big step! I pray they stay in there cooking for quite a bit longer (they are still so small, despite how big my belly is!). It is amazing being at this point, looking back on all of the waiting and waiting and waiting to even get a positive pregnancy test, next thinking 24 weeks would be so far away, and now realizing today is finally here.

The babies are doing great and I think I am doing great, too! I am starting to feel them much more, mostly at night, low down in my belly on both sides. I guess this makes sense since they are both breech so their little feet are kicking at my pelvis. I think I am glad they aren't kicking me in the ribs, yet.

We are getting more and more ready for babies. Our nursery is getting close with our furniture mostly put together, and waiting on our chair to be delivered next month (who knew they took so long to order!). We have a stroller (although I greedily want a jogger as well), I just bought a diaper bag, and started our registry online (amazon.com). All of the baby gear is overwhelming -- it seems like you NEED everything and then maybe turns out, hardly anything afterall? Add in the twin factor (how many do I need?) and it is that much more confusing. First world problems, right?!? "I just can't figure out which fancy diaper pail is the very very best!" (Aren't we lucky to have diapers as it is, and now if I find the right garbage can I have the luxury of not taking out them out in the garbage for days!) And even the simple little things you know you need like diapers, bottles, or pacifiers seem to bring out very strong and differing opinions from everyone! Heaven help me in finding car seats! Ultimately, I know it just doesn't matter that much!

Week 24 -- Viability!



Week 24 day 0: Weight: 171.5 lbs (home); 172.8 lbs (office)
Total Weight Gain: 29.5 lbs
BP: 120/62
Cervix length: 4.6 cm (unchanged--yay!)
 
Babies:
Baby A: FHR 130 bpm; 1 lb 7 oz (51 percentile); position: breech. And yes, Baby Girl has two feet (they were unable to "confirm" this on the last ultrasound -- I wasn't worried but now it is official!)
Baby B: FHR 160 bpm; 1 lb 9 oz (60 percentile); position: breech
 
The small size difference is within normal range, as long as they are within 20% of each other (currently a 6% difference). According to the US technician, baby boys often outpace their sisters so things are looking pretty normal.
 
 

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Weeks 22-23 Update

Today -- 23 weeks 4 days!
 

I felt Baby Boy briefly at week 13.5 and 18. I started feeling a little impatient until I started feeling both babies at about 21.5. Lately, it is Baby Girl I seem to feel the most, down low and to the right of my abdomen. It is a strange sensation, mostly like gurgles and bubbles. Abe was able to feel a little something once but I look forward to those kicks that will make those babies seem even more real for both of us. I still find myself talking to them (is that weird?), asking, "Hey, are you guys in there?" or, "What are you doing in there?"

week 23+
I celebrated 22 weeks and my 32 birthday by going out to dinner with friends and a lunch potluck at work. It was my first birthday where I didn't open a single present, have anyone sing to me, or blow out candles (Don't worry, Abe and I did a little shopping the weekend before and I received a few present in the mail, later, so it wasn't like I was forgotten, really). Abe had to work so it was so great to have friends to spend that time with to make an otherwise lonely day fun. I was surprised by cupcakes from multiple friends and some at dinner from Abe for my friends and I, delivered by my MIL.
*I used to say I wanted to be done with having babies by age 30, but I guess 32 isn't such a bad time to start!*

Abe and I spent Independence Day weekend in Des Moines. We both had a three day weekend, a rare treat! We visited the much talked about Zombie Burger where I had to try the "Walking Ched" -- a mac'n cheese burger (fried macaroni and cheese buns topped with more macaroni) which sounded kind of disgusting (at least from a cardiac standpoint) but tasted amazing!
Abe's more boring but delicious burger

I can't resist Macaroni & Cheese -- even that bun is made of it!
We spent Thursday evening in the park listening to the Des Moines symphony followed by fireworks. Friday, we went to a movie, did a little shopping for our Anniversary, met up with some Iowa City friends now in Des Moines for dinner and went to the race track for a horse race and more fireworks. Saturday we went to the amazing Des Moines farmer's market, relaxed at the park, and had dinner at Fong's Pizza, a local favorite where they make pizza with a strange and delicious Asian twist (Crab Rangoon pizza, anyone?). Sunday we went to church and took it easy, met up with our friends again who provided us with dinner and me with a much needed pedicure. Thanks Meg!

Feeling puffy at our first horse race

23 weeks
Our Anniversary was the next week, as well as my 1 year anniversary at my practice. Abe had to work again so my in-laws took me to dinner. I think the servers were a little confused when they asked if we were celebrating anything special and they all said, "Yes, her anniversary." But what better way to celebrate 8 years than with 8 great people! We have never celebrated an Anniversary where at least one of us did not have a work obligation. So, unfortunately this was nothing new. Abe surprised me with flowers and balloons on our big day and we went to dinner at the Iowa Chop House yesterday when we were finally able to celebrate together.

As for this pregnancy thing, I am finding it harder and harder to move. Getting out of bed has become literal rolling. Even repositioning is difficult. Bending over to put on socks or shoes makes me pretty short of breath as I compress on my lungs to reach. My right arm has been a little more bothersome this week (I forgot to sleep with my brace one night and it seems I have been paying for it since) but my left arm is also getting a little numb and painful so I may need to get a second brace.

I did find omeprazole. Hallelujah! My reflux has been much more tolerable if not absent most days. I've started taking my unisom sleep aid again as the insomnia has been hitting hard and the nightly bathroom trips are quickly adding up again. I feel like I cruised on through the happy and pregnant stage to the "getting uncomfortable stage" quickly, but I'd say over all things are still going well!

My doctor wanted me to shoot for 35 pounds of weight gain. Looks like I am well on my way to overshooting that, unfortunately! I've tried to cut back and be a little more careful (and have noticed my appetite has slowed down quite a bit -- no room as the babies get bigger?) but it seems like I still have spurts where I gain multiple pounds overnight. My hands and feet are becoming much more swollen and the heat makes a big difference. I am understanding the phrase "barefoot and pregnant" as most of my shoes don't fit anymore. At least sandals are appropriate summer wear as I can't seem to fit in much else.

 
                        It's hard to find shoes to wear with fancier clothes! (week 21+)

Week 22 day 0: Weight: 170.5 lbs -- the day after my birthday! I must have eaten a lot of salt in all the goodies I ate because I gained like 4 pounds overnight! (I did lose about 1.5 over the next day or two)
Total Weight Gain: 28.5 lbs
 
Week 23 day 0:
Weight: 171.0 lbs
Total Weight Gain: 29 lbs
 
Week 23 day 4:
Weight: 171.5
Total  Weight Gain: 29.5 lbs
 
Symptoms:
evening tiredness
arm/hand numbness -- worse this week
hand and foot swelling -- thank you compression stockings!
discomfort -- it's getting hard to move!
insomnia
mild acne flare up
no leg hair! I've gone weeks without shaving
feeling movement
left TMJ popping -- I guess all those joints are loosening up!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Week 21 Update

It seems like last week rushed by so it doesn't feel like much has happened since then.


Feeling blah enough at 21 weeks 1 day.
I didn't feel like including a face picture or like matching my clothes!

I did learn what it is like to be sick while pregnant. I've had a bit of a nasty cold. Yuck! I've had so much congestion I feel like I can't breathe through my nose and the babies are settling into my abdomen so it feels like I can't breathe deep into my lungs, either. Coughing isn't fun as I find myself gagging and close to vomiting on my own mucous. Thank you pregnancy gag reflex! I am slowly getting better (yay) with a new appreciation for the added discomforts of pregnancy on top of cold symptoms.

Today I was feeling bored alone inside my house so I went for an evening walk. It was so beautiful -- green and lush and a perfect temperature. But I felt my time for enjoyment running out quickly as I could feel myself waddling ever so slowly through the neighborhood. Luckily there weren't too many people around to notice the poor pregnant girl barely making it back home, huffing and puffing, feeling her hands swell and go more and more numb, and trying to brace her back in that classic pose of pregnancy (only failing, because the numbness and pain in the hands prevented me from even sufficiently doing this). But it was lovely while it lasted. And maybe it is time for one of those pregnancy back support braces because I seem to get achy and crampy with any more walking than to and from the car! (Anyone have any suggestions on this?) Oh, and how do people continue to run (or exercise) in pregnancy! --I've not had good luck with this despite my best intentions.

Erin's eye-view of my slowly moving belly on a summer night's stroll

I also had my first "are they identical?" question...after I told her it was a boy and a girl. Previously, Abe and I had said we would answer this question YES! every time. We might even add, "In fact, we have to put bows in their hair in the tub so we don't get confused." Think about that one for a minute.

But I couldn't say that to this nice lady and so instead explained to her that they are fraternal twins. As a twin myself, I have a hard time understanding the confusion on this (it is something I've known from an early age), but I guess some people just don't know.

So, to fill you in just in case:
  • Identical twins split from the same egg. This means they share the same DNA, or genes. So, for all intents and purposes, boy-girl twins are not identical. These are also called monozygotic twins.
Two peas in a pod, my identical twin and I.
I hope our twins still have that unique bond from growing up together.
  • Fraternal twins are from two separate eggs and are as much alike genetically as they would be to siblings born at a separate time. These can be boy-girl, girl-girl, or boy-boy. Also called dizygotic twins.
My babies will be as genetically similar as my own brother and I are to each other.
If they are like my family, that may mean they still look a lot alike!
Being identical or fraternal doesn't come down to how much alike you think twins look to each other. Growing up, people would argue with my sister and I on occasion, stating they could tell differences between us so we couldn't be identical. They were right in a way, as our mantra was "Similar but different!" But it really does come down to the DNA so isn't up for debate. Most twins probably need DNA testing to know for sure, unless you are boy-girl (fraternal) or share a placenta (like my sister and I, who are identical).
    • Interesting trivia for the day: Mary-Kate and Ashley Olson are rumored to be fraternal twins despite building a billion dollar brand on being twins! So sometimes looks can be deceiving!
    • Our triplet baby C would have been another boy with DNA matching baby B, if he had survived = identical to baby B, fraternal to baby A.

Week 21 day 0:
Weight: 165.3 lbs (home)
Total Weight Gain: 23.3 lbs
 
Babies:
Baby A: Girl!
Baby B: Boy!
 
Symptoms:
evening tiredness
arm/hand numbness -- this seems to have stabilized with only mild and occasional pain
gagging and vomiting after brushing my teeth (decreased)
minor hand and foot swelling (continues)
severe reflux -- Tums and Maalox (not quite cutting it!)
discomfort -- it's getting hard to move from a sitting position, shortness of breath at times, feeling big and tight in the belly
cold symptoms -- yuck!
sleep -- all I need to say is this is what my bed looks like in the morning, a mess of pillows and blankets
 

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Gender Reveal

We can't wait to spill the beans!



Its a girl! And a Boy!

We found out at 16 weeks 2 days that we were having a little girl and a little boy! I had an unexpected ultrasound a few days after my 16 week appointment because I was having some spotting and cramping. Luckily, everything checked out fine and we found out about a month early about the flavor of beans we would be having!

We decided to keep it a secret for a few reasons. First, we knew it was early and our OB warned us it was possible it would need to be confirmed on our 20 week scan. And secondly, we weren't sure if we wanted to do a gender reveal party to announce or not so our indecision caused some delay.

After thinking about it all this time, I decided I didn't have the energy, creativity, or number of friends (at least in the area) to make a party worthwhile. So $20 worth of jelly beans later (man, at $7.99/lb those cute candy stores really get you fast!) we let our family know what kind of beans we were having and made the rest of you suffer in suspense another month or so. Sorry! It was awkward when people would ask so I would try not to be too misleading by saying something like, "We are supposed to find out in June."




Announcing to some of our family last month at one of our favorite restaurants in Chicago.

We are very excited! My instinct was a boy and a girl but I had a dream the ultrasound showed two girls. I was disappointed in my dream because I really thought it would be one of each and was emotionally prepared for that outcome. I thought baby A would be my girl and my busy baby B would be my boy.

My doctor found baby A right away so I was nervous, wondering if my instinct would be right or if I would get two girls like in my dream. Abe wasn't there when I found out but was able to sneak away from work shortly after to see for himself. It was kind of cool to predict not only the genders but which baby was which!

So the heartbeat predictions weren't correct (people were telling me it was probably two girls because the rates were in the 160s) at first but interestingly now, our girl baby A is running about 20 beats faster than brother. Maybe those old wives know a little something?

Now to choose some names!

Friday, June 19, 2015

Week 20 Update

 
 
 
 
 
This week felt like a milestone week! 20 weeks: most women's half-way mark (less for me -- hoping for another 18 weeks!), anatomy scan, and only a few more weeks until viability. Yay. (Today I am officially 20 weeks and 2 days.)
 
Maybe it is the minor cold that I have but I have found myself feeling a little blah this week (can you see it in the pictures above?). I find myself huffing and puffing after simple tasks like changing my clothes, putting on my compression stockings (yay for those in the summer!), and even just lying in bed. Some nasal congestion combined with lost space for my diaphragm to expand and I guess that isn't too surprising. I find myself groaning to get off the couch or up from lying down. Is it the extra weight or my stretched out core muscles (?), because inertia definitely is getting me down. An object at rest wants to stay at rest! Or in my case, this pregnant lady just really can't seem to get off the couch (without help?)!
 
The past few days my belly seems to be feeling tighter. I was glad to make it into work when I started feeling compressed the last 20 minutes of my morning commute today. I keep wondering just how big am I in comparison to a singleton pregnancy? I keep feeling like I am third trimester big already and I guess I probably am as the recommended weight gain for a normal pregnancy is 25-35 pounds and I am almost to 25 already!
 
Best of all, we got to meet our babies again at our 20 week ultrasound! I haven't felt much of the babies yet so despite my ever expanding size, sometimes I still wonder if they are really still in there. Luckily, they still are! Not only are they there, but they are much bigger than before and seem to have all of their parts (okay, so technically they didn't confirm baby A's feet, but I'm taking those on faith). And my cervix is still long, which may seem like a weird thing to mention but when you have multiple babies in there it is a big relief to hear! I don't want them popping out too early, we three still have a long way to go until it is time to meet.
 
 



Week 20 day 0:
Blood pressure: 124/73
Weight: 164.2 lbs (home), 166.8 lbs (office)
Total Weight Gain: 22.2 lbs
Cervix: 4.4 cm
 
Babies:
Baby A: FHR 163; 12 oz (63 percentile)
Baby B: FHR 142; 12 oz (63 percentile)
Symptoms:
evening tiredness
arm/hand pain and some numbness -- much more manageable this week!
gagging and vomiting after brushing my teeth (decreased)
minor hand and foot swelling (continues)
gastric reflux (new), burping (getting worse) -- horrible, horrible burping (I probably shouldn't admit that!)
increasing discomfort -- it's getting hard to move from a sitting position, shortness of breath at times, feeling big and tight in the belly

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Weeks 17-19

17 weeks 4 days -- getting round!
Abe had his last vacation for the year. We didn't really have anything planned so we decided to do a little stay-cation and use it as an opportunity to get ready for the babies. I was able to get a few extra days off work so we headed up to Chicago.

We spent a lot of time shopping, including multiple trips to Ikea for furniture and a few Buy Buy Baby locations in search of our cribs and to order our recliner.
Our car is full finally after multiple trips to Ikea
We had some fun trying some new Chicago restaurants and some old favorites, and meeting up with Abe's brother for dinner.
Ramen and cute Japanese pastries at a Japanese market

When we got home, we spent the next few days cleaning out our second bedroom to become the nursery (making our whole house a mess) and putting together furniture. We aren't quite done yet and have a lot to do to get the house back in order. I have been trying to organize and declutter other parts of our house as well, but this has been slowed with my recent evening exhaustion.

Mini cribs --they still seem BIG in our small room

We went with Ikea custom wardrobes to maximize storage for us and the babes

Right after my last post I was really worried when I stepped on the scale and saw I had gained six pounds in five days. Luckily, I lost a few of those pounds right away (water weight?) and my weight gain seems to have tapered off. 

I learned another twin mom lost her babies a few days ago at 19 weeks. Sad! That reminded me of the potential risks of pregnancy with multiples so I am grateful I am doing so well. I feel like my energy came back and I felt amazing but tapered off again very quickly. Even so, I am still doing so much better than during the first trimester and work has been especially busy so maybe that's partly to blame. I am praying my arm and hand pain stays stable or does not increase so I can keep working. It hasn't been pleasant but I have been managing. I have been doing some home remedies like icing, trying to sleep with my right hand elevated,  and self instituted home "hand rest" -- hence my lack of blogging.


Trying some modified compression stocking on my arm at night
Giving the wrist brace a try now too

19 weeks day 2 belly
And, after driving my high school car for 15 years, I bought a new one! Upgrading to something a little bigger and more reliable for the babies.

Today, 19 weeks day 3


Week 17 day 0

Weight: 158 lbs (home)
Total Weight Gain: 16 lbs 

Symptoms:
increased energy but exhausted after exertion
hand and foot swelling -- got my wedding ring but not my wedding band back on
gagging and vomiting after brushing my teeth 
multiple nightly bathroom breaks 
feeling huge and a little discouraged

Week 18 day 0 

Weight: 161 lbs (home)
Total Weight Gain: 19 lbs 

Symptoms:
energy, motivation, nesting mode
hand and foot swelling -- wedding ring back off, mostly to prevent getting stuck
gagging and vomiting after brushing my teeth, worse in mornings
multiple nightly bathroom breaks

Week 19 day 3 

Weight: 161.8 lbs (home)
Total Weight Gain: 19.8 lbs

Symptoms:
evening tiredness -- daily after work naps
increasing arm/hand pain and some numbness -- worse as the week progresses and in early morning
gagging and vomiting after brushing my teeth, mornings mostly
mild body discomfort in bed-- body pillows and no covers (hot!)


*I'm looking forward to our 20 week ultrasound next week (I love meeting our babies at these appointments) and starting to feel them move.*