Wednesday, September 30, 2015

35 Week Update

It was almost impossible to capture pictures of the Lunar Eclipse with my iphone

We really enjoyed watching the Super Moon this past Sunday. It was a perfect clear night in Iowa for sitting out to experience it. Hopefully it was a good omen for these babies! We were thinking how strange it was that the next time we will have that opportunity will be when the twins are almost ready to graduate from high school.

35 weeks!
It feels like the last week went by really quickly! Which is great as the end of the second and into the third trimester really seemed to be dragging. These babies really could come at any time and it is hard to imagine that they will be here in less than three weeks.

I made it back to work on Monday and Tuesday. The drive seemed longer than usual but we kept the days a little bit shorter and I seemed to do well. In some ways I seem to have found my second wind, feeling better than I did before going in to the hospital. I feel more mobile and less uncomfortable. I have had more energy. But I also can tell a difference after a few days of working. My swelling seems to be coming back (Hello cankles! And I gained about 8 pounds this week! -- I'm attributing it to fluid), I feel a little more stiff, and tired in the evenings.

My non-stress tests have been going well. Since they have a hard time monitoring twins with the standard doppler, they check heart rate with a non-stress test which for me is now a weekly occurrence. My babies are very cooperative! (So well behaved!) The nurses and doctors really seem to rave every time about how "good" they are. They are usually able to find the heart rates within seconds without needing to search for them again part way through. I am always happy to see them doing so well as I can't always feel my Baby B very well. It was a wonderful surprise that Abe got to pop in and say hello today while I was at the appointment.

I did have a contraction during the test today and I have noted a few at night occasionally during the week which I had attributed to Braxton Hicks. Except for that I went a week without any noticeable contractions. I guess we will see if they continue. It is difficult to really tell what is a contraction as my belly always feels tight! The nurse assured me this was normal with twins since they are taking up so much room and that I'm not clueless or dumb when I can't tell.

My belly seems to be popping out further and further. I am having a harder time finding clothes to fit. My pants don't seem to want to stay up and my shirts either wont go on or are often not quite covering the bottom of my belly. I may have to switch to some of my bigger flowy dresses if I go much further. (Ok I just noticed the picture below...Ha ha! Maybe portions like this have something to do with it!)

Jethro's BBQ in Des Moines -- enough to feed all 4 of us! (Abe, me, and babies)

Abe and I made a trip to Des Moines this weekend to buy some more items off our registry at Buy Buy Baby. Having twins is expensive! It seemed like we bought a lot of stuff and the clerks at the store seemed to agree (longest receipt ever?). I think we are mostly ready with what we need in the beginning. Now, I just need to get it put away and the house cleaned up. It's been a constant process as we keep bringing in more gear which means reorganizing and packing things away and a constant barrage of boxes and packing materials to be disposed of. I have been working to get our basement more organized as well as a place for family to stay after the babies come.

So it is pretty hard to believe we made it here, to 35 weeks. The babies will be here in no longer than three weeks, which when I really think about it, doesn't seem like very long at all (although my body argues differently). I feel grateful I am feeling less miserable and more up for the challenge. And really, whenever they decide to come now I feel confident things will be okay. Although at least another week will be better for them and hopefully give me a little more time to get things in order for their arrival. (I still need to pack my hospital bag, for one. Talk about procrastination!)

Oh, and still working on names. We are having a really hard time with Baby Girl's name.

Week 35:
Weight: 188.9 lbs (up about 8 lbs from last week!)
Total Weight Gain: 46.9 lbs 
BP: 132/84

*some really big baby movements from Baby A; Baby B is sometimes hard to find when he crowds to the right (he must like to cuddle his sister)
*arm/hand numbness mild
*hand and foot swelling increasing again, especially in ankles
*discomfort/immobility -- not bothering me as much
*poor sleep -- some nights horrible insomnia
*frequent bathroom breaks -- increasing again
*knee pain -- coming back after my first day back at work
*itchiness with foot swelling --slightly increased again
*very tired
*smaller appetite
*round ligament/pelvic discomfort
*Braxton Hicks or contractions?

Less than 3 weeks to go!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

34 Week Update

34 weeks!
Last week I set 3 progressive goals for myself: 
1. Hold off labor until I received two steroid injections
2. Hold off labor until my SIL had her baby (due this week)
3. Hold off labor until 34 weeks.

I am happy to say I have met all three goals! What a relief, as babies born after 34 weeks have a very good prognosis. Hopefully lung and feeding reflexes are getting closer and closer to normal development and we are getting farther and farther away from a NICU stay when the babies decide it is time to come.

I had my 34 week appointment yesterday and things were looking very good. We had another Non Stress Test (heart rate monitoring for babies). Every time we have done this the nurses and doctors rant and rave about how great the babies are doing. Their heart beats are pretty easy to find and they evidently have great rates. I sometimes get a little nervous that I can't feel Baby B very well so I am always glad to see him trucking along on these tests, just like his busy body sister who I feel very distinctly. And my cervix has been relatively stable since I was checked in the hospital.

I lost about 5-6 pounds this week! My doctor checked amniotic fluid levels on ultrasound yesterday just to be sure and things looked good. I think it is fluid as I perceive I am much less puffy than I was before.

My contractions have eased up and I haven't had any of that crampy back pain for a few days. I have been trying to do a little more around the house to test how I am doing and while I get very tired, I seem to be doing well! This is good because my nesting instinct is kicking in strong and I really want to have the house cleaned up and organized before the babies come. My pregnancy insomnia was really flaring up last night and I found myself doing dishes and cleaning out cupboards at 2 am. Yawn! Too bad I feel so tired this morning I haven't got anything else done today. It seems like I can't quite get caught up  as I keep getting more boxes full of baby gear arriving at my door. Who knew babies needed so much stuff!

The babies dropped on Sunday. Suddenly I noticed I had space between my chest and my belly and I can feel the babies kicking much lower in my pelvis. And suddenly I feel like I can breathe!

I plan to ease back into work next week with a shorter schedule. Honestly, I think we are all a little nervous about getting caught that far away from the hospital if I go into labor. We will give it a try and if I have a problem it is nice to know I am just a few minutes away from the Labor and Delivery Unit there. I am also hoping I will feel well and not too exhausted or sore. 

Week 34:
Weight: 181.2 lbs
Total Weight Gain: 39.2 lbs 
*I went from my highest weight gain of 45.3 lbs to 39.2 lbs this week. The last time I weighed close to this was Aug 26 when I was 180.5 lb.

*some really big baby movements from Baby A; Baby B is sometimes hard to find when he crowds to the right (he must like to cuddle his sister)
*arm/hand numbness mild
*hand and foot swelling decreased
*discomfort/immobility -- not bothering me as much
*poor sleep -- some nights horrible insomnia
*frequent bathroom breaks -- less than before
*knee pain -- haven't noticed much
*itchiness with foot swelling -- not bad this week
*very tired
*smaller appetite
*round ligament/pelvic discomfort

Less than 4 weeks to go!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Since I've Been Home (33 week update)

33 week home from the hospital glamour shots!
I keep having that Kelly Clarkson song running through my head, except with the words "Since I've been ho-ome!"

It has been one week since I was admitted to the hospital. It feels like time has flown by and I am grateful the babies got a whole 7 more days (hopefully more) in before coming to meet us. I have heard people say "Every day in the womb is 3 days out of the NICU." I doubt that has any scientific basis, but it makes me feel pretty good about every day we get to share this space.

Today I am 33 weeks 4 days pregnant. The doctors all seem optimistic we could go weeks more like this and may still need to be induced on October 21 (which crazy enough is only a month away!) so I am very curious to see what happens. I find myself wishing I had a crystal ball to know when they will come, but my own twin ESP isn't kicking in, even with the amplification of three of us twins together.

Which reminds me: Abe came to the realization that he would be the only non-twin in our family. Isn't that weird and kind of funny?

Everyone seems to want to know the plan so I guess I'm not the only one. I have been off work this week and plan to be at least until my next OB appointment on Wednesday (which will be the 34 week mark!). After that I don't know if I will be back at work or not. It really depends on how I am feeling and what my doctor finds/says at my appointment. I would like to be back at work if possible if we are going to continue pregnant for weeks, but we need to do what is smart and best for me and the babies. It is hard to turn off the mentality that gets drilled into you in residency that work comes first, pushing through illness, etc, so a reasonable discussion with my doctor will really help with this decision.

Also, I am not on "bedrest." There are other problems that can come with bedrest so I've been told to "take it easy," and to be a "couch potato," instead of being on bedrest. I have only been sleeping about every other night so I have been enjoying this more than I would have thought. I have only left the house a few times since getting home: to get a much needed pedicure (Holy long toenails Batman!), to go to my baby shower yesterday, dinner at my in-laws, and an hour of church today. I have wondered as I see and hear about other pregnant women out and about if I am being dramatic by lying on the couch almost all day, but after a few of these outings I have learned that I am doing the right thing. Who knew sitting for an hour at church would be so unpleasant? Or that a few hours at my baby shower would wipe me out for the rest of the day?

Still can't wear my rings but my hands are almost back to normal! 

As for how I am feeling, I continue to get waves of discomfort in my back. This seems usually worse at bedtime and very early morning. I had one day of what seemed like more typical abdominal contractions that came every 25 minutes for about 1.5 hours and then subsided but I haven't felt that since. And when I am up and about more I tend to get more of the crampy back pain that landed me in the hospital.

I have had some really kind friends bring dinners and help clean. The missionaries from our church even helped assemble some new furniture for me! I had some lovely friends and my MIL throw me my baby shower yesterday morning which was super sweet and nice. It was great to see so many friends from different groups and times during my life in Iowa and I feel blessed by their generousity and kindness.

We finally got a couch to fit in our basement!
Strangely enough, many of my typical pregnancy symptoms haven't been bothering me as much. I figure I am focusing more on the more acute discomfort of these back/contraction pains that I am not noticing the other stuff as much. I feel strangely less hugely pregnant and more mobile (being stuck in a hospital bed on monitors for hours really makes you feel like you can't move). My hands have shrunk down quite a bit and feel better than they have in months, I'm using the bathroom less despite drinking more fluids, and my feet are less puffy and itchy.

And we finally ordered our car seats and bought a few more of the essentials to prepare for the babies to come. I will feel relieved knowing we have this done so we can bring the babies home from the hospital now when they decide to come.

Week 33:
Weight: 186.5.
Total Weight Gain: 44.5 lbs 
Week 33 day 1: 185.5
Total Weight Gain: 43.5 lbs
*My weight this month has been bouncing. I got up to 187.3 on 9/12 but have bounced back down to 185.5, which is essentially the same I weighed on 9/2 at 185.7 lbs.

*some really big baby movements from Baby A; Baby B is sometimes hard to find when he crowds to the right (he must like to cuddle his sister)
*arm/hand numbness mild
*hand and foot swelling decreased
*discomfort/immobility -- not bothering me as much
*poor sleep -- some nights horrible insomnia
*frequent bathroom breaks -- less than before
*knee pain -- haven't noticed much
*itchiness with foot swelling -- not bad this week
*very tired
*smaller appetite
*nesting--this instinct finally came back with the babies threatening to come! Too bad I can't do much of anything right now.
*left sided back cramps

Less than 4.5 weeks to go!

Saturday, September 19, 2015

False Alarm at 32 weeks 4 days

If only all hospital beds were as nice as on the Mother Baby Unit!
We had a bit of a scare this week! Saturday I was in our church temple when I noted some uncomfortable left sided crampy back pain. It was uncomfortable enough I found myself wishing the two hour session I was sitting through would be over instead of really savoring any kind of spiritual experience I was hoping to have. I felt a bit better throughout the rest of the day until the evening when the discomfort came back. We decided to ride it out and call the doctor if I wasn't feeling better by morning. I took a bath and felt quite a bit better as we watched the BYU football victory on TV.

The next morning I woke to use the bathroom. I got back in bed and noticed the pain in my back had returned. Abe was already gone for a church meeting but he encouraged me to contact my doctor. She happened to be out of town on vacation but texted me back to tell me it was probably nothing but worth checking out. I threw on some comfy clothes, texted Abe, and drove to the hospital after calling Labor and Delivery.

Walking in I realized I felt worse than I thought. It seemed like a long walk from the car. Still, I checked in to Labor and Delivery thinking it was nothing and they would send me home in time for church. I emphasized my sister's issues with HELLP syndrome and how this was caught late so requested they keep that on their radar. They did a cervical exam and noted that my cervix had thinned to about 1.5 cm (our last early on had been 4 cm) and I was dilated to 1cm. They said this wasn't normal but could have been going on for weeks so they wanted to keep me for observation to see if it was actively changing. They checked my blood to rule out HELLP (everything was great and I wasn't even anemic), a urinalysis, and a non-stress test of the babies. They had some concerns about a possible UTI, which can trigger labor. The babies looked great, baby A was still head down and baby B still breech and heart rates very good.

I got settled into a room on the Labor and Delivery Unit. Abe made it home from his meeting not realizing at first I was actually already at the hospital and not waiting for him to take me there. Most importantly, they gave me my first dose of steroid (by an injection in the hip) to accelerate the babies' development. As an old IVF veteran this didn't bother me much. They started an IV (my hand vein has been so huge they didn't even use a tourniquet) to give me precautionary penicillin (not knowing my group B strep results) and nifedipine to help slow down/stop possible contractions. It seemed the back cramping was coming more frequently at this point. They monitored my blood pressure and pulse as they gave me a loading dose of the nifedipine every 15 minutes. I couldn't take the last dose because of nausea, dizziness, and low blood pressure. Abe went back to church for an hour while I waited things out. They resumed the nifedipine every 6 hours which seemed to slow the frequency of the pain.

In the meantime, they checked my cervix two hours after my admission, which they thought had thinned to 1 cm.  So yes, I was in labor. They also had the NICU team come and introduce themselves and answer any questions I had. That made it feel a little more real! I had been feeling pretty calm but even though intellectually I knew that what they were telling me about prognosis rates for 32 weekers was a good thing, I felt a little nervous.

Abe made it back and I continued to rest in bed with monitors on my belly for the babies and contractions. Everyone kept asking me about contractions but they were hard to identify -- again, mostly just left sided low back pain that would last for a long time (20-60 minutes? or longer?). I never felt any abdominal discomfort and it wasn't like what I had heard about timing so I felt unsure what was happening or how I was feeling. I felt hungry and a little nauseated. I hadn't eaten anything except 6 oz of applesauce on my way to the hospital, and it was hard to move with the monitors and the discomfort but the time went by amazingly fast.

Emotionally, I felt surprisingly calm. But I had a few moments of fear. I wasn't ready for the babies yet, we thought we still had weeks. I didn't even pack a hospital bag or bring anything with me, thinking I would have time to still change and make it to church after being checked that morning. I started feeling pangs of guilt and inadequacy for potentially not being able to keep the babies in longer to keep them safe and healthy, for not going in to the hospital early, and even for having a potential UTI (which I think was probably accurate as after I received antibiotics my required trips to the bathroom cut down by 1/2 or more!). I also felt torn because as time went by I was uncomfortable enough and unsure how long this would all take to play out that I was kind of wishing they would "just come" so I could be out of pain and just be excited about the babies. But then that brought more guilt because I knew keeping the babies in place was really the best thing!

By the evening, I had a number of visitors which was nice. The babies and I seemed to be stable so they let me off the monitors for the night and I took a bath in the giant whirlpool tub, I finally got some food, and then we went to bed. I didn't sleep at all until the nurse gave me an ambien at 2:30 am. I woke up at 3:30 am to a clenching pain in my back. I was wimpering in pain and really wanted to get up to use the bathroom but couldn't move. I was hoping Abe would wake up but it took a few minutes and I wasn't in the right state of mind to speak louder or wake him beyond my panting in pain. He finally heard me and he and the nurse helped me get more comfortable. The pain subsided after about 5 minutes and I tried to sleep again. This happened again 3 times about every 45 minutes.

At this point I thought the babies were coming. They increased my nifedipine dose and gave me some morphine (thank you!). I knew the team was getting nervous when they came in with my second steroid shot (this time it was quite painful) for the babies at 7:30 am instead of 11 am like we had initially planned (they like to space it out 24 hours) and we started talking about delivery plans. I thought for sure they must be on their way, but luckily the medication seemed to start working more and the severe contractions I had had calmed down. I was able to get comfortable with tylenol and a warm heating pad. I got off the monitors and took another bath and had a quiet rest of the day. By the evening, I was back off the monitors and they transferred me to the much more comfortable Mother Baby Unit. They switched my nifedipine to as needed and stopped my every four hour dose of penicillin (thank goodness because the horrible burning that caused in my IV was about as bad as the worst of the contractions I had).

I got a wonderful night of sleep and woke up Tuesday feeling pretty good. The doctors seemed happy things held off long enough for the babies to get their two doses of steroids in and that I was mostly feeling better. We did some more monitoring of the babies, I took another bath, and then we got to go home about 3 pm. I dreaded going home to my house which was in a state of disarray but my MIL wonderfully helped clean up and get things ready for us. It was wonderful that Abe was able to take me home and get me settled before heading back to work. I had been lucky that his department had been so flexible with him during my hospital stay! He was off on Sunday, they unassigned him from scheduled patient duties on Monday, and he was pretty available to pop in and out on Tuesday.
Tired after days of pain and poor sleep!

Thank you to all of the wonderful and accommodating staff at the hospital and all the friends and family saying prayers, checking in, bringing meals, and helping me around the house. We are lucky to have such a good support system and a lot of love for these babies already!

A little pampering!  
This picture cracks me up. I have a big smile on my face as I break into my food after not eating for hours!
I'm not sure if that is why I'm smiling or not but it makes me laugh looking at it!

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Week 31/32 Update

31 weeks
The big question I keep getting lately is, are you still working? Somehow the answer continues to be yes! The past few weeks I am feeling much more uncomfortable and very tired. But, I tend to feel probably my best at work. This probably has to do with me staying more mobile and distracted from my many aches/pains/discomforts. My patients are starting to get a little belly button to the face or shoulder and maybe even a few baby love taps, and I find myself positioning myself closer and closer to the patient chair to improve my reach. My belly button area is a little sensitive so I do mostly fine unless it starts getting too close to the patient or chair. By the afternoon I am pretty wiped out! I plan to continue working as long as possible and am crossing my fingers I continue on, although it may mean shorter hours with how exhausted I feel.

The three of us (babies and I) attended a breastfeeding class (which I thought was great and alleviated a lot of my anxiety about feeding twins) and daddy joined us for a birthing class. I dreaded the breathing exercises and getting hammered about natural birth (my OB has taken this off the table for me) but I thought it was very helpful and didn't focus too much on either of those topics. In all of my healthcare and physiological training over the years, I have never learned about the birthing process so it was really educational to learn what will happen to me and the babies. We did SOME breathing exercises but didn't dwell on that too much and I even got a nap in while doing some relaxation techniques (if only I could fall asleep like that at night or when I try to nap at home). Abe got to wear the "empathy belly" and complained about shortness of breath when tying his shoe and having pressure on his bladder so it must have worked at least a little! Despite how good the class was, it was difficult and exhausting to sit through about 8 hours of class in my third trimester, harder than a full day at work.

32 weeks. Tired!
I feel like you can see how my stomach is a little lopsided to the right where both babies like to hang out!
Best of all, Abe moved home! After 9 weeks in Des Moines on a rotation for work, he finally got to move back in. It has been so nice to have him home. He has been a wonderful support -- helping with dishes and laundry (as usual), feeding me, helping me get up from the couch or bed, and making sure I am doing and feeling okay as much as possible. In the end, despite my serious misgivings about having to share a bed with someone else again (and not just my pillows), it has been a worthy trade-off, and just in the nick of time as I feel even minor chores like heating up food (not even cooking it!) are becoming daunting feats!

I have been talking about getting pictures taken of us for years. We haven't had "family pictures" since our wedding. So it good timing to get this done. I found myself wishing we had taken care of it about 28 weeks instead of 30 as I was feeling puffy and large that day, but I'm expecting good things of our photographer, Sarah Siler. I'm excited to see how they turned out. (I think I did get some chigger bites while rolling around in the grass which made my already itchy legs that much itchier, so I really hope they turned out!)

Our teaser image from our shoot
I recently bought some more maternity clothes because I had to upgrade a size or two as I entered my third trimester. I bought this denim dress and found it again in a bigger size on sale for only a few bucks. I decided to send the smaller one to my twin sister Amber who is also pregnant and thought it would make for a good chance to get a twin picture. She is about 10 weeks behind me in her pregnancy with a little boy. She always tells me she thinks she is bigger than me, but we can clearly see that even in a baggier version of the dress, I look much more pregnant! I don't think we look super identical in these pictures but it is still fun to compare.

Twins! I think I am about 30.5 weeks here and she is about 22 or 23.
As we get closer to my due date I find myself feeling a little more nervous. My belly has episodes of feeling very tight and uncomfortable. I question whether this sensation is labor or Braxton Hicks (so far I think it is just babies hanging out under my ribs). I have been paranoid about swelling and blood pressure and wondering if my face and nose are looking swollen, knowing my twin sister had complications with HELLP syndrome which can be a deadly form of pre-eclampsia. So far things are checking out and my blood pressure has been better than it was before. I will start weekly checks from now on with the doctor which makes me feel more confident hopefully we will find any symptoms early on.

So, just hanging in there! In a lot of ways I feel optimistic and happy how things are going. I am still working, avoiding complications, and the babies are becoming bigger and healthier each day. But I also feel immobile and sore, tired, itchy, and more and more ready to deliver these babies...oh, and then enjoy them! I think God was wise in making pregnancy, especially the end, pretty uncomfortable so women will be ready to have the baby any way necessary ("I don't care, just get it out!"). Unfortunately for me, I feel like I have been "full term" for about a month now, with over a month still to go.

Week 31:
Weight: 185.7 lbs (Whoah, I gained over 5 lbs in what seemed overnight!)
Total Weight Gain: 43.7 lbs
Week 32:
Weight: 184.1 (down 1.6 lbs from last week)
Total Weight Gain: 42.2 lbs
BP: 120/78 Pulse: 83
Baby A profile (with Baby B booty in her face!)
Baby A: 
Weight: 4 lbs 7 oz (70 percentile)
FHR: 132 bpm
Position: head down
Another uncooperative spine pic of Baby B
Baby B:
Weight: 4 lbs 9 oz (75%)
FHR: 155 bpm
Position: breech (he flipped!)
*I feel like those are some big babies! We may be on track for 7-8 pounders!
*baby kicks -- big movements from Baby A, Baby B is harder to feel. They both tend to move to the right side (Baby B under my belly button). I guess they like to cuddle? I kind of wish they would stay on their own side though!
*arm/hand numbness
*joint popping
*hand and foot swelling 
*discomfort/immobility -- YUP! 
*poor sleep
*frequent bathroom breaks, especially at night (hourly)
*nee pain -- ouch!
*itchiness with foot swelling -- so uncomfortable! And more white splotches on my lower legs (they are starting to look like constellations of the sky) and extending up my legs
*reflux (more controlled)
*very tired
*occasional dizziness and mild headaches
*smaller appetite
*I've implemented my own form of "modified bed rest" -- doing nothing when I am home! I'm doing pretty well staving off guilt for lazy days and evenings when I am not working because I really just don't have it in me
*getting more excited for babies!

6 weeks to go!

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Fertile People Problems

Mother Mary Fertility Ju Ju

My blog has been taken over by the infertility/pregnancy posts. Sometimes I miss my random musings but with my hand swelling and numbness, I don't often feel capable of any additional posts. But I've been thinking on this one quite a bit over the months, especially after reading so many blogs and social media posts about pregnancy.

I think most of us have seen those posts, "Rich people problems," or "White people problems." I decided to write a new one, "Fertile people problems," just for fun!

These "problems" are based on some observations I have made in my own fertility journey. This is not meant to be judgmental or insensitive to what other people find to be personal difficulties, but to offer another perspective as an infertile person looking in on problems I will probably never face myself. I would love to hear more if anyone has any!

So without further delay--and in no particular order,

Fertile People Problems:

1. Agonizing over the decision of when to have a baby -- trying to deliver the day between graduation and moving, or after your next marathon but before your sister's wedding, etc. This is a big life decision that deserves a lot of thought and hopefully preparation. Before I was aware of my infertility I also worried about timing. But now I wish I had the luxury of thinking I had any control over that, especially down to the season or the month or even the week! I really am amazed at how some people can "plan" it so specifically.

2. "I'm upset I'm over age 30 (or other age) and still have more kids to have" -- It is weird how many of my friends are done having children, have 5 or more children, or have teenagers by now. I'm getting closer to the "advanced maternal age" number (35) and we still don't have any kids yet.

3. Feeling like a botched birth plan has scarred you for life -- I am surprised how often I hear this. Evidently there are women who have lasting trauma, guilt, anger, or other overwhelming negative feelings over their birth plan not going how they had hoped. They often feel they were wrongly coerce or forced into an epidural or even a c-section. After years of infertility and very difficult interventions I am so excited to have a baby any way I can. Rip it out my nose if you have to! I do have a few preferences but also understand that while laboring in a warm tub sounds great, having twins I will be required by my particular doctor to have an epidural and deliver in an operating room with a high likelihood for c-section. Is this my ideal? Probably not, but I am grateful I have the opportunity to have any kind of delivery and that I have a team of professionals who will be there to provide whatever care will safely bring my babies and me through this experience. I can understand the disappointment of things not going as expected but I feel really sad that so many women are living life carrying such a burden with them about this!

4. "I don't like taking medications during pregnancy" -- What a luxury! I don't either, but unfortunately during my time before and during pregnancy I think I have about owned my own personal pharmacy. I should have at least bought some stock! When you do IVF you have thousands of dollars in medications to take just to stay pregnant. So it is a little hard for me to understand why you wont take a single pill to fight off a yeast infection or a short round of antibiotics to treat a UTI that could put you into pre-term labor. Or why you may judge my friends who take anti-nausea medications so they don't die from dehydration and lack of nourishment during their whole 9 months of horrible morning sickness.

5. Accidentally getting pregnant -- Obviously this is a big deal and not something to joke about. But after years of infertility, multiple procedures, hundreds of needle sticks and pills, and a doctor (not my doctor husband) impregnating me, I really cannot wrap my head around this one. This actually happens to people? my little brain asks in disbelief. Yes, yes it does! And to people I know. Multiple people.

6. "I'm wondering if I should reverse my tubal ligation to have another baby"-- This was a real question I saw on Facebook. Wow, just wow. I can't imagine being so fertile that you had to pay to become infertile and then pay to undo it and expect to get pregnant.

7. "I feel cheated out of my pregnancy/newborn stage/babies because I had twins this time" -- Knowing full well this may be my only time to be pregnant (even if I'd like more children), I am so grateful I get two babies! I can imagine there are things that would be easier, nicer, more ideal with just one baby but I have two miracle babies on the way. I will never feel cheated when it comes to these babies, because I think I am the one who cheated the system. Thank you science and God who brought me these babies when my body couldn't do it on its own.

8. "I only got to have 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, etc babies before my doctor rudely told me I could have no more -- should I listen to him or just go ahead?" -- I am really baffled by family planning. I can't imagine being able to come up with the number of kids I would want to have and be able to stick to it. I have had to totally change my mindset when it comes to how many kids we will have and realize that I will get the number of kids God will allow. I don't feel I have any control over this at all.

If nothing else, I think my experience with infertility takes a lot of the pressure off. And has taken away the eight problems listed above from my life. Hooray for less stress, because we all know that infertile people just need to relax!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Week 30 Update

30 weeks!

30 weeks! That seems like something, right? It at least sounds closer to the end, which is 38 weeks, not 10- or 20-something weeks. 

To be honest, over this past weekend I was feeling pretty miserable and wondering how I was going to make it another 8 weeks knowing things would just continue to become worse as I get bigger and further along. Pregnancy does weird things to your body! Of course there is the ever present hand swelling/numbness/pain, the leg swelling and itchiness with the fact that I can only fit into 2 pairs of shoes, the immobility, restless nights, and frequent trips to the bathroom. I wasn't prepared for the shortness of breath that comes with any semblance of exercise or bending over or even just sitting, the trouble moving from one position to another and then the trouble moving once I get moving again because of very sore/stiff knees. Or especially the mole that grew three times its size or the wrist and jaw popping that has come with my joints loosening. 

But today I am happy to say I am feeling quite a bit better. Not sure the difference but I feel like I can hang in there a little longer. Maybe it is because the babies seem to each be back on their respective sides, instead of both trying to crowd on the right like they were a few days ago. Or maybe it is my improved mental state -- no diabetes! no cholestasis! and the update that I will be able to take my board exam after a few favors from some important people I know. Yay. I am looking forward to more time with Abe who has been gone a lot for work and the sweet things he does to help me (like putting on my compression stockings, one of the most tiring experiences of my day!). I even got a little cleaning done today with the help from a friend (amazing what about 20 minutes can do when you've felt like an invalid for weeks).

Our nursery is basically complete after Abe delivered our rocker/recliner from Des Moines, minus organizing the little things and some decorations on the wall. And good thing I got most of that settled weeks ago (which seemed maybe a little silly at the time) as I really don't feel I have the physical capacity for that kind of job now nor much of a nesting instinct right now (replaced by the survival instinct perhaps?).

I meet with my doctor tomorrow for my 30 week appointment. I hope to start going over the birth plan so I will feel more prepared. I will also take a breastfeeding class and a birthing class this week. I hope they will be beneficial and worth the hours spent sitting in a classroom, because sitting anywhere for more than a few hours is pretty miserable right now! I also have my maternity photo shoot early next week (still feeling absolutely clueless what to wear!) and hopefully will order my breast pump and maybe have some baby shower plans in the works. So it feels like we are starting to cross things off the to do list. 

I hope I don't sound like I am complaining because really I am so grateful to still be pregnant with these miracle babies. And grateful things are going so well without medical complications, grateful for my ability to continue working, and that even when things continue to get harder, I still have good days. 

29 weeks 4 days -- funny how I feel like I look smaller here than even weeks ago.
Oh, and can I say something more about shoes before we end? I was recently skimming a blog post about "Maternity Style." Surprise surprise I didn't find it particularly enlightening, at least when comparing a woman who hardly looks pregnant (and maybe why she is the expert on the subject because she still looks pretty stylish) to a woman pregnant with twins. But one suggestion really left me scratching my head: Throw on a pair of high heels! or if you can't manage those stilettos, at least some chunky wedges. Evidently this is a great idea because it lengthens your leg and can create a more vertical illusion to make your growing belly look smaller.

Ummm, yeah... Remember how I said I could only wear two pairs of shoes right now? They are two pairs of sandals with minimal straps (and no heel!) bought specifically because they looked like they would be good for swollen feet.

At least she had an alternate suggestion: Or if you don't think you can manage the high heels, go for a fashionable and stylish pair of flats!

Hmmm, still not helpful. I don't even have cankles yet (at least not usually). I just hope I don't have to go to a fancy event any time soon-- or heaven forbid it snows before the delivery! (I guess I do look on with a teaspoon of envy when I see pregnant women wearing normal shoes or rings.)

Week 30:
Weight: 180.5 lbs (only 1 lb up this week!)
Total  Weight Gain: 38.5 lbs

baby kicks -- big movements, maybe slightly less often
arm/hand numbness -- feels different this week, less tingle but more numbness maybe? And my left wrist pops frequently
hand and foot swelling 
discomfort/immobility -- it's getting harder to move! and to sit or stand or lie down. The first sensations of babies in the ribs happened this week. 
insomnia --sometimes hourly visits to the bathroom
knee pain -- ouch!
slightly decreased itchiness
getting excited for babies!

8 weeks to go!