Wednesday, January 30, 2013

31 Weeks

Today marks 31 weeks into my pregnancy! How am I feeling?

I'm feeling very pregnant.

I'm feeling very conspicuous. It's awkward to have everyone stare at me. So many people stop and talk to me. So many people can't believe I will grow EVEN LARGER. I met a lady earlier this week who, upon finding out that I'm having twins due on April 3, absolutely and openly gawked. She eyed me up and down with her mouth wide open. I am not exaggerating in the least. She kept saying, "Bless your heart." I really wasn't sure what to say back. I don't know how to explain how I feel. Almost guilty. Almost immodest somehow. I feel like staying home. I feel like I shouldn't feel that way.

I'm feeling heavy. I've gained over 40 pounds and sometimes my little size 6 feet sometimes have a hard time carrying me around past supper time. Of course, laying down really is not an option anymore. I'm a stomach sleeper and am missing it. I can't lie on my back anymore since there is so much weight pressing down. I must alternate sides, lifting my stomach up and over when one of my arms falls asleep and I need to turn over. I've read before that many other pregnant mamas have nasal issues, and I am definitely experiencing that this go around. As soon as I lay down my nose stuffs right up every night. I've developed a survival sleep position though: on left side, one arm under pillow, other against face holding nose open, knees bent, no covers because it is really, really hot.

It's so strange to feel the babies roll around inside me when I move. I can feel not just their own movements--kicking and punching--but also their little bodies shift into new positions because I move. When I sit up, I feel them sink down. I feel their kicks and hiccups on my hip bones, and I feel them pull on the muscles near my ribs. I feel them quite often now. And I see random body parts poke up and out. I wish I could guess which parts they are!

Lot's of people have begun asking if I'm in the uncomfortable stage yet and, as you can tell, I suppose I am.   Jackie mentioned that I only have a little bit to go, but I reminded him that I have the hardest part to go. However, as uncomfortable as I am becoming, I am mostly feeling thankful. I am thankful that I have only "normal" complaints. I am happy and healthy and carrying two precious little people into life which makes it all worth it. I feel the Lord's blessings abound on this pregnancy which makes it easy to keep His perspective in mind!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Mardi Gras Decorations

It's Mardi Gras season and I have loved collecting little things to decorate our home with. Here's a few pictures of our decorations.

The wreath on our front door came from Sam's last year. I thought it was an excellent deal since I'd seen several very pricey ones in home stores. I love all the colors and glitter.

I added some ornaments in Mardi Gras colors to the urn on our table then circled it with a boa and added some masks and beads. (Sorry for some reason I couldn't get the picture to turn upright!)

The top of our bookshelf just behind the table holds an umbrella that Keeleigh got at last year's parade, some boas and beads, and--my favorite--a little jester doll from the French Market.

I decorated over the balcony door with beads, a boa, and some masks.

The outside of the balcony door holds the rag wreath I made last year. (Again, couldn't figure out how to get it turned the right way.)

And on the railing around the balcony I put approximately one gazillion beads!

The top railing has lights in gold, purple, and green.

Yes, New Orleans will find any excuse to party, and I'll find any excuse to decorate! 

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

30 Weeks

Today I am 30 weeks pregnant! According to my Babycenter email the babies are around 3 pounds (which supposedly they were 2 weeks ago at my ultrasound) and are a little more than 14 inches long.

I am feeling lots of hiccups and lately they have all been very low so I'm hoping that is a sign of a couple of head-down babies. I also have Braxton Hicks contractions constantly. Sometimes it's so strange during these contractions; it feels like my stomach isn't even part of me just something sitting on my lap growing harder and heavier. Other times the contractions are uncomfortable, and I find myself trying to sit very still during them then running to the bathroom to empty my bladder!

The kids have begun to ask about the babies often. Jathan and Ryland love sitting next to me and feeling them move. They think it's funny that the girls are already kicking their brothers. This morning the girls were moving so much that Jackie could feel the bed shake!

Tomorrow is my regular doctor's appointment, and I have a list of questions ready for her. Should she mention the glucose screening test, I'll let her know that I would rather not take it and ask if that's a problem for her. I'll also be asking what her opinion is on going to Mardi Gras parades. Jackie thinks I'm crazy (but, hey, so does practically everyone I know) but I really don't want to miss my last Mardi Gras as a New Orleans resident! Here is a list of the other things I will be asking:

1. What constitutes an "emergency" when thinking of an emergency c-section? Is a breech baby (or two) an "emergency"? Are there hospital guidelines/protocols when it comes to deeming something and "emergency" or is this at the discretion of the doctor. Because if they deem it an emergency, they do not have to grant you informed consent.

2. Is a breech extraction routine? Do you consider it necessary in all cases or are some babies allowed to birth on their own without medical intervention?

3. Since birth will happen in the OR, is there a time constraint solely because of that fact?

4. Is there a time constraint place on birth times between the twins? If so, why is this necessary?

5. If I refuse a breech extraction, an episiotomy, or a non-emergency c-section, will you refuse to continue caring for me?

6. Can I request delayed cord clamping even during a c-section?

7. What tests and procedures on infants after birth are mandated by law in Louisiana? Will it be a problem if I refuse eye drops/cream at birth? Can I choose vitamin K drops instead of an injection or refuse it completely without that being an issue? The eye drops that infants receive at birth were originally administered many, many years ago to prevent blindness caused from STDs picked up in the birth canal. Today they are largely unnecessary in births involving women who know they do not have an STD or who do not deliver vaginally. I prefer not to have the babies get them because they temporarily irritate the eyes and cause blurred vision and who wants to start life like that if you don't have to?

 Vitamin K is administered routinely to help infants' blood clot because it naturally does not do so for days (which is why God very wisely had parents wait to perform circumcision rituals on their sons). Since this is how ALL HUMANS are born I'm not sure why we consider this a deficiency. Nevertheless, we are told it's best for our babies and will prevent brain bleeds which occur in perhaps 1 out of 10,000 births and which might be the result of forcep use and early cord cutting anyway. But did you know that your baby has a 1 in 500  chance of getting leukemia from the extremely high (20,000 x normal levels) dosage of synthetic, preservative laden Vitamin K shot? Yes, we're weighing our options.

Hopefully this will get some good conversation started between me and my doctor!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

29 Weeks

Last week I had my regular OB appointment. Keeleigh and my mom got the opportunity to go with me. After arriving late thanks to stupendous NOLA traffic and a long wait, we were finally called back. I was happy to find that I weighed two pounds less on their scale than the scale at the ultrasound office, ha ha. It was also great that my BP is still wonderfully perfect. The doctor saw us quickly since we'd had a long wait, and because my mom and Keeleigh were there, she did a little impromptu ultrasound right then and there to show them the babies. She took her time pointing out all their little parts...feet and fingers and other slightly less cute sounding things like brains and amniotic sacs.

I will now be seeing the doctor every two weeks and because preterm labor is a risk in twin pregnancies the doctor wanted to check me for dilation. I was actually opposed to this mainly because it seems pretty pointless to me but consented. Of course I was not dilated at all and the twins were still "really high." Happily the doctor did not think to order my glucose test. Perhaps she will just forget it all together? This is yet another thing that I find totally pointless for me. I'm considering refusing it. I'm so not good at saying no, though. It feels like that isn't even an option. Doctors feel so authoritative! I really need to look more into patient rights, I suppose.

Another thing that the doctor discussed was birth. I keep trying to forget that I will have to actually do that and she just keeps on bringing it up! Sigh. I am constantly reminded that if the "presenting" twin is breech that I MUST have a c-section. Which to me is dumb because 1.) I typically have small babies so adequate dilation should not be an issue, 2.) this is my fifth pregnancy and I'm ever confident that my body knows how to handle birth, and 3.) countless numbers of babies have been and are born naturally and safely in the breech position. I do not like doctors treating everyone as if they are to die any second. Of course, should the presenting twin be head down and the second twin be breech, my doctor is okay with a vaginal birth but recommends an epidural which I do not want so that she can perform a "breech extraction." That means she will stick her hand inside of me, search around for a foot, and pull. Which will hurt. A lot. And which will probably also require an episiotomy. Which also will hurt. A lot. And which is also probably completely needless. Of course I could avoid all of this pesky birthing stuff and just schedule a c-section if I want! So, again I guess I need to look more into patient rights. I don't want to get pushed into having a c-section. I don't want a breech extraction, and I sure as heck don't want an episiotomy. Can I just say no to all of that? Am I stuck in the hospital trap? Shouldn't I just be satisfied with a healthy mommy and two healthy babies?

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

28 Weeks

I am 28 weeks pregnant today. Yesterday was my monthly ultrasound appointment. So far I have gained slightly over 40 pounds! I was delighted that my blood pressure was great and that the twins looked awesome as well. At the end of the ultrasound, the technician said, "Well, the babies are getting FAT!" The average weight for a single baby is around 2 and a quarter pounds, each of the twins weighed around 3 pounds. Apparently the girls enjoyed all the yummy stuff I ate over the holidays! 

I was not so pleased to find that Twin B was now the "presenting" twin and that she was breech. Twin A was head down but slightly sideways. Of course, I'm only 28 weeks and this will likely change but I'm just really hopeful that they will both turn head down allowing for a vaginal hospital delivery.

I am feeling more and more encouraged in the hope that I will have a pre-eclampsia free pregnancy. Everything feels so normal right now. Many people have asked me if a twin pregnancy feels differently than a single pregnancy but, for me, it really hasn't. A bigger belly has been the only difference for me. It was the first thing that I noticed and it continues to be noticeable, shall we say. I continue to get interesting comments from random people but I understand, I suppose. Other challenges of a twin pregnancy? Clothing that fits, obviously. All of my maternity pants are EXTREMELY tightly currently and will not fit for much longer. Very few of my maternity shirts cover my stomach completely and my button-up shirts are starting to pucker! I'm not exactly sure what to do as a larger size just looks strange on me because it doesn't fit my shoulders or bust or height. I guess I need to research what other moms of multiples do! Another upcoming challenge: driving. Being 5'1" I usually need to have the seat pulled all the way up. But now my stomach is starting to get in the way of the steering wheel! What am I going to do when I can't reach the pedals for my stomach? Ha ha ha! My driving days may be numbered!


Tuesday, January 1, 2013

New Year's Resolutions

Confession: I am a bit of an overachiever. I am an all-or-none kind of girl. If I'm going to do something, I'm going to go all out or not even start. Whatever I commit to doing, becomes not just something I do but something I'm passionate about. So New Year's resolutions are a tricky thing for me. Usually I just don't make any because I haven't had time to meticulously plan out how I'm going to carry them out. And if everything doesn't go right on day one then I'm thrown into a downward spiral of depression.

This year, however, I've had so many ideas about ways that I'd like to change/improve life that I'm tempted to actually call some of these goals "resolutions." I'm going to try terribly hard to be relaxed about these goals and not freak out if they don't go exactly as I planned but also to stay committed to getting back on the horse, so to speak, should it buck me off.

Here's the thoughts that have been running through my head:

1. Floss everyday. I am really so very bad about flossing. At the same time, I hate going to the dentist, and I have this weird notion that getting a cavity somehow makes me dirty or disgusting or something. I seriously feel so guilty when I get one! So, along with perhaps making homemade toothpaste without evil additives and fluoride, I know I should be flossing much more often.

2. Take my make-up off every night. This is something else that I NEVER do. I pick off mascara clumps in the shower but other than that, I very rarely clean my face well. Is that gross? Probably. I while back I heard someone say that each night you don't remove your makeup adds like 8 days to your skin or something. I rolled my eyes and thought, "I NEVER take off my makeup and I'm fine!" But recently I've been noticing some little wrinkles around my eyes and an uneven skin tone, and I figure a skin regime is in order. I'm also not proud of all the freckles on my arms that are the result of not wearing sunscreen. Could I possibly get in the habit of wearing sunscreen each time I go out?

3. Eat better. This is definitely an area where my all-or-none personality comes out. I think diet, sugar-free soda is totally stupid. Syrup with fewer calories? Idiotic. 100 calorie snack cakes? Pssssh. Junk food is junk food people! Let's not try to fool ourselves into thinking we can make it better. If you are going to eat crap, go ahead and eat the good crap. Go ahead, have that preservative-loaded, artificially-colored, one-million calorie piece of heaven. OR. Don't. And this is where I fail. Because the more I research eating healthy, the more it seems there is to learn and I feel totally helpless. Things you might have once thought were healthy are so not. It's not enough to eat vegetables from a can because the can has been coated with BPA and the vegetables inside are probably genetically modified anyway. I even read recently that baby carrots are bad for you (which may or not be an internet hoax). So we must buy fresh, organic fruits and vegetables which also carry a free trade agreement label. Some people suggest we should not even ever cook food. I could go on and on with food problems; everything to do with proper nutrition seems downright hard. There are so very many problems with the food that we Americans eat daily, it's no wonder we're all unhealthy. And yet we don't try to change our diets, we look to the medical community to "heal" us with drugs that carry even more dangerous side effects! So, is there a clean eating for dummies book I don't know about? Anyone want to just make out a grocery list and menu for me each week? Because this is something that I'd really love to do but just don't know where to start.

4. Decrease media usage. In our house we have two smart phones, two iPads, one Kindle Fire, two laptops, one personal computer, and a desk top computer. We are constantly surrounded by technology which is not necessarily a bad thing until you let it rule your life. My children beg from morning until night to "play my game" meaning my Kindle. I've finally turned out notifications on my phone for things like Facebook and email because checking them constantly was severely interrupting my day. Even without constant notifications, I've found myself checking in online whenever I get a little break--when I'm waiting on Jackie in the car when he runs into the store for something, when the kids are playing on the playground. I warn the kids all the time that watching too much of their beloved TV will make them dumb, but it seems I need to take my own advice and do more things to actually stimulate my brain. I need to retrain myself to reach for a book at night instead of endlessly perusing Pinterest. I used to love writing and never do it anymore. Even if it's just completing a word puzzle or Sudoku puzzle, it'd be better than zoning out in front of a screen! So I'm going to come up with some specified media limits for me and the kids. I will not use the TV or Kindle apps as babysitters, and I will seek to stimulate my brain in healthy ways.

5. Read more with the kids. My kids LOVE bedtime stories and all too often I brush them aside because it's late, and I'm tired and really, really just long for a quiet, still house. It's a lot easier to send them to bed with a movie to drift off to sleep to but that is not what I want for our family. I want to begin not only reading but reading longer books to teach them to stretch their attention spans. I think in order to make this a habit, I'm going to have to get better about bedtime routines. I seem to do pretty well keeping our day in order until Jackie gets home from work, then it's as if I just clock out of my management position and let things go all willy nilly. We then sit in the bathtub until the water goes cold then everyone runs wild (just ask my downstairs neighbor!) until I lose my mind and force them to lay down. Then I'm all like, why do my children never sleep well?! I've just got to find the resolve to do the things I need to do even when getting started and sticking with it is difficult.

6. Come up with a family mission statement and pray over it with Jackie every day. I really want us to be more clear with each other about what we expect from each other and the members of our family. I want us to be unified in our parenting approach and to remember to focus on our individual roles in marriage because I truly believe our ministry starts at home.

So there you have it. I pretty much need a total life overhaul! Ha ha. Is anyone else making resolutions this year? Do you have any tips on how to follow through?