Friday, January 24, 2014

Week 31 is here!

Week 31 is here. The golden 32 weeks so that babies organs are all better developed is just around the corner! When heard we were having twins they said that 32 weeks is the initial goal and every week after that is a great bonus. 

Yesterday I had a Biophysical Profile (BPP) ultrasound, non-stress test, and doctor's visit. 

WebMD: A biophysical profile (BPP) test measures the health of your baby (fetus) during pregnancy. The BPP measures your baby's heart rate, muscle tone, movement, breathing, and the amount of amniotic fluid around your baby.

Both babies got 100%. The coolest rating they passed was "practice breathing." They check that their diaphragm flexes to breath for 30 consecutive seconds. At first Baby Girl did about four repetions and then stopped, then start again, then stop. This is totally normal at this gestational age, so I wasn't worried. Then we checked Baby Boy and he did 30 seconds like a champ. We praised his strong lungs and then checked Baby Girl again. Not to be outdone she also showed us her "practice breathing" for 30 seconds. Maybe a bit competitive?

The non-stress test showed strong heartbeats, despite Baby Boy moving around a lot! He got difficult to track at times but we had a patient nurse. When Dr. T came in he was happy to see the results of the ultrasound and monitoring. I reported to him that both babies have their heads down on the ultrasound and he gave me knucks. His check showed that my cervix is stable. Whew. I was feeling so heavy and sore this week that the appointment was a sigh of relief. Next week we'll do an ultrasound to determine size of babies:) They should be over 3lbs each!

This pregnancy has been a God thing since the beginning, and He continues to surround us. We have been graciously and generously supported by family and friends in prayer, phone calls, visits, and food. 

A common question is how I'm feeling about when the babies come. Here is where the Spirit totally intercedes. I am wired to plan, prepare, and imagine, which are great traits for a teacher. And yet somehow I know that the next chapter of our lives and mine as a mother are completely unpredictable. Babies could come tomorrow or in 5 weeks. They could be 3lbs or 6 lbs. The could latch the day of their birth and be great at nursing, or they might need to be fed by tubes at first. They could have colic or calm temperaments. Nothing like having children to make it apparent that we have no control. And while I usually like to plan and prepare despite these unknown variables, this time I am resting in the unknown. I am truly feeling calm about this next stage, from birth to bringing them home. And really even after that. Maybe I'm too confident in myself and our supportive family, but I truly believe I'm being confident in God being bigger than anything. Anything! And so will there be sleepless nights, worry, exhaustion, and unsure feelings...absolutely. But I will cast my cares upon Him. And will there be burps, first smiles, snuggles, the new baby smell, lullabies, kisses, and seeing Caleb become a big brother....yes. And I will praise His name for the blessing of these two babies. I guess the only assumption I am making at this time is that I will have these two babies and they will live. They might have health problems or need doctoring, but I am resting in God's grace and Him leading the doctor's to wisdom in caring for these two young lives. My daily petitions are for their health, and I know there are others praying for them too. Thank you! I am filled with gratefulness and a sense of calm! 

31 weeks!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Caleb adjusting to bed rest

Yesterday, Monday, was a tough day for me physically. I could literally feel myself stretching. It was a constant discomfort and every time the babies moved it just intensified. I'm usually a mind over matter person, just my mental toughness really struggled. So after a ver immobile day, I just waited for my sweet Caleb to come home. I had moved to the couch to greet him. He ran in the door exclaiming, "Mommy! Mommy!" 

After his hat, coat, and boots came off he jumped onto the couch. He then said, "IPad? Mommy's bed?" I almost laughed out loud. 

I grinned and said, "No buddy. We're out here to play. We will snuggle later." 

He proceeded to whimper and say, "No...Mommy's bed!"

Caleb likes bed rest:)

Monday, January 20, 2014

Weekend at Oma & Grandpa's

Caleb has two sets of very loving grandparents. He is so blessed to have an extended family near and far that love him. This Friday Caleb and I left daycare and headed straight for my parents for the weekend. Friday night Caleb got to play with Grandpa downstairs. Downstairs is Caleb's favorite inside place at their house. He asks for it all the time. "Downstairs, downstairs, downstairs..."

Downstairs are toys from my childhood as well as some new things that Grandpa Gene and Oma can't help but add to their collection. Gene sees a deal or imagines the fun, it's added, especially if it has to do with building and assembling. He has mentioned he wants to share the love for putting things together and building with his grandkids. Caleb is game! 

Saturday Caleb got to help make chex mix, play outside with Oma, play dough time, and more. He has his own room upstairs, in the bottom bunk bed. He likes it and has slept well there. His night sleep and naps have gone well. Oma is just down the hall and can easily get to him when he stirs. Each morning when he woke, he would come down with Oma and give me some snuggles:) I'd sit in the basement and interact with him while he played. 

Sunday was a bit more cuddly. We read books and had a train day with three different sets in the basement. Caleb went outside and played in tractor made snow hills with Grandpa after nap. They rolled balls for a snowman too! 

For supper Aunt Greta and Alex came over for family supper. Caleb ate his weight in broccoli and pickles. Broccoli he get from Daddy, and pickles from Greta:)

We reunited with Daddy after supper. We drove home, happy to get home. Our little family time is expiring soon, so we treasure each moment together. 

Josh got a lot done upstairs, so we all had a great weekend!

Caleb and Grandpa Outside

What does it feel like to be you?

Today is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. I am guessing, but this weekend they played the movie "The Help" on TNT due to that holiday. I remember reading the book and then watching the movie and crying during both. Knowing that this time of white supremacy really wasn't so long ago in the south really became apparent. And truly it still exists in many places and hearts. It hurt my heart to read/see little ones ignored by their mothers and people hired to be in one's home with such little respect and kindness. The end makes me cry as the main character must walk away from the little girl she was raising and loving. She has a powerful monologue that made me think about a couple things.
1. Writing was used as a powerful character in that book. Seems redundant, but the book written showed how powerful and cathartic writing is in times of conflict, emotional or physical.
- I agree! The times I am compelled most to write are usually preceded by a heart string plucked, a temper boiling, and moments of triumph or brokenness.
2. The movies ends with a monologue in which she states, "No one asked me what it felt like to be me before." Now I might be a little to fragile right now to answer that question with a smidge of objectivity (but who needs that), but it got me thinking. It's different than asking someone how they feel or who they are. It is a combination that requires some brutal honesty and vulnerability. The women in the story "The Help" were brave enough to reflect, laugh and cry their way through that answer. What does it feel like to be me? What does it feel like to be you?

And would you share your stories/answer if the author couldn't be anonymous?

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Week One of bed rest

January 6 I had a regularly scheduled weekly appointment with Dr T. He found that my cervix had started to thin and dilate more than desired at 28.5 weeks. I was transferred over to ISJ hospital for monitoring of babies and to check if I was having contractions. They did the Group B test and a few others right away. Baby girl didn't stay monitored very well. She liked moving around a bit too much. Baby Boy's heartbeat was loud and strong, taking the spotlight. The bad news is I have having contractions almost every 2 minutes. The good news is that the babies weren't effected at all. Every nurse was awesome and commented that the babies looked so healthy. They did a thorough ultrasound and we found the babies are still around the 50th percentile and just ounces away from 3 pounds. Because contractions could be started by being checked by the doctor and getting some unsettling news, as well as perhaps some dehydration, they gave me an IV of fluids. The bag of fluids did calm the contractions enough that after about three hours of monitoring I finally got to go home, with an appointment for the next day. Dr Taylor said he would be contemplating bed rest but because things calmed so well and babies were doing well, I didn't think of it as very likely. Josh was super supportive and we both really stayed calm through the entire evening. I really felt like I was in good hands, medically and spiritually.

We went home and I took it easy knowing that the next day there was no school again due to cold weather. It was again low stress.

January 7 I had a morning appointment again with Dr Taylor. He found me still at the same place as yesterday in terms of dilating and thinning, but that wasn't necessarily good news. I was showing signs of pre-labor and there are two babies to consider, and it was just 28.5 weeks.

Dr. T determined he'd like to get me off my feet, and take as much pressure of my cervix as possible. That meant no teaching. I nodded like that sounded fine and would be easy, but two minutes after the appointment my head started to spin a little. During the rest of the appointment Dr T also determined he'd like me to have the 2 shots for the babies lung development so that we had our bases covered, and a daily dose of progesterone to put off full labor. Officially he gave me a modified bed rest. That means one can sit or lay on the couch or bed, and sit at dinner, but there should be no cleaning, laundry, cooking, errands, lifting, etc. I can drive to rest somewhere else or get to an appointment, but I should not exert myself in any way. I went right to school to drop off school things I had with me (my laptop and manuals), and labeled a few things for the sub. My 'boss' came and she helped arrange a sub for the month of January until my pre-arranged long term substitute could start in February. The sub we got made me feel my students were in good hands and my desk was pretty organized to leave to someone else. I was not as planned and prepped as far ahead as I would have liked in a planned absence, but it was enough in my capable sub's hands.

Caleb was at daycare due to the morning appointment and we realized for his good and my orders we would maintain his routine of going to Amy's house. He gets great care, activities, nutrition, and time with friends that would be difficult to offer him at home while restricted. I am able to pick him up since he can get into his own car seat, and it is minimal effort.

January 8 was my official first day off work and it felt odd to be getting school emails that I would not have to be a part of. I had to go in for the 2nd shot for the babies' lungs and after that I had some back pain/spasms. I had one and then one an hour later, but soon they were coming more frequent, almost every 5 minutes. I didn't have any back labor with Caleb, but figured that's what was happening. I called Josh and he met me at the clinic. Dr T isn't in on Wednesdays, so I saw Dr D. They hooked me up to monitor babies and contractions again, but this time Baby Girl was a rockstar and Baby Boy was moving too much to be monitored well. Some contractions were showing up, but not regular or strong enough to cause any noticeable stress on the babies. It was possible that the back spasms were causing the contractions, or the other way around, but bottom line things still looked ok, so we went home. That night we all played and cuddled on the bed for about an hour. That has been my favorite hour of bed rest so far. Caleb loved coming and getting under the covers with me. I love his snuggles!

Jan 9-13 things have stayed relatively calm. I may have felt a few contractions here and there but nothing intense or regular. Babies are still moving so much in my tight belly that I almost feel nauseous. I stayed at my parents Friday to Saturday while Josh, his dad, and brother-in-law ripped out the walls and insulation in our upstairs bedroom, bathroom, and attic space. We are moving our master upstairs to have more room and turn our old room into another kid room. They got a great start on the project and Josh has continued to work on it each day. This means we have random totes and storage in the dining room, but if anyone comes over I think they'll be forgiving.

I have a list of sedentary things to do. Some days it is not very appealing to me and other days I am amazed how many things I cross off. The reality is I could be on bed rest another day or another 6 weeks. I don't know if I want to cross everything off and be bored in a week or space it out. I definitely get a little TV or reading in, but I haven't started many novels knowing once I start it, I get sucked in and suck it down. I'll save that when my To Dos are a little less I guess. The hardest thing is I check my email or Facebook probably 15 times a day. This extrovert craves interaction. At the same time I'm not necessarily dressed for company, so give me a five minute warning:) In the evening it is my Caleb and family time, so really it is from about 9:00-3:30 that leaves me without a clear agenda that I just make up each day. If you wish to stop by, let me know. Thursdays are usually my doctor appointments, but otherwise I'm free as a bird. Due to the construction plans on the weekend, Caleb and I will likely evacuate for the next couple weeks to my parents' house or my in-laws. That way I have the help for Caleb, and we can leave Josh less distracted or worried about us.

So one week down and we're doing well. As my belly stretches I can feel my heart stretching too. Our family is growing. We are blessed!