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Journey To the Finish Line

PR's, 4 children, hopes and dreams; I'm always running after something

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2nd Trimester

Showers Part 2

We had our second shower a week after the first. Having been to one the week before made it no less weird. I still walked in the door, admired the decorations and felt like I was celebrating for someone else.

The first thing I noticed was the super cute (and deliciously yummy) cake:

Hoooo's ready to party?
Hoooo’s ready to party?
My awesome host and her son
My awesome host and her son

How cute is that food table? I especially liked the cupcakes with the Oreos for eyes. Unfortunately I didn’t get a close up picture.

The game we played I have to say was totally unfair as it required a functional memory. She had put an assortment of baby things in a cute bag and we had 10 seconds to commit as many to memory as possible. Considering I can’t even be counted on to pay my electric bill consistently, I felt I was at a distinct disadvantage.

I lost.

But its cool, because I (well, the babies) still got presents

Photo Mar 10, 5 49 36 PM

A few of my favorites included some personalized stuff and the MamaRoo– it came highly recommended by a friend of Bryan’s step mom and so she bought us one. I have to admit it looks awfully comfy and a friend already commented on how she’d like to try it except it probably has a weight limit. 🙂 We also got tons of diapers – never in my life did I imagine excitement over diapers, but I squealed YAY DIAPERS every time. One of many strange firsts to come I am sure. (I’m particularly excited about our first squeal over baby poo. Bryan laughed at me when I mentioned it. I told him to just wait)

It is amazing how much stuff we got. In fact, by the time my parents get us some of what we didn’t get, there honestly won’t be that much left we have to buy. Except my one picky item – the super expensive Bob double jogging stroller.

My running buddy - you may have seen her in last years marathon training posts :)
My running buddy – you may have seen her in last years marathon training posts 🙂
My super cool neighbors
My super cool neighbors

The showers were exactly what I’d imagined they would be. Our babies are spoiled already and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

 

 

Almost Third Trimester (27 weeks)

The Good

  • I’m not sure if the third trimester technically starts at 27 or 28 weeks since I’ve heard both so I’ll just err on the side of caution and say 28. However, carrying twins we won’t make it to 40 weeks so I could probably say I’m in the third at this point
  • First baby shower this weekend!!!
  • Next growth scan Friday – praying for healthy growing babies and a long and strong cervix!!
  • I felt my first case of fetal hiccups this week from both babies – Abby first then Miles a couple days later
  • Watching my belly move – so bizarre
  • Babies born at this point in time have about a 90% chance of survival. We’d like to avoid extended hospital stays though so lets keep em in there!

The “Bad”

  • Minor aches and pains are starting to kick in. If I sit too long I get a stiff back or minor achiness in the pubic area (like the bone, don’t get any weird ideas). So far nothing major though, thankfully.
  • Starting to get some back pain – again minor though
  • Energy? What’s energy? :). In all honesty I’m slowing down more each week but at this point can still function through a work day or a few errands – preferably not both. I used to kinda argue about putting my feet up when I get home for the evening, now I’m like couch please! Yes you can bring me my dinner and refill my water for me. What you can’t pee for me? Crap. I’m sad right now that no one is home and I have to get up to microwave my own frozen dinner. Tough life yes?
  • Braxton Hicks continue. Luckily no more attacks recently.

The Weird and Amusing

  • Tying shoes is getting more and more interesting
  • Sometimes the stiffness from sitting causes me to waddle for a few steps. It’s really cute.
  • I am officially completely in larger size underwear. Some of my shirts are starting to get tight. My husband still insists I look the same from behind. How cute he is. My ever growing butt appreciates it.
  • Today I misjudged how wide I needed to open a door at work and smacked my belly with it. Must remember: am not as skinny as before
  • Miss Abby I believe likes to sit on my bladder some days. It is not a pillow. It’s just not. Thank goodness no one has found my ribs….yet.

Updated pic at Bubbles and Squishy

Bubbles and Squishy Get Named

While calling the babies Bubbles and Squishy permanently was tempting at first, two lifetimes of potential (who am I kidding? definite) teasing from kids and funny looks from adults prompted us to go with names that were a little less Nemo-y and a little more realistic and adult like.

Surprisingly, deciding on names was easier than I thought. I’ve always had a favorite girl name and from the day we found out we had a girl I said that was a name I really liked. Bryan liked it too and so that was that. Baby boy’s name was a bit harder and we went through 2 or 3 before finally deciding (Andrew, Christopher and Max in case you were wondering), ironically with the help of a baby name book which I never really took seriously. I used baby name lists and books as ways to find funny and no-way-would-I-pick-that type names so the fact that we found it while Bryan was reading from a list was surprising. Plus, If I like a name, I don’t care how popular or unpopular it is at the time. So if we happen to pick the two most popular names of 2013 – whatever.

Andrew was cut because I didn’t want them to have the same initials. Not my thing. Max was cut because my mom decided it sounded too much like my ex husbands name (Matt). I didn’t think so at all but then she got the idea in my head and it was all I could think about. Christopher was it until Bryan read through the name list.

That didn’t stop us from going through few funny ideas first:

Jack and Jill.

Bonnie and Clyde.

Naming baby boy Austin or Will (i.e. Austin Powers, Will Powers).

Using Super as a middle name. (Austin Super Powers)

Then there are the crazy celebrities that name their kid after colors and food. So we could have super cool combinations like Apple and Orange or Broccoli and Cauliflower. Or maybe Black and Blue. No, I’m sorry, you need to spell it Blu. What? That’s in now, right?

Middle names were more challenging. I’m particular about how names sound and so they need to sound good together. Unfortunately that meant that all of my family names were out. Not because I didn’t want to include them but because they sounded horrible in combination. I mean, when I get mad at my kids I want to be able to yell out those two names together so they know they are in trouble without having to stumble over them or stop for a sec and think about how ridiculous it sounds. It needs to flow.

Baby boy’s middle name was easiest. Bryan felt very influenced by his step father and his last name flowed perfectly with the first name so it was a clear winner. (is it bad that flow had to be an important factor for me?) Baby girl was harder. Trying to match a middle name with a 3 syllable first name was no easy task. I liked Allison but it seemed like too much of a tongue twister with the first name.

With that said:

Bubbles – Miles Sullivan

Squishy- Abigail Katherine

We are so excited to meet both of you (but not too early, just had to throw that in there).

The Countdown Begins (26 weeks)

Wow, we are down to the last probably 9-10 weeks (hopefully no sooner)

The Good

  • These babies need to KEEP COOKING, but I feel I can breathe a bit easier. Babies born at this point have almost an 80% chance of survival.
  • We got a new (to us) car! An SUV and not a minivan!
  • We decided to splurge a little and get new (to us) couches. We had talked about buying me a recliner chair and I happened upon a leather couch and loveseat on Craigslist in GREAT condition – with 4 recliners. We snatched them up. We also bought a new dishwasher, as our current one has a recall. I figure might as well spend the money while we have some disposable income because if we don’t do it now we probably never will.
  • Baby showers are coming up really soon and I can’t wait! Its so big for me because I spent so much time before wondering if I’d ever get to have one.
  • Supposedly the babies’ eyes are open now and could even possibly see if we were to shine a flashlight on my belly. I haven’t yet told Bryan this. That is for the babies’ sanity. Not to mention my own.
  • We got our first baby gift in the mail – but I’m not allowed to open it yet.

The Bad

  • Monday in the middle of the night I was hit with what I’m now dubbing “Attack of the Braxton Hicks – Part 3”.  I woke up to pee and had trouble falling back to sleep. I began noticing that I was getting a contraction nearly every 10 minutes. 2 and a half hours later they had not let up. So back to the hospital we went. Naturally once we got there they slowed down. Even though deep down I felt like everything was ok it still freaked me out and I’m glad we went to get checked. A months worth of these things at a frequency of about 30-40 a day has not yet caused any cervical change. My Fetal Fibronectin test was negative. The doc at the hospital said this is not that uncommon with twins, and to think of it as my baseline. Basically, be on the lookout for BH that are consistently longer, or even MORE frequent. Since then I’ve decided to let go a bit and I don’t count and time every single one anymore. If I start to notice them becoming frequent I’ll rest and if they don’t slow down then I might start to worry. But life has been so much better not counting and stressing over each one anymore, because I’m pretty sure the worrying was making them worse. Until I’m told otherwise, they are my new normal. I’m still making time to lay down some at work and keep my feet up once I get home. But I just can’t be a slave to them anymore. I probably will, however, be asking for a FFN at each two week appt to take the edge off my anxiety about them a bit.
  • Honestly I thought the 2nd-3rd trimester would be LESS anxiety provoking but is isn’t. Now I’m worrying about proper growth and pre term labor. As a friend once told me: welcome to motherhood.

The Weird and Amusing

  • Listening to strangers muse about how big I look, and comment on how I’ll never make it to May. (thanks)
  • I look like 30-32 weeks pregnant, if not more.
  • My hips constantly fall asleep at night while I’m sleeping. One of these days I’m gonna get up to pee and fall down.
  • Hubby is trying to talk me into a new stove because he melted plastic in the bottom of ours.
  • The cost of gas on our new (albeit fabulous) SUV is a bit painful.
  • Tying my shoes is becoming more and more challenging. Grunting is usually involved. No swearing yet.

New pic is up!

The Great Big Vehicle Resolution

Continued from The Great Big Vehicle Debacle….

We drove to see the Acadia as mentioned that day. It was a 2007 – leather seats, backup sensor. When we got to the house of the people who were selling it I was pretty excited. I mean, this could be the resolution to my super solid ” I just don’t like minivans” argument I kept throwing out.

It was fabulous. Captains chairs in the 2nd row. Easy access to the third, good amount of cargo space in the back and drove really well. We made arrangements to have to taken to our mechanic to give it a once over and I left smiling from ear to ear.

Until we got home that night and received a text saying the car they were going to trade up for was no longer available for them, therefore they would not be selling the car.

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!

As it turns out, upon some further research we found a good many complaints about the transmissions for that year and the 2008s. I kept looking for newer models, determined to find another. In the meantime, we had the fully loaded minivan sent to our mechanic to look it over. He couldn’t find a darn thing wrong with it.

Drat.

Not quite willing to give up yet, though, I said I wanted to search for one more day. So we got up early the following Saturday morning and made our way down to the dealerships. We drove around 3 or 4 or them. I looked longingly at Acadia’s but they either didn’t have the 3rd row or were a 2008 (I do have to say I know people who have Acadias who did not have any issues and loved them). We peeked in a Toyota Highlander with a third row but were put off by an odd smell and moved on. One lady from a Hyundai dealership offered to do a search for us for SUV’s with captains chairs and a 3rd row seat, and came up with nothing.

It seemed the van had won.

BUT I asked Bryan to take a trip back to the Toyota dealership one more time. We peeked in a NEW Highlander this time and it appeared to have everything we needed, (it had a middle seat in the second row but was removable) except that it had abysmal cargo space with the third row up. I decided I wanted to test drive it (the used one) anyway.  And I loved it. But would our double stroller fit into the back with the third row up? They let us drive it home to test it out. I wish I had a video of the two of us attempting to maneuver this giant stroller into this tiny space – taking pieces off, moving wheels, opening the back window – it was pretty amusing. We eventually got it in, but only if we placed it in the “trunk” with the third row down, closed the back and then pushed the 3rd row up again, and even then it didn’t completely click into place. (but we got it IN!)

We drove back and I was feeling a bit defeated but decided ultimately that we’d need both the 3rd row AND the stroller only on rare occasions since our families lived out of town and decided to go for it anyway. We signed a bill of sale and left it there so they could fix some things.

Then when I got home that evening I found a double stroller FRAME that still fits two car seats and folds up much smaller than the whole big stroller. According to the dimensions, it’ll fit.

Score.

And now, ladies and gentlemen, we are the proud owners of our new parent thug mobile:

I'm being all thug and sh*t
I’m being all thug and sh*t

Best part of all? I love it. Bryan loves it. And, its not a minivan.*

*this said all tongue in cheek of course, in the grand scheme of things I would have happily driven these babies in a minivan

 

Trusting Myself

Lately I’m finding myself doing something I swore I wouldn’t do: wishing the pregnancy away.

Let me explain.

This pregnancy overall has been pretty smooth sailing. But sometime around 22 weeks we had our first scare when I began having more than 6 Braxton Hicks over a period of 2 hours. Not one to want to take chances we called the on call doc and went to be monitored at the hospital. Thankfully, everything turned out to be fine and they were explained away by the doc at the hospital as a result of some recent dancing activity. But they continued through the week and made me a nervous wreck.

Stupidly, I consulted Dr. Google.

Braxton Hicks are defined by most as “practice contractions” and some claim its actually good toning for the uterus when it comes to preparing for real labor. The problem to me was the frequency with which they were happening and the fact that a twin pregnancy in and of itself is more risky. The difference between Braxton Hicks and real contractions are the fact that Braxton Hicks are irregular, inconsistent and do not cause any cervical changes. They can be brought on by just about anything, and for me that’s really the case: standing up, bending, a full bladder, gas, changing positions, etc. It isn’t consistent, though. Sometimes I can get up and down half a dozen times and not get any. Sometimes I can get up and down half a dozen times and get 3-4. On bad days I can still get 3-4 lying down. The problem, though, was not Googling Braxton Hicks but premature labor stories.

A week later we were in the hospital again when I started having moderate cramping on top of the Braxton Hicks. After hearing at least two stories of pre term labor starting with cramping I called the docs office after 15 minutes. We were monitored again, and, thankfully everything is fine. Dancing was blamed again and we’ve since been benched. I’ve had 4 cervical checks either manually or via ultrasound to confirm that we are not seeing any cervical change.

Its started leaving me on edge. I’m spending every day monitoring them and counting them. Because twin pregnancies are at a higher risk of preterm labor in general, I’m watching out for the symptoms that I have ingrained in my brain like a hawk. Analyzing every twinge and discomfort.

I realize, mind you, that there are plenty of pregnant women, whether after infertility or not, that have been through much worse. I also know a few people who shared their stories that they, too, had a ton of Braxton Hicks and still delivered full term. This complication makes me no less thankful to be pregnant. I’m wishing it away only because I’m worried about the babies making it to a “safe time” before coming into the world. My doctors seem to agree that as long as they aren’t causing any issues that I can continue about my activity to a point, which makes sense to me. Laying in bed would likely only cause more incessant Googling – at least at work I can keep my mind busy.

When we decided to transfer two embryos we were warned a twin pregnancy meant higher risks. I got that, to a point. But I felt that even though I am a small person, I have a strong body. I was in excellent shape and had no reason to believe I couldn’t carry a pregnancy – singleton or twin, to term or almost term.

People say you should trust your instincts. I am a skeptical person by nature but really believe this to be true. I give advice to trust your gut constantly.  The problem is that I’m very hesitant to do so myself. Having this “waiting for the other shoe to drop” mentality  is afraid for my instinct to be wrong, because that would throw that whole theory out the window – at least in my brain. Even sharing my feeling on the whole thing makes me nervous that I’ll somehow curse it, which is really nothing but ridiculous. Whether or not these babies make it close to term before delivering has nothing to do with my decision to share my instinct.

I’ve not been pregnant before, but I do know my body. I’m not one to take chances particularly after all we’ve been through to get here, and I know this. I proved that I think after calling the doc following 15 minutes of cramping. I’ve limited my activity and am resting more. I’ve basically cut out exercise.  If I continue to listen to my body, my instinct says we will be ok. Anxiety and stress can actually cause more BH, and that is something that I do not need. It’s time to change my mentality to one of worry to one where I simply focus on what my body is telling me and following its cues. I’ve done this through two marathons, I can do it through the rest of the pregnancy. I’ve not been through pre term labor before but I know when something doesn’t feel right. I know that its better to be safe than sorry and that if something red flags in my brain I’ll be on the phone with the doctors office.

I have control only over my response, reaction and activity level. The rest is out of my control. I’m gonna be going into motherhood with limited knowledge and limited experience. I have to trust myself then, I need to trust myself now. I need to take the rest of the pregnancy day by day and make the call to make some changes if something doesn’t feel right. All I can do is the best I can do with what I know.

My babies need a calm momma. And I need to give that to them.

 

Healthy Hearts (25 weeks)

The Good

  • Our 24 week fetal echo was last week. Both babies have healthy hearts – no holes or other issues. And as a bonus they did a growth measurement (I wasn’t expecting them to) and both weighed in at about 1.5 lbs a piece. According to the ultrasound tech (and the math that is generated from all the measurements on the computer) this is right on target. Cervix still measures 4cm (same as 4 weeks ago). When the ultrasound lady pushed down from the outside to mimic standing (to see its effect on the cervix) she was promptly thumped. Also, they are both beginning to look a bit squished, but I suppose that’s how it works.
  • No hospital visits this week. LOL
  • The cost (so far) of those two episodes of expensive dancing has been less than I feared. However, we have yet to get the official bill.
  • The Great Big Vehicle Debacle has been solved! Post and pics coming when we pick it up this weekend 🙂
  • BH contractions have so far proven to not be causing any cervical changes. Thank goodness.
  • Last weekend we went to a friends house for her daughters first birthday party. On the fridge was a baby shower invitation. It was mine 🙂 I stared at it in disbelief for awhile- not gonna lie.

The Bad

  • Still getting BH often. I started taking a magnesium supplement and that did seem to help – except I had a rough day with them yesterday so I’m still unable to  figure them out. They are still completely painless, are not time-able and not consistent in length either. I will continue to mention them at each appt though, just in case.
  • We have been officially benched from dancing for the time being. But honestly it was getting too expensive anyway.

The Weird and Amusing

  • My belly button has commitment issues. Its been in this weird half in/half out phase for a couple of weeks and at this point it just looks funny. In or out belly button, pick one!
  • This week’s biggest brain fart: putting cereal bars in the freezer
  • Bryan has an amazingly annoying alarm clock that he’s used the last couple days because he’s had to be up earlier than me. When it went off yesterday morning I jumped 10 feet in the air (who am I kidding, I couldn’t jump 10 feet BEFORE pregnancy) and was promptly kicked from the inside. See Bryan? The babies hate your alarm too.
  • Later, before Bryan left, he put his head up to my stomach and began to talk to the babies- and was bopped directly on the nose. (Throw away the alarm clock or risk losing your nose, buster!)

Pic will be late this week – hubby has been up before me the last two days so the only one that was taken was one I took awkwardly myself, and it looks kinda stupid.

Keep cooking babies!!

Viability! (24 weeks)

The Good

  • Hallelujah we have made it to viability, and after the couple scares the last couple weeks (see below) I am especially relieved to have hit this milestone. Of course we want these babies to KEEP COOKING for at least another 11 weeks.
  • Belly dance parties! All the time! And particularly after I’ve had something sweet or flavorful to drink. So far, no one has kicked a bladder or rib. I’m sure that time is to come.
  • 3 and a half weeks to baby shower #1 and 4 and a half to #2!
  • Fetal ECHO Friday means we get to see the babies again. Fingers crossed for healthy hearts.
  • Babies are the size of ears of corn this week – and since I LOVE corn I find this to be particularly fitting for this week. Salt, anyone? Mmmm, corn.

The Bad

  • We are banned from :dancing” for the forseeable future. After the issue a week and a half ago I spent the whole week stressed out about those Braxton Hicks contractions. Although I never had more than 6 an hour that didn’t slow down when I rested, I actually had 60 of them on Friday. Yes, 60. They slowed down over the weekend, but on Monday afternoon I started to get moderate period like cramps. After hearing two personal stories of people whose pre term labor started with cramping, I wasn’t about to take any chances, so I called the doctor. They had me come in, said my cervix still felt long and closed, and offered to do the Fetal Fibronectin Test (looks for the presence of a protein which, if positive, means you’re at a higher risk of pre term labor in the next two weeks) as long as I hadn’t had any bleeding or had intercourse in the last 24 hours. Naturally. The expensive dancing strikes again. So since they couldn’t perform the test I was sent to the hospital for monitoring. AGAIN. Everything was fine, and the Fetal Fibronectin Test I had done Tuesday morning was negative. While at the hospital they also took a cervical length measurement and its still a nice long 4 cm. Thank goodness. So it appears that I am in fact just one of the lucky people who have these constantly. And so we are benched from dancing, which is fine because it was getting too blasted expensive anyway.

The Weird and Amusing

  • The hospital nurses recognized me from the last time, but I guess that makes sense since we were just there last week.
  • The big vehicle search continues, and unfortunately the minivan is winning. The GMC Acadia totally would have won if it weren’t for its transmission and power steering issues. Damnit. (anyone with “my Acadia is awesome and reliable” stories is welcome to share……pretty please)
  • Today at kid at work told me that the babies in my stomach were causing me bad luck and that was what was making the lose the game we were playing. Drat!
  • My hips fall asleep in my sleep. While I’m sleeping. Whatever the correct way to say it is. I guess they figure hey, the rest of the body is asleep, maybe we should too?
  • I think the size of my bladder is inversely proportionate to the number of times I have to use the restroom. (i.e I have a full bladder often but don’t pee as much as I would think I would)

You know where to find the pic 🙂

 

The Great Big Vehicle Debacle

So most of you know, as a referred to in a previous post, that it has become time for us to purchase a bigger vehicle.

It seems completely backwards to me but hubby and I have been “fighting” about what type of vehicle to get. Namely, I want a SUV  (a Honda Pilot more specifically – I owned one before and loved it). He wants a minivan.

Since when does the man want the minivan?

Admittedly, both of our arguments started out kinda silly. I don’t want a minivan because “I don’t like minivans” and Bryan advocating for one because in most models now the doors slide open with a remote. Actually, I’m pretty sure my argument against the minivan is still that “I don’t like minivans”. Or, on a similar note, because “do I look like the type of person that drives a minivan?”. Who that type of person is exactly, I am not sure. But clearly I am not it.

We’ve gone back and forth on this for weeks. Bryan’s argument for the minivan getting more logical (its more convenient, its closer to the ground so its easier to get car seats in and access the third row, you won’t have to worry about hitting other cars with your doors) while I kept insisting that I didn’t want a minivan because I didn’t like them. One of my many mature moments.

A few weeks ago when Bryan was in the thick of his job search, he was offered a great opportunity…..in Virginia. I do NOT want to move to Virginia, especially at this point in the pregnancy which would mean he would be traveling constantly until a few months after the babies were born. We went back and forth about this for awhile (great opportunity vs the stress of moving at this point in time) and decided to decline the offer, but part of the deal was I  had to agree on the minivan.

Fine.

In the end though I said I’d test drive the van, but that I wanted to try other vehicles too, and that we would come to a decision together – since I’d be the one driving the babies around the majority of the time anyway.

So yesterday we went test driving.

Out of my stubbornness I insisted on test driving a Honda Pilot in addition to the van, so we test drove a 2010 Honda Odyssey and a 2011 Honda Pilot. The minivan was first, the Pilot second.

Test drivin' the minivan, yo
Test drivin’ the minivan, yo

The minivan drove better and easier than than Pilot. Granted, this was a different body style from the Pilot I owned previously (a 2007) but it was bulkier and, well, just didn’t drive as easily. The van had more pickup.

Crap.

We also briefly looked at a Nissan Pathfinder, but its abysmal gas mileage and inconvenient access to the third row crossed that off the list fairly quickly.

Coincidentally Bryan found an ad on craigslist for an older Odyssey (and one that didn’t smell like smoke like the dealers did) but was fully loaded with a DVD player, backup camera, leather seats, heated seats, sun roof – the works. All in all, it was pretty sweet.

It looked like the van was the clear winner.

BUT, not to be outdone, upon further search found a GMC Acadia – an SUV, but with captains chairs in the 2nd row, theoretically allowing easier access to the third row JUST LIKE THE VAN. And BONUS, its an SUV.

We are going to look at it today.

To be continued……

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