Saturday, January 29, 2011

What We've Been Up To...

I am loving what I do. I honestly have never loved teaching more than I enjoy teaching seventh grade! But I am hating the other conversations I'm having to have with my students...marijuana, divorce, abuse, sex, meeting strangers on the internet, facebook, and more. I so wish that wasn't a part of their reality, but I'm happy I can be a role model and ear to listen and support them.

My mom, for Christmas, got us a gift card for the movie theatre and babysitting to boot. We could not be more thrilled as Mr. Howard and I have not gone to the theatre since Connor was born (strike that...my sister, Mr. Howard, and I went to see Harry Potter once a few months ago). We planned out all our movie dates for the next few months and tried to get them all in before I potentially have to go on bedrest in June. It will be so nice to have a built-in date night once/twice a month for the next three months!

Mr. Howard and I already planned one of our date nights for Valentine's Day and made a reservation at Ruth's Chris. Can you tell we're determined to get in a few dates before the twins are here?

In February, our friend Casey was coming to visit and we were going to go to do a couples Napa overnight trip! Unfortunately he can't make it, but we decided to make it a romantic getaway just Mr. Howard and I. My sister graciously agreed to watch our little guy for us so that we can enjoy some wine (well, I'LL be enjoying water) and good company for a quick little retreat. Won't I look hilarious going to wineries with a pregnant belly and morning sickness?!

Connor learned how to jump. I have a very adorable video that my husband took, but he held the camera the wrong way. So you'd have to turn your head to the side to watch it. Instead, I'll try to do another one tomorrow.

Cole's Name Gallery

I've been saving these name gallery photos for a day when I needed a smile.

These are from a dear friend: "Sophia and I took these photos a few weeks back. We had a good chat about Baby Cole."

I received the most kind email from someone who's blog I follow. It came at the most perfect time as I was feeling very sad. "...I came across your story. Ah, sweet mama...so SO very sorry for your loss of precious Cole. From one mother to another, my heart breaks for yours. It is a club that no parent should have to belong to. I don't believe we were meant to walk this road alone." She made these really sweet photos for me!





 I know I say this everytime, but I can't tell you what it means to me to see my baby boy's name. Most mamas get to see their kid's names everywhere: written on the inside of a jacket sent to preschool, written on a cake with "Happy Birthday" next to it, filled out on hospital forms, doctor forms, school forms, picture order forms, signed in holiday cards, addressed on envelopes filled with holiday cards...These photos are the only occasions I get to see his sweet name and I am so grateful for the friends and family who indulge a mama's sweet wishes. =)
Thank you!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

14 Weeks Pregnant

Sleep

Remember that hyperfocus thing I mentioned before? Last night I focused on how to make the Smart Clickers work (I had gone to a presentation on how to use them that evening). All night, I could visualize myself holding the clickers, trying to remember how to program the questions, etc. I got very little sleep.

My Size
Even though I can still fit into my work pants, they are so tight by the end of the night, that I am not wearing them anymore. I have switched to maternity for pants. I, of course, can fit into regular tops, but I think maternity tops are more flattering on me when I'm pregnant (so I don't look fat). Hehe!
Babies SizeThey are between 3.1 and 4.2 inches long. That's 6-8 inches of baby!

Morning Sickness
Still going strong! Ick!

Random Twin Fact
Up to 22% of twins are left-handed. In the general populace, only 10% are left-handed.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

A New Kitchen Sink

Mr. Howard has always hated that our kitchen sink is white. There is nothing else in the entire kitchen that is white and it has never really made much sense. So, for his birthday, he got a new granite kitchen sink!

The old one:
 "I want to help too, Daddy!"
"See! I'll hand you the things you need!" 
 The final product:
Makes a lot more sense, doesn't it? 
Thanks Mom and Dad Howard and Mom and Dad Kirkpatrick for Mr. Howard's birthday present!

Connor's Social Life

I joked with a friend who doesn't have kids yet that once you have kids, you not only have to manage your own social life, but your child's too. =)

This weekend Connor was invited to a birthday party for his pal Joshua's 2nd Birthday!


The Birthday Boy and his Talented Mama (she made the Mickey cake)

 About to Sing Happy Birthday
 Connor Watching the Festivities in his Mickey Hat
 The Birthday Boy...A Little Unsure about Everyone Watching Him
 The Kids Watching Joshua Open his Presents

Friday, January 21, 2011

13 Weeks

Don't mind the wet hair in this photo.
Yay! I'm in my second trimester!

Sleep
I am still so tired; will this end or is this a twin thing? The dreams are JUST CRAZY!!! I have to consciously be careful what I watch on TV or in movies, because I hyperfocus on things and dream about them. The night I watched Inception, I maybe got an hour of sleep because I obsessed over the concept.

My Size
I'm almost as big as I was when I had Cole, which seems about right because that would make me 1.5 times bigger. Thank goodness I'm not twice as big. Ha! I told my students that I'm pregnant (didn't tell them it was twins) on Wednesday, which is wayyy earlier than I would have liked to. But I was getting sick of wearing bulky sweaters and jackets.

Babies Size
The babies are roughly 3 inches each...that's 6 inches of babies!

Morning Sickness
Still going strong! Ick!

Random Twin Fact
Did you know that a twin pregnancy is considered full-term at 37 weeks?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Frequently Asked Questions

We have received such an outpouring of support. Thank you!! A lot of you have questions and I thought it'd be fun to answer them here. =)

Do twins run in the family?

No. I always thought they did. My great aunts are twins, but they are identical. I never knew until having my own twins that only fraternal twins are genetic. So, no. Twins do not run in my family.

Are you going back to work?
Yes. We've looked at a few different options, in terms of me working half time and sharing a contract, and believe it or not, even with paying for three kids in daycare, it is still much more cost effective for me to work. If I didn't love what I did, I could easily see trading in the $20,000 dollars saving and quitting my job, but I love what I do and CERTAINLY don't do it for the paycheck I get. I think teaching and being a mommy are what I was put here on earth to do and in the same way I wouldn't give up Connor, I can't give up all the kids I get to be a mama/psychologist/police officer/nurse/guidance counselor/and so much more to each year. Although, I have to say, that if I thought that Connor was suffering by me working, I would easily choose Connor over those kids. But, I think it is just the opposite. I've said this before. For me, personally, I am a better mommy because I have an outlet during the day. On the weeks and months when I stay home with Connor full time, I am haggard and run-down and pray for naps. It is so incredibly hard. SO hard! I have the utmost respect for full-time Mommies and it is for that reason that I feel so blessed to have a preschool that loves my children and gives Connor experiences I simply can't.

Are your twins fraternal or identical?
We won't know for 100% sure until they are born and are genetically tested. However, it appears as though they are fraternal with two placentas. There are, however, a small percentage of identical twins who do have two placentas too. But for now, the doctors are comfortable calling them fraternal.

Are you nervous about having two?
I am only nervous about delivering two beautiful, healthy babies. I know that twins will be hard...harder than we can plan for. But, nothing can be harder than planning your baby's funeral and holding his beautiful body in your arms, knowing that it will be the very last time you see him on earth. Nothing. Nothing can be harder than wondering why you were chosen to deliver a stillborn. Nothing. Nothing can be harder than reading an autopsy report talking about your son's body parts as if they were in a medical textbook. Nothing. Nothing can be harder than going to a crematorium and picking out a resting place for the ashes of a baby you just held a week earlier. Nothing. Nothing can be harder than opening the beautiful photos the hospital took of your son holding a rose, dressed in the only outfit he'll ever get to wear here on earth. Absolutely nothing. So, am I nervous about raising two babies and all the sleepless nights? Absolutely not. We are blessed. I pray that some day I feel worthy of this most special blessing. Because while we are being honored with our second and third precious babies, there are people in this world praying to be given the privelege even once. I will not take that for granted for one tiny second.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Different

I thought things might be different. I thought being pregnant would allow my grief to come to an end. Certain aspects of it definitely have subsided. And even though I know that this was part of the plan for my life... today, I am sad. How can that be? How can I be so wonderfully blessed with such a miracle and still be missing my baby Cole? If not for Cole's entrance to heaven, these angels wouldn't even be growing in my belly.

So, to wish for Cole, means wishing these twins didn't exist.

And that is a very sad...and very blessed...place to be.

I continue to pray for Lindsey and Brian today and hope that you will send up your most precious good thoughts and prayers for a couple who deserves to hold their beautiful, healthy baby in their arms in 2011. Please also send them names for their name gallery. I am sure they could use the smiles today.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Update and Belly Pic (12 Weeks)

Having never had twins before, this whole "instant belly" thing is new to us. I still cannot believe how much of a belly I have for only being 12 weeks pregnant. I still haven't told my students I'm expecting, but I don't think I'll be able to keep it a secret much longer. =)

The morning sickness is still going STRONG. Early afternoons, evenings, and nights are ROUGH. Mostly it consists of me dry heaving and spitting up and trying not to have Mr. Howard say any food words. The thought of brushing my teeth is disgusting to me...

I will however say, and continue to say, that I would take this any day to have healthy babies.

**Please, please, please pray for a blogging friend who just suffered a miscarriage after burrying both of her babies in June. My heart aches for her and her husband!!**

And because I thought this was so cool...here's a diagram of what I look like inside at 12 Weeks:

Thursday, January 13, 2011

12 Weeks Pregnant with Twins

**Reminder, please don't comment on facebook...yet**

Baby A (which will always be Baby A now)
The head and body!
 The profile of the face: (Daddy's nose again...)

 Baby B (which will always be Baby B now)
The profile of the face:
The head, body, and legs (doesn't he/she look like he's chillaxing):

The Twins
More likely than not they are fraternal twins. The only 100% way to confirm this is to test the placenta. But according to the technician, she's 99.9% sure they have two placentas. YAY!!! I was super worried about TTS (twin to twin transfusion syndrome). She even thinks I released both eggs from my right ovary. How crazy is it that they can tell that?!?

Obviously by all the photos, you can tell we had an ultrasound today. It was our nuchal translucency screening for Down Syndrome and Trisomy 18, which we got negative screenings for. =) Happy News!

Now to take a quick nap, and then to head into work for the second half of the day!

Monday, January 10, 2011

We're Pregnant...Again Again!

I have debated and debated about posting this yet. Part of me is so ready for my blog readers to know this big secret and the other part of me...the part of me surrounded by fear, worries about it. I know I should blindly trust. I constantly pray for the ability to do that. But in being honest with you (and the big man upstairs)...I'm just not there yet. So, with that, I ask that you not post anything on my facebook about this.

 Monday, November 15th (3.5 Weeks)
Because of my scheduled MRI, I was required to take a pregnancy test. I took one on Thursday, November 11th and got a "Not Pregnant," but just had a nagging feeling that I should take another one today and HAPPILY saw, "Pregnant" on the screen. Of course, we are beyond overjoyed!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! There are a million fears, which I just have to hand over to God (not the easiest thing to do in the world for a control freak like me). For right now, I have decided not to publicly announce it until after my 20 week ultrasound, but we'll see how I'm feeling. I said a prayer and thanked the Lord for blessing us, but I am positive I will spend a lot of the pregnancy doing just that. 10 months of praying, here we come! The irony is not lost on me that this new bundle of joy would NEVER have been possible had Cole still been in my belly. In fact, I would have been 28 weeks today and made the milestone of entering my third trimester with my precious baby, Cole. How is that for timing? Thank you, Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!!!
Monday, November 22nd (4.5 Weeks)

Wow! In my pregnancy with Cole and of course in my pregnancy with Connor, I had no fear. I never worried about miscarrying (I mean it was a fleeting thought, but nothing substantial). I never worried about genetics or kidney formation or ultrasounds or any of the other things that have made me stressed the last few days. Every time I start to feel overwhelmed I repeat over and over, "There is a plan for my life!" I have to remember that regardless of what happens in this pregnancy or with Mr. Howard and I, that there is a plan for our lives. The only change in my life has been the addition of prenatals (hey! With this pregnancy I'm not taking ANY chances), the loss of ALL caffeine (not even one tiny sip of coffee), and lots and lots and lots of water. Why is it that the second I get pregnant I become like a dying woman desperately needing water at all times of the day?!?
Monday, November 29 (5.5 Weeks)
We were able to see our Little Baby today on an ultrasound and when I say little, I mean LITTLE. He/she was only a little over a centimeter. Wow! What a miracle. We got a picture of the sac and the baby, but they couldn't find a heartbeat (completely normal for a 5 weeker). So we have to go back in two weeks to see our SLIGHTLY bigger baby with a heartbeat.
Monday, December 6, 2010 (6.5 Weeks)
Well. The nausea set in on Saturday. I was beginning to wonder when it would take root. I had nausea  BIG TIME with Connor (all the way until around the 18th week) from sun-up to sun-down and lost a bunch of weight. With Cole it only lasted a few days. I am worried about both. I don't want it to last forever, but unfortunately, now I associate morning sickness with a healthy pregnancy. So in some ways, it will be a comfort to have it. Did I really just say that? If I still have morning sickness in 12 weeks, will you remind me that I just wrote that!?
Monday, December 13, 2010 (7.5 Weeks)
The nausea is still here. Eek. On top of that, I got a cold. And we're hosting a Christmas party at our house on Saturday. Poor Mr. Howard has been working a million hours and has been trying to help me out more. Boy will I be happy some day when he's done with school. =) We go back in two days for our ultrasound to see Baby's heartbeat! I will be so happy when I can see his/her little beating heart on the ultrasound! I am so appreciative of the little things this time around.
Wednesday, December 15, 2010 (8 Weeks)
Happy Birthday to my darling husband and WHAT A FABULOUS BIRTHDAY PRESENT HE GOT!!! Twins....yep, you heard me. TWINS!!!! If that doesn't make you believe in God, I can't imagine what would. I would be almost 33 weeks pregnant with Cole if he were still here, and instead we are having two babies in July. Is that not divine? THANK YOU, LORD!
Monday, December 20, 2010 (8.5 Weeks)
I swear I've felt the babies moving. Is that even possible? I was thinking that if one of them is behind the other, one could be pushing up against my belly. I need to remember to ask the doctor when I go in for an appointment. I am sooo happy! So happy! SOOOO happy! I took my one hour glucose test today (I didn't have to do that with Connor until 24 weeks...so this must be a twin thing) and happily I passed...which is good because hours before, I was sitting on the couch eating chocolate covered apple slices. Oops!
Monday, December 27, 2010 (9.5 Weeks)
Wow! Morning sickness is rough this time around. Perhaps because there is twice the trouble in there! After not keeping food or water down for two days, my worried husband told me we were going to go to the hospital. Thankfully, I kept the few drops of liquid down that I had and from there it got better (can you tell I REALLY do not like the hospital?). By the next morning I was able to call the doctor and get a prescription for phenergan. We had a lot of fun telling our family and close friends (a must, since I was so sick) about our two bundles of joy and everyone was very excited. My mom got us a glider for our nursery and a second coach diaper bag for our soon-to-be family of five. Wow! Crazy!
Monday, January 3, 2011 (10.5 Weeks)
We had another ultrasound and the babies looked great (I will have to post the photos later. They're in Mr. Howard's car). Before the appointment my blood pressure was 151 over something and afterwards, it was 115 over something. Can you tell how nervous I am before seeing my babies? I hate that I worry about the worst, but it is such relief to see both babies wiggling around and their hearts beating! How is it possible to be THIS in love?!?
Monday, January 10, 2011 (11.5 Weeks)
I have another ultrasound on the 14th for our Nuchal Translucency test (the test for down syndrome and a few other genetic tests). A girl could really get used to all these ultrasounds. I am in love with seeing my babies on the screen. I absolutely cannot wait until I find out what they are. With Connor and Cole we didn't find out. We wanted to be surprised. Mr. Howard and I agreed that with this pregnancy what we need is to NOT be surprised. Ultrasounds are frightening for us. Going to the doctor is frightening. Hearing bad news is frightening. And we both need something to look forward to...something to hold in our mind. PLUS, I'll be honest...there's a certain level of planning you need to do with two. I need to know whether to double the boy clothes I already have or buy some girl clothes. =)

Friday, January 7, 2011

Eighteen Months Old

Firsts:

  • Connor made kissing noises, walked up to the dog, and kissed him on the nose
  • He puts his foot on the seat of the tricycle and steers himself around like a scooter
  • He enjoyed his first time opening gifts this year at Christmas



New Words:
  • "Whoa!" He says this when something excites him!
  • "Yay!"
  • "Mommy" Normally he says Mama, but he varied it a few times
  • "No!" This is usually accompanied by a wagging finger aimed at the dogs. Hmmm I wonder where he learned this!
New Signs Introduced:
  • "Water"
  • He's finally signing please pretty regularly
New Teeth:
  • We haven't seen any break the surface lately.
Funny Stories
  • Connor puts everything up to his ear and says "hello!" It must be a difficult concept for him that some things are phones and other things that are the same size aren't. For me (when I was little), it was easy. The phone was the big thing shaped only one way that plugged into the wall. Now, phones can look and feel like anything. So, the other day I handed him a quesadilla in the car to eat and he put the triangle up to his ear and said, "Hello!" Oh my GOSH!!
  • At Christmas, he tried opening everybody elses presents. When we'd hand him one of his own to open, he had little interest in them.
Pictures





Sunday, January 2, 2011

Happy New Year

We celebrated New Years Eve with dinner on the couch and a movie (Twilight)...simple, but fun!
 Connor did not stay up, but we managed to get a photo with him before we got him ready for bed! Isn't his smile the cutest?
 This is what we've resorted to: taking the drawers out. He spends alllllll day opening the drawers and taking everything out and spreading it around the house. Rather than battle him on New Years Eve and day, we simply took the drawers out. We have finally found a baby lock that will work (those latch ones didn't work...the latch was too long and he could still get his hand in there). We had to get the magnet ones with the handle.
 My mom discovered Connor's love for bananas (neither Mr. Howard nor I like them) and I bought six when I went to the store on New Years Eve. He had eaten every single one of them by the time I went to the store the day after New Years. Wow!
All in all, we had a great holiday! Did you?

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