Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Most Fabulous Sister in the World

My sister asked me last week what my plans were for Friday and Saturday. Mr. Howard actually had to work and normally my mom watches him on Fridays, but she was in Arizona for her little sister's high school graduation, so I was going to be home alone with him. So my sister offered to come help. Our neighbor watched him in the morning while I went to an NST appointment and my sister watched him the rest of the time until I got home.

She SOOOO VERY GRACIOUSLY offered to stay with me until the evening on Friday to help and then took him back to her apartment to spend the night so that Mr. Howard and I could have a night to ourselves. On Saturday she took him to a friend's 3 year olds birthday party and didn't bring him home until about 3pm.

About a year ago, it would have been pretty easy for her to pick him up and take him home with her, but this new two-year-old stage is hard. He has an opinion, likes to shout no, will throw fits, and even hit and throw things (of course there are a million wonderful things about this stage too...like the fact that he walks over to me and asks to kiss the babies, lifts up my shirt and gives them a big smackaroo...he cracks himself up over things he thinks are funny...he gets so excited when you take him to do simple things and REALLY appreciates everything - airplanes, lawnmowers, cars, smiles, parks, doggies...). So, it is no small undertaking to agree to help me with Connor for two whole days and it CERTAINLY does not go unnoticed.

I am so lucky to have a sister and friend like Katie in my life and can't imagine a better Aunt for Connor. What a lucky family we are!

Here are some of the photos she took of him during their stay...




Monday, May 30, 2011

Finally A Double Stroller

We (and by "we", I mean "I") have been debating and debating about a stroller. I couldn't decide if we needed a triple (with the twins and Connor) or whether a double would suffice. Then, I couldn't decide whether we needed a side-by-side or a tandem stroller. Once I decided on tandem, then I had to decide whether we wanted a stroller we could use for toddlers or if an infant one would suffice for now...So Many Choices.

In the twin world, the consensus is pretty much that the snap n go is the best for infants in terms of bulkiness because there are no seats attached to it. The one we had for Connor had the toddler seat attached and then you could put the infant seat on it. The problem with this was that it makes for the most bulky double stroller ever and I can tell you right now that there is no way I'm going to be trying to set one of those up by myself. For us, we're hoping too, that it will be perfect because we actually have two different infant seats (yeah...try finding an infant double stroller that will work with two different brands of infant seats).

So after months and months of searching, we (and by "we" I mean "I") decided on the one below:
I tried to find a photo that also had seats in them to show you what it will look like...
 Ours won't look quite as cute as the above one because we have two different infant seats (with two different patterns)...but you get the point.

And in answer to your question about why we have two different infant seats (you know you were wondering!). We already had the Graco infant seat that we used with Connor (plus 2 extra bases - one for my mom and one for Mr. Howard's car) and we tried to purchase the same one. But guess what? They discontinued it (not for safety reasons or anything, but because they came out with a new model). Right around that time, my sister asked me if we needed an infant carseat because her friends had a peg perego they didn't need anymore (their last baby just moved to a toddler one). Thus, we have one Graco Infant Snugride and a Peg Perego.

We'll have to keep you updated as to whether or not we love it and, of course, whether it's going to work, but for $94 we're hoping it will be perfect! And I feel so much more relieved about this. We'll now have something to take them home from the hospital in.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Outside Day

Our weather here has been C-R-A-Z-Y! We'll have warm, beautiful days and then really cold, overcast, tornado warnings (there were warnings about a half an hour from our house) type of weather. It is very strange, but I am NOT complaining about the cooler weather. While everyone else is saying, "When are we going to have summer?!?" I'm silently thanking God that it isn't 100+ degrees. When Connor was born, it also was an unusually cool summer - that is, until about late June and July when I thought I might die with my puffy legs, hands, face...who am I kidding? It would be much easier if I was listing the things that WEREN'T swollen from the heat. So, while it's hard to figure out what to wear each morning, I am loving that we'll have a nice day when Connor and I can play in the yard and then another day where I stay in jeans and a sweater all day. Thursday was one of those warmer/get outside type of days!

Our Little Guy
 I don't know who taught him to smell the flowers...but it was adorable!
 I'm so thankful we decided to build this in our yard last year. It has provided hours of entertainment.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Cake Pops

After having some Cake Pops at a friend's daughter's birthday party (thanks a lot Diana...like I need to like more sweets...hehe), I have been wanting to try to make them on my own. They are SOO delicious!! I knew it was fate when a blog I read posted about them too. I used this blog to help me with a recipe and directions.

Our craft store didn't have lollipop sticks, so I found these reusable ones. I think they turned out nice and we just threw them in the dishwasher and washed them when they were done. I was thinking you could easily make lemon popsicles in the freezer (with an ice cube tray) and just stick these in there to harden.

Before putting them in the freezer to harden...
 All Decorated...
 We made ours WAYYY too big. Next time we will make the balls about half the size.
Connor LOVES them - I mean, L-O-V-E-S them. We have to hide them because he points to them and says "COOKIE! COOKIE! COOKIE!" while vigorously shaking his head yes. We never give him treats - ever...so even one of these balls is enough sugar for the week. 

The Saturday Life of a Seventh Grade Teacher...

I am taking a VERY quick break from something I hate, hate, hate: grading papers! I assign these long-term projects because they're good for the kids, they learn a lot, and it gives us time to go wayyy deeper into curriculum than we ever could with just a worksheet...but my-oh-my they take a long time to grade. I had the students make ABC books about the Renaissance (not just A is for Asia...but detailed paragraphs for each letter of the alphabet). It all sounded like a fabulous plan until I go to sit down and grade 30 books with 26 pages each in them and a rubric that grades four different components (historical accuracy, illustrations, writing, & spelling in grammar) with five different grade choices (far below basic, below basic, basic, proficient, and advanced).

And as you can see, I had to sit at the dining room table - because with my belly, there's no where else I can sit comfortably. Eleven books graded. Nineteen more to go....

Thursday, May 26, 2011

31 Weeks

Sleep
Mr. Howard was working nights this past week, which made sleep a little hard. It's less hard to sleep pregnant than it is to sleep without my hubby.

My Size/Development
I'm still measuring 41 weeks.

The Babies' Size/Development
At this point, the twin's only organ left to be fully functional is the lungs. The twins will start to shed lanugo (fine hair on the body) and instead fill in the hair and eyebrow areas.

Excitement
I am still pregnant! And as long as I don't walk past a mirror, I feel okay about myself. From the front I don't look so bad.

Random Twin Fact
This is from the book Twin Set (a book a friend gave me). "Sixty-three percent of the moms we surveyed said they had both babies on one feeding schedule during the infant stage, 17 percent did a combination of on-demand and a shared schedule, and 11 percent fed each baby on demand. Only one person admitted she had no schedule at all; in fact, many moms said that not establishing a routine sooner was their greatest twin parenting mistake because of its long-lasting chaotic effect." This will be new to me as we fed Connor on demand.

Have You/Your Husband Ever Done That?

So, I had to do a quick worksheet for my students that I completely forgot about. I was working on it in in the bedroom, while Mr. Howard was watching Little Man. It was super noisy out in the living room and I could hear Connor banging around with his toys and such. We had talked about putting him down for a nap, but I could hear them playing, so I figured Mr. Howard had decided he didn't need a nap.

All of a sudden it got quiet...for a while...maybe 15 minutes. I finished my worksheet and came out to sit on the couch with Mr. Howard. He was sound asleep, so I gently woke him up and asked him if he needed to get started on his school work (he does papers and such while Connor is napping on Thursday's - usually I'm at work). He got up and went over to the computer and then said in a panicked tone, "Where's Connor?" Immediately I said, "WHAT DO YOU MEAN WHERE'S CONNOR?!?"

Apparently Mr. Howard had fallen asleep on the couch and Connor had escaped from the living room (no wonder it got quiet). Any guesses as to where we found him? The guest bedroom...you know the room that has all the paint in it! The room that has plastic on the floors and all the furniture piled up on the bed in the center! Lovely! Now the real mystery is how he bypassed the baby gate that is difficult for us to get through (seriously when we have workers over to the house - we have to show them how to open it because they get stuck).

Have any of you ever done that? Fallen asleep on the job?

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

What I'm Loving Wednesday

I am linking up with Jamie for only the second time. I figure that while I'm on bedrest, I need to focus on all the wonderful, positive things I'm loving.

First, I SERIOUSLY love this man! He worked nights all this week so that he could take me to all my appoinments and be home with me all day.
Second, I LOVE this Little Man. I know he is just going through a phase where he isn't a huge fan of me, but some day I hope he's even slightly as obsessed with me as I am with him!
I am loving that I am still pregnant with these two cuties! I so want to keep these babies cooking a while longer!
I am loving the asiago cheese bagels Mr. Howard brought home for me to enjoy!
I am loving that my students have been sending me emails asking me how the babies are doing in my belly and giving me little updates on what they're doing. One I received from today reads "Mrs Covey said this morning that we were being quieter than yesterday and today some classes got to eat outside and it didn't seem too bad."

I love that I found ADORABLE monthly stickers for when the twins arrive from THIS etsy shop.

I am loving that a friend of mine's wife is going to be induced today and will soon have their very first beautiful little boy!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

A Doctor Update

We went to the doctor this morning from about 9:30 and didn't get home until 12:30! These 30 minute NST appointments are taking MUCH longer than 30 minutes.

The appointment went well. I'm still dilated, but no more than I was last Tuesday. The medicine seems to be working pretty well, which is fantastic. The side affects to the medicine, however, are that I can hardly breath. They put a pulse oximeter on me today (that little contraption they put on your finger) and saw that my heart rate per minute is at about 112 (normal should be under 100) and my oxygen saturation is at about 96 (normal would be closer to 100). Luckily if I lay on my side or sit up, those numbers adjust to a little closer to normal - but in some ways it was nice to see on the screen what I've been feeling every time I lay down. It's been a little hard to sleep with my heart racing and now I know I'm not crazy. Even without the medicine, because I'm carrying twins my oxygen saturation would be lower and my heart rate would be higher, but the effect is magnified by the nifedipine.

Texting is so much easier right now that talking on the phone and part of that is just because I seriously can't breath. I called someone yesterday and had to take a break half way through because it felt like I had run a marathon. Because the medicine makes me feel uncomfortable, I've also been trying to sleep so that I don't feel the effects so much. So I'm trying to catch up on phone calls.

I have been taken out of work officially and am to stay on bed rest indefinitely, but I can at least drive myself to doctor appoinments now and can get up a little bit to stretch my legs and get some circulation. It'll be nice not to feel guilty everytime I walk to the kitchen to get water or pee - although I obviously can't go back to what I was doing before going into preterm labor.

The NST went well. The babies' hearts are doing well; they're moving around like crazy; I have enough amniotic fluid; and I'm not contracting anymore than every 10 minutes! So I'm now on NST testing twice a week, a weekly doctor appointment, ultrasounds to measure amniotic fluid once a week, and growth ultrasounds every four weeks...which means that most weeks I will have 3 or 4 doctor appointments. I think I counted 17 appoinments from now until the middle of June. Those nurses and I are going to be best friends! =)

Monday, May 23, 2011

Our Handsome Man

My brother snapped this photo and texted it to me and I thought, "Who is that adorable big boy? Certainly that is not the boy that left the house a few hours ago!" How do they get so big??

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Connor's Big Boy Room

The photo below is from when we moved in - notice they painted the floorboards red on one side, and brown on the other...the other two walls had different colors too. You can also see the safari border they had at the top and the jean curtains. Can you say HIDEOUS??!!!
 This was after we remodeled the room as a guest bedroom:
 Below is the new color green. I know. Be patient. It looks a little scary, but I promise you it'll make sense. We have a lot of really cute monkey decorations and browns to add to it to make the green a little more subdued. And we wanted a fun, bright big boy room!
 Green Walls:
Eventually our plan is to take down the wainscotting in this room. We attempted it when we first moved in, but they glued AND nailed it to the wall. So if we take it down, it's quite likely we'll have to fix the drywall. This is not a project we're willing to take on when we have twins about to arrive. 

Here is our Revised Big Boy Room To-Do List
Paint the room green
Paint the floorboards white
Buy monkey decorations for room
Buy a brown bedspread for the queen bed
Build the crib for this room
Put bedding in crib
Put monkey decorations up
Clean out closet (currently used as storage)
Move Connor's clothes from nursery to big boy room

Yeah. We still have a long ways to go - but painting the room was one of the harder things we could get crossed off our list!

Bed Rest

Our Little Man is getting so big! I had to include this photo of him, because it's crazy to me that he can actually sit on the couch with us like a big boy. Wasn't he just a couple months old?

 Here I am today...still smiling and VERY pregnant!
Bed rest is going as well as it can go. I had a breakdown yesterday and cried for a while about it; but I'm back to feeling okay today. I know how important it is for me to lay down. I know. I know how much the babies need it. I know I shouldn't feel guilty; but it's so dang hard. I hate watching my husband busting his behind at work, coming home and cooking dinner, taking care of a 2 year old, putting said two year old in bed, doing dishes, and then still having to do his school work - all the while, completely exhausted. It sucks. Mr. Howard drove me to my mom's house a few of the days this week to get a break and get out of the house and I camped out on their couch. That seemed to help, at least in terms of a change of scenery.

I soo wish there was more I could do from my bed. Today I felt a little better because I thought of a few things I could do from bed that helped my overworked hubby out: I folded and put all the laundry on hangers (so that all he had to do was put them away) and I got all the twin's and Connors' clothes that we've been given as gifts on hangers to be put away in the nursery.
My mom, sister, and brother came over for several hours to help too. My mom cleaned our kitchen and did our dishes, while my sister helped me care for Connor. My brother and Mr. Howard painted the big boy room for Connor - WHAT A BLESSING! I think all Mr. Howard is going to have left to paint in that room are the floorboards (we need to paint them white - they were painted different colors when we moved in) when he and my brother finish today.

I'm feeling pretty good. The contractions come and go. I can't seem to pinpoint what brings them on, but on Friday night I thought we might have to head back to L&D because they were coming every 3 minutes again. Thankfully, I took my nifedipine early (the hospital was giving me a double dose anyway) and sat back down and eventually they went away. The newest thing has been the pressure. Aiden, I swear, is going to fall out of me - well not literally, but wow he is low. Mr. Howard wanted to feel him moving the other day, and you could actually feel him kicking me where my thigh/waist meets my belly. Sometimes when I stand, I feel like he is going to come out of me and I'm going to go into labor. It's especially hilarious when Aiden gets the hiccups, because you can almost feel them in my legs.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Fundal Height

When my sister recently told a friend of hers (who, by the way, has had two kids of her own) that I was measuring 41 weeks, her friend asked if it was just excess weight - if I had just put on a lot of weight. And it got me thinking, every week I post my measurements and some of you might not know what it all means.

So, no, I have not put on excess weight. Hehe! It isn't a measurement of my weight or even my belly. It's a measurement of my uterus. Some doctors may not even do this measurement (I was thinking that my sister's friend did not have this measurement done). The way the doctor measures is he/she finds the pubic bone and the top of the uterus (this is done by pushing hard - sometimes it hurts a bit) to feel where it all starts and stops and then uses a tape measure to get an accurate reading. For a singleton mama that centimeter measurement should match the number of weeks pregnant (so a measurement of 15 cm would roughly equate to 15 weeks pregnant).

In reality, a twin mama can have a double measurement and still be within the "normal" range - so at 30 weeks, I could have a 60 week measurement...but the reality is that it's usually around 1.5 times that of a singleton pregnancy because the babies are smaller and because our bodies aren't really designed to support that type of measurement. So when I say that I am measuring 41 weeks, I mean that if I was carrying one baby, it would be expected that around 41 weeks I would be as big as I am today at 30 weeks with twins.

Hope that helps! Anyone else ever had that question?

30 Weeks

Sleep
I'm doing pretty well - I slept AMAZINGLY well after leaving the hospital. There's nothing like being on continuous monitoring for 24 hours to make you appreciate uninterupted sleep.

My Size/Development
At my Tuesday appointment, they measured me and I am measuring 41cm (or 41 weeks pregnant for a singleton mama). Ahhhhhh. Just as a comparison, I gave birth to Connor at 37 weeks, so I was never even this big with my first pregnancy and I still have 8 weeks to go. I am getting so full now. In the earlier months of the pregnancy, I would eat two pieces of toast with peanut butter on them in order to get me through till about 11am, when I'd have an apple or some sort of snack. Now the two pieces of toast is too much. I start to get full after my first one. Strange!

The Babies' Size/Development
The babies can open and shut their eyes and tell the difference between light and darkness. The twins are around 3 pounds now and their hands are fully formed. Aiden is head down at my cervix. As I walk he keeps hitting my cervix, which is causing me to contract, which causes me to dilate. Isabella is higher up. She's being a good girl but Aiden is just too eager to meet me. =)

Excitement
I am still pregnant! I don't want them to stay in there forever, of course, but I definitely think they need a lot more time baking.

Random Twin Fact
Between 20-30% of twin mamas are put on bed rest at least once in their pregnancy and 10-15% are hospitalized. Twins are born at 34 weeks on average  and 50% spend some time in the NICU.

**I thought about dressing up for my photo - but this is my new reality: pajamas!**

A Doctor Visit...Which Turned into a Hospital Stay...

This is a lot of info, but I like to have it all documented for my memories and the baby books.

Why I've Been Missing From the Blogging World

On Tuesday, I had my biweekly doctor's visit and my first NST. The doctor's visit went well and she didn't even think we needed to check my cervix, since my contractions were still coming about 5 an hour and hadn't increased.

I went to my NST afterwards and immediately they had trouble getting the babies on the monitors - not because something was wrong with them (they were fabulous), but because they kept moving. Everytime they'd get one baby on the monitor, the other would swim away and they'd have to get the other one back on. The nurse had to call two different nurses in to try to help her and they did an ultrasound several times to try to get the exact positions of each baby. We were there for over an hour trying to get the babies hooked up to monitors. In the meantime I was contracting pretty frequently - I'd say it started maybe one every 5 minutes and progressed to 1 every 3 minutes. At that point the nurses decided to call my doctor back in. She asked me some questions, checked my cervix (which was dilated) and decided I needed to head into Labor and Delivery.
This is from the NST. The blue stuff on my belly is gel.
 Here's what an NST looks like:

We picked Little Man up quickly and went over to L&D (my mom met us there and picked up Connor). They sent me to triage first to determine how close my contractions were and again had trouble getting the babies on the monitors (seems to be a theme with them). My contractions were definitely every three minutes and I was definitely dilated. So the doctor, who was great, told me that she'd put me on a 24 hour or 48 hour admittance in L&D and then reevaluate me to determine whether or not they wanted me to stay.

Here I am at Triage in L&D

I was admitted around 8pm and they instantly started Nifedipine (which stops contractions). They told me that if my body responded well, they'd stay with Nifedipine. But if my contractions didn't go away, they'd have to give me Magnesium Sulfate (which, apparently is some nasty stuff). They also gave me my first dose of corticosteroid, which helps the babies lungs develop (that was given to me as a shot in my hip and BOY OH BOY did it hurt). They also gave me antibiotics to treat me for GBS (I hadn't had my GBS test yet, so they just went ahead and gave me the antibiotics in case). I was ordered to be on continuous monitoring (which meant they had the babies and me hooked up to fetal and contraction monitoring). It was a bit of a pain because they could not get the babies to stay still. They'd get Aiden on the monitor and work on Isabella. Once Isabella was all set, Aiden would have swam away from the monitor and they'd have to start over. It was like that every 10-15 minutes all night. At around 3am after the babies had been monitored for several hours and my contractions had decreased to once every 10 minutes, my nurse, who was great, fought for me to be taken off the monitors so that I could get some sleep and they granted her permission. They told me I could be off the monitors for 2 hours.

Unfortunately in that 2 hours, I had to take a few different doses of medicines and they had to give me more IV fluids, so I still only got maybe 20-40 minutes of sleep - but that was all the sleep I had gotten since the night before. In fact, it was all the sleep I would get until I was dismissed late last night (over 48 hours).

In the morning they increased my nifedipine to double the dose because the contractions weren't decreasing and actually seemed to be coming back a bit. Within an hour, my contractions were back up to once every three minutes and they began to talk about delivering. In the doctors' rounds it was decided that they needed to send the nursery/NICU nurses to come and talk to me about caring for 30 week old babes. They also began to talk to me about putting me on magnesium sulfate. They kept reiterating that it wasn't for sure that I'd be having the babies, but they wanted me to know what it would be like.

They also began to explain the two types of births I could have with twins. First they went over the type of birth I'd have if the babies were preemies and then they went over what would happen if I made it to 36 weeks. No matter what I will have to deliver in an OR and almost no matter what, Mr. Howard will be the only one allowed in the room with me (unless I have a really nice doctor, both babies are head down, AND I am doing perfectly - and even then I can only have one extra person in there with us). He will also have to be in sterile scrubs. They will have double the staff in the room - two nurses, one OB doctor, one or more pediatricians, and potentially a nephrologist (they won't need to have one in there if the babies are doing okay on the monitors and the amniotic fluid is okay). It is highly recommended that I have an epidural (I was planning on that anyway) in case they have to do an emergency c-section on one or both babies. Otherwise, I would have to be knocked out during the birth - NO THANK YOU!! Even if I deliver vaginally, I will not be able to do skin-to-skin with either baby until I leave the OR. After the babies are born, they will take them out with Mr. Howard to recovery, while they get me all ready and then I will meet them in recovery. This was all news to me and will be so different than my first two births. I was happy they took the time to go over this all with me.

After being on the medicine for a few more hours, my contractions slowed and they began to think I wouldn't be delivering. After lunch, they began to talk about letting me go home on bed rest that night. The doctor came in at that point and started talking to me about bed rest. I was ordered to be put on bed rest for at least one week (probably more) and they talked about what it means (up for only 1-3 minute intervals, in bed or on the couch, no stress...etc.). A few hours later they decided to check my cervix (still the same) and they said I could go off the monitors for a few hours (WOOOO-HOOOOOO). I was able to lay on my side, get up when I wanted to, sit up in bed, stand for a few minutes, stretch my legs...ahh it was heavenly. They also took my IV out (they left the PICC in, but unhooked me from the fluids and medicine). I had an NST scheduled at 6 and they told me that if the babies looked okay I could go home.

At about 6 they gave me my other steroid injection (OUUCCCHHHH), my final dose of nifedipine and antibiotics, and hooked me up to the NST. They decided that instead of hooking the babies up and then coming back in and out for 30 minutes, that they'd just have two nurses sit there with me through the whole NST to be able to move the monitors as quickly and as often as needed for Aiden and Isabella. It really was no different than how the other 24 hours went because even when they'd leave, it would usually only be for 5 or 10 minutes before they'd come bustling back in to go "Baby Hunting" (that's what all the nurses call it when a baby swims away from the monitor).

The nice part is that when you're having twins and you're in L&D, they don't give the nurses any other patients. It's a 1:1 ratio. So I had a personal nurse at all hours of the day - so unusual! And every single nurse I had was ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS!!!!!! They even all signed a card for me thanking me (even my two doctors signed). It was seriously adorable!!! When I gave birth to Cole, I know I mentioned how wonderful the nurses were - there were so kind and soft and explained everything to me in a way that was gentle and sensitive. Well one of my nurses, Renee, came and said hello to me! She saw my name on a chart and wanted to tell me how happy she was to see me come back pregnant! =)

I was sent home finally with strict bed rest orders, a prescription to stop contractions that I have to take every six hours, and was told to go home, pack a hospital bag, take a shower, and get ready to come back. They said it is very rare to not see me again - that generally with twins, I'll come in several times and it's also common to have twin moms stay for weeks at a time. We'll see what happens, but I just want the babies to be healthy! The NICU at the Kaiser I'll be delivering at is Number 1 in California and top 10 in the nation. So I know that if the babies are born early, they will be well taken care of! And they kept saying over and over that every day the babies stay in, the better it is for them. If I can make it to 32, that's better than 30. If I can make it to 35, that's better than 32. Even 32 weeks 1 day is better than 32 weeks 0 days.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Date Night

I had some fun in Picasa with the photo. Tonight, for our date night, we went out to sushi and a movie (Bridesmaids). We had such a great time.

This stage that Connor is in right now is quite exhausting and it's fun to take a night off and enjoy each other's company. We were so tempted to hurry and order (like we do when we're out with Connor) and it took everything in us to take our time. We even branched out and tried something new!

I'm quite lucky to have a husband I not only love, but also really like!

Grandma and Nana

For Mother's Day, I found these adorable Hershey Kisses shirts for my Mother-in-Law...
 And Mom...
Aren't they seriously precious?!? You know what else is just perfect? Do you see how in the Nana shirt the Aiden kiss and the Isabella kiss are connected? I love it!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

29 Weeks

Sleep
Not to be too graphic, but those of you pregnant with twins might be able to relate and those of you who have been pregnant...might also have experienced this. My food won't stay down when I go to sleep. I have to time dinner early enough so that when I lay down my food stays where it's supposed to. Fun! The last few days, though, I have been SO exhausted - working full-time, walking around a lot, planning, going to after-school things, and then watching Connor by myself two nights a week (while Mr. Howard is in school) - that I've actually been sleeping pretty well. I average 4 wake-ups to go to the bathroom, but there are nights when it's closer to 7-8 and then last night I only woke up twice. So I really can't complain too much.

My Size/Development
Large. Very Large. Like, almost can't fit through a doorway large. Alright I'm being dramatic. But wow! Remember that whole post about how I didn't have any stretch marks? Yeah! I wish I was there. I'm still blessed in that department as they are very light...but I have 8 more weeks to go. Perhaps in a few years they'll have some magic cure for stretch marks (none of this cream for 12 weeks...I won't have time for that with three babies under the age of two). I need something that can cure them in an hour - preferably 1/2 an hour, but I'd settle for an hour. =)

The Babies' Size/Development
I received a phone call back from my OB (who had spoken to our perinatologist). She said that the new finding of the cyst in Isabella's kidneys means that she will need to do a deeper examination at my appoinment in June. She said it will also mean that instead of just Aiden needing to be examined after he is born, they will now need to do an examination on Isabella. I so pray that they'll be able to do those examinations several hours after they're born, instead of right away. I know I will survive if they are taken right away to the NICU, but I would so love to get my Mommy Bonding Time in beforehand. With Connor I was able to nurse within the first two hours and I would soo love to have that experience with both my babies.

Excitement
I have 15 more days left of work and then I'm home!! We literally have done VERY LITTLE by way of planning the nursery or figuring out what items we still need to buy. Because we only get Sundays together, it's difficult to muster the energy to decorate an entire nursery... and figure out how to keep a 2 year old distracted and entertained...and do our grocery shopping for the week (we plan our menu and grocery shop together on Sundays)...and do laundry...and mow the lawn...and weed...and straighten the house...and spend some time together. I could go on and on. So I'm looking forward to being able to send Connor into daycare, while I get things done around the house (I mean...just as an example, I can't tell you the last time I mopped my floors - eeek - maybe Christmas???). But I have a datenight coming up here soon and I CANNOT TELL YOU HOW EXCITED I AM! I just want to eat a delicious dinner, and cuddle my handsome hubby in a movie theatre! We can be those annoying teenagery folks who makes other couples sick with our PDA. =) And the nursery will just have to wait another day. **Secretly I'm thinking if I wait until I go into labor, maybe the nursery fairy will come and do it for us while we're at the hospital. HA!!*

Random Twin Fact
Scientists believe that the number of twin conceptions greatly outnumbers the number of twin births, some say that as many as one in eight births began with twins, while in only one in 70 births produce twins. One author claims that "80% of twin pregnancies result in the loss of one or both babies," though other sources cite this number at about 30%. Of the 133 million people born worldwide in 2000, an estimated seven million should have been twins.

And because I hate those side photos and think I look wayyy more normal from the front...

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Twenty-Two Months Old

Firsts

  • Connor is SO opinionated. He'll now answer questions with what he wants. For instance, you can say, "would you like toast?" He either responds by repeating your word or saying, "no."
New Words
  • This will be the last month I have this category, because he no longer is saying single words. He's beginning to repeat EVERY single word I say. So if I get him up in the morning and say, "Did you have nice dreams?" He'll repeat, "dreams!"
  • On his own he's using words like "Mine!" (generally he shouts this as he doesn't want you to take something from him that is clearly not his, like my cell phone.
  • "Josh" (the name of his friend from daycare)
  • "Dance"
  • "Toast"
  • "Outside"
  • "Light"
  • I'm sure there's more I'm missing. Every day it's a new word.
Funny Stories
  • Now when he wants you to do something, he vigorously shakes his head "yes!" So he'll say, "Toast... [wildly shaking his head up and down....] TOAST [wildly shaking his head up and down]...TOAST!!!" Or he'll do the same with "Ouside!" It's as if shaking his head yes will somehow convince us otherwise that it's very important.
  • His very first full-blown temper tantrum occurred while we were in Los Angeles in a Target. He got on the ground and screamed. I had always planned for my kids to be embarassed of me some day (heck I'm a 7th grade teacher...I KNOW what teenagers are like)...but I had forgotten that there will be days when they'll embarass me. I wanted to tell people passing by, "I know he's throwing a temper tantrum. But I'm not going to pick him up because that's what he wants. This is a phase he is going through and I promise I'm not a horrible mom. I don't condone this behavior." Instead I stood there red faced and waited for him to walk alongside me.
New Photos

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

A Celebration and Some Kidney News

My pregnancy countdown says I'm less than 80 days away from seeing my babies!!!! The even more fabulous news about that is that my ticker is set to my due date, not my induction date (a few weeks earlier). And no, we don't have a firm induction date set in stone yet; when it gets closer, we'll start to plan that. Of course, it will also depend on whether or not I have to have a c-section (pray that I do not!).

We received some news from my ultrasound last week (we had been waiting and waiting). Here is what my doctor said: "I'm sorry to have kept you waiting, but I wasn't in the office on Friday. Baby A [Aiden] still has only one multicystic kidney - the other one looks normal. [insert small cheer] The radiologist did, however, note a single "exophytic" cyst in Baby B's [Isabella] right kidney that was a new finding. I'm sorry. I'm not sure if it the first sign of a problem or not but I have sent a message to our perinatologists to review the ultrasound and get back to me. I will let you know as soon as I get an answer."

This isn't devastating news, obviously. One cyst really means nothing. I'm just upset that Isabella has anything. It just makes me want answers even more. So, here's to praying, once again, that the perinatologists say that everything is okay. We also have another level 2 ultrasound scheduled to look at the kidneys in June. That ultrasound will potentially give us more answers. Grrrrrrr.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Starbucks

On Saturday we went to Starbucks. The very sweet lady asked Connor if he'd like his very own Starbucks (don't worry - it was just a dollop of whip cream in a tiny Starbucks cup with a tiny straw). It was seriously, seriously adorable and Connor felt QUITE special!!
 Doesn't he look quite enthralled? He had whip cream all over his face in the car ride home, but he was CONTENT!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day

First I would like to say that I am thinking of all you women who so want to be a mom and of the women out there who ARE moms, but don't have their children here on Earth to hold and love on. I hope you find peace and comfort today in knowing that there is a plan for our lives.

Happy Mother's Day to my own sweet mom. How lucky am I that almost 28 years ago my mom took me into her arms and decided to love me. I can honestly say that she is my best friend. Becoming a mom myself, puts everything into perspective. The things we want to do, don't always come out right. The decisions we make in the best interest of our children, don't always manifest themselves in the way we think they should. My mom and I didn't always get along. I can vividly remember calling my mom annoying and some other choice words that I so wish I could take back, in my teenage years. And I also remember thinking that I would NEVER do x, y, and z like my mom did. I can't even count the number of times I rolled my eyes or turned my shoulder or told my friends that my mom "just didn't get it." Of course, now I realize, that had NOTHING to do with her and everything to do with me asserting my independence and learning from my foolishness. But, boy, what I would give to take back all those moments. She has such grace, strength, intelligence, compassion, and joy and I would be blessed to be half the mother she is.

And to my sweet children, I am so blessed to be a mom. I have never for one second taken that fact for granted, although I do often forget to celebrate the difficult times as much as the great ones. I realize that I could never truly appreciate how wonderful it is to have Connor happy in my arms, until I have tasted what it's like to see him with a fever, or carry him into the hospital when he's crying. The sweet moments are so much sweeter when God reminds you that not all moments are sweet. Certainly, if I had to say the biggest life lesson I have taken from Cole's existence, it has been what a true miracle it is to birth a whole and healthy baby and then to get the honor of being able to keep him/here on earth with you.

A Picture of Connor and Daddy at breakfast Mother's Day
We didn't get a photo of Connor and Me. I know that sounds fishy and it certainly sounds like I may have done that on purpose...but it was a complete accident. 

Saturday, May 7, 2011

A Playdate and A Tiny Glimpse Into Our Future

Last Sunday, Connor had his very first playdate at our house. It was actually the first time we have invited anyone over just for fun. We thought it would be a good way for Connor to get some exposure to someone coming into his house and playing with his stuff and...BOY did it teach him and us a few things.

Connor goes to daycare three days a week and has done so since he was six weeks old. He has always had to share on those days. But there, apparently, is a big difference between sharing someone else's toys and having to share your OWN toys. Connor struggled a little bit with this.

The other big thing was how much easier it is to have two kids than it is to have one. I am 100% positive this will not happen immediately. I am positive that having a two year old and a newborn is not going to be easier than just having Connor, but in terms of twins...Aiden and Isabella will always have a built-in buddy and THEN they'll also have Connor. It was so much easier spending three hours in the afternoon with Connor when he had someone to play with, because they entertained each other. It reassures me that Connor is going to be lucky to have Aiden and Isabella join our family.

We got to play with Connor's Mini Cooper in the backyard and even broke out Connor's Easter chalk.
What Fun!




Friday, May 6, 2011

Belly Kisses

Connor will point to a baby he sees and say, "Baby!" He'll also point to my belly and say "Babies!" (notice he doesn't say "baby" singular). But I don't think he has ANY clue that we're going to be having two babies joining us here soon.

This morning when I dropped Connor off at my mom's house, Connor gave Nana, Grandpa, and the Babies a kiss...but REFUSED to give me one...you know I'm only the woman who carried him for nine months in my belly and labored with him for over 20 hours and pushed for 2 hours and then nursed him for half a year...

Thursday, May 5, 2011

28 Weeks

Sleep
Dear Leg Cramps, Oh how I have not missed you one tiny bit since I was pregnant with Connor. I wish you'd go away. Sincerely, Mrs. Howard

My Size/Development
I Am Huge... I Feel Huge...I Look Huge...I am wondering how on Earth I am going to last 9 more weeks. I bought one preemie outfit for Isabella and one for Aiden (upon the recommendation of my doctor) and I am now thinking there is no way either of them are going to be preemies. They're going to be 10 pounds each. A fellow blogger I found is having twins (she's 7 weeks behind me) and she wrote on her blog that she now needs cardigans to hide to her arms. I feel like I need a snuggie. =) I'm going on a field trip with my kiddos to a waterpark in June and I'm wondering what on earth I am going to wear!

The Babies' Size/Development
At the ultrasound yesterday we learned that Aiden is 2 lbs 6 oz  and Isabella is 2 lbs 5 oz.

Excitement
I am in my third trimester...well I never can remember if I'm technically in it now or if I will be at the end of the week. Regardless, it's pretty exciting!!! There is NOTHING and I mean NOTHING like carrying a baby inside you. It is the most miraculous thing ever. I know I appreciate it so much more given that I didn't know if I would ever get to have a baby; but I don't know how anyone could take this for granted. It is truly, truly a blessing. And it's funny how quickly we forget about the pain, swollen legs, and puffy face!

Random Twin Fact
A LOT of people think that twins skip a generation. In fact, I'd say almost weekly I'll get someone saying, "I thought I was going to have twins, because it's my generations turn. My mom's mom had them." This isn't true. A mom can pass on the gene of hyperovulation (releasing more than one egg) to her daughter, pure and simple. If I, in fact, have the gene, Isabella can inherit it, which would mean she is more likely to have twins when she has children. HOWEVER, a dad can pass on the gene to his daughter as well (ONLY if his mother had the gene). For instance, Aiden will not have twins. However, he could pass the gene to his daughter (if he has one) that would predispose her to having twins. This is more than likely how the myth of twins skipping a generation started. I always thought that since Mr. Howard had twins in his family, we had a higher likelihood of having twins. But this is not true. Your husband has nothing to do with it.

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