Thursday, June 30, 2011

They're Here

The babies have arrived! We're in the hospital and will post more soon!!

Aiden Patrick 4 lbs 11 oz, 18.25 inches. 9:20am!

Isabella Lynn 4 lbs 14 oz, 17.5 inches. 9:22am!!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Nursery Redecorating Day 2

Today Kathe cut in all the pink paint: ceiling and wainscotting. Then she rolled the pink and blue paint in the whole room.


The above photos I took using my camera. The one below was from my iPhone (hence the horrible color quality).
In the evening Mr. Howard and I taped off the one wall we are going to stripe in order to get it ready for painting the stripes tomorrow.

The above photo is an iPhone photo...not great quality - but you get the point!
Next up Tomorrow: Creating a seal with the tape (because we have textured walls) by painting over the tape with the blue, then cutting in the pink (for the stripes) in the ceiling, and then finally rolling the stripes pink!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Nursery Redecorating Day 1

Mr. Howard's mom arrived on Saturday and she began helping us today to re-do the nursery.
Before Pictures:
 Before:
Day 1 she removed the winnie the pooh border from the wall and then scrubbed off the glue from the wall.

Border Gone:
Then she taped off the wainscoting and corners and began to cut in all the ceilings and wainscoting with the blue paint. She finished the taping off and the cutting in with blue paint completely.

Next up tomorrow: Cut in the pink paint, roll the pink and blue paint completely!

Snow Cones

I have been craving snow cones for several weeks and we don't have a place that sells them. The closest we can get is Sonic Burger which sells slushies or limeades. Well, my husband bought me a snow cone maker for the house!! It's perfect too because, all our babies' birthdays will be in the summer anyway and I'm sure we'll be having lots of summer birthday parties (and who doesn't want a snow cone at a birthday party?).

Connor liked it too!!
video

Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Car Seat

Remember this post? We wanted to re-do the car seat covers, but didn't want to spend $150 on two car seat covers. So, Mr. Howard and I headed over to JoAnns Fabrics and picked out a pretty flower print and a basic black. We had planned to re-do both seats, but once we got the fabric home and started to take apart the covers, we realized that the red one (see the linked post above) would not be coverable. So, we flew by the seat of our pants and just re-did the blue one (again...see the linked post above).

My mom did most of the work. I just watched her use the sewing machine and kept thinking, I wish I could sew (of course, I say that...but I have no time, nor do I need ANOTHER hobby). She was also SUPER SPECTACULAR because the big sewing machine she normally uses is at her new house and all she had was her mom's machine (which could not have been built after maybe the 1960's).

A side view! Do you see the canopy? Amazing!
 From the Front
 The Adorable Yellow Bias Tape
I just LOVE the way it turned out! I am sooo bummed we can't cover the red one, but Isabella will have an adorable new little seat!

Friday, June 24, 2011

A Doctor Update

I had another doctor's appointment today and NST.

NST
It took over an hour to get both babies monitored. But once we did they did great and passed!

Blood Pressure
My blood pressure is definitely creeping up. At one point (they took it almost four times while I was there) it was 144/88. There's a word that my doctor used to describe it (where it fluctuates up and down), but she's not terribly worried. I'm 35 weeks pregnant and trying to pump blood for three people. That's a lot of work for my body to do.

Ultrasound
Aiden is full-on breech now. He is actually what we call "Frank Breech." You can see what that means below. Frank breech babies have a higher incidence of hip dysplasia...so it may be something we'll have to examine when he's born.

C-Section
It is highly unlikely he will move out of this position at this point in the pregnancy. It was pretty painful when he moved from transverse to breech and I can't imagine he could wiggle his way head down by the time I give birth. Isabella is head down, but at this point she is not "presenting" (if she were presenting, it would mean that her head is down and she would come out first). This means that I will more than likely have a c-section. In fact, we have booked one (I'm debating whether or not I want to tell everyone the date). My doctor has put in her notes that they are to do an ultrasound when I show up for the c-section to make sure Aiden is still breech and Isabella is still not presenting. If not, they will do an induction instead of a c-section. Please calm me down. Tell me a c-section isn't how I'm making it out to be. I'm soooo afraid of surgery (especially the idea of having my arms strapped down to a table). I'm even more afraid of recovery! The part I AM excited about is showing up at 8am and meeting my babies at 10am. How easy is that!! =)

Thursday, June 23, 2011

35 Weeks

Sleep
It's a little better this week. However, I am now feeling contractions at night. Up until this time, once I fell asleep, I'd sleep through the contractions. Now they are getting so strong that they actually wake me up in the middle of the night. The pain is still excruciating in my pelvis. The stretching is like NOTHING I HAVE EVER FELT before in my life.

My Size/Development
I will know my size tomorrow at my appointment.

The Babies' Size/Development
The babies are putting on more fat, but if they were born now - they wouldn't have any serious complications. They more than likely would be considered "growers and feeders" (the title, "growers and feeders" is given to babies who simply have to "grow and eat" in order to graduate from the NICU all together).

Excitement
I have been completely off the Nifedipine for a week now! There are only 21 days until the last possible day they will schedule me for an induction! Let's hope for a little bit sooner, though!

Random Twin Fact
Postpartum Depression is five times more common in mothers of multiples than mothers of singleton newborns.
From the Front

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Curious?


A friend, Diana, asked me to do a comparison of the same week with Connor and then with the twins. I didn't do weekly photos with Connor, unfortunately, but I did enough that I was able to have a few to pick from. With my 30 week one, it was a coincidence that I was wearing black in both. With my 35 week one I intentionally tried to put the same outfit on (but the shirt I wore with Connor no longer fits me), so I tried to put a similar top on.

I don't think it's a perfect comparison, considering some are closer up. But if you look at my back and belly in each photo, it'll give you a better idea.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Ultrasound Photos

We have been unbelievably blessed because we have gotten an ultrasound at every single doctor appointment and at least once a week for my NST's since the babies were conceived. It has provided us an unbelievable amount of reasurance and it's just nice to see our babies! At our "big" ultrasound on June 15th, we got some good photos I wanted to share. I don't always post the photos because (a) sometimes I don't get copies printed and (b) some of them look exactly like the others.

It might take you a second, but this is Aiden's face from the front. Can you see his left eye socket, his little nose and mouth, and puffy cheeks?
 This is Isabella and all her hair. All the white fuzzy stuff on the right side of her head is hair. Both the technician and doctor said it's so rare to see so much hair. =) They said we'll be able to stick a bow on her right when she's born!
 This is Isabella's profile Photo!
 On the left of the screen is Isabella's leg and knee. On the right is Aiden's face profile. Yep! She's kneeing him in the face!
Can you believe we're only a few weeks away? I have never felt so anxious!

A Doctor Update

This Morning
I fell down some stairs this morning. Don't worry - I kept my belly up off the ground. I landed on my hands and knees and scraped them up pretty badly. I went home and made sure I did kick counts and everything looked good. So I knew I'd wait to be checked until I went into the doctor's office at 2pm.

These were not the stairs I fell down (THANKFULLY)...but you get the idea!

NST
The babies looked good!!

Contractions
They were coming roughly every 6 minutes. My first priority is and has always been to have healthy babies! And if they need more time to bake, then that's what I want. But if I am contracting and the babies are healthy - then let's get this show on the road.

Ultrasound/Amniotic Fluid
The babies' AFI (amniotic fluid index) levels were great! It looks as though Aiden has turned breach (what a little stinker!!!!). He has been head down vertex for about 6 weeks and ALL OF A SUDDEN decided he wanted to be feet down. Grrrrr. Thankfully Isabella has turned and put her head down. She may actually become Baby A if she can get her head lower than him and come out first. If that's the case, I can have a vaginal birth.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Our Father's Day

For Father's Day, we asked Casey, Jessica, and the Kids to come with us to the park...
 Everyone besides Connor loved the water...
 Because Connor refused to Get off the Bench...
 As long as Connor didn't have to go in the water, he had fun!
 Later in the afternoon, Daddy opened presents...
 And Opened Cards...
 Wild and Crazy Hair after Getting a little Wet...
Jessie and I sat in the shade with her little boy and watched the boys!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day

This was the card Connor custom-made for Daddy this year
(Mama helped a little)
 And the inside...
Aren't my kids blessed to have such a special daddy?

Saturday, June 18, 2011

We are in Heaven

**Can you tell how my bedrest is going? Mr. Howard's brother called the other day as we were on our way to lunch. When he was suprised that I was going with him, Mr. Howard said "Yeah. Her version of bedrest is like no other version I've ever seen." =) I cannot just sit in bed all day. But you should know that everywhere we go, I sit. I never chase Connor around. I never carry him. I go and sit and watch in the shade. Really, how different is that then going to the couch and sitting?!?**

Now, back to the Heaven part. We found THE MOST WONDERFUL park right by our house. It is literally 10 minutes away and it has WATER!!! Connor's not yet quite so sure about the water, but I know that after a few visits, he'll love it. We're planning on going back again tomorrow with some friends and we're hoping he might be a little braver this time. I'm also hoping to convince my hubby to put on his swimsuit and join Connor, but we'll see.

Tell me this isn't amazing:
 Daddy and Connor - Staying Dry in the Water Park
 Trying to Convince Connor that it isn't so Scary:
 Connor Getting a Little Braver:
 Connor Having Fun on the Steps:
All-in-all we're thinking we'll try to head out here a couple times a week this summer. If we get there around 10am, it's still relatively cool and Connor has a grand ol' time before nap!!

Thursday & MOMs Group

On Thursday, Mr. Howard and I were going a little stir crazy and decided to take Connor to the park. At the Fountains (it's a shopping center near our house), they have a water park and playground and ever since Connor was born, we've been talking about taking him. Little did we know that the water park didn't open until 11am, so instead we decided to just simply play on the playground.




As Connor and Daddy were playing, Mr. Howard remarked to me that he felt like there were a lot of twins there (it was kinda hard to tell...they looked like they might be fraternal). We kinda joked about it and went on. A few minutes later a woman approached me (I was plopped on a bench watching all the fun) and asked me if I knew what time the water opened. I told her I didn't know, but that I had heard others saying 11am. She explained that she had arranged a playgroup for her club and didn't know what time the water park opened and felt so bad because everyone was just sitting around waiting for it to open. We joked and spoke for a few minutes, when two of her twin sons ran up to her. Then it occurred to me. "The club playgroup you mentioned, it isn't a multiple group is it?" She smiled and said it was. "It wouldn't be the Placer County Mothers of Multiples Group, would it?" Coincidentally, I had JUST JOINED the group that Monday and was planning on starting to attend events. She laughed and said that there was a group of Multiple Mamas who were trying to guess whether or not I was having twins. They had all agreed that no one was going to ask me because they remember what it was like being ginormous and everyone wanting to know when you're due. =) It was soo much fun to speak with them (they introduced me to about 6-7 of the members) and to get an idea of what I'm in for. The oldest twins were 5; the youngest were about 6 months. What fun!

34 Weeks

Sleep

Sleep? What sleep? Last Friday I counted 8 wake-ups. Saturday, I think, was somewhere around 7. Last night I woke up 8 times and then finally just got up at 5am. Perhaps pregnancy is just the universe's way of preparing you for all the sleepless nights you get when you have a baby (I've said it before, but I actually got more sleep once Connor arrived then I ever did when I was pregnant with him - at least when he's out you have help. My husband could share some of the responsibility).

My Size/Development
I am measuring 47 cm. Wow; Hello hormones! Mr. Howard and I passed an older gentleman who was holding one of those signs advertising a store and I said to my hubby that it made me sad that he had to do that. Then, I burst into tears and sobbed. A few days later we were sitting in the car and a van full of teenagers parked and headed into his store. Mr. Howard explained that they were from the group home and that they shop in the store regularly. He said that they're really great kids, but a couple of them have stolen from him. He explained that he totally understands (not that stealing is right) and that if they don't steal things like candy bars, they don't get them. I burst into hysterical tears. Even as I type it now, it makes me want to cry. I hate that there are children out there who can't have something as simple as a candy bar...let alone someone to hug them and love them and guide them. Yesterday I was watching TV and a commercial came on for the SPCA and I started crying. Cliche, right? The pregnant lady crying at the television! My hormones have increased 10-fold from when I had Connor.

The Babies' Size/Development
The babies are between 17.5-19.5 inches long by now. At the ultrasound Aiden weighed 4 lbs 9 ounces and Isabella weighed 4 lbs 5 ounces.

Excitement
We are only 2 weeks away from reaching our goal of making it to 36 weeks! Wooo-hoo! Would now be a good time to mention that we haven't even slightly started the nursery? Good thing Mr. Howard's mom will be here soon, because we are going to need all the cleaning/decorating help we can get, to get everything done before Aiden and Isabella arrive!

Random Twin Fact
Because the babies are in their own sacs and have their own placentas, it is possible for both sacs to break independently. So my water may break twice.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Cravings

I was doing Aiden and Isabella's baby books yesterday (filling in all the pre-birth stuff) and got to the page about pregnancy cravings and realized, I've never documented any of my cravings on here!

I really have only had two very specific cravings that have lasted almost the entire pregnancy. The first is

ICE
Oh My Gosh...If I could sit in an igloo with an unending supply of ice I'd be the happiest gal in the world. I literally fill my cup to the brim with ice and THEN add water. I've even been known to wake up in the middle of the night and go get more ice in my water - just because I want to see it sitting next to me when I wake up. When I was admitted into labor and delivery, I ate their ice with a spoon (they have that amazing ice like the stuff you find at Sonic - it's these little perfect ice balls). MMMMmmmmmm.

and my only other craving has been
PINKBERRY FROZEN YOGURT
Unfortunately for Mr. Howard, we don't have a pinkberry by us. We literally have to drive (from our house) maybe 40-45 minutes to get to one. It is, however, only about a 10 minute drive (in the opposite direction of our house) from the hubby's work. So he has occasionally gone to pick it up for me before coming home (Pinkberry will package your frozen yogurt with ice packs to take it home). We also went after our last ultrasound appointment. For those of you who have never eaten at a pinkberry, what sets them apart is their flavors. They don't have a vanilla; instead they have an original. It is a fruity, tart bowl of deliciousness. And my-oh-my it is heavenly!!!!

I simply get the original with chocolate chips or kiwi or rasberries...the hubby likes to load his up like this:
*Pictured: original with fruity pebbles, yogurt chips, cookies n cream, and kiwi fruit*
Seriously divine!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Pool

Saturday was the first warmer day of the season (can I just say BOOOOO to the 96 degree weather we've been having) and we wanted to take Connor to the pool. My parents have a pool at their new house (they haven't moved in yet) so we all packed up and headed over.


Unfortunately, it didn't go as planned. The pool was pretty cold (even though the air was hot) because it hadn't had time to heat up yet. Connor was less than thrilled about it, but I don't think it had anything to do with the pool; I think it was just too cold.
The above photo pretty much sums up the pool experience. Everytime he had an opportunity, he was trying to climb out of the pool.

P.S. I don't blame him. It was even too cold for me!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Aiden & Isabella

First, did you notice the ticker at the right?!? We are less than 30 days away from meeting the babies! Some of you may have noticed that I updated the ticker. I initially had it set at July 28th (my due date) because I didn't really understand how it worked with twins. I changed it to July 14th, because that is the last possible day they will schedule an induction or c-section (essentially going 38 weeks in a twin pregnancy is the equivalent of going 41 weeks in a singleton pregnancy).

We had our "big" ultrasound today and got some more news. It seems that just as soon as I begin to wrap my mind around something, it changes. I am learning to go with the flow. We are blessed. So blessed to have two babies with non life-threatening issues, but I am extremely frustrated. I will relay the details of the ultrasound to the best of my ability. It's always hard to think of questions in the moment and remember all the details and terminology.

Aiden
His kidneys have not changed at all. He still has one multicystic dysplastic kidney and one perfectly healthy kidney. He will have to be evaluated after birth to determine if he needs surgery to remove the non functioning kidney.

Isabella
Well, what we thought was an exophytic kidney cyst, turned out to not be. Unfortunately, it is actually a second ureter (the body part connecting a kidney to a bladder). A normal ureter is rarely seen during an ultrasound; so when it is seen, it generally means it is a second inflamed one. The unfortunate part about this is that if it had just been a cyst, it would have meant nothing; now that it is a second ureter (or duplex collecting system), it will most likely require surgery. Apparently inflamed ureters are prone to developing obstruction, reflux, and infection. We won't know any of the specifics until she is born and an ultrasound can be performed.

Here is what Isabella's Kidney Looks like:


She should only have one ureter connecting her kidney to her bladder

We might potentially have two babies requiring surgery. Eek! We have a referral for a nephrologist consultation (in fact, he already called...but I missed the call, so I will have to call him tomorrow) to get some questions answered. We know they won't do either surgery right away. It could be anywhere from one week after birth to a month. Neither of their conditions are life-threatening, but they are both related to the kidneys and I just don't understand. I have so many genetic questions.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

A Doctor Update

NST/The Babies
The babies did well. There weren't any decelerations!

Me
Still contracting! I opted not to have my cervix checked, since I didn't feel like anything had changed. I am measuring 47 cm (or 47 weeks pregnant for a singleton mama).

Blood Pressure
My blood pressure was higher than normal (for me), but not high. It was 138/77 (it's been in the 120/70 range). Again, this isn't of concern, but it is trending up. The only reason I mention this is because with Connor I had high blood pressure and was eventually induced due to hypertension.

Ultrasound
The babies are still breech. Now, my doctor is a little more concerned and a c-section is looking like a real possibility. =(

Monday, June 13, 2011

Calling All Readers!!!

Okay, folks. I need your help! And I know there are some of you out there who lurk and read quietly and never say anything...but now's the time to come out and help a gal out!

We are getting ready to welcome Aiden and Isabella home with us and need your advice! For Connor, we took a weekly photo of him next to the same teddy bear and in the same chair every single week. We loved it! We even made a poster of all the photos for his first birthday. And we want to do something similar for the twins. I am very sensitive, however, to wanting them to feel unique and special. Do you think we need to give each baby their own photo or do you think it's okay if they're together. I can't imagine taking 6 photos (2 for each baby individually and then 2 more together), so it needs to be an either/or. What do you think?

How Should we do Aiden and Isabella's Weekly Photos?

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Why Don't They Tell You These Things?!?

For those of you who didn't know me as a child, a little known fact about me is that I was stubborn (I know a lot of you are laughing...because I don't seem to have grown all that much).

I made up my mind about certain things and that was that. Some people may have even used the word "brat." Now, I am certainly not calling my child a brat; however, I can say with 100% certainty that he is definitely my child. He is strong-willed, stubborn, loud, willful, and any other "polite" word you can come up with for "sometimes I have trouble making it through an entire day."

I know I don't need to say this, because anyone who has kids knows that one second you can go from wanting to cry to wanting to shout to the whole world that your child is the smartest child on the planet, but I want to make sure to say it. I love Connor. Immensely. He is seriously one of the best things that has ever happened to me. And I KNOW with 100% certainty that he is teaching me lessons. Every. Single. Day.

Friday was one of those days that was rough. And I mean rough. Connor is in a "I think everything is funny and I don't have to listen to you phase." If someone has the perfect solution for how to handle this, I am all ears. In my present "can hardly stand, let alone walk or RUN" state, if I need to get something from him or put him in time-out and he is unwilling, it is a battle. I absolutely cannot catch up to him. On Friday when he grabbed the dog's flea medicine and started sucking on it, I tried sooo hard to get to him before he noticed me, but he ran away. And then he thought it was hilarious that I was so animatedly trying to get it from him. I tried everything I could think of, but I absolutely could not catch up to him. It took close to 10 minutes before I could finally waddle run to him. And in the meantime I'm thinking about whether or not I have the poison line on my fridge and whether or not I should just call now. Picture that phone call: "Yes. I am calling because my son has eaten an entire packet of flea medicine....I'm not sure how he's doing. He won't let me get near him...I don't know if his pupils are dilated. I'm about 10 feet away from him and every time I get closer, he runs...Well, I'm very large and have trouble maneuvering over to him...Because I'm pregnant...I need to take him to the hospital? Great. Is there someone who can come and catch him because I can't..."

Now it's humorous. At the time, not so much.

A few minutes later, he walked over and pulled my hair and laughed. When I tried putting him in time-out, he ran again. And again, I tried so hard to calmly get him (but I'm just too darn slow and big and in WAY TOO much pain). It took another 10 minutes to get him.

Now writing this all down with the luxury of having two days to calm down, makes it all seem silly. But I can't tell you what it does to you as a mom (or at least to me) to see my son think it's funny to inflict pain intentionally.

Then, after wrestling him into time-out, he wouldn't stay put. Now, I know how it's supposed to work. I've read the books. I've watched Super Nanny (hehe). I know you are not supposed to stand there and hold him into time-out. But, what is a ridiculously large/can't run pregnant woman supposed to do? So there I stood. Holding him in time-out. At the end, he refused to say sorry and refused to give me a hug. Again, we started the time-out and again he refused. And now he thought it was HILARIOUS. And now, my patience was starting to wear down. So again, we started time-out. This time he squeezed away from me and ran across the house and began laughing, but not before he hit me. So Not Funny. And, before you judge. I get it. He's 2. He doesn't fully understand. He's not trying to intentionally hurt me. But I also feel strongly that if I don't teach him empathy and sympathy, how will he learn?

So, I did what any other sane overly stressed and hormonal pregnant lady mom would do. I put him in his crib in his room, came out to the couch and bawled hysterically. For a while. Then I called Mr. Howard and bawled some more. And then I started hyperventilating, thinking about how we will be welcoming twins into our household in a few weeks and some day...THEY will be two. And some day they will hit me. And scream no. And what if it happens at the same time? And what if Connor is having a meltdown at the same time? And what if they won't go into time-out? How am I going to hold two of them and make sure they BOTH stay? And? And? And?

Why don't they tell you parenting is hard?

**And because I know I have the most amazing friends, I know you are going to read this and ask me if you can help. Because you're amazing! But, really, I'm okay. It honestly had less to do with the fact that I'm pregnant and need help...and more to do with the fact that having a two year old is hard.**

What Can You Fit on Your Belly?

Mr. Howard and I thought it would be funny to see what items we could fit on my belly; afterall, how often does one get the opportunity to put items on one's belly? Obviously, when I'm sitting, I can fit everything on there. But I wanted to see what could fit standing. Hehe!

A large tomato juice from Mimi's Cafe...
 My iPhone...
 The remote control...
Yep! This is what we were doing when Little Man was still asleep yesterday morning. Don't we lead exciting lives?

Any requests for items I should try?!?

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