Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Twins at 8 Weeks

          For my birthday this year, I received 2 amazing gifts; my first ever surprise party just for me and an ultrasound of our beautiful twins growing and developing right on target with precious, strong heartbeats! God truly is in the details and He loves His children so much. God has such a father’s heart; why else would He lavish me with blessings and gifts and the desires of my heart? Only God could orchestrate things so that I would be 2 months pregnant with twins on my birthday AND get to see them! 

"Two Peas in a Pod"  The beautiful birthday gift my husband gave me!

          Have I mentioned my insurance coverage woes? Well, it turns out that all my griping and complaining may have been for not. The problem is that my insurance does not cover any local providers or hospitals so I have to go out of state for OB care; literally, out of state. So I dutifully got on my insurance providers website to find an OB and lo and behold there were only 2 doctors within 50 miles of me; a man and a woman. I was pretty sure that I wanted a woman OB so I called to make an appointment but of course she no longer takes private patients because she is now the Hospitalist…yay for her. This left me with no options; there was only 1 doctor left on the list; the male. Sure enough I have complained about this to just about anyone who would listen because misery loves company, right?
          I should have just kept my mouth shut and trusted God; I mean, He has been in control this whole time and so far He has done an awesome job. A week ago I met with some friends for lunch and of course I told them my above insurance sob story but then one of them told me this same male doctor was the one she saw and that he was great and so was his whole practice! Well that shut me up for the time being.
          So yesterday, on my birthday, my husband and I went to see this male OB for my first ever official OB appointment; and wouldn’t you know it the building was beautiful and well taken care of (a good sign in my book). Then we got into the office and the first thing I noticed was that there was Women’s Devotional Bible on the table and an Our Daily Bread Devotional! The more we looked around, the more evidence of God we found. There were Bibles everywhere and artwork that spoke about God and the unborn child…finally we asked the nurse if the doctor was a Christian and she said “this is a Christian based practice.”
          Now I guarantee you that I would have never chosen this male doctor on my own, if I had had choices. Of course God would arrange it so that we wound up with a Christian doctor who delivered/c-sectioned 13 sets of twins last year! We really like him. He had a good bedside manner and he made us feel comfortable. The office staff was very nice and they even gave me a pregnancy journal, which I thought was a nice touch.
          The doctor did inform me that I am considered high risk because of the twins, and I will receive monthly ultrasounds to monitor their growth. I am pretty excited that I will get to see them each month! I actually have to go back for a 9 weeks ultrasound for the NEDC, so I will get 2 this month. Based on the ultrasound Baby A (Sweet Pea) is measuring in at 1.6 cm and Baby B (Tug Boat) is 1.7 cm! 
Sweet Pea (Baby A) 1.6cm

Tug Boat (Baby B) 1.7cm

The doctor said that their measurements are on par with singleton pregnancies, so does that mean they are going to be big, possibly born at healthy weights?! I sure hope so, but I know it means I will get huge! Can’t wait! Speaking of huge, the doctor also said that my uterus is growing like it should and that I am measuring at 8 weeks 2days which is right on track!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

So Much to Celebrate!

         So it has been a little while since I have written anything and I think I have good excuses for it. 1) We have had so much going on lately, and 2) I have just not felt up to it to be honest. I guess being pregnant with twins is a lot of work because I sure am tired all of the time. Some days I just don’t have any “gumption” to do much (guess I should enjoy those days before the house is full of babies!!).
          So, what has been going on? Well, in the last 30 days I graduated from college, got an embryo transfer, found out I was pregnant, celebrated my 7 year wedding anniversary, found out I was having twins, got my ministry incorporated, and celebrated a birthday (at least had the party, birthday is Monday). I may have missed a few things in there, but life has certainly been a whirlwind! But it all has been joyous. As you can see, we have much to celebrate and be joyful about!
          Physically, not too much has changed. I still have 24/7 nausea and my doctor finally gave me Zofran, but after a few days the effect of it wore off and it has bad side effects like constipation and headaches (and what pregnant woman needs extra constipation?). So I quit taking the Zofran because of the effects and because I swear the babies became immune to it or started producing more HCG because it was no longer effective! I tried the Zofran again today after a 3 day break and it seemed to help. So I guess I will try it out again for a few days.
          My belly definitely seems to be growing. I don’t think you could tell from a normal distance, but let’s just say that my regular pants and shorts are no longer buttoning! I have some sweet friends who are loaning or giving me their maternity clothes and I think I will be wearing them sooner than later. Also, I am pretty sure that either my breasts have already grown a size and/or my rib cage is already expanding. All of my bras make me feel like I can’t breathe.
           I thought maybe it was because they were underwire so I set about on a mission to find a bra around my size that wasn’t underwire. So I trekked up to the distant outlet mall and went into Soma, Motherhood Maternity, Hanes, Jockey, and Bali…nada. I found one bra that may have worked size wise but I am pretty sure that I saw that same bra on my grandmother in 1991! Jeesh! I actually ended up buying a nursing bra from Wal-Mart! It was the only one that wasn’t ugly, had room to grow, and wasn’t underwire. So yeah, I’m 8 weeks pregnant and already in a nursing bra; how appropriate!
          One of the only things that has changed around us is that we have announced to the world that we are pregnant. The NEDC said that once we saw heartbeats at 6 weeks that we were pretty safe to announce. So we did; via phone and Facebook and word of mouth. Everyone is so excited for us! I will tell you that people can be flat out rude in their curiosity and comments; I guess twins are just out of the norm. We haven’t told many people the process we went through or even about our infertility, so as far as they know we just got pregnant with twins. When we, or should I say God, is ready, we will share our testimony about this miracle that God has performed for us, but until that day we aren’t broadcasting the details yet. So until that day I will just have to continue to dodge the question, “so do twins run in your family?”
          I don’t know if people will ever stop asking me if I am excited about this pregnancy…about the twins. If they only knew how long we have waited and prayed and what these tiny lives growing inside my womb mean to us. Yes, I am excited (that is an understatement). It about killed me to not be able to announce my pregnancy right away. I wanted to shout if from literal rooftops. I felt like I was being forced to squelch my joy; joy that was given by God. I have waited over 7 years for this time and I couldn’t stand to wait any longer to tell everyone! I wanted them to know and share in the joy. So now the beans have been spilled and I am free to tell anyone I want. My pastor actually stops random people in our church that I don’t know to tell them my name and that I am having twins; he is very excited for us!
          So Monday is my birthday and it is also my first visit with my official OBGYN, and he will be doing an ultrasound. I mean really, how many people get to see an ultrasound of their babies on their birthday! God is so gracious. Quick funny note: my friend, who works at an emergency veterinarian hospital, told me that when she was pregnant she would use their equipment to sneak in ultrasounds on herself just to peek at the baby. All I can imagine is her getting an ultrasound at the Vet…such a funny image!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Look Out World…We’re Doubling!

      Before our embryos were ever transferred, me, my husband and my mother-in-law all just knew we were going to have twins…when my pregnancy test lines came up super-fast and really dark, accompanied by high HCG (I thought so) and severe morning sickness, I thought for sure we were having multiples of some sort. Of course I had to play the waiting game until 6 weeks along to find out. 

          So yesterday, 6/11, my husband and I made the 1 ½ hour drive to a fertility clinic to have our first post pregnancy test ultrasound. Right away the doctor found TWINS!!! Oh my! How excited were we? There they were on that black and white screen; two perfect little beings, clear as day. Then, to our amazement, we were able to actually SEE our babies’ hearts beating! I mean really, at 6 weeks, who gets to see that? God is so good. First we got to see them as embryos and now we get to see their hearts beat…we are so wonderfully and fearfully made. Halleluiah! 

          The doctor estimated that their hearts were beating over 120 beats per minute which is very good. Just to see those precious beans with healthy, strong, beating hearts still makes me cry. The doctor said that once you have seen a heartbeat, the chance of a full term pregnancy shoots to about 98%. Praise the Lord!
          Each baby measured at 3mm. I am astounded when I think about the reality of that. Here is this tiny human, no bigger than a nail head…and their heart is beating…WOW. 
Their computer said that based on my measurements I am at 6 weeks, which is right on target. The doctor told us that with twins, I may deliver early, so I expect to deliver in about 30 weeks. (I love phrasing time in weeks because it makes it seem so much shorter!).
          So embarrassing moment here: we brought up how painful my progesterone shots have been, so the doctor (who I just met for the first time) has me stand up and get my (naked) butt eye level with him so he can explain to my husband where to inject me…then he pulled out a pen and started drawing X’s on my butt to mark the spot!! I felt like I was getting marked for plastic surgery! So totally embarrassing! I don’t have much of a butt, and for some reason the nurses and doctors think this is a good reason to grab my lack of a but to prove how little is back there for shots! I keep hearing that once you give birth you lose a sense of modesty…waiting for that day!
          Every time we hit a milestone this miracle seems so much more real. Now we have actually seen these precious babies. I decided that I didn’t want to call them it so we have decided to call them Sweet Pea and Tug Boat. The next time I get to see the babies is the first week of July, my 9th week!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Pregnancy and the misadventures with food…

          Hmmm, I think that would make a pretty funny show on food network. That seems to be my life lately. It doesn’t help that I have been experiencing nausea since at least week 4 of pregnancy, and now it is in full swing, almost 24/7. The strange thing is that I am not vomiting (which would probably help ease the nausea, but really, who asks to vomit?).
          So I am really trying to eat healthy and regularly to ensure healthy baby and healthy mama. I am scouring the internet to find out what I should eat and what is dangerous to eat. The consensus seems to be that leafy greens are good and grilled chicken; thus, I decided to try and get salads when I meet my girlfriends for our weekly lunch. So there I am at Glory Day’s scanning the menu, wistfully gazing at the pulled pork and french fries, when I finally land on what sounds like an amazing grilled chicken salad.
          I am pretty ravenous by the time the salad arrives so I dig in and successfully eat half of it. As I stab my salad to eat the rest of it, I bring my fork up only to spot a piece of plastic mixed in with my lettuce! Eww!! Who knows where that plastic came from? And, because it was clear, it blended right in with my salad! So thank you Glory Days, you have officially ruined salads for me. I am now paranoid that there is some strange object lurking in any salad. Although, I must say, I am grateful that it wasn’t a band-aid!!!
          Next on the list of highly recommended foods was salmon. Not just any salmon, but fresh, wild caught salmon. What I read said that farm raised salmon had a higher mercury level. So I set off on my weekly grocery trip and boldly approached the seafood department. I saw a sign that said “fresh salmon, $6.99 a pound on sale” and I thought it was my lucky day; until I got closer and read the small print.
The sale salmon boasted the word fresh, but it was farm raised so that was out. Just my luck the saleswoman pointed out that they had some fresh, wild caught, never been frozen salmon. “Yay!” I thought, until I saw the price. It was $16.99 a pound! Oh my gosh! I have never even paid that for steak at the grocery store! But at this point, I figured I couldn’t show any weakness so I just smoothly asked for half a pound, which should cost around the same amount as a pound of the farm raised salmon. So she cut my measly half a pound and handed it to me.
 This thing was dinky! She had already wrapped it and put a price on it so I figured I had to just swallow my pride and take it.
          That night I showed it to my husband and informed him he would be having a “taste” of salmon for dinner sometime that week. It all got worse when the salmon needed to be cooked on a day that I closed at work, which meant husband had to cook it. Poor guy; it actually took longer to cook for some reason, so the side dish he had prepared got mushy. When it was finally cooked and we sat down to eat, we couldn’t take one bite without finding inch long bones! And I am telling you, it looked different, smelled different, and tasted different. The conclusion is that we do not like fancy wild caught, never frozen fish. We apparently like farm raised, frozen/thawed/frozen/thawed fish!
          Who out there has any suggestions for easing nausea? Also, what would you recommend as good pregnancy snacks to avoid empty stomach?

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Pregnancy hormones…oh my!

          I had my follow up blood work done last Thursday, to make sure that my HCG and progesterone levels were doubling. The really good news is that yes, they are!! My HCG count was 2,152 and my progesterone was at 68. Two days earlier we were worried because LabCorp said my progesterone count was only 12…so either it was lab error or my progesterone shot up by 56 points in 2 days. Now wouldn’t you know it, I had the blood work done on Thursday, but I didn’t get the results until Friday, while at work. (Guess I still have some patience to learn!!)
          So it looks like we are progressing along at a good rate and my 6 week ultrasound is scheduled for 6/11/12, which is next Monday! I am so excited for this. I just found out that they will be looking for a Fetal Heart Tone, which may be audible this early. That is almost unbelievable! So we may come home Monday as the parents of multiples and we may hear a hear beat! WOW! Thank you Lord for this Gift! After this ultrasound at the local fertility clinic, I will be free to see an OB/GYN of my choice. My regular doctor now is also an OB and she is an assistant professor at a big college here. She has a great bedside manner and puts me at ease, so I may just stick with her.
          So an update on how I am feeling: nauseous, tired, and hungry! Before pregnancy I thought I had a bladder the size of a lemon, but now it feels like the size of an olive! I am peeing all the time. It’s almost comical thinking about it now. The most annoying part is that not many foods seem appetizing and there are so many things I am not supposed to eat. Pregnancy definitely has a lot of “do’s and don’ts.” I’m not supposed to eat lunch meat or mayo, so what the heck am I supposed to eat for a quick lunch? I think yesterday was the epitome of the problem this poses for me.
It was Monday and I had not yet been to the grocery store for this week’s groceries, so I didn’t have a whole lot of pregnancy approved lunch food on hand. I read that I could have tuna fish, but after I bought it last week, I discovered I couldn’t have mayonnaise. Who wants dry tuna? Yuck. So yesterday I had the bright idea that I could open a can of tuna in water, drain it, put some mustard in it and eat some dill pickles with it. (Sounds very appetizing right?) Ugh! It was HORRIBLE! I didn’t drain enough water out of the can so I had this mustardy, watery, fishy muck plus pickles. I tried to eat some saltines with it to lessen the mush part, but the crackers were stale! I couldn’t win!!
Luckily for me, God saw fit to give me an amazing husband. He happened to be home that day and witnessed my horrible lunch ordeal. He then went about the kitchen trying to find me something I would/could eat. He finally landed upon some uncooked pork chops and had to persuade me to allow him to go outside and grill me these pork chops for lunch. I didn’t want him to go through the trouble but he insisted I needed something good in my belly so he actually went out in the middle of the day and grilled me lunch….what a man. Diamonds and roses are beautiful, but a man that would go through that much trouble for his wife’s lunch is priceless.
Sadly, I have to say that the worst affect these hormones have had on me is causing irritability and mood swings. I feel like I am PMSing, but on overdrive. I have read that many women experience this but I fear that mine is worse because not only am I producing progesterone, estrogen, and HCG but I am also injecting and swallowing high doses of estrogen and progesterone. So I have at least double the hormones raging in my body. (Is this what athletes on roids feel like? Haha)
My dear husband likes to refer to me as Dr. Jekyll and Mrs. Hyde because you don’t know who you may get! I hate this feeling though. It is as if I literally have a very short fuse attached to me. I know it is the hormones because in the middle of my tirade I feel ridiculous; I am completely aware of my behavior, but I can’t stop the feelings surging through me. I have only had 2 big episodes in the last 6 weeks so I think that is pretty good, but I am still moody and touchy. Poor husband; I know he tries hard not to “poke the bear” as I like to put it. I don’t want to be ruled by these hormones either, though. Just because the irritability is a known symptom, I don’t want to use it as an excuse to be grumpy. So I am aware of it and I do try to reign it in. To my readers out there, any advice on how to handle the mood swings?