Grace and Hope

Grace and Hope
Wait for God. Wait with hope. Hope now; hope always! Pslam 131:3

Friday, July 29, 2011

Are The Babies Getting Big…Or Is It Just Me?!?

Hopefully our babies are growing as fast as I’m growing, because I feel bigger by the day! Last week the babies were the size of a banana (or small cantaloupe) and now they are the size of a carrot. I didn’t know there was much of a size difference between this fruit and vegetable, but I guess there is something noteworthy to measure! Each baby also weighs about ¾ pound, or 10-12 ounces...hmmm, that reminds me of the weight of a good sized hamburger!
Speaking of food, I got one of my first real guilt trips as a mom this week. One of the milestones this week is that the baby swallows several ounces of amniotic fluid daily (up to 17 ounces!), for hydration and nutrition, but also to practice digestion (the intestines now can absorb sugar) and swallowing. Did you know that the amniotic fluid taste differs based on what you ate during that day, and if you eat a lot of a certain food during the pregnancy, the babies will already have taste buds for it and prefer that food growing up? I have a guilty conscious because the healthy meal that we know as macaroni and cheese has become a staple for me because ironically enough it is a food that I know I can “slide down” when I’m feeling sick, but more importantly, it basically is the only food or drink in my pantry or frig that I have not yet thrown up during the pregnancy. Talk about a comfort food! Let’s just say I wouldn’t be surprised if these babies find that macaroni and cheese is their favorite food…and yes, I guess I’m the guilty one for that!
In other news, red blood cells are now developed by the bone marrow (where you and I have red blood cells formed), and the spleen and liver will also continue production of blood cells until birth. This week, I continue to feel the babies kick and move, but I felt Baby B either twist around or do a somersault—not quite sure which, but it wasn’t the normal kicking or punching movement. Also, our babies are now following basic circadian rhythms during a 24 hour period, which is composed of about 12-14 hours of sleep every day (I think I’m a little bit jealous!). Lastly, the arms and legs are now in proportion to the rest of the body.
So far so good…let’s keep praying these babies “read the book” and behave themselves! More next week.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Mixed Fruit-A Banana and a Small Cantaloupe

So my question is…how do people think the size of a banana and the size of a small cantaloupe are the same thing? Needless to say, depending on which source you read, the babies are approximately the sizes of one of these fruits. Now at 20 weeks, what most people define as halfway through the pregnancy, the babies will be measured from head to toe, and not just head to rump. So, this will be the last week (I believe) that we will have head to rump measurements. This week, each baby measures about 6 ½ inches from head to rump and a whopping 10 inches if they measure head to toe. Also, each baby should be weighing in at about 10 ounces…they are growing! I have an appointment later today and I’m interested to see how they compare to the averages…More to come.
Our little girls have undergone some pretty rapid development in the reproductive system this week. In fact, the ovaries are now carrying 7 million eggs (WOW!), which will decrease to about 2 million by the time we meet our little girls. Last week, vernix started to form to protect the baby’s skin; this week the baby skin is completely covered with vernix from head to toe. The placenta also now is at its maximum thickness this week. The skin, although still translucent, has developed into four very thin layers at this point and will continue to thicken throughout the weeks to come.
The babies also have their favorite sleeping position already and somehow, have some sort of noticeable cycles of sleep and activity. Which…brings up an interesting point. We went to the multiples class last week ,which I’m glad we had the opportunity to attend, and some moms were really upset that the baby they knew as “A” versus “B” during the pregnancy might not be same “A” and “B” if the babies are a c-section (it all depends how they are  positioned when you are laying on the OR table). Let me tell you…I’m pretty sure once I learn these babies personalities after they are born I will know exactly who was who in the womb because it is no joke, they behave very different. I can’t wait to meet their personalities in person. Baby A is much more laid back like Jason but is an early bird like me and Baby B is feisty and is going to love to exercise her little legs, just like me, but is a night owl like Jason. Trust me when I tell you that we will have our hands full!
The home care nurses would tell me that hyperemesis patients (those like me who have the pleasure of being a little extra sick during their pregnancy) will wave good-bye to their days of nausea and vomiting at 20 weeks or it will stick around for the entire pregnancy. Unfortunately, I’m beginning the think the latter is true in my case because unfortunately I seem to be taking some steps backwards…but I know that if I can just continue to take it one day at a time and remember how far I have come, that this will be small compared to the joy I will have of holding my baby girls. Otherwise, I’m feeling pretty well…getting a little more tired easily, but I guess that is understandable. I’ll post an update later this afternoon/evening with some extra fun happenings about our girls from our appointment and hopefully post pictures as well.

Well, I have good news and bad news to report. The good news is that our babies have looked so good that we have been "demoted" and no longer get measurements/weights every 2 weeks on our ultrasound visits. The bad news is that our babies look so good that we no longer get measurements/weights every 2 weeks on our ultrasound visits!!! Today we saw both the babies and it was so awesome to see how big they have gotten. They both were rock n' rolling too. Baby "A" is dinstinctly on the left side and head down and Baby "B" is on the right side with feet down. It is nice that they are not only on different sides but also flipped different ways because then it is easier to tell who is who when they are moving around inside:)
Unfortunately, I have no weights to reports, other than the fact that they both look good. We have been bumped to waiting 3 1/2 weeks until our next apppointment which feels like an eternity compared to 2 weeks. Of course, it is all a good sign. With that being said, I'm bumping back (or up--depending how you look at it!) my goal for a healthy delivery at 38 weeks instead of 36 weeks. So we are still over halfway, and hoping that the babies continue to look so good. I know a picture of me is pretty anti-climatic compared to ultrasound pictures, but it is as good as I got this week!!!
P.S. I'm not quite sure why the picture looks so blurry--it looks ok on my end, but when it is uploaded it becomes blurry. Sorry! 
20 weeks!

Friday, July 15, 2011

One Mango For Me…One Mango For Jason

Nineteen weeks and counting...grow babies grow! This week, the babies are each the size of a mango. They measure about 6 inches in length and weigh about ½ pound each. I included a picture below of two mangos to give you an idea of the size, which remember only measures from the top of the head to the rump (legs not included!).     
Our sweet pieces of fruit this week have been getting more active and it is very exciting. Jay was able to feel a baby kick this week too. This goes along with the amazing development that has occurred this week. This week, neurons have connected from the brain to the muscles and cartilage continues to turn into bone. These two upgrades in development allow the babies to control their limb movements. During this past week, specialized areas in the brain were also designated to control smell, taste, hearing, vision, and touch. Another development was the production of vernix caseosa, which is a waxy protective coating that forms on their skin and keeps the babies from getting shriveled up like a prune since they are constantly in amniotic fluid.          
This past week, I realized that Baby A will be my early bird and Baby B will be Jason’s night owl (one for me and one for you…it is only fair that I share!).  Baby A has always been the first to wake up with me bright and early before the sun rises, but this past week I had been on overnight calls for work and it was very obvious that Baby B was partying like a rock star in the wee hours of the morning. It was a good reminder that our hands sure will be full once the babies are here!
I continue to have some good days and some bad with the nausea and vomiting but so much better than never having a good day! I’m thankful for the Zofran…and even though it isn’t a perfect fix, it does definitely help. The Lord is definitely preparing me and my body for these babies. Most people talk about how much sleep they get and how exhausted they are in their first trimester and beyond and I have to admit, that never truly happened for me…quite the opposite really…sleep is a luxury! However, I think I’m starting to get it down, to a math equation in fact:

Arctic blast temperatures (thank you AC because the heat index is 105 on average!) + three to four pillows under my head + a pillow under the belly + a blanket or another pillow between knees + two pillows to support my back + empty bladder = 30-45 minutes of sleep.
(In other words, a big, cold, pillow sandwhich!)

It sort of makes for a long night (and you can only imagine the process for flipping the side I sleep on or getting out of bed to empty my bladder which occurs at least 5x a night), but I really think God is using it to prepare me for the exciting yet exhausting time after the babies arrive. Jay is surely up for a rude awakening (literally!)…he is going to have to make the switch overnight!

This week we are really looking forward to going to a multiples class at the hospital. It will be a fun day for Jay and I to see other families in our shoes and to learn about what this will look like. Half the class is devoted to pregnancy and labor/delivery and the other half is devoted to after the babies arrive. Although a lot of it is familiar to me because I teach it to moms of multiples as part of my job, it is going to be a really neat bonding experience for us as we fast-forward into the future and try to capture a glimpse of our upcoming chaotic lives! On another note, this past week we have completed our registry (course I guess it is never really done!) and I have gathered all the supplies needed for the bedding and curtains in the nursery and have surrendered it to the seamstress.  I truly can’t wait to see the final product.  
Here are some pictures--first the mangos, then one of me:)

19 weeks

Friday, July 8, 2011

My Little Sweet Potatoes-You are Growing Sweeter Each Day!

Eighteen weeks today…we are halfway there, since the overall goal is to reach 36 weeks...whooo hooo!!! On average, babies at 18 weeks weigh about 7 ounces (approximately 200 grams) and measure 5 ½ inches long. Keep in mind, when I provide measurements of length, it is only from the top of the head to the “rump,” the legs are not included. We had an ultrasound at 17 5/7 weeks and Baby A was in a difficult position to get accurate measurements of the head. With that being said, they had an estimated weight of 6 ounces for Baby A, but she measured exactly per dates. Baby B was easier to obtain her weight and she weighed in at 7 ounces exactly and also measured exactly per dates. Given that they are measuring on target for dates and A has always been the biggest baby, it is likely that the 6 ounces is a low estimate…but needless to say, they are both growing perfectly. Baby A was spine up on ultrasound along with Baby B (she really likes that position since that is the only position we ever see her in!), so it was much harder to tell them apart when we were looking at them on the ultrasound—I think they are trying to confuse me already!
I have never been so amazed by God’s perfect creation until this pregnancy. It is just absolutely amazing and such a testimony to God’s creativity and perfection on how so many intricate details develop each week. I think the highlight of development this week is that the babies are beginning to develop their sense of hearing. Right now, it is limited, but let me assure you, these babies are getting an earful!! Right now, they can hear tummy rumbles (and there is no doubt I should get a medal for the amount of tummy rumblings that I have!), my heartbeat, hiccups (speaking of which, the babies developed this skill too this week!), and last but not least can hear Gnocchi barking, who is our treasured and spoiled dog. Hmmmm….they hears Gnocchi’s voice before Jay’s or mine…let’s hope they are dog lovers! Reproductive organs are also well underway. This week the uterus and fallopian tubes are formed and placed in the correct anatomical position. Myelin, which is a protecting covering over the nerves, is also forming and will continue to develop until after the babies are born.  Another big landmark is that twice this week I was able to feel the babies kick on the outside. Jay still has not gotten this opportunity yet, but is looking forward to it. I’m also starting to learn what the babies seem to move the most to. Baby A seems to get pretty excited over bananas, while Baby B seems to prefer peanut butter and carbs (hmmmm, maybe we have one health nut on our hands and another who likes to dig into other yummy foods like her mom and dad!)
My babies are getting sweeter every week. I can see improvements in the nausea/vomiting department. I still have a bit of progress to make and am still taking Zofran, but I can see changes which is very exciting. Maybe they will grow out of their nicknames-Double and Trouble! Otherwise, I’m feeling well and continue to pray that these babies keep on growing!!!  

18 weeks

Friday, July 1, 2011

Two Purple Turnips For Me Please!

Baby A and Baby B, who we still affectionately refer to as “Double Trouble” (until they no longer warrant that name!) are now the size of turnips at 17 weeks. Since we learned last week that they are both girls, we prefer purple turnips, not green ones! Last week I mentioned that the babies on average would weigh between 3-5 ounces each, but we found out that Baby A weighed in at 5 ounces exactly and Baby B weighed in at 4.76 ounces. This week they are supposed to reach a full 5 ounces, but it makes me wonder if they are both a little more than 5 ounces since we know Baby A reached that already last week and B was so close! Each baby is about 5 inches in length (and if the babies could stretch out all the way, they would be 9 inches long!!!). Depending on your hand size, that might stretch as long as your palm. For me, 5 inches measures from the tip of my pinky just to about the base of my wrist! When I thought about having two of those side by side in my belly—I got pretty excited!!! This week I had some fun at work and put the babies on the twin heart monitors and I could see and hear their hearts ticking away at the same time. I have to admit, I’m a little spoiled since I get so many ultrasounds and can listen to their heartbeats at workJ
This week, each baby is starting to get a little bit of body fat (whoo hoo…they need to catch up to me!). They also are starting to make their own very first stool, known as meconium. Oh, Jay is going to have so much fun trying to wipe that tar-like substance off their butts-I can only imagine!! Their skeletal bones continue to develop from cartilage into bones this week as well. They also are continuing on perfecting some important reflexes such as sucking and swallowing. Lastly, the umbilical cord is growing thicker and stronger and works hard to bring nutrients to the babies and removing wastes.
I’m reading though “What to Expect When You are Expecting Book” (which was a gift from my friend Megan—Thanks Megan!), and I sort of chuckled when I read that at this stage the uterus is the size of a small melon and that at this point I might begin to outgrow my clothes….Really—I outgrew my clothes at 7 weeks!!! I don’t have a small melon anymore; I have more of a watermelon sized belly!! I think the authors should have a multiple pregnancy comparison—boy that would be more helpful!
Well, I’ve been off the Zofran pump for 9 days now, but who is counting?! It has not been an easy ride since then and yesterday was probably one of my worst days in 2 weeks, but I’ll continue to battle through this and see if I can just survive on the oral medication around the clock. Just like before, I have to take it one day at a time, and if worse came to worse, I know by Thanksgiving it will all be behind me!   
Jay and I are working on pulling together ideas for the baby room and we are so excited for these precious babies. We decided on a non-traditional nursery. The nursery will be black and white with pink accents. The main patterns are black damask on white and very pale pink polka dots on black. Everything will be custom made and I think it is going to be pretty stunning. Jay picked out a beautiful black and white tree with pale pink flowers and butterflies that will overstretch one of the dressers as well. And with me…It should be obvious that a person who loved pink for many years, will have pink walls for the girls nursery. I can’t wait until it all comes together. Once we get closer to a finished product (which probably won’t be until October –November) I’ll have to post pictures. See you all next week (with ultrasound pictures we hope!).