Grace and Hope

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

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Twenty-Five Weeks…I Have Never Been So Thankful To See You!

Although I continue to have high hopes and many prayers lifted up to remain pregnant until some time in November…right now I’m so thankful for small steps, this week, reaching twenty-five weeks. Unfortunately, I had a little more of an eventful week than I had planned…but thanks be to God, we are still reporting good news.
Hindsight is always 20/20…but looking back, it is possible that I have had a urinary tract infection for at least a week or so, but the symptoms are somewhat difficult to decipher when you are pregnant and drinking so much water. By Sunday this past week, I realized something was very wrong…and was admitted to the hospital at that point in time. Long story short, I had a kidney infection which resulted in very frequent contractions. I was started on a lot of meds to control the contractions because we were doing everything possible not to go into labor at 24 weeks—the cusp of viability. At the time, we were not positive why the contractions were happening and the doctor was unsure if I would ever leave  the hospital at that point….but after 3 days of seeing very little improvement, then changing the antibiotics to the correct one, specific to the bacteria identified, I made drastic leaps of improvement. Very quickly the tune changed and we were optimistic for a weekend discharge. And praise God…I’m now home, thankful for every day that I’m pregnant so that these girls can grow big and strong. Until further notice, I will remain on strict bedrest and treated with meds for contractions. To give you an idea of what strict bedrest at home looks like—I have to be laying flat on my left side 24/7 (even for eating meals), except for bathroom privileges (thank you Lord!), and my luxury for the day is a 5 minute shower, as long as I’m sitting. Let me assure you, I will do everything I can to do what is best for these babies, but ultimately, God is in control. With that being said, not only am I thankful for every day that passes, but I continue to be so thankful for my wonderful husband who has sacrificed his own sanity to keep mine! Of course, he has always been the man of the house, but now he also has to be the wife of the house, and much, much more considering I can’t so much as make myself something to eat! He really is partaking in this pregnancy now….but according to him, he has been having all the signs and symptoms of pregnancy since the beginning!!!! Yes, we have been able to keep a sense of humor through it all. Many thanks to our amazing family and friends who are going above and beyond as we continue on this journey.
The one perk of this week was getting to know my babies even better (when you have to be monitored 3x a day, you learn more every day). In a previous post, we learned that the babies hiccup to develop their diaphragm muscles. Although I can’t feel it yet (give me about another 2-3 weeks), you can hear it on the monitor. It is one of the sweetest noises ever…in the background of hearing two healthy heartbeats, you hear this rhythmic hiccup coming from one of the babies  (sometimes we even knew which one was hiccupping too!). Talk about falling in love with your babies. Although Baby A sometimes gets a reputation of being somewhat lazy, let me assure you, she is not lazy whatsoever. She is positioned head down and feet inwards, so her movements are more subtle. However, she was definitely the most active baby. Many, many, many a times when we would put her on the monitor, the nurses would say she “took a walk” because she would be in a completely different area several times throughout my monitoring. Baby B, ironically enough seemed to be less active as the week went on, and guess what—sure enough I got an ultrasound this past Friday and she flipped and her head is down and feet were up which explains why I can’t feel her little feet as much anymore. However, whenever I lay on her side, she gives me a heck of a fight about it! Yesterday I had feet very low again, so she seems to not know which end is up quite yet! While in the hospital, I had a test in which I had to fast for 12 hours during the day (it is criminal to starve a pregnant woman during the day by the way!) and my babies have never been so angry before…ever!! These babies really had a lot to say about not being fed and after finally eating around 9:30pm at night, the babies had the best night sleep ever…they were exhausted and their bellies were finally happy! I love getting to know the babies better and even the nurses were picking up on their different personalities…they truly are precious little babies already. I had an ultrasound prior to discharge and our babies are growing well. Baby A weighed 1 pound and 10 ounces and Baby B weighed 1 pound and 9 ounces. Keep growing babies!
At the twenty-five week mark (this past Friday), the babies measured approximately 13 ½ inches in length and are similar to the size of a rutabaga. On average their weight is about 1 ½ pounds (my babies are bigger!). From here on out, the babies bulk up and all their organs continue to mature. Two noteworthy things this week are that their heads of hair now has pigmentation…meaning that it has turned the color that it will be when we meet our little girls. This whole week I was trying to figure out if they would have hair coloring closer to Jay’s or mine….maybe one of each?!? Also, we know that the babies have been hearing the noises/voices on the outside, but now when there is a loud noise, they can actually cover their ears with their hands to dampen the noise! Talk about the cutest thing ever—I can see it now!
For those of you who are able to attend my baby shower this coming weekend (SO excited!!), we still continue to plan on celebrating these little miracles. I think we have a lot to celebrate. I’m so thankful for my wonderful hosts who are planning such a wonderful event…thank you from the bottom of my heart!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Entry Under Construction

Please visit back later this weekend for this week's blogpost. Sorry for the delay!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Chicago Hot Dogs…or Houston Hot Dogs?!?

This week is a pivotal week in pregnancy because twenty-four weeks, in most academic circles, marks the week of viability. I think of the moms who have delivered prematurely at this point in pregnancy and I think of how short and bittersweet their experience would have been as a pregnant mom. God protect this pregnancy and keep these babies growing healthy and strong…inside…at least until November!
At this time, each baby weighs approximately 1 pound and 4-5 ounces. They measure about 12 inches from head to toe, which is the length of a Chicago hot dog. Everyone seems to have the story that they were pregnant during the hottest summer on record…and well it looks like I will have that story to share as well. I have to argue that our babies are Houston HOT dogs because we have had the hottest summer on record. In fact, we have well surpassed the number of consecutive days over 100 degrees (this does not include the heat index which generally reaches 106-110 every day), and we are approaching the record for having the most days over 100 degrees in an entire summer—we are only 3 days away from tying the record and according to the forecast, we also will shatter this record! Needless to say, this makes one hot momma and two hot babies!!
From this point forward, the organs continue to mature and the babies put on weight. Every day that the babies are growing inside equals about three days less in the NICU from this point until about 32-34 weeks gestation. Let me repeat myself…babies as much as I love you and can’t wait to meet you, I can most certainly wait until at least November!
We had an appointment this past week and it was so incredible to see how big the babies are and where on my belly they are actually laying. Baby A is always on my left and Baby B is always on my right, which makes it easy to decipher who is moving. However, poor Baby A sometimes has a rough time because Baby B is either kicking her in the head, or waking her up. Well, Baby A was having some ‘pay-back time’ during the ultrasound…she was sticking her little ol’ butt right in Baby B’s space, way across midline. After all, Baby A is the bigger sister and she needs to start showing it! I’m beginning to learn more about their personalities this week too as the movements get more frequent and stronger. Baby A will always be sure to tell me when it is time to eat. If she is hungry for breakfast, my next meal or a snack, she is not shy about giving me a great big nudge (hmm, maybe she takes after me and gets a little cranky when she is hungry!). Baby B, although slightly smaller, she loves to eat! She is most active after eating…I can tell she has a real appreciation for food—just like her dad! Our appointment was 5 days ago, but based on the projected weights this week and last week, they seem to be on target. Baby A weighed in at 1 pound 4 ounces and Baby B weighed in at 1 pound 3 ounces. We are back on the two week schedule for appointments, so I look forward to the next time we get to see our babies again soonJ
My lifelong best friend, Liz, sent me a very special gift for my 30th birthday (yes, I have entered the next decade—yikes!). I took a picture of the serving dish so you could see how perfect it is! More to come next week.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Harry Potter…Use Your Magic To Get Us Into The 30’s!

Twenty-three weeks and growing! The babies now measure a grand total of 11 inches in length (head to toe). Eleven inches can be likened to an ear or corn or the length of a Harry Potter book. As excited as I am to be at week 23, I anxiously hold my breath until we are into the 30’s for gestational age, and then I feel like I can let out a short sigh of relief. Harry Potter, use your magic and make the next 7 weeks flash by like a blink of an eye! Each baby weighs approximately 1.1-1.2 pounds each and in the next 4 weeks their weights are expected to double. Between weeks 22-27, the babies go under the greatest amount of weight gain than any other five-week window in pregnancy. If the scale is any indication of how they are growing, I’m pretty positive they are growing on target! Despite the nausea and vomiting coming back with a  vengeance (after a brief 5 day period of feeling somewhat “normal”), the pounds still are adding up on the scale (I would love to know how that math actually works out!).
I find it fairly amusing reading some of the information about how the woman’s body changes through pregnancy. Let me be the first to tell you, my body didn’t quite read the book, well at least for a singleton pregnancy, and it gives me all sorts of ideas of the need to write a book on how the woman’s body changes when expecting multiples. I find it humorous when I read that the navel was supposed to “pop out” at about 20 weeks when the uterus reached the height of the navel. Ummmm, people noticed my “popped out belly button” as early as 8 weeks on…and there was no hiding it since!! Or the linea nigra which is a pigmented line on the belly from pregnancy hormones which first shows around week 23…how about week 10??  Perhaps the most amusing part…how much weight you should gain by this time in pregnancy…the macaroni and cheese has to go somewhere! Despite the “quicker than expected changes,” I stand amazed at how God created the human body and the way the body responds to pregnancy, and of course Double and Trouble who are growing inside…this experience truly is the most incredible thing I have ever witnessed. Thank you God for allowing me this amazing opportunity…whether I be on the express train or not!
The babies are just now at the cusp of viability, so important developments are taking place in the lungs. Blood vessels in the lungs are forming to prepare for blood exchange of gasses during breathing. Surfactant, which is an important substance found in the lungs to prevent them from collapse, is just starting to be produced at this time. The babies are also starting to have breathing movements to develop the diaphragm muscle. The cerebrum (the part of the brain that is responsible for intellect, motor control, and memory) now has some folds and wrinkles, which will continue to form throughout the rest of the pregnancy. Other areas in the brain (areas that control hunger, emotion, balance, and basic impulses) are just beginning to emerge, but rather undeveloped at this point in pregnancy. Also, the babies now have rapid eye movements (REM) which are eye motions that occur during the stage of sleep when dreaming occurs (I think my babies dream about macaroni and cheese!).
Looking forward to our appointment next week where we should get actual weights and see how big the babies have grown!
23 Weeks

Friday, August 5, 2011

Double Stuffed Oreos

Twenty-two weeks and counting...and the babies each weigh right around 1 pound each now! Remember the last time you went to the food store and picked up a 1lb box of sugar....or pick up two boxes and you now have the total weight of both Double and Trouble! The babies also measure about 8 inches in length. If you are a health nut, think of a spaghetti squash, and if you are one who lives on the edge when it comes to nutrition, think of the length of a package of oreos and that is how long the babies are this week! I think I'm getting hungry for some double stuffed oreos!!
This week was a big week in the development of the sensory system. The babies now have developed the sense of touch. Since there isn't too much to grab onto, the babies are likely to hold onto their umbilical cord or touch their faces during this time. Personally, I think these babies have got it figured out beyond that, it is common that Baby B will be doing her typical karate-like moves and be aiming for Baby A and wake her up from a slumber and then they both get going. I think Baby B is figuring out her sense of touch by giving her sister a rough time in utero! Their sense of light continues to develop and they have be a much better ability to detect changes in light, even though their eyes are still fused. The babies are also continuing to develop their hearing, even more than before. Now, instead of just being able to hear the gentle voice (or rather obnoxious barking) of my dog, Gnocchi, they now can hear both Jason and I. Interestingly, if we were to sing certain rhythms or songs from here on out, they will respond to those songs after birth with recognition of the rhythm....pretty awesome!! Apart from sensory development, the eyelashes and eyebrows are well formed and more hair continues to sprout on top of the head, although at this stage it is white in color.
We are so thankful that these babies are continuing to grow and develop and it is the most amazing thing to feel and see them wriggle all around. Please continue to pray that they be healthy and grow big and strong, because let’s be honest--it is going to be quite a riot to see two 5-6 pound babies side by side in my belly.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011


Jay and I were so blessed that we could spend a few days away for our final "Baby Moon"...a special getaway before the babies come home. We stayed at a luxurious golf/spa Westin resort in the Hill Country of good ol' Texas and it was just an amazing time. We are so thankful that I was well enough to travel and that Tropical Storm Don, which was heading right for us, dissipated when it hit land...Amen!! We couldn't have had a more relaxing time at the pool, complete with Mai Tais for Jason (water for me!), amazing breakfasts complete with made-to-order omelets, Texas shaped belgian waffles topped with syrup, walnuts, and bananas, eggs benedict, and...well, need I say more? We had the most amazing dinner together, looking over God's beautiful hills of Texas, with the sun setting during our meal...and boy I wish we just turn back the time to this past weekend! Here are some pictures from our adventures.

 21 weeks

21 weeks

The most amazing husband ever!!!