Grace and Hope

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

Friday, September 30, 2011

Cabbage patch kids

Today we celebrate passing the 30 week mark and we've celebrated with cupcakes once again and hope to have another cupcake at 32 weeks!  The babies now weigh almost 3 pounds each, like the head of a cabbage.  They are almost 16 inches long at this point too! 

The babies' eyesight continues to develop and they can now see a few inches in front of their face, about 20/400 vision.  They don't really need baby contacts though because there's nothing they have to look at but each other.  Eyebrows and eyelashes are fully developed and hair is growing.  They are putting on fat and are proportioned like a newborn.  Babies can be seen experiencing rapid eye movement in ultrasounds, which means they could be dreaming!  Hopefully they are dreaming about something nice.  We certainly have been dreaming about them for a long time!

On Tuesday I was admitted to the hospital after a routine dr. visit due to preterm labor.  So, my wonderful stay at home has come to an end.  I'll be in the hospital on strict bedrest until the end of the pregnancy.  Unfortunately it's more restrictive than it was before and the meds are very strong and wear on me a lot.  It's tough to even read or move a pillow.  At least Jason was able to help put this together so I could continue my Friday posts.  He'll continue to help me do this until our babies are here!

We may not have pictures for awhile but we did add a photo to the 29 week post from while we were still at home.

Our nursery is starting to come together and we might ahve pictures to share of it next week.  Stay tuned.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Tis the Season…

Despite living in Texas and having basically two seasons—hot and very hot, there is a sense of fall in the air. I love the fall-the decorations, the pumpkins, the fall-exclusive food items, and well, my mom’s cinnamon chunky applesauce! Well, tis the season for fall, and we open our arms to embrace our two little butternut squashes this week! Now at 29 weeks, the babies are about the size of a butternut squash, weighing in at about 2 ½ pounds and measuring about 15 inches in length. So now, we total about 5 pounds of baby!
Phew, we have made it through the monumental 28 week mark and we continue to look ahead at our next mile-marker—30 weeks (and I can’t lie, I look forward to that scrumptious cupcake too!). One important development during this last trimester is packing on the weight—for the babies, and hopefully not too much more on me! Haha. They started out with a brown fat which gets metabolized to keep them warm if they are born early, but now it is starting to change over to white fat. This fat is the cute fat that makes you just want to grab a little baby’s cheeks. Right now, about 4% of the baby’s weight is composed of white fat. Needless to say, they got a lot of bulking up to do! The next few weeks are very important for lung, brain, and intestinal development. So we continue to wait with hope...hoping that these babies will have at least until 34 weeks to grow, grow, and grow some more!
This past week my work friends were super sweet to throw me a baby shower. Despite missing the first shower they planned, they were gracious enough to try again and come over and hang out with me.  It was great to hang out with my friends and catch up on all the festivities that I’m missing at work. We have a lot of exciting developments at work because we plan to be flying in the helicopter again by November 1st—hmmm, that date ring a bell to anyone? Trust me, I’ll be on cloud nine if we can hang in there until November…and my friends, well, they will be in the clouds too!
Jay has not only been busy working his normal schedule, but also being the wife, and taking care of me too—talk about a busy guy! He has been busily working in the nursery and in a few more weeks we will be able to post pictures. Not to anyone’s surprise, but he has been my “everything!” See you next week at our next milestone marker….30 weeks here we come!

Friday, September 16, 2011

28 Weeks…Third Trimester…Hallelujah!

Here we are, in the third trimester at 28 weeks—Thank you Lord! Granted, we are not actually through the pivotal 28 week mark until Friday of next week, but knowing that we are beginning the week is enough to celebrate with a cupcake if you ask me! Jay and I are going to celebrate with a cupcake every 2 weeks since each two-week window is huge for development and long-term outcomes. Once this week is over, the survival rate for 28 week infants is 100% and the chances of long-term physical or neurological impairments is only 10%. Got to keep inching towards November….one week at a time!
This week I had an outing to the doctor for a regular scheduled visit. Wow, it is amazing that in two weeks you can actually notice new construction and changes to the scenery! Also, I think I forgot how hot it is outside—I have been living the “dog life” and have two fans on me at all times! The babies are so beautiful and precious, it is the highlight of my week to see them on ultrasound. Most people just get “measured” at their appointments and only get ultrasounds about 3 times during their pregnancy, but with our pregnancy being high-risk, we get to see our girls every visit. Our babies are growing…I can tell because Baby B is just now able to reach my ribs with her little feet. Baby A is having some payback time from earlier in the pregnancy and has flipped and now has the advantage of giving Baby B a “gentle nudge” in the head with her bicycle kicks. I just hope it feels softer on Baby B than it does on my bladder!!! The funny part is I can pretty much pin-point in the week when Baby A flipped—granted, she isn’t huge, but she only has half the real estate to do her acrobatics and it was like going down a big hill on a roller coaster, but just on one side of my belly, with a little extra fluttering involved. I think I can write all day about my babies, but I won’t bore you with the minutia! As of Wednesday this week (27 5/7 weeks) Baby A was 2 pounds and 2 ounces. Baby B was 2 pounds and 1 ounce. They are measuring one week behind in growth, which is consistent from our last appointment and still is within normal range for twins…I think we can all presume that I was never going to have record-shattering size babies!!  Baby A is now head up and feet down (breech position) and the doctor was able to get a fantastic 3-D image of her face this week. I can’t help but stare at her beauty all day long. Meet Baby A below….you can see a picture of her face and then one of her left ear. I’m not really sure where she got her nose from since Jay and I have distinct noses and she doesn’t have either one of our noses, but I’m sure as she grows she will look more like us! We tried to capture Baby B too, but with her being head down (vertex) and face pointing towards my spine, it was impossible to get an image. I look forward to my next two-week appointment to see the girls again.
Our babies are working on growing….an average baby is now about 2 ¼ to 2 ½ pounds at this point (ours are a little closer to being just shy of 2 ¼ pounds) and are about 15 inches long…or the size of a churro! At this point in development, they are able to dream…they better be dreaming about meeting us in November and not a day earlier! They are able to wink, cough, and have improved sucking and breathing. The rods and cones in their eyes are now developed which means they can detect different levels of brightness (even in the womb!) and have pigmentation in their eyes, although at this point, it will be either blue or brown until about 9 months of age. They also have beautiful eyelashes to flutter when they are winking or blinking! Baby A also looks like she is sporting some eyebrows too!! Enough of me rambling—let’s get to the good part—the pictures!! See you next week.

28 weeks

We are happy to introduce to you Baby A:

(Baby A left ear and profile)
Looks like our babies have a reputation that preceeds them!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Cucumbers and Cauliflower….Now Part Of My Diet Too?!

Here we are—another week down, now at 27 weeks!! From 24 weeks on, each two-week window that passes is a huge developmental milestone for the babies and we anxiously await the big 28 weeks when the chances of survival are almost near 100%...right now, the chance of survival is about 85%--we are almost there!  The babies are getting bigger (me too!), now about 2 pounds each (doubling their weight from four weeks ago!) and measuring about 14 ½-15 inches long. Two pounds is equivalent to a head of a cauliflower and the length is equivalent to a cucumber! The babies are growing, and although it is difficult for me to sense their growth, I sure do feel that they are awake more frequently and more active.
This week the brain, lungs, and immune system continue to mature. Movements are also more purposeful (are they kicking me on purpose?!) and they can even suck their fingers or thumb at this point. The babies now have sleep and wake cycles, although I’m having a hard time believing Baby A has much of a sleep cycle at all!
Unfortunately, I was recently diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes, which is more common when pregnant with multiples because of the extra surge of hormones from two placentas. The first line of treatment is changing the diet—eating every 2-3 hours and having a good balance of food intake. For me, it actually has kept me very accountable to eating a large intake of food (2400 calories per day!) because on bedrest your appetite plummets. My sugars have been very well controlled, even when I sneak in a little extra pudding on the side! However, I’m supposed to be eating all sorts of food I didn’t even like when I wasn’t pregnant with crazy taste buds…and it makes me wonder if Jay is going to start sneaking in cucumbers and cauliflower into my delicious soy milk, whey protein shakes! Unfortunately, it has made meal and snack preparation a little more time intensive, but as always my husband is the most amazing blessing ever and has been so helpful. Many thanks to family and friends who have also helped out during the day with lunches and snacks—there is only so much food you can store in a cooler by your bedside all day long!
I have been blessed by so many family and friends who were able to attend my baby shower, either in person or in spirit, depending on their situation. We had friends and family travel from all over the country—California, Florida, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania—I can feel the love! It was so thoughtfully planned by family and friends and it was a memorable day to say the least (minus the bedrest part!). I have quite a few pictures to share with you from the shower so you too can catch a glimpse of all the festivities! And finally…I have a belly picture of me at 27 weeks. Meet me here same time, same place next week and celebrate 28 weeks with us!!!

Check out pictures of the beautifully decorated cake. It was as delicious as it looks! The theme of the shower was "two peas  in my pod!"  
Talk about a creative Diaper Cake to match the theme of the shower!

 Here are some pictures of the festivities...


Look at my cute "two peas in my pod shirt!" This is the only photo of me standing--yes I'm well-behaved on bedrest!

And finally...a belly picture at 27 weeks!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Look Who’s Looking…

Twenty-six weeks and thankful for every bit of it! Every day the babies can grow in the womb is a small feat, but every week is a huge milestone! I hope and pray I will have many more weeks of writing about the awesome developments that have occurred in the past week. This week, the babies are now about 1 ¾ to 2 pounds each and measure about 13 ½ inches in length from head to toe. Essentially, I have two eggplant-sized babies growing in my belly!
The babies aren’t only getting bigger, but smarter too!! At this stage, the babies can open and close their eyes (now that the retinas are developed the eyelids are no longer fused) and look around in their environment. I imagine it is pretty dark inside, but if I were to shine a flashlight on my belly, they can now close their eyes in response and also give a good kick to shoo the light away. You ask—have I tried this?! My answer to you is--I’m on strict bedrest…I got some time on my hands! Haha. The babies not only are now tasting, hearing, and seeing in the womb, but also smelling as well. Both the development of their smell and taste allows them to discriminate between foods they like or don’t like, and they adjust their frequency and volume of swallowing based on these senses. It goes without saying that the brain is really starting to develop and grow at this point, in fact, 50% of their energy now is devoted to brain development.
Bedrest has been manageable so far, thanks to an amazing husband, family and friends. I’m willing to do it the rest of the pregnancy if it will improve the outcomes…so babies and I are going to enjoy some downtime together! This week Jay and I got to witness one of the neatest things…together we were able to feel Baby B have hiccups! I’m so glad Jay was home at the same time sitting right next to me because it really was a special moment. Since then, Baby A has had them and once again for Baby B.
I’m looking forward to the special baby shower celebration tomorrow…I’ll be posting pictures early next week from the shower.