34 weeks

34 weeks and the girls are cantaloupes! 34 weeks is awesome because their lungs are dooone! Yay developed lungs. At my ultrasound on Friday we could see them breathing in and out. Eeep.

Compared to last week, this week was surprisingly uneventful. Only one brief trip to L&D because my face suddenly puffed up. I wanted to just be like hey man, whatever about it, but I was vetoed. They checked my heart rate, blood pressure, urine, blood, blah blah blah. I was fine. Quickest trip to L&D yet!

On Wednesday I saw my OB for my regular scheduled appointment – what a shock. He doesn’t measure the babies, my perinatologist does that, so I was a little bummed that I didn’t get an update on the girls’ weights. Each time I get a new measurement of E & O I set a new mini goal. My last mini goal was over 3 lbs. My new mini goal is over 5 lbs. They are supposed to gain at the rate of ½ lb a week, so this is pretty feasible. I also would love them to be born with the ability to nurse. To do this, they have to have the ability to suck, swallow, breathe, in sync. This is something that babies “learn” in utero pretty close to their due date. I haven’t set that as a goal.. because I just don’t know.

My OB checked my cervix, no change. 2 cm dilated and 80% effaced. He still thinks about 36 is where I will land. I am not going to lie, it is getting harder and harder to want to keep these babies in. I am huge. People don’t even pretend they aren’t staring at me anymore. My back hurts, my stomach hurts (both inside and out), I am eating Tums like candy, I am starting to feel an enormous amount of pressure on my pelvis and back, baby kicks have gone from adorable to painful. I could go on, but I don’t need to throw myself a pity party here. Part of me says 36 weeks is awesome! The other part says 2 more weeks?! ARRRGHHHHH!!!! This is a mental marathon as much as it is a physical one. I have a growth and measurement appointment at 35 weeks which is one of the things that is helping me keep going. I like knowing how big they are. I don’t like surprises.

Rob was able to have his whole trip to England, for which I am grateful. I wanted him to go and enjoy himself so badly. Every time he talked to me I could tell he was concerned. I wanted him to be there as much as he could. I would say things like, I had heartburn today. He would be like.. and? And that’s it. That’s how boring it is over here. Go have fun. He brought back the most adorable baby clothes from his family and friends. English baby clothes seem to be more bunnies and pastels, less princesses and glitter. I LOVE IT.

Onto bump watch, 34 weeks!

IMG_2290Jillian gets annoyed when I don’t bring my A-game to our photo shoots.  This is what ensued.

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IMG_2294Rawr. 34 weeks!

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IMG_2299This is my normal state. Pained and somewhat confused.

IMG_2300Hello ladies. 

IMG_2301Also, did you notice that fall exploded on our porch? Fall babies! To be honest, I really would prefer October babies. So as badly as I want them out, they can’t come earlier than Wednesday. Priorities, people.

 

Ainsley, Part IV

(If you need to catch up, Ainsley, Part I, Part II, Part III)

Though Ainsley was ready to go home from the NICU at 17 days, there were definitely adjustments Jess and Jason had to make to come home with a preemie. For one, Jess and Jason are both tall. Jess was anticipating a 9 lb baby. We exchanged a lot of clothes before Ainsley ever got home. They didn’t have any clothes for a 5 lb baby.

Preemies of Ainsley’s age don’t quite have crying down, instead they grunt. Given that this is a lot quieter than the standard newborn cry, Jess and Jason felt they had to constantly be listening so they didn’t miss any of her cues.

Ainsley’s pediatrician wanted her eating every three hours – no matter what. This meant attempting to wake her when she was sound asleep. As you can see, this was sometimes difficult.

IMG_0389Who wants to wake a baby up? No one.

The doctors wanted Jess to add high calorie formula to her breast milk but Ainsley just wouldn’t drink it. Jess tried and tried, but she wouldn’t go for the formula. Eventually Jess had to give up and just do straight breast milk. Ainsley gained weight just fine. Jess continued to up her food intake at a measured pace until she was at what a newborn would be consuming. Ainsley had one extra weight check up with her pediatrician, but was fine weight wise.

The other major concern was Ainsley’s lungs. Because they were underdeveloped, the hospital told Jess and Jason that any exposure to cigarette smoke could put her back in the hospital. Since Jess and Jason aren’t smokers, this wasn’t really an issue at home, but it made Jess very nervous about going anywhere.

As a preemie, until two years Ainsley will have an age and an “adjusted age.”  She is actually 9 months old now, but her adjusted age is 7 months (because she came two months early). They use this adjusted age to help determine when she should hit milestones (rolling over, sitting, crawling, etc.). Ainsley has been pretty on track for her milestones, but this is definitely something Jess worried about in the beginning. Ainsley rolled over, began sitting, and started crawling on time so it’s not as big of a concern now.

Without further ado, Ainsley in all her glory.

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IMG_0792Jess loves the water and is creating a little fish. Ainsley has been in swimming lessons since she was about 5 months.

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IMG_1440Spaghetti? Um.. no.

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140-22Hello world!!

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IMG_1479Jess and Jason breed labradors. Gahhhhhh!!!

This is my favorite video of Ainsley. And it isn’t just because I bought her the table.

And then this happened…

And thus concludes the epic story of Ainsley…

33 weeks

I fought so hard to get to 33 weeks. The past several days have been an uphill battle every step of the way. I’m glad to be here.

On Tuesday I went in for an non-stress test, which they really need to change the name of. They stress me out to no end because half the time I end up being admitted because of one thing or another. Tuesday the babies looked fine, but I started having back to back contractions. Off to L&D I went.

My OB decided it was time to give me steroids for the girls’ lungs. He wanted to hold off on this, because it can lose it’s effectiveness over time, but I guess we are there now. So a shot to the arm to stop the contractions and a shot to the hip to develop the their lungs. Eventually the contractions stopped and I went home mid-afternoon. I slept for hours – the shots to stop the contractions make my heart race and make me jittery – it really takes it out of me.

I woke up for dinner and there were the contractions again. Back to back, getting more and more painful. We had a quick discussion as to who was going to take me to the hospital. Rob was supposed to leave for his sister’s wedding the next day and was in the middle of packing. We decided mom would take me. I called my OB and it was the on-call doctor again. I have an irrational hatred for the on-call doctor even though I am sure he is a very nice man.

Back to L&D and more shots for contractions. The contractions were coming so quick and strong I thought we’d be meeting E & O that night. The shots stopped them again, but I was fed up. I can become a very demanding patient when I am irritated. All I wanted was a a cervical exam. With having to stop contractions so many times in a row, I wanted to know if I was progressing or if it was false labor. I had three nurses attempt to tell me this was a bad idea and one say.. well, I guess I can wake up the on call doctor. I tried to stick to my guns but without my OB to check with I decided to wait until morning.

I was hooked up to so many monitors and fluids that I didn’t sleep all night. I finally lost my cool at 6:00 a.m. and called Rob sobbing. Luckily it only took a bagel and him coming to the hospital for me to get it together. At this point we really didn’t know if Rob would be leaving that evening for England. Rob’s mum wisely decided to keep this from his sister.

Rob called my OB and they had a long conversation about the previous night and where we go from here. Finally we had a plan: 1) cervix check 2) steroids 3) ultrasound 4) home! OB also told Rob that even if I continued to go into labor the earliest they’d let me deliver was this coming Tuesday. There were several more ways to stop labor before giving up. So Rob was going to England and E & O were staying put. Hell yes.

  1. Cervix check. 2 cm dilated, 80% effaced. Not great, but definitely still possible to go several weeks.
  2. Steroids. Check. Girls’ lungs should be good to go.
  3. Ultrasound. Everyone looking good. Plenty of fluid. E is about 3 lb 7 oz and O is 4 lbs 3 oz! Yay!! All that bacon has paid off.
  4. Home. Well…

So my perinatologist popped in at the end of my ultrasound and said she wanted to admit me for good. And then I died. I begged to not be admitted. I hadn’t slept since the day before. Did you know hospital beds move of their own accord now? Seeing me practically lose my mind at the idea of being admitted she decided she’d let me leave after more drugs and another cervix check. I was ready to just ignore her and do what my OB said. Because I am a lovely person. As far as I was concerned, they could have a fight to the death over whose orders I was supposed to follow.

I went back to my room and had to wait until 4:00 p.m. until my next set of drugs and my next cervix check. They decided to let me off the monitors, hallelujah. I was hot from the drugs they gave me so I fell asleep on top of the blankets, in a hospital gown, with no underwear. I woke up, drooling, with my OB and his nurse standing over me. Win! Anyway, my OB and my perinatologist had a pow wow and agreed that I could go home given that my cervix hadn’t changed. He then tried to talk to me about baseball because he knows I have no idea what he’s talking about and enjoys confusing me.

I was sent home at 4:00 p.m. with no changes. I am now on a regular prescription of drugs to stop me from going into labor. They make my heart race and my face flush and are just a whole pile of fun. Rob left for England and I am on even stricter bed rest. Bathroom, shower, couch, bed. To be honest, after spending a night in the hospital, bed rest is a breeze. No one is poking or prodding me. I am so ungainly now that movement of any sort is pretty difficult. I have gone from taking it a week at a time to a day at a time.

Today? No contractions.

Bump watch, week 33.

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Ainsley, Part III

(To catch up, Ainsley, Part I, Ainsley, Part II)

Ainsley arrived on Thursday and I landed about midday Friday. We went straight to the hospital and I was able to film someone very important finding out about Ainsley.

(you may need to turn up the volume)

Dylan, Jess’s step-son was six and, as you can tell, hoping for a baby sister. Not only did he get a baby sister, but she arrived 2 months early! Being there to see him find out and meet her was so amazing.

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Ainsley, being born at 32 weeks definitely had some struggles and needed to stay in the NICU. However, in preemie world, Ainsley was huge! 4 lbs 12 oz is very respectable for a baby born 8 weeks early. She also didn’t experience all of the difficulties that the nurses and doctors were anticipating. Whether it was because they had her due date slightly off or Ainsley was just ready early, we will never know.

When I arrived my sister was having a lot of difficulty getting a hold of her breast pump because of a ridiculous amount of red tape and a hospital that hadn’t caught up with the changes in health care laws. So my first assignment was driving to a medical supply store at closing time on a Friday afternoon and demanding a breast pump. Done.  Jess was discharged that night, going home without Ainsley or a breast pump would have definitely caused problems with her milk coming in.

Over the next several days it was back and forth to the hospital daily. Jess and Jason lived so far away from the regional hospital that this was no easy feat. If we went twice in one day everyone was exhausted. Jess would have been there every waking minute but it just wasn’t doable. Seeing first hand how hard this was for her makes me very grateful that my hospital is 15 minutes away.

However, the NICU that Ainsley was in was amazing and she was very well cared for. They warned Jess and Jason to be prepared for her to stay 6 to 8 weeks, which would put her at what should have been her birthdate. Ainsley had to be under special lights for jaundice and was in a regulated incubator. She wasn’t keeping her temperature up on her own.

Most preemies are tube fed, as was Ainsley. They just aren’t ready to suck, swallow, and breathe at the same time. I feel like that is a lot to ask of someone who was just born! Ainsley had some trouble digesting at fist and every set back was so hard on my sister. But Ainsley got the hang of it and by the time I went home she was just on the verge of having the feeding tube out.

Ainsley was discharged and ready to go home at 17 days.

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Stay tuned for a final post on coming home with a preemie and how Ainsley is now (be prepared for some insane cuteness).

32 weeks

32 weeks and another milestone. 32 weeks is great for twins. It is great on the prematurity front. We are well beyond hoping for survival. We are looking at preemies that need to stay in the NICU but will likely have no long term developmental issues. Yay! Singletons are likely weigh about 3¾ lbs at 32 weeks. Given that E & O are twins and have been measuring a bit small, I am hoping for 3½ lbs. I have a growth appointment this Thursday where I will find out more. Three weeks ago they were just under 3, so I feel like 3½ lbs is a respectable goal. They are moving around and definitely taking up more room in my stomach.

It is a good thing that the girls are doing great because I am .. not. Almost every time I post a bump update I get so much positive feedback on Facebook and Instagram about how great I look and how I am handling everything so well. I love the support I get and it means the world to me. It makes me feel like I am actually keeping my shit together and can do this.

This past week I have felt like I can’t. I am too big. I am learning the first hard lesson about putting my children’s needs first. I want them out. Get out, get out, get out. I am done. I am going stir-crazy on bed rest. I feel like I have reached the end of the internet.. twice. I can barely walk or sit anymore. I want to have a temper tantrum and say NO MORE. My body is done. I would like it back, please and thank you.

But, the girls would benefit greatly from another 2 or 4 weeks. 4 weeks would be great for them. I feel like 4 weeks would kill me. Every day feels 5 days long. I just sit and eat Tums and watch daytime television and watch my feet turn into elephants. I now have added taking contraction meds every couple hours to stop my contractions. Also, a new fun development, the babies are now squishing my stomach pretty badly. I felt so full after eating a half a muffin this morning that I thought I was going to puke. I have tried supplementing with Ensure and my stomach did not take kindly to that. Ooof.

The days I go to the doctor exhaust me, especially the NSTs. They are uncomfortable and long and sometimes cause me to have contractions. Hearing my OB and peri go, Yay! another few weeks at least! brings me joy and makes me want to throw something. I should also mention that it is about 104° today with no end in sight. I am not naive to the impact this is having on my mood and my ability to just keep going.

Even when feeling this way threatens to engulf me, I try to focus on how much good it is doing for E & O. That is all I have to keep me from going completely insane. I want healthy babies more than I want my body back. More than I want to sleep through the night or go shopping. I do. I had another FFN test last Monday and it came back negative, so I have a 99.1% chance of making it another week. 33 weeks!

With these results, Rob and I made THE DECISION. He leaves for England Wednesday and returns the following Thursday. I told him all along that it was his decision and not mine to make, but when it came down to it, it was mine. Had I asked him to stay he would have. But I want him to go. I want him to be with his family, I want him to see his sister get married. Worst case scenario? He comes back to two children. That’s not a bad thing to come home to. I am calm about it. Zen.

I wouldn’t be in this place if it weren’t for the amazing support system I have. My mom drives me to and from the doctor multiple times a week. She comes up with things we need to do to get ready for the babies that keep me busy and help me forget about bed rest. She also makes me lunch and dinner and picks up after me. I don’t know where I would be without her. My dad washed all of our baby clothes and has done numerous loads of laundry for us. My sister graciously gave up her, much larger, bedroom for me and Rob (and the bébés). My whole family swapped rooms and painted and made our new room into a nursery while I sat and organized shampoo bottles under the sink. On top of that I have a church family that is all rooting for me, for us.  I usually have multiple visitors a week which helps a lot. 

If I didn’t have this abundance of support in my life Rob wouldn’t be going to England. Yes, he will be missed, but I won’t be alone. And I am super excited for him to go. He hasn’t been back since we moved here, over 4 years ago. Yes, I am super scared that I will unravel completely and have an actual temper tantrum while his gone, but I still want him to go.

Onto bump watch, week 32.

IMG_1682This is how I feel. What? How? Why?

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