My CCRM IVF Journey

Our successful journey through IVF #2 at one of the world's top fertility clinics

Oops again!

Posted by auntiem10 on August 29, 2012

I messed up again and published a post over here. I want to let you choose whether you want to click over to my other blog and see pictures of my girls, so I apologize that I’ve done this twice in a row! It seems that when I click New Post, the default is to this blog, and I need to be better about checking. My apologies!

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Oops

Posted by auntiem10 on June 26, 2012

I accidentally posted my most recent post on this blog instead of my other blog. For the latest on my babies, go to http://ccrmtwins.wordpress.com. Sorry about that!

 

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Back to Blogging After All!

Posted by auntiem10 on December 15, 2011

I decided my life was a little boring without any blogging going on, so if anyone still checks in at this blog, please follow me over to “My CCRM Twin Blog.” I look forward to sharing our lives with you!

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One Year Ago

Posted by auntiem10 on October 3, 2011

One year ago today, Dr. Minjarez at CCRM retrieved 24 eggs from my body. We traveled home afterwards full of hope and nerves, afraid to be too optimistic but knowing we had tried our best. The embryology lab performed ICSI on those eggs at our request, and two of the resulting embryos became these adorable 20-day-old tiny beings:

I hope this gives hope to prospective CCRMers who are searching for success stories. I have yet to shake the disbelief that we are really done with our struggles to conceive a child, but it is true. Today feels like a good day to conclude this blog and move on to the next chapter of our lives more privately. However, I am always available by e-mail at ccrmjourney@hotmail.com. I would love to hear from anyone who has read along as we cycled at CCRM, or anyone who finds my blog in the future and has questions or just wants support. Thank you so much to everyone who followed our story and cheered us on the whole way! I will still be following along with all of your stories and look forward to staying in touch!

Posted in Babies! | 13 Comments »

16 Days Old

Posted by auntiem10 on September 29, 2011

The past few days have been really, really hard. Our Baby A, who was born with clubbed feet, received the first in a series of casts at the local children’s hospital yesterday. She is totally miserable… won’t sleep unless we are holding her despite the fact that she’s obviously exhausted, cries whenever we handle her no matter how gentle we try to be, and just acts like the casts are the most uncomfortable things in the world. I spent this morning crying and contacting both her pediatrician and orthopedist to see whether anything can be done to make her  more comfortable. The verdict was to see how she does today, and then bring her to the children’s hospital in the morning if things are still bad. They will remove her casts, examine her to make sure nothing is rubbing her skin and that she’s having no reactions, and then recast her. This is going to make her hysterical, so we have to decide if it will be worth it. Last night we split time in our recliner holding her so she would sleep a little. I hope for her sake that tonight is better… it can’t be healthy for a 16-day old newborn to be unable to sleep more than five minutes at a time.

I am learning all about mom guilt… I feel so incredibly awful that she is uncomfortable and that there’s nothing I can do about it. We’re not allowed to give her Tylenol to try to help her because it may end up masking another problem, and the casts are unfortunately a necessary evil. I would give anything to take the discomfort away… no newborn should have to deal with this! I realize that some newborns out there deal with so many worse medical problems, but you can’t blame me for wanting to take away my child’s pain, no matter how minor the situation may be. Everyone keeps trying to comfort me by reminding me that she won’t remember any of this… I do not feel comforted because it doesn’t change the fact that she has to deal with the discomfort right now. Although I wouldn’t want time to speed up because I’m enjoying every minute of getting to know our babies, I am counting down the hours until this casting business is over.

Things are going well otherwise… our babies are starting to gain back some of the weight they lost after birth, and they are keeping us on our toes. We are so busy, I haven’t had much time to comment on all my friends’ blogs or stay caught up. I am sorry! I’m lucky to shower every other day and fit in a meal or two per day right now, and that’s even with the help of my husband being at home with me full-time until November. I’m hoping to catch up soon and am reading along as much as I can. Thinking of you all!

Posted in Babies! | 7 Comments »

Five Days Old

Posted by auntiem10 on September 18, 2011

The past five days have been completely overwhelming, but also the most wonderful stretch of days of my entire life. Simply put, I could not be happier to be totally exhausted and stretched to my limits. Already, being a mother is everything I dreamed of and more. Here are the babies leaving the hospital on Friday:

They are doing really well, eating more and more each day and keeping us up all night long because they have their days and nights mixed up. I would not trade this sleep deprivation for anything in the world.

Last Tuesday, we got stuck in traffic and checked into Labor & Delivery 20 minutes later than scheduled. Everyone was rushing around, trying to get us ready for our 10am time slot. I had to wash my body with some cleansing wipes, and then a nurse started an IV and began running saline through it. The anesthesiologist arrived to describe the spinal block, and we signed a bunch of forms. Just a few minutes before we were scheduled to go into the OR, we were bumped. A woman had been pushing for three hours without success, so she needed an emergency c-section. The situation was totally understandable, so we settled in to wait for our first glimpse of our daughters. The good thing about the wait was that all our family arrived at the hospital during this time, so they were able to come back to our room and hang out with us.

At about 1:30 p.m., I was finally wheeled back to the OR. The spinal block had been a major, major source of anxiety for me, so I trembled as the anesthesiologist did his thing. A student couldn’t quite find the right spot (scary!), so the main guy had to finish the job. Once the block was in, everyone hustled to get me into position before my lower half went totally numb. That numbness is SO weird.

After my peri made the first incision, my hubby was allowed to enter and sit next to me. A drape blocked our view, thank goodness. Within just a few minutes, we heard the two most miraculous cries in the world… our babies! Baby A was in position to arrive first, and Baby B arrived one minute later. My hubby hurried over to capture the moment as they were brought to warming stations and checked over. Periodically he came back to show me pictures as the surgeons ligated my fallopian tubes and closed me up. During this time, I became very nauseous and had to throw up. The anesthesiologist gave me anti-nausea meds through my IV, but they didn’t work quickly enough. The weird thing was that due to my numbness, I had no control over my throwing up. I just had to open my mouth and let the grossness work its way out. Yuck. Within a few moments, though, the anti-nausea meds took effect and I was fine after that.

The head of my perinatology practice showed up toward the end of surgery just to see the babies, which I thought was so nice. Apparently my hubby and I became special to the practice on account of this summer’s trials and tribulations due to my accident. He came over and told me that Baby A was really big and healthy, probably over 7 lbs. We were shocked when they said 7 lbs 10 oz! My hubby brought them over to me one at a time so I could see them, and right before surgery was complete, a nurse took our picture as a family of four. I will treasure this photo always.

We went back to our room, which was in the Recovery unit. Originally we were going to be selfish and spend a few hours alone with the babies, but since our surgery occurred so much later than planned, we decided to let family in immediately so they could see the babies before they had to leave town to go home. I loved seeing everyone’s faces as they gazed at our daughters for the first time.

The next three days in the hospital were a blur, honestly. The babies passed their hearing tests at 100%. There are no signs yet of my bone disorder, thank goodness. Doesn’t necessarily mean they don’t have it, but baseline x-rays showed no signs of previous fractures, and everything has checked out fine up to this point. Baby A does have clubbed feet as diagnosed, and we start that treatment at our local children’s hospital this week. My incision is healing nicely, and I’m feeling really pretty good.

We are getting next to no sleep, since the babies are mixed up on days and nights. They don’t want to sleep in their pack & play at night–only on us. My hubby has been sleeping in our recliner, which he dragged into our walk-in closet. I sleep in the glider in our bedroom. We get the babies nice and snuggly, and then we try to put them down in their pack & play. Within five minutes, they are screaming hysterically. Rinse and repeat all night long. This morning Baby A actually went down in her pack & play and let me sleep in my own bed from 5:30 – 7:15, at which point we had to wake her because she needed to eat. So maybe she will start sleeping for longer stretches in there in the coming weeks.

So much more to say, but I need to tend to a baby. I sit here, listening to my little Baby A coo in her pack & play and look at my hubby snoozing on the couch across from me with Baby B on his chest, and I know that I’ve won the jackpot. The love I feel for my little family right now is seriously overwhelming, and I thank you all for following our story.

Posted in Babies! | 13 Comments »

37w3d: May I Introduce To You…

Posted by auntiem10 on September 13, 2011

I am over-the-moon ecstatic to introduce our newborn daughters to you…

Violet Hope – 7 lbs 10 oz – born first at 2:13 p.m.

and Layla June – 5 lbs 14 oz – born second at 2:14 p.m.

Please forgive the big black boxes on her cap… I wanted to block out personal info but am too tired to do it in a classy way tonight.

More later, but all is well. They are breathing great on their own and are starting to show interest in eating from a bottle, although it seems like they’ve been on a hunger strike today. We are so grateful that everything is going well so far. I better end this so I can feed them, but I will add another post with more info when I get a chance!

 

Posted in Babies! | 38 Comments »

36w6d: Last Office Appointment!

Posted by auntiem10 on September 9, 2011

Today was our last NST and ultrasound at our peri’s office! We started going there on March 1st of this year at 9 weeks and have spent a lot of time there over the past six months. It was kind of surreal to hear all the good-luck wishes from the staff; they all started taking a special interest in us after my accident in May.

The babies were a little sleepy today during the ultrasound. It turns out that there was an order for a biophysical profile (BPP) this time around. I’m not sure if they’ve been doing this every ultrasound, or if today was a special occasion. Baby A was snoozing with her right arm bent and her hand near her face. During the BPP, the u/s tech tries to capture different types of movement: flexing, practicing breathing, etc. Baby A was practicing breathing nearly the entire time, but she was too sleepy to perform any other movements. We watched her onscreen for a full 30 minutes, during which time she slept and slept. Baby B was initially sleepy, but started stretching out her legs and arms toward the end of the 30 minutes. The peri ended up coming into the u/s room after the 30 minutes and using a little buzzer to wake up Baby A. The buzzer vibrates against my belly and makes a noise that the babies can hear. The peri had the ultrasound picture trained on Baby A’s spine, and when the buzzer sounded, we saw her jerk her body in surprise. Then she moved around a little bit more, so the peri ended up giving her an 8/8 score on her BPP. He explained that when babies are lethargic, the first concern is that they are hypoxic (lacking oxygen). In that type of situation, the peri looks for signs of practice breathing first. A hypoxic baby would not waste his/her time or energy on practicing this skill. Since our Baby A was practicing breathing the entire scan, he wasn’t concerned about her oxygen supply. We were happy that she received a perfect score eventually!

The NST was similarly difficult today. The babies kept moving off the monitors, and the tech struggled to monitor their heartbeats consistently. They passed the test within about the first five minutes with their heart accelerations and decelerations, but it seemed a little harder today to keep track of them. They were apparently sleeping during this test as well because their heart rates stayed on the low side. Babies’ heart rates accelerate as they bob around inside their gestational sacs, so the fact that their heart rates stayed steady and in the 130s was a sign that they were probably snoozing. My blood pressure today was 139/90, which sadly is the best it’s been in quite a few weeks. The alarms on the machine didn’t even sound this time, which is good.

Four more days! Four more days! We can’t believe it’s the weekend before we become parents and our lives change forever. We are planning to spend the weekend quietly, having dinner out and spending time together and with our doggies. Their worlds are about to be totally rocked, too! : ) My next blog entry will hopefully include a few pictures of our babies!

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36w4d: Six Days to Go

Posted by auntiem10 on September 7, 2011

Yesterday was another interesting appointment at the peri’s office. The thought of spending another weekend feeling so uncomfortable in my own body was making me want to cry, so I asked the NP if there was any wiggle room to move up our c-section date to Friday, which their office calculates as 37 weeks. I figured the worst they could do is say no, and I did not believe a couple of days would be detrimental to the babies. (Later I learned that the doctors typically deliver twins in the 38th week, and they are a little concerned about lung maturity. I’m not sure why they are cutting me a break and delivering at 37.5 weeks, but I hope it isn’t disadvantageous to the babies.) The NP didn’t say no to my request but instead asked me a lot of questions about symptoms I’m having related to pre-eclampsia: swelling in legs/feet (check), headache (check, but I think this is mostly b/c of sleep deprivation), heartburn (check), etc. Then I went for diagnostic testing.

First blood pressure check: 137/96. Yikes. I gained not even quite a pound since last week, putting me up 34.9 lbs at this point. The NST went perfectly–both babies were completely wild, requiring the tech to move the monitors around my belly to keep up with their insane somersaulting. It’s almost as if they know they’re in the spotlight during these tests and decide to show off. Second blood pressure check: 132/90. At this point, I confided in the tech that I am SO ready to meet these babies and start the next phase, and she pretty much put herself on a mission to keep my blood pressure on the high side in the hopes that a high BP would lead to an earlier delivery. She had me just barely turn on my left side, thinking my BP would be less likely to respond if I wasn’t completely turned on my side. Third BP check: 130/83. Still a little high, but not even worth showing to the peri. I think the tech was a little disappointed that her efforts were in vain. And with that, I was free to leave the room and provide my lovely urine sample.

The protein-in-your-pee test takes only 65 seconds to get results, so my nurse tested it right then and there. Since last Tuesday, I’ve gone from traces of protein in my urine to one step up from that, so we were sent to the lab for bloodwork. The plan was that if anything in my bloodwork looked bad, they would deliver at the end of the week. If not, we would stick with our original date of next Tuesday. My blood wasn’t even drawn until 4:30 p.m., so we had to wait until this morning to learn the results.

My labs came back “stone cold normal,” according to the NP, so we are still on for next Tuesday. Six more days. I will make it and with a minimum amount of complaining. After all, I am so fortunate to have been able to carry these babies this long and will be carrying them into their 37th week of life. I’ve grown two tiny humans who are estimated to be the size of a singleton newborn, and there is no greater advantage for a baby at birth than having size and lung maturity on their side.

I am continually amazed at the way my body has handled pregnancy. Yes, I may have thrown up on a weekly basis for the past 36.5 weeks, but my superwoman body protected two babies flawlessly while I fell in the shower and broke three bones. My body took care of them while I was having knee surgery on May 28 and helped them to thrive during the long weeks of my recovery. So to complain about my body now seems rather selfish. It has done all of the hard work since January and has provided a sanctuary for these babies during a rather rough last four months. Who cares about a few aches and pains? These next six days will fly by, I’m sure, and then it will be time to meet our girls!

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36w3d: The Final Stretch!

Posted by auntiem10 on September 6, 2011

One week from today (or hopefully sooner!), we’ll welcome our girls into the world! For the past week, they have been moving around in my belly like aliens, especially in the evenings. This morning, for the first time ever, they had the hiccups at the same time. This sensation to me feels like someone is tapping on my insides every few seconds. So I was sitting in a work meeting, feeling tap-tap on the left (Baby B), tap-tap on the right (Baby A), tap-tap on the left, tap-tap on the right, then tap-tap on both sides at the same time. What a weird (and distracting!) feeling! I’m sure I had a stupid smile on my face throughout the meeting because I was just so amazed at what I was feeling inside of my body. : ) And all morning, they’ve been fluttering around inside and letting me know that they are awake and hanging out in there. Amazing.

Today is our next-to-last NST. The hospital we chose is 45 minutes from our house and in an area of the city with heavy and confusing traffic, so we are both excited to be almost done with all of these appointments. We selected the hospital because they have the best NICU in our area, which thankfully now we probably won’t even need to use. Thank goodness!

Once again, we packed our suitcase in our trunk, just in case. I am so ready to meet these girls and hope that circumstances occur that speed up delivery to this week. Waiting through another weekend is going to drive me bonkers! But of course, we only have a week left at worst-case scenario, and our primary concern is that the babies have every advantage to be healthy. If that means waiting a few extra days until the 13th, then so be it. I am just being impatient because after starting this journey with the ODWU on April 7, 2010 and making our way through IVF, CCS testing, Depot Lupron treatment, FET prep, and then the FET, I am READY!!! I want to hold these babies and not just feel them on the inside. I want to assume the role of Mom and protect them and love them with every fiber of my being. And now that this reality is so close to my grasp, I am having a hard time staying patient!

Life is never, ever going to be the same. And it’s not going to be about just my hubby and I anymore. And you know what? That is absolutely fine with us. Our dreams are coming true.

Posted in Pregnancy | 4 Comments »

36 Weeks!!!

Posted by auntiem10 on September 3, 2011

Today marks a big milestone: 36 weeks!

Yesterday we went back to the peri’s office for our third-to-last NST. Only two more to go! Everything looked great. Both babies passed with flying colors. My blood pressure was 130/101 the first check, but after resting on my side for a few minutes, it went down to 120/80. Good enough to satisfy the peri on duty, so we were sent on our way.

Next we had a limited ultrasound. They basically just measure heart rates, fluid levels, and cord doppler readings. The heart rates were 141 and 138 beats per minute, the fluid levels were both over 4 (anything above 3 with twins is considered wonderful by my practice’s doctors), and the cord doppler readings were perfect. The babies are very hard to see on the monitor now because their bones have hardened, so the pictures we take home are fewer and fewer.

And with that, our appointment was over. We will return on Tuesday for our next-to-last NST and our last office visit. Yippee!

Now that these babies are so big, I am feeling miserable. I will just admit it, and I hate myself for typing it because I always said I would never complain about carrying babies in my body. I had no idea how uncomfortable it could be to carry around two 7ish lb babies. I feel like I’m trapped in my body at this point. Our scheduled c-section is 10 days away, so there is an end in sight. However, I can’t imagine making it through the days until then! My dad joked with me on the phone this morning that the reason I’m not showing any signs of labor is that I’m getting my money’s worth out of this pregnancy. : ) I guess he is right, and I’m so grateful the babies are thriving in my womb. But during the days and nights, my hips ache, my back throbs, my hips and pelvis pop and make me feel afraid of a dislocation, I’m up constantly to pee, I need a daily nap, I’m short of breath at times and have no stamina, and I feel extremely overemotional. Rolling over in bed is an Olympic feat. All not-so-fun things, but I need to remember that soon it will be a distant memory and that I’m lucky to have fallen on the right side of the odds. I am really ready to move onto the next phase of life and hope that my water breaks before the 13th! When I do feel discouraged, I review my blog posts from a year ago. Back then, I would have given anything to be in my shoes now, and I need to remember that. A year ago today, I was receiving yet another CCRM calendar and hoping that we would finally get to go to Denver and try to make our dreams come true. And, aches and pains and all, here we are a year later expecting two miracles in a week and a half. Amazing.

Thanks for hanging in there with me and reading my whining!

Posted in Pregnancy | 5 Comments »

35w4d: Holding Pattern for Now

Posted by auntiem10 on August 31, 2011

Yesterday we returned to our peri, with our suitcase packed in our vehicle, for our fourth-to-last NST. We actually wondered if we may meet our babies after the slight scare on Friday, but things seemed much more stable yesterday and delivery was not discussed. My blood pressure clocked in at 133/91, which is not great but did not cause the panic from last Friday. The alarms on the monitor start ringing at 130/90, though, so I had to turn to my left side and rest for a bit before retesting. This time, my BP was 117/82… obviously much better.

The NST itself was perfect… the babies were performing a circus act inside my belly, moving all around and kicking the monitors and letting their little hearts accelerate and decelerate as the technician desired. They performed like champions. I still haven’t felt a real contraction, and none have shown up yet on the monitors. This body of mine is like F.ort Kno.x–I’m starting to think that if I had chosen natural childbirth, these two little ones may have arrived late! I really don’t have even the slightest signs of labor yet and am so amazed. I just assumed that something would be happening by 35.5 weeks when your uterus is filled with 13 lbs of babies!

I gave a urine sample, and there are still only traces of protein in there. So far my kidneys are pretty much holding up their end of the deal. I gained a little less than 1 lb since last Tuesday, for a total gain of 34 lbs. Pre-e patients can gain 5+ lbs in a week (from fluid buildup), so I was happy to see only a small gain.

This peri’s office has five perinatologists plus at least one nurse practitioner, and I basically see a different doctor (or NP) every time I go there. This means I pretty much receive a different medical opinion from every doctor, too. Yesterday we saw the NP for the first time in a while, and it’s her opinion that we may make it all the way to our scheduled c-section date (September 13th). So we are just going to attend each appointment with our suitcase packed in the car, just in case, but no longer really expecting to meet them this week or next.

I admit I was kind of disappointed yesterday, until I gave myself an attitude adjustment. I had really let myself get way too excited about the possibility of meeting them sooner rather than later. If they were born now, their lungs may or may not be mature, and they could require a little time in the NICU. We definitely want them to be able to come home with us, so I know that every day they remain inside me is beneficial. I’m now going to focus my anticipation on September 13th and hope that we make it until then. Thirteen more days until the 13th!

After the office visit, we scheduled our LAST office visit for next Tuesday. We’ll still have an NST and limited ultrasound next Friday, but our office visits conclude with next Tuesday’s appointment. SURREAL that we have made it to this point. One week and six days (or less) stand between us and the c-section that will usher our daughters into the world. I’ve already been thinking about how emotional and miraculous that day will be for us… hearing their cries and introducing them to our family members. I seriously think I may cry all day long that day from happiness. We have only three NSTs left at most, and despite the pregnancy aches and pains, the light at the end of the tunnel is in sight. I can’t wait to announce here that our family has expanded! Please stay tuned! : )

Posted in Pregnancy | 4 Comments »

34w6d: First Trip to L&D

Posted by auntiem10 on August 26, 2011

Today I earned my first trip to Labor & Delivery because my blood pressure was too high. I’ve been officially diagnosed with pre-eclampsia. The first reading taken during my NST was 134/101, and the second was 136/105. The babies passed their test with flying colors and were doing great, and I still haven’t had a contraction, so we are thankful that the only issue is my BP. The technician instructed me to rest on my left side for about 10 minutes, and then she checked my BP again. This time, it was much closer to normal, but the doctor still didn’t like the pattern and ordered us admitted to Labor & Delivery for more monitoring and tests. There was talk of delivering the babies today, and the hubby and I got very excited. I realized how ready we are!

A short elevator ride later, I was hooked up to a blood pressure machine and instructed to rest on my left side again. The highest my BP read over the next hour was about 128/83, which is much better than 136/105. They also drew blood and tested my urine. After several BP readings, we were allowed to go downstairs for our LAST growth scan while we awaited the lab results. Thankfully, the babies looked so wonderful. They were both measuring about a week ahead overall, and they are going to be big and healthy–Baby A is estimated to weigh 6 lbs 9 oz, and Baby B is estimated to weigh 6 lbs 5 oz! Since we are so close to delivery at this point, it is very difficult to identify much during the scans because both babies’ bones have calcified. One thing we could see very clearly is that Baby B has tons of hair! It was waving around in the amniotic fluid. I can’t wait to touch it! : )

After our growth scan, we went back up to L&D to learn the results of my lab tests. Everything looked to be in good shape, so we were discharged and allowed to go home. The plan is to just monitor the pre-e for now and play it by ear. I go in every Tuesday and Friday, so I am being monitored very closely. The staff wrote on my husband’s F.M..L.A paperwork that our babies are likely to be born premature and require time in the NICU, so I’m thinking this means they are no longer expecting us to make it to our scheduled date. We may meet our daughters by next week!

Posted in Pregnancy | 6 Comments »

34w4d

Posted by auntiem10 on August 24, 2011

We may end up meeting these babies a little bit early!!!

Yesterday I went to my doctor’s office for my seventh non-stress test. I’m having no contractions on the monitors, and the babies passed their test easily, but my blood pressure was once again out of the range they like to see. The first BP check resulted in 131/92. The alarms on the monitor start beeping at 130/90, so I was officially over the optimal range. About 10 minutes later, a recheck resulted in 128/74. This was much better, but a third recheck at a different BP machine had me back up to 133/98. I know the two machines are likely to have differing results, but it was unsettling to the staff that 2/3 of the results were out of their preferred range.

Beyond the BP issue, I had traces of protein in my urine. Apparently this is the third time, although no one had mentioned this to me until yesterday. The problem doesn’t seem to be worsening yet, but it’s not a good sign. Add to that my extreme cankles and my newest symptom of not being able to easily bend my fingers when I wake up at night because they are filled with fluid, and you have moderate signs of pre-eclampsia. I didn’t gain any weight in the past week (I’m up 33 lbs total), which is common with pre-e, so that is good at least.

I talked to the peri after all of these results were in. She said the BP issues are becoming a pattern and at this point (almost 35 weeks), they start to analyze whether the womb is a more preferable environment than the outside world. We are really past the critical stages of prematurity, so there is no reason to panic even if they do need to be taken out before Week 37 as scheduled. I asked whether my issues could result in an earlier c-section date, and she said yes. I’m being monitored weekly, and we will just re-evaluate at each appointment. On Friday, we have a growth scan scheduled as well as our second non-stress test of the week, and hopefully my BP will at least be stable. It would be nice to make it at least until next week! They will estimate each baby’s weight on Friday, and we are hoping for 6 lbs per baby by then. They were 4 lbs 6 oz and 4 lbs 1 oz on July 29, and supposedly they gain around 1/2 lb per week at this point, so 6 lbs seems pretty reasonable if they have continued to thrive in my body.

No matter what, we are going to meet these babies in less than three weeks. I just can’t believe it… the time has passed so quickly! I will never be pregnant again, so I am trying to revel in the crazy movements occurring inside of my body. I wish I could bottle up these moments so I can relive them again when I have baby fever (which I know is bound to happen), but instead I’ll just have to rely on memories of this time. This experience has been such a tremendous gift. The aches and pains of these last weeks of pregnancy will not be missed, though! : ) Being able to bend over comfortably and roll onto my stomach at night (and wear clothes without an elastic waistband) are all things I’m looking forward to in the near future.

My nervous feelings are easing, replaced by excitement and the knowledge that this will all come naturally to us after those babies are placed in our arms. We aren’t going to do everything perfectly, but no parent does. We will have support from friends and family, and the nurses in the hospital will teach us a lot as well. I’m a little nervous about the c-section and apprehensive about spending more time in the hospital and being in more pain after what I went through this summer, but I’m reminding myself that at least this time it will be for a good reason.

I also accept that once I am not pregnant anymore, my body can heal more quickly from my accident, and I should be up and walking without my walker more quickly. I don’t think I’ll be walking independently yet when they are born, even if we make it all the way to 9/13, but the hubby and I have accepted that at this point. I’ve achieved peace with it, because that’s all I can do. I will return to physical therapy a few weeks after my c-section, with my doctor’s permission, and work my rear end off to regain my normal mobility ASAP. I’m so lucky that my husband is able to take off 10 entire weeks from work, so I can attend physical therapy sessions while he (and probably his mom or my mom) tend to the babies. By the time the 10 weeks is up, I’m determined to be fully healed.

I will update again on Friday afternoon after my appointment and the baby shower that my hubby’s work is hosting for us. Hopefully we can make it into next week with these babies still inside of me.

Posted in Pregnancy | 7 Comments »

34 Weeks!

Posted by auntiem10 on August 20, 2011

Thanks for reading my last post and providing support in your comments. It means the world to me.

I can’t believe we are 34 weeks today! Only three weeks and a few days to go at most . . . unbelievable. Yesterday’s NST concluded three weeks of twice-weekly perfect results. The babies’ heart rates were perfect, I’ve had zero contractions, and the technicians were very pleased. The only small issue seems to be my slightly rising blood pressure. Their cutoff for escalation is 130/90, and I’ve crossed that barrier the last few appointments. Yesterday, for example, my first BP was 132/93, so the alarms sounded on the monitoring machine. The technician let me relax for 10 more minutes, and when she retook my BP, it was 124/85. This is becoming a pattern for me. My heart rate is VERY high right now (136 yesterday). No one seems too concerned, so I’m choosing not to worry about it either. I think once the babies are born, my body is going to give a sigh of relief after nine months of hard work!

Below is a picture of the babies’ nursery. It’s finished with the exception of needing curtains for the room’s window.

Originally we had grander plans for the nursery, but after my accident, we had to settle for what was easy and convenient. We still think it turned out really pretty and sweet. It looks spring-like with the minty green walls and butterfly/flower theme, which was our goal all along. I can’t seem to stay out of there… it’s just so amazing that we have a nursery in our house! Surreal.

Here is my belly (and rapidly-growing chest!) at 33 weeks:

My husband installed the car seats and took a pic with his phone:

I drive this car, and I want to squeal with delight every time I get in and see the backseat. : )

We are getting so close! This weekend will be spent tying up loose ends and continuing to get organized. I am starting to hit a brick wall with my energy level and am experiencing some back discomfort, so I am going to try to take it easy. We plan to attend a block party at my workplace tomorrow night and may go out for dinner tonight. Life is about to change, for the better!

Posted in Pregnancy | 5 Comments »

33w2d

Posted by auntiem10 on August 15, 2011

My husband and I decided this weekend that we are going to formula feed the babies instead of trying any sort of breastfeeding. This decision makes me feel sad, guilty, and selfish. I had planned to try breastfeeding with the ultimate goal of exclusively pumping so that my husband could also participate in feeding the babies. But after my accident, my feelings about this began to change.

The absolute best thing for my body right now is to regain a normal supply of estrogen (which will bring on AF, booo). Without a normal supply of estrogen, my bones will continue to be brittle and my joints will continue to be loose, leading to greater risk of fractures and joint dislocations. My doctor said that a “normal” woman needs about six months after pregnancy (and breastfeeding if she chooses to do so) to replenish her natural bone density. With my bone disorder, we are talking a year or more. Most women function just fine with this lack of estrogen, but I am apparently an exception to the rule with my fragile, crumbling bones. So basically, the sooner my body can start pumping out estrogen, the more quickly my body will return to the way it was before pregnancy. I can have bone density scans performed periodically to make sure my bone density is improving in the months after the babies are born. I want to be strong and sturdy for our babies, so I feel like this is the best decision for us.

I also feel like due to the fact that I still need pain medication for my injuries, and that medicine can end up in breastmilk, I would rather keep that exposure away from the babies. It’s bad enough that I had lots of mor.phine during my eight days in the hospital and have been needing hydro.codone and tyl.enol since I came home, so our babies have been exposed to that. They’ve obviously done fine, but I would choose to give them formula without any of that stuff rather than breastmilk with harsh medication in it.

But as settled as I am with this decision, I feel guilty and selfish for prioritizing my body over the benefits of breastmilk. I know that our babies won’t receive the same antibodies from formula, and I hate robbing them of that advantage. I feel like a mama should put the needs of her babies first, and herself second. And yet, I’m doing just the opposite in this case and placing myself first. My husband reminds me that the babies need me to be in good health, and he is right, but I can’t help feeling like I am selfish. I hope to reach some kind of peace with this before they are born.

I’ve also decided to have my fallopian tubes ligated during my c-section. We decided a few months ago that we are officially done adding to our family with these miracle girls. We have three frozen embryos, but I won’t choose to become pregnant again because of the bone and joint issues. If one simple fall in the shower resulted in three broken bones, two dislocated knees, and major knee surgery that is taking 11+ weeks to recover from, I shudder to think of what could happen during pregnancy #2. I wouldn’t have the luxury of lying in a hospital bed for seven weeks again, recovering while my husband struggled to take care of two toddlers and two dogs. I’m also traumatized by the experience of badly injuring myself and not knowing for quite some time whether I had hurt and/or killed my babies. We found their heartbeats after some time in the emergency room, so we at least knew they were alive, but we didn’t know whether they had suffered injuries from my fall until the next day. We got lucky this time, with no apparent trauma to them (thank goodness, thank goodness, thank goodness), but what if there was a next time? It’s just not a chance I desire to take, even for the miracle of a third child. Our only other option is to ask someone to carry a pregnancy for us, but we already know that we are just not comfortable with that. We know that what’s best for us is to accept ourselves as a family of four and feel blessed that we conceived not just one but two babies. But I must say, it’s such a weird turnaround to render myself sterile after doing everything I could to make myself fertile. My brain still has to catch up to this new development!

Tomorrow is my next NST. Friday’s was wonderfully uneventful, as was our limited ultrasound. No contractions, amniotic fluid levels and everything else looks perfect, and everyone was very pleased with how things are going. My ankles and feet are HUGE, my back is killing me, I feel like a beached whale in bed when I try to roll from side to side, my belly is growing by the week, I feel hiccups all the time, and I constantly feel like I have little feet in my ribs. It is wonderful! Our c-section date is in 29 days, if we make it that far!

Thank you for reading my ramblings!

Posted in Pregnancy | 9 Comments »

32w4d: More NSTs and a C-Section Date!

Posted by auntiem10 on August 10, 2011

Since my last post, I’ve had two more non-stress tests (NSTs), and both have gone very well! On Friday I was having uterine irritability similar to what was recorded at my first NST, but my uterus was calmer yesterday. Still no contractions recorded by the monitoring machine. On Friday, the babies were called overachievers again, and yesterday the technician labeled them “beautiful.” They bounce all around during the monitoring session, making it difficult to record their heart rates because they somersault away from the monitors and require the tech to hunt for them.

Yesterday when I arrived at the doctor’s office, my blood pressure was a little elevated (139/97). I felt that I was just wound up from my second day back at my job and walking into the hospital with my walker (I’m still building up to walking longer distances). However, the doctor (in my opinion) overreacted and made me give a urine sample and bloodwork. She was also worried about the heartburn/acid reflux I’ve been experiencing and thought my liver and kidneys may not be functioning properly, so I had more blood drawn for those tests. I’m sure everything is fine and my abdomen is just being compressed by 9+ lbs of baby! My blood pressure was taken again later during the NST, and of course it was down to 126/79. Much better.

We are now officially on the O.R. C-section schedule for Tuesday, September 13th! By that point we will be at 37w3d, so I think there is a decent chance that the babies may come earlier. The nurse practitioner thought we would make it no later than Friday, September 9th, so we will just cross our fingers to make it all the way to our scheduled date. I’m now stressed that my water will break unexpectedly and am trying to arrange for the possibility of emergency petsitting services for my two dogs (who are my babies). I had always imagined having a little more control over the situation with a c-section, thinking they would schedule it before there would be a serious risk of going into labor on my own, and allowing us to make arrangements for our pets. That bubble has definitely popped, as the nurse explained yesterday that their practice does not deliver before 37 weeks unless the body goes into labor on its own. I’m an overbearing pet parent and refuse to board my pets because of the negative effect it has on them, and I refuse to leave them alone overnight as well. Hopefully I can receive some reassurance that they’ll be taken care of in the event of a rushed trip to the hospital!

Last night we attended an infant CPR class. I found it to be very beneficial and would recommend it to anyone. I fear the babies choking on food as they transition to solids or having some type of respiratory distress that requires CPR, and now we know what to do in that scenario. Last week we attended a Newborn Care class, during which we learned skills like bathing and swaddling a newborn. We also learned what happens right after the babies are born, like the medications they are given and the tests that are run. These are the only classes we will be taking, but I’m really glad we took the time to go to both. We feel a little more prepared now!

I returned to work part-time on Monday. On one hand, it is nice to get back into a routine and have responsibility again. Sitting around my house, reading, and watching TV really was getting very boring and every day lasted an eternity. But on the other hand, I have to roll around in a wheelchair at work for the remainder of my pregnancy and despise the unwanted attention at this young, active company. Every day feels like a struggle during which I can’t open heavy doors to the bathroom or the building’s entrance and exit, I shuffle at a turtle’s pace out to my car before and after work, and I have to ask for help for the simplest tasks. And after work every day, I have either an NST, physical therapy, or both. By the time I shuffle my way into my house after work and appointments, my shoulder and legs ache, and I feel exhausted. My mom keeps reminding me that everything has seemed like a struggle at first as I have recovered from my injuries, and each task has gradually become easier, as will making it through my daily work and appointment schedule. I guess she is right, but some days I feel resentful of my slow-as-molasses recovery.

I am also struggling to accept the fact that I won’t be back to my normal state of mobility when these babies are born, even if they make it all the way to September 13th. I am hopeful that I’ll be walking short distances without a walker by then if my leg continues to heal, but I’m quite sure at this point that I won’t be walking into the children’s hospital under my own power for Baby A’s clubbed feet appointments or toting our babies up and down our stairs. It stinks for my husband that he’ll be shouldered with more than his fair share of responsibility, but I know he realizes that I can’t force my body to heal itself. Maybe after the babies are on the outside, my body can devote its full resources to healing, and I’ll see more rapid improvement. The thought of my mom or mother-in-law mothering our babies after their birth because my injuries prevent me from doing so makes me incredibly upset, so their impending birth is my biggest motivator to work my rear off in PT.

I am starting to feel VERY overemotional about everything. I think I have bawled at least once a day for a week straight now, over what most people would probably consider silly things. This is NOT normal for me. Blame some of it on hormones, but honestly I just feel overwhelmed by everything going on right now–finishing the nursery, packing a diaper bag, installing car seats, assembling the various gadgets the babies will need, organizing their clothing, working, three-times-per-week physical therapy, twice-weekly doctor’s appointments, working on my recovery at home, and on and on. All of these things are 10 times more difficult since I’m not very mobile and lack stamina/endurance, and I feel like my back is up against the wall with regard to my recovery since the babies’ arrival is rapidly approaching. My husband is doing more than the lion’s share of the baby preparation, which breaks my heart because I really wanted to do some of this stuff all by myself. I easily get very frustrated and very worn out, which is not a good combination for my tear ducts. I will stop whining, but it felt good to get these emotions out! : )

Posted in Pregnancy | 10 Comments »

31w4d

Posted by auntiem10 on August 3, 2011

Yesterday I drove to my perinatologist’s office at 31w3d for my first non-stress test (NST), and all was well! Turns out that I had an “irritable uterus,” meaning my uterus was cramping a bit during the 20-minute monitoring session. No contractions, though, thankfully! The technician told me that every patient that day had shown some contractions on the monitor due to the 108-degree heat. She said that to calm my uterus, I should go home and chug water and rest after the appointment, so that’s what I did.

My peri’s office wanted to record at least one movement from each baby during the 20 minutes of monitoring, as well as one instance of each baby’s heart rate increasing by 10 beats. This is all they expect from babies at 31 weeks gestation. A healthy baby’s heart rate increases as they move around inside their gestational sac, so that’s what the monitors check. Our babies passed this test with flying colors and, in fact, already passed the criteria for 32-weekers. The technician referred to them as overachievers, so we were relieved to hear that! We alternated between listening to Baby A’s heartbeat and Baby B’s heartbeat throughout the 20-minute session. Baby B had hiccups for a portion of the test, and it was funny to hear on the monitor. They were both kicking the monitors and being really active, and then they both snoozed toward the end of the test. We are thrilled with the excellent report we received!

I passed my second gestational diabetes test also, thankfully. The good news just keeps on coming. My peri’s office wanted to see a level under 135, and mine was 110. No further testing is required, so I am glad to have dodged that bullet. My heart goes to out to those of you (R in particular) who have had this extra stress during your pregnancies.

My next NST is on Friday morning, so hopefully it will go similarly well. From here on out, I go in for two NSTs per week. I think weekly ultrasounds start next week as well, so our babies are going to be very closely monitored for the rest of the time they are inside of me. I’m also starting back to work part-time on Monday AND fitting in three-times-per-week physical therapy sessions, so I am going to be one busy lady until these little girls arrive! : )

Posted in Pregnancy | 3 Comments »

30w6d

Posted by auntiem10 on July 29, 2011

This morning’s perinatology appointment could not have gone any better. Our babies hit a huge growth spurt since our last appointment a few weeks ago! On July 11th, both babies weighed 2 lbs 14 oz. Today Baby A weighed 4 lbs 6 oz, and Baby B weighed 4 lbs 1 oz! A’s heart rate was 153 bpm, and B’s heart rate was 146 bpm. Both were kicking up a storm, practicing their breathing, swallowing, and doing everything that good little 30-weekers are supposed to be doing in the womb. We could see Baby B’s tongue as she exhaled, and we even spotted some tooth buds! As per usual, their heads were pressed up together as if they were having a chatfest in there. My amniotic fluid levels were great, and overall everything looks fabulous.

Today we were told that Friday, September 9th (the day before 37 weeks) is probably the day we’re shooting for with regards to a scheduled c-section. In the next few weeks, we can get on the official OR calendar! Hopefully we’ll make it all the way until then, and I won’t go into labor on my own. The sonographer pointed out that I was having a contraction during the growth scan, but I couldn’t feel anything. Next week we begin non-stress testing (NSTs) twice per week. Monitors will be placed on my belly to monitor fetal movement and contractions. The week after that, I start weekly appointments too. So surreal that we are reaching the end of pregnancy!

Posted in Pregnancy | 11 Comments »

30w1d!

Posted by auntiem10 on July 24, 2011

We passed the 30-week mark yesterday! Woo-hoo!!!! Less than eight weeks to go at most. That is SUCH a crazy thought, but little by little it is sinking in. We are making good progress on our nursery. Furniture is up, decor is in progress, stuff is getting organized. The babies are getting the hiccups, and my husband got to feel Baby B hiccuping this morning. He was really excited. They are starting to make my belly move around when they move, which is funny and amazing all at the same time. My heartburn is out of control, and sleeping in any position is getting pretty uncomfortable. I am loving all of it!

I have a few weeks left before I return to my job part-time. I’m only going back 20-25 hours of week until the babies are born, which will be the best thing for me. No more knee brace (except climbing up and down the stairs because I still don’t feel confident that my leg won’t buckle), and this is my last week of in-home physical therapy before I transition to outpatient. I am making strides, however slow they may be, toward recovery. We are crossing our fingers that by the time our babies are born, I will have ditched my walker and will be closer to my normal state of mobility. I still have plenty of time, as long as they keep cooking inside of me for a while longer!

Posted in Pregnancy | 2 Comments »

28w6d: 3D Ultrasound!

Posted by auntiem10 on July 17, 2011

Here is a glimpse of our daughters!!!

Baby A:

Baby B:

We went for our 3D ultrasound this past Friday (July 15th) at 28w6d. Baby B was being bashful and we couldn’t capture her face directly, so these side profile shots were the best we could get. It appeared that she was protecting her face with her hands because her sister kept kicking her! My hubby and I were amazed at how little separation exists between their two amniotic sacs. We could literally see Baby A’s legs entering the picture and kicking Baby B in the face/head. Poor thing! We received a 40-minute DVD capturing the entire ultrasound, and we will treasure it forever!

Two cribs, a changing table, and a dresser are now assembled in their nusery. Surreal. Now that I’m finally able to make it upstairs, my hubby was able to start putting things together. We are in the beginning stages of furnishing the room, but we’re really happy with how everything looks so far. Exciting!

Our next appointment is on the 29th at 30w6d. I’ll repeat the gestational diabetes test at that appointment, and we’ll have another ultrasound. My belly is really growing bigger by the week now–the bump is pretty obvious, especially when I stand up. My ankles are on-and-off swollen, and the only ring currently fitting is my wedding ring, so that’s all I’m wearing. The babies are bouncing around like crazy inside of me, and I love every reassuring little movement. We have already decided that we’re done having children after these two, so I’m just trying to sit back and soak up every thump, kick, and crampy in-my-ribs feeling.

So that’s about it for now. I return to the orthopedist on Thursday and am hoping to say good riddance to my big hinged knee brace. I made it up our staircase for the first time in seven weeks early last week and have been sleeping in my own bed ever since, thank goodness. I’m planning to call the medical equipment company midweek to have my hospital bed picked up, as long as I continue to do okay. I’m starting to get pretty uncomfortable (mostly in my hips and back) when I sleep, so I’m thankful for my bed. I’ve also taken a REAL shower twice now! I’ve only been able to take sponge baths since the accident happened on May 25th. Taking an actual shower has been a little scary, since I’m using the shower that was the scene of my accident, but my hubby made plenty of modifications to make things safer for me. He removed our shower doors and replaced them with a curtain and curtain rod so I can access the shower more easily, installed “just in case” grab bars on the walls, installed a new shower nozzle with a handheld sprayer, etc etc. My doctor ordered a shower seat for me, too, so I don’t see how we can make things much safer. I’ll never take a shower for granted again! : )

Posted in Pregnancy | 6 Comments »

28w2d: The Other Shoe Drops

Posted by auntiem10 on July 11, 2011

So, we found out today that our Baby A has bilaterally clubbed feet. I’ve been waiting throughout all of these perfect ultrasounds for some problem to emerge, and apparently this is it. Now before anyone out there judges me, I’m fully aware that the problem could be so much worse–she could be suffering from any number of severe or even fatal illnesses. But obviously, as parents, we would not wish her to have a painful or uncomfortable beginning to her life, and it appears that this will be her reality. The perinatologist diagnosed the condition as mild to moderate, so most likely casting and bracing will be the treatment option that works best for her. From what I’ve read, during her first few weeks of life, they would begin casting her from mid-thigh to toes in a plaster cast, and change the cast (and position of the foot) every 5-7 days. After a period of time, the feet would correct themselves. Then braces will be needed until around the age she would begin walking, to ensure that the feet did not return to their original position. If this was not successful, surgery when she is a little bigger is the next step up. The peri thinks she’s had this issue all along, but she wasn’t properly positioned in utero to see it until today. We could clearly see where the feet were turning inward at the ankles.

As her mom (weird to type!), I’m taking this maybe a little harder than everyone else. My husband assumes that everything will be fine and that she won’t remember anything. I’m envisioning long nights of trying to comfort her as she struggles to get comfortable with casts on both legs. I’m thinking of many trips to a pediatric orthopedist and trying to help her through months of therapy. I’m considering the fact that having twins is stressful enough for most people, and having a twin with a medical issue will heap more on our plate as first-time parents. We will survive it, though. I need to keep things in perspective.

Besides this news, both babies looked perfect. Baby A measured in at 29.5 weeks, and Baby B measured in at 29 weeks. I’m 28 weeks 2 days today, so they are both overachievers. The sonographer described A as the “long” one and B as the “round” one, ha! They are estimated to weigh exactly the same though–2 lbs 14 oz so far! They were practicing breathing and swallowing on their own, and all of their anatomy (besides Baby A’s clubbed feet) were in perfect condition. Baby A apparently has quite a bit of hair, while Baby B may just have a little bit of fuzz on top of her head. Amazing! We feel fortunate that they are growing so well and hitting all the milestones that they’re expected to hit.

The peri I saw today said his plan would be to deliver at 38 weeks, a full two weeks later than what we had been told previously. That puts us at a c-section date of about September 16th (Saturday the 17th will be 38 weeks exactly, but I’m not sure if they schedule this sort of thing on Saturdays), unless there are medical reasons to deliver earlier. They might be big babies by then, which is great! I’m sure I’ll be totally miserable, but it will be worth it! To avoid the risk of pelvic fractures as my belly continues to grow (a risk because of my bone disorder), I’ll return to work eventually in a wheelchair and will walk sparingly until after the babies are born. We’ll also plan on doing a Dexa Scan (bone density test) closer to or at delivery to test for osteopenia or osteoporosis. If I have either condition, I won’t be allowed to even attempt to breastfeed since I will be at greater risk of fracture.

This morning we also saw the orthopedist for x-rays on my ankle, knee, and shoulder. My ankle is healed, so I get to remove the boot I’ve been wearing since my cast was removed. My shoulder requires further consultation with a surgeon who is more specialized in shoulders, so I’ll see a different doctor in 10 days for more discussion. My knee is healing really well, and my surgeon thought I might be able to remove the brace completely at the next appointment on the 21st. That would be wonderful! I’m now allowed to put as much weight on it as I can tolerate, also. We are finally at the tail-end of this whole debacle, after almost seven weeks. This week my physical therapist and I will work on getting me up and down our flight of stairs, so fingers crossed that I’ll be sleeping in my own bed by the end of the week! : )

Posted in Pregnancy | 12 Comments »

Third Tri!

Posted by auntiem10 on July 9, 2011

As I sit here this morning, I’m reflecting on our journey at CCRM and all of the events that have transpired since our ODWU in April 2010. I hate to sound like a broken record, but not a day goes by that I don’t feel immensely grateful for our good luck. I feel even more grateful today, as we cross the threshold into the third trimester. Wow!

I started out at CCRM knowing that the doctors and embryologists were capable of working miracles for others, but never really believing that a miracle could happen for us. And a little over a year later, here I sit with TWO miracles inside of me, courtesy of Dr. Surrey, my nurse Tonie, and the amazing embryologists. I’m not sure my feelings are normal, but it still feels so surreal to know that two human beings are growing inside of me. I feel them kick and even see my belly move around now as they float inside their gestational sacs (and I even think I felt hiccups the last two days), but it still doesn’t feel quite real. Will it ever? I guess not. It’s unbelievable to think that in approximately eight weeks, these beings thumping away in my belly will emerge as real babies for us to love and cherish for a lifetime. I feel like the luckiest person in the world.

For those of you out there waiting for your own miracle (or two!), please read through my story and find hope for yourselves. I hope our experience can bring you hope as you cycle or prepare to cycle. And if you need support, please e-mail me at ccrmjourney@hotmail.com. I am rooting for and thinking of all of you.

Posted in Pregnancy | 5 Comments »

27w5d

Posted by auntiem10 on July 7, 2011

I cannot believe we are only a few days away from crossing over to the third trimester!!! These milestones are so amazing and unbelievable, and we are so grateful for all the kicking and thumping that is going on in my belly lately. Some days it feels like our babies are playing ro.ck-em-so.ck-em-ro.bots in there!

I’m continuing to heal from my accident. It’s been six weeks and one day since it occurred. A physical therapist comes to my home three days a week and works with me, and I’ve really made good progress lately. I’m finally able to walk around the main level of my house a little bit with a walker, although I would still describe myself as basically on bedrest. We’ve been using an aerobic step to build up my knee muscles so that I can start working on trying to climb the stairs in my house. We have 15 stairs, and I’m up to 21 reps on the aerobic step, so I think I’m heading in the right direction. My goal is to start climbing our actual stairs next week and to finally sleep in my own bed again within the next two weeks. I’m hoping to return to work around the end of the month, but we’ll have to see how the next few weeks go. I’m definitely not ready yet but am hoping that the next few weeks lead to big progress.

We have some exciting events coming up next week: Sunday another baby shower is being hosted for us, Monday I have both orthopedic and perinatology appointments, and Friday we’re going for a 3D ultrasound. I don’t get out of the house much these days, so I’m thrilled with all of these events! We’re really excited to learn the new estimates of our babies’ weights next Monday and to see them moving around. Then we are ecstatic for the 3D ultrasound–hopefully we will see some good pictures of their faces! I will definitely share here, so please check back in the next few weeks!

Posted in Pregnancy | 4 Comments »

25w3d

Posted by auntiem10 on June 21, 2011

Things are pretty quiet for me right now, as I continue to heal from my accident. It happened four weeks ago, and I am starting to see a little bit of progress. We returned to the orthopedist on Monday, and the nurse cut off my plaster cast and fitted me in a hinged brace. Now I can start working on bending my knee a little (only to a 40-degree angle) and putting partial weight on it. My physical therapist worked with me today on bending it and plans to have me taking a few steps by the end of the week. My main goal is to regain my independence ASAP!

This past weekend, my sister hosted a baby shower for us. My hubby also attended in case I needed help. We had 50+ guests, and it was quite overwhelming! We received an unbelievable number of gifts, more than we ever expected. Gifts are still arriving on our doorstep, literally. I think my family is carried away at the thought of twin girls! We filled up a huge gift bag with some of the clothing that we received, and my hubby placed it on our scale to check its weight because it was so heavy. It weighed 15.5 lbs! Then we have another huge pile of clothing in the hamper that my mom bought for us (that matches the babies’ bedding). I’m sure we have way more clothing than our babies will ever be able to wear, but we will share with my SIL, who is due three weeks after we are. We feel extremely lucky to have so many family members who care so much about us! The next shower is July 10th, and hopefully I will be quite a bit more mobile by then. My handicap made the shower this past weekend pretty stressful. I definitely did not envision attending this shower in a wheelchair, but I’m glad I was able to go.

We return to the orthopedist and perinatologist on July 11th, so I’ll just be working on physical therapy until then. I’m hoping to return to work in mid-July until the babies come. Life is moving pretty slowly right now, but the important thing is that I’m healing. I hope everyone out there is doing well!

Posted in Pregnancy | 5 Comments »

Viability Day! (24 Weeks)

Posted by auntiem10 on June 11, 2011

We can’t believe we are celebrating Viability Day today! At 24 weeks, babies have a chance of survival outside of the womb, and generally hospital personnel will pull out all the stops to save preemies. I’m thanking my lucky stars that we have made it this far with no problems. My morning sickness is finally gone, and I’m on bedrest due to my accident, which is pretty much also the best thing for the babies right now. I’ve had swollen ankles since about 19 weeks, but my blood pressure continues to be very good, so no one is worried about it.

I am regaining strength in my body. It’s been 2.5 weeks since my accident, so my broken bones are probably about 1/3 of the way healed. I attended a post-surgical appointment at my orthopedist’s office on Wednesday, and it was decided that I need to wear a plaster cast until the 23rd. At that time, my staples should be removed (I have 28 of them!), and I should receive an immobilizer-type brace to wear for a period of time as my leg continues healing. The cast means I’m still pretty much bedridden–I have stood a little bit with the aid of a walker during physical therapy at my house, but I can’t walk. Still sleeping on the hospital bed, and still using the bedside commode. Counting down the days until my next appointment so I can start regaining some independence. My hubby borrowed a twin bed from his parents and set it up next to my hospital bed so we could have a slumber party in our living room last night. That really lifted my spirits.

After the ortho appointment, we had a growth ultrasound at our peri’s office. Both babies look great! Baby A is estimated to weigh 1 lb 9 oz, and Baby B is estimated to weigh 1 lb 7 oz. Both had great heart rates, fluid levels, etc. The ultrasound tech was very pleased with how well they are growing, and seeing them was exactly what I needed to cheer up a little. Because I need time to heal, we won’t go back until four weeks from now, in our 27th week. The babies have really been moving this week, on both sides, and it’s the most reassuring feeling I can possibly imagine. We can even feel the kicks from the outside now! I feel so fortunate.

Our baby shower is next weekend! I am so excited. Then my MIL and SILs are hosting another baby shower for us locally three weeks after that. I can’t wait to celebrate these babies with my closest friends and family. It’s still so surreal that it’s happening! I regret the fact that I’ll be in a wheelchair, but everyone keeps reminding me that I’ll have a story to tell our daughters someday. I’m just going to go and make the best of it! I am so lucky to be celebrating this occasion, and I haven’t forgotten it for a minute.

Posted in Pregnancy | 6 Comments »

23 Weeks!

Posted by auntiem10 on June 4, 2011

Today we celebrate 23 weeks of pregnancy! Especially in light of recent clumsy events in my life, I am so thankful to be marking this milestone.

I was released from the hospital on Thursday evening after nine days. I’m now at home, on a hospital bed in our living room. All of our bedrooms are on the second floor of our home, and there is no way I can access them, so I’m living in the living room for the immediate future. Currently I cannot put weight on either leg and am totally dependent on my husband (or mom for the next few weeks) to help care for me. It really, really stinks. I have to slide across a board to a bedside commode to use the toilet–yuck. Tomorrow marks the beginning of physical therapy when a therapist is scheduled to visit our home for the first time, so I can only hope that I’ll be able to make progress quickly and regain some of my independence. I am ready to work hard so I can recover before these babies arrive in the world. I obviously feel bad about burdening my hubby with having to do so much for me (this is definitely the “for worse” part of the “for better or for worse” wedding vow), and I can’t wait until I can care for myself again. I’m also unable to work right now, so my main job is to heal and work hard at therapy so I can get my life back.

About my freak accident… I did inherit a bone disease at birth that causes my bones to be fragile. I broke many bones from birth through about age 5, and then my bones strengthened. I have broken a bone here or there through the years (most recently in 2004), but nothing on the scale of this accident. In recent years, my biggest problem has been a dislocating kneecap, with loose joints being a side effect of this disease. My peri believes that my belly threw off my center of balance, causing my fall. I’m inclined to believe that despite taking prenatals and calcium supplements daily, the babies must be taking quite a bit of my small store of calcium and collagen, weakening my bones. How else can I explain falling in the shower and fracturing three bones, including my femur (which is hard to break). “Careful” will probably be the main theme in our house until those babies are here and I can strengthen my bones again. And unfortunately, our babies each have a 50% chance of inheriting this same disease, which is why we headed straight to a high-risk doctor once released from CCRM.

In the hospital our babies’ heartbeats were checked every single morning, and that was very reassuring. The past few days, I haven’t felt much of the thumps that I was feeling last week. This has brought on some paranoia, and I can’t wait for our next appointment at the perinatologist next Wednesday to be reassured that everything is still going okay.

Today we received the invitation to the baby shower my sister is hosting for us! I never quite imagined having to attend my baby shower in a wheelchair, but I’m just thankful that my sister is doing this for us and that I’ll get to catch up with family and friends. The shower is two weeks from today! I imagine that I’ll cry tears of happiness throughout the shower, because I never thought I would be here. It’s still amazing and too good to be true.

Posted in Pregnancy | 6 Comments »

Accident-Prone Auntie Em

Posted by auntiem10 on May 30, 2011

I have been in the hospital for the past five days. Thankfully, it has nothing to do with our babies! They are growing and doing very well.

Last Wednesday, I was showering before work as usual. I slipped on a small amount of body soap, my injured knee gave out on me, and the rest is history. I fell onto both knees, dislocating BOTH of them in the process, and then helplessly flopped onto my belly, half in and half out of the shower. My belly was resting on the sharp metal grooves that hold our shower doors in place, and all I could think was that I would miscarry our babies. Thank goodness my husband was home, and he came running when he heard my screams. My right shoulder was also injured, so I was unable to drag myself out of the shower. The hubby ran to call an ambulance, and firemen/paramedics arrived a short time later. I was totally naked from being in the shower, but my hubby covered me with a blanket. The firemen and paramedics worked together to get me out of the shower and onto the stretcher. It was honestly one of the most excruciating 15 minutes of my life, and not knowing whether our babies were okay made it a billion times worse.

At the hospital, the staff took x-rays. While we were waiting for the radiologist’s report, the freaking tornado sirens in our city were sounding. I seriously thought I was in the middle of a nightmare! I’m sure many of you read about the devastation in Joplin, Missouri–not all that far from where I live–so the sirens were extra scary. The hospital residents were evacuated into hallways, but we were in a concrete emergency bay, and the decision was made that we were safe and could stay put. I was relieved when the sirens were turned off, but that sense of relief faded when the doctor returned with the news about my x-rays.

I broke THREE bones–my fibula bone in my left ankle, my femur bone in my left leg, and my humerus in my right shoulder. Not to mention the fact that my right kneecap was swollen from the dislocation, and my left kneecap was still dislocated. No wonder I was unable to drag myself out of the shower! A doppler ultrasound found two strong heartbeats, so that was overwhelmingly wonderful, but we did not know if one or both of our babies may have suffered trauma in this accident. The decision was quickly made to transfer me to the hospital where my perinatologist’s office is located so that the babies could receive the best possible care. After a slight mishap during which I was transferred to the wrong hospital (and then loaded back up in the ambulance and taken to the correct hospital), I got settled into my room. And I have been here ever since.

After an MRI and another series of x-rays, the orthopedic surgerons determined that I needed surgery on my left leg. First, though, we had an in-depth ultrasound to look at our babies. Thank God, they looked absolutely wonderful. No evidence of fractures or bowed limbs, and a blood test that checked whether fetal blood had spilled into my blood (which sometimes happens in a trauma) was negative. Thank you, Jesus. Every day I’ve been here, we’ve had either an ultrasound or at the very least, a doppler, and the heartbeats have continued to be nice and healthy in the 150+ range. There is an entire team of OBs and perinatologists paying close attention to our twins, and they are all very pleased.

So on Saturday morning, our babies made it through their first surgery. My kneecap was realigned, bone fragments were removed, and torn tissue/ligaments/tendons were cleaned up. I was wheeled into the OR just after listening to our babies’ heartbeats on the doppler, and I woke up in recovery to our babies looking healthy on the ultrasound screen. Thank goodness, thank goodness, thank goodness.

I need more surgeries someday, but not while pregnant or while our babies are completely dependent on us. My shoulder is only going to heal up to a point, but because I broke off a chunk of it, it’ll never be 100% right without surgery. Also, it’s been determined that my knees are in terrible shape and I need quite a major surgery on both knees to realign my entire leg. This involves breaking both of my femurs and will require a very lengthy recovery. OUCH. The surgery I had on Saturday will hold me over until this more major surgery, but I will have to be more careful with my knees until then. Ugh.

The recovery for this surgery may last up until our babies make it into the world, so I have my work cut out for me over the next few months! I’ll probably be released from the hospital in the next few days, when I can transfer from a bed to a wheelchair. I can’t really bear weight on crutches or a walker until my broken shoulder heals, so I’m pretty immobile currently. It’s going to be a rough immediate future, especially since my belly will just be growing bigger as I go through physical therapy and struggle to get well. But above everything else, I am just so utterly thankful that our twins made it through this ordeal. We are very, very fortunate.

Posted in Pregnancy | 17 Comments »

21w2d

Posted by auntiem10 on May 23, 2011

I passed the 21-week mark this past Saturday! I’m counting down the days until June 11, which will be a milestone day for us–Viability Day!

I’m feeling more and more flutters/thumps in my belly. I THINK they are kicks, but they are just not very consistent yet. And they are higher up than I expected, so I keep second-guessing myself (like maybe it’s digestion?). I have managed to feel these thumps from the outside twice now, but if I put my hand on my stomach and wait for the next thump, nothing happens. It is frustrating. My hubby has also rested his hand on my belly, eagerly anticipating a thump, and nothing happens. I realize that we just need to be patient and that these sensations will become more consistent as the weeks pass.

I have bigger cankles now. Over the last week or so, I noticed that my tennis shoes were feeling tighter and tighter. I was loosening the laces, and my feet still felt crammed in them. And over the past few days, my feet are swelling noticeably throughout the day. It feels weird to move my toes, and they look awful. I’ve been elevating my legs at night to rid myself of some of the swelling, which helps until gravity takes over the next day. My next peri appointment is Thursday (a cervical check and quick peek at the babies), so I plan to discuss this with the doctor or NP, whoever I see. They check my urine for protein at every appointment (bi-weekly) and also monitor my blood pressure, and I’ve had zero headaches, so I’m not worried about anyone missing signs of pre-eclampsia. I am thankful to be monitored so closely. I plan to bump up my water intake even more and try to avoid sodium to keep the swelling under control, and hopefully that will help.

Yesterday we watched our 3-month-old niece for about three hours while her parents ran some errands. I love seeing my hubby so hands-on with her. He’s never really been around babies before, so he is learning as he goes with her. He fed her the first bottle shortly after we arrived, and she had a total blowout in his arms. Therefore, he got to change his first poopy diaper. : ) I thought he was going to gag when he started, but he did a great job. We had some clumsy moments (like accidentally getting a little poop on her changing pad cover and forgetting to place the little ring around the nipple so the bottle kind of leaked), but overall I think we were pretty successful. We entertained her by talking to her in singsong voices, and she was grinning from ear to ear at her silly uncle and aunt. I fed her the second bottle, and she was struggling to stay awake while eating. I kept having to jiggle the nipple around in her mouth to wake her up so that she could finish her formula. I burped her and then let her take a catnap on my shoulder until her parents returned home. I realized while watching her how natural it felt to care for a baby, and how good it felt to rock in the recliner with her in my arms. It honestly made my weekend. I know we are not always going to have all the answers and will likely feel overwhelmed at times when we are 100% responsible for the two babies baking away in my belly, but I’m confident now that we can handle it! That is a great feeling.

Posted in Pregnancy | 4 Comments »

Twenties!

Posted by auntiem10 on May 14, 2011

Today marks 20 weeks of pregnancy! This feels like a big milestone to me, because all that’s left after the 20s are the 30s! I remember feeling so excited when we hit 10 weeks and were in double digits, and I feel even more excited now. We feel so fortunate that these first 20 weeks have gone so smoothly.

I had my first noticeable instance of swollen ankles on Thursday night. We could not see my ankle bone at all, and my hubby referred to them as “cankles.” LOL. I’ve wished for pregnancy-induced cankles forever, so I won’t complain! My blood pressure checked out nice and normal just a few days before this incident, and I gave a urine sample and haven’t heard anything from my peri’s office, so I assume the swollen feet are just a normal and natural part of pregnancy and not a sign of anything bad at this point. Plus I’m having to wear tennis shoes to work every day due to my knee injury, so maybe having restrictive shoes are not helping matters. I’m being careful not to overdo it, so I hope to keep the swelling under control.

I am so, so hungry right now! I feel like besides having two growing humans in my belly, I am also growing a second stomach. A few hours after dinner every night, my stomach starts growling. We eat nutritious dinners the majority of the time (Thursday night was grilled chicken with a slice of cheese on top and a side of grilled asparagus, for example), so it’s not like I’m eating empty calories. I am just hungry! My body must be working hard and needing extra fuel, so I oblige and eat. : ) This appetite of mine is something else!

I’m also FINALLY starting to notice a baby bump. I just assumed by now it would be really noticeable, but up until about a week ago, I hadn’t noticed any real belly growth. Many women in our lives have told us that it can take longer to “show” with your first baby, because your uterus has never had to contract before. In a training class a few weeks ago, a classmate told me, “You’re so tiny for twins!” And a family member recently told me, “You don’t even look pregnant!” These kinds of comments have been kind of upsetting to me, honestly. I want to revel in pregnancy and admire/enjoy my big belly. Hopefully now that it’s growing a little bit, it will continue expanding! I’m ready for a Shamu belly. : ) My hubby keeps warning me that when I’m gigantic and my back is killing me, I’ll regret wishing for it! Ha!

I am feeling more and more movement, mostly from the right side of my belly (where Baby A has taken up residence). Baby B’s placenta is anterior and muffles movement, so I have to wait until she’s bigger to feel her movements. I think I have felt her a couple of times, but Baby A is fluttering in there a lot this week. I can’t wait to feel a real kick! I told my hubby that I almost thought I felt the first one ever from Baby A last night, but it could have been digestion. He is anticipating being able to feel their kicks from the outside, so that is something to look forward to in the coming weeks. Our nurse practitioner said consistent kicks might still be 2-4 weeks away, which is not too long to wait!

Posted in Pregnancy | 7 Comments »

Anatomy Scan (19w3d)

Posted by auntiem10 on May 10, 2011

Everything looked great today at our anatomy scan! We feel very lucky. I posted three new pictures HERE if you want to check them out!

Every measurement for both babies was totally normal–amniotic fluid, nasal bone, nuchal fold, kidneys, belly, bones, etc. Twin A weighs approximately 10 ounces, and Twin B weighs approximately 11 ounces. Twin A’s heart was pumping away at a healthy 148 bpm, and Twin B’s heart rate was 143 bpm. Taking into account all of their measurements, the computer determined that they are both measuring 19w4d–one day ahead. My cervix has stayed exactly the same measurement since my last appointment–3.5 cm without pressure applied to my abdomen, and 4.0 cm when pressure is applied to my abdomen. This indicates that I have no signs right now of pre-term labor. What a relief!

I am feeling really good right now, except for persistent nausea and my dumb knee injury. My blood pressure is nice and normal, I passed my gestational diabetes early screening with flying colors, and my weight gain is on target (another 3 lbs today for a total of 12 lbs). Everything is going great! My next ultrasound will be May 26 at 21w5d.

Posted in Pregnancy | 5 Comments »

 
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