Posted by: Katherine | April 20, 2015

NIAW 2015

Wait – what! Katherine is blogging! Has it really been 9 months since she last posted? Yup, it has. What deserves my entrance back into the blogging world? Well, it’s National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW). And I want to do something special to honor the week. Because even though we now have children, we will always remember that we almost didn’t. And we will always remember that we need more awareness of this issue and how devastating it is to those of us diagnosed with it. And we will always advocate for better infertility insurance coverage, even though we have our children finally. So in honor of this week, in honor of the survivors, in honor of those who are still waiting, in honor of those who have been forced to move on, I wanted to share my blog with everyone I know. This blog has always been fairly anonymous. Very, very few family members and friends knew about it. I wanted it to be a journal in some sense, and didn’t want to worry about what others might think of it as I wrote. (And if I ever got pregnant, I wanted to share that information with family and friends when I was ready, but still wanted to blog about it in real time.) So this week I am posting this blog on Facebook and if my friends are interested, they may decide to go back and read it. Read my story. Read my emotions. Read about my life when I was in a small cocoon of depression and wasn’t interacting with a whole lot of people. And then read about my pregnancy and the joy. If you want to read from the beginning start in February 2012 (there’s a little menu bar that lists the months to help you navigate.)

I wish I could document more of our day-to-day life with the boys in this blog. But I just have no time. In fact, this post tonight is an act of procrastination. To be honest, I haven’t even read any other blogs, besides my husband’s, since I returned to work nine months ago. (I highly encourage you to follow Robb’s blog, you can see that we’re still alive and our sons are amazing.) So, if I’m being honest with myself, I probably won’t post very often in the future, if at all. But just assume that I’m happy. And know that despite the craziness and the exhaustion and not having any time or money anymore, I finally have the only thing I have ever wanted. And everyone deserves this happiness. So keep fighting for awareness. Keep fighting for cures. Keep fighting for funding. Keep fighting for happiness.

Family Picture on First Birthday

Family Picture on First Birthday

Baby A (Miles) and Mommy

Baby A (Miles) and Mommy

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Baby B (Conrad) and Mommy

Discovering moss on a tree (Conrad in my arms, Miles is in Robb's arms)

Discovering moss on a tree.

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Posted by: Katherine | July 6, 2014

12 Weeks In

12 weeks gone, just like that. I go back to work tomorrow and life may get even more busy. I managed to get some writing done in the past few days to get an update out into the world. I wish I had more time. There is so much more I want to share. And so many pictures that you deserve to see! But this is where we’re at with two babies taking up my time and attention. And honestly, I wouldn’t want it any other way. I miss writing and sharing my life with my readers – but I suppose you’ll survive without my constant updates. I’ll do the best that I can! (Or, alternatively, Robb has started a new blog about life with the boys. He hasn’t written as much as he’d like, but he has more updates than I do. You can check out his blogs here: http://onedistracteddad.wordpress.com/ and http://onedistracteddad.tumblr.com/.)

Twins are Hard

I don’t even know where to begin with how the last 12 weeks have gone. I started coming out of my fog around the seven or eight week mark for a couple of reasons. I think I’ll start with my saving grace – the book The Happiest Baby on the Block. I read it just after I wrote my last blog post and it changed everything for me. Thanks to the techniques in that book, I am able to quickly calm my crying babies, get them to sleep more easily, help them sleep longer, and be able to more easily attend to my other child because the first one is calm and happier. I cannot recommend this book enough. I should have read it before they were born. If you are pregnant now – read this book! If you have a young baby that cries a lot – read this book! Don’t wait until your kids are seven weeks old to read this book, because that will be seven weeks of unnecessary, unhappy babies and stressed out parents!

Also, around the same time is when breastfeeding started becoming easier. I’ve been told that women with infertility often have problems producing enough milk because of hormonal issues. Plus, the whole twins thing is kind of hard. I think I am producing enough milk for one baby, but not two. In the first four days after the boys’ birth, we were dealing with terrible cluster feeding because they weren’t getting enough food. I would literally feed a baby, pass him to Robb, take another baby, pass him to Robb, and start all over again. For hours. At night. From about 9 pm to 6 am. I slept a total of about four hours in two days after we came home from the hospital. And then we finally saw the lactation consultant and she told us that the boys were constantly feeding because they weren’t getting enough food. We immediately started supplementing with formula and the difference in the boys was amazing. My breast feeding routine has been time consuming. I breast feed each baby for 15 minutes. Then I bottle feed them with some type of supplement, while I’m pumping at the same time. The entire process usually takes 45-60 minutes. Sometimes I tandem feed if both babies are really hungry or I’m short on time. But I’ve discovered that I really prefer feeding them one-on-one. I think they eat better when there is just one of them and it allows me to bond with each baby, rather than feel like I’m uncomfortable and feeding a litter. In the first few weeks I was able to provide about half of their supplementation with breast milk and the other half with formula. Lately though they’ve been eating a lot more and going through a growth spurt and my milk production is not keeping up, so they’re getting more formula.

The first two months of feeding the babies were so hard. I knew that the first couple of weeks would be difficult, but I had no idea that the pain and stress would last a couple of months. My nipples hurt and/or were tender for months. The boys sometimes had bad latches. I wasn’t producing a lot of milk. I was so bitter that feeding the boys took so long because I had to feed both of them, then bottle feed them (which involved making formula, heating up bottles, washing bottles, etc.), and then pump. In my sleep deprived state in the early weeks I threatened several times to quit actual breast feeding because of the pain and just pump and feed the kids by bottle. And even though now we’re in a routine with feeding and my nipples finally stopped hurting, it’s still stressful. I’m never sure how much food to give them in the bottle since I’m always starting with the breast. At first the lactation consultant told us how much to give them. But because we finally got a routine established, there is no need for me to see her anymore. So we have to try to guess how much to give them. And oftentimes I don’t give them enough food and I’m constantly running to the kitchen to pour more formula in their bottles. I’m going back to work soon and we’ve been experimenting with them getting just bottles a couple of times a day and we’re trying to figure out how much to give. I constantly feel like a failure when it comes to feeding my children. I’m trying not to fixate on the problem too much, but it really has been the most difficult part of parenthood for me.

Health

Overall, the babies are really healthy. In the first few weeks we were concerned about Miles’ breathing. His breath can seem labored at times. In fact, one day it got bad enough that we made an emergency doctor appointment. The doctor told us his lungs were clear and it is just the way that some babies breathe. The breathing is getting better as he gets older, and we’re used to the noise now, but it was really upsetting the first few weeks! It does make for some super-cute baby snores though! Conrad had a really bad diaper rash for several weeks. We finally got a stronger cream from the doctor and that eventually helped. After he was all healed, Robb changed his diaper one night and decided to slather his behind in butt paste for good measure. The next day he had a really bad rash again. We discovered that was the cause of the rash initially, and we had kept using it to “heal” his rash. Poor baby! Since then, his behind has been mostly fine. (Although a couple of days ago it started getting red again. Not quite sure why. So we’ve stopped cloth diapers on him for now until we can get the rash cleared up.)

Conrad got his first fever after his immunizations. It was really heart-breaking to see him so uncomfortable and feel the heat radiating from his body (his temperature was over 100). Tylenol seemed to help him though and he was back to his happy self the next day. Miles has reflux, which means he spits up – a lot. It doesn’t look like he’s bothered too much by this, so we haven’t put him on any medications. The doctor recommended rice cereal to help cut down on the spit-up, but my research shows that rice cereal this young may cause problems. Because Miles seems to be doing okay, we’ve decided to hold off on the rice cereal for now; we just have to make sure that there are spit rags strategically placed all around the house and we have to do laundry constantly.

Growing Up

My babies are growing and changing so fast. Even though they have already started wearing 3-6 month clothes, I didn’t realize how big they were until I saw a newborn the other day. When I asked how much he weighed, he weighed a pound more than Miles did at birth, and this newborn looked soooo tiny compared to my boys. I don’t even remember my boys being that small! (At their 2 month appointment, Miles weighed over 10 pounds and Conrad over 12!) Conrad has filled out and has the baby fat look big time. Miles is growing appropriately, but is a lean, skinny baby. They look so different next to each other. Conrad is the spitting image of his father – EVERYONE comments on it. Miles looks more like me! The boys have learned to smile and it just melts my heart every single time! And I can actually make Conrad smile on demand by singing the ABC’s to him! Conrad just loves kicking his feet, especially against something like the back of the couch or my hands (hmmm, sounds familiar – he was the one that kicked me most of the time in the womb!) Miles will kick too, but tends to move his arms around more. He is quick to grab our fingers and hold on for dear life! They love the play mat we have that lights up and plays music, although they seemed just as enamored with it when the batteries wore out and the lights and music did not work. But really their favorite thing is looking at our faces. They want to be paid attention to, and when they are given attention, their faces just light up!

Conrad is a beast when it comes to physical activity. He lifted his head super-early and actually rolled from his tummy to his back last week. Miles lags a bit behind in head activity because he has torticollis. This is where his neck muscles are a little weak/stiff (likely due to crowding in the womb). Since birth he has always tilted his head one direction. And while he can lift his head, he only turns it so far before turning back. At his two month appointment, we asked about this obvious problem and the pediatrician recommended physical therapy. We’re on a waiting list to get an intake appointment. Because Miles is a little behind, we are so impressed anytime he lifts his head and turns it. He gets lots of cheers from us when that happens!

They are sleeping longer at night and require less food. They used to eat every three hours and have both breast milk and a bottle. Now their stretches between eating can go 4-5 hours and just a quick breast milk snack (dream feed) will get them through until the next feed. They barely wake up, and if they do, they’ll go right back asleep. (Except sometimes – lately Conrad has been having a difficult time sleeping at 2 and 4 in the morning.) It’s so nice not having to deal with bottles at night anymore. While I desperately wanted them to be on a predictable schedule before I start back to work next week, we haven’t quite mastered that yet. Sometimes they wake up earlier than I expect and sometimes they sleep way later. I can’t predict what they’ll do at night. My biggest concern is timing their last afternoon feeding so that they can wait to take their evening feeding from me when I get home from work. I sometimes get home from work as late as 6:30, and that’s generally too late for them! I guess we’ll just see how it goes when I go back to work and adjust as necessary.

As far as their personalities, they definitely are distinct. When we’re out and about, Conrad just has to look at everything. He won’t easily fall asleep in the stroller because he is so interested in the world around him. He loves it when Daddy holds him facing out, so we’re on the hunt for a baby carrier that has that option. Someone commented the other day that if Conrad could walk, he’d be running around and getting into everything. I think we’re going to have our hands full with this boy. Miles, on the other hand, is much more chill. He will quickly fall asleep anytime there is movement in the car or the stroller. He’s content with relaxing and observing the world around him. When he smiles his dimple is highlighted and he looks almost mischievous. He might just take over the world one day, quietly, while his brother is distracting everyone around him!

Pictures

The photographer that did our maternity pictures came to our house to do our newborn pictures when the boys were 12 days old. I just love how they came out! Check out the pictures here: https://ashley-vos.squarespace.com/blog/seattle-twin-newborn-photography

And here’s a more recent shot of my happy babies!

Miles (left), Conrad (right)

Miles (left), Conrad (right)

Made with Love (and Science)!

Made with Love (and Science)!

Posted by: Katherine | June 5, 2014

No Time

I am so busy I don’t even have time to write this post. But I did write this late night email to my parents the other night while breast feeding. Thought I would copy it into here so that you know I’m still alive (barely) and to try to understand my level of craziness right now. Twins are no freaking joke. I cannot imagine how easy it would be to have just one newborn! I do want to say, that despite the craziness, my boys are amazing. I love them so much and I can’t wait until I have some time to post pictures for you and descriptions of my ever-growing loves!

My EMAIL:

I’m not quite sure how to get sleep and get stuff done that HAS to get done (laundry, washing bottles, look for and hire a nanny, pay bills, etc.) I have spent the last 5 hours holding babies. As soon as one falls asleep, the other one wakes up. And let’s not even talk about the 30 minutes of hearing both of them sob and I couldn’t help because both just needed me. It’s 11 at night and I’ve been up since 4. Probably won’t be able to sleep until after midnight because another feeding is about to happen. I couldn’t even empty the dishwasher today. I started washing bottles hours ago, but the sink is still full. I eat crap and feel like it. I eat a protein bar for breakfast, get fast food for lunch most days, and either skip dinner or eat a can of beefaroni. I fill in the gaps with lactation cookies. This is not good for me or my milk supply, but I don’t have time for anything else.

And don’t tell me Robb needs to help more because he is maxed out as well. Trust me. We are both all in.

There is no time left. I folded one basket of laundry today (I left the other 2 baskets alone), sent a message to only two potential nannies, and picked up a nursing pillow. That’s it. That’s what I’ve managed. And I’ve been up forever.

No point to this email I guess. But when you tell me to sleep, I am not exaggerating when I say I can’t.

Posted by: Katherine | April 21, 2014

They’re Here – Birth Story

I went in to the hospital at the 38 week mark for my scheduled induction on 4/10/14. (I took my last pregnant pictures that morning!)

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We checked in at 1pm. We did four rounds of cytotek over the next several hours and through the night. I felt an occasional small contraction, but nothing ever really got going. My most uncomfortable moments were when the babies were being monitored during the NSTs. I couldn’t walk nearly as much as I would’ve liked because of all the monitoring required and I hated lying in bed for so long and trying not to move too much so we wouldn’t lose the babies’ positions. In the early morning hours of 4/11/14, Baby A’s heart rate decelerated a few times, so then I had to be on the monitors constantly and could only come off of them to go to the bathroom. After the shift change around 7:00 am, the doctor checked my cervix. It was so far back and her checking it caused so much pain, that she couldn’t even really figure out if I had dilated at all. Because of the lack of cervix change, we couldn’t reach my water to break it. She said that she didn’t want to put me on pitocin yet because they were worried about how Baby A might react to that stronger drug. They said they would keep me on the monitors for a couple of hours to see how Baby A was doing, but I might need to prepare for a c-section. A few hours later I was told that Baby A was looking good and there had been no decelerations. By this time, I was at the hospital for about 24 hours with no progress. I was given the option to have a c-section that afternoon if I wanted to be done with the process, but I could also try pitocin and see how the babies tolerated it. This was a really tough decision. Finally I decided I wanted to try pitocin. My goal was a natural childbirth and I wanted to still give my body a chance to attempt it. They got me started in the afternoon of 4/11/14, giving me higher and higher doses every 30 minutes or so. I had to be on the monitors the whole time, but changed position every 30 minutes when the nurse came in to administer the next round of pitocin. In the early evening I did feel contractions and would moan a little through them, but overall they weren’t too bad. As the evening wore on, I still hadn’t made much progress and it was decided to turn the pitocin level down some so I could try to get some sleep. On 4/12/14, the next doctor on call came to speak with me. He tried checking my cervix and I had the same problem that I did before, it was so high that the cervix check was painful and I begged him to stop. He told me that I had a couple of options at this point. First option was to have a c-section. We’d been trying to induce labor for two days and nothing was happening. Second option was to go home and come in again next week to try inducing labor again. That option really surprised Robb and I. The doctor said the babies had tolerated the pitocin really well and that it would be perfectly reasonable to give my body a break and come back later if natural childbirth was that important to me.

Robb and I agreed pretty quickly that it was time to do the c-section. We’d been at the hospital for two days. While it was important for me to try to get a natural childbirth, I knew my chances with induction and with twins was smaller. At that point I had done everything I could and tried the drugs that were available to get these children to come vaginally. We were exhausted. We couldn’t imagine leaving the hospital without our children. And we felt that it was very likely that if we came back the following week for another induction, the results would probably be the same — hours of induction with no progress.

After we decided on the c-section, everything started happening quickly. We signed consents, met with doctors, got the low-down from the nurses, etc. I walked to the surgery room and was given a spinal (rather than an epidural). The anesthesiologist was wonderful and was a real calming influencing. And he generously took our camera from Robb and took a ton of beautiful pictures during the procedure – seriously wonderful pictures that I’m so grateful to have. During the procedure I was freaking out a little bit because of how surreal it all was and the strange way my body felt (feeling numb to pain, but feeling my body being tugged.) All of a sudden, Baby A was born at 12:14 pm and I heard them say “It’s a boy.” I remember thinking, “wow, a boy – everyone thought Baby A was a girl.” Then, only 20 seconds later, still at 12:14, they said, “It’s another boy!” At that point I started crying. My two children were safely born – Baby A and Baby B were both here and were both boys. I wasn’t really aware of it at the time, but Baby A needed some oxygen, so they brought Baby B over to Robb to hold first. After Baby A was deemed healthy, Robb got to hold him for awhile as well. I got to look at my babies while they started piecing me back together.

First Family Photo

First Family Photo

 

Robb and the babies went to the recovery room and I followed shortly after. Everyone knew how important skin to skin time and breastfeeding was for me, so there was a team of nurses there to help bring the babies to me, hold them up to my breasts, and complete our first tandem feeding. I was just in awe that they were there, feeding from me, and were such champs at it. At some point I threw up. And later in the day I threw up a couple of more times. I guess I was pretty out of it because of the anti-nausea and pain drugs they gave me. I was told I passed out for awhile.

Breastfeeding Team

Breastfeeding Team

I really don’t remember much of their first 12 hours of life, which bums me out. But I do remember talking about names with Robb in the early evening. We had come to the hospital with a list of several names for each sex and wanted to see what the babies looked like before deciding on their final names. Robb and I are so glad that we did that because the boys do look so different from one another and their names would not “fit” on anyone other than themselves! (I put the punctuation in their names so they’re not as searchable). From now on, I will only refer to them by their first names or first initials.) So, I’m pleased to introduce:

Baby A – Mil.es Fran.klin, 4/12/14 at 12:14 pm (5 pounds, 15 ounces.) Miles’ middle name is to honor my dad, Frank.

Miles

Miles

Baby B – Conr.ad G.eorge, 4/12/14 at 12:14 pm (7 pounds, 4 ounces.) Conrad’s middle name is to honor my grandfather, George.

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We spent the next couple of the days in the hospital as I recovered from my c-section. We checked out Monday, a little before noon, almost 4 full days after we first checked in to be induced. As of today, they are 9 days old. Eventually I will post again about the cluster feeding throughout the first few nights. The days where I was functioning on less than 2 hours of sleep due to the constant feeding. The current days where I’m getting a little more sleep, but not nearly enough. The challenges of breastfeeding. Their first doctor’s appointments. The joys of holding them in my arms and kissing them. The excitement of their firsts – their first tummy time session, first walk around the block. The love I feel when I witness their Daddy fall completely and instantly in love with them over and over again. But I have a feeling my posts will be a lot less frequent in the next few weeks because this is hard, draining, and completely rewarding work. Hopefully I can get on again soon because the world needs to see more pictures of my sweet boys! (I can’t believe I’m the mother of two boys – I never thought of myself as a “boy” Mom, and now I am one!)

Going Home Outfits (Conrad, left; Miles, right)

Going Home Outfits (Conrad, left; Miles, right)

Five Days Old (Conrad, left; Miles, right)

Five Days Old (Conrad, left; Miles, right)

First Easter (Conrad, left; Miles, right)

First Easter – 8 days old (Conrad, left; Miles, right)

Posted by: Katherine | April 9, 2014

Induction Still a Go

The NST today showed that I was having contractions every 7-9 minutes. If I wasn’t paying attention to the monitor, I probably wouldn’t have felt one. But because I was looking for it, I did feel a small contraction today. I still am not dilated at all. However, I am 50% effaced. So, despite the light contractions and the lack of dilation, the effacement was enough for my doctor to suggest that we go through with the induction on Thursday. She said if my cervix hadn’t softened at all, she may suggest waiting. But she feels at this point that we may as well get this started and there wouldn’t necessarily be any changes by next week. So the induction is a go. (Assuming they have a bed for me. I need to call tomorrow around 11 or 12 to double-check.) I will be monitored by whichever doctor is on call at the time. I was warned that this could be a 2-3 day process. So that’s freaking me out a bit. I’m concerned about: boredom, not being able to eat, drawn out pain, lack of sleep, etc.

I’m tired. I’m emotional. I’m nervous. I’m scared. I’m ready. I’m not ready.

We’re going to be parents by the end of the weekend. I’ll update when I can.

Posted by: Katherine | April 8, 2014

Doctor’s Broken Foot

I was already having a hormonal day today. I am scheduled to be induced in two days. The past few days I’ve been trying to get some cleaning done and my to-do lists whittled down. Yesterday I had a massage and asked the therapist to hit those labor-inducing pressure points, but haven’t felt a thing. Even though I’ve been working from home completely since last week, today was my last day of actually working and I was trying to finish up a research paper to give to my boss before I start three months of leave.

So due to stress, fear, and hormones, I already cried a good amount of time today and then I got a call from my doctor’s nurse. She told me that my doctor broke her foot and wouldn’t be able to be at my delivery. What!?! My doctor wasn’t going to be there? Part of the reason we scheduled the induction for Thursday is because we wanted to make sure that my doctor was there before she left on vacation. The nurse told me that the doctor wanted me to know that since she wasn’t going to be available anyway, she’d be comfortable pushing my induction back until next week. I asked the nurse if there was any chance my doctor would be able to deliver me next week before she went on vacation and was told “no.” Her mobility is very limited and she can’t do any deliveries. I asked if I would see my doctor for my Wednesday appointment tomorrow and was told “yes.” So I told the nurse that I wanted to stay on the schedule for a Thursday induction, but talk to my doctor tomorrow to discuss options and get her opinion.

I’m really distressed about this. If I were to go into spontaneous labor in the middle of the night, I understand that my doctor may not be available to deliver my kids. But this induction is scheduled, even though my body hasn’t shown any indication of labor, so that my doctor would be there! A week ago I was thinking about putting off the induction if there were no signs of labor. But over the past few days I’ve convinced myself to go ahead with the induction on Thursday no matter what my body is (or isn’t) doing.  The past week I’ve been preparing for it. And so I am emotionally ready to be done with pregnancy. I want to be induced Thursday. But now I worry. The whole reason I agreed to induction was to be with my doctor and now she’s not going to be there and is giving me the option to push the induction back. What if I continue with the induction on Thursday but it fails or lasts days or ends in a c-section because my body isn’t ready? Will I regret not waiting or rescheduling? And I haven’t even mentioned the part about going through a twin labor with a doctor who doesn’t know me and doesn’t understand who I am and what I want to try to achieve.

I’m scared about my appointment tomorrow. What if my doctor recommends delaying the induction – can I emotionally handle that? What if my body still shows no signs of labor tomorrow? What should I do to best take care of myself and my babies? Robb will be coming to my appointment tomorrow morning. He hasn’t been to an appointment in awhile because they’ve been so routine and frequent. But he has the day off and I need him there to help me talk to the doctor and calm me down. Because it’s very possible that I may cry at my appointment tomorrow. Two days until induction now? Maybe?

Posted by: Katherine | April 5, 2014

Five Days Until Induction

It’s hard to imagine that in less than a week my babies will be here. There are a lot of conflicting emotions right now. And the hormones this month have been pretty intense, which just adds to the overwhelming feelings I’ve been having.

First, I am having serious survivor’s guilt right now. Against so many odds, I actually achieved a successful pregnancy during our very last attempt at infertility treatment. And not only that, but my pregnancy has been pretty easy and every indication thus far shows our twins will be born healthy. But there are so many people out there who are not so lucky. We were loaned money by family members so that we could afford IVF, which is otherwise not affordable for so many people (or us). And even with the most advanced treatment options, some people will never achieve pregnancy; that was so close to being us. For those that do achieve pregnancy, many pregnancies are not so easy. Being pregnant with twins is so risky and we didn’t have to deal with any of those risks, such as gestational diabetes, incompetent cervix, small babies, premature birth, etc. It’s incredible to think about the fact that we’ve had such amazing luck with this final IVF cycle and this twin pregnancy. And it’s so heartbreaking to know that there are others out there that won’t ever be this lucky.

I’m also emotional right now because I LOVE being pregnant, and it is almost over. I mentioned in a previous post how beautiful I feel and how comfortable I am in my body right now. But it’s not just that. It’s knowing that my babies are growing inside me and I have made them a good home. They’re with me all of the time right now and that is so comforting. I know they’re safe inside me. I love feeling and seeing them move. When a baby moves and I press my hand over that body part sticking out of my stomach, and then the baby responds by pressing back or moving, I am just in awe!  I love the baby hiccups, especially because it is mostly Baby A that has them and it’s one of the rare times I feel movement from Baby A. I love seeing Robb freak out when he sees or feels the babies move. The chances of me ever being pregnant again are practically nil. And while pregnancy is about 9 months long, in the grand scheme of life, that is is such a short amount of time. I’ve only experienced this pregnancy for such a short time and I won’t experience this ever again.

Finally, I’ve wanted to be a mother for as long as I remember. But so much of the focus the past few years has just been on getting pregnant. Now I’m about become a mother to not one, but two, children. Most immediately, what if something goes wrong during labor? What if one or both of my children gets hurt or even dies? What if I die? I know I’m being a little melodramatic – but these things happen. And then, if we all make it home in one piece, what if I screw this up? How will I handle the lack of sleep? What if breastfeeding doesn’t go well? How will I be able to go back to work and leave my kiddos? What is our money situation going to look like with the added expenses of two kids? There are so many unknowns. And in less than a week, all of this is set into motion. I was really, really good at pregnancy. But the kid part is suddenly so very scary!

Five days until induction. Five days until everything changes.

Posted by: Katherine | April 4, 2014

37 Week Appt

My Wednesday appointments are starting to seem a little monotonous. Babies are healthy. No contractions. No dilation. How is it possible that I’m 37 weeks pregnant with twins and I have had absolutely no indications of labor? I was really hoping for a centimeter or two of dilation at least – especially because I started feeling occasional pain in my cervix the last week. But my doctor just told me that Baby A’s head is really low and that’s what is causing that pain. But, even without any signs of labor, the doctor said to me, “Well, let’s get you scheduled for your induction for next Thursday, the 10th.” And I’m like, “What, really?” She said, “Yup, we’ve kind of been planning this for awhile. It’s time to get you on the schedule, that’s when you hit 38 weeks.” She explained that we should schedule the induction because it is easier to get things on the schedule now, but at my appointment next Wednesday we could decide to cancel or push it back. I said that my biggest concern was being induced with me still having no signs of labor, which would then make the induction longer, more difficult, and more likely to end in a c-section. She said that she understood and we’d make the final decision on Wednesday, the 9th, during my final NST and regular appointment with her. I explained that I was kind of freaking out that this was finally here. I don’t know how I’ll handle motherhood, but I’ve been good at the pregnancy part – it’s scary to end that. She agreed that I was really good at pregnancy! She said that the nurse who saw me earlier had commented about how good I still looked considering I was 37 weeks pregnant with twins and how little I complained. It’s nice to know that even though I feel like a pregnancy rock star most of the time, the professionals recognize it as well.

So I signed the paperwork for an induction and she told me her nurse would call to give me further instructions. I got the call the next day and was told that I was scheduled for an induction on Thursday, the 10th, at 1:00 pm. The nurse apologized for it being so late in the day, but I just thought to myself  that Robb would be happy with that time – he is not a morning person! I’m a little worried about starting an induction that late in the day though because I’m thinking that means I will be laboring through the night and won’t get much sleep! That should be interesting. I’m supposed to call labor and delivery that day between 11:00-12:00 to make sure there is a bed for me. If they’re too full, I may have to wait a few hours or another day. I’m allowed to eat a light meal before I go into the hospital. Holy crap – this is really happening soon!

Since we scheduled this induction, I’ve been thinking a lot about whether or not I would want to cancel the induction if my body hasn’t shown any signs of labor by next week. Initially I was leaning that way. But now I’m thinking that I’ll stick with the 10th no matter what. If I don’t have any signs of labor by the 9th, what makes me think that I’ll have signs of labor by the 11th, 12th, 13th, 14th, or 15th? We still want to induce during the 38th week, so we might as well just get it going. So unless my doctor makes a change, I’ve decided that I won’t be the one to ask for a cancellation. Plus, now we can make some more definitive plans about my parents visiting, Robb’s days off, etc. My parents made plane reservations to arrive on the 15th (and paid extra so that they can reschedule that flight if I go into labor earlier or later). And here is what our final few days, sans babies, will look like:

  • Robb is working this Saturday. I’m going to spend the day doing some things around the house and creating a to-do list to help us stay on track the next few days.
  • Robb has Sunday off, so we’ll get to some of those chores on the to-do list (like cleaning bathrooms for guests, going to the store to stock up on things like cat litter, etc.).
  • On Monday Robb is going to work. I have a massage scheduled and I’ll ask the therapist to hit some of those pressure points that encourage labor. Then I’ll work from home the rest of the day.
  • Robb’ is going to work on Tuesday and I’ll work at home.
  • And on Wednesday, the day before the induction, Robb and I are both going to skip work. I’ll have my doctor’s appointment in the morning and then we’ll have the rest of the day to do any last minute prep.
  • Thursday – baby time!

As much as I’d love to go into labor naturally (and I suppose it could still happen in the next few days), it’s nice to have something on the calendar. This is so surreal. Oh, by the way, if I know you in real life – please don’t share this with mutual friends or say anything on Facebook. We don’t plan on telling most people when we go to the hospital; I don’t need a bunch of people trying to get info from us or bothering us during labor/first few hours with our children. (Plus this induction stuff can still change). 

37 Weeks

37 Weeks

 

Posted by: Katherine | April 2, 2014

“Last” Weekend

This past weekend was a really big deal for us. Robb and I had three days off together and it was really important for us to spend a lot of relaxing time together. After spending the past two months being really baby focused (maternity pictures, baby showers, putting together furniture, getting the nursery ready, buying a car, packing hospital bags, etc.) whenever our days off coincided, we finally got to a weekend where we really didn’t have anything that had to get done. And knowing that the twins could arrive anytime now, we really wanted to get in time that was just us-focused…because we know it will be a very long time before that happens again. Assuming the babies don’t come before induction week, we will have at least a couple of more days together. But I’m sure they’ll be focused on cleaning up the house and getting some last minute things done. We won’t be in the super-relaxation mode that we had the last weekend in March.

Our three-day weekend involved a nice dinner out (to celebrate my birthday and act as the last nice meal out for a long time), watching a couple of movies, talking a lot, a trip to Target to take advantage of some gift cards/coupons for baby things, visiting Starbucks to drink some coffee and read for awhile, and really just bonding/connecting to each other again. Robb and I were both so looking forward to this time together and we had been very worried that the babies would decide to make an early appearance and we wouldn’t get this weekend together. We are so grateful that they held off. Such obedient kids so far!

Now that we’ve made it to April, I am officially declaring that these babies are welcome to arrive anytime. (Did you know that the birthstone for April is a diamond? I’ve been really hoping that they arrive in April because I’m a March baby and always hated the aquamarine birthstone. Even if the kids could care less about their birthstone, I’m thinking that I have a better reason to ask for diamond jewelry in the future – when we can afford that type of thing – to honor my kids’ birth month!) Everybody is on high-alert and is very anxious – so come on babies, obey your mother, it’s time to start taking the steps necessary to make your way into the world!

Getting ready for dinner out (36 weeks, 2 days)

Getting ready for dinner out (36 weeks, 2 days)

The Beached Whale Look at Starbucks (36 weeks, 3 days)

The Beached Whale Look at Starbucks (36 weeks, 3 days)

Posted by: Katherine | April 1, 2014

Mini-Van Owners

Technically, we could survive with the two cars we had, a 2005 Honda Civic and a 2008 Chevy Aveo. We checked and the car seats did fit in both cars. Both cars were paid off so we didn’t have any car payments to deal with. And there is nothing worse than car shopping (except maybe dealing with renewing cell phone contracts). However, I came up with a lot of reasons as to why we needed a new car:

  • First, Robb was a little cramped in the cars with the car seats installed because he had to move his seat forward (he’s a tall guy – about 6’3″.) And if it was cramped with the infant car seats, I was really worried about when we will have to transition to the larger, convertible car seats.
  • Second, the Chevy Aveo had an almost non-existent trunk. I’ve heard through the grapevine that when you have kids you’ll end up carting a lot of crap, from strollers to diaper bags, and you need space in your car to put those things. The Chevy is also a bare-bones car. It was really a cheap replacement car when Robb was in an accident a few years ago that totaled our previous car. I’m completely okay with driving a stick, having roll-up windows, and not having an air conditioner (you don’t really need an air conditioner in the Pacific Northwest but 2-3 weeks a year). But there were no anti-lock brakes and the car was super-small. I was worried about the safety factor of carting kids around.
  • Third, the Honda had 150,000+ miles and the Chevy had 90,000+ miles; I wanted to sell/trade-in a car before it accumulated more mileage and lost even more value (or before a car needed even more money spent on repairs).
  • Fourth, I figured if we were going to add a car payment to our expenses, we should do it now. Babies are going to really change up our budget. We need to find the money now to make a car payment work so that it is just a part of our lives, instead of a hardship later on. Plus, we also got a tax refund and some money from our flexible spending account that I didn’t want to magically disappear into our general account – I wanted to use that money when it was still fresh to add to our down payment.

After a lot of discussion with Robb, I finally convinced him that we should look for a new car and get rid of the Chevy. Yes, the Chevy is newer and has less mileage than the Honda, but see my concerns above regarding safety and size. In addition, because it was a bare-bones car to begin with, the value of this car was low and would only get much lower over the years. I needed to get rid of it before it went over 100,000 miles and while it still was worth something! As far as a replacement, we decided we needed either a small/mid-sized SUV or a mini-van. And because I wanted to keep a car payment low, we decided to buy used. I got pre-approved for a loan from my bank and decided my criteria was a 2011 or newer car, less than 50,000 miles, and I wanted to stay between the $15,000-20,000 range (closer to $15,000 if possible). Because my budget was low, that limited my options quite a bit. So I spent a couple of weeks looking at websites to figure out what cars were in that budget and then narrowed down my options based on reviews/rankings. I decided we needed to look at 2 types of mini-vans and 2-3 SUVs. Then I made a spreadsheet so I could track all the dealerships in the area that had the cars I wanted, so I could easily compare mileage, price, etc. (Thank goodness for the internet and being able to find all of this information from home! I can’t imagine going from car lot to car lot in search of a used car.)

The first weekend in March Robb and I finally had both Saturday and Sunday off. We decided it was the time to visit a few car lots to test drive the cars I had narrowed our options down to. We looked at a couple of mid-sized SUVs, but compared to the space in a mini-van there was just no contest. As Robb, said, if we’re buying a new car for space, we might as well go all out and get one with space! By the end of the day on Saturday, we decided on a 2013 Dodge Grand Caravan. Having the third row would be great for when we have visitors (i.e., the grandparents). And even with that third row up, there was still plenty of space in the trunk for a double stroller and other gear. (We did look at an SUV with a third row. It was a nice little mid-sized SUV, but the third row was really cramped. And with the third row up, there was no trunk space. We needed the third row for visitors AND trunk space. What’s the point of carting visitors and the twins around if you can’t use the stroller too?) The other great thing about the Dodge Grand Caravan was the stow and go seating. Every single seat folded down/into the van. Robb was envisioning how much easier it will be to pick up a Christmas tree or new furniture in the future! It was a very smooth drive and had a lot of amenities that our poor little bare-bones Chevy didn’t have that most people take for granted (such as air conditioner, power windows, front and back air control, a cd player, etc.) Robb hadn’t done any car research, so he was very surprised with how far mini-vans have come in 20 years.

So on Saturday evening we got home and I looked at all the websites for local dealerships within 30 miles and made myself a new spreadsheet to compare all the 2013 Dodge Grand Caravans that were available. Sunday we headed to a dealership that had a car with lower mileage (38,000 miles) and a lower price. And the van was black – which was a much more desirable color for us than the white vans we had seen advertised most places. We test drove the van and checked it out to make sure that all the functions worked. We then went to lunch to discuss if this was it and headed back to the dealership so we could buy the car. Initially I had wanted to sell our Chevy ourselves so that we could get more money out of it. But Robb and I decided that it would be better to just trade it in and not deal with the hassle of selling it ourselves. Maybe if I wasn’t 8.5 months pregnant with twins or if Robb was around more on the weekends to help me show the car or if we had started this whole process sooner, we would have tried selling the car ourselves. But we decided to trade it in and we got even less money than I had hoped for it (while Robb thinks we got more money than he thought they were going to offer.) At that point I had a little hormonal crying fit that Robb managed to pull me back from! After two full days of car shopping, I think I was just exhausted and bummed that we were losing out on some money. After signing all the paperwork we finally said good-bye to the Chevy and drove away in our new mini-van.

I’ve been driving the van for about a month now and still feel very pleased with the purchase. It was a well maintained van and I’m not worried about any unexpected repairs coming up soon – knock on wood! ( It was previously owned by a car rental company. Apparently that is why there are so many 2013 Dodge Grand Caravans on the used car market, they’re very popular for rental car companies). The van belongs with the kids. So while I’m driving the van now around town and for my appointments, when I go back to work in July I think that Robb will be driving the van more and I’ll take the Honda as my main car for the commute to work. The car seats bases are installed and ready to go. One of the strollers is already in the trunk. All that is missing is the kids!

You know, if we had unlimited resources/money, we probably would have chosen a larger SUV with a third row as our family car. We never really though of ourselves as mini-van people, especially because we only will have two kids. (Although I suppose no one really does dream about being a mini-van owner.) But having two babies at once and a limited budget makes you reevaluate what makes sense. So, we have a mini-van. And that’s our new life right now. And that’s okay!

Mini-Van

Mini-Van

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