Twin pregnancy: week 31 in review

How far along? 32 weeks yesterday! I'm thrilled to have met this milestone which means I can now deliver at my preferred hospital.

Weight gain: I could not believe the scale this morning: 183lbs! That means I gained FIVE POUNDS last week. How is that even possible?? Oof. I do feel very swollen (but not alarmingly so in a pre-eclampsia way, don't worry), so many some is fluid retention? In any case I'm now up 44lbs total.

How are you feeling? I'm still extremely grateful that this pregnancy is going so well! I am super uncomfortable now that my belly is measuring 40 weeks, however all my aches and pains are all very normal pregnancy stuff for which I am grateful.

My belly is just huge. You guys have seen pictures of me and you know I'm a super pale skinned person: almost glow-in-the dark. Well one of the most surprising things about this pregnancy is that I haven't gotten any stretch marks yet! I am shocked. I'm one thousand percent sure I'll get them yet- I mean, how can I not when I'll be stretched beyond nature- but it has been quite the surprise that I've avoided them thus far!

I had an ultrasound and appointment on Friday -which I'll describe more in the "noteworthy" section of this post- and found out that Baby B has flipped to head-up position again. His head is positioned right above my belly button and I swear I am bruised from the inside just from him head butting me! Especially in the evenings he likes to bump around in there. His brother's feet are right by his face and I'm kind of hoping he gets a little kick in the nose to encourage him to flip again! ;-)

Noteworthy moments: I had a great ultrasound and appointment on Friday! Baby A is head down (yay!) and measuring 3lbs10oz.  His "big" brother is 4lbs6oz!

Even though Baby B has flipped to a head-up position, my OB still supports me attempting a vaginal delivery as long as Baby A stays head down. Both she and the sonographer seemed to think it was likely Baby A would stay that way, which makes me happy!

The most fun part of the ultrasound was when John and I got to see that both babies have a head full of hair! I have been picturing them as two little bald babies so that was just really cool to see. It made me so much more excited to meet them!

Get a little spiritual: I remember at the beginning of my pregnancy I wondered how I would feel toward the end, emotionally speaking. While John and I have not closed the door to a future pregnancy, at this point I do not want to undergo anymore fertility treatments and I am treating this like the one and only time I will be pregnant. I was a bit worried that I would be quite sad at the end of my pregnancy.

I am not sad at all. I absolutely want these babies to stay inside until they are term, but physically my body is just about done. I have loved and cherished this amazing experience feeling life grow inside. It has been everything I dreamed of and I don't mean that in a cliché way. I wanted to experience pregnancy and I did- from the joy of finding out I was expecting, to seeing my babies on the ultrasound screen, to morning sickness, to the food cravings, to the first fluttery movements, to the alien like punches and rolls inside my belly... I wanted to know what all of it felt like and now I do. I feel so happy, so full, so complete. I feel like I can move forward with my life, fully satisfied with this experience. Now I'm ready to be done.

These next 6ish weeks are going to be hard, physically, but I have been thinking that it is good they will be hard because it will make me (has already made me!) ready to say goodbye to this pregnancy and move forward to parenting these two little babies. I pray God will give me the strength and endurance I need to finish this season well and I thank him even for the tough parts which make me ready and happy to move forward.

Bump shot: John took this picture on Easter Sunday while Arie was hunting for eggs. A few people have told me that the pictures I post don't capture the size of my belly: hopefully this one does!



Twin pregnancy: week 30 in review

How far along? 31 weeks yesterday. I am only 6 days away from making my next goal of 32 weeks!

Weight gain: I gained a pound this week; I'm up to 178lbs making my total gain 39lbs. My gain range (I made a rhyme!) for this week was to be between 32-48lbs, so I am feeling good about being on target!

How are you feeling? I am feeling "great with child." And that "great" should be translated more along the lines of "enormous" than "fantastic." Yes I do feel fantastic about this wonderful, healthy pregnancy but also enormous. Enormous with child. That about says it!

Yesterday I woke up early in the morning with quite a fright. I had asked my OB what signs of preterm labor to look out for and one of the indicator was if I had a contraction strong enough to wake me up. Well, yesterday I woke up with an intense pain radiating from my right hip all the way around to the lower right quadrant of my belly. My very first thought was a panicked, "Am I having a contraction!?"

Thankfully once I woke up a bit more I realized it was "just" sacroiliac pain, something I have struggled with in the past. As the day wore on I was able to stretch that area out and today I am feeling much better. I am actually impressed I have made it this far without hip pain since I have had chronic back and hip pain since I had a bone infection as a young girl.

The scare certainly has made me feel a little more nervous about preterm labor. Each day feels like a victory now! It has also motivated me to push through my ever present fatigue and do some more cleaning around my house so that whenever I do leave to have these babies, I won't be leaving a messy house behind me!

I continue to have frequent Braxton Hicks contractions and I have now entered the swelling stage of pregnancy.

On Sunday John, Arie, and I pulled into our driveway after an outing. As John turned off our van I held my hand up to him and said, "Do my fingers look puffy to you??"

 We heard Arie click off his seatbelt exclaiming, "Let me see!"

He poked his head between the two of us in the front of the van, examined my fingers and confirmed, "Oh yea. That looks bad Mom. And red."

Thank you son. 

So my hands are a little sausage-y, as are my calves by the end of the day. Plus I've taken to wearing a maternity support belt to relieve the weight of my belly a little. Basically I'm looking super sexy these days.

But seriously I am totally fine with all of it as long as my babies stay in until they are term!

Noteworthy moments: At this point, the passing of each day feels noteworthy! Physically my body is essentially stretched to a full term pregnancy (for a singleton) so I'm worried it will get the wrong message and think it is done gestating. As each day closes I get into bed with a prayer of gratitude on my lips for another day well done growing two babies stronger, healthier, more ready for the outside world.

Also I had to buy new maternity pants with a stretchier tummy band. I had been trying to make it work for the last two months with my one remaining pair, but alas... I am huge and require huge pants. ;-)

Get a little spiritual: You know what the worst part of joining support groups is? That everyone brings their issues. I mean, I know that is exactly what support groups are for but it can be so overwhelming to hear about the problems people face over and over again. No one (including me) joins a support group to talk about how everything is normal and going fine.

Through various challenges in my life (infertility, adoption, ministry life) I have joined support groups and they have always been a mixed bag. On one hand I have found encouragement there. On the other hand, there have been times where I have decided not to participate because hearing about all the challenges stresses me out. It has been the same for me joining support groups for moms of multiples.

As I felt myself slipping from a place of confidence about my ability to mother twins to a place of anxiety, a verse from Philippians has been going though my head, "And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus" (4:19). I have been praying that God will give me the faith to believe that he will give me everything I need to raise my new little boys, including the very basic first things like sleep, energy, help with nursing two babies, and the ability to keep up on laundry.

It took me a few days from the time I started feeling anxious about these practical things to the time I started praying about them and I think it is because I have been so used to praying for the big miracle of pregnancy in the midst of infertility that I almost forgot how deeply God cares about even these small aspects of my life. It wasn't until I was standing in church participating as our congregation sang Hillsong's "Forever Reign." There is a very simple line in that song that says, "My heart will sing no other name: Jesus."

As I sang that line I was suddenly flooded with memories from the time I was a little girl, through my teenage years, the trials of my twenties, up until this very day of the times I have cried out Jesus' name. From prayers about little girl spats between friends, to heartbreak over boys, to the desperate cries of my heart when my mom was sick, to the powerful pleas for Arie's adoption, to the joy on my lips when we finally became pregnant with these twins. I have called out Jesus' name for years and years and he has never failed. It brings me great comfort to know that when I am overwhelmed by my mothering, I will call on that same name for strength and he will meet all of my needs.

Bump Shot:



Twin pregnancy: week 29 in review

How far along? 30 weeks yesterday!

Weight Gain: Up to 177lbs, gained 3 pounds since last week.

How are you feeling? Currently I am sick with flu-like symptoms so I'd say I feel horrible, but in general I am still feeling my normal combination of good-but-tired. At my 29 OB appointment my belly was closing in on measuring 37 weeks. Sleeping continues to be my biggest challenge as all my extra weight pushes hard on my hips, making it hard to lay down comfortably. As I've been sick and achy the last couple nights it has been particularly difficult (impossible) to get comfortable. I would not recommend getting sick in the third trimester of pregnancy.

Due to feeling horrible I am skipping my usual format for these updates and giving you a train-of-though update. I'll be back on my A-game next week: 

I've been having brixton-hicks contractions lately which gets me excited because I know it is my body preparing for labor (though not too soon, I hope!). After so many years of infertility I always feel like cheering when my body gets pregnancy stuff "right."

I have absolutely loved watching my belly movements over the last few weeks. My OB described the twins as "wiry," which is to say they are not huge but boy they are strong! I never get tired of watching their limbs poke and jab me all over. I've grabbed my phone to record some of these big movements a few times but the boys seem to be a little camera shy. If I catch a couple good ones I'll be sure to share. I know these are the memories I will love to look back on when this pregnancy is over!

On Friday I asked my OB to feel my belly and tell me what position the babies were in: they are both still head down! Hurray! Baby A previously had his head pushed up right against my cervix but he has now backed away some. At first I was bummed to hear this because it seemed like a worse position for labor and delivery, but my OB assured me that it is actually good not to have that pressure on my cervix too early because it can sometimes signal preterm labor. So, well done Baby A.

John and I went on our hospital tour last week. It was nice to get a visual picture of where my labor will take place and where we will bring our babies into the world! On the tour we met another couple who are not only expecting twins but are expecting them via embryo adoption! How awesome is that? There were probably 8 couples on the tour, so I mean, what are the chances? It's a small world after all. 

Bump shot: 



Twin pregnancy: week 28 in review

How far along? 29 weeks yesterday.

Weight gain: Holding steady at 174lbs. Same as last week. Total gain: 35lbs.

How are you feeling: Emotionally I still feel great. I'm thrilled to have made it to the third trimester without incident!

The weather has warmed up this week bringing signs of spring. The first green spikes of the crocuses have pierced through the soil and I'm expecting to see their purple faces any day now. Yesterday John told me, "Today I heard a flock of geese and I thought, 'They're back!'" Spring has sprung! I'm expecting our babies will come right around the time the tulips are in bloom so these first signs of spring make those days feel very near!

Physically I continue to become more and more tired as the weeks pass by. Yesterday the sun was shining and the air was warm so I thought I'd open all the windows and get some spring cleaning done.

I got as far as opening the windows before I was gasping like I just ran a 5K.

Good grief.

Someone asked me what kind of prenatal exercise I am doing. My answer includes things like: standing up from a seated position and rolling over in bed.

Not even kidding.

On Monday I took Arie with me to car vacuum place so we could spring clean our van. His job was to vacuum up all the road salt and crumbs in the back of the van since I can't quite reach with my belly in the way. He had just finished wiping the interior with Armor All wipes which were in a pile on the back seat.

"Careful not to vacuum those up," I cautioned.

After a few minutes of gleeful vacuuming (Arie thinks vacuuming is great fun) I heard him yelling over the suction noise, "MOM!! I-I-I.... sucked one up!"

Thinking he meant an old wipe, I said, "No big deal. Just finish up."

He finished, we cleaned the windows, threw out the trash, and went on our merry way. At home I helped him out of the van with his backpack, hat, and mittens. When I could only find one mitten I asked him, "Where's the other one?"

He looked at me with a confused I-already-told-you expression, "In the vacuum."

Apparently the "one" he was referring to was not an old wipe, after all.

Blerg. Mitten lost forever. Casualty of not being able to fit into the back of the van anymore!

Noteworthy moments: Nothing too big this week, but we did receive the second crib for our nursery (yet to be assembled) and one of our carseats as gifts. We purchased the second carseat and what I've heard is a twin-mama "must have," the "My Brest Friend Twin Plus Nursing Pillow." I now feel like we have all the essentials for our babies!

Get a little spiritual: At my last appointment I asked my OB about the usefulness of writing a birth plan. There are a few things I would like to do differently than standard protocol but I'm also aware that "standard protocols" are in place for a reason. I went through my list and at the end my OB said, "Write your birth plan. You are a reasonable person." She went on to laugh and tell me about some of the weird birth plan experiences she had endured such as listening to the same Enya song for three hours because the parents *really* wanted it to be playing when the baby crowned. "I didn't say anything but I think we all hated that song by the end." Ha!

There's a phenomenon in birth right now of women wanting the *perfect* birth experience. I know I certainly have an idea in my mind of how I would like my birth to go. I think it is mostly good for women to plan for their births, but of course planning for perfection in any area of life can lead to enormous disappointment and feelings of failure. One common mantra I hear repeated in the "birth world" that always bothers me is, "Trust your body."

For Christians, I think this idea that we should trust our bodies is particularly flawed because we believe that while our bodies are good and holy and created by God, we also believe that they were impacted by the Fall. Our bodies are not immune to disease and failure. Our bodies give us all sorts of good gifts like the ability to take pleasure in food, the exhilaration of exercise and activity, and the joy of growing a child inside. But our bodies also fail. We get stomach bugs, we break bones and sprain ankles, we are diagnosed with diseases, and, more often then we'd probably like to admit, we suffer complications from childbirth.

I don't trust my body.

I am grateful for my body.
I am often amazed by my body.
I respect my body.

But I don't trust my body.

In this pregnancy and as I look forward to the birth of my twins, "Trust your body" will not be part of my birth plan. I certainly hope with great hope that my body responds well to the birth and brings my babies smoothly into the world. But my trust is not in my body. My trust is in the LORD.

Whether I am granted the smooth and complication-free delivery I hope for or whether my birth ends up being the opposite, I will take comfort in knowing that my trust is held in a worthy place: the hands of my Savior. He alone is trustworthy and true.

"Those who trust in the LORD are like Mount Zion, which cannot be shaken but endures forever." - Psalm 125:1

I can trust that the Holy Spirit will be with me to comfort me through each contraction and provide each needed breath. He is in each heartbeat: mine and each of my boys. He will never leave my side whether my body works or fails, whether I am strong or tired, whether I am happy or sad. He will be on the lips of my babies as they utter their first hungry cries and in the tears of my and John's joyful eyes. Whether my babies are born vaginally or via c-section, God will be faithful as he always has been. That is where my trust will be.

Bump Shot: 



Twin pregnancy: week 27 in review

How far along? 28 weeks and 2 days.

Weight gain: 174lbs, up another 2lbs since last week. Total gain 35lbs.

How are you feeling: HUNGRY. So very hungry. I am eating all the time these days. In my reading about twin pregnancy I read that in the third trimester your weight gain slows down because your stomach runs out of room: that has NOT happened to me. Not only am I hungry more often than normal but I can eat larger portions that normal. I almost wish I could see inside my body right now because I swear my stomach is actually larger than normal, not smaller! Ha!

I'm also very tired. I'm as breathless as ever (maybe my stomach has moved into the space my lungs normal take up) and waking up almost every hour at night. The weight of my belly (and, let's be honest, thighs and butt and arms and every other appendage that has expanded!) cause so much pressure in any one position that I have to roll around a lot while I'm sleeping. Unfortunately rolling around is a huge ordeal these days, not to mention every time I move I remember I also have to pee. My best nights are the ones after a few bad nights when I'm just so tired I sleep through the discomfort. Fortunately all my pain is very short lived: I wake up aching but after a few minutes moving around I feel fine again.

Emotionally I still feel fantastic. In my mind I have had four "goals" for the length of this pregnancy: 1) 24 weeks (viability)
2) 32 weeks (after which time I can deliver in my preferred hospital)
3) 36 weeks (*maybe* avoid NICU time if they are born after 36 weeks)
4) 38 weeks+ (term pregnancy!)

At 28 weeks my second goal of carrying these babies to 32 weeks is within sight! I'm feeling very hopeful.

Noteworthy moments: I passed my three hour glucose test! Phew. The test itself went well. I felt gross again after the drink and had a headache for the rest of the day after the test, but I did not throw up nor did I faint so I consider that a success. Also not having gestational diabetes is something to celebrate. (Now where did I put my cadbury mini eggs???)

Get a little spiritual: I have a few thoughts ruminating, but not enough time to get them typed out today. Will have to hold off on this section until next week!

Bump Shot: 

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