Monday, December 23, 2013

It's already been a quarter of a year?!?!?

The twins are 3 months old! As hard as the newborn phase was, I'm really sad it's over, like tearing up this very moment sad. It's strange, there are rough days when I wonder if it will ever end, but then when I realize how fast the last three months have gone, I start to panic. Before I know it, they will be walking and won't want to snuggle with me, next they will be going to school and I'll worry while they are away from home all day, then they'll be teenagers and doing crazy things like driving and dating, and then one day they will move away and I will bawl my eyes out. I don't know if I can still blame it on the hormones, but I tell you what, since having kids I've been a basketcase of emotions: worry, panic, gratitude, and overwhelming love!

The last month, the girls have really started to develop their personalities. Lydia has become so talkative. I wish I knew what she was saying but we have fun making up conversations based on her facial expressions. She gets so excited when when we talk to her and just grins and babbles away. She tries to laugh too. It sounds more like a groan but it's still adorable.

I wish her eyes were open, but Miss Lydia is just so cute when she giggles
Meanwhile Eden has become quite active. (Well, as active as you can be when you don't actually move anywhere.) She is constantly kicking her legs and waving her arms. It's interesting that when I was pregnant, I rarely felt Eden move but Lydia was always kicking, punching, and rolling. I think Eden got the short end of the stick when it came to womb space and she couldn't move around much, so now she's just so happy to be free!

I love Eden's gummy grin

Sleep has been pretty good this month. For almost two weeks straight, they slept for 10-11 hours at night! The last couple of nights they've gone back to waking up once a night. They are starting to bust out of their swaddles and I think this is what's waking them up. You experienced mom's out there, when did you stop swaddling and how did you wean your baby off it? Both girls love being swaddled when they sleep, and I fear we will have a total sleep digression as they grow out of swaddling.

I've had a few Mommy-fail moments this month. The worst was when I accidently clipped the tip of Eden's finger off while cutting her nails! I think I cried as much as she did! I felt like a horrible mother and have since designated all nail cutting to Nate. (Thankfully, Eden's finger has grown back as good as new!) To keep things fair, I also failed with Lydia one day. For some reason, I set her down on the floor right in the walk way between the kitchen and the living room. I was planning to pick her back up in just a minute. However, before I finished whatever I was doing, Ollie heard something at the front door and went sprinting from the kitchen to the door. He had no idea Lydia was there, and ran right over her! The second she started wailing, he knew he was in trouble and went and hid under the piano. Fortunately, she just had a minor scratch from the incident. Hopefully, I can learn to be a better mother!

Here's another Mommy-fail moment. Both babies are crying, Eden has one shoe kicked off, Lydia has her dress hiked up. and my foot is in the bottom of the picture. 
This one shows their personalities. Lydia is content to lay there and grin and Eden is kicking and flailing away. By the way, they are not dressed as boys in blue and red. It's purple and pink in bad lighting.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Flying with Twins!

Me and my beautiful twins on Thanksgiving day
Over the last couple of months, we've been blazing through my list of things that seem impossible to do with twins but actually aren't. Our latest accomplishment was flying! We flew to Utah for Thanksgiving. I would not go so far as to say we pulled off the trip without a hitch, but it certainly could have been worse.

Since having the twins, I've been forced to become more organized. I literally spent hours planning and writing out the schedule for our day of departure to figure out when we needed to wake up, when I would feed the babies, when I would pump, when we would eat, when we would need to leave.....I had to have perfect timing to make sure the babies were hungry for take off to help their little ears pop. I felt confident when the day arrived, but as is the case with most of my well-laid plans, something (or many somethings) always goes amis.

The day actually started out following my plans beautifully. We even left early for the airport. As part of my plan, I was going to pump while on the drive to Tulsa, so we could give the girls bottles while they were in their carseats. I remembered my pump and the car adapter. All set, right? Wrong! You know how they say "pregnancy brain" makes you forget a lot of things and causes you to do some stupid things? Well I think the brain damage continues on after pregnancy. In my mind I was thinking I wouldn't need a power cord since I had a car adapter, so I purposely left my cord at home. How I expected that to work, I don't know. Fortunately, my pump can also run on batteries, so we stopped at a gas station on the way to buy some. Nate ran in, bought four batteries, and we were off again. The only problem is my pump didn't work! Then I realized there were two places for batteries and I actually needed eight batteries. Quick, turn around, buy four more batteries, and back on the road. Good thing we left early!

Once we got to the airport, security was a breeze! We were directed right to the front of the line and we didn't even have to follow any of the protocol: we didn't have to take off our shoes, belts, or jackets, or remove our laptop or liquids. Basically we walked right on through! Awesome!

As we walked through the airport, we certainly got a lot of attention. We didn't check any bags so we each had a baby strapped on the front, a back pack on the back, and a wheeled bag behind. It seemed like everyone was looking at us: some with pity in their eyes, some with admiration, and some with fear that we might be on their flight! Whenever, you go anywhere in public with twins, people want to talk to you. It's usually the same conversation: Do you have twins?!?!? You sure have your hands full. Are they identical? Do twins run in your family? I don't mind people talking to us, but I'm annoyed that after people find out they are fraternal, their next statement is, "Oh, so you have a boy and a girl." Come on people, which of these babies dressed in pink with a fruffy bow in her hair would you guess is a boy? Ok, moving on...

The actually flight went pretty well. When I first sat down, the lady next to me looked at me like I just brought a pet alligator on the plane. I wanted to tell her, "Seriously, it's just a baby, and a very well behaved baby if I do say so myself!" Fortunately, the flight wasn't full and the flight attendant was able to rearrange so Nate and I each got an empty seat next to us. (We can't sit by each other because there is only one extra oxygen mask per row.) I was worried the girls might cry the whole way, but they barely let out a peep the entire time! The only mishap was Lydia's MASSIVE blow out. Have you ever tried to change a diaper (and a very messy one at that) in a tiny airplane lavatory? It sucks. I had to lay Lydia on the toilet seat lid. I used all but one wipe in attempts to clean her up. (I had to save one for Eden.) How was it possible that I was out of wipes and had 15 diapers in the bag? If we were at home, I would have taken her out back and hosed her off! That's how bad it was. After I got her as clean as I was able, the next problem was what do I do with the soiled outfit? If it wasn't so cute, I would have thrown it out with the diaper. Then I remembered my liquids were stored in a Ziplock baggie, so I just dumped those out and stuffed the clothes in there. Once we got back to our seats, Lydia decided to spit up all over me.

After we landed, it took us a good 10 minutes to gather our stuff and strap the babies back on. Nate forgot the ceiling was so low and bonked poor Eden's head while trying to lift her into his carrier! Luckily, after a short crying session she was as good as new. Needless to say, our first plane ride with the twins was eventful, but I'm so grateful they didn't scream and cry the whole way.

These sweet girls would never cry on the plane
We had such a wonderful time with my family while in Utah. We haven't all been together in over two years and since then, we've added six people to the family through marriages and births so it was a long overdue reunion. We had a delicious Thanksgiving dinner, went to Catching Fire, attended a session at the Temple, took family pictures, went to a big tailgate party for the USU vs WYO game, Nate went to the BYU vs USU basketball game, and we spent a lot of time visiting and catching up with family members. We were also able to bless the girls while there. It worked out perfectly because Nate's family was in Utah for Thanksgiving also so we had a lot of family members able to attend the blessing. It was a beautiful sight seeing my little girls dressed in white being blessed by their father. We had a great vacation and were so excited to be able to introduce our babies to their extended family!
We couldn't find their bows for the picture but they still look angelic! 
Grandpa and Grandma Shepherd
Twin picture! Grandma Lisa and her twin Lori with Eden and Lydia
Grandpa and Grandma Feuz
I love my little family!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Twins Two Month Update

The girls hit the two month mark on Thursday. I'll probably say this every month, but I can not believe they are already that old!

I love how Lydia is smirking because she's pulling on Eden's shirt and Eden is gasping that her little sister dare do such a thing!
They had their doctor's appointment yesterday. Eden was 9 lbs and Lydia was 10 lbs! So what's new with these two, two-month old babies? Eventually this blog will be the perfect forum for me to brag on how amazing my kids are, but let's be honest, two-month olds don't have many tricks up their sleeves. The three things the doctor asked about were tracking with their eyes, smiling, and making noises. Check, check, and check. In fact, they are quite noisy at times, so I guess that means my babies are "advanced"for their age :) They've started smiling at me when I come get them out of their crib in the mornings; Ah! A little piece of heaven. They've also started to be more grabby. Especially Lydia as evidenced by the above photo.

I must say their greatest accomplishment by far is sleeping! They have started to sleep for 7-8 hours at night!!!!! They usually go down between 8-9 and don't wake up until sometime between 4-5. One time, they even made it to 7:15. After a mild heart attack when I awoke, I quickly ascertained that they were not dead and celebrated a full night of sleep. Hallelujah! Now I don't want to hear from any of you about how it won't last because holiday travel or teething or whatever is right around the corner and will mess up their routine. Just let me enjoy this moment and pretend it will last.

A smile from Eden

Good morning stretch and smile from Lydia

So as not to paint a picture of our lives through rose colored glasses, I freely admit we have challenges. The girls seem to have a witching hour. Every evening they get fussy and just want to be held. During the day, they are ok having some independent play time, but it's a completely different story at night. I hope they grow out of this phase because it makes it difficult to go anywhere or accomplish anything after 5:00 PM. Speaking of going somewhere, that is another challenge. We do get out of the house but it takes a lot of work to make it happen! The hardest part for me is timing our outings around their feedings. I nurse them together and that's pretty much impossible to do modestly in public. So my options are pump before I go anywhere and take bottles, take formula with me (and suffer the pain of full breasts until the next feeding), feed them separately (and have one screaming at me because she is hungry too) or find a corner to hide and feed them together in order to avoid flashing anyone. I generally just try to go places right after they've eaten so we don't have to deal with it while we're out, but sometimes I don't get a choice for when we leave, such as when we go to church. But we're figuring it out and I'm slowly building my confidence in leaving the safe confines of our home. The other big adjustment for me is how long it takes to accomplish tasks. Folding one batch of laundry can take anywhere from 2 hours to 2 days! Perhaps the laundry doesn't get folded, maybe the floor doesn't get swept (when was the last time I swept?????), and some days I don't even make it to the shower, but the girls are fed, changed, played with, and are basically happy so I guess I do accomplish something each day!

Our furnace was broken for a week, so we spent several days in jackets and hats. Luckily, Nate is a manly husband and father and fixed it!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Post-Partum Recovery From Twin Pregnancy

The babies are 6 weeks old today!!! Holy cow, how did that happen? It's been a blur of crazy, wonderful days. Everyone I see asks me how I'm doing recovering from carrying twins and delivering them via c-section. While it hasn't been a picnic, it certainly hasn't been a terrible ordeal either.

I'd always heard how awful c-sections were and that the recovery was so much worse than a vaginal delivery. Maybe I'm an anomaly, but I honestly didn't think it was that bad. Of course I've never experienced a vaginal delivery, but I'm kind of okay with not having that joyous experience of pushing a baby down and out the birth canal. Especially Lydia; have you seen the size of the head on that kid!?!?  I stayed on top of taking my pain meds once I came home and really felt like any pain I had was quite manageable. Obviously, I didn't do too much other than sit on the couch in the beginning, but that was more from exhaustion than pain. I would say within 10 days, I felt pretty good. The biggest thing for me is my posture has really suffered because I don't have the core strength anymore to hold my frame up. My back is constantly sore from trying to compensate for the lack of ab muscles. Also, my incision site occasionally tingles, but other than that, I don't have any lingering issues from the c-section.

People say weight is just a number, and I really believe that now. I currently weigh about 10 pounds less than I did pre-pregnancy but I miss my old body! I'm pretty sure I've lost every ounce of muscle I once had. I used to consider myself to have an athletic build, but I'd say I have more of a Pillsbury build now; I just feel doughy! The good news is I've been released to start exercising again. The bad news is I went for my first post-partum "run" today and only made it around the block; literally, one block people! It was pathetic, and Nate says I looked like a Grandma out for a shuffle. As pathetic as it was, I was still a little proud of myself :)


So that's basically what's up with me. I know y'all check out my blog just to catch a glimpse of my sweet babes so here's a little eye candy for you.



Monday, October 21, 2013

Two Newborns Q and A

Today is the twins one month birthday! We did it, we have survived a full month! I decided to write a post answering the 5 most common questions I've been asked so far about life with two newborns, plus asking a few questions myself from all you experienced mommies.

Lydia's sad face makes me laugh

Eden has a good sad face too
Question: Are you getting any sleep? How often are the babies up?
Answer: Sleep? What is that? Just kidding, I know night times could be so much worse than they are. The girls are usually up only once or twice a night depending on how the day went. On a good night, they will go down around 11:00 and only get up around 3:30 and then not again until 7:30. If their schedule has been off during the day, they will probably be up around 1:30 and 5:30. I don't mind waking up once or twice a night to feed them. The problem is when they don't want to go back to sleep! They still haven't quite figured out the difference between day and night and some nights, one or both of them refuses to go back to sleep for hours! Other nights, they are perfect angels and go right back to sleep after eating, so I just never know what kind of night to expect. Any advice for getting a wide-eyed baby back to sleep in the middle of the night?

Question: Are you breastfeeding or bottle feeding?
Answer: Breastfeeding 98% of the time but with an occasional bottle here and there. I do believe the mantra breast is best, but I'm also not a crunchy mama who vows to never let formula cross my babies' lips. However, my insurance did send me a brand new fancy breast pump last week that I've just started using. Now even when they get a bottle it will be breastmilk. We still have quite a bit of formula that we got as free samples, so I'm sure we will use that at some point and then hopefully we won't really have to buy any more. Not that I'm opposed to using formula, I'm opposed to spending money when I have the free milk bank right here! I was very concerned in the beginning about not being able to breastfeed two babies and have been super excited that it has worked out so far. My only problem is the babies had a hard time latching in the beginning so the hospital gave me some breast shields to help. Now the girls are hooked and won't nurse without them. Any advice on weaning off the shields?

Question: Do you have any sort of schedule or routine?
Answer: Yes and no. While in the hospital, they got on a good schedule eating every 3 hours. Since coming home, they've done pretty well at staying on that schedule during the daytime. Now that's not to say they don't have crazy days where they are starving every hour or two. On those days, the schedule goes out the window. It's more important to me to have babies that are happy and growing then to stick to a rigid schedule at all costs and have them screaming at me because they're hungry. The most challenging part of our routine is keeping both girls on the same schedule. When one baby wakes up to eat, it kills me to wake up the other one who is sleeping so peacefully. But I know if I don't, I will end up being a 24 hour milk machine! I'm trying to start getting them into the E.A.S.Y. routine. (Eat, Activity, Sleep, Your Time). Right now, my question is what do you do for activity time when they are this young and not very interactive yet?

Question: Do you always dress them alike?
Answer: There are two camps among moms of multiples. Those who think every outfit you buy should be matching and those who believe you are going to damage your children's identities by dressing them alike. Well my kids already have their own personalities, trust me, so I'm not worried about that. I do dress them alike sometimes because we've been given some super cute matching outfits from people. I'll probably buy them coordinating outfits sometimes too, but as of now I'm too cheap and the only clothes I've bought them have come from garage sales and consignment stores so they don't match.

Question: Is it what you expected it to be?
Answer: No. Despite my countless hours of research, I could never have anticipated what it would be like to raise twins, but I'm loving every moment of it. Well maybe not the moments where I get peed, pooped, or thrown up on :)

Friday, October 11, 2013

Twin Newborn Photos

While my mom was here, she took some beautiful newborn pictures. They turned out great! It's hard to believe our sweet babies will be 3 weeks old tomorrow! It has been so fun to watch their little quirks and personalities emerge.

Eden is growing like a weed. When we left the hospital, she had dipped down to 4 lbs 14 oz but by her 2 week appointment, she was already up to 6 lbs 4 oz! While she is catching up to her sister, Nate still likes to call her Little Peanut. She is incredibly observant and when she is awake, she is wide eyed and eager to take everything in. She tends to make a squaking sound when she is trying to get your attention. She also sneezes frequently and loudly just like her dad. My mother in law swears she looks just like Nathan did as a baby.

Lydia is also growing well and is back up above birth weight. She was 7 lbs 8 oz at her 2 week visit. She has a "salmon mark" on her forehead and eyelid that her pediatrician says will fade over time but will be more prominent "when you piss her off." She also has a "stork bite" on her neck but it is hidden beneath her cute rat tail! I like to call her Snuggle Bug because she loves to wrap her arms around my neck and give me hugs. She tends to have a somber expression when she is awake but she also has frequent gas smiles that I like to pretend are real smiles. Her favorite sound to make is a cross between a grunt and a moan.

I am so blessed to be their mother and so excited to continue to watch them grow!

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Our Twins' Birth Story

Birth stories are inherently chalk full of way too much personal information, so if you'd rather not know the 411 on my body, you best skip this blog post. I didn't want to forget the details of the day, so I apologize for the never-ending birth story!

After being admitted to the hospital for pre-term labor and placed on bedrest at 33 weeks, I was shocked to make it to 37 weeks and 4 days before finally delivering. It was a bittersweet month. By that last week I was bigger than a small house and slower than a maimed turtle! I've decided it's all part of the plan. All women become so miserable by the end of their pregnancy that they are willing to do whatever it takes to get that baby here, be it pushing a watermelon sized head through a garden hose sized opening or allowing a doctor to slice through layers of tissue and muscle, take out all your innards, rearrange them, and stuff them back in your body. Only an extremely pregnant, miserable woman would welcome such experiences with open arms.

The last ultrasound we received in Little Rock showed both babies head down so we were given the green light for a vaginal delivery. Wahoo! However, our growth scan on Thursday, showed Baby B had performed some amazing feat of acrobatics and had turned yet again so unless she managed to flip head down again soon, we would most likely be having a c-section.

Friday morning, we had our weekly appointment with our doctor. Throughout the pregnancy, his plan was always to deliver me at 38 weeks in the unlikely event that I made it that far. We went in to this appointment, hoping he would be willing to move up that date a few days due to some concerns. Of course, I was impossibly huge and my body felt like it could not take one more day of being pregnant but we were more concerned with other issues. Our growth scan had shown Baby A to be significantly smaller than the other one and we were worried she wasn't growing very well. Then at the doctor appointment Baby B was not reactive on the non stress test.The nurse had to "buzz" me several times to try to get the heart accelerations they were looking for. They left me lying flat on my back on that stupid table for so long, I thought I was going to pass out! Besides our concerns about the babies, there were a few worrisome things for me as well. My blood pressure had gone up, there was protein in my urine, my swelling had increased, and I had gained several pounds seemingly overnight- all signs of pre-eclampsia. I was also having regular, painful contractions every night for hours on end that appeared to be doing nothing as I was not any further dilated than before. We talked about all of these concerns with our doctor and he said we were really in that gray area: my blood pressure wasn't that high, there was only a small amount of protein in my urine, Baby B eventually was reactive on the monitor, Baby A was small but appeared to be on the same growth curve from the last scan, etc. All of our concerns had merit but then again they could all be nothing. We didn't want to deliver early if the babies weren't ready and have them end up in the NICU but we didn't want to leave them in if something was wrong. Our doctor said if we "twisted his arm" he would deliver that day but he recommended waiting until the full 38 weeks. We decided to schedule the c-section for next week and wait to hit 38 weeks. We left the office with a mixture of emotions. On the one hand worried we'd made the wrong choice and frustrated that we had to wait five more days, and on the other hand at peace. I felt like if something was really wrong than either I would be inspired to know we needed to act or my body would naturally go into labor before our scheduled date. Lucky for me, that turned out to be true.

That night (Friday) my contractions started up again. I kept track of them for several hours. They didn't appear to be getting any closer or stronger. I know the rule is 5-1-1 (five minutes apart, lasting more than 1 minute, for more than 1 hour) before going into the hospital. Mine were pretty variable from 4-10 minutes apart, so I figured I wasn't in "true labor." But then I decided why wait to be in true labor? If I was going to have a c-section anyway, there was no reason to wait for more pain, right? We decided to head up to the hospital just so the doctor could monitor the contractions and more importantly make sure the babies were reacting ok to them. I knew we'd be sent home but it's not like I was sleeping much anymore with being so miserable, so why not go hang out at the hospital for a few hours in the middle of the night?

Chilling in the waiting room. Check out that giant belly!
We loaded up and headed to the hospital around 11:30 PM. I almost told my mom to stay home and go to bed because she wasn't going to miss anything, but changed my mind just in case. We waited in the ER for 30 minutes before being taken up to labor and delivery. Luckily, my contractions weren't really painful as no one seemed to be in any rush. They hooked me up to the monitors and then we just waited. I was delighted that my nurse was the same one who was there the night I went into pre-term labor last month. She was awesome and I felt blessed to have her there! Turns out my doctor was the one on call. After being hooked up to an IV, my contractions slowed way down, and I was afraid my doctor would think I made it all up and just wanted to trick him into delivering early :) Fortunately, he did not think that. In fact, I think it was another blessing that he was the one on call. Because he had seen me that morning, he knew of our concerns already and he could tell my swelling had increased even more. He was worried because my blood pressure had also increased from that morning. I was also further dilated. I feel like if another doctor had been on call, they probably would have indeed sent us home as my contractions had pretty much stopped by that point. Instead, he came in the room and declared I had pre-eclampsia and with all things considered, felt immediate delivery was the best option. Now is where I started to have a mini panic attack. What, we're not going home? I didn't seriously think I was delivering today! I just found out we'd have to have a c-section recently; I hadn't had time to properly prepare myself! Ready or not, these babies were coming and coming soon, as in within the next hour!

Everything happened very quickly at that point. I filled out all the paper work- twice, one for each baby. The anesthesiologist came in and explained what was going to happen with the spinal block. My nurse came in for final preparations that included shaving me and inserting a catheter. Fun! I had heard it's pretty standard to be shaved before a c-section and had planned on doing it myself before my scheduled date. Although, logistically, I'm not sure how that would have worked as my big, fat belly prevented me seeing anything! They brought Nate a jump suit to wear in the operating room and then it was time.

I walked myself down the corridor, kissed Nate goodbye, and headed into the OR. He had to wait outside until they were ready to begin surgery. I was extremely nervous for the spinal block, but I had an excellent anesthesiologist who was very reassuring and explained what he was doing and what I would feel as he was doing it. My nurse also did a great job keeping me calm. I think she must have been an angel. The spinal took forever and I began to worry it wouldn't work and I would feel everything! The anesthesiologist was having trouble getting in between my vertebrae because they were so tight. After several attempts he ended up having to go higher up on my back. Almost instantly I began to lose feeling and started shaking uncontrollably. Apparently, the shakes are a normal side effect. It was the strangest thing when the doctor asked me if I could move my legs and I couldn't budge an inch. They put up the screen, let Nate in the room, and started slicing away. Of course, I couldn't feel the slicing, but as they started rearranging my insides to get to the babies, I definitely felt a lot of tugging and pulling. I pictured them, literally pulling all my organs out and then putting them back in, but Nate watched the whole thing and assures me that didn't happen. The anesthesiologists sat right by my head and continued to give me a play by play. He told me it was going to feel like someone heavy was sitting on my stomach because they were going to push the baby out, and then, out of no where I heard the most pathetic squak and was shocked to realize that was a baby crying! 3:28 AM Baby A was here! They whisked her to other side of the room to check on her and get her cleaned up. I couldn't see her, but Nate got to cut her cord and make sure she was alright. It seemed to take a long time before I heard the next cry. Later, Nate told me the doctor was doing all sorts of maneuvers to get Baby B out. She was lying transverse up in my rib cage and had gotten herself stuck! But four minutes after the first one was born, at 3:32 AM, the second one joined her in the world. She was having a hard time breathing, so they immediately hooked her up to oxygen. As they took care of her, I heard someone singing to her her first lullaby, Happy Birthday. It was kind of funny and I wasn't sure if it was the drugs or if I was really hearing it. By the time they brought the babies over for me to see, I was throwing up and totally missed it. And then suddenly Nate, the babies and 2/3 of the army in the OR were gone and everything was very quite. The longest part of the whole surgery is really just getting stitched up, which was probably 45 minutes. As they worked on me, one of the nurses told me Baby B was having problems with her blood sugar and they needed to supplement her immediately with formula. I, of course, gave my permission. After they finished stitching and stapling me, one of the nurses realized they were missing a needle. Great! One of my biggest fears of surgery was about to come true. Is it possible they left it inside of me?!?!?! They searched and searched and finally called someone in from x-ray to see if it was inside of me. Fortunately, by the time they got there, one of the nurses found the needle not inside of me!

So much for looking fabulous after birth! At least my babies look cute.
They wheeled me back to my room to recover and shortly there after brought the babies in. MY babies. Finally, I could see and I could hold MY babies. It was a very surreal moment but also a very foggy one. Those drugs were killer! I basically was unconscious the rest of the day and remember very little. I was shocked when I saw a picture of myself holding both the babies. Who in their right mind entrusted me, all drugged up, weak, and completely out of it, to hold two babies at once?!?! As the day went on, I started to come out of my haze. I tried to drink some juice with my pain killers. Threw it all up, so they decide to administer pain meds through the IV. They gave me some morphine which put me right back in my haze. Eventually, I awoke from my stupor and decided I needed to get up and walk around. I had heard the sooner you get up and move after a c-section the better the recovery. I tried to walk around the room with the help of the nurse and Nate. Threw up, again. But by the end of the night, I managed to walk 20 feet down the hallway and back. What an accomplishment!

We weren't able to decide on names until that night, as anytime Nate tried to talk to me, I just fell asleep. We eventually decided on Eden Leslie for Baby A. Just as we had seen on the growth scan, she was indeed our little munchkin at 5 pounds 1 ounce. We chose Lydia Eliza for Baby B. As the pediatrician put it, she had been taking more than her fair share of the groceries and weighed in at 7 pounds 6 ounces. She continued to have problems with her blood sugars and had to be put on an IV for a couple days, but was perfectly healthy by the time we took them home four days later. They were actually ready to come home before I was! I had some lingering effects from the pre-eclampsia most notably my blood pressure would not come down. They finally started me on blood pressure medication and are continuing to monitor me.
Getting ready to leave the hospital.
First family photo leaving the hospital
So tiny in their big carseats
Did I have the kind of birthing experiences I always pictured? Not exactly. There were things that were better and things that were worse than I imagined and some things that were just plain unexpected. But honestly, I'm just so thankful to have two beautiful, healthy, baby girls and I wouldn't change a thing.

My beautiful baby girls!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Day 1 of the Rest of my Life

Today was our first day at home with the babies. It was quite the day. I certainly miss being able to send them to the nursery so I can rest or shower. Four full days in the hospital gives you a false sense of I can do this and then you go home and surprise, it's a little different. I have so much to learn about being a mom but I love these little ones so much already!

I've started to write my birth story for those of you interested in knowing way too much personal information about me, but it's been next to impossible to find the time to finish it. Hopefully, by the end of the week. In the meantime here are some pictures from our day.

Swing time!

My setup for tandem nursing. I wrote this post while feeding them. Quite the feat of multitasking!

Lounging in their Boppy pillows
First family walk around the block. I thought I was going to die! I may have outdone myself physically.
Eden hanging out with Daddy.

Lydia's bath.

To bed at last!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Still Pregnant Update

Have you ever dreamed it was Christmas? You wake up full of excitement and head to the living room to see what Santa brought you, only to realize it's only December 1st and you still have weeks until Christmas! That's how I feel about our babies' birth, or rather lack of birth. Don't get me wrong; I'm so grateful they weren't born at 33 weeks when we were sent down to Little Rock. I know they will be much healthier and stronger now. But we got all psyched to meet them, and here we are three weeks later with no indication that they will be making their arrival anytime soon afterall.

We were released (again) from the hospital in Little Rock on Thursday the 29th and finally allowed to come back home to Bentonville. Since then, I have been on "modified" bed rest, meaning I thankfully, don't have to be in bed all day but I am restricted in my activity level. No housework, no walking or standing for extended periods of time, basically no unnecessary strain on my body. Even if I didn't have those restrictions, I think I'd still be in the same boat. I've reached that point of hugeness where my every movement requires so much effort and is incredibly uncomfortable. Come to think of it, the uncomfortableness requires no movement at all; that's just a constant :) So the majority of my day is spent alternating between my couch, my bed, and my recliner with a short walk to my mailbox or someplace equally exciting. I've been blessed to have great friends and have at least one visitor a day, so I get a little social interaction. I also hit up family members back home on skype when I start to get bored or lonely. I try to take a short outing every once in a while. You're likely to find me at Walmart around 10:00 PM in a wheelchair with Nate pushing me around the store. I always hope we don't run into anyone we know, but I've convinced myself it's less embarrasing to be pushed in the wheelchair than ride the motorized scooter! Nate's also become an excellent "house husband" keeping up with all the housework in addition to going to work and trying to finish all his yard projects at the same time. What a man!

At my last doctor's appointment, both babies looked great! My contractions are few and far between now and the doctor really had no concerns. We're just playing the waiting game now. I'll be 36 weeks on Tuesday and will be induced at 38 weeks if the babies haven't come by then. So at least I know we're down to 2 weeks! In the meantime, I have way too much time to stare at their swings and cribs and everything else we set up in anticipation of their arrival. But I can't complain: I'm glad they've had this extra time to bake and I'm finding ways to enjoy all this downtime as I will never have it again in the next couple of decades!

Almost 36 weeks
Swings and carseats just waiting for babies!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Hospital "Adventures" Continued

There is a fine line between being optimistic and delusional. I tend to lean a bit towards the delusional side. I am 34 weeks pregnant today and had convinced myself that we would be allowed to go home today, but alas, it appears my fantasy will not become a reality.

We have had quite the experience since being airlifted down to Little Rock a week ago. After the doctors were able to put a stop to my preterm labor, we spent several days in the hospital for observation. Everything seemed to be back to normal and I was hopeful we would not have any further complications. The doctors felt confident in releasing us from the hospital, however we couldn't go home. Apparently, once you've been admitted to this hospital, you can't go home until your doctor agrees to take you back into his care.We soon found ourselves in limbo. So we got sent to "camp." This is not your typical camp. There are no crafts or hikes at this camp. Simply boredom and bedrest. Camp is basically a hotel right next to the hospital that they send nomad patients like ourselves. It is actually a pretty neat program as the hospital pays for your stay and provides food. A nurse checks on you once a day and there is a free shuttle so you can get to the hospital quickly should an emergency arise.

All seemed to be going well and I was sure it wouldn't be long until my doctor agreed to take me back. Sunday morning I awoke to very strong and frequent contractions, so back to the hospital we went. (But not before I put on makeup, brushed my teeth, and combed my hair. Just in case this was birth day I wanted to have a presentable picture for the blog.) The contractions were anywhere from 1-5 minutes apart but the babies looked good and I wasn't dialating any further so I wasn't admitted and they sent us back to camp. The doctor said because my uterus is expanded to the size of full term for a normal pregnancy, my body thinks it needs to contract, so it is normal for me to have such frequent contractions throughout the remainder of my pregnancy. Oh goodie!  I'm just loving this chronic contraction business. I was told to come back if I started experiencing stronger pain or had other signs of labor.

Well, Monday morning brought that stronger pain. I woke up to strong contractions, body aches, chills, fever, and nausea. Uh oh, I don't think this is normal. Off to triage we go. "Oh hello, back again?" This time the news wasn't so good. I was running a temperature over 100 degrees, my blood pressure had shot up, I was dilated another centimeter, my heart rate was very high, and most concerning was the babies' heart rates were extremely high as well. I began to worry we would have to deliver that day for the babies' safety. I was so weak and out of it, I was sure there was no way I would be able to push them out! The doctor worried I had some sort of infection, virus, or the flu. They ran a whole battery of tests which included me getting stuck four separate times for blood work (twice because one nurse didn't know the other had already done it. Lucky me) and a nose swab for the flu (pleasant experience). They hooked me up to an iv, gave me meds for reducing the fever, and finally, hours after getting there in terrible pain, gave me the sweet nectar of a narcotic! Relief! Eventually everything came down: fever, heart rate, blood pressure, babies' heart rates. They aren't sure what caused all of it or what really helped, but I'm grateful to be pregnant another day. Besides, I looked absolutely terrible and wouldn't have been able to share a post-birth picture if I delivered yesterday!

34 weeks pregnant and the size of a normal 40 week pregnancy. Is it possible to grow larger?

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Pre-Term Labor at 33 Weeks

I had my first helicopter ride yesterday. You could say it was not exactly the experience I imagined it would be. On the Bachelor, there are always several dates consisting of a romantic fly over of some fabulous place with talk of how amazing the view is and how special the other person is. Well my experience consisted of me crying while leaving Nate on the helicopter pad, taking in the views to exotic Little Rock, and having conversation such as, "Let me check your urine bag" and "Do you need stockings on your feet?" But I‘m getting way ahead of myself.

I've been having contractions for several weeks now but last week they started occurring much more often. I talked with my doctor about it at my appointment, and he told me if it continued to come in and see him or go to the ER if it was after hours. I had a couple nights that I contemplated going to the hospital, but I didn't want to be a paranoid first time mom. The contractions always went away and I felt better in the morning, so I figured it was nothing. Saturday night, after several hours of pretty regular contractions, I decided to call the ER and speak with the OB doctor on-call. I explained the situation to her and she made me feel like I was overreacting and everything was fine. She told me to wait and see my doctor on Monday or if I REALLY felt it was necessary, I could come in and she would check my cervix if she thought it was necessary. I felt stupid after that conversation and decided not to worry about it.  Sunday night the same thing happened but I didn't call the hospital for fear that it would be the same doctor and she would just dismiss me again. So I decided I would go to my doctor's office first thing Monday morning.

Monday morning, I was one of the first people in the doctor's office and I was eager to talk to my doctor just to be reassured that everything was ok. Well I didn't even get to see my doctor. They had me talk with one of the nurses. I told her what had been going on and got the same feeling from her as I did the other doctor. I got the distinct impression of being dismissed again. I was told to drink water, lie down, empty my bladder, blah, blah, blah. I'd already done all those things and it hadn't made a bit of difference. Why couldn't I just see my doctor? I was sent away and told to call if I started bleeding or my water broke or something more serious. That was so frustrating to me. Why would I wait until I was actually in labor to get help?!?!? Hello, I'm trying to prevent having these twins too early. Apparently, nobody else thought there was anything wrong, so perhaps I really was paranoid.

I decided to just go about my normal day after that. I went to work, swam laps at the gym, came home and rested, went out to P.F. Chang's with friends. I was having contractions thoughout the day but they weren't super painful and I'd already talked to a doctor and a nurse about it and neither were concerned. The hospital is actually right by the restaurant, so when we left I just had a feeling that I should try one more time to get some help. If I was told it was nothing again, I would let it drop once and for all and stop worrying about it. Nate agreed, and we headed over to the ER. I was admitted, and the nurse hooked me up to some monitors to check the babies' heart rates and see how often my contractions were occuring. I actually felt like they were coming less often and less intense than before we got there, so I was sure I would be discharged and sent on my way. Turns out I was having contractions about every 4 minutes (which I wasn't even realizing half the time) and they decided to start me on magnesium to try and stop the contractions. Finally! Someone was taking me seriously! My nurse was an angel and the doctor on-call was one I'd actually met with when my doctor was out one time, and I felt I could trust him. I believe it was a tender mercy from God that this nurse and doctor were the one's taking care of me. So they started me on magnesium (which sucked), gave me steroid shot in the booty to help the babies' lungs develop (which sucked), and inserted a catheter (which sucked the very most!!!) The magnesium slowed my contractions a bit but not much. By 4:00 AM, the doctor told us we would be transported to the hospital in Little Rock that specializes in premies because there was a good chance these babies were coming.

Now we get to my helicopter ride. Nate wasn't allowed to go with me, so he would be making a 3+ hour drive down there instead. I didn't want to leave him and I was scared the babies would come before he would get there. It was an awful feeling leaving him on the helicopter pad, and I am sure it was just as bad for him helplessly watching me and the babies fly away. I spent the flight doubting myself and blaming myself. Maybe I put too much strain on myself giving Ollie a haircut, I should have stayed home from work and rested, I shouldn't have gone swimming, they say spicy food can cause labor and I should have listened, I got too prideful that my pregnancy was going so well that now I'm being punished. I don't honestly believe I brought this on myself, but at the time I was in a low place.

Nate hurried home to pack some things for us and get everything in order. But what do you do when you don't have any clue how long you will be gone for, when the babies are coming, or what you will need? You get awesome reinforcements from your friends and family, that's what you do. I was so amazed at how quickly word spread and we had people offering to take Ollie, take care of our lawn, check our mail, clean our house, do our laundry etc. I seriously have no words for how grateful I am for everyone who has jumped in to help. Not that there was ever a good time to go into pre-term labor but this was terrible timing. That morning we were supposed to get our carpet replaced, take Ollie to the vet, pick up some friends from the airport, and help them move in to their new place that night. Bryson and Alyssa stepped in to take care of all of that. We left our house in total disarray with all our living room furniture crammed into the kitchen and the carpet ripped out of the living room, but I know when we finally make it back home, everything will be in order thanks to them.

Back to the story. I arrived in Little Rock hours ahead of Nate. It was scary being alone and having to make decisions about what would be best for the babies, but I also felt a sense of peace. I felt I was in the best place possible and everything would be ok. Every time a different nurse or doctor came in, I got a different story: we're not going to delivery these babies today, we're trying for a vaginal delivery, we're doing a c-section, we need to wait until the second steroid shot can be administered and go into effect, your contractions are happening more frequently, your dilated a bit further, your contractions are slowing down. Finally the good news came that the contractions were under control, I wasn't dialating any further, and we were out of the woods for now. They removed the iv's, all the monitors, the catheter, and I was finally allowed to eat and drink and get out of bed for a little bit!

Today has been uneventful which is wonderful. They plan to keep me here indifinitely since things can change so quickly. The babies may come tomorrow or I may hangout here on bedrest for weeks. Who knows? All I know, is we have felt the prayers of so many said on our behalf. Everyday that passes improves the babies' prognosis and will hopefully decrease the time they have to spend in the NICU. I know God is a God of miracles and he is watching out for my little ones. We have faith that He has a plan for us and everything is going to work out for the best. I am so grateful for a loving husband who has been by my side faithfully (except when they made me leave him) and I am so blessed to be married to him. He is going to be a wonderful father! We appreciate continued love, support, and prayers from all of you.

Today they let me take a shower and wear pants!  After lying in my sweat in the same gown for days it felt amazing to shower and put on clean clothes. And my bum doesn't hang out for all the world to see anymore!