30 weeks

Written by Kate • February 24, 2015 •
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Me at 30 weeks

Me at 30 weeks

Well, I’ve made it to 30 weeks and it feels great. I’m so glad things are going well and even if I’m uncomfortable, I’m hoping to get to 38 weeks.

This has been a crazy week. Although I had been sleeping really well last week, this week I’ve been very uncomfortable at night and have not slept well at all. I think I need to be sure to stretch my hips, lower back, legs and whole body really. That may be the difference. I find also that if I spend part of the night propped up so I’m sleeping at incline, my hips don’t hurt me as much. But it’s taking me a long time to get to sleep and I have a few bouts of wakefulness around 3am and 6am and I’m just too tired to get up and go with it until I can take a nap later. So I just lie there for another hour or so until I feel tired again.

Dion was off in Paris this week so I had the whole bed to myself. Now that he’s back, it’s been about the same. In the end, I start out in bed until about 4am and then end up on the sofa until 9am. It’s working well enough for now!

The nexium has kicked in. I’m very happy that it seems to be working and I haven’t needed to supplement with tums. It’s actually near to life changing, how little acid reflux I’ve had.

This week, I finally really tackled the Christmas lights that have been lying on the ground since I took them down two or three weeks ago. And so I put them away in the basement and finally was able to put all Christmas boxes in their proper place. I then tackled the desk in the dining the room and the kitchen and dining room table. It took me hours and hours and hours and hours to do this. I had to take so many breaks and I was going so slowly that I’m astounded at how much I actually got done. By the time I want to bed around 10:30pm that evening, I was getting some strong indications from the belly that I overdid things. I had more round ligament pain getting into bed and I just had to lie still for a good 20 minutes before I could get move to get comfortable. So ok, I should do less in one day. My ankles were swollen and I was beyond exhausted but it felt good to do some deeper straightening up, like around the kitchen desk, the dining room, etc. But I do need to learn to do less in one day and take more lie downs to allow my belly to rest.

I also finally purchased maternity underwear because I don’t want to ruin what I have (Natori- LOVE) so I got some and they seem super comfortable. I also bought two nursing nighties and robes- for the hospital and for home. With visitors and such, I want to be able to cover up in a way that also allows easy access to the twins. In trying to find different nursing nighties, I saw that several only allowed access to one breast at a time and that just won’t work for me (if all goes to plan).

Big new for this week is that we held the shower on the 7th. It’s quite humbling and wonderful to receive from other people.

Gift Table

Here is the gift table

I normally find myself unwilling to ask or accept help so this has been quite an eye opener about myself. People are being so generous and kind, I’m really quite touched by it all. And so many thanks to my sister, Amber, and to Rhoma for putting this one. I’m really so touched by it.

Amber with the balloons to help guid the arriving guests

Amber with the balloons to help guid the arriving guests

 

 

 

I wore my maternity dress because hey, I’ll only have a few chances to wear it before birth (thankfully I got it on massive sale so it was only $18).  It was hard to just sit back and allow Amber and Rhoma spend all this time and money on my party and to have people give to us. But I’m really trying to allow other people to give me support, if they are so inclined. I love to give to other people so I’m trying to just allow it all in.

We had a wonderful turn out and the weather totally cooperated. It was a warm day, no snow! Thanks to all who showed. Here are some photos from the big night.

Rhoma getting prepared while I watch her work!

Rhoma getting prepared while I watch her work!

Gluten free cake table

The beautiful gluten free cake and goodies table.

Kate_Colleen_Timphotobomb

Colleen and me with Tim photobombing us in the background

Dion wearing the mandated pink boa

Dion wearing the mandated pink boa

The whole scene

The whole scene

Baby shower games

Baby shower games- taste the baby food

Theda's beautiful cookies for A and B

Theda’s beautiful cookies for A and B

Gift Table

The gift table

30 Weeks Pregnant With Twins

BEST MOMENT OF THE WEEK:  How incredibly active they’ve become and the shower.

CRAVINGS:  This week I’m craving steak.

TOTAL WEIGHT GAIN:  26.8 lbs

WHAT I’M LOOKING FORWARD TO:   Now that the shower is over, I know what I need to buy so I’ll be making the final purchases and putting my labor and delivery bags together.

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Week 29

Written by Kate • February 4, 2015 •
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Week 29

29 weeks

Kate at 29 weeks

After all of my struggles to gain weight in the middle weeks from weeks 18 to 26, I find myself easily gaining one pound a week. But I can also feel how big the babies are getting so I think it may be all them. From Dr. Barbara Luke‘s book, When You’re Expecting Twins, Triplets, or Quads 3rd Edition: Proven Guidelines for a Healthy Multiple Pregnancy, I got the idea to measure my bicep from week to week to measure if I’m getting bigger all over.  So this morning, I measured my right bicep again and I’ve dropped over .5 inches from my arm. And it looks like my rear is slimming out (maybe not but it looks that way to me!).  So that’s good news mostly because I worry about preeclampsia and high blood pressure and I’m hoping that baby weight gain and my weight loss will help me in that area. We shall see!

About this picture, this is me really pushing my belly out to stretch my back and Dion snapped a pic of it. So I look extra big. Bonus!

This week I went back to the internet to read twin pregnancy blogs. I wanted to see how uncomfortable the final weeks were and what to expect. In the main, they were very helpful and I saw that the swollen feet and Braxton Hicks were quite common and that high blood pressure can happen in any week. I also found that although there were scary moments, like real contractions, with the doctor’s help you can be treated and make it to week 37 or 38 despite earlier problems. It does seem clear that it gets super uncomfortable there at the end! I also learned that the rule of thumb is that each week of earliness equates to 3 days in NICU. So if I gave birth in week 34, I could reasonably expect the babies to spend 12 days in the NICU before coming home.  AND it appears 34 weeks is the cut off where you can expect the babies not to have any long term problems due to their early arrival, like with their vision and other issues.

As a side note, I also felt like there was a lot of apologizing in some of the blogs for simply relating what their true fears, concerns, and thoughts are. I was happy to read about their fears and concerns as it makes me feel less alone when my fears come up.  As a first time mom, some of my concerns are just about not being able to give either baby my full attention like you can with a singleton. And I would love to carry them in a sling after birth but apparently that’s not really feasible after a month or so, mainly due to their weight and size I believe. But it seems like most twins don’t have any memory of that time frame and instead have the traditional complaints about their adolescence and the fascination most people have about twins (I researched it). Finally, I sometimes wonder what the heck it is I’ve signed on for and what kind of bomb did I set off in my otherwise tranquil and settled life.

I feel Baby B a lot of the time. I think it’s because she has a lot less room than her brother so I feel her hiccups and her movements so much more than her brother’s. I feel Baby A in the morning and late at night. I discussed this with my doctor and it seems like A is in just a bigger space so it’s harder to feel him at any given time. In the past, he has really pushed back when I’ve been sitting in a position that allows for my thighs to push into my belly. But I’m rarely in that position any more because it hurts my legs to sit in a normal chair for too long so I’ve moved to the sofa or to an exercise ball. The exercise ball helps my back stay strong.

With the cold, the snow, and the freezing rain, I have been kind of hibernating indoors and have not pushed being outside. So I’ve been able to ride my stationary bike for 5 days this week, between 30 and 40 minutes each time. I just feel better for it. And I know exercise helps with blood pressure so I’ve been keeping with it.

Each morning I wake up and the babies feel like they are curled up in the middle of my belly to protect themselves from the tossing and turning I do, moving from left side to my right. But after about 10 minutes, they seem to relax out of the tight balls they must get into. I say good morning to them and feel them kick. I am then pretty much very hungry so I eat first thing, which isn’t that normal for me. I used to have two cups of coffee before eating but that’s no longer an option. My belly, each morning, feels great- light and like I could carry it around all day. But by mid-afternoon, I start to feel the strain of the weight of my belly and if I don’t pay attention, I get what I think are Braxton-Hicks until I slow down. For me, it’s a tightening across my lowering belly and while it doesn’t hurt, it’s not comfortable either. It feels like it’s wrong so I slow way down and the tightening disappears.

I had another 2 week check (at 29w and 6d) and their heart beats were excellent. His was in the mid 150s and hers was in the high 130s. My BP was good 118 over 69 – I made sure to exercise today which shows in the numbers! I also got switched over from zantac 2x per day to one nexium per day. The zantac doesn’t really do it and I need to take between 2 to 6 tums a day, in addition to the zantac. So he said to try the nexium.

For the first time, at today’s appt with the 4th of the 5 OBs in my practice, my doc said that he would prefer to do a C section if A is down and B is transverse. That was news to me and the 1st of the 5 I met said she’d be happy to try vaginal in the L&D room if A is down and B is transverse- because the OR is just across the hall. I really do want to deliver vaginally because it’s good for the baby and while it’s likely long and painful compared to a C-section, it takes weeks to get over the C-section and I want to have that bonding time with them without lots of pain meds- if I can do it. However, both twins are heads down so this may be a moot point. Today’s doc reiterated that I won’t go past 38 weeks so my plan is to go on some long walks in week 37, to get things going naturally- if it comes to that.

I’ve come to realize that I only have at most 9 weeks left in this pregnancy, my first and probably my last. So I want to slow way down and enjoy the remaining weeks. I will especially miss the movements, knowing they’re with me and pretty much everything I do is with them in my mind.

 

29 Weeks Pregnant With Twins

BEST MOMENT OF THE WEEK:  Baby B had the hiccups twice this past week. It is so cute!

CRAVINGS:  Sugar/sweets. I have wanted baked goods all week.

TOTAL WEIGHT GAIN:  25 lbs

WHAT I’M LOOKING FORWARD TO:   Getting the crib set up but it’ll have to wait until Dion gets back from Paris

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Week 28

Written by Kate • February 3, 2015 •
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Kate at 28 weeks

Kate at 28 weeks

Week 28

This week, which started on Jan 21st, 2015,  feels like the pregnancy has really kicked in. I feel larger than I ever have and much heavier in my abdomen, which makes it harder to get off the sofa. My feet are swelling much more than before starting at the ankles. Apparently this is pretty common in all pregnant women, including those with singleton pregnancies.

And for all of the interrupted sleep I’ve been getting from sore hips or getting up to pee, I actually slept through the night last night, in the bed. It was joyous! And the week was pretty good, in terms of how much I’m able to sleep through the night. Yes, I get up to pee every three hours or so but I got right back to sleep.

I had my 28 week appt with my OB. Their heart rates were good. B’s, the girl’s, is always much lower, than A’s, the boy’s. My blood pressure was good. No worries at this point.

And I also had my 28 week appt with the MFM, as well. If you’ll remember, from the last ultrasound, Baby A was measuring nearly 2 weeks larger for his gestational age and Baby B was nearly 2 weeks ahead of hers. But I passed the gestational diabetes test so no worries there. The ultrasound this week shows them about 10 days bigger and weighing 3 lbs each. I know that the weight estimates can be all over the map but the main thing is that they are growing.

Head down at 28 weeks

Babies are head down at 28 weeks

Some other things, I’m not exactly a bundle of energy here and I’m starting to stress myself out because I haven’t really done some of the things I have meant to, including creating a birth plan, speaking with the care navigator at the Birthing Inn to discuss my concerns, my food issues, etc, and I haven’t packed my go bags for the labor and delivery or gotten car seats. But the dresser is here and the crib has been ordered. I saved a few hundred dollars on the crib and dresser by keeping my eyes out on sales at BabiesRUs. Score! My shower is in a couple of weeks and I think I’ll start buying everything we need after that. Somehow I thought I’d be more together than this and have everything set up but no….not me.  But it’ll all come together, I’m sure.

Some of the issues that I continue to worry about, which is admittedly silly, is about my age and that I won’t make it to 38 weeks. I worry that despite not having gestational diabetes or having high blood pressure, I’ll all of sudden develop preeclampsia and have to deliver way early and the twins will spend weeks in NICU. Or I worry about placenta previa, having read about some of the preterm labor stories out there. In my more calm moments, I know all of this out of my control and worrying about it only steals my peace in the now without actually doing any good at preventing any of these concerns.

So the remaining question is when should Aunt Ruth come out?  I want to deliver at 38 weeks which is about April 1st but statistically it’s likely that I’ll deliver around 36 weeks. And with Dion traveling the week of March 15th, it seems prudent to have her come out before then. So perhaps the 11th?

 

28 Weeks Pregnant With Twins

HOW BIG ARE THE BABIES?  Baby Girl is 3 lbs and Baby Boy is 3 lbs

BEST MOMENT OF THE WEEK:  How incredible active they’ve become. I love how much they move now.

CRAVINGS:  Soup. I crave all sorts of soup, especially tom kha gai.

TOTAL WEIGHT GAIN:  24 lbs

WHAT I’M LOOKING FORWARD TO:   Getting my to do list going and accomplishing some of the tasks

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The Art of Gratitude [and Vision Boards]

Written by Kate • March 18, 2013 •
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When I’m ready to try something new, I often try to make sure I am doing things “right”. Thankfully I know this about myself so I often just get past that concern and “do it”, whatever needs to be done. Like so many other people, I wan to do something well from the beginning and part of that involves doing it right. Another, bigger part, involves just doing it despite the fear.  And just wading in, after as much research as I can do, gives me so much insight.

Lately a lot of things have been coming together and I see now that when something isn’t effortless, it’s time to tinker with the process. I’m also not afraid to try to understand why something isn’t working rather than beating my head against the wall and just keep at something, when I’m not getting the results I want or when it doesn’t feel good. Tinkering while still moving forward seems to me to be best way forward in pretty much all things.

Gratitude

My view one morning this summer visiting a lake

My view one morning last summer visiting a lake

One thing I’ve tried to do, with varying levels of success, is to make sure that I say my thanks at the end of each day, that I give gratitude for all I have, all I’ve experienced, seen, and felt. I see now that the reason why it’s been with varying levels of success is that I didn’t realize how much I was just doing it by rote.

I’m so grateful for the day I had. I’m so grateful for the wonderful bluejay that flew past my head today. I’m thankful that it’s nearly spring.  On and on with at least five things, aloud or on the page.  In retrospect, I was just saying those words aloud. What I was NOT doing was feeling the gratitude, that the words didn’t penetrate my heart or evoke any feelings.

So now as I say my gratitudes before going to bed and upon wakening, I say them AND I focus on those things for which I can actually feel the gratitude such that it starts in the pit of my stomach and spreads all through my body.  This is a very different feeling from what I had before and I’m so grateful [pun intended] that I stumbled upon this truth.

 Vision Boards

On a related note, the same goes for your Vision Board.  As Martha Beck states her Oprah magazine article on How to Create a Vision Board, the images we may first put down on our Vision Board are about ocean, money, great bodies, and all of the surface concerns of life. But to truly fire our imagination and inner self, we need to use images the help us envision what our real selves want, beneath the surface concerns that the social self would like.  If your Vision Board doesn’t make your imagination and heart race, if you’re not utterly inspired by your board, create a new one and then another until you gotten that board that makes you  feel alive. The time investment is so worth it.

What is your experience with feeling the feelings?

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What Peace Corps Taught Me – Fame

Written by Kate • June 27, 2012 •
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Peace CorpsI am sure this sounds like the most ridiculous idea but during my Peace Corps service, I really got a taste of fame and I didn’t much like it. Lemme esplain.

I lived in a small town in West Africa, maybe 3000 people in Sekou and all of the several villages surrounding Sekou. Essentially no one but the Proviseur, who I mentioned in my last post was the only other person I knew who had traveled,  and I had ever traveled more than 100 miles from where people were born, grew up and lived and died.  Certainly no one had been on a plane and no one but the Proviseur and I had ever left our families for any length of time.

So my arrival, like all other volunteers in the small communities we were placed in Benin, was big news and I was big news.  Children would freak out with joy at seeing me and rush me and want me to give them money, wisdom, and lots of attention.

Author with High School Kids - HIV Prevention Education in Sekou, Benin

Author with High School Kids – HIV Prevention Education in Sekou, Benin

The long and the short of it is that I was a thrilling and novel presence wherever I went. Children would watch me read. Whenever I went for a run or a bike ride, strangers would want to race me because if they could beat me, well life just got better for a moment.  Walking past an elementary school became something I avoided. Children would yell for me, surround me, want my money, and to touch me.

I soon learned what living a fish bowl constantly being watched felt like. I finally really understood what it’s like not to be able to go about doing the ordinary things that all people must do without others following you, watching your every move, judging and commenting on you in the moment, and wanting a piece of you.

Because of my own experiences, I respectfully ignore famous people that I randomly encounter. A few examples are of once boarding behind John Cusak on a plane and sitting in a secluded airport waiting area with David Lee Roth.  Not a word to either of them.

In my experience, fame isn’t what is cracked up to be. And it’s amazing to me that I was able to learn this lesson through living in a very small town in West Africa. You never know what life will serve up to you.

 

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