Monday, October 17, 2016

36 Weeks

How far along? 36 weeks {we made it to our second goal!!}
Days since transfer: 234 days
Days on bed rest: 31 days
Total weight gain: +39.0 {holy cow these babies are making me gain weight fast!}
Maternity clothes? Yes, but even starting to grow out of those...what happens when I don't have anything left that fits?? haha :)
Sleep: I am still trying not to nap during the day so I can sleep at night, but I am finding myself more tired during the day. It feels a little like the first trimester. I am not doing much since I am on bed rest, which I am sure is contributing to my lack of energy. I find it hard to keep my eyes open at times; growing babies is exhausting!
Best moment of the week: Making it to our second goal! Also NOT hearing Maddie's heart arrhythmia at my last visit with the perinatologist. Such a huge praise! 
Cravings: McAlister's grilled chicken wrap with honey mustard + sweet tea. I think I could eat this every day...lunch time rolls around, and this is my first thought of what I want to eat. Maybe I am craving it because I feel like I have eaten it almost every week  :)
Symptoms: I just feel uncomfortable most of the's getting harder and harder to move haha! Depending on how babies are positioned, it actually hurts. I'm sure they hate it, but I am constantly trying to push them to move into a different position so I can breathe/move/relieve pain. My sciatic pain seems to be subsiding, so I am so thankful for that! And I'm not sure if this is a symptom or not, but I definitely have the pregnancy waddle going on...I just can't help it. My belly is just so HUGE and heavy...
Labor signs: I dilated a little more to a 2, but my contractions {if any} are still inconsistent.
Looking forward to: Making it to our next goal: 37 weeks- full term! I'm hoping my body can handle another week {or two!}. We're hoping it means no NICU time!


Size of baby? About the size of a ripe papaya or cantaloupe, a cabbage patch doll, or a chihuahua :)
Development: Babies are still working on their digestive systems, but that won't be fully complete until they get here. They have had plenty of practice swallowing, and they are putting on a ton of fat. Hearing, touch, and taste are becoming clearer for them too.
Heartbeat: Both heartbeats were in the 140's, and Maddie's heart arrhythmia did not present itself at my last perinatology appointment! We're praying this means it has completely resolved itself.
Movement: I thought babies were supposed to be moving less as they got bigger and as we got closer to the end, but I feel like my two have increased their movement this week. It could be that they have run out of room and are trying to push each other out of the way in an effort to find more room. Who knows. But I am glad that I am not worrying about their movement right now.
Current Position: Eli is still head down, and Maddie is still transverse. My OB did have me schedule a c-section, but said that we could change that if Maddie moved the full way to head down. I really am ok either way, but it's nice to know she is willing to keep the option open until the very end.
Fundal Height: At my last OB appointment, I was measuring at 41...getting BIGGER.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Remembering Our Babies in Heaven

"To the grieving parent: On the days when no one but you mentions their name, I am so, so sorry. Say their name bravely. Know that they are still real, they were still here, and you are still theirs."
~ Lexi Behrndt

Today is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day. Really, all of October is dedicated to awareness, but today is a specific day to remember the little ones that were lost too soon. 

It's hard to reflect on our losses. Our years of infertility and loss are ones that, in many ways, I would rather put behind us. All of the hurt and confusion, pain and frustration are better left in the past, particularly as we begin our much-prayed-for years of parenting. And yet, it's not so easy to forget. I mean, will I ever be able to really forget? As painful as those years have been, they were important years that the Lord used to grow, refine, and comfort us.

And deep down, we don't want to forget, especially not forget the precious lives that the Lord entrusted to us, however short the time was. We didn't get the chance to hold them in our arms, but every life is precious, even in it's tiniest and most vulnerable of stages. And so today, I want to mention the names of the precious ones we lost too soon...

Jack and Jill.
We transferred the first 2 embryos, desperately praying that the Lord would grow and bring them to us to parent. We were told at the time of transfer that they had not done so well in the thawing process, but we were committed to offering them the best chance at life. We moved forward with the transfer and went home to pray for our miracles. When we received the call a couple of weeks later that we were not pregnant, it was such hard news. We had lost our little ones, the tiny embryos that we had seen on the ultrasound screen, moving and growing...alive! And yet they were not strong enough to implant and grow, so instead were born into heaven.

A sweet friend and mentor had been affectionately calling them Jack and Jill as we prepared for our transfer, and so we thought it was fitting to keep their names. 

Amy and Noah.
We never got to even see these tiny embryos like we did the others, because they did not survive the thawing process. Thawing proved to be too much for them, and so they never even made it to a point of transfer. That was a hard loss too. To know that our little ones didn't make it, and were lost in a lab, is hard to think about. But it is comforting to know that they will never know the pains of this world, only ever knowing the face of our beautiful Savior.

Amy means "dearly loved," and Noah means "rest or peace." Both of these tiny ones were loved and wanted, but we are thankful they now find their rest in Jesus.

Annie and Hope.
We transferred our last 2 embryos, and we had better news at the time of transfer. They did better in the thawing process, so we were hopeful we would get to carry these babies. So when we got the phone call that we were pregnant, we were so excited! It was news we had longed to hear, and we had finally received it! Which is why the news that came just a couple of days later was such a devastating blow. Our beta numbers had dropped, indicating that we were losing the pregnancy. We felt so helpless, because there was nothing we could do to save them. I miscarried a short time later. Our babies were there, but then all of sudden they were not. 

Annie means "blessed with grace." We were indeed blessed with the grace of these tiny lives, even if it was only for a short time. This name is our reminder that we are showered with grace from the Lord, and we would still bless His name, even if there was pain in our offering. We chose the name Hope because of the hope and joy we felt when we found out we were pregnant. This name is our reminder that our felt hope and joy may have been taken in the moment, but that our ultimate hope and joy in Jesus can never be taken.


So today, we remember our precious little ones, the tiny lives that we carry only in our hearts. We may not fully understand why the Lord gave us these babies for only a short time, and why we never got to parent them this side of heaven. But each precious life was a gift, and we want to pause to remember how the Lord used their tiny lives to show us His grace and love.

Monday, October 10, 2016

35 Weeks

How far along? 35 weeks
Days since transfer: 227 days
Days on bed rest: 24 days
Total weight gain: +33.8
Maternity clothes? Yes, plus Mike's t-shirts haha. To be fair, I wear the ones in the back of his closet that he either hasn't worn in over a year or forgot he had. But that's just where we are...just keeping it real :)
Sleep: I feel like the insomnia wasn't as bad this week. As long as I don't nap during the day, I can sleep through most of the night. I still have to get up to pee, and often times have to read for a little bit before falling back asleep, but seem to sleep ok. Though I have to say we have reached the point where me and Mike are sleeping in separate rooms because my snoring keeps him up. Poor guy. 
Best moment of the week: Making it another week! Seriously, every week we make it longer, the bigger and stronger our babies grow {and hopefully that means less NICU time}.
Cravings: Nope.
Symptoms: All the usual for having 2 babies in your belly :) This week the sciatica pain started up again, and man has it been intense! I have found it really difficult to walk sometimes. I have tried everything from heat/ice to yoga stretches to try and relieve the pain, but it has just hung around. Think sharp, shooting pain up your right side every time you move. Yeah. Not so fun. I also came down with a cold, which wasn't super fun. I went almost the whole pregnancy without getting one, but it caught me at the end. So close.
Looking forward to: Meeting our babies! This is the week I guessed they would come. Mike guessed next week. So we shall see :)


Size of baby? About the size of a bunch of carrots or a canary melon, a kid's backpack, or a mini-lop rabbit :)
Development: Babies' lanugo is disappearing as they get better at regulating their body temperatures. Their skeletal development is nearly complete, and most of the development they have left is just growing bigger and stronger!
Heartbeat: As of last Thursday, both babies had good heartbeats. Maddie's arrhythmia is still there, but it is very intermittent, and they are still not worried. 
Movement: Movement has been pretty consistent, with Eli never stopping and Maddie checking in here and there. I will say that she moved a lot more this week, which made me feel so much better. And there may or may not have been several parties in my belly this week. How on earth do they still have room??? I did learn that all this time I was thinking Eli was the one kicking my ribs...turns out they have both been kicking each other and my ribs! I didn't realize Maddie's feet were that far over. So parenting lesson #1: get the WHOLE story! :)
Current Position: Eli is still head down and about as far down as he can get without actually being here haha. Unfortunately this week, Maddie is transverse {sideways}, so I have a feeling I will be scheduling a C-section with my OB tomorrow. Definitely a little bummed, but still at peace with it. I have been praying they would be in the exact position they needed to be for the safest delivery, whatever that ended up being. 

Friday, October 7, 2016

High Five for Friday!

{one} On Monday, we officially hit our first goal: we made it to 34 weeks! I had felt some contractions {still inconsistent}, and Mike made the comment before we went to bed: "we could have babies soon. Even tonight!" Babies did NOT arrive that night {and they're still baking at the time of this post}, but it made me realize that we are so, SO close! And it made me reflect over the past year. This time last year, we were trying to process the loss of 6 babies. We didn't understand what the Lord was doing and why He would allow such loss after so much heartache. And now a year later, we are excitedly anticipating the arrival of Eli and Maddie. And this during National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. We may never understand the full reason for our losses, but we trust the goodness of our loving Father. We praise Him in times of sorrow and joy. And we're thankful for the rainbows after the rain.

{two} So I mentioned that we were stepping out in faith for me to come off the Humira. But after finally connecting with my OB {rather than the others in her practice}, we made the decision for me to stay on it. She couldn't find any evidence that Humira causes a fetal heart arrhythmia, and she believed that the risks were too great for me to stop taking it. And another perinatologist confirmed that decision. And my GI was obviously ok either way. So it was a bit of a roller coaster to get to a final answer, but I am glad that I am not having to worry about that anymore, knowing that it's not hurting Maddie. So don't ever feel weird about advocating for your own healthcare decisions or insisting that your varying doctors speak with one another!

{three} Yesterday we had our {now} weekly appointment with the perinatologist. Both babies were looking good! Eli was weighing in around 5 pounds, and Maddie was weighing in around 6 pounds! I have a feeling Eli is a little bigger {it's hard to get measurements on him because of where he is positioned}, but even at 5 pounds, he is still on track. Maddie's heart arrhythmia is still there, but it is very intermittent. So they are still not worried about it. It definitely seems to be getting better, just not gone yet. But since she's growing really well, we're thankful! 

{four} I have been on bed rest for 3 weeks now. I'll admit, it's not my favorite. But it really has been ok. I have had a lot of rest, read several books, enjoyed some Netflix, prayed a lot more. I know that I will long for these restful and quiet days very soon. I am definitely thankful for all of the family and friends who have made it easier. From meals and treats to thoughtful gifts and visits, it has made the time go by quicker. 

{five} And I just have to say that my hubby is AMAZING. He works hard anyway, but he has been working hard during the day, then coming home to take care of me. While I sit around and basically do nothing, he has been taking care of shopping, cooking, cleaning/laundry, etc. I know that bed rest hasn't been easy on him, but I am so thankful for how he is joyfully and sacrificially taking care of me and our babies. 

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

The Big "C"

With all the excitement of the babies, I have been quiet about a not-so-fun subject. Partly because we have been waiting on more details, and partly because we were all wanting to focus on happier things and not worry about the unknowns at this point.

And who ever really wants to talk about cancer anyway? I mean, it has its own ominous nickname: the big "C." There aren't many who are not touched by cancer in some way, but when the diagnosis comes for you or someone close to you...

When we went to San Antonio for our baby shower, after all the fun festivities, my parents sat us down to let us know that my dad had been diagnosed with prostate cancer. It was definitely not at all what I expected when they said they wanted to talk with us. I listened to all of the details, but I think it took a few days for it to actually sink in. And I HATE being here, unable to go there...

A cancer diagnosis is scary no matter what. But prostate cancer can often be treated successfully, and they seem to have caught it early for my dad. The doctors seem positive that surgery is the best way to get rid of it. We won't know until after the surgery whether or not it has spread or not, but all the numbers and labs look good at this point. 

So if you think about it, will you be praying for my dad? His surgery is scheduled for the end of November {after the babies arrive, on purpose}. Pray that the doctors can remove all cancer and that it has not spread. And please pray for his recovery. He is taking all of December off from work to recover, which is good {and a HUGE deal for my hard-working dad}, but it's not going to be an easy road. Please also pray for my mom as she takes care of him. We feel so helpless because we most likely won't be able to go down there to see him and help, and I know they are struggling with being away from babies for their first Christmas. We have a good plan in place for everyone, it's just hard when things don't work out the way you had envisioned them. We're no strangers to a change of hoped for plans, so we are resting in the Lord's goodness, knowing that He is in control.