Sunday, July 31, 2011

Photo shoot pictures

Here is a small sampling from the photo shoot that we did this week. Thank you, Selena, for taking such beautiful pictures, which will help us remember this incredible time in our life! We love you!




Friday, July 29, 2011

Week 37

We made it to 37 weeks today!! Although I'm definitely slowing down more noticeably, and feeling more emotional the past few days, I'm still doing fine overall. I've been doing a lot of what feels like nothing, but today I helped Brett with a plumbing project. We put in a new kitchen faucet, and soldered in two new shut-off valves while we were at it!

A picture holding the two cute critters Aunt Anne mailed with two sets of matching onesies for the girls.

Wednesday was a very busy day of baby-related appointments. At 8 a.m. we went to a short meeting with Dr. Steele at N.A.P. (Northampton Area Pediatrics). He is the hematology specialist at the practice and we wanted to meet with him before the babies are born, just in case they do have spherocytosis. The meeting went well, and we liked how he spoke with us. He seemed very interested and listened well.

At our ultrasound, directly after our meeting, Baybay was estimated at 6 lbs 11 oz., and Baybee was just behind her sister with a weight of 6 lbs 9 oz. Although these weights are good guesses, we were reminded that they are only guesses, and could be off by almost a pound. Everything else looked good, too. They were both doing practice breathing, moving around a bunch, and still surrounded by lots of fluid. They are such cooperative babies in every way, except for their positions.

After our ultrasound we had a meeting with Ruth at the Midwifery Center. This is where I finally broke down. I was so tired and when I found out that if we do have a c-section the cords will be cut immediately, I just started crying. A few minutes later, when we were actually *scheduling* a c-section, the tears just came flowing again. The midwife who runs our group appointments was around and was really nice in trying to comfort me and help me come to terms with things a little bit.

So, we have a date set. If Baybay doesn't flip head down by the morning of August 10th, 2011 we'll have a planned c-section, assuming I don't go into labor before then. It's unlikely she will flip at this point, but not impossible.

On the other side of the spectrum, Brett and I had a fun photo shoot with Selena on Thursday. The pictures aren't ready for show yet, but we'll put some up in the next few days. Thanks in advance to Selena taking her time with us and getting some really good photos to remember our pregnancy with.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Car seats in the car; pesto in the freezer!

I know it's hardly news, but as the male partner, I feel good about having successfully installed the car seats for the first time! I feel really lucky that our health insurance company provides two seats to us for free, both because of the savings, but also because it eliminates our need to *choose* from the many, many makes and models out there! It's true that these aren't the kind that you can also use as carriers outside the car, but we'll figure something out. They'll be fine for a long while though (up to 50 pounds).

In other news, we're getting several cucumbers a day from our garden, and we'll pick our first broccoli today. We staked the tomato plants yesterday, and we've been keeping everything decently watered in this hot and dry spell. As for the flower gardens, the morning glories are blooming like crazy every morning, and the rain lily in the pot on the back steps is going to bloom again soon! Also, we found two pots of "Moonbeam" Coreopsis, a flower that Jenny has been wanting for a long while, at the supermarket on sale for only 50 cents each!

Our cucumber patch, across the street from our house.

Yesterday's big project, however, was making pesto. First, we made pesto with the basil we picked at our farm share (with walnuts, Parmesan, olive oil and a little garlic). We were excited that the basil hadn't spoiled, because it was over a week old, but it was just fine. Once we got that batch in the freezer in ice cube trays to be transferred to a bag later, we started on a batch with even older garlic scapes. These were also fine, and we had a good system going where Jenny trimmed off the unusable parts while I worked on the chopping and blending. It took a while to get everything right, but eventually we had a huge bowl of yummy garlic scape pesto! Can you guess what we had for dinner? Today, we'll bring up some of the garlic scape batch to my mom, who is allergic to regular pesto, but is very excited to try this version! It's nice to be able to give back like this, since she's given me several batches of pesto that she can't eat over the years.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Week 36

How far along: 36 Weeks. Only 4 weeks to go!
Total weight gain: +35 pounds. I've almost got Brett beat.
Maternity clothes: I am running out of clothes that fit me comfortably. It's a strange feeling to grow out of maternity clothing, but that's what has happened. Pants aren't comfortable at all anymore. Really, it's been so hot lately and I'm sick of wearing clothes.
Best moments this week: Making chocolate zucchini bread, getting ice cream with the other twin parents and receiving a wonderful card and baby gift from Uncle Harold and Aunt Heidi in the mail.
Movement: They move a lot. Sometimes you can even see my belly move. When this happens it reminds me of watching whales surfacing for air. I took a video.
Food cravings: Chocolate.
Labor Signs: I have been getting Braxton-Hicks contractions for about a month now. Other than those, I haven't noticed any signs. Sometimes I get worried that I won't be able to tell when I actually do go into labor. I guess that's a little silly, though.
Belly Button in or out: It's still pretty flat. I think it does stick out a little bit, but when I look down I can't see it.
What I will miss about being pregnant: Feeling the babies move and having such a big, beautiful, belly to rub all the time.
What I am looking forward to: Being able to get out of bed in the morning easily. Sleeping on my belly! Going on walks with the babies. Being a Mama.
Worries: There is a high chance that I will be having a c-section in a few weeks. Unless Baybay decides to flip around, this is the only option. I am having a hard time not feeling sad/worried about this, but I'm also doing my best to come to terms with it. I am not quite there yet, though.
Milestones: 35 weeks was a big one. Our next milestone is 38 weeks. If the twins aren't born before then, I'm sure I will be ready for them to come out.

video

Baybay and Baybee star in their first video.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

An evening of ice cream and good times, told by Brett

(A post from the papa-to-be)

Last night we went to our Centering Group at the Midwifery Center. It had been two weeks since our last meeting, and one of the couples in the group has already given birth! We really like the group there, and this meeting was nice as usual. The midwife there is excellent at answering questions honestly and completely, and both she and the facilitator are really good at letting the group answer questions from their experiences and knowledge, too. We feel like this is a big difference from the approach of the doctors at other practices, and even from the one-on-one meetings at the Midwife Center.

After the meeting was over, the three couples with twins all went out for ice cream together. What fun! When we go out alone now, it's rare that we don't get comments like, "Boy, you must be ready to pop!" but it was really fun to see people react to the three very large bellies all together! One woman asked if she could photograph them, and another one interrupted us to ask why "everyone these days gets C-sections."

Three different large bellies arrive for ice cream.

Jenny, Benita, and Kelly turn to face the amazed public for a picture.

The best part of all this was that we got to sit down together, three couples going through a really similar experience, with due dates all within five days, and just talk about stuff. The women asked each other about specific parts of the pregnancy experience (rolling over vs. getting up to lie down on the other hip, how much do the twins inside move?) and we all talked about the mental struggles associated with birth not going quite the way we want, and also some of the exciting things to come. Sharing the evening with two other couples that were relaxed and fun to chat with was so nice and very affirming to me, and to Jenny as well, I think.

Sometimes people ask me if I'm emotionally prepared for fatherhood. They ask in a nice and supportive way, but the truth is that I am, and I haven't really even thought or worried too much about it. The first month or two, maybe, I had to take a few deep breaths, but I'm ready to try being a parent, a father. I don't think that most pregnant women are really any more ready than I am: no one can be "fully prepared" for what is about to happen us.

Speaking of preparations, we're doing pretty well. For me, getting the new car, with four doors instead of two, was a big hurdle that we're now past. We still need a few more diapers and things, but now for me the biggest stuff left is to make sure we have a good support network set up for when it's time. I already have people on call for my Pedal People work, so that's good; I'm so thankful for how flexible the Pedal People work system is! My next project is to send out an email with a link to our account on CareCalendar.org, to people nearby who have offered to help, so they can sign up to help when the time comes. I think most of the help we'll be looking for will be meals. We love to cook, but we think we'll mostly want to focus on our two darling baby girls!

When it comes down to it, we feel both very prepared and pretty much clueless as to how it's going to be, but we're pretty much okay with all that. Last summer we took a big adventure, and I'm looking at this the same way, although this one won't ever really end!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Week 35

Making it to this week in my pregnancy is huge. Getting to this point, 35 weeks, means that I can deliver at our local hospital. Yay!! This makes things so much more convenient and it's also one less thing to think about. The babies are still doing great. They keep growing bigger every day, and have plenty of fluid surrounding them. From here on, we'll have ultrasounds every week, along with a weekly meeting with the midwives, just to make sure things are still going smoothly.

35 weeks!!!

My purple morning glories started opening this week. Every morning there are more and more blooms.

The whole backyard flower garden is so pretty right now. We have so many Black-Eyed Susan's in bloom. I love going outside every day to look at the flowers, even if it's a little frustrating to not be able to bend down and pull out the weeds.

This week was difficult in a couple of ways. First, at our meeting with Dr. Kueny last week, he said he was worried about my glucose results from way back when I took the test weeks ago . He recommended that I take the three hour test, just to be sure. The midwives weren't worried, and although originally we weren't either, it's hard to be confident when a doctor feels otherwise.

I felt weird going in to take the glucose test, since I made such a big deal of being able to eat a bagel instead. But, after a day or two of talking about it, we realized we were going to be worrying and wondering now if I didn't do anything. So, I drank the drink for the 1-hour test, knowing that I might not pass it because of being further along in pregnancy than when it's usually taken. I braced myself for how bad it might be... but, actually, it wasn't terrible. Unfortunately, the result that came back was inconclusive, so I went back a few days later to drink the drink for the 3-hour test. That drink was more sugary, but it still wasn't horrible. They took my blood four times (0, 1, 2, and 3 hours), and then I got to go home. I actually had a pretty good time at the hospital during those three hours. I explored and got lost a couple of times. I took a walk outside in the gardens. I went up to the birthing area and read some books about breastfeeding. I talked with people.

The best part of my morning at the hospital was seeing a couple from our birthing class... and their new baby! They had given birth two days ago and were on their way home. It was nice to get a chance to congratulate them and hear about their birth. They said that the midwives were all so wonderful, which was great to hear. Their baby boy was tiny and very cute.

Finally, the results came back from the long test, and they were conclusive: I do NOT have gestational diabetes! See? We knew that. Sheesh. One less thing to worry about (again).

Also, while I was taking the 3-hour glucose test, Brett was getting a ride to Connecticut where he picked up the car we bought last week! Now we have a 4-door car that is ten years newer than our old car, and it doesn't need any work, unlike our old car. It isn't a hatchback, but the rear seats do fold down, so we can stick long objects in the trunk (like our tandem!).

We are very excited about our 2003 Toyota Echo! It has air conditioning, and a tape/cd player/radio, all upgrades from my 93 Honda Civic (which now has a new owner!). The Echo even gets better gas mileage!

The other difficult thing this week has been how itchy I am. I'm itchy all over: my arms, legs, feet, belly, everywhere! It's so bad and nothing seems to help much. Hot showers are the only thing that seem to ease the itches when they get out of control. One night I searched on line for "itchiness during pregnancy" (maybe not the smartest thing to do when you already can't sleep) and I got worried that my itchiness was being caused by a rare condition called Intrahepatic cholestasis. So, we had the midwives order another blood test to check my bilirubin levels. The test came back normal, so apparently I'm just itchy.

I went to a chiropractor twice this week, in an attempt to help Baybay flip around into a vertex position. The Webster Technique is supposed to sometimes be helpful, so I figured it was worth a shot. The lady who I found that does it in this area was really nice, and what she did felt good, but so far, no baby turning has happened.

In other news, we went berry picking! This is one of my favorite activities in the whole world, so it was a lot of fun. It was hot, but we were able to pick enough blueberries to freeze a few, and enough raspberries to enjoy with ice cream over the next couple of days.

Picking golden raspberries.

Blueberries in the background.

We snapped a couple pictures when we stopped by for a short visit at Kathy's work on Friday, after picking up our tandem from the bike shop in Turner's Falls.

A 35 week photo of both of us.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Week 34

Well, Baybay is still breach and Baybee is now transverse. Their little heads are right next to each other in the middle of my belly. Wah. Wah. I'm trying not to worry or feel depressed about this, even though that is hard to do. Staying positive will help them flip, right? That, and possibly lots of handstands in the water...

So, no vertex babies, but they are growing. Our ultrasound on Wednesday estimated their weight at 5 lb., 6 oz. each! This puts them in the 66th percentile, which is a great place to be.

34 weeks! My belly however, is measuring at 42 cm/weeks. That means I'm almost done, right? I got this shirt in the mail today from Mama. She and Amber found it at a thrift store for me. Despite it being too small to cover my whole belly, I love it.

I am fairly certain that I have started having Braxton Hicks (BH) contractions. A few times a day my whole belly will tighten for about 30 seconds. Sometimes this makes my belly lopsided and it feels funny, but doesn't hurt. Once in a while I get quite a few in a few hour span. My body is practicing, I guess.

Last Saturday we took a day trip to Long Pond, in Lakeville, MA, to visit with Brett's dad's side of the family. It was a long drive, but we had fun visiting with everyone. It was especially fun listening to the conversation about names for babies, including names in the family history.

Brett's Aunt Jill gave us a basket of things for the babies! She made those bears herself. They are so cute. Thanks Jill!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Week 33

33 weeks!

This has been a difficult, but very fun week. I feel like I've hit the toughest part of my pregnancy so far. I am just feeling so heavy now and I'm still growing. My belly feels very stretched and it's hard for me to imagine how it could possibly get any bigger! Another 6 or 7 weeks is not very long, and I'm sure I will make it, but I don't think it's going to get any easier from here on out.

Wooden blocks! We got these from a tag sale. They are the same kind of blocks that I remember playing with when I was small. I don't think we had the cool horses and cows though!

Last Sunday, I had a really tough day. It's not that anything was wrong, and actually it was a pretty nice day, but I just had a hard time all day long.

It's a good thing I have such a sweet husband...

...who gave me this coupon to use.

Timmy came to visit on Tuesday! I picked him up at the airport while Brett was out doing his Pedal People route. When we got back to Northampton, Brett and Selena both met up with us and we all went swimming.

Brett and Selena contemplate jumping into the cool water.

Brett was first to get in. Selena says, "Jenny, you should come in, too!"

Timmy took this picture of me. My belly is pretty impressive, I think.

Cool water and hugs. Thanks to Selena for taking this picture.

It was fun to have Timmy around for a few days. We made lots of good food to eat together, took walks, played games and picked fruit. Daisy also came to visit for a couple days while Timmy was here. It was lovely to have such good company around this week.

Yay for day lilies, black raspberries and friends!

Mmm! These are growing in our back yard.

More figs from Florida!

I have had this rain lily (brought up from Florida) for a couple years. I recently put it outside and it's been a lot happier. This week, it bloomed for the first time!

So pretty.