Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Baby gear distraction (Advice Needed!)

Thanks to all who've asked how we've been doing. You are all so wonderful and kind! The babies are doing well (we assume), but are being a bit rough on sweet K. She's been dealing with morning sickness (yep she's knelt before the porcelain throne a few times), sensitivity to smells, food aversions, and a ravenous appetite! Although I wish K wasn't going through this, I have to admit that it gives me some reassurance that the babies are growing and thriving!

I've been okay. I'm worried that something bad will happen, but I'm trying not to play into those fears. I'm remaining optimistic that this will end with two healthy babies! So, instead of obsessing over fears I've begun to obsess over baby gear! I know it seems crazy that the girl who used to worry about jinxing myself went to BRU and USA Baby this weekend. Believe it or not I've found that throwing myself into baby gear consumer research to be a great distraction! I pulled out the Baby Bargains book and took it to the local bookstore to compare it to the 8th edition, which just came out, but it doesn't seem to have much new information (there haven't been car seat crash tests since 2007). Therefore, I'm sticking with the 7th edition that I already have. I bought this book while researching the best baby gear to buy while I was pregnant with Myles and have it littered with comments and sticky note tabs. I remember taking this book with me and spending hours at BRU while J repeatedly told me he was bored. It was hard to look back through my notes and to think about those days. I really miss my sweet little Myles and wish he was here to use the baby gear I bought for him.

The two baby gear items that I'm currently obsessing over are car seats and strollers. I have the Chicco Cortina travel system, which includes a Keyfit 22 and two bases. I LOVE this car seat and bought it based on its outstanding Consumer Reports safety ratings and the reviews it got by Baby Bargains book. It was listed as their "Top Pick" and was given an A. The other plus of the Keyfit car seat is that it holds babies as small as 4lbs and is the only infant car seat that can hold such small babies. Clearly this is something to consider when expecting twins. I am undecided if I will keep the carseat and just get another one, but I'm certain I will sell the stroller. My dilemma over the car seat has to do with the stroller. I need to purchase a double stroller (of course this is all assuming everything continues to go well) and Chicco doesn't make one that accomodates two infant car seats.

I have been reading rave reviews by twin parents regarding the Double Snap n Go by Bab.y Trends for use with infant car seats, but Chicco isn't a car seat that is listed as being compatible. I have talked to a couple of twin moms who've used Chicco car seats with the double snap n go, so I know it's possible. However, I worry that it might not fit perfectly and would be unsafe. I do know that Chicco is a relatively new brand, so it may be that the maker of the snap n go just hasn't tested it with their product and if they did it would be listed?! Per the suggestion of a sales rep at USA Baby I think I'll order the double Snap n Go, which isn't carried in any store, to take to the store to try out with two Chicco car seats.

It sounds like many twin parents liked the double Snap n Go for use with the infant car seats (it's inexpensive to boot) and then moved on to another stroller. Many raved about small side by side umbrella strollers like the Macleran Twin Techno, Inglesina Twin Swift, or Jeep Wrangler Twin Sport All-Weather Umbrella (all rated Top Picks by Baby Bargains). I like the idea of having the side by side when the babies get a little bigger, so they can see the world together rather than having to try to look over someone's head! I would LOVE to hear from other twin moms/dads your thoughts on double strollers and infant carseats. Please, please, please give me your advice and/or opinions!

Edited to add: I know it's way too early for me to be thinking about baby gear for twins because we could lose one (or both for that matter). I am not naive to the risks/stats, but I like the distraction and promised myself to enjoy every moment of this pregnancy. So, I'm doing just that ... I'm dreaming of what my life could be like next year with two babies!


QUESTION @ Blog Design: Is anyone having a problem reading my blog? I had a comment from one reader that it appeared strange on her Blackberry (e.g., light colored text on a yellow background making it unreadable) and want to know if there are others experiencing the same thing. If so, I need to change it again!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Ultrasound #2

After much anticipation and anxiety we saw both babies on the u/s today. Both babies are measuring right on track and had strong heart rates: Baby A measured 8wks 0 days with a heart rate of 174bpm and Baby B measured 7wks 6days with a heart rate of 176bpm. Poor little Baby B's gestational sac still looks a little squished, but the u/s tech said it's probably from Baby A's sac pushing down on it. I guess Baby A is already picking on his/her sibling--I think this baby is going to be a handful and will take after J! Although I wish both babies had perfectly round gestational sacs, I am trying not to read too much into this. The fill-in ob mentioned that she didn't know what to make of it, which of course freaked me out, so I called my RE to get his take. I'm guessing it's nothing and I know that if our regular ob had been there he would not have mentioned it. He knows that K and I would worry.

I think all three of us sighed a HUGE sigh of relief after the scan, particularly since it was this same scan last time when we found out the baby had died. I'm guessing that we'll be released from the RE sometime next week and K will see the maternity nurse counselor between 10-12 wks, but she won't have an u/s. Fortunately our ob is a great guy who understands our worries and promised to do an u/s anytime we need one to ease our worries, so if we can't wait we can request another one. We won't have another scheduled u/s until the NT scan around 12wks--eek that seems like a lifetime away! I guess we'll have to obsess over K's symptoms until then! ;)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Reflections on Alaska

Although I am happy to be home with J and my cuddly cats, Asha and Elvis, I must admit that it was hard to leave such a breathtaking state. I said it so many times on my vacation, but I'll say it again ... it's impossible to truly capture the beauty of Alaska. I took many pictures, but don't feel that they show the awe-inspiring landscape that laid before my eyes. This is why I will recommend that everyone visit Alaska in their lifetime (sooner rather than later to see the fast disappearing glaciers).

Overall it was a fabulous trip--we were able to pack in so many activities in such a short time!

Day 1 (only a half-day): Introduction to the Great Land--ride on scenic Seward Hwy & visit to Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center

Day 2: Sea kayaking in Resurrection Bay and Caine's Head State Park hike; in the evening we walked up the handi-cap accessible trail up to the base of Exit Glacier.

Day 3: Volunteer work for the National Park Service--pulled invasive exotic plants from Kenai Fjords National Park; learned about the history of Seward; visited Alaska Sea Life Center

Day 4: Learned about the native Kenaitze (Denina) tribe, participated in various cultural activities (song and dance), "hunted" for agates on the shore, visited Cooper's Landing and explored the K'Beq archaeological site, took a walking tour through Kenai and learned about the history, watched locals dip net fishing on the shores of the Kenai River, and ended the day by enjoying a salmon feast prepared by Kenaitze tribe members. On our way home we saw a moose cow and twin calfs.

Day 5: Boat tour of Kenai Fjords National Park and the Chiswell Islands National Wildlife Refuge, covering 120-miles. Due to bad weather (13-14ft swells) we were unable to travel out into the Kenai Fjords Tidewater Glacier area to look for whales and observe calving of glaciers (process where a glacier shed giant blocks of ancient ice into the water). However, we were able to spend several hours in Resurrection Bay observing wildlife (see below). In the evening we drove to the Kenai River and saw 5 Grizzly bears (female with 2 cubs and 2 other adult bears). In the evening we hiked Mt. Marathon, which we could see from our windows at the Moby Dick hostel.

Day 6: Exploration of Exit Glacier - a vigorous hike up the mountain passing alder and conttonwood forests and beautiful mountain meadows. (see below)

Day 7: Departure Day - on our way to the airport we saw a giant bull moose on the exit ramp! He was walking very slowly without a care in the world.

The 7 students and the mom who accompanied me were so great! They were fun, hard-working, upbeat, positive, and grateful! They enjoyed and made the best of every adventure we had. The weather on the day of our boat tour was a bit rough--cold with heavy drizzling rain and 4-5 ft swells in Resurrection Bay, yet the students managed to find a list of positives in this experience (and really every adventure we had). All of the students huddled at the bow of the boat, held on, and road the waves like a roller coaster. I joined them and have to say that it was quite a thrill ride! We were getting blasted by cold water, but laughed and enjoyed the exhilerating ride! We were happy and thrilled to see plenty of wildlife on the boat tour: Dahl's porpoises, harbor seals, stellar sea lions, many sea otters, tons of birds including tufted and horned puffins, common murres, red and black-legged kittiwakes, marbled murrelets, double-crested cormorants, pigeon guillemots, black oystercatchers, bald eagles, and a variety of gull species.

On our last day of the trip we trekked 1.5hrs up the mountain to Exit Glacier. Although we only hiked up 2.25 miles (1225 feet in elevation), it was steep, rocky, and had numorous switchbacks. We saw marmots, black bears, and many songbirds on the trek up. It was a very physically-exhausting hike and at times I really had to mentally push myself through it, but when we got to our destination I felt quite triumphant. Unlike most tourists we were fortunate to be able to treak onto the glacier (yep we walked up, down, and across the glacier). When we reached the ice, we donned crampons, ice axes, and helmets. This gear let us navigate the icy undulating terrain of Exit Glacier and confidently approach the crevasses, waterfalls, Moulin, and ice-caves. I was a bit nervous about this activity, but once I stepped on the glacial ice for the first time I felt a rush of adrenaline. This is actually laughable because I am the exact opposite of those "adrenaline junkies" who sky-dive and bungee jump, but the glacial hike gave me a taste of the "drug" they seek and I now understand their addiction!

Normally when I return from a vacation I feel somewhat depressed. You spend weeks anticipating the trip and then you go on the adventure, which is great, but you return to not having that excitement and anticipation. However, this trip is different. I have something amazing and even more exiting to look forward ... tomorrow is our 2nd ultrasound! The appointment is in the afternoon, but I will be sure to update my blog early tomorrow night. Both J and I will be accompanying K to the appointment and we're all hoping to see two growing little beans with strong beating hearts! Keep your fingers crossed for us!

Thursday, July 16, 2009


Alaska has to be one of the most beautiful places on the planet--truly the last great wilderness! Today we kayaked 10 miles out in Resurrection Bay towards the Gulf of Alaska (Pacific Ocean). It was overcast and cool, which was perfect for kayaking. While kayaking we saw a multitude of wildlife: bald eagles, sea otters, harbor seals, harbor porpoise, marbled murrelets, double-crested cormorants, black oystercatchers, ravens, silver salmon, and a variety of gull species.

We enjoyed a shore lunch of at Caine's Head and then hiked up into the temperate rainforest to Fort McGilvery. Tomorrow we are doing conservation work with US Forest Service in an effort to help eradicate exotic species. We're also visiting the Alaska Sealife Center.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

No U/S today

Yesterday afternoon my RE, Dr. S, called me to personally congratulate us on the pregnancy. When I was pregnant with Myles he did the same thing and I thought it was so sweet! He asked me how K's feeling and what she thinks about carrying two babies. He went on to tell me that he's very pleased with the first u/s and that he's fine with not having another one for two weeks. So, we cancelled the u/s for today and won't go back until 7/23 for another look at the babies. I was a little disappointed that I wouldn't get a look at them until after my trip, but now I think it will give me something to look forward to when I return!

Several people have asked me how I'm feeling and for the most part I'm feeling optimistic and hopeful. However, I have to be honest that last night fear crept in and I started the obsessive googling of topics ranging from normal embryonic heart rates at 6wks to pre-term labor with twins. I promised myself that I wouldn't do that, so I need to get a grip. When I return from Alaska I plan to talk with my therapist about strategies for coping with the fear and anxiety. Of course the easy solution is to not visit Dr. Google, but that doesn't always work for me when I'm in a moment of weakness. Being in Alaska will help over the next week until u/s #2 because I'll have limited access to the internet.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Updates on K and Asha

Update on Wonderful K: K's bright red spotting on Friday was followed by a little brown spotting this weekend, which has tapered off. K continues to be ravenous. She told me that her hunger is so bad it's comparable to morning sickness. Today K was just as hungry as she's been, but to top that off she's now feeling nauseated. I wish I could do something for K, but there's not much I can do. I made K some gingersnap cookies and plan to buy her some candied ginger to chew on to help keep the nausea at bay. I had mild nausea throughout the 1st trimester while pregnant with Myles and found the candied ginger to be helpful. Although the symptoms are bothersome to K, they do give me some added reassurance that things are still going well with the babies. I read that often times when carrying multiples pregnancy symptoms are amplified, which I suspect is why K's hunger is so intense. I just hope the nausea doesn't intensify as the pregnancy progresses.

Update on Asha (my sweet little tabby cat): I realized that you might be interested in knowing how my little princess, Asha, is doing. Remember she has chronic renal failure (CRF), which we've been treating since April '08. You may recall that back in late May-early June when Asha's kidney function values were off the charts we assumed (as did our vet) that she was likely in end-stage renal failure and that her life would soon come to an end. I was devastated and spent many nights crying. We decided to remove the IV lines that were providing her daily fluid and began administering daily sub-q fluid again, which seemed to put Asha in better spirits. She began eating well again and was back to her normal self in about 3 days. As I sit here today typing this my little "purring machine" Asha is sitting on my lap!

I took Asha to the vet on Thursday morning because she was acting a bit off and we assuemd that her kidneys were further failing. Much to our surprise her kidney function levels were back down to slightly above the high-end of the normal range (elevated, but good for a CRF cat). It turns out that the poor thing has a UTI, so now she's on antibiotics too. The unfortunate thing about this is that it negatively affects her appetite, which is a constant battle we face with CRF, so I'm doing my best to get her to eat. The good thing is that we still have her and she's enjoying life. We are grateful each day we get to spend with her!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Red spotting and an early ultrasound

Today while I was driving back from a funeral I got a phone call from K saying that she was having red spotting, so she called her local ob to request an ultrasound today. K told her ob that there was no way that either of us could wait for the appointment on Tuesday--we'd both be total nervous wrecks over the weekend. The ob was my ob and he's been my gyn for years and knows how I am, so he squeezed K in for an u/s at 2pm. Unfortunately I was about 3 hours from home at this time, so I couldn't make it. K's mom, my wonderful aunt L, accompanied her.

I was sick to my stomach waiting for K to call me with the news. Finally K called me and said "your babies are fine". I wasn't quite sure that I heard her correctly, so I replied with "our babies?" and K said yes "babies". She proceeded to explain that the u/s showed two gestational sacs in the fundus of her uterus. Both sacs contained fetal poles measuring 6wks 1day with heart rates of 109bpm and appropriately sized yolk sacs. The ob couldn't find any source of the bleeding, but assured K that bleeding isn't uncommon during the 1st trimester. My RE's nurse said it could be from the highly vascular cervix and reiterated bleeding is much more common with multiples. Of course that doesn't put K or I at ease given our history with bleeding, but we are reassured by her ravenous appetite and exhaustion in addition to the u/s findings. We both have a good feeling about this pregnancy and will continue to stay hopeful.

K came over as soon as we got home to give us the u/s pictures and I literally couldn't stop staring at them in awe. I still haven't stopped smiling!

Baby A (top; you can see Baby B's gestational sac below Baby A):

Baby B (shown between the + signs; sac looks funny in the photo but K says it looks normal)

We still have the u/s scheduled for Tuesday and may go if K keeps spotting, which would give both K and I some additional reassurance before I jet off to Alaska. If we don't go on Tuesday, then the next u/s will be on July 23. Please keep K and our babies in your thoughts and prayers.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Silence, Alaska, and K's symptoms

I find myself without words to express my swirling thoughts right now, hence the silence. I'm trying to be patient as we wait for the u/s, which is now less than a week away, by distracting myself with preparations for my Alaska trip. I'm taking 7 high school students to the Kenai peninsula of Alaska for a week long Eco-edventure. We are going to explore temperate rainforest, trek on massive glaciers, sea kayak with marine mammals and birds, cruise the waters on a 26-foot boot in search of orcas and humpback whales, meet native Alaskans, and participate in community conservation projects in conjunction with the US Forest Service. We're not camping, but we're not staying at a luxury resort either. We're staying in a hostel called Moby Dick in Seward. I'm looking forward to the splendor and beauty of Alaska!

Many people have asked me how K is doing and I'm guessing the rest of you are wondering too, so I thought I'd give you an update. Overall K feels good. She's had cramping typical of early pregnancy and has been been feeling extremely exhausted. K says here ( . )( . ) are huge and sore. She's also starting to feel hungry all the time.

I'd be lying to you if I didn't say I'm a little anxious about Tuesday's u/s. Tonight at dinner I told J that I'm worried that we won't see a heartbeat or that there won't be a baby or that ... (insert any fear you can think of). J reminded me that worrying is normal and that there's really nothing any of us can do at this point. Everything is out of our control and we can't change the outcome, but we can control and/or change our attitude and outlook. So, I continue to work hard to maintain a hopeful, positive attitude despite my fears. I can honestly say that overall I do have a "good feeling" and am optimistic that we will get good news on Tuesday.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Emotional teeter-totter

As I stated in a previous post I am trying to enjoy each day that K is expecting our baby(ies). My cousin, H, posted this quote as a comment and I think it's wonderful:

"Worrying does not empty tomorrow of its troubles; it empties today if its strength."

I think that so many of us infertiles struggle with worrying on a daily basis (I know I do) and can use this reminder.

Now that I've said that I have to be honest with you--I am having somewhat of an emotional dilemma. I seem to be teetering between hope and fear. I am excited, hopeful, and optimistic (note the new pregnancy ticker). I dream, yet I still have those nagging fears that creep up. I think about how many other times we've been here and how we are still without a living child. It doesn't help that there are a few people IRL close to me who ever so kindly remind me of this fact (as if I've forgotten!). Yep, I have friends who "can't be excited for me yet" or don't really even congratulate us on the good news and they say it like they are reminding me that bad things can happen. I find this to be seriously annoying and hurtful because I know first-hand what kind of bad things can happen (5 miscarriages and a dead baby are my reality in case you forgot), yet I also know that good things can (and do) happen. So, I'm trying to balance this emotional teeter-totter. Clearly I can't rid my mind of my past experiences (or tell the nay-sayers to shut the hell up and let me enjoy the moment while it lasts), but I also know that I can believe that this time will be different! How do you balance the emotional teeter-totter?

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Beta #2 is in ...

... 2123!!!

This gives us a doubling time of 1.73 days, so I'm feeling pretty good about that. K's progesterone is 41.76, so we're good there too! I'm hoping that they will reduce her PIO to 1 shot/day rather than the 2 shots/day she's been doing. She's also on Endo.metrin, so it seems like she's getting plenty of progesterone support. We'll get a call from the RE's office later this afternoon to find out about med changes and when they want to schedule the 1st u/s. K and I figured out that they'll want the u/s in two weeks, which is when I leave for Alaska, so we took the liberty of already scheduling the 1st u/s on 7/14 (the day before I depart). So, now we patiently wait for 13 days to find out what's going on in K's uterus.

If I had to guess, I'd wager that both embryos implanted. As you can probably imagine I've spent many hours obsessing over the first beta number and it seems that this level would be off the charts for a singleton (although not impossible). It seems as though the 2nd beta level is well within the range for a twin pregnancy and again quite high for a singleton.

I guess we'll just continue to speculate until we actually see first hand how many are growing in K's uterus. Either way we are ecstatic to be expecting again and continue to be impressed and amazed by K. We understand and fully realize that anything can happen, but are pleased to be moving in the right direction yet again. I continue to be hopeful that this time WILL be different!