Monday, August 31, 2009

Disabling Anonymous Commenting

I just turned off the anonymous comment option because I do not need my feelings hurt by rude, unhappy people. As I sit here in tears I realize that these people are stealing my positive energy and I refuse to let them continue to do this. I apologize to those of you who want to comment anonymously in a positive way. I wish things were different.

This is the recent Anonymous comment that I received on my post entitled Pregnancy Announcment:

"I find it insulting that you imply that your surrogate is "just carrying your babies." She is nourishing them, her blood is flowing to them and is helping create the people they will be. It's not simply a "rent-a-womb" thing. You should be more compassionate about it. Just cause you used your eggs doesn't mean she doesn't contribute to your children's makeup. In fact, I would argue that she is contributing MORE than you since you "just provided the DNA" and she provide the rest of the elements to sustain these lives. Don't kind yourself that just cause these children have your DNA that your surrogate isn't contributing anything else but a rental space for 10 months. It's an insult to your surrogate and to women who use donor egg to conceive. Shame on you."-- Kathy W.

I do not understand where this comment is coming from and the only thing I can figure is that this person ("Kathy W") has issues of her own. My first reaction was to say some horrible expletives, but after a lot of deep breathing I opted to handle it in a more constructive, educational manner.

To tell me that K is contributing more to my babies than I am was only meant to hurt my feelings. I am fully aware that although J and I made these babies that K gave them life. I know that K is nourishing and lovingly growing them. K is doing all of those things for us because I can not do it myself and for that we are forever grateful. I would give anything to be doing for my babies what K is doing for them, but I can't and that makes me sad. I struggle with this often and for someone to shove it in my face is just plain mean and hurtful, which was clearly "Kathy M's" intention with her comment.

I do NOT think that K is simply a "rental space" nor would I ever intend to insult surrogates or women who use donor eggs to conceive. This is MY blog and I was writing about MY experience. My experience: my eggs + J's sperm = our biological embryos placed into K's uterus. I was explaining to my co-worker family about the process of gestational surrogacy and was trying to differentiate between traditional surrogacy (where the surrogate's eggs are used). Unfortunately (well actually fortunately for them) my co-workers don't live in my world of infertility, so they don't necessarily understand the specific details, which is why I was trying to explain it in very basic terms, and incidentally said K "is not biologically related, she is just carrying the babies." I didn't mean this to say that she is just carrying them (like it isn't important), but rather was explaining that they are genetically related to us and not K.

I did NOT nor would I ever insult women who become mothers via donor egg, adoption, or any other means. I do NOT think that biology makes a parent. My mother is adopted and her mother is not the woman who's genetically related to her and gave birth to her, but my grandmother was her mother. I have friends who have a child via donor embryo and although they are not genetically related to their son they are most certainly his parents. In my opinion being a parent isn't about biology/genetics or birthing it's about so much more than that. It's about love--the kind of love that only a parent understands.

I do NOT think that surrogates are simply "rented wombs". I think surrogates are amazing angels on Earth who make people's dreams come true! I am continually in awe of surrogates and will spend the rest of my life being eternally grateful for the one beautiful woman who's bringing our miracles into this world! K you know we love you!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

My Sweet Little Girl

The above photo is of Asha napping in one of her favorite spots next to the sunny window in our office. I appreciate that many of you remembered my sweet little Asha and have asked how she's doing. That really means a lot to me! Had I answered this question a couple of days ago I would've said that Asha is doing amazingly well ... you'd never know that she has a fatal progressive disease, chronic renal failure (CRF). However, today I noticed that her breath has the classic strong ammonia smell of CRF, which indicates that her creatinine levels are back up again. She also didn't eat very well today--she didn't even touch her fresh from the store rotisserie chicken and only licked the juice from the fresh can of tuna. Of course I'm sick over this and worry that she's crashing again. I'm not sure if she's strong enough to keep overcoming the crashes and I'm really struggling to think that this time might be the end for my sweet cuddlebug.

Right now Asha's sitting on my lap and I don't want to think about what my nights would be like without her to cuddle with. It makes me sad to think that she may not be with us much longer. I know I've been here before wondering the same thing, but I also know that one of these times I'm not going to be so lucky. Asha was diagnosed with CRF in April '08 and wasn't given a promising prognosis by her former vet, but with the help of a wonderful, new vet, Dr. M, we've been able to enjoy Asha for the last 16 months and she's been able to enjoy life with us. I should be grateful for this and I shouldn't get greedy and want more, but I do. I want Asha to be with me for many more years, but the reality is that she probably won't. You'd think given the nature of her progressive fatal disease I'd be preparing myself for the day when Asha passes in my arms, yet I just can't bring myself to think about that day. I'm crying just writing it here. I don't want to lose my sweet furbaby who's helped me through the worst time in my life. I will continue to love her and give her the best life possible and when she finally leaves this world I will grieve the loss of another member of our family.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Pregnancy Announcement

Despite the fact that all of my friends, family, and the blogosphere knows that we are expecting twins in February my colleagues did not know. I decided to make my announcment via an email, which was a suggestion made by a former IM, N, who used to blog at Our Buns Were in Someone Else's Oven and now blogs at Crain Family Blog. N did this very thing when she announced her pregnancy to her friends and family (none of whom knew they were even trying to conceive) and used a FAQs section to explain gestational surrogacy and answer some of the common questions related to surrogacy. I remember reading N's posting of the FAQs and immediately told her that I planned to borrow her idea when we got to that point in our journey. I loved the idea of explaining everything up front to avoid the constant, likely repetitious, stream of questions I'd encounter, so last night I used N's idea as a template and this is what I created and sent to my colleagues ...


Hello MHS Friends,

Welcome back! I hope that all of you had a relaxing summer vacation and are returning to the new year feeling refreshed and rejuvenated. I think we are in for an exciting school year!

Since all of you have been so wonderful and supportive of me, particularly while Myles was in the NICU and after he died, I thought you might be interested in hearing our exciting news--we are expecting TWINS in February!That’s right, two new little [insert last name]'s are on their way. We are currently 13 weeks along.

Hopefully you haven’t set this email aside already as yet another pregnancy announcement because there’s something especially interesting about this one ... I’m NOT pregnant . . . a gestational surrogate is carrying our babies! Gestational surrogacy means that someone else (my cousin) is carrying our biological children (our buns are in someone else’s oven!). Since we know people will have questions, we took a stab at some FAQs (see the attached document). As you know I am very open about my infertility struggles and am more than willing to answer questions, so please feel free to ask any additional questions you may have!

Yours truly,


Frequently Asked Questions:

Q. Why is someone else carrying your babies?
A. About 5 years ago, we started trying to conceive. We assumed, like everyone does, that we would get pregnant in a couple of months. No such luck. After years of trying and a couple of miscarriages, we went to see a doctor who said we should do IVF (in vitro fertilization). This is where a doctor extracts eggs from my body, acquires sperm from my husband, mixes them together in a petri dish (think back to your high school biology experiments), then transfers the newly created embryos back to me in the hope that they will implant and grow into a healthy baby (or 2). We did this procedure when we conceived Myles and were fortunate enough to have 6 other embryos to freeze. Last year we did two additional embryo transfers of two embryos each and went through two more miscarriages. Since we had high-quality embryos in each of our IVF cycles, the doctor suspects that an acquired uterine defect (caused by an earlier miscarriage and “overzealous” D&C) might be the problem. Therefore, he suggested “renting a uterus” (i.e., using a surrogate). In the middle of last year, my cousin came to us to offer to be a gestational surrogate. With gestational surrogacy, you create embryos from our eggs and sperm like we had been doing, but you transfer the created embryos to someone else (the gestational surrogate – so she is not biologically related, she is just carrying the babies).

We thought long and hard about this offer and decided that my uterine problems coupled with the high risk of recurrence of preeclampsia were good reasons to pursue surrogacy. So, we decided to transfer our two remaining frozen embryos to my cousin instead of me. We did so in January, and it worked on the first try, but around 9wks she miscarried (a chromosomally normal male). Our doctor was baffled and convinced it was a fluke event, so we did not let this get us down. We embarked on another IVF cycle in June where we created 5 beautiful embryos from my eggs and my husband’s sperm. Two of these embryos were transferred to my cousin’s uterus and a few weeks later, we saw twins on the first ultrasound. It has been absolutely amazing and we are forever grateful to my wonderful cousin!

Q. So are the babies related to both of you or to the surrogate or…?
A. The babies are as much our genetic children as they would have been had we conceived like everyone else . . . they are just being physically carried to term by someone else. Sometimes surrogates contribute their own egg to an embryo, but that is a different type of surrogacy (i.e., traditional surrogacy).

Q. What if she doesn’t want to give you the babies?
A. People hear these stories all the time about surrogates who have used their own eggs and therefore there is a genetic tie (leading these women to sometimes not want to give the baby up). It happens very rarely with gestational surrogacy since there is no genetic link between the surrogate and baby. In our case, the surrogate is a family member who has two of her own children already so there is not even the slightest concern.

Q. Who on earth is willing to be a surrogate like this?
A. We agree, it’s hard to believe. We still can’t believe it. Her name is [insert K's name], she is 30, married, has two adorable boys (ages 7 and 4) and is a surgical technologist at a local hospital. She is doing this purely out of compassion as a loving friend and family member who wants to help us have a living child(ren). Her husband has been incredibly supportive throughout also. He watches the kids when she has to go to appointments, and has helped so much in the process.

Q. Are you paying your surrogate?
A. No, we are not paying our surrogate to carry our babies. She is doing what is called a “compassionate surrogacy” and doesn’t receive any compensation. However, we do pay for her meds, medical co-pays, etc. She won’t accrue any costs associated with the pregnancy. There are many surrogates who are compensated for their services, but most of them agree that the biggest reward is helping to make a couple’s dreams come true.

Q. Did you plan for twins?
A. We transferred two embryos to "K" because we would be happy with one or two children, but didn’t want to risk triplets or more. It’s always possible that an embryo splits into identical twins, though, so technically it’s possible that you can transfer 2 embryos, have both split, and end up with quads. The probability is 1 in 16 million. You can’t plan for exactly how many make it – whether it be 0 or 4 (or more – which would be exceedingly rare from 2 embryos). We were, however, hoping for twins since we wanted to have two living children and will probably not have this opportunity again.

Q. I bet you’ll still get pregnant eventually.
A. This is extremely doubtful. We are perfectly content with three kids (two living and Myles). Therefore, we will not be trying anymore! Trying to get pregnant is a costly, highly emotional scientific endeavor for us, which we won’t be doing again. It’s always possible (anything is), but that doesn’t matter to us anymore. After these babies are born our family will be complete and we will forever be grateful for the gifts we’ve been given.

Q. Why didn’t you just adopt?
A. Adoption is a very complex process in and of itself. While a lot of people think there are tons of babies sitting around just waiting for good homes, it is simply not true. It’s a long, difficult process. We wanted to try having a biological child through surrogacy before moving on to another stage. If this didn’t work, we would have moved on to adoption next. Furthermore, we already knew that we created embryos that result in perfect babies (i.e., Myles), so it seemed like the next natural step for us.

Q. How do you feel about not being pregnant?
A. Surprisingly absolutely and completely fine! I feel relieved not to have to worry about my body failing another baby. I know that the babies are safe and sound in a proven uterus and feel so very fortunate to have two little ones on the way! Plus, I did get to experience pregnancy with Myles and am forever grateful for those beautiful memories. My pregnancy experience will be the special experience that I will only share with one of my children, my sweet Myles.

Q. How does your husband feel about all this?
A. He is thrilled and actually quite relieved that he doesn’t have to worry about me and my safety. It was a scary situation for "J" to watch me so close to death in the hospital in my previous pregnancy and he really didn’t care to go through that again.

Q. So what are the genders?! What do you hope for?
A. We don’t know yet, but will find out in October. We are hoping for two healthy, living babies and honestly don’t really care so much about the specific genders. We’ll be thrilled with two boys, two girls, or one of each.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

First Expectant Mommy & Baby Gifts

Today I received my first expectant mommy gift. My dear friend K.K. came over for breakfast and brought me a little something. I thought it was so sweet and thoughtful of her. The gift was in a simple brown gift bag with the above image stamped on the outside. I aboslutely adore the image of the two little pea pods and can't stop smiling when I look at it! The cute pea pods remind me so much of our two little ones growing strong in K's uterus. Inside the package was a fashionable nursing cover up that I can use while nursing in public (see below). K.K had one and absolutely loved it, so she bought me one. (I've mentioned this before, but in case you are wondering I'm going to induce lactation. I'll tell you all about it in another post some day.)

Although I didn't take a photo of it, I also received a congratulatory card from my wonderful Aunt B and Uncle T. It was the first material acknowledgement of the pregnancy and the precious little bundles we'll be welcoming into our family in February. For some reason it was just what I needed to make things feel a bit more real. Thanks for thinking of us Aunt B & Uncle T. You both rock and we can't thank you enough for your continued love and support!
The first gifts to the babies are pictured below and believe it or not I'm actually the one who bought them! A couple of my close friends had a garage sale last weekend and one of their co-workers was selling a bunch of her baby stuff at the sale. I picked up a bag full of goodies including soft-sided books and toys that hang on the carseat handle. All of these things look like they were barely used and I scored the whole loot for a mere $4. And the best news of all is that buying it didn't make me worry that I was jinxing the pregnancy for even one second! In fact I came home with the stuff and immediately put it in the storage baskets in the nursery.

FYI--the Type A perfectionist in me is going crazy with Blogger and not putting spaces between some of my paragraphs! It did this on this post and on the last. No matter what I do to try to fix the problem it still pushes those two paragraphs together. Grr! I'm nearly ripping my hair out, so I'm going to take a deep breath and step away from the computer. I apologize to you Type A's (yep that's you K) who are bothered by that when you read it!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Ob Appointment & Fetal Movement

Today K had an ob appointment and I tagged along. I was most excited about hearing the babies heart's beating strong on the doppler. The nurse was a little apprehensive about trying to differentiate between the two babies, but we encouraged her. K told the nurse where to place the doppler to find Baby B and the nurse didn't believe her that she should place the transducer so high (see photo below), but sure enough there was the strong sound of a galloping horse. Baby B's heartrate was 164bpm.

K then instructed the nurse to move the transducer down lower to find Baby A (see below) and there she found the 2nd "galloping horse" sound. It was music to my ears! Baby A's heartrate was 172bpm. The babies are in a "bunk bed" position as K calls it--at last week's u/s it appeared that Baby B was sitting on top of Baby A.

When our ob, Dr. D, finally came in he gave me a big hug (M does that make you jealous that I got to hug our boyfriend?). This was the first time that I got to see him in this pregnancy and he is quite excited for us. We spent a lot of time talking to him. He answered all of our questions (okay mainly mine), so we are feeling good about everything. We discussed scheduling the c-section, which Dr. D said couldn't be done until 39wks, and the risk of going into labor sooner and having to have someone else in the practice deliver the babies (if Dr. D isn't on-call at that time). This made me a bit anxious, but I felt a little better when Dr. D said that he planned to do his best to be here for the delivery. He said that this is one delivery he wouldn't want to miss! Aww, I love him!
K won't go back for another 4wks and won't have another u/s until the Level II scan at 20wks. I'm fine with this because K is starting to feel the babies moving already, which I presume will get more and more regular with the coming weeks. Knowing that K is able to feel the babies move gives me the reassurance I need that both babies are still alive and well. The "big" u/s is scheduled for Oct. 20 and it can't get here soon enough as I'm anxious to find out the genders of these little ones!
K looked so cute today, so I took a 12wk belly shot photo of her for my scrapbook (see below). I just love her belly and can't wait to watch it get bigger!

*BTW ... it was brought to my attention (thanks K.S.) that I somehow disabled the Anonymous commentor option, so I reenabled that option. I honestly don't know how the heck I did that and apologize to those of you who've been wanting to anonymously comment!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Emotional dilemma

I'm having an emotional dilemma of sorts and I haven't said anything about it because I don't want to seem ungrateful. I am the furthest thing from that, yet I worry that by voicing my inner thoughts I may come across as whiney and/or ungrateful. I know how difficult it is to struggle with infertility and to watch friends go through a pregnancy. Therefore, I presume it isn't easy for those of you still in the IF trenches to visit my blog and read my posts about pregnancy symptoms, u/s appointments, and baby gear. I apologize if my blog posts have worsened your pain and sadness. This is not my intention. I wish more than anything that every single one of you amazing women in the IF blogosphere would have your dreams come true. You all most certainly deserve for your nightmare roller coaster ride to end.

With that said I'll share what's been going on in my head. As you may have guessed I'm feeling very excited about the prospect of having two babies next year (okay and quite nervous too), yet this excitement is being overshadowed by guilt. I've been feeling incredibly guilty for being excited and hopeful about this pregnancy and for wanting these babies. I feel like it somehow takes away from Myles. Like loving and wanting the twins means that I am loving Myles less. Of course I logically know that is not the case and that mommies can love more than one child. However, I still feel bad and I shed a lot of tears over this. I know that I love Myles just as much today as I did the day he was born, the day he died, and 20 years from now. But, I don't know if everyone else knows that. I worry that with us expecting these babies people will forget about Myles. Or worse I worry that other people think these babies are a replacement for Myles. I worry that when the babies arrive no one will ever mention Myles again and that makes me really sad.

Another thing that is contributing to my current emotional dilemma is that every step in this pregnancy takes me back to my pregnancy with Myles. I remember seeing our sweet little peanut on u/s for the first time and remember watching him grow. I remember his precious profile at the NT scan and I remember feeling such relief to be entering the 2nd trimester (obviously I couldn't anticipate the problems that this trimester would bring me). I miss my special days with sweet Myles. I wish that he was here with us to excitedly, hopefully, and anxiously await the arrival of his brother(s)/sister(s).

Friday, August 21, 2009

One Lovely Blog Award

Thank you to the two wonderful bloggers Gabby at Adventures in Glass and Strongwoman at An Infertility Journal for nominating me for the "One Lovely Award Blog". I posted the award in my sidebar to proudly display it. The rules of the award are to accept it, post it on your blog together with the name of the person who has granted the award, and his or her blog link, and then pass the award to 15 other blogs that you’ve newly discovered. The sad thing is that I haven't discovered 15 new blogs this summer. **hangs head in shame** However, there is one new blogs that I regularly read and is worthy of this lovely award:

Sweet Ashley at The Journey of a Ruby Baby is a babyloss mama who is near and dear to my heart because our stories are eerily similar (minus the infertility). Pre-eclampsia stole Ashley's precious son, Nolan, from her earlier this summer. Although the grief journey is very rough for her right now, she does her best to courageously put one foot in front of the other as she faces the challenges each new day brings. Please stop by Ashley's blog to see her son, Nolan's, sweet, little face and to give her some much needed love and support.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

NT Scan

Let me just start by saying that this appointment was absolutely AMAZING! K was looking beautiful as usual and as you can see in the photo above J had her laughing as usual too. Both babies are getting big (size of a lime) and look more like babies now! I'm continually in awe of K and her baby-baking abilities! K is pretty certain she felt the babies moving last night, which is early, but I've heard with multiples that they're felt sooner. K also has some gender predictions, but I'll let her share them with you in another post. I don't really have any yet, but that's probably because I'm so worried about their health that their gender doesn't seem as significant.

The babes were sleeping when they first put the transducer to K's belly, but all of a sudden they woke up and were quite active. Based on their behavior I think it's clear that these babies have very different personalities already. Baby A was quite cooperative and only did a few somersaults and flips after the NT measurements were made. He/she even gave us a little wave. Baby B on the other hand was a little stinker during the scan and refused to get into the necessary position to get the NT measurements. However, after much persistance, some apologies on my part, and two u/s techs we did get Baby B's measurements. After the one techs hand got sore and she asked the other tech to give it a try I said "I feel like I need to apologize for Baby B's uncooperative behavior." Shortly after that Baby B assumed the position and the measurements were taken. So despite being a bit fiesty he/she does listen to his/her mama! Both babies NT measurements were "normal" (see below) and indicate a low risk for Trisomies 21, 18, and 13.

Baby A: NT = 1.5mm; FHR = 167bpm; CRL = 5.1cm (GA = 11.8wks)
Baby B: NT = 1.6mm; FHR = 163bpm; CRL = 5.2cm (GA = 11.9wks)

Additionally, the u/s techs were able to do an anatomical assessment and observed almost all of their tiny organs (e.g., bladder, stomach, kidneys, heart), complete spines, and 3 vessel cords in both babies.

Here are some pics of the babies from today:

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

It's me, "K"....

*This blog is not meant to take any thing away from Niki's nursery blog, it is far more important* ....this is unfortunately one of the few spare moments I have to post!

What's new with me: MY PIO BUTT SHOTS ARE ALMOST OVER...I've been getting shots in my bum for at least 16 weeks, and for quite a while 2x/day! Thursday night I will receive my last shot and would like all who are willing to say a toast to no more sore butt!

This of course means other grand we're entering the 2nd trimester! YIPPEEE Friday is the 12 week mark and we couldn't be more elated! HOWEVER, sweet little Niki (and many more of you infertiles) have taught me that 12 weeks isn't always the safe point (which my naive self once believed). So I will continue to pray, be safe and care for Niki and J's sweet little twins the best I can, but each milestone deserves to be celebrated and I am a firm believer in a positive attitude!

Tomorrow we have our NT ultrasound, a little piece of me is nervous, but my ever growing abdomen leads me to believe that everything is perfect!

Happy hopeful thoughts to all of you!

:-) K

Friday, August 14, 2009

Big Summer Project #3 - Nursery Clean Out

As you might suspect we already have a room in our house that's a nursery. This room used to be our guest room and I used it to store my scrapbooking supplies. We painted it and bought the decor while pregnant with Myles. The walls are painted a pretty lime green color with a few small accent walls in lavendar. The nursery theme is Tiddli.winks safari (the pastel version shown below). I love the bright, happy colors and cute safari animals. I think it's perfect for a boy or girl.

We had an artist friend make paintings of the safari animals to match those in the bedding. We have a changing table, dresser, glider rocker, bookcase, and other accent pieces. The only piece of furniture we are missing is a crib(s), which we were just about to buy when I was hospitalized. After Myles died I put all of his things in the room and closed the door. I didn't want to look at it every time I went upstairs to our bedroom, so I kept the door closed at all times. I couldn't enter the room in the first year following Myles's death without having a complete meltdown.

After not really going into the room for so long except to toss things in there it turned into a complete disaster zone, so cleaning and organizing it was on my summer to do list. I was avoiding it because I knew it would be difficult to take all of Myles's things (e.g., footprint molds, hats, NICU shades) and put them in his memory box. Well I finally did it yesterday with my mom's help and it wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it would be. I had moments where I felt teary while reminiscing, but I didn't have a total breakdown. I feel good that Myles's things are safely stored in a box rather than randomly sitting all over a messy room. Having the room cleaned and organized makes me feel excited too! It now looks like a nursery--a place where these two babies will hopefullly live. We put all of Myles's books on the bookshelf and put a few toys/accessories on the dresser. We didn't hang anything on the walls, but we arranged the furniture in such a way to accomodate two cribs. So, now all we need to do is buy the cribs.

I know it seems crazy early to be doing stuff with a nursery, but remember we had all of this stuff for Myles. We probably won't buy the cribs and hang anything on the walls for quite awhile. I just needed to get the room organized and to put away some of Myles's things. To be honest clearing out the room and leaving it looking like a nursery made this pregnancy seem more real to me. I even went into the room again this morning to look at it and it made me smile!

BTW ... thanks for all the great baby gear recommendations and advice! Someone mentioned getting Baby Bargains, which I already have and used when I was researching baby gear while pregnant with Myles, and am using again during my current research. I highly recommend this book to those of you who are starting (or will be) your baby gear research.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Twin Books & Baby Gear Research

I haven't had much to say, so I've been quiet. I'm busy continuing my research on the best baby gear for twins and reading books like Ready or Not ... Here We Come and The Multiples Manual. (thanks for the books S!) I'm learning a lot and feeling more and more anxious as I read deeper into these books. I am a realist and understand that having two babies at once won't be easy and I'm fully prepared for the challenge! BRING. IT. ON! However, I am not without worries. I worry that because I have two babies I won't be as good of a mommy. I know it seems silly, but it's like there won't be enough of me to go around. Almost like the each of the babies will be shorted because there's only one of me and two of them. I also worry about the general logistics of feeding two babies at once, whether or not I'll be able to produce any/enough milk (yep I'm going to induce lactation), the fact that I'll never sleep, etc... I'm sure like anything it will just take a little practice and I'll master some of it, but those are the kinds of things that make me anxious. J on the other hand as the financial planner in the family worries about the economics of twins ... costs of 2x the diapers, formula, day care, etc...

I'm still going strong with the baby gear research! I even took a trip to Tar.get with two of my good friends, L & J, the other day and they had me taking notes on their preferred baby products. It was quite helpful, but a bit overwhelming. After countless hours of reading reviews and examining the features of the car seats and strollers I think I've finally decided on the products for us ...

I decided that we're going to sell the Cor.tina travel system. Although the is a highly rated car seat it's heavy and doesn't work with the Double Snap n Go. Plus, I read several reviews that the extra padding in this car seat (and the Graco Snug.ride 32) causes the babies to get really warm, which of course makes me worry about overheating and SIDS (seriously the worrying never ends!). I decided that the Graco Snug.ride infant car seat is the one. In addition to being a bestseller for years, it's also highly rated in terms of safety and gets great reviews from parents for a number of things. I've been comparing the Snug.ride to the Snug.ride 32 and decided that we'll go with the basic Snugride. The Snug.ride 32 is about 2lbs heavier and when you have to infant car seats to deal with that extra weight makes a difference. I decided that I'm fine with moving the babies into convertible car seats, which can stay rear-facing, sooner if need be, so having an extra 10lb limit and a couple of inches wasn't a huge selling point for me. Another bonus in choosing the Snug.ride over the Snug.ride 32 is the financial savings (this makes J happy). The Snug.ride 32 car seats all cost at least $150 and the bases are more expensive whereas I can get a basic Snug.ride for around $89-100. The thing that I found most interesting is that all of the Graco Snug.ride models have EPS foam and are equally safe (ask a pediatrician and they'll concur), so when you spend more you're spending the extra money on fabric and likely unnecessary "bells and whistles" (e.g., removable boot cover). So, here are the two infant car seats that I like:

If we have a boy(s):

If we have a girl(s):

Okay, now onto the stroller research. I purchased a gently used Baby Trend Double Snap n Go, which was mentioned by a number of twin moms as a "must have item", from a friend of a friend (thanks M). I know that probably shocks many of you that I already purchased something for the babies, but I didn't buy a thing for Myles until I was beyond 20wks for fear of jinxing it and look where that got us. Suffice it to say that I don't believe in jinxing anymore! This double stroller frame will work perfectly with the two Graco Snug.ride infant car seats and will get us through the first 6 months or so.
The other stroller I plan to get won't work with the infant car seats, but I didn't expect it to. I've read tons and tons of comments by twin parents and it's split on tandem vs. side-by-side. I tested the Graco Quat.tro Duo on Monday while I was out with my friends and their kids and have to admit it felt like I was driving a semi. I'm petite (5'1"), so I felt overwhelmed by this large stroller. Also, it's crazy heavy to get in and out of the car! Although I was leaning towards a side-by-side, I was enamored with all the "bells and whistles" of the Graco tandem strollers. But now that I've tried one out I know it is NOT for me.

I will buy a side-by-side twin stroller. I find some of the lightweight double side-by-side strollers (e.g., Combi) to be cheaply made and unstable. It's important to me to get a stroller that is safe, will fit through standard doorways, will hold up with use, can be used on multiple surfaces, folds up easily, is lightweight, and is highly rated by parents. One such stroller that meets these criteria is the Bumble.ride Indie Twin stroller. I love this stroller, but I don't love the cost. My second choice is Baby Jogger City Mini Double (see pic below). I read over 100 reviews of this stroller and have to say that almost all of them were raving. The only complaints were that it doesn't come with any of the extras (e.g., parent console, belly bar), but most of the higher end strollers don't.

Now that I've decided on those two big items I'm going to move onto other baby gear like baby monitors and bottles, so if you have any advice please do share! I've started an Ex.cel spreadsheet with baby gear must haves that includes costs, where to buy, reviews, notes, etc... I think this will be quite helpful when I go to register. :)

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Quick Ultrasound

The wonderful, lovely, amazing K snuck into radiology at the hospital where she works for a quick ultrasound. She said that both babies are alive and well, which was a huge relief to me! K said it was really cute because both babies were quite active and little Baby B would zip all over, which made it hard for them to get his/her h/b. K was worried that I'd be upset that she did this and promised not to do it again if it bothered me. OMG ... are you kidding?! I was so happy to hear that the babes are doing well and welcome any opportunity to confirm that! I will smile big all day long thinking about our two little ones zipping around in K's belly. :)

K, you really are awe-inspiring!! Thanks for making my day! We love you!

Friday, August 7, 2009

First Belly Pics - 10wks

Now isn't that the most glowing, beautiful pregnant woman you've ever seen? Honestly this is the first time in a very long time (well let's be honest since I was pregnant with Myles) that I've stared so lovingly at a pregnant belly! K had her dh take these photos today at 10wks. I think she looks fabulous, but she wanted me to remind everyone that these photos were taken tonight after she worked all day. I seriously wish I looked that good after a long day of work! K kept telling me that her belly was getting big and I guess she wasn't kidding! If it works for K to take a weekly photo, I'll try to post a new belly photo every Friday! I'm excited to watch K's belly getting bigger week by week!

Myles' Legacy

It's no surprise that I think of my sweet little Myles daily, but to hear that others (even strangers) think of him is music to my ears! A friend of K's, M, is a paralegal and offered her services free of charge to help us acquire the pre-birth order (PBO) we will need to establish parentage. So, she's been doing a bunch of research on PBO in our county and in the process chatted with an attorney friend, H, to ask for her help. During a coversation between these two it came out that H actually knows of us through her work with a children's charity where she heard Myles' story and briefly met J and I. Both H and M are mommies, so they can empathize with our grief over losing Myles and feel blessed to have their children. Therefore, H has volunteered her services as well. M said she can't stop thinking of Myles' picture on my blog and H was equally moved by Myles' story, which is why they both want to help us.

When M told me this on the phone this morning I was overwhelmed with emotion and have been in tears ever since. I'm so humbled by the generosity of strangers and feel strongly that this is Myles way of letting us know that he's watching over us. Wow, wow, wow! These babies are going to come into this world with the help of so many wonderful, amazing people! The saying for us isn't that it takes a village to raise a child, but rather that it takes a village to bring two children into this world. H if you are reading this (I hear you visit my blog) thank you from the bottom of my heart! M, I've already told you, but thank you for being such a wonderful, caring person as well!

BTW ... look at our ticker! K is 10wks today! Now let's just fast forward a few weeks! K promised to send me a picture as she's now in maternity clothes and if she gives me permission I'll post it here! :)

Monday, August 3, 2009

What happened to my zen state?

Okay, so I was doing great using the baby gear research (thanks for all the great advice, btw!) in an attempt to refocus my energy from all the bad possibilities of pregnancy, but today for some unknown reason I'm a freakin' wreck worrying about the babies. I have no tangible reason (beyond my history) to be freaking out. K has a phenomenal uterus, is NOT having a spot of blood of any shade of the rainbow and is having tons of pregnancy symptoms including m/s and constant hunger. However, this does little to reassure me. I've been thinking of all the bad scenarios that could befall us: incompetant cervix, pre-term labor, PROM, and last but not least preeclampsia (my personal favorite). I started to let these thoughts creep in last night when I began to wonder if K should be seeing a peri in addition to the ob. It's not that I don't trust our ob--he was the doc who sent me to see a peri in my pregnancy. I'm just a worrier. I have been wondering if K should have cervical length measurements starting at 16wks (plan to discuss this with our ob at the next appointment). I've been worrying about the possibility of preemies in the NICU. I've been wondering and worrying about so much ...

The kicker of the worrying is that today I've convinced myself that one of the babies has died and that we'll discover it in two weeks when we go for the NT scan. The strange thing about it is that I don't worry that both have died (although that could be the case), but rather assume that we've lost one. I usually picture the one we lost as Baby B. I've spent the past hour asking Dr. Goog.le what the chances are of having a vanishing twin after seeing good growth and strong h/b. F*cked up, right?! I know I was told that the risk of losing the babies was less than 5% after seeing h/b and good growth, but I also don't put a lot of stock in statistics, particularly because of been on the wrong end of them too many times.

I've been analyzing my neurotic behavior and have concluded the following factors to be responsible ... First and most obvious is my history of loss. I'm like a magnet for death when it comes to pregnancy and babies--5 miscarriages and one dead baby. Why wouldn't I be worried about yet another loss?! Second, it's been about two weeks since we've had direct confirmation that the babies are alive and well. Last week K went in for an appointment with the maternity nurse counselor, but because she was only 9wks they didn't use the fetal doppler to listen to the babies hearts. Third, I just assume that us expecting two babies is just too good to be true. It doesn't seem that good things happen to us. Finally, I talked to a woman today who is interested in buying my Cortina travel system, which I would replace with a better system for twins, and this makes me think that I am jinxing the pregnancy (totally illogical I know). I am hoping that I wake up tomorrow and feel less anxious, but something tells me I won't.

Please stop by Lisa's blog to congratulate her on her great news--she's also expecting twins! :) You know I'm over the moon excited for you girl! Congrats!