Sunday, November 29, 2009

Baby Shower #3

My mother-in-law, K, hosted a baby shower for me yesterday. Many of the family was there to celebrate our expecting with me. The party was quite a lovely event. We played some fun games, Name the Baby Animal, Baby Babble (word scramble), and a game where you had to mate the baby socks as quickly as you could. The photo below shows the basket full of cute, little baby socks we used for the sock mating game. I clearly need some practice mating socks as I only got 4 in the alloted time.

I received many wonderful gifts: baby outfits, many onesies, diaper pail, diapers, wipes, vaporizer, health care kit, bottles, bottle cooler, bibs, space saver high chair, baby food, spoons/forks, burp cloths, car seats, pacifiers, books, picture frames, lullaby CDs, and toys.

I am so grateful for everything I received, but the best gifts of all were the two handmade quilts my mother-in-law gave me. She quilted both blankets with love for us and her future grandbabies. Although they are each quite different, both are absolutely beautiful! One has safari animals on it and the other is a pinwheel quilt with fun, bright colors.

Today I spent about two hours in the nursery putting things away and trying to organize it. Although I still have to wash all of the baby clothes, I did cut off the tags and organized them by size and type. The outfits are hanging in the closet, the onsies, sleepers, and gowns are folded in the dresser, the newborn diapers are placed in a basket next to the changing table, and the toys are in baskets. The room is starting to look more and more like a nursery. Here's a sneak peak ...

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Giving Thanks

I have so much to be thankful for this year:

1. The 26 days that I was able to spend with my sweet Myles
2. Beautiful K, her rock star uterus, and her amazing, supportive family
3. Liam and Silas--two healthy, growing baby boys
4. My "rock" and the man who makes me laugh--my husband, J
5. My loving family and friends (this includes my blogosphere friends)
6. My cuddly furbabies--Asha and Elvis
7. My good health
8. My family and friends' good health
9. Knowing that my babies are thriving in a safe place
10. Beautiful K's amazing love and generosity (yep, I just can't say it enough)
11. Two of the best legal gurus around (thank you H & M)
12. Having an enjoyable career
13. Being financially stable and knowing how to properly manage money
14. Having been able to experience pregnancy (even if it was only for 25+4wks)
15. Living in a nice, warm home in a safe neighborhood
16. The kindness and generosity of strangers
17. IVF and the genetic technologies that made my children possible
18. Dr. S (my RE who gave me Myles, Liam, and Silas)
19. Dr. D (K's ob who is taking such great care of her!)
20. Monthly ultrasounds (aka, my monthly sneak peaks at the boys)
21. Great food, great wine, and great conversation
22. Access to clean water and clean air
23. Being able to walk through my neighborhood and feel safe
24. Strong coffee and dark chocolate
25. Sunshine, sunsets, and rainbows
26. Comedies and love stories
27. Great music of all kinds
28. Cute fashion accessories (scarves, handbags, jewelry...)
29. All shades of pink and purple
30. Wonderful, beautiful, amazing, awe-inspiring K

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

25wks 4days

Today K is 25+4wks pregnant, which is a significant point in this pregnancy for me, and I'll be very, very happy to move past this point. 25+4wks is the exact day when I gave birth to Myles. I am crossing my fingers, begging the universe, and hoping with all my might that these babies don't make such an early entrance into this world. I'm somewhat comfortable with the boys coming a few weeks early, but not any earlier than 34weeks! I do get the real possibility of them being born prematurely, particularly with twins, but I know that I just can't have two more micropreemies. And I definitely don't think I could survive the loss of another child. Tonight I will drink some wine with "my girls" and try not to think about it...

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Baby Shower #2

Today was my 2nd baby shower and it was perfect. This was a quaint luncheon hosted by my sweet Aunt B. We met for lunch at a small gourmet diner in a small town along the Mississippi River. Our table was near the window, so we could look out on the river and watch the fishermen enjoying the beautiful fall day. Aunt B wanted an intimate gathering to celebrate the upcoming arrival of the twins. There were six of us in attendance (K couldn't make it) and it was perfect! I was able to chat with my Aunt, her mom M, my cousin H, my Mom, and my soon to be sister in law, T. I'm very happy that we were able to do this because my cousin, H, is due to have a baby in a few weeks and likely won't make the big baby shower on 12/6.

Cousin, H, and her dear husband, T, spent time making a beautiful diaper cake composed of diapers, onesies, bottles (hidden on the inside for support), spoons, and baby toys. Aunt B brought a beautiful flower arrangement too. In addition to great conversation we enjoyed delicious pasta, wine, and sinfully delectable desserts. To top off a wonderful lunch the weather was in the upper 50's, which is something to celebrate in WI in late November. It really was a perfect afternoon! Thanks Aunt B for making me feel so special! I love you!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

24 Week Growth Scan

The growth scan went very well today. Both boys are growing right on target--weighing in at 1lb 10oz each, which puts them in the 54th percentile. The amniotic fluid levels are great and both boys are still boys! ;) Baby A was more than happy to show us his face, his boy parts, and the rest of his anatomy, but Baby B didn't really want to show us his face. He was lying face down for the scan, but we did manage to see his boy bits after a little maneuvering and by angling the probe the u/s tech managed to get a photo of his face.

K is doing awesome and all is well with her too! She really is a rock star! K's blood pressure was 110/60, which was a huge relief to me, and her weight gain is ideal for twins. Her belly is very big and absolutely beautiful! Suprisingly with that big belly K doesn't have one single stretch mark. K's twin baby belly is stunning!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Boys' Names

I've decided to completely let the cat out of the bag. The boys will be named ...

Silas Robert and Liam Douglas

I like how the names Silas and Liam sound together. They aren't too similar, but also don't clash. Both first names are strong names and seem like a good fit for our strong, growing boys! The middle names are paternal family names: Robert was my grandfather's name, is my dad's middle name, and my uncle's first name (K's Dad) while Douglas is J's dad and brother's middle name. K has been calling the boys Silas and Liam for a few weeks now, so they're probably getting used to hearing their names!

Tomorrow we have a growth scan and I can't wait to see my two little monkeys on the u/s screen! I'm hoping to have a couple of good pictures of the boys to put on the blog tomorrow afternoon.

Asha Update: my sweet little Princess is holding her own. She's been eating a bit more with the increase in sub-q fluids, which we're doing daily now (it flushes the toxins from her body). We do give Asha an anabolic steroid called Stano.zol every other day to help stimulate her appetite, but when she's in a crash mode nothing seems to help her to eat. For those of you who don't know Asha has chronic renal failure (CRF), which is a progressive, fatal kidney disease. She was diagnosed in Aril '08 and we've been actively treating her since then. Fortunately CRF isn't painful (just uncomfortable at times), so by doing what we are doing we're not prolonging a poor quality of life, but rather giving her time to love and enjoy us just as we love and enjoy her. We will continue to do this until the day comes when it's clear she's lost her fight. My parent's cat, Schnitzel, had CRF and my mom has assured me that we'll know when the day comes that it time to let her go. She says that Asha will no longer be Asha. I just hope that day isn't any day in the near future. Until then we will savor every moment we have with our special little girl. (As I type this she's sprawled across my lap.)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Bargaining with the Universe

I need to apologize for being a bad blog commenter. I'm reading, but just don't have it in me to comment. I've had a horrible cold, we're in a very scary part of the pregnancy for me, and my cat is really sick again (see below). I will try to be better this week. Must. Pull. Self. Out. Of. Dark. Hole!

I'm grateful not to have H1N1 or any other flu strain, but man this cold is kicking my butt! I've had it for 10 days and it's been pretty rough. It started as a mildly sore throat and progressed into nasal congestion and cough. I'm still struggling with the nasal congestion and accompanying headaches. Eating healthy, taking vitamins, drinking tons of water, and medicating with over the counter cold meds haven't seemed to help much. I've even resorted to using Air.borne, which I'm certain only works because people think it works (placebo anyone?!), but I figure I'll try anything at this point. Plus, the extra Vitamin C and Zinc it contains can't hurt me and might actually help support my struggling immune system.

We've reached viability so if the babies were born now they'd have a chance. Albeit the chance of their survival at this point is not a good one, but a chance nonetheless. According to the March of Dimes "the chances of survival at 24 weeks are 60%, and the chances of having a handicap due to the early birth are 60%, as well. Babies born at 26 weeks have a 95% chance of survival and their handicap risk drops to 40%; just two more weeks makes a big difference in [a] baby's outlook." Well you all know how much 2 weeks helped us, so that does little to reassure me. I'm just hoping with all my might that the babies are not born anytime soon.

My sweet little cat, Asha, is having one of her renal crash episodes and I'm worried she won't make it this time. Every other time Asha's crashed she managed to recover with our help (we give her "kitty dialysis" every 1-2 days). Right now our biggest problem is her unwillingness to eat. She's lost weight, which isn't good because she only weighs 6.6lbs to start. The other day she was down to 6.2 and I'm guessing she's less today. I can feel her little spine and it makes me so sad. We feed her chicken, tuna, salmon, and turkey. Today she ate some tuna and a little kibble, but not enough. I'm going to start adding turkey and chicken baby food (the kind without onions) back to the mix to try to get her to eat. I may even have to do some force feeding, which I can't stand, but she needs to eat more. Renal failure makes her feel nauseated, so she won't eat. It's frustrating and stressful.

I find myself doing some bargaining with the Universe. I keep saying that I'm willing to give up something or I say I'll try to be a better person if the babies stay healthy and grow strong. I've even had the thought that I'd let Asha go if it meant that the babies would come safe and sound. How messed up is that? What kind of pet parent am I to offer my sweet little Princess in exchange for two healthy baby boys? This bargaining point makes me sick to my stomach and makes me feel guilty. I blame myself for Asha's crash ... like my mental bargain with the Universe resulted in her crash. The reality is that I don't want to lose Asha and I really don't think I should have to lose her so the babies live. I guess I'm so accustomed to bad things happening to me, so much so that I'm assuming something bad must happen. Other people go throughout their lives living blissfully, so why can't I do the same? I want Asha to recover. I want her to meet the boys. I want both boys to arrive big and strong in February. Am I asking for too much?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Rough weeks ahead

As you can see from my ticker K is currently in her 23rd week of pregnancy. This probably doesn't seem like a significant week to most, but to me it is hugely significant. No we're not at viability quite yet, but 23wks has personal significance to me. While I was pregnant with Myles I was diagnosed with preeclampsia in my 23rd week of pregnancy and was put on home bedrest. Late in the 24th week they discovered that Myles was severely IUGR, which made my preeclampsia diagnosis severe and I was hospitalized. Early in the morning at 25+5 wks I was diagnosed with HELLP syndrome and was forced to deliver Myles via emergency c-section to save my life. So, weeks 23-26 of pregnancy are terrifying for me even when someone else is carrying my babies.

I know that the babies are much, much safer with K and I know that her blood pressure is great, yet I worry. How can I not worry? I keep reminding myself that both babies were measuring 1 week ahead at our last u/s (Myles was already 1.5wks behind at the same point). Next week we have a growth scan and I'm hoping that this will alleviate some worries for me (at least for a couple of weeks). I very much need to see that these babies are weighing over a pound already. I need to see that these babies have grown. I need to see that these boys are healthy and well. We need to get over this hurdle.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Baby Gifts from Cyberfriends

I am feeling so lucky and blessed. Not only do I have beautiful K carrying two healthy boys who are growing big and strong, but I also have so many wonderful friends and family. Some of my friends I know in real life while while others I only know through blogs and messages boards. Most of the women I know in cyberspace have been touched by infertility, preeclampsia, and/or baby loss. These are the women who completely "get it" because they've lived through it and somehow managed to survive the nightmare. These women can lift and warm my soul in ways that others can't.

Last week I received a couple of packages in the mail from women I haven't had the privilege of meeting. One of the gifts was a Moby wrap and came from a fellow blogger, Meg at On the Wrong Side of the Statistics. When I asked for advice about baby carriers sweet Meg shared her love for the Moby wrap and offered to mail me an extra, brand-new Moby wrap that she had received for a shower gift. I was so touched by this random act of kindness. Meg has suffered who own share of heartache and loss on her journey and is now blessed with a beautiful son. I feel so lucky to be on the receiving end of Meg's generosity and can't wait to carry my boys in the carrier when they arrive. Thank you so much Meg for your kindness!

The other gifts came from a fellow preeclampsia survivor and IVF vet, JC. I met JC on IVFC while I was cycling in July '07 and have "known" her ever since. When Myles died JC and her dear husband sent us a beautiful bouquet of flowers. I was deeply touched by JC's willingness to reach out to me in a time of deep and utter despair. Although we had been chatting on-line for several months, we were virtual strangers. I won't forget this amazing act of kindness. I may not know J in real life, but I have been touched by her warm, caring personality. Through the miracle of IVF J has been blessed with 4 beautiful boys (her oldest are twins) and she sent me two gifts that she couldn't live without. One is a book called Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Twins by Marc Weissbluth and a cd of baby lullabies by Nicollette Larson (which are peaceful, melodic sounds). I hope that both of these items work as well for us with our boys as they did for JC and her boys! Thank you so much JC--you are such a kind soul!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Baby Shower #1

As I drove to this baby shower I kept feeling like I'd forgotten to bring a gift and I had to keep reminding myself that this shower was for ME! I've spent the last 5 years going to and hosting baby showers for others all the while wishing that it was my turn. And now here I am reminiscing about my very first baby shower--it's finally my turn! K, her mom, L, and her SIL, A, did a great job--the food was great, the cake was adorable, the games were fun, and the gifts were plentiful. A made K and I corsages--mine said "Mommy to be" and K's said "Oven". They were so cute! Not only is K carrying our babies, but she worked hard to make today a very special day for me. I really am one lucky girl! Here are some photos from the day:

K was pampered a little today too. She received several gift certificates for spa treatments and other items in addition to the scarf I gave her. K continues to look beautiful. As my Aunt N said today K is "all belly":

On the way home from the baby shower we saw a huge, stunning rainbow spanning across the sky. My dear friend, D, said "aww, it's Myles ... somewhere over the rainbow". It gave me goosebumps to think of my sweet little angel Myles sending me a message on this special day. We stopped to take a photograph: