Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The 29-Week Update

We went to Sunnybrook for the usual bi-weekly ultrasound this morning. The girls are looking great! Portly Baby A, as Jenn called her, is weighing in at 2 lbs 14 ounces and Baby B is currently 2 lbs 13 ounces. They are both hitting all of their measurements for this stage and are still right on their growth curve at the 50th percentile. They looked at a few different things this morning, including rating their breathing, movement and muscle tone. Both of our little champs got perfect scores!

Their perfect movement scores don't surprise me in the least, especially for active little B. My abdomen has felt and sometimes looked like a scene from Alien, not that I've seen it but I can imagine. As I suspected, baby B has flipped and is now head down (just what we were hoping for!). The pressure in my lower abdomen has increased significantly in the last week. She has gotten hiccups about four times in the last week. Late last week she had them twice in one day. The second time of the day, her head was significantly lower than the first. She was also doing some interesting acrobatics at several points, making me wonder and hope that she was changing positions. As the tech put it this morning, 'there are a whole lotta feet in my upper abdomen.' They are extremely active now, so movement can be felt all day long (Friend, hop a plane this afternoon. You'll definitely feel them now ;) )

A quick an interesting factoid that we learned last week at our midwife appointment...I am now measuring full-term size for a single baby! We are hoping for another 7 weeks, so I will admit that I'm feeling slightly anxious about the size that I'm going to get! But, if they keep growing at this rate, I'll be happy :)

Friday, March 25, 2011

The Fascination With Twins

People have babies every second of every day. But, from my very brief research, the chance of having fraternal twins with no fertility drugs is about 3%. My chances may have been slightly higher since my grandfather was a twin.

Now, of course our initial reaction to the news of me being pregnant with twins was one of shock. That feeling very quickly shifted to one of excitement. We feel very fortunate that I became pregnant relatively easily, so if we're being given two babies then so be it! Our feelings shifted so quickly, so I often forget that hearing that I'm pregnant with twins can be shocking, horrifying or fascinating to others. It has become second nature to say, "they" or "the babies." I think in twos.

One of my favourite reactions so far came from one of the security people back in December. She asked me if there was any reason that I cannot go through the new body x-ray scanners. I told her that I was pregnant. I then prepped myself for the dreaded patdown that I'd heard so much about. Thankfully, it was completely uneventful and there was no groping, as the media had talked about. (I think the US is worse!) Anyways, while she's doing her thing, she asks me about my pregnancy and I end up telling her that I'm having twins. She stops, puts her hands up and says, "Oh! I feel so honoured!" No, she didn't say it sarcastically ;)

Sometimes the reaction is one that says, "poor you" in anticipation of all the work involved in raising twins. Good friends of my parents have twin grandsons. While having dinner with my parents and their friends, one of them says to me, "oh my God, your life is going to be hell for the first year!" Granted he was several glasses of wine in.... He didn't mean for this to sound like that, I know! I had a woman on Queen St. tell me that pregnancy was going to be hell for me in the last month or so (she had 10 month old twins herself). Thank you lady. That is very helpful information. These comments roll off my back now. Everyone is different and I know I'm strong enough to handle it.

More often than not, the reaction that I get is one of fascination and intrigue. At my first prenatal yoga class, we went around the room to do the usual introductions. When it was my turn, I introduced myself and said that I was pregnant with twins. "Ohh wow!!" The group said in unison. At this point regardless of who I'm speaking with, I'm usually asked many questions. Are they identical or fraternal? Boys or girls or both? What position are they in? What do kicks feel like? Did you do IVF? How are you feeling? etc.

Feel free to share your initial reaction, regardless of how good or "bad" it may have been :)

The Surprise Shower (for Jenn)!

About a month ago, I was contacted by one of Jenn's friends at her company. She said that her group at work would like to throw Jenn a surprise(!) baby shower and asked if I would mind coming in for it. I was thrilled by the idea and knew that Jenn would love it too!

Earlier in the week, I went down to her office for the shower. I had this feeling that she might know that something was going on. I hate to keep secrets from her, but I knew that the surprise would be well worth it. I arrived 15 minutes early and so did everyone else. We all piled into a conference room, which filled up quickly. Looking around the room, I was incredibly touched by the number of Jenn's coworkers who took time out of their day to celebrate our two new arrivals.

A coworker had planned a "meeting" on Jenn's schedule, which he then turned into "going for coffee." They were going to take a quick walk to meet someone else before heading down to grab coffee. Jenn works on the 23rd floor, so you'd think that meeting someone on the 30th floor in a conference room might have tipped her off....nope. She walked in the room, turned bright red and had a huge smile on her face. The surprise had worked! The group gave us some toys to hang on the girls' car seats and an incredibly generous gift card which will go towards buying the car seats!  We enjoyed some cake and chatted with her coworkers before everyone went back to their day.

Thank you to all of Jenn's friends and coworkers for a wonderful shower! Jenn and I were both very touched by your kindness and generosity. The babies will definitely be making a visit to the her office in the summer!

Friday, March 18, 2011

The Art of the Swaddle

Let me preface this post by saying that I am definitely not an expert swaddler. I've swaddled about 3 or 4 times EVER and have never swaddled an actual baby. We learned the basic swaddling technique at our prenatal class. We got to practice on a doll. Jenn and I did it together, but I can't say that the teamwork made our work look anymore professional.

Oh, so swaddling...for those of you who do not know (that probably would have been a good place to start...), according to Wikipedia: Swaddling is an age-old practice of wrapping infants snugly in swaddling cloths, blankets or similar cloth so that movement of the limbs is tightly restricted. So basically, swaddling makes your baby look like a little burrito. 

A week or two after that class, we went down to Rochester to visit our friends Sarah and Adelle. They have two dogs; Chino and Jameson. Jameson, very kindly, let me practice my swaddling techniques on her:

My aunt, Wendy, drove down to Sarah and Adelle's house with me yesterday to pick up some baby stuff that had been shipped to their address. When I got to my aunt's house earlier yesterday morning, she showed me the two sets of amazing swaddling blankets that she had made for the babies. With many grandchildren, my aunt is definitely an expert when it comes to not only the art of swaddling but also making blankets that are the right material and size. She made 5 blankets for each twin! They are all colour coordinated with their green and purple nursery and come in many adorable patterns. Thank you Auntie Wendy! Here's one set:

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Mr. John Braxton Hicks

Back in 1872, Mr. John Braxton Hicks decided to investigate the contractions that women were having well before their due dates. All I can say is that I'm happy that he figured this out.

Starting about a week ago, a few times a day, my entire abdomen would tighten up so much making it feel as hard as my forehead. I must be honest, it freaked me out. When I thought about contractions, I thought about the women in the movies who are doubled over, breathing heavily and sometimes cursing at their partners or whoever else is around. Yes, I had heard about Braxton Hicks contractions, but still thought that there would be some pain associated with them. While they are not painful, they are not the most comfortable. It only dawned on me in the last couple of days that this is what I must be experiencing.

So this morning, I'm having my usual spoon with Riley and Finn once Jenn had gotten up when my abdomen starts tightening up yet again. I try changing positions because that's what you're supposed to do when these things come on. I half sit up in bed and look down at my abdomen. The contraction had completely changed its shape, outlining little baby B's shape on my right side. My abdomen was totally lob-sided with the right side being much higher than the left.  Does this make any sense? I wish I had taken a picture of it. It was the strangest looking thing.

So, I no longer worry about BH contractions and now know the difference:

  • They happen infrequently (real contractions come at regular intervals)
  • They cause a tightening of the whole abdomen (real contractions are usually felt lower down and into the legs and back)
  • They are uncomfortable but not painful (real contractions cause increasing pain)
  • They are usually alleviated by changing positions (real contractions don't care what position you are in, they keep going)
  • Keeping very well hydrated keeps them to a minimum

Friday, March 11, 2011

Well Hello There 3rd Trimester...

...it's nice to officially meet you. 

I cannot believe that I've already hit the 3rd trimester. It's the last one! There are no more stepping stones. I'm at 3 of 3. Holy crap. I went to see our midwife yesterday and while I may be 27 weeks pregnant, I'm actually measuring 34 weeks. Here's the picture to prove it:

A few things that have surprised me about pregnancy:
  • I actually have had to slow down. Before getting pregnant, I remember thinking that I'd be on that spin bike, spinning my heart out until the very end. I know that this makes me sound naive. I've always been in good shape so I figured I'd run to the hospital while in labour (kidding about that of course). 
  • Pregnancy has been very humbling. This ties into my point above. I am physically not able to push myself like I used to. I need to walk at a slower pace (a very tough one for me). I need to sit down in order to put on my boots and it's still an effort. Sometimes while walking the dogs in the park, I become so light-headed that I need to bend down to catch my breath. It's amazing that two 2-pound babies have complete control over my body. They stop me in my tracks when I do too much.
  • I cry for no reason at all. A few times, Jenn has walked in on me crying. She was obviously worried. When she would ask me what was wrong, through the tears I would say, "I don't know!"
  • Shopping for baby products is incredibly overwhelming. There are a million brands of bouncy chairs, bottles, onsies, car seats, cribs, mattresses etc etc etc. We all want the best for our kids but need to be realistic about cost. Not only that, one reviewer will LOVE a product, while the next will hate it. 
  • It's one worry after another (well, maybe just if you're a worrywart like me). I thought that I would worry less after the first trimester was finished, but apparently not. Every stage of pregnancy brings a new set of worries. And yes, I know that I'll have a lifetime of worries once the girls arrive. I'm happy to say that I've stopped googling for the most part. I'm trying to not worry when I hear one awful story. 
The list could probably go on, but I don't want to bore you all! Overall, pregnancy has been a wonderful experience. There have been so many firsts - first positive pregnancy test, first ultrasound - discovery of 2 babies(!), first maternity clothes, first feeling of movement for baby B, first feeling of movement for baby A, first time Jenn felt them move and most recently the first time we saw my belly move from their kicks! It only excites me for all of the firsts that we'll get to experience when our two little girls enter the world. 

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Our oldest "child" turns 4!

Happy 4th birthday to our oldest, Riley! Almost four years ago, Jenn and I walked into Pik-a-Pup near Boston, on a Sunday morning with no intention of coming home with a puppy. But, when I walked into one of the rooms and saw four 8-week old Wheaten Terriers in a big pen, my heart melted. One of those little Wheaties came right up to the glass and reached his little front paws up to me. He then followed me back and forth as I went to say hello to all of the others. He was a persistent little guy though. We went back home shortly after that but I couldn't think about anything else. Sitting on the couch, Jenn looked at me and said, "you're thinking about the puppy, aren't you?" We went back there so I could "just hold the puppy." He had already won me over so I shoved him into Jenn's arms. The adorable little teddy bear quickly won her over as well. We got a dog that day :)

As a present to Riley, we took Finn to the vet to be neutered :) Just kidding...the gift part, not the neuter part. Finn needed to get the "big snip," as my Dad calls it, very soon anyways. Riley and I spent the day together, just the two of us, like the old days! We went to the Whole Foods Cafe so he sit next to me and flirt with all of the passers-by. Riley then put on his therapy dog hat so we could visit my Nana. He was on his best behaviour, sitting next to her while she pet him. The weather warmed up slightly so I let him hang his head out the window for the entire ride home (his favourite).

Here's the first picture that we ever took of Riley at 8-weeks old:

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my sweet boy!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Our US Baby Shower!

Jenn and I went down to Boston this past weekend. Jenn's mom, sisters and our friend Kate hosted a baby shower for us with Jenn's family and our Boston friends. We had a great time! The theme of the shower was "two peas in a pod." They did an absolutely fabulous job of planning a shower that was very "us". The decorations were creative and adorable. The flowers were beautiful. The cookies and cupcakes looked and tasted like they were made by a professional!

Thank you again to the planning committee and thank you to everyone who came out to celebrate with us! Jenn and I both had a wonderful time and really appreciated the support. Here are a few pictures from the shower:

Jenn and I arriving at the shower. 
Jenn and her sister, Chrissie and their Mom. 
Kate desperately wanted to feel the babies kick. They were uncooperative :(
The delicious cookies and cupcakes.
The winning onsies in the 'decorate your own onsie' contest. 

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Girls at 25 Weeks 3 Days

I just got back from my routine bi-weekly ultrasound and doctor's visit. The girls are doing great! Baby A is 1 pound 12 ounces and is in the 53rd percentile for weight and height. Baby B is 1 pound 11 ounces and is in the 47th percentile. The goal is to have a baby be as close to 50% as possible. Currently baby A is head down, and will hopefully stay that way, so a c-section is not inevitable. As I mentioned in a previous post, baby A's positioning will determine whether I can have a natural birth or have to have a c-section. Anything but head-down most likely results in a c-section. Here are the results of today's photo shoot:

The pictures are not great, but I wanted them anyways! Baby B (1st pic) has her knees tucked up against her chest. Her feet are in the top right part of the picture. Hopefully you can make them out!