Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The Twins Are Here!

Our twins were born Saturday, April 26, 2008 at 38 weeks! It was a wonderful birth and I can't wait to write about the beautiful story sometime soon. There are so many precious and perfect details I don't want to forget! To say the least, God allowed us the natural birth experience we desired, and I couldn't have planned it better myself. He orchestrated the details right down to the staff present at the hospital! Awesome!

Dennis Aaron was born at 7:40 am weighing 7 lbs 13 oz, 19.5 in long. Daniel Justus was born 24 minutes later at 8:04 am weighing 6 lbs 11 oz, 19 in long. Healthy, beautiful babies! We were able to leave the hospital Sunday afternoon!
Dennis is on the right with the yellow hat, and Daniel is in the green hat on the left.

Thank you to everyone who carried us in prayer throughout this pregnancy! We felt the prayer support and now the evidence of it is here in our arms! Thank you also to everyone who has brought/made us meals so far, cleaned something at our home, visited us, encouraged us, loved us, gave us a gift, paid for something for us, brought us diapers, brought us groceries, watched our kids, shared their baby items with us, sent us flowers, and helped in the many other ways we have received. What a wonderful family and community we have! We are so blessed!

Friday, April 25, 2008

38 weeks and still going

Well, we are still here and our twins are still not here, or at least not OUT here. We didn't go to the hospital which turned out to be a good thing... It wasn't really time yet. I am 38 weeks now. I don't think I really thought I would make it this far!

We saw the doctor today... gained 6 pounds this week, very swollen feet, 51 cm uterus, babies' heartbeats sound good, dilated to 4. Yes, I gave in and had a check done. Dr. didn't care one way or the other, just asked me whether I wanted to know. Originally, I didn't think I wanted to know what kind of progress I was, or more accurately, was not making prior to "the real thing". But the curiosity in me won out. I want to know what my baseline is, so to speak.

Oh, and for those who care, 60% effaced, baby A's station is -2 and in good position (meaning not posterior!).

So that's about it. I am very thankful for all the prayer coverage during this pregnancy. I know it is a major part of what is sustaining us! Thank you all!

Maybe it's baby time!

The 5 cheery O's may be the 7 cheery O's by this time tomorrow (or sooner). We are timing contractions since 3:30 am. I think I will try to go back to sleep for awhile. But I think this time just might be "it"! How exciting!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Photos of Pregnant Me

The first photo is at 35 weeks (the one with the peachy top and longer hair.) The second photo is right before 37 weeks. It is hard to tell that there is much difference - it's only a couple of centimeters. You can tell the difference more in the photos where I had my top pulled up over my belly. But I decided to spare you all those photos... for now.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Still no babies yet

I haven't felt much like blogging, or being at the computer at all, really. But I am going to add some random thoughts here.

Kynzie is still very adamant that our twins will be named Cupcake and Muffin. She's come a long way from Moses and Charlie Brown. When we pray for the twins she will tell us to "say Cupcake and Muffin". We have tried to explain she is welcome to use those nicknames, but that the rest of us will probably call them Dennis and Daniel. She is not happy about at all.

Kynzie is very excited about the twins coming, though. She says it all the time. She even gets a little giddy. It is so cute and sweet. Her genuine care for others, and her uninhibited joy are such a blessing to us all. (She also says she wants to learn how to change their dirty diapers!)

Max knows "where" the babies are, and we teach him to pray for Dennis and Daniel, but I am not sure he puts it all together just yet. Not that he needs to. He is so sweet and cuddly and loving. It is so healing to have our little guy cuddle up to you and say "I love you, Mommy."

Delainey is excited, but I think she is a bit tired of hearing the comments about how wonderful it is that we have her here to help when the twins are born. I am always very thankful for my daughter's help. But I am thankful for her for many other reasons as well. She is growing and maturing and changing so much. It is a blessing to watch her turn into a lovely young lady right in front of me.

I am at the point that people (complete strangers) are guessing that I am having twins. My uterus measured 49 centimeters Friday, and I have gained 58 pounds so far. People make some comment as to how soon the due date must be, and I tell them it is still three weeks away. Almost have of the people then say something about how I must be having twins. The majority of those people had twins, are a twin, or know someone who had twins and proceed to compare me their personal experience. That is fine though, it has been interesting hearing their stories.

Many people are surprised that I am still on my feet and even out and about at 37 weeks. I have also had others ask me when my C-section is scheduled. I thought that was interesting.

We have had some dear friends from church (including my mother) who met last Saturday for a couple of hours and put together ten freezer meals for us! Isn't that wonderful?!

We have another friend from church who spent a few hours with me on Thursday picking up and cleaning at my house. It is a little difficult for me to allow someone else to help (except my mom, thanks Mom!) But I was able to let her do some light pick up and cleaning. Thursday was the day I thought the babies were coming. She also brought a few things to brighten up our day! We are so grateful for our friends!

I had contractions regularly starting about 11am. 10 minutes apart, light contractions. But steady. They were stronger into the evening and even closer together. We put the players on alert - my parents, our doula, the doctor. Bags were piled into the van. I changed activity and nothing seemed to slow the contractions. Exhaustion set in, and I decided to go to bed. And that was it... nothing more really happened. So, we are back to waiting.

Scott asked me to write out some of our favorite, easy recipes so that he or Delainey could cook dinner for us when needed. I told him I think I will post some here on my blog. They can get to them easily that way.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

So, I made it past Scott's prediction of April 12th. We went to church today, and I had people seemed surprised that I am "still standing". It was good to be there today, though. I don't know that I will go for a few weeks after the twins are born. Figuring out the logistics of nursing twins may take me awhile...

I have gained a total of 57 lbs so far, and I measure 48 centimeters this week. Last week it was 47 cm, and three weeks ago it was 39 cm. My doctor said the huge jump (without a matching huge jump in weight gain) is probably attributed to the fact that Daniel flipped head down instead of a mostly transverse position. So my uterus elongated suddenly with both babies the same direction now.

Today, we toured the hospital where the babies will be born. This hospital doesn't move you to another room after you give birth. They move the birthing bed out and pull down a queen size Murphy style bed, and you stay in the same room - a very nice, large room with a good sized jacuzzi tub. That seems pretty cool to me. Scott is a little bummed because the last hospital allowed three free meals a day for dads as well as the moms, and the food was pretty good. This one only allows one free meal for dad a day.

I think we are all packed for the hospital, but I may need to repack the bag for the twins. They may need clothes a size larger than preemie after all!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Only Four Weeks to Go!

Today was another ultrasound and then another Dr. visit.

The sonographer said both boys have lots of hair. I am not sure what her definition of "lots of hair" is... Is it Kynzie-style lots of hair (meaning they will need haircuts right away), or just Max-style lots of hair (meaning they aren't bald). It will be fun to find out, and to see what color it is!

Dennis (formerly known as Baby A) is still head down (yay!) and is estimated to weigh 6 lbs 10 oz. Daniel (formerly known as Baby B) has flipped head down now (I knew I felt that flip!) and is estimated to weigh 5 lbs 13 oz. And since I am only 36 weeks, they could still add 1/2 lb per week each. Wow! That has been the goal all along - healthy, good-sized (for twins) babies!

Everything is going well, no signs that I will go into labor anytime soon. But there aren't any signs that I won't either. Both babies are "breathing" and swallowing and digesting the fluid which are all great signs that they will be fine should they be born anytime.

So, Scott guessed several weeks ago that I would have the babies on Saturday the 12th. I don't think that is going to happen... I will be glad to have them stay a little longer. I have another guess that it will be the 20th - something about the full moon there. Another guess is the 19th because that would work out best for that person to visit (tongue in cheek). We all know God will bring them when it is time. It is just so exciting! I am getting so anxious to meet them!

In April, we have family birthdays on the 16th, 19th and 22nd. Then in May we have family birthdays on the 8th, 10th, and 11th, as well as Mother's Day. But I really hope they come before Mother's Day!

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Showered with blessings!

My baby shower was so wonderful on Saturday. Of course, it was fun to open gifts and see all the awesome baby gifts! I will write more about those in a bit. But it was even better to gather with all of these women, both friends and family, and have a meal together, talk together, play a game together. It was fantastic. There were some who couldn't make that were missed.

I think it is fun to see what people receive at baby showers, so I am going to list a few of the items I received with links (if I can) to pictures of the items. That way you can join in my fun a little bit!

Peek-a-boo diaper bag (back pack style) It is green and brown and oh so cute!

Ulitmate Baby Wrap - Navy I read online that another twin mama was able to use this for both of her twins at once. I can't wait to put it to the test!

Safety First Glow & Go baby monitor

Baby quilts made by my mother - I will have to add pictures of them later.

Matching Monkey snowsuits complete with monkey ears on the hoods and monkey tails on the back. They are soo adorable.

Little Remedies Parent Survival kit

Fisher-Price Rain Forest Bath Center - Isn't this so cute!

Matching Bouncer Seats - Very useful for so many reasons...

I received several clothing items, bibs, socks, layette pieces that were both wonderful and adorable, but I probably won't list those out separately. There were also various baby items such as teethers, finger toothbrushes, pacifiers, etc. of course.

There were so many more gifts, too. We are so thankful for all of them. We have been blessed by gifts, prayers, well wishes, and love. Thank you all so very much!

Friday, April 04, 2008

Pregnancy update

I fell in the kitchen yesterday. I fell all the way to the floor. I stayed on the floor for quite awhile. Max was so sweet... "Okay, Mommy? Okay? You bump. You bumpa head." I didn't bump my head though. But I guess that is how he perceived it.

I managed to hit one knee first, then hit my backside. It was pretty jarring. The babies moved around quite a bit throughout the rest of the day just like normal. I went to the chiropractor and could tell my limp was not as bad when I left his office. The muscle strain is still there of course. I still can't go up and down stairs right now. But it is less painful today than yesterday.

I had a doctor appointment today. I measure 47 centimeters! Like I am 47 weeks pregnant! There is only about an inch, yes, one inch, between my belly and the steering wheel. I am not sure how much longer I will be able to drive. I have gained 54 lbs so far. Everything still seems to be going great, which is a huge blessing, and we are so thankful to God for his mercy and provision with these twins.

I'll have another full ultrasound next week. My doctor said that if I go into labor at any time now, it would be okay. I guess that is somewhat reassuring, but I am still prepared to go as long as needed to give these babies all the time they need.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

What to Eat When You're Pregnant Part 2

Let’s talk about it this way… according to the Brewer Diet checklist. They recommend 4 servings per day in the first category - Milk/Dairy. There is much debate over milk and dairy products – raw, organic, free-range, etc. But I am not going to discuss those issues at this point.

Most store-bought milk has the same amount of protein per serving whether it is whole, 2%, skim, whatever. The only differences are the amount of fat and the number of carbs per serving. And don’t assume that lower fat means lower carbs, in any food. In fact it usually means the opposite. Reduced fat usually means higher carb counts. The last time I compared skim milk to 2%, skim had 2 more carbs per serving with 0 fat.

You don’t really want to totally avoid fat while you are pregnant. You just want to be careful how much and what kind.

Most of my milk intake is through smoothies and shakes. I think milk can really contribute to any congestion or mucous build up. And, those are very common symptoms of pregnancy for many women.

Cottage cheese has become my new favorite snack especially with frozen berries (mixed berries are my favorite, but raspberries are much lower carb). I also like to eat it with other fruits mixed in, especially unsweetened crushed pineapple, or add a drizzle of honey and some cinnamon. I don't care for it by itself so much, though. I've heard people like to eat a scoop on a fresh baked potato, too. I tried adding it to scrambled eggs, and it was okay. You can "hide" it in other recipes such as lasagna and pancakes.

I haven’t been able to find an economical, easily accessible alternative to high-fructose yogurts. I have made our own, but not lately. I only have so much energy for cooking and baking… So we buy a large carton of plain yogurt and add fruit to it. If it doesn’t seem sweet enough, I add a minimal amount of Stevia, and the kids love it. I think the favorite so far is frozen berries pureed in the blender and mixed into the yogurt.

I stay away from the yogurt mostly, only because it is higher in carbs, of course. I have used it in baking in place of buttermilk. By the way, applesauce substituted for oil in many recipes makes a healthier and moister product.

Some people count cheese in the protein category because it is higher protein and lower carbs. I don’t have a whole lot to say about cheese because I don’t really care for cheese. I eat it melted on top of food or added into a recipe, but not to just sit and eat a block or slice of cheese.

If you complete all your dairy “requirements”, then any additional servings of milk or dairy can be counted in protein (in 7 gram increments).

Oh, there are more dairy products – sour cream, cream cheese, butter, and, yes, ice cream. I personally stay away from margarine and stick with butter for baking and some cooking. We use Smart Balance for spreadable butter. Do a search on how they make margarine if you want to know why. I am trying to stay as close to the natural or whole foods as possible. By the way, butter doesn’t count as a dairy serving, but maybe a fat.

Eggs are kind of their own category in the Brewer Diet, so I'll talk about them next time.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

So, what do you name twins?

Okay, okay... I know everyone wants to know - are we going to call them Baby A and Baby B for the rest of their lives? Well, we though about it. For some reason coming up with two names at the same time has been more difficult than coming up with one. We just have not agreed on anything. Of course, most of Scott's choices have been from "Dune", people from the Zulu war, Star Wars, and even some Star Trek, I think.

And, he just doesn't want me to name our boys. He hasn't actually said that, but I came up with some good names, and nixed them all right away. There was only one 'weird' set of names that I mentioned. The rest were very normal names. Micah and Malachai, Trenton and Tiernan, Adam and Aaron, Jeremiah and Judah, Clyde and Caleb, just to name a few... (very normal).

But, we have finally come to an agreement on their first names at least. Drum roll, please... Dennis and Daniel after our fathers. They may not have middle names, as difficult as it was to come up with first names. Or it may be that we give them middle names for their first birthday.

Anyway, if you have any suggestions, please let us know...

What to Eat When You're Pregnant Part 1

Let me say this right up front and really loud: I AM NOT AN EXPERT. I have no official training. All I have learned is from my own reading and research, as well as some classes and experience. But I have become quite passionate about nutrition, especially during pregnancy. And the topic seemed much more vital to me with twins this time. So I am sharing some of my simple and humble suggestions for those who may need some ideas.

First, I want to mention the protein powder. I am not sure that it is a healthy substitute for protein, but I did use it to bolster my numbers. This is the best-tasting protein powder I have tried yet – Jay Robb’s Protein Powder (I have only tried the strawberry flavor so far.) I have been choosing non-soy protein powders and bars for the most part, mainly whey. This one is a whey powder from grass fed cows not treated with rBGH, and it is sweetened with stevia. It was much cheaper at the health food store than these online prices.

Protein powder can be added to smoothies and shakes, pancake mix, oatmeal, yogurt and berries, mostly any sauce you make like marinara sauces, pudding, and probably much more. Some recipes may not work as well with the flavored powders. Maybe I will post some of my favorite smoothie concoctions later.

Currently, I have a powder called Designer Whey, French Vanilla flavor. It is not my favorite. In fact, I don't care for the flavor it gives my smoothies much at all, but I have used it in pancakes and some other recipes. They have some recipes on their website
. I mostly used their recipes to spur my imagination.

Okay, Breakfast. This is important – don’t skip it. Usually I eat 2 eggs (scrambled, in some sort of omelet form, or any way I can get them down…) thus fulfilling my daily quota for the Brewer Diet (which I highly recommend!). I add to the eggs two pieces of whole wheat or whole grain toast (lightly toasted) with Smart Balance spread (or sometimes coconut oil for a change of flavor. Coconut oil also counts as a good fat.). Often I have two or maybe three pieces of turkey bacon, too. Sometimes that is enough, and other days I add a piece of fruit, my favorite being an orange (may be too much sugar to process early in the morning).
I also want to mention some things about bread here. I know making your own is probably best, and at times I do, but that is not the norm and pregnancy is not always the time to make all new habits. So, keep these things in mind when choosing bread. Most, even whole wheats and grains, are made with high fructose corn syrup. It is best to avoid this when possible. Although sugar is sugar, it is better for your body to eat sugars as close as possible to their natural state (true for any food really). And high fructose corn syrup is a highly chemically processed "sugar".
There is much debate about what sweetener/sugar is better than another, so I will let you decide which one you should pick. I try to stay away from chemically processed artificial sweeteners as well, especially during pregnancy.
There is one bread that I found to be sugar-free - Mrs. Baird's Sugar Free Whole Grain Wheat Bread. It is not as dense as other breads, but it is not too bad for sugar free bread. It is good for those needing lower carbs.
Also, if it doesn't say 100% whole grain or whole wheat, then it probably isn't. It may be made with refined flour that has nutrients added back in. Most store-bought breads are made in such a way so as not to go rancid too quickly. Most grains begin the journey to rancidity almost as soon as they are milled. I used to eat cereal in the morning, but I have found that packaged cereal contains too much sugar for me to process in the morning. It takes your body longer in the morning to process sugars. If you do eat a good deal of sugars in the morning, exercise after breakfast helps process the glucose more quickly. A little cinnamon added to your toast can also be helpful in stabilizing blood sugar. By the way, exercise just needs to be about 15 minutes of movement, walking, bicycling, swimming, arm curls holding a can of beans.

I still eat Kashi Cinnamon Harvest from time to time for a sweet snack later in the day (along with a protein). I did eat Kashi GoLean Crunch for breakfast for awhile. It is not the yummiest cereal in the world, but since we don’t really care for the healthy oatmeal type cereal, this was a semi-healthy substitute. Ten grams of fiber per serving! And 13 grams of protein! (Keep in mind my daily protein goal is 160, so this is exciting news.) Oh, and since I don’t care for milk on my cereal, I didn’t have to worry about that added carb/sugar load in the morning.

I used to have smoothies in the morning and gave that up for the same reason I gave up the morning cereals. But I still have smoothies throughout the day – spinach smoothies, other veggie smoothies, fruit smoothies, milk & ice with a little stevia and mint flavored chlorophyll tastes really yummy! Add protein powder to any of the above to boost your protein numbers.

Time with Friends and Family

Some dear friends are planning a baby shower for me this Saturday. I am so excited. I am so looking forward to spending time with these people who have invested in my life over the years, and whose lives I have been allowed to be part of as well. I know some people won't be able to attend, and I will miss them. I think I am energized when I spend time with family and friends.

We had a wonderful time this weekend visiting and spending time with family. Saturday we enjoyed visiting with Scott's parents (and Kelsie, Cody, and Josh), and on Sunday we spent time with my parents and my brother's family.