The Twins: Two Months

Ava and Isla.

Stop.

You are growing way too fast. So fast, in fact, that you are wearing your 0-3 clothes and will likely soon move up to 3-6.

Both of you have distinct personalities that are growing right with your ‘lil bodies. Ava is still the DIVA and Isla the laid back talker. Who knows which of you will talk first, though, because your eyes show that you have a lot to say.

Sleep has been better lately. You are each hitting strides and letting us get into a pattern. Isla, you like to stay up until Daddy comes home and hang out with him. Ava is our morning girl, sneaking into bed with us in the wee hours of the day to sleep on Daddy’s chest.

You are both really good eaters, but during the day it is every two hours, making it hard for Mama to keep fueled for you.

Tuesday will be your next weigh in and immunizations. You got this, girls. Everyone is rooting for you.

You’ve both brought loads of laundry love and happiness to our family. Hugs and kisses!

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Raise ’em Up

OnĀ Mother’s Day (May 10), Ava and Isla were baptized by their Pappy at East Brady UMC. What a special day and way to dedicate our babies to live a life in faith steps.

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Raise em’ up
Trophy high
Raise em’ up
To the sky
Raise em’ up
Show everybody that new born smile
Raise em’ up
Tall and strong
Raise em’ up
Right from wrong
Raise em’ up so damn high they can hear God singing along

–“Raise em’ up” lyrics by Keith Urban and Eric Church

Isla is His Baby

Evan has made the proclamation. Isla is his baby.

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Me and my baby girl and baby boy

When I asked him why, he said it is “because she has light hair, so she’s a boy”. He didn’t believe me, so we had to have a quick talk about how hair color doesn’t determine boy or girl, it’s what we potty with that does. This sunk in, but it was clear that it hurt.

“Why is Isla being a girl a bad thing?” He mulled over my question and responded, “because that means I am the only boy”.

Oh, sweet Evan. We talked through the reasons it is awesome that he is the only boy and at the end, he stuck with the proclamation. Isla is his baby and it will stay that way. He loves her and will not let anything get in the way of that…unless it is making a robot with his big sister then as long as he leaves baseball blanket with Isla, the world is still okay.

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The Twins’ Birth Story

Two weeks isn’t too long past the twins’ birth to tell the twins’ birth story. Right? You’d forgive me anyhow because if you’ve met the twins you understand the need to snuggle is real.

On April 1, the kids and I took a follow-up picture to compare to the initial “we are having twins” announcement.

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Greg and I “went to bed” around 11 PM. We tossed and turned like kids waiting for Santa to deliver gifts, finally falling asleep about 20 minutes before our alarms to shower went off. I had Greg snap a belly picture and then we were off. Thankfully we had the truck in the garage because the car windows were iced over and we left about 9 minutes later than planned.

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38 weeks + 2 days pregnant…and EXHAUSTED

Our ride to Magee was fairly quick, but we were surprised at how many Big Burghers are on 28 at 4:45 in the morning. I tried not to think about Greg’s water bottle just inches away from me…I think keeping water from anyone is torture but understand why you can’t eat or drink before surgery. I posted some pictures of potential names on Facebook and the blog. Checking into the hospital, we were the only ones in the Birth Center’s registration room. We stole a final belly selfie before being escorted back to the OR prep room.

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Things really changed between 2010 and 2015 in the Operating Room area. For starters, we went to triage to get prepped with Evan, but to have the twins we went to an “OR Bay” which we would later return to with the babies, keeping the same nurses (super comforting). My doctor wanted to get things going ASAP, so being the first on the schedule for the day, time in prep flew by.

Prep involved the usual…lots of questions repeated over and over, lab work, an IV (which meant a blown vein for me followed by another spot to try because my veins know when needles are near), bracelets to identify us and that the babies were ours, then one final ultrasound to confirm the twins were breech. I met the resident who would be doing my anesthetic as well as his attending and actually felt confident that third time would be the charm.

By 7, I was being whisked away from Greg (leaving him to dress in scrubs and pray) and off to the OR. It looked different, brighter and more open, than I remember from with Evan. My body would eventually lay open to the door (which I found odd, but later learned no one could see me from the window). I got to walk to the table and was met by many smiling faces. There were nurses everywhere, NICU ready just in case (I think 4 or 5 peds/nurses just for the babies!), and Dr. Kremser. This was really IT, time to meet the twins.

Prayers in the OR Bay
Prayers in the OR Bay

What I didn’t tell ANYONE, not even Greg, is that I was extremely scared…and not just that the anesthesia would be a bad experience or that I’d throw up.

First up was the anesthesia. I cried out of fear, but hugged a pillow and talked to a nurse about Arianna and Evan as she hugged me. I don’t even know where in my back they went because they did so good. I didn’t fall off the table (like I almost did with Ari) or require multiple stabs and searching for “the spot” (like with Evan).

They laid me back and told me to tell them if I got nauseated or needed to vomit — these were signs my blood pressure was dropping and I needed to not be stubborn and tell them immediately. It took about 4 seconds to feel nausea set in and 8 to throw up all through my hair. This is my norm…all three births involved vomit. What all three didn’t involve that this one did? A caring doctor who washed my face and rinsed my hair so I’d be ok for pictures. This resident went above and beyond to be sure I was just fine.

Before they started the procedure, Greg was brought to my side and held my hand. It was go time.

I don’t know all the details of the procedure, obviously, but I do know that Dr. K talked us through what he was doing and the anesthesiologist provided some details, too. Greg sang me Three Little Birds and I cried. I talked the whole time because even though I prayed for 9 months and had prayer warriors all over thinking of me, I was scared something was going to happen and I wouldn’t meet my babies. I mean…I got so healthy leading up to this pregnancy and what if it was all to leave Greg with four kids and a mortgage? I know. Horrible thoughts…but real. I was so scared.

Baby A was stuck in my ribs, so this one involved lots of tugging. At 7:31 AM on April 2, our 2nd daughter entered the world with screams and a clear desire to latch onto anything she could. Dr. Kremser asked if we wanted to know the sex and we immediately said yes. When Greg heard it was a girl, he fist pumped the air and almost jumped up. I cried happy tears and suddenly had peace that the babies and I were going to be just fine. They told us she had a head full of dark hair and I cried some more.

Keeping Baby A her name for just a bit longer...
Keeping Baby A her name for just a bit longer…

A minute later, at 7:32 AM on April 2, our third daughter was born. The doctor announced she had a nice, big round head and bottom (this explains a lot of her crowding A’s space). She had a full head of light hair. Both babies screamed to greet each other and Greg and I shared looks and a moment. We now had three little girls.

And Baby B, our youngest child.
And Baby B, our youngest child.

I begged the doctor and nurses to be sure no other babies were hiding and then as they put me back together, they asked if we had names. That’s when A became Ava Grace and B became Isla Joy…even before we saw them. What we didn’t know is we picked perfectly (Ava is classy but a diva, Isla is super mellow like Aruba). Ava weighed in at 6 pounds 11 ounces, 20.25 inches. Her little sister Isla 6 pounds 14 ounces, 21 inches. Both got a 9-9 on the APGAR scale.

My arms were unlatched from the “cross hold” – this was something new – and I had the option to hold the girls. I left that up to Greg because I started shaking and didn’t want to hurt the babies. We hugged, kissed, and cried tears of joy before Greg was walked out.

Holding both girls
Holding both girls

I was left to get cleaned up and listen to the girls cry for me. They kept telling me Ava was hungry – and boy was she ever. As they wheeled me out to recovery, she even turned toward me and showed me her rooting instinct. I knew this was the start of a beautiful journey…and I was right.

38 Weeks: April Babies

I specifically remember prancing into one of my first ob appointments with Dr. K and announcing I was so carrying the twins to 40 weeks, wasn’t nothing going to stop me. He smiled, probably took a note, then told me 39 weeks is usually “it” for twin gestation with a repeat c-section. I didn’t care. I was having April babies, the later the better.

The months went on and I totally thought I could do it. In January, I had my first contractions (associated with a stomach bug) and started to panic. They couldn’t come early and needed to bake longer. Those stopped and the weight started to come on. Next thing I knew, we were discussing accurate due dates and 6 week out scheduling…looking at April 7 (39 weeks) as the latest birthday for the twins. The best we could do at the point of scheduling was April 3. I was slightly bummed to not make it 40 weeks let alone 39, but okay.

Then HELLO 37 WEEKS. The week of my life when all I did was complain and plead and beg for someone to please deliver the babies. Dr. K and Dr. S looked for any reason, but miserable is not one. A nurse was able to make some changes and bump surgery up one day, to April 2. I spent hours in triage hoping for progression, praying for relief.

After 9 days of contractions, my 38 week appointment on Tuesday confirmed that these babies want to go nowhere and I am 100% not dilated. Just tired and ready. I feel new this week. The babies dropped, but nowhere near my pelvis. The prayers took away my pains and intense contractions. The rest took away my swelling (and I lost a pound even though I am confident I have never ate more in my life than I did this week).

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So here we are. The morning of 38 plus 1. The last NST, as a precaution to not miss something that should send me to the OR. The day before our twins will be born. I cannot sleep. I am ready.

A few facts to remember:

Weight gain: 60 pounds exactly from 1st to last appointment. Have you seen that tummy? It’s heavy. I gained the most with this pregnancy (by 5 pounds) but am carrying 2 plus approximately 20 pounds of fluid that I didn’t with the other two (thank you, “spring”).

Work: As long as the NST goes ok, I will come home to work today…just like I did with my first births…all the way up to the last minute. I even pushed out a deployment package last night before bed. I know.

Surprise: We continue to not know if our fraternal twins are girls, boys, or one of each. When Dr. K brings them out of my belly, we will finally find out.

First breakfast: Became a 4ish AM thing and kept up with me through most of this pregnancy. I had a bagel an hour ago and will eat again before we head to Magee. Tomorrow morning I will be miserable without eating.

Morning sickness: I can use both hands to show you how many times I got sick this pregnancy. I’m proud and impressed that this time was so healthy (minus last week’s scares).

Alright! In 25.5 hours, our babies will be here. What you can expect from this shareaholic is a fun name teaser in the wee hours of the morning, a generic post on social media to say how things went in the mid-morning from the recovery room, then names / photos after the kids and grandparents and uncle have met the babies (and the aunts been sent news). Some of you may get texts from us or our parents, but we ask that you respect our right to share the “official” news publicly first, please. Thank you for prayers and support as our family grows!

In Four Weeks

In four weeks, Greg and I will be snuggling our newborns. They may have been “just born” or could be days or weeks old. Either way, they have officially been given a definitive “born by” date.

We will welcome Baby A and Baby B (names to be announced once we are out of surgery and have told our parents and Arianna and Evan) on or before April 3, 2015.

While we really wanted to welcome them April 2 (exactly 7 days after Greg’s birthday and 7 before mine), apparently it was a well-sought after day. Who wants to schedule their kiddo’s birthday on April Fool’s Day or spend Easter in the hospital? Well, we weren’t cleared for April 1 (more baking time, woo!) and will be enjoying a chocolate bunny and celebrating Jesus’ resurrection at Magee unless these chunkers decide to appear early (although odds are low as of last appointment).

At 34 weeks + 1 day, our babies were 5 pounds 9 ounces (A) and 5 pounds 3 ounces (B), approximately. They are in the 92nd and 82nd percentile, and per my doctor, I am a good provider for them. Swoon. I mean, look at them.

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What you may not be able to tell is that both babies have their knees and feet up by their faces. Both are breech, so a VBA2C is not in the cards for us. This is okay with me. I’ll always wonder what a natural birth felt like, but this seems like our best and safest option. They’ve also got their mama measuring 40+ weeks in the tummy area and heads turning everywhere she goes becauseĀ oh my gosh shouldn’t you be at a hospital having that kid.

Between now and then, I’ll have weekly appointments as well as Non Stress Tests just to be sure we’re on track. But regardless, in four weeks, this mama is going to have her babies in her arms. Such a beautiful blessing.

I Made You Big

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While on a drive, the kids asked for a snack. It was probably the 78th time they had that day, and I got frustrated. The snacks they want lately are sugar filled junk, and real food doesn’t seem to please them.

Arianna’s response to my frustration? “We promise we won’t get as big as you did, Mommy.” Cue the tears, right? Oh no. It gets worse.

I tell them I love them and want them to be happy. To be able to run and play and breathe without it being a struggle. I want them to be healthy and yes, smaller than I was as I grew. That I didn’t want them to work like I had to in order to get to where I was [pre-twin belly].

Evan pulled his hood over his face and started to cry. “You didn’t make you big, Mommy. I made you big when I was growing in your tummy. It’s my fault you had to work hard to be small.”

I start bawling, wishing Greg was with us. Between tears, I try to tell him it’s not his fault. Arianna tries. Nothing makes him happy. He believes he made me big and I can’t stop the tears.

Finally, we came to an agreement that it wasn’t being pregnant with my 9 pound bundle of love that led me to weigh right at 300 pounds but it was years of my life that made me the mama I was when I had him. Arianna assured him that I was the same mama now as I was then and as I was before having him, both promising me they understood and it wasn’t his fault.

Having these talks with my kids is hard. Evan doesn’t remember his mama being big, and Arianna vaguely does. For the most part, I hid from cameras because I couldn’t stand my own picture [how I found the above one for this post is beyond me].

Then one day, somehing clicked and Evan and Ari made me smaller. The very thought of being around them for life was enough to decide to get up and take care of me for them. To run. To eat better. To be there for my kids.

So, Evan? If you think you made me anything, know that you made me smaller, healthier, and happier. Remember that, Bubby. And remember that I love you no matter what size you are or I am.

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And PS to the twins? I do miss my smaller body, running, and doing yoga…BUT I wouldn’t trade those things for the amazingness that has been the last 28 weeks/4 days of growing you, either. I’m gonna miss this belly that’s keeping you all close to me when you decide to make your mark on this world.

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Three Hearts

“Mama, there are three hearts inside you right now. That is so cool.”

I’ve been told by my daughter that watching her baby siblings grow in my belly is the coolest thing. But to hear her speak truths like the number of hearts that are beating? Melts my heart.
Yes, we are aware of the blessings growing, but to hear the kids be excited/protective/caring about the babies takes it to a whole different level. Gentle reminders like this are what make the aches and pains of growing two ‘lil Burghers at a time a whole lot easier.

And this one, Evan’s sweet creation:

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At 28 weeks…the reality that they will soon be big siblings has set in. Is it fair to say I think they are more ready than we are?

17 Weeks (Give or Take)

When are pregnant with twins and your 9 week old embryos measure almost 10 and your 14 week belly measures 17, things like having 18 week appointments and 20 week ultrasounds happen a little early. Related, your initial due date of April 20 slides to April 11 and your doctor warns you that could change after said ultrasound.

With this in mind, today was my 18 week checkup.  I wore a brand new shirt, courtesy of Kohl’s (I’m a member of their Yes2You rewards program and am testing some fun features out) and accented lightly with some of my cherished Premier Designs pieces (pss…we are partying in December and I want to see some faces).

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At my appointment, I learned that…

I have gained 18 pounds. Eek. Doctor does not say eek. She says this is a big growth time and HELLO, I am carrying two babies. I was also fresh from breakfast and my morning water splurges.

My blood pressure is fine. This makes me happy, around 28 weeks with Evan it was scaring me and I spent a night in the hospital.

Baby A had a heart rate of 141. Baby B had a heart rate of 149. Baby C is a figment of imagination for Jess and Gina to argue over who raises.

My belly, which has carried three pregnancies and four babies, is measuring 22 weeks, so almost 5 weeks ahead. No wonder my lungs feel pressure.

The ultrasound is Monday, but I have sided with Greg. We want a surprise when it comes to the sex of the babies. It will be hard for this planner, but worth the magical feeling. If you’re wondering, that means 8 names need picked (2 firsts, 2 middles, times 2 for each sex) and 2 grey/white coming home outfits need bought with pink and blue accessories ready. Other than that, it’s white onesies!

This round has been much healthier and happier than the others, even with a lot of transition in our lives. We are grateful and excited and overwhelmed all at once.