Monday, December 28, 2009

There's no place like home for the holidays

We made it! Me, DH, Bean, Twin A, Twin B, and my shortened cervix are all happily enjoying our Christmas visit with family and friends here in Michigan. The trip out wasn't too bad -- a long flight trying to accommodate a toddler's desire for mommy's lap when said lap no longer exists, but no delays or tantrums or anything else to make things more difficult. One passenger even remarked that Bean was the best-behaved child on the airplane. Darn right he was. Cutest, too. And probably smartest.

Barring any complications with the return flight, I am so glad we decided to come. While the physical health of the boys is always our top concern, this trip is huge for the emotional health of me and DH as well as our families here. If we skipped it, there would be a least a year that we wouldn't see the people we love and miss (traveling with infant twins and a toddler is not something we will rush to do -- without being severely medicated first, that is). And I haven't blogged about it yet, but my sweet mother-in-law was recently diagnosed with breast cancer, and it was really important for us to be here to support her as she starts her chemotherapy.

Everyone has been wonderful about allowing me to sit as much as possible, even though I feel like a lazy cow as people fetch me water and feed me grapes while fanning me with palm leaves. I haven't changed a single diaper since we landed. Bean absolutely adores his grandparents, and I'm not sure who is having more fun playing all day, him or them. Our Christmas gatherings were all super fun. We were blessed with contributions to the big gift DH and I were saving for (purchased yesterday, woo hoo!), and Bean got so many awesome toys that I have no clue how we will get them all back to Seattle. Fortunately that falls entirely on the "Dad" list of duties, so I'll just enjoy my water and grapes and palm fans and let DH worry about that.


My mom took this belly shot of me at 24 weeks. We have now officially reached the point of viability -- there is a 50% chance the boys would survive if born today. This is a relief, if only a small one. I want three more months out of these muffins!

Bean on Christmas Eve with Grandma M. and Grandpa J.

Bean instructs his Great-Grandma F. on the art of playing Little People.

All for me?! It took three rounds, but Bean eventually opened all his presents.

The remote-controlled car from Grandpa B. and Grandma C. was an instant favorite.

Bath time.

Bean ensures that Grandpa B. eats his fruit on Christmas Day.

We revived and revamped a long-dormant Christmas tradition -- decorating cookies with my Grandma, Aunts, and Cousins. Bean found a prime spot on my Mom's lap and proceeded to dip his sucker into the cookie frosting to get the best of two sugary worlds.

Bean crashes on the couch with Grandpa J. after a long (but fun) day.

Our Christmas was wet rather than white, but Mother Nature made up for it today with some beautiful flakes. We were finally able to break out Bean's winter wear. He wasn't so sure about being bundled up at first, but he did have fun (until he fell face-down into the snow and wanted his mommy).


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The verdict

The trip is on.

The cervix check didn't go quite as well as I was hoping today -- it was around 2.8 cm. But this one was taken at a third location, with different equipment yet again, and this sonographer used a different measuring "technique" than the other two did. (This is the part where I spare you a description of my girlie bits.) Anyway, after I left that office, I was more frustrated with the fact that I felt like I was comparing apple measurements to orange measurements than the actual number itself.

Turns out it didn't really matter. I went over to the OB's office and explained the whole situation to the doctor there (the one filling in today while my OB is on maternity leave). She called my OB to consult, who is just sitting around waiting to experience the miracle of birth, and they both felt entirely confident in approving our travels -- even given today's 2.8 cm. There are fluctuations in cervical length naturally, and I am still far from any danger zone. Their main concern is that I need to have access to adequate medical care while I am away. DH and I have researched L&D and NICU hospitals near our parents and have the information on hand should we need it. But neither doctor had any belief that the act of flying itself would put me or the babies in jeopardy, and that's really what DH and I wanted to be sure of before we packed our bags. If something bad is going to happen no matter where I am, obviously there's nothing I can do about that -- I just want to make sure I'm not doing anything to increase the inherent risk that comes with carrying twins. And both doctors agree that I'm not.

DH and I did a lot of talking and research over the weekend, and combined with what the two doctors said today, we do feel comfortable making the journey. I am armed with the usual tips for pregnant traveling: don't carry bags, stay hydrated, don't cross my legs, walk around every 60-90 minutes, etc. etc.

I really appreciate your input and support during this little ordeal and always. I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, with good things on the way in 2010.


Friday, December 18, 2009

The Incredible Growing Cervix

I'll cut to the chase, in case my title wasn't obvious: My appointment today went very well.

It went so ridiculously well, in fact, that I am too completely confused to even feel any sense of relief.

Here's the long version, for those of you willing to bear with me. I have to get it all out so I can process it myself, and as always, I love your invaluable advice!

So on Wednesday, to review, my cervix length was 2.8 cm as measured by the sonographer at my OB's group office. Which was actually down from 3.4 cm (not 3.2 as I said in my previous post) in two weeks, too much too quickly. My OB put me on a blood pressure medication to reduce contractions (which I'm still not 100% sure I've been having?), instructed me to take it as easy as possible with a toddler at home (not official bedrest, and a hilarious oxymoron), and wanted me back today for another cervical check. Unfortunately, on such short notice and so close to Christmas, there was no room at the inn in the OB's sonographer's schedule. So they booked me with Maternal Fetal Medicine (which deals with testing and high risk pregnancies) to do a cervical check this afternoon and instructed me to head back to the OB's office right afterwards so I could discuss the results with the on-call doctor there, since my own doc is about to go into labor at any minute and isn't taking any more appointments.

Are you still following me?

So I dropped Bean off with his girlfriend and her mom this afternoon and headed to MFM. When I arrived, I explained to the sonographer why I was there. She informed me that in addition to the cervical check, that she HAD to do a complete scan of both babies first, and hopefully I had the time for it.

Oh really, we had to? According to whom, the masked man in the corner holding a gun? I don't mean to sound ungrateful for seeing the babies... but GOOD LORD! These are the most photographed fetuses ever in history. I was completely anxious to get to the cervical check, and already feeling guilty for dropping Bean off with my friend at his naptime (which clearly he was going to miss). *sigh*

But after 65 minutes of laying on my back for the complete scans, growing more and more uncomfortable with each tick of the clock as the babies crushed my internal organs and cut off blood flow to my brain and extremities, we were FINALLY on to the main event.

The sonographer measured my cervix and then measured again. She had me change positions. "What did you say the measurement was on Wednesday?" she asked. We were both stunned to see the consistent measurement of 3.49 cm on the screen.

THAT MUCH LONGER in only 48 hours?

What the... ???

She left and came back with the MFM doctor for a quick check in. Both the sonographer and the doc praised how awesome the twins looked in their scan. Naturally, they've had much practice! They gave me a print-out of the stats and a picture of my cervix with measurement to show the on-call doc at my OB's office.

When I got there, they were winding down the day's appointments. A nurse came up to the front desk to talk to me first, and I explained the entire story to her. She then took my chart back to see the on-call doc, and because the results were so straightforward, the nurse just returned to talk to me herself.

The doc was apparently pleased with the growth (I asked if she was surprised or suspicious, but the nurse said no), said stay on the meds, continue to take it easy, and come back in one week for a re-check just to be safe.

Then I mentioned our plans to fly for Christmas.

The nurse's face changed. "Hmmm... I don't know about that..."

We talked about this for a few minutes, and then we agreed to have me back next Tuesday for the re-check. Again finding no room with their group's sonographer, they are outsourcing this cervical check as well. Not to MFM, though, so hopefully I won't have to endure another complete scan (my third in one week) and we can skip right to the goods. Then I have an actual appointment with a doctor in the practice -- not mine of course, unfortunately -- but at least I will get assured face-time to discuss whether or not to travel the next morning.

The first thing I am turning over in my brain is HOW DID MY CERVIX GROW SO MUCH IN TWO DAYS? Sure I was taking the low dose of that medicine, and I was sitting a little more than usual (thank you, Yo Gabba Gabba), and I know that the cervix can actually grow after it has shortened. But that much, that quickly, and I wasn't even on bedrest? I can't help but be suspicious -- was the measurement wrong on Wednesday? Or today? WTF?

And the second thing I am worried about is AM I BEING SELFISH FOR STILL WANTING TO TRAVEL FOR CHRISTMAS, GIVEN TUESDAY GOES WELL? Should I stay home even if the Cervix of Steel is holding strong, just in case? The nurse mentioned something about not wanting me to go into labor on the plane. I really don't think that's going to happen, truly deep down. But is it better just to stay here for the holidays? If we do travel, I will have to go two weeks between cervical checks instead of one.

Thanks for hanging in there with me... I really appreciate all the good thoughts, prayers, advice, etc. Obviously it worked!


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

And suddenly, this stops being fun

I had an OB appointment this morning.

It did not go well.

Well, I suppose there were a few good things. I gained 5 lbs since my last appointment two weeks ago. The boys are as active as ever, strong heartbeats, good fluid, etc.

But my cervix was down to 2.8 cm (from 3.2 cm two weeks ago). Not only is it on the short side -- they like to see it 3.0 cm or above -- but it's a significant change since the last appointment. Coupled with the frequent Braxton Hicks contractions I've been having lately... well, this is not the road we want to be on at only 22 weeks.

My doctor was not freaking out about this, but she was obviously concerned. She gave me a prescription for some medicine to help stave off the contractions, and she scheduled me with MFM on Friday for another cervical check. She said 2.8 cm will be acceptable for now if we can keep it stable, she just wants to make sure it's not a continual downslide. She also instructed me to limit activity and rest as much as possible. The words "bedrest" and "hospitalization" were actually uttered... although not imminent this point.

I felt the tears welling up as I spoke with my OB. Somehow I managed to keep it together through the appointment and three phone calls before sobbing the rest of the drive home. The vague concern I've felt over preterm labor and GOD FORBID losing the babies has suddenly gotten very specific and all too real.

The contractions do subside and I feel better when I am laying down. But being the sole caretaker of a 21-month-old boy for 13 hours a day (minus one blessed nap) makes that nearly impossible. DH and I are going to do our best to make some lifestyle changes so I don't have to go up and down the stairs as much, and so that he can come home around dinner time (instead of after Bean is asleep for the night) to do the bedtime routine. I'll see how things go on Friday, and I may have to send a pleading email to my friends to come over and play with Bean so I can lay down for a couple of hours a day.

Please keep us in your thoughts, k?

And now, to cheer myself up, I'll end with some pictures of His Cuteness.

Beware: When a toddler is eating yogurt and suddenly gets very quiet, he is probably having too much fun.

We are converting our formal dining room into a playroom. With part of the proceeds from the sale of our dining room table, we purchased the *perfect* kiddie table and chair set from Costco. It's durable with four chairs, in boy-friendly colors. Bean approves.

Bean got to open his gifts from Grandma M. and Grandpa J. last weekend, because of our plans to be away for Christmas. He just loves his new easel!

We also let him open the toy vacuum (or as Bean calls it: "backveem") from me and DH.

He picked up my old Cabbage Patch Kid doll and carried it while vacuuming, just as I did with him. My heart nearly exploded!

When he was done, he put the vacuum in the pantry, next to the real one.

*sigh* Could I love him more?


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Proving beauty is in the eye of the beholder

The lovely Sam at The life and times of me! recently bestowed me with the Beautiful Blogger award -- despite, or perhaps thanks to, the fact that I only post headless pictures of myself. Sam lives across the pond in the U.K. and has a super cool blog where she casually mentions ancient castles and places ending in "fordshireglenham." She is also on the waiting list for a service dog, which I am excited to read all about, considering the only command my dog obeys these days is "Hey, Evey, I dropped a piece of food on the floor, come eat it so I don't have to pick it up."

Anyway... the award.

Simple rules, as these things go. Post seven things about myself, and pass the award along to seven beautiful bloggers.

Seven Things About Myself:

1. Christmas is my absolute favorite time of year. I love everything about it -- the lights, the music, the tree, the gifts, the old guy playing his guitar by his Salvation Army stand at the grocery store, the sparkle of decorations. But I didn't decorate for Christmas this year. At all. The only three Christmas items currently in our house are the piano-playing Snoopy I bought for Bean at Hallmark because I am a total pushover, the silly light-up snowman ornament I got from the MOMS Club exchange, and the "button" my Mom sent us last year (like the Staples easy button) that plays Jingle Bell Rock when you press it, which has been one of Bean's favorite toys for a full 12 months now.* It wasn't our intent to be the Scrooge family, but between trying to rest my rapidly expanding body, DH traveling for work, the loft renovation project starting this week, and gift buying... well, it just didn't get done. Hopefully Baby Jesus will forgive me.

2. I spent many years of my life trying to be a perfectionist. It served me well in some ways; getting into my top college and having seriously great hair. But over the years -- thankfully! -- this urge has fallen away. Life is imperfect, and no matter how hard I push, it will always be that way. I am so grateful for the relief and joy this realization has given me, and I hope to teach Bean that certain things are worth doing half-assed so that he doesn't become stunted by obsessive anxiety and unrealistic self-imposed standards. Therefore, I accept nothing less than imperfection from myself every day. I am, you might say, a reborn imperfectionist.

3. When DH travels, I save the note he leaves me in the morning as well as all voicemail messages while he is gone because I worry about him not coming back. No, not out of fear that he's decided the wife and kids in his other "double life" are better than me and Bean and pooch. But God forbid, I worry that something bad could happen to him. (Yesterday I noticed that he added two items to his latest business trip packing checklist: "Miss Sunny, Bean, Twin A, Twin B, and Evey" and then below: "Especially Sunny." Both checked. If I have to share him with the Other Wife to keep him, then so be it!)

4. I watched the entire season of Glee -- every single episode -- even though I absolutely hated it initially. I really wanted to like it, because I do think life is generally better when set to music and choreography. But I found the characters overall unlikeable and the plot so unbelievable I was utterly distracted by the details (how did teenage Quinn intend on hiding a pregnancy from her parents for NINE MONTHS?). However, due to the number of people professing that this is The Best Television Show Ever, I kept watching and waiting to be struck by the show's apparent brilliance. Now that the fall season is over, I will admit to being ambivalent about it instead of actively disgusted. How's that for a good use of my time?

5. I have not eaten peanuts or peanut butter since summer 2007. I read that eating peanuts while being pregnant and breastfeeding can trigger a peanut allergy in your little peanut if he is predisposed to it. This is highly debated, and I haven't met a single other preggo who avoids peanuts -- and in fact, my twins book recommends eating it on crackers for protein. Plus, food allergies do not run in my family nor DH's family so I don't have any reason to think my munchkins are at risk. But I've seized on this as something I can control and do for my babies, and since I have been pregnant and/or breastfeeding for 30 straight months, I've not consumed peanuts in a long time. In general it doesn't bother me, but I do miss peanut butter & butter & banana sandwiches, as well as my beloved Reese's Peanut Butter cups. The things we do for our children!

6. I am really good at Minesweeper. Unless you are a professional player, I can probably top your fastest score on each level. This is because back in high school, our computer was in the office which overlooked the driveway. I would sit there for what surely cumulatively added up to WEEKS waiting for DH to come pick me up (*ahem* often late) for our dates, keeping an eye out for his car while playing Minesweeper over and over. (This was before the days of blogging and Facebook, naturally.) I would type trash talk in the Highest Score name fields, like "Sunny is way cooler than you." Obviously I was going for the irony.

7. I have a secret dream of being a gestational surrogate, like the fabulous Kymberli. I can't imagine a more incredible gift to give a couple than helping them achieve parenthood. Not only that, but it would be one final "eff you" to infertility for what it put me and DH through. And I've been getting a lot of compliments on my maternity clothes lately (well, the ones my Mom got for me at least) so it'd be nice to get one more run out of them. I'll be wearing tents within a month and that will be the end of that!

Beautiful Bloggers:

Martha at A Sense of Humor is Essential. She adds beauty to the blogosphere with her colorful pictures and colorful stories of life in sunny Cali.

Lori at Weebles Wobblog. Her posts on open adoption are particularly enlightening, but she also finds beauty in the world through mindful living and "Perfect Moment Mondays."

Alana at Alana-isms. She is such a supportive, beautiful person in our online community. I am wishing her lots of happiness and a big blessing in the coming year.

Beautiful Mess at Life Induces Thoughts, Mostly Random. She is a wonderful example of surviving and thriving after a loss. An inspiration!

Kate at Kate's Plate. Her idea of beauty is a perfectly crafted and delicious meal. Mine is too, as long as I'm not the one doing the crafting. In that we differ, but I can still pass her recipes along to my hubby!

Michelle at To Baby and Beyond. It's a tough holiday season for Michelle, and although she may not be feeling beautiful, I really admire her strength and grace in the face of life's challenges. Hoping that 2010 brings the answer to her prayers.

Meg at Foster Family Blog. Her beautiful daughter (several months younger than Bean) writes the family blog from her perspective. Cutie patootie!

*I just remembered the fourth Christmas decoration in our house -- the fabric Advent calendar that DH's grandma sent us. She also included a bag of Hershey's Kisses, which I completely scarfed before finding out those were meant to go in the calendar and be eaten one day at a time. Yeah, right.


Sunday, December 6, 2009

An out-of-date update

First, thank you all who gave us tips and suggestions on names for Twin B. My friend Sarah asked about a prize if DH and I chose a name offered in the comments. I'm game! There are just two catches: 1) It won't be awarded for at least 4 months, because we likely won't finalize the names until we meet the boys and 2) I have absolutely no clue what the prize will be. It won't be extravagant (see entry on supporting a family of five on one salary) but at the very least, some yummy treats or a gift card for some lattes. So if you haven't given your input on my The Name Game post yet, head back and add yours! Oh, and obviously the three names we have already chosen -- Twin A's name and two possible names for Twin B -- won't count. (I do have email proof that those names were on the shortlist before my post.) And no fair typing out a list of 100 traditional names. It's my first giveaway/contest, let's keep it clean, people. Thanks for playing along!

I am finally getting around to posting about my big 20-week anatomy scan last Tuesday -- the one that couples who haven't seen their child's goods eagerly await so they can start preparing for pink or blue. But we have seen the family jewels (as well as every other body part, in detail, with measurements) so many times that it was rather anticlimactic. Laying in the dark, warm ultrasound room for at least an hour without a little voice begging "upeeeeeeeee" constantly... I almost fell asleep. Twice. It was awesome.

And even more awesome: they are both still looking healthy. The belly is growing massively, I measured at 27 weeks compared to singleton pregnancy (that's 7 weeks ahead). Twin A was estimated to weigh 1 lb, putting him in the 67th percentile, and Twin B at 14 oz was in the 60th. Not too shabby for carrying two babes, if I may say so myself!

On the not-so-awesome side, though, I was 2 pounds shy of my weight-gain goal for the appointment. Although I did gain 2 lbs in two weeks, I'm only up 8 lbs overall, according to their initial weight for me. Gah. Well, that's still 23 lbs above my pre-Bean weight, and I have a laundry list of reasons why that is more accurate than their initial weight. Not that it matters, my OB was completely unconcerned and said she's still a ways from having me order extra fries with my Big Mac. Because obviously that's the healthy and appropriate way to gain pregnancy weight. Thank you for the sound medical advice, doctor.

One of my friends from preschool is due with her second baby just a few days after I am set to pop, and I am fortunate that she often watches Bean for me as I roll myself to the OB's office. We traded babysitting this week because she had her anatomy scan the day after I did. While I was gone, she captured one of my most favorite pictures ever -- Bean's first kiss.

Obviously he is thrilled. And I couldn't be more pleased with the match myself. Em is very bright and I think her spunky personality will be a good balance for Bean's sometimes overly cautious nature. She is also incredibly sweet, patting him on the arm and saying, "It's okay, sweetheart" when he was crying for his mama. There has already been talk of a dowry and sharing wedding expenses. (On a related note, does anyone know if five goats is considered a fair dowry these days?) I got a few pictures of them at my house, too, although nothing nearly as adorable.

And now I will leave you with an actual conversation that took place between me and my beloved son in the car as we drove to a play group this past week. I won't include the ME: and BEAN: labels because I'm fairly sure you can figure out who is who. (Hint: He starts.)

"Yes, darling."
"What can I do for you, honey?"
"Is there something you need?"
"Is everything okay back there?"
"Did you drop your binkie?"
"Would you like a piece of cheese?"
"I can unwrap it for you and hand it back."
"Yes, honey?"
"Are you afraid to talk to me about something?"
"Is this about a girl?"
"Because you should never be afraid to talk to me."
"Although really that's what your father is for."
"Did someone offer you drugs?"
"Always say no, honey. If they are really your friends, they will respect that. It's not worth ruining your life."
"We are almost to the gym, if that's what you are wondering."
*sigh* "She's not here anymore."

This is why it is important to join a mom's group, as otherwise this would have been the most stimulating conversation I had in 12 hours. Well, other than when the dog and I debated the truth behind global warming, that is.


Thursday, December 3, 2009

The Name Game

My Mom can name anything, anywhere, instantly. If she sees a strange dog walking through the neighborhood, she pulls over the car, rolls down her window, and commands, "Go home, Cooper (or Sherman or Grover or etc.), go home boy!" Because she just knows that is the name of that dog, or her new car, or the wooden parrot perched on their condo balcony.

Unfortunately, like several of my mother's talents, this is not an ability that I have inherited. I don't recall naming many of the hermit crabs that my brother and I had as pets growing up, instead leaving that to him. During his "Friends" phase, we had Phoebe and Chandler, and during his "adjective" phase we had Speedy. Normally it didn't matter anyway, since they rarely lived more than a few months. Although we had one crab, Nikki, that we got for Christmas (named for Jolly Old Saint Nick) that would NOT die. When my brother and I went away to college, Nikki lived in a glass case in my Dad's office upstairs, where she (he?) dined on bologna-and-cheese sandwiches and Hershey's chocolate bars at Dad's amusement. I don't think my parents remembered to tell me Nikki had finally kicked the bucket until several weeks after the actual event. My Dad said he didn't miss the crab whatsoever, but I secretly wondered if he shed a tear in private. And you can't tell me they weren't sharing the chocolate.

Anyway, the first real important name that DH and I had to choose was for our pooch. With our 9-week-old 5-lb fluff ball curled sleeping in his arms, DH proposed "Evey" after Natalie Portman's character in a movie we had recently watched. I was just kinda meh about it, but in the absence of a better suggestion, I agreed. Shortly afterward, I added Louise as her middle name so I would have something longer to yell at her when she was being bad -- which, seeing as she was a puppy, was constantly. Evey Louise soon grew right into her name (or vice versa?) and now I think it's absolutely perfect.

Fast forward a year... and we had a baby on the way. We found out early at 11 weeks that it was likely a boy, so when I finally emerged from my pregnancy denial, we could at least narrow down all the baby names in the world by half. A good start. I had always loved the name we eventually gave to Bean, I have lots of positive associations with it, but I was worried it was too sing-songy when put with our last name. We combed the baby name books for another option, but after he was born and we met him, DH and I felt like the name suited him just perfectly, and the deal was sealed.

Sorry, dude. Sing-songy for you.

Now, obviously, we are faced with another great naming challenge. Not only is my favorite name already taken by my favorite Bean, but there are TWO babies, both boys, names must sound good with our last name (or we could go with a whole sing-songy theme), names must sound good with each other but not be too matchy for our tastes.

DH dug out the ginormous baby name book that we used with Bean -- containing almost 55,000 names. Which seemed like a good purchase at the time, until you really think about how 54,369 of those names must naturally be incredibly stupid and are actually distracting as you look through the pages. Adjanys? Dweezil? Zap? Car? Really, Car? Now you aren't even taking this seriously. This is my son, Car. His name means "mid-sized motorized vehicle." Pretty awesome, huh?

Anyway, one name has really clicked for me, and after my brow-beating gentle suggestions, DH has come around to it as well. Hooray! After hearing that Twin A is two ounces bigger than Twin B, I have started thinking of Twin A by this name... because, I don't know, it seems like a good name for a chunker.

That leaves us with Twin B. DH has made two suggestions for this baby, and either one I would be okay with. Okay with. But I am afraid that since neither DH nor I are as enthusiastic about these possible names as we are about Bean's and Twin A's, that poor Twin B is already set up for a life of being the least favorite person in the family. He's "Twin B" after all, second fiddle to Twin A even in the womb, not to mention trying to live up to the perfection of his oldest brother! And what if he's not as adorable or smart as our other two children? Having a mediocre name will only contribute to the downward spiral of Twin B. DH and I would obviously try not to show our preference throughout the years, but could we hide it? What about the kids in school when they are making friends? Will he live at home until he's 35, but resent us the entire time? Will he ever find his personal success and happiness in life, with the cloud of third-favorite name hanging over his head constantly? A disaster waiting to happen.

This is where you come in. Miss MVK recently had a post soliciting suggestions for naming the second of her own Les Twinks. I was trolling her comments last night to steal borrow glean inspiration from the responses when DH asked the age-old question "Whatcha doin'?" When I told him, he responded, "You should post on that, too." Since I always do everything my husband says, this is it: my official plea for help in naming our unfortunate Twin B.

Only you can save him from a life of disappointment.

I know, it's hard to offer a name when you don't know Twin A's name, or perhaps our last name. We have decided not to reveal our final name choice(s) for either baby until the birth, because we are completely annoying like that. And an FYI, we gravitate towards traditional names -- or at least something you will find on a mini license plate or coffee mug. So those of you who were going to suggest Orth or Weebie... well, thanks anyway.

Otherwise, our ears are open!

UPDATE: I will have a little prize for whoever suggests the "winning" name for the second twin. To be awarded after they are born and names are finalized. Excluded are the three names we have already picked. Thanks for playing!


Sunday, November 29, 2009

Five seconds of terror

It was my brilliant idea to arrive at the mall when it opened this morning for a quick sit on Santa's lap. In keeping with tradition, DH grumbled Is it really necessary that Bean sees Santa every year? yet insisted that he come with us when I informed him ever-so-politely that YES, according to the "Appearances are Everything: How to Look Like a Good Parent" manual, it is absolutely necessary -- which means busy weekends are our only option to see the jolly fellow, and I figured that early in the day, early in the season would yield the shortest wait.

Sadly, I neglected to look up what time Santa arrives at our mall, which happens to be a full hour after the stores open. I obviously failed to allow the extra time needed for him to check his list (twice) and pop a handful of Imitrex. We managed to keep Bean busy during that wait, with help from the play area and countless kiosks scattered between the stores, waiting to suck away your hard-earned dollars for 45 seconds of your child's happiness. (You want your child to be happy, don't you? DON'T YOU?) We are fortunate that Bean has not yet figured out that the little merry-go-round toys actually move when you put money in them, as for now he is content to turn the steering wheel and provide his own sound effects. Beep beep.

After surviving the first hour of chasing Bean around the mall and protecting our wallets from the siren call of those crane grab-a-toy games, we got in line. After a 15-minute delay by the big man (which earned us a free print), they finally allowed the first kid to sit down. After another excruciating 45 minutes of waiting, during which my Bean's nap time grew dangerously closer, it was finally our turn. We warned the attendant (who I believe works at the local Circle K during the elf off-season) that we have a screamer. He responded that we would do a "drop and snap," which is apparently a highly technical term in the business of Santa photography.

We plopped Bean in Santa's lap and bolted out of the scene, without so much as adjusting the poor kid's pantlegs. They took the picture immediately and we scooped him back up. It's truly inspiring how quickly toddlers can escalate from mild apprehension to horrified wailing. That being the case, DH and I were actually shocked at how (relatively) calm Bean looks in the picture, as had the photographer pushed the button even one second later, we would have captured trauma level at least equal to the Easter Bunny Incident of earlier this year.

DH may question how subjecting my child to his darkest fears (Mommy, where are you going? And why are you running?) constitutes good parenting.

It. Just. Does.

I'm pretty sure one day, Bean is going to thank me. Or something like that. Right?

Anyway, fortunately the rest of the Thanksgiving weekend wasn't nearly as traumatizing for any of us. In fact, it was downright lovely. It didn't escape me how much we have to be thankful for this year. It also didn't escape me that next year, we will have a two-and-a-half-year-old Bean and seven-month-old Twinklets. I will likely not have slept more than 2 hours at a time in least eight months; I will look absolutely haggard (as my optometrist put it) with a tenuous grasp on sanity. If any grasp at all.

Although I know I will have even more to be grateful for in 2010... I think I'll hang on to this Thanksgiving just a liiiiittle bit longer, if you don't mind.


Sunday, November 22, 2009

Does this mean I've gestated one child?

Today marks 19 weeks... I am officially half way to welcoming these two babies into the world. And for my poor friend Allison, whom I torture endlessly by not taking regular belly pics, this is what the beast looks like today.

For reference, here is what my belly looked like when I was 18 1/2 weeks with Bean.

And 24 weeks with Bean.

I am feeling lots of kicks, which even the second time around is incredibly awesome and super freaky-deaky at the same time. There are two people growing UNDER MY SKIN who are squirming and poking at my insides. I can watch my belly jump and shift as those people growing UNDER MY SKIN make themselves right at home.

And this isn't supposed to feel like Alien?


Tuesday, November 17, 2009


I had my 18-week appointment with my OB this morning. It's a lot like going to Jiffy Lube at this point, except without the stale coffee and greasy dudes in jumpsuits. Unfortunately.

Weight check: gained 3 lbs in two weeks (for a whopping 6 lb total)
Cervix check: 3.7 mm (holding strong!)
Heartbeat check: music to my ears
Blood pressure check: I never understand the numbers but was told it was "excellent"
Urine check: passed
Belly check: measuring 24 weeks

The old bod seems to be gestating reasonably well at this point! But before I talk more about the babies, I have to give a shout-out to my sweet Bean. What was supposed to be a quick appointment dragged into two hours because the doc was off doing a C-section. HE WAS AN ANGEL. THE ENTIRE TIME. I don't know what I did to deserve this child -- I worry that I'll have to pay it back with two hellions come April. But in the meantime, I am so grateful that I can count on him to be a good boy when I really need him to be. (The occasional bribe with a sucker aside.) (Hey, I said occasional.) (The sucker today wasn't even really a bribe because it was a "mystery" wrapper one that turned out to be root beer flavored, which Bean and I both agree is totally gross.)

Because of the cervical check, I got another peak at the boys. I wasn't planning on posting another ultrasound picture, because I know they all look the same if it's not your uterus, but this one was kinda cute. The tech described it as laying bunk-bed style in my tummy. Which was nicer than my interpretation, that Twin A finally has Twin B right where he wants him and is now kicking the crap out of him. Did I mention I'm pretty sure they are hellions?

I am now smack in the middle of my second trimester, which one book referred to as the "honeymoon" period of pregnancy. And so far, it has been. I am generally feeling pretty good. The food aversions remain to some extent, but I'm not feeling sick and I'm managing it okay. My belly is nice and round without being out of control -- yet. I do get tired easily, but it's not as bad as the constant exhaustion of early pregnancy. I get weepy at least once a day, but usually in a happy way. (So what if I was really touched by the rescue of a beached baby whale in this morning's episode of Dive Olly Dive? It was a BEACHED BABY WHALE, people.) I do often let out an "oof" or "ugh" when I sit down, stand up, or roll over in bed. But for the second tri so far, two enthusiastic thumbs up.

I've also had more time to digest and accept the fact that I am going to have two babies at the same time. Someone wise told me (was it Kristi perhaps?) that the first trimester and third trimester of a twin pregnancy would both be rife with fear and stress, with the second full of enthusiasm about the prospect of twice the adorable. She was certainly right, because I'm feeling a whole lot better emotionally these days as well.

It's not to say I don't have worries anymore -- on the contrary, they pop into my head constantly. Some are specific to having twins, some are general to any mother who is expanding her brood beyond the only child she can ever imagine loving more than life itself. I'm sure there's a "worry" post somewhere in the near future. But every time I see those little guys on the ultrasound screen, I fall deeper in love. The thought of being a family of five the spring... it makes my heart squeeze in anticipation. I absolutely love being a mother; the past year staying home with Bean has been the best of my life, without compare. The challenges are incredibly difficult, but the rewards surpass them a million fold. The first few months will be brutal, and I am already digging deep to find my inner badass that will help me parent three young boys. But I am also planning the fun things we will do as a family -- me, my beloved DH, and the munchkins that we have been blessed with the task of raising into men.

My heart, my house, my life will be full.

Life check: Not what I expected, but I wouldn't be anywhere else.


Wednesday, November 11, 2009



1. The pharmacy assistant at Bartell Drugs. First of all, she gave Bean a sucker when I went in to get my H1N1 vaccine yesterday, which never fails to keep him quiet, still, and occupied for decent periods of time. But the clincher was when she asked when number two was due.

"Number two and number three are due in April," I replied.

She gave a big, genuine smile and exclaimed, "Oh my goodness! You are going to have..."

(I started nodding, finishing for her in my head: my hands full. This is the response from 99% of strangers.)

" much fun!" she finished.

Love her.

2. My college roommate of three years and the Maid of Honor in my wedding, Kristin. She turns 30 today!! Not that that is the reason I like her, but any friend who is older than me (even if it's only by three months) is a special friend indeed. Happy birthday, K! Wish I could pop over to D.C. to help you celebrate.

3. My friend (of almost 25 years) Sarah. I just love getting mail, who doesn't? I'm so twisted that I even find pleasure in the cable bill showing up with my name on it. But even better is fun mail. The other day she sent me this super cute little person to start my obligatory "family decal" collection for the back window of Big Bertha.

The best part is that she added a belly! I thought, "Wow, how realistic, she even included stretch marks." But no, I looked closer and saw that she drew in two little babies baking away in there. It was a great laugh, and it meant a lot to know she was thinking of me.

4. My Mom. Because Bean grew out of some pants and I have no time to go shopping to replace them, my Mom did me the favor of buying some new clothes for him and sending them out to us. In fact, when I called her cell phone to ask her if she had a trip to the mall planned anytime soon because I was in need, she immediately detoured to the nearest mall, even though she had just left a different one a few minutes ago and was on her way home. Her dedication to me, Bean, and commercialism is always appreciated.

5. My friends at preschool. Wow, that makes me sound mature, huh? But last week DH was out of town on business, and I mentioned this in class on Wednesday. Within an hour, Bean and I had an invitation for dinner on Wednesday and one for Thursday as well. ROCK ON! While I hate when DH travels, I also hate making dinner, and getting out of two of them in a row was a special treat. Not quite worth having him gone, but it did go a long way...

6. And last, but definitely not least, my friend Kate. We also go way back to the days of wearing corduroy jumpers and singing along with The Letter People. She has her own blog, as you can see, where she dishes about everything food. (Ha ha, get it? Dishes about food? *sigh* I crack myself up.) Anyway, after hearing of my lack-of-weight-gain plight, she promised to help with some recipes. The two meals that she came up with are perfect for my picky tummy! So far we have only tried the Grilled Chicken and Avocado Sandwich -- the quesadillas are on tomorrow's menu. But GOOD GOD were those sandwiches delicious last night, a combo of Kate's amazing recipe and DH's flawless execution. You know how when you are at a restaurant, and the chicken sandwich sounds really good, but when you order it, it's actually pretty dry and flavorless, and then you get upset and think, "I really just paid $8.50 for a sandwich this boring and unappetizing?" Well, this is totally not that sandwich. In fact, as we both continued to exclaim over its yumminess as we chowed, I asked DH several times, "Are you sorry you are married to me instead of Kate?" (Luckily he knew the right answer.) Such a question surely speaks to insecurity over my lack of dedication and ability to provide creative, tasty, and healthy meals for my family. But on a deeper level, I think I was kinda wishing that I was married to Kate.


1. DH.* Last night as were going to bed, I unleashed the belly so we could hear those sweet little heartbeats on the doppler. "Woah!" DH exclaimed, eyes wide. "You are getting huge." Yep.

After we listened to the calming, rhythmic whoosh-whoosh-whooshing, I turned to DH. "Do you want to hear something scary? In a week and a half, I will be 19 weeks, which is already halfway through this pregnancy**."

DH: "That actually makes me really happy to be so far along..." (Awww, how sweet, he is excited to meet the babies!)

He continues: "... because your belly is so big, it looks like you could go into labor at any minute."


*I'm just kidding sweetie. You still rock my world! But tasty presents never HURT...

**God willing, we'll get to 38 weeks!


Thursday, November 5, 2009

News from the belly

Today I went to see my lovely OB again, and I got another peek at the boys.

(Yep, STILL boys. And this time, I have the money shots to prove it. But I won't post those pics, because although I will no doubt embarrass these two little men in countless ways over the course of their lifetimes -- often intentionally -- showing their weenies on a public blog will not be one of them. I hope their future therapists appreciate this.)

The ultrasound was awesome, I never get tired of watching the two of them wiggle and flip on the screen. Even when I'm being basically impaled by the ultrasound wand for 45 minutes while all the measurements are taken. The good news is that they are measuring prefectly, across the board. Yippee! The best part (okay, so that last bit was the best part -- but at least the second best part) was catching one baby nail the other one with an elbow. Seeing a six-ounce avocado-sized little baby jacking the other in the face, right there in my tummy... well, it was not only the funniest thing I have ever seen (other than this movie) but also surely a glimpse into my future. *sigh*

I think we have finally settled on a due date. It's been a moving target, anywhere from April 22 to April 16, but now it's April 18. Which is also my MIL's birthday. Which makes no difference because we will get them out early anyway. But still, hopefully easier for DH to remember because he always tells people the wrong date. Which makes no difference because we will get them out early anyway. But still.

Speaking of getting them out early, we I also seem to have made a decision on the VBAC versus C-section. Before seeing the doc today, I was about 66% leaning towards a C-section, 33% for a VBAC. And 1% lingering hope for that magician. During our appointment, she told me that she had consulted with MFM (maternal fetal medicine). They said that there weren't many statistics on VBACs with twins specifically, as it's obviously much less common than a VBAC with singleton. But they estimated the risk of uterine rupture at 2%, which is four times as high as the singleton VBAC risk. Hmmmm... yeah, not really liking those odds. They advised my OB not to attempt a VBAC unless I was really passionate about giving it a shot.

That risk is scary enough, plus it is unlikely that I will go into labor when my own OB is on call and the other docs in the practice aren't on board with the double VBAC, plus the twins are breech right now anyway so there is a chance I won't even have the option...

So it's looking like we will be scheduling a C-section in early April. God willing, I will make it that far and not go into labor first.

It feels a bit like I am making excuses not to try a VBAC (I keep hearing my Dad's voice from childhood saying, "Sunny, there is an excuse not to do anything."), and I can't say my emotions are entirely stable on this yet. But we'll see what happens.

Moving on, we also discussed my weight gain. Which is a measly 3 pounds, according to their baseline weight for me. UGH!!! Not even close to 25 pounds by 20 weeks, as recommended by my pregnancy book. I do maintain that the OB office's baseline weight for me is higher than it should be (I definitely gained a few pounds in the weeks before my first OB appointment -- no really, I did, I swear!), but still. Like you all did, she encouraged me to eat as best I could and not worry. The boys are growing well, as evidenced by the ultrasound and my enormous belly. Speaking of the belly, it is measuring 21 weeks along, and I am currently 16 weeks. Which is entirely normal and healthy for twins, but it's the trend that worries me. I remember last time reading some study about why pregnant women don't tip over despite their huge bellies (tax dollars hard at work) but I expect to be testing the limits of that particular research.

And finally, my boys would like to say hello.

Two heads are better than one.

The head shot of Twin A that does not look like Skeletor and thus will not keep you up with nightmares.

A foot shot of Twin B. Because baby feet are cute.

In unrelated late-but-at-least-I'm-remembering-it-at-all news, April finished my "Sunny in Seattle" bloggy button, over there on the right column. Look at how cute I am, go ahead and grab me for your blog!


Monday, November 2, 2009


It's time for the obligatory Halloween recap post! And as your "treat" for the holiday -- it's mainly in pictures. Now get off my porch.

Is there a doctor in the house? On Wednesday, Dr. Bean shared his medical expertise with his preschool class at the Halloween party. Because it's never too early to saddle your child with rigid (and lucrative) parental expectations.

On Thursday we went with MOMS Club to check out the local fire station. This technically isn't Halloween related, but the firemen were dressed up as... wait for it... firemen, so let's just roll with it.

He absolutely loves the plastic hat they gave him, he walks around the house wearing it backwards (so it's more like a baseball cap). Until we try to take a picture, then it's all frowns and eye daggers. Pretty sure he gets that look from his Dad.

On Friday evening we took Bean to his first high school football game. He LOVED it -- his eyes were wide with excitement the entire time. He walked along the wire fence surrounding the field to be close to the action; he was absolutely captivated by every sight and sound. Even the cheer team earned applause from our stoic little Bean, despite the routine being rather questionable in taste and skill. Sports (and babes) are in this boy's blood, obviously.

Saturday afternoon, Bean set to the serious task of drawing with pen on his pumpkin in preparation for Halloween. He was generally unimpressed with the guts from Daddy's pumpkin, other than the hilarity of occasionally flipping them out of the bowl with a spoon.

A family of three pumpkins. Or make that two pumpkins and one Jack O'Melon. (Wait, WHAT? You don't know what a Jack O'Melon is? Click HERE to read the story so you aren't embarassed in front of your friends.)

This is the only picture we have of Bean in his full costume... the cap and stethoscope were soon out the window, along with our dreams of having a doctor in the family. (Would have come in handy when our health care system officially goes to pot. Instead, we will just plan to never get sick. Ever.)

We weren't sure how Trick or Treating would go, considering his overall dislike for most people. But he absolutely loved putting candy in his bag himself -- he would take it out of the person's hand if they tried to put it in. Couldn't get him to say please, thanks, or trick-or-treat, but he did exclaim, "Mom! Mom! Mom! Mom!" after each house (even when I was back home and his Dad was taking him around).

After he got home, Bean spent another hour-and-a-half enjoying a sucker. Other than that, though, he has shown no interest in his sweet spoils. I taught him well, to leave the good stuff for mom eat healthy.

Every time the doorbell rang, Bean would rush out to hand out candy. (Yeah, it does seem like DH is always wearing that t-shirt, doesn't it?)

Despite all the activity of the weekend, Bean did find a few minutes to squeeze in some work he needed to get done for preschool.

As well as cuddle with the dog while watching the Lions game.

Happy November everyone!