Sunday, May 29, 2005

Twenty-Two Weeks...

Your baby now weighs nearly one pound! He or she measures 19 centimeters from crown to rump. Your baby now has eyelids and eyebrows and has developed fat, which helps to keeps it warm. In boys, the testes descend.

Almost all the follicles from which your baby's hair will grow are in place. Some babies are born with long, thick hair, others with almost none, but it will all fall out during the first months of life. Fingernails grow longer this month, and toenails are just starting to grow.

The number of nerve cells in your baby's brain increases rapidly this month, especially in the front of the brain, where thinking takes place. Your baby's system begins to produce the white cells that will enable it to fight illnesses and infections. The baby's senses, too, are beginning to awaken, and it may be able to hear sounds, such as the flow of blood, the beating of your heart, and the rumblings of your stomach.

Inside your baby's intestines, the first stool, called meconium, is forming. If your baby is a girl, eggs are starting to develop in her ovaries.

And, believe it or not, those teeny, tiny ears can now hear sounds from outside. She reacts to external stimuli like your caresses and voice.
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Wednesday, May 25, 2005

The Nursery

Actually, this isn’t the nursery, just a photo of the bedding that we decided on. I still wonder if there is something better out there for the girls, but this is quite adorable. Not too girly and pastel, but with some character and wonderful colors. I want to get started on the nursery soon before I get too uncomfortable to do anything.

We are blessed with a wonderful, generous family who are helping to create our dream nursery, including our cherry wood cribs (from Grandma & Grandpa S. and Aunt Amanda & Victor) and our changing table (from Aunt Tracy). I can’t wait to see how it’s all going to come together. Even though this is only their temporary nursery, I’m so excited!! I’ll post photos as it develops
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Monday, May 23, 2005

21 Weeks Today!

Weighing in at 13 to 14 ounces, and measuring 17.5 centimeters crown-to-rump, your baby is now busy putting fat onto those bones. Most likely, you have felt your baby's in-utero gymnastics. With lots of amniotic fluid providing room to move, your baby will be very active. Babies have sleep and wake cycles and you may find that these get more predictable as the months progress. Babies are typically active in the late evening, just when Mom is trying to get to sleep.

Your baby’s digestive system is developing and by now can absorb some nutrients such as sugars, which are found in the amniotic fluid inside the womb. However, your baby continues to get almost all food from mom, through the placenta.

The vernix (soft downy hairs) completely cover the body now. This will protect it during the last 3 months in the amniotic fluid (the urine content of which will increase).

The vernix will dissolve itself before birth, but enough will remain to assist in the lubrication needed to facilitate childbirth.

Towards the end of this trimester the baby will begin to settle, usually in a head down position (Although some babies do not turn head down until late in the last trimester.). About 3-4% of babies will remain in a breech position.

Friday, May 20, 2005

I'm preggers...

The following list is subject to editing and by no means the sum and substance of my experience as a pregnant woman. Just some of the quirky little perks (or pitfalls) of being pregnant!

What I love about being pregnant:

1. My girls.
2. My girls twirling and kicking inside me.
3. J kissing my belly every night, twice. One for each of them.
4. My family’s joy at the thought of these two.
5. Eating whatever I want, whenever I want.
6. Daydreaming about what the beans will become.
7. Guiltless naps.
8. Being spoiled.
9. My nails!
10. Reading and singing to the beans.

What I hate about being pregnant:

1. Stretch marks.
2. Cankles.
3. Swollen fingers and feet.
4. Having to go to the bathroom three times a night.
5. Breathlessness.
6. Not being able to do all the things I used to do.
7. Lack of energy.
8. Not being able to reach my toes.
9. Carpal tunnel.

10. Bleeding gums.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

The more the merrier!!

Hooray! We just discovered that our family friends, M&K, are expecting twins too! We couldn't be happier for them! We've been able to study the anatomy of a twin family through J&A and have learned so much through them, so I hope that we can impart some words of wisdom on to M&K as they make their journey through this wonderful stage of their lives! CONGRATULATIONS!!!!

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Top 10 Stupid Questions People Ask About Multiples

I came across this article and had to laugh out loud...and share with you. I've already had the pleasure of being asked more than a couple of these questions and I just grit my teeth and try to come up with some sort of response. I guess it goes along with the weight questions/statements and the belly rubbing that complete strangers feel they are entitled to... Enjoy!

Twins and other multiples are naturally the subject of public curiosity. Families with multiples quickly become accustomed to being targeted with questions, and constantly having to answer the inquires of strangers on the street. My twin daughters and I compiled this list of silly, rude, annoying or otherwise aggravating questions that people most commonly ask us about twins and multiples.

1) Are they twins? We've all heard it. It's the most common way for strangers to start up a conversation about your kids. Although it's harmless, this ubiquitous question can be annoying. Perhaps because the answer seems self-evident, or maybe because you know that answering it will induce the interrogator to ask another stupid question (like the ones below!)

2) Are they identical or fraternal/paternal/maternal? For some reason, people want to classify twins into two categories: identical and not-identical. Most people know that there are two types of twins, but they really have no idea what that actually means. This question exasperates me because I feel compelled to enlighten the asker, yet at the same time I want to minimize the distinction between twin types.

3) Which one is older?Why do people feel compelled to know this? Birth order typecasting is not relevant to multiples. You're talking about a matter of minutes between births, not enough time for anything meaningful to impact their personalities. This really makes me crazy now that my twins are older and people pose the question to them directly. Their answer? "We don't know." (They really don't; we haven't told them!)

4) Which one is the good one?No one would ever ask a mother of singletons to label her children in this way! No child is all good or all bad. Certainly, there will be times when one kid acts like an "angel" in response to her twin's misbehavior, but ... wait five minutes and they'll switch roles.

5) Do twins run in your family?This is another seemingly innocuous question that parents of twins hate to answer. It's just too difficult to explain what causes multiple birth and why it may or may not be hereditary. Usually when strangers pose this question, they care less about the actual answer than about sharing their own family history of twins. [More: What Are The Odds?]

6) How come their names don't match? When we chose names for our twin daughters, we purposely selected ones that didn't sound too "twinny." Yet, the general public always seems disappointed that their names don't rhyme, start with the same letter, or otherwise "go together."

7) How do you tell them apart?If your twins are identical -- and even if they're not! -- this is a very common question generated sometimes by politeness, and other times out of curiosity. Some people genuinely want a physical signal to help them identify and distinguish between children with similar appearance. But many others simply want to pick apart the physical characterists of supposedly duplicate people.

8) Did you have them "naturally?"This is an extremely personal question, and one which strangers have no business asking. There are two interpretations of this inquiry, referring to either how the multiples were conceived (ie with fertility enhancements) or how they were delivered (vaginally vs. c-section). In either case, its nobody's business, and its simply not polite to ask unless you are already on familiar terms.

9) Do they have their own language?Like any individuals that share an extremely close relationship, twins can sometimes develop a pattern of communication unique to them. The reason that this ranks as a stupid question is that people often ask it of parents of infants -- who haven't yet developed any language, much less one of their own.

10) Do you ever dress them alike?Dressing alike is a sensitive issue for multiples. Some like it, some don't. Some parents elect to do it, some don't. But for some reason, some non-twin people seem to think that twins aren't twins if they're not dressed in cloned clothing. Just like the saying goes, "Clothes don't make the man." Well, they don't make the twins, either!

Monday, May 16, 2005

20 Weeks/5 Months!!!!

Your baby is growing quickly; by now it is about half the length it will be at birth (but only about 12% of the weight). The weight is now up to 10 ounces (283 grams) and the baby measures about 25 cm. total length, about 9.8 inches. The legs are in good proportion to the rest of the body from this point onwards. A white, waxy-looking substance called vernix now protects your baby's skin.

The baby's muscles are getting stronger every day. You have definitely begun to feel movement by now. Its movements become even more complex and acrobatic. You may be aware of sleep wake cycles in your little one. She may sit upright with straightened back in a yoga-like position or she could be lounging back with her arms folded under her head. She may pedal her legs, make crawling movements, roll over or turn somersaults. These games will be the basis for your daily rhythm from now on, especially when you go to bed.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Max and Avery

Posted by Hello

Max was our first baby. We moved into our new condo about 2 1/2 months after we were married and the next day we went up to Birch Run to meet the breeder. We came home with our Max and now I can't imagine my life without him. He's my little shadow, a mamma's boy, who is maybe a little too coddled and a little too in love, but I'm his and he makes sure I know it. When we found Avery two years later and brought her home, Max was devastated. The first day, he huddled behind the couch and frothed at the mouth in terror and confusion. I think he knew exactly what we were getting ourselves into, while we only saw a little bundle of fur and love in Avery.

Avery was named after a feisty little hockey player and boy has she lived up to her name. She's more than feisty. She's defiant and stubborn and selective and indifferent. She's more like a cat than a dog and we cherish the moments, however few and far between, that she allows us to cuddle her and be sweet. She doesn't have time for it, there is too much trouble to get into and it's too much fun spending her days harassing Max. But. She has a little secret. This little devil turns into an angel of mush at night time. She must be with you and must be loved. In fact, she demands it.

We've both grown up with dogs in our lives and we can't wait to share with Maggie and Audrey the joys of being loved by a dog. I know that it will take some adjustment for the dogs to get used to our beans (especially Maximus), but I have a feeling that Max and Avery will fall in love as quickly as we have.

May 6, 2005. 18 weeks 4 days.

Posted by Hello
Here are our beans! It's getting easier and easier to see what they look like. As I posted before, #2 is 9.4 oz. and #1 is 9.5 oz. It was so wonderful to see them...I am so glad that I get to have so many ultrasounds throughout my pregnancy. It makes it more real (as if this ridiculously growing belly isn't proof enough!).#2 was curled up and sleepy throughout the scan. In fact, I had to roll this way and that in order for the tech to properly measure her! In both photos, you can see her placenta, which she was resting on at one point. In the first photo, she appears to be clasping her hands together and in the second one you can see her little legs scrunched up. #1 was flipping all over the place. At one point on her back and then soon after on her belly. The black spot towards her bottom is her stomach and the larger divided dark spot are the four chambers of her heart. In her second photo, she looks like she's rubbing her head or eyes. It's amazing how big they are getting. I've said before that I can't believe how they are going to fit in here, but I guess that's why I just keep growing.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Once a bean, always a bean.

So, now that we know who they are, we have begun calling them by their soon-to-be given names. Maggie and Audrey. We’ve always had Maggie, or at least I did, since I was a teen.

Maggie will be named after my paternal grandmother, a saint on earth in my book. She was loving and flighty and silly and protective. She cooked a mean chicken and dumplings and I can still remember the way she looked when she giggled or absent-mindedly wiped the table with her hands as she talked. We originally had “Grace” as a middle name for Maggie, but it’s been changed to my maiden name. Not for “feminist” reasons or anything like that, but because I just love the name. It’s beautiful and suits Margaret well. My father and uncle have informed me that they will be calling my girl "Peggy", which is what Margaret Sr. was called by those who loved her. I don't mind, as long as she's Maggie to us.

Audrey wasn’t a relative (that we know of), but a name we fell in love with. Actually, J did first, and he wouldn’t budge on it. I was surprised that he liked it so much. Audrey means noble strength. Which is exactly how I already imagine her. While Maggie has been extroverted and makes herself known often, Audrey is more reserved, quiet, petite and dainty. She gently taps me while Maggie hauls off and whales on me on a daily basis. Audrey likes to sleep more and during our ultrasounds, we’ve often had to nudge her to wake her up to cooperate with us. I would be surprised if they don’t retain these personality traits after they are born.

Audrey’s middle name will be Adelaide. Adelaide was the name of J’s maternal grandmother. I was unfortunate to have never met her, but it seems that she meant as much to him and his family as my gram meant to us. I don’t think that it’s coincidence that she passed away around the same time that my gram did, after hearing how wonderful she was. I think God was calling his favorites back that year. He’s told me stories of spending the night at her house or going to the movies with her and I can tell she was an amazing woman to love him so much and leave such an impact on his life. He tells me she’d love me and I’m sure I’d love her too!

The sweetest thing happened while the ultrasound technician was attempting to get a profile photo of Maggie. Throughout the scan, Maggie was flipping around and pushing back at the tech, but Audrey was curled up into a little ball, apparently unbothered by all of the poking and prodding she was enduring. All of a sudden, when the tech was about to get the shot she wanted of Maggie, Audrey rolled over onto Maggie’s belly and rested on her sister! It was the most precious thing I’ve ever seen. Maggie, who is 9.5 ounces, was finally able to get a profile shot, but Audrey, who is 9.4 ounces, wasn’t as cooperative, as she was still curled a little in the fetal position.

I imagine that I’ll still call them my beans even when they are grown up and out of the house. I imagine a lot of things about these two and hope they’re ready for us. We are a little more than nervous about the prospect of having them here and being good enough for them, but we couldn’t be happier or more excited to finally meet them.

And with that, Maggie just gave me a solid shove. Girls!

Monday, May 09, 2005

Nineteen Weeks!

This week of pregnancy, your baby is about 5 ½- 6 inches in length and weighs 7-8 ounces. Your baby is swallowing amniotic fluid and her kidneys are making urine.

She is very active and energetic. She goes through the motions of crying, and is equipped with a complete set of vocal cords, but without air, cannot make a sound.

Vernix is forming at this point. This is a creamy-looking substance that covers the baby’s skin in order to protect it and it’s developing glands and sensory cells. The vernix is composed of dead skin, oil and lanugo.

This week, permanent teeth buds are forming behind the milk teeth buds.

Organs of reproduction are developing rapidly, getting ready to sustain future generations. The uterus is clearly visible in the female and the testes are apparent in the male fetus.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

It's official! On Friday, May 6, 2005, we discovered that we are having twin girls!  Posted by Hello

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Bring on the sugar!

I passed the first glucose tolerance test! I was a little more than concerned that this was one test I would not pass, considering the added risks, but I did it! I'll have to take another one in about six weeks. Hopefully I'll still be okay.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Appointment update...and other news...

I don't, as a rule, post all of the appointment information, but this one was especially memorable. At this appointment, I had to take the glucose tolerence test, which was absolutely disgusting, but simple enough. I had to drink 10 ounces of orange flavored, carbonated glucose drink in five minutes. It was no easy feat and I didn't think I could make it. I have to test twice during my pregnancy because of the fact that multiple pregnancies hold a greater risk of gestational diabetes, as does a family history of diabetes. Two strikes. So, keep your fingers crossed and we'll see soon if I've got it...

The main reason I'm writing is because I was able to hear the cutest thing ever! Dr. M. was checking heartbeats (and didn't give me a heart rate which is frustrating...Dr. P. is the only OB in the practice that will tell me the heart rates...the others just indicate that they are good, etc.) and I was able to distinctly hear both of them loud and clear. But!!! She continued checking and told me they were fighting in there!!! AHAHAHA!!!! I thought I heard something different, a sort of thump-thump-thump. J was proud of that and desperately wants to get them matching "Tap Out or Pass Out" t-shirts. I have grown quite a bit in the past few weeks, but it looks like they are already running out of room and are jostling for space. It's put a smile on my face that likely won't leave for a few hours at least. Just thinking of them growing in there and developing personalities already - or at least I think so - makes my heart warm and makes them so much more real.

In other news, I am sad to say, I've seen the Starlight bedding in person and I'm so disappointed. It's not nearly as beautiful as what I saw on the website. So, now we're back to square one. I looked around for awhile to see if anything else would catch my eye, but nothing stood out. I think I may get a better idea after we find out who's in there.

Grandma & Grampa M. bought the beans their side-by-side stroller and I can't wait to get it! We weren't able to get a crib this weekend because of the fact that I wasn't able to find just the right bedding.

Stay tuned! On Friday, we have our fetal anatomy scan at the hospital. We've taken the day off in hopes that we can celebrate (1) healthy babies and (2) finding out who the heck are in there! We're keeping it a secret for ourselves for a couple of days, just to savor the news on our own, and we're sharing the news (if we are able to find out) with our families on Sunday - Mother's Day! It's also Grandma S.'s birthday, so hopefully it will be extra special for her!!

We're in Week 18!!

At about 5 1/2 inches (14 cm) in length and some 7 ounces (200 g) in weight, the fetus is growing fast and looking more and more babyish. During this week, your baby sense of hearing has become much more acute. The baby can hear noises within the uterus of your bowel moving and even the blood pumping within your vessels. Additionally, the baby can hear things outside the uterus. So if you are talking to your partner, the baby is hearing some sound. (You may even feel the baby get startled inside from noises that take place outside!)

Many of your baby’s bones have begun to harden into bone, rather than rubbery cartilage. Pads are forming on the fingertips and toes, and the eyes are looking forward rather than out the sides of the head. Meconium, the baby's first bowel movement, is accumulating within the bowel. If your baby is a boy, his prostate gland is beginning to develop.

If you notice your belly making jerky movements in sync, don't panic; your baby may have the hiccups!