Wednesday, March 6, 2013

We are in love.

The pregnancy.

Somewhere around nine months ago, our dreams of adding to our family came true... we were pregnant again. After miscarrying not long before, we were cautiously optimistic. And... when we learned that we would be adding not just one, but two babies to our family... we were nervous, but mostly ecstatic. While bringing our family count to seven seemed overwhelming to some, we knew we had been immensely blessed.

Two boys.

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36 + 5 weeks... 4 days before delivery.

My pregnancy was completely uneventful... no morning sickness, no bed rest, no preterm labor... none of those things I was so worried about with a twin pregnancy. Today... March 6th... was my due date. But our boys have already been here for almost three weeks.

We decided to take the boys at 37 + 2 weeks after baby A was a little slow to respond during a non-stress test the day before. Although he ultimately ended up passing the test, we felt good about how far we had gone in our pregnancy and decided to take them the next day... Valentine's Day... before we got to a point of the boys showing distress and having an emergency situation on our hands. Both boys were frank breech and we were scheduled for a cesarean section because of this.

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36 + 5 weeks... I miss that belly. Wah.

Although a Valentine's Day birth was already special in and of itself... our boys now share a birthday with my grandmother. ♥ 

In the weeks leading into our delivery of the boys, I was what I call, um... seriously hormotional. Scratch that... my entire pregnancy, I was seriously hormotional. After experiencing the trauma of Payton's birth, I had a lot of anxiety about the health and delivery of the twins. Every major milestone of my pregnancy yielded massive tears of joy... little by little, my worries were lifted. The most prominent moment was after an ultrasound at 34w6d... we had hit the 34 week mark and each of our boys were measuring 5 lb 12 oz. The over-5-lb milestone was so important to me... I do believe I sobbed for 10 minutes straight as I drove away from the doctor's office. I knew how important this milestone was to the health of our boys and it was just such a relief. Thereafter, I really calmed down and just enjoyed the remainder of my pregnancy.

The delivery.

Going into delivery, a lot of my anxiety came back. Everything became so real and being back in the birthing center where we have so much history... I was pretty nervous. I worried about the boys having trouble at birth, I worried about surprise health issues, I worried about... well, you name it... I worried about it. 

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After being prepped in triage, it was time. They explained to us that I would be taken to the operating room for further prep, and that Kyle would have to wait outside until it was time to begin. Ahem. Cue the waterworks. The minute they led me down that hallway... and the heavy doors slammed behind us, I couldn't stop crying. I was scared to death of the spinal... but I was even more scared that I would feel pain when they cut me open. That didn't happen, of course. And, like I said, I was scared that everything would just be okay. I needed everything to just be okay. 

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The prep seemed to take forever. There were a million people in the room, including countless students who were being taught a new prep method. And I'm pretty sure they were there to witness a twin delivery. I digress. My doctor kept saying she was so embarrassed, that she had never seen so many people in an operating room.

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Eventually, I heard someone ask if everyone was ready to begin and Kyle appeared by my side. At 12:56 p.m.... baby A, Camden, was born. After hearing that he was out, it seemed like forever that I waited to hear him cry, even though I think it really was only a matter of seconds. I was crying and asking if he was okay... and then I heard the most glorious cry I have ever heard. Seconds later... baby B, Weston, was born. His bag of water was intact as they pulled him out and I heard a huge whoosh sound, which was my water breaking "all over the place and onto the floor", according to Kyle. I remember Weston crying right away and soon enough... Kyle was meeting his sons on the other side of the room. 

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As I laid there on the table, my doctor made small talk about the babies. All I wanted to know was that they were healthy... I beat down the elephant in my head and blurted out, "Do they have Down syndrome?" So random... I realize this. Ha. My doctor laughed, said no... and told me they were healthy and beautiful.

And then my boys were brought to me... love.

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Recovery and hospital stay.

After delivery, I was out of it... more out of it than I ever remember being after giving birth. I literally could not keep my eyes open and even though I was physically present, I am a little sad that I do not feel I got to enjoy that time with my babies. Sigh.

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My first time holding both of my boys.

The babies did amazing and never had to go to the nursery out of concern. Both of them lost close to 10% of their body weight... thankfully both were just under the 10% mark, so it never became a huge issue. We did end up having to stay in the hospital one night longer because both boys had a bit of jaundice. They were both restricted to bili-blankets in my room. That made me cry, but I knew I had to get over it because in the scheme of things... this was minor. Ha! Their levels went down fairly quickly and we went home the next day.

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Camden.

During our stay in the hospital, our pediatrician detected what he classified as a significant murmur in Camden's heart. Cardiology was called in and indeed... he has a couple (two or three) tiny VSD's and a PFO. The PFO could be normal... or so I'm told. The VSD's... meh, I was pretty upset, even though we went through this with Payton. I think the fact that he has more than one is what put me over the edge. Thankfully, they are tiny like Payton's was and we are praying they close on their own sooner than later. Camden also has a dilated kidney... this was detected in utero. We will follow up with ultrasounds to make sure it is resolving itself.

Meeting big brother and sisters.

The kids came to the hospital to meet the babies the afternoon after their birth. When they arrived, Payton refused to go past the doorway because she didn't like seeing me laid up in a hospital bed. She is very sensitive when it comes to others being "hurt".

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Eventually, she made her way into the room. She loves her babies.

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Seeing the kids with their little brothers makes my heart skip a beat. I love that they are old enough to hopefully remember their brothers being born. Mason is such a natural with the boys and Payton mimics everything I do... it is the sweetest thing. Addison can't quite handle the babies on her own, but she loves her time holding them with help. We are all in love.

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Going home. 

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*Hospital photos courtesy of Stephanie Ascari Photography.

Monday, October 29, 2012

About that baby gender thing.

Feeling somewhat accomplished right now after spending yesterday getting a start on painting the girls' new bedroom. We are doing major bedroom swaps to prepare for the arrival of the babies... and I am freaking out a wee bit because this pregnancy is more than half over and the nursery... and the girls' room... are still in shambles.

A peek at what is to come in the girls' room... super excited for it to be done. 

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We are in a state of emergency right now courtesy of Sandy... school is closed, local governments are closed, the federal government is closed... and people are freaking out. I have jumped on the freaking out bandwagon this morning and husband is out searching for water and such.

Clearly we are the king and queen of procrastination.

Ahem.

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Payton and Addison are in such a fun place right now... Payton tells us quite often they are "best friends". Addison may be the forced bestie at this point... but it's all good. Ha. I have to say that adopting Addison has to be one of the best things we have ever done... for both of the girls. They are together all.the.time and they learn so much from each other.

So excited for what the future holds for these two chicks.

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Payton's speech has really taken off lately... it is seriously entertaining and so rewarding to hear the things she comes up with. She has officially learned to tattle and can tell us in complete sentences why she is tattling. With each sentence... I beam. This is huge for us... slowly but surely, we are on our way.

We are slowly winding down the fall season of football and baseball. Playoffs are in a couple weeks and I am looking forward to the weeks of nothingness that follow.

For some reason... I get pretty emotional watching Mason play football. Yes... I am pregnant and yes... I have double hormone. Ha. But seriously... even though he has played tackle for a few years now, I think this year he finally gets it. In my mind... football is a big kid sport and to see him out there doing exactly what he is supposed to do to help his team... when I myself don't even really understand... it just makes me proud. 

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Yeah, yeah... clearly I am a pregnant sap.

Pregnancy is going really well... other than a few sciatic aches, I'm good. I will be 22 weeks tomorrow. The babies are doing excellent... they appear healthy and are measuring ahead. And husband got to feel them move for the first time earlier this week... so sweet.

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Baby A.

19w5d week baby stats...

Baby A: Measured 20w3d, weighed 12 ounces, heartbeat 141 bpm.
Baby B: Measured 20w4d, weighed 13 ounces, heartbeat 142 bpm.

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Baby B.

So about that baby gender thing... the story goes like this...

We had IVF (in vetro fertilization) back in March of this year. Prior to starting our cycle, we learned about a genetics study through our clinic and we were accepted into the study. Not only did it help with cost, but we were able to get genetic testing done on our embryos for free.

Now... we historically were extremely conflicted about doing genetic testing on our embryos. We knew that our personal morals and values with regard to Down syndrome could be put at risk... and we were not sure we could handle finding out that one of our embryos had Down syndrome... and then be okay with discarding of that life.

On the flip side... we recognize that our plate is full and while we understand that any pregnancy brings risk of issues, we went into this wanting to add a typical child (Lord, I hate that term) to our family. It is what it is... and in no way takes away from our insane, intense love of Payton, Addison and their extra genetic material. 

That said... we were never going to spend the $6,000-$7,000 on genetic testing. But now we had a chance to get it for free... so we agreed. And when all was said and done... none of our embryos had Down syndrome... so thankfully we did not have to face the very thing we dreaded so much.

Moving forward... since we did a frozen embryo transfer, we transferred the two healthiest embryos we had sitting on ice. We were never given gender with our genetic testing results... it was not the purpose of the study.

But when I was around 9 weeks pregnant... our reproductive endocrinologist told us he requested the gender of our embryos from the genetics company. Well, of course we wanted to know... and we learned the two embryos that were transferred were one boy, one girl.

With 99% certainty.

Since the twins each have their own sac and their own placenta... it is assumed that they are di/di fraternal twins. When you add IVF to the equation... it tends to rule out di/di identical twins because that split happens around day 1-2 (20-30% of the time in natural twin pregnancies)... so they say. Our embryos were observed in the lab through day 5-6... meaning they would have seen if they had split... so they say.

So that rules out the theory that our girl did not implant... and that our boy split in identical twins. Both of our specialists say they doubt that happened. Our reproductive endocrinologist believes that the genetic testing was wrong when it came to gender. If true, this means that we fell in the 1% range of error.

All I can do is laugh. Because this crap only happens to us... I swear. And we definitely have two penises.

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We really will not know for sure what happened until the babies are born... when we can test them to see if they are identical or fraternal. And if they are identical... this would be an extremely rare thing, to the point that our reproductive endocrinologist wants to submit our case to a medical journal.

Oy.

So all plans have been thrown out the window... and we have changed directions. Two boys... we are equally excited.

Monday, October 22, 2012

she is six... the annual bash.

Yesterday my baby turned six... and the thing that is even weirder to me is that we are coming up on the anniversary of her being home with us for four years. That is just crazy to me... but here we are.

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We had our annual halloween birthday bash... much more low key this year. So fun.

The grub. Kept it easy this year with chili, pizza and homemade mac-n-cheese... oh, and a few salts and sweets. And drinks.

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Our costumes... literally thrown together in a day... err, less. Looks involved... but it wasn't.

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This picture of my kids cracks.me.up... it is so indicative of their personalities. Payton looking to Mason to copy whatever it is that he is doing... and Nika off to the side, picking at her fingers, being shy when the attention is on her. Sigh.

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Our guests... yes, costumes are mandatory... and oh, so fun.

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A halloween party ain't no halloween party without the donut game. We do this every year... it never gets old.

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Pass the apple... this was quite the cluster... and quite funny, actually.

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Happy birthday, baby girl.

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Instead of getting an assortment of party favors for the kids to pick from this year... which usually get chucked around my house courtesy of all the crazy boys... I just got these glow masks from the dollar bins at Target. They were pretty cool... definitely a hit with the kids. And they made their eyes look all eery... almost like those fake halloween contacts that they sell.

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I think our halloween parties may be one of my favorite things each year... a tradition to keep, that is for sure.

Monday, October 1, 2012

one boy, one girl.

I think being an infertility patient, I always knew that twins could be in our future. But it didn't happen with Mason... and it didn't happen with Payton. So I guess I really thought it would not ever happen. Clearly the third time is a charm, right?

I can't lie and say that my mind never wandered... and I always said that if we did have twins... ever, in our lives... that one boy and one girl would be perfect for our family. Mason would get a brother... which seriously is what he wants so badly... and we would get our typical girl... a sister for the girls.

One boy, one girl it is.

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We had a little gender reveal party to reveal to our family and closest friends the sex of the babies. We have actually known since around nine weeks... our infertility doctor was able to get that information from a genetics study we participated in and our nurse left the information on my voice mail. We really had not planned to find out that way... but my screams to drown out her voice mail before I could turn my phone off did not work.

One boy, one girl. We are so happy.

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No party of ours is a party without some fun little details. We order a box o'sandwiches from Pot Belly, which worked perfect. Add a fruit salad, some pasta salad and some sweets... wa la. For drinks, we had pink lemonade and some assortment of blue gatorade.

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desserts

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groups

One boy, one girl.

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