Friday, July 31, 2009

Positive Day!


Today is Positive Day! This wonderful idea comes from Jen's Diva Daughter. I am more than happy to participate. Rather than write a new positive post, I want to share with you several of my recent positive posts.


If you've done any reading on my blog in the past 2 months, you will know that times have been trying. We could have let that bring us down. I could have let that bring this blog down. But, I didn't, we didn't. I've seen the good in all our struggles and God has seen us through them. We have 2 little miracles on the way, and we have been so blessed through their unexpected appearance, and through their health issues.



A doctor gave us hope and God taught me that He would give us strength. Jen was an amazing friend and updated all our friends and family post-surgery. Dana and I named the boys on our ride home from what appeared to be a successful surgery. Both boys showed improvement post-surgery.


God taught me a lesson in being served. God made me smile when I realized that the conception date of the boys was the same date as my tubal ligation just 2 years prior.


We get to see regular ultrasounds of our boys, on equipment that is amazing! We are blessed to have had the opportunity to see video of our boys, while they are still inside and developing, something that amazes me daily.
And last, I cannot forget that Dana and I have two wonderful, and goofy older kids to keep us smiling, laughing, and occasionally pulling out our hair. We make a great team, and we are all excited to meet the new additions.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Video of the boys!

I finally got it uploaded on YouTube! Now you can see the boys during their surgery. The first 47 seconds is just the placenta, but after that, you'll see some boys.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Hot Pregnant Chick



No, I don't mean sexy. Unless you consider hippos sexy, then maybe... Yes, I'm comparing myself to hippos lately, but not in a bad way. Yesterday I was a happy hippo, with our Jeep selling and Dana's new job turning out better than expected. This actually is a running email joke. My friend Jenny and I email each other almost daily, and she began with an adjective and an animal in the subject line one day. I think it was to make me smile on a bad day. Since then we've come up with several, and yesterday mine was Happy Hippos.

The reason I'm hot, is our temperatures! I'm not usually one to complain about the heat, but then again, I've never been entering the third trimester in July/August. And these 100 degree temps aren't really the norm for us here in Central Washington. We'll definitely plan the next pregnancy better. Oh wait, that's right, we didn't plan this one God did, and there aren't plans for another pregnancy. I'm requesting that Dr. Rowles do whatever is necessary to my tubes to make sure that we stick to our 4 kids!

And the belly? Well it just keeps on growing! I'm outgrowing clothes like crazy. Most of my shorts no longer fit. Shirts are a difficult balance. I have to find them big enough in the belly and small enough in the shoulders. Mostly I compromise on something a bit too big in the shoulders and a bit smaller than I'd like in the belly. My favorite outfits? Dresses. Most of those, when cut right, fit still. And, in this heat, they are the most comfortable thing I can wear. For that I'm thankful!

Photos courtesy of our sitter Sam

Sunday, July 26, 2009

MIA


Her usual face


Nothing says manly like riding your Harley in a faux fur coat with dirt up your nose!

Yes, I went MIA this week. It wasn't intentional, but it's been crazy! Grammy June had her knee replaced so we had our friends' daughter sitting for us. This meant I actually had to think about lunches for her to fix for the kids. Tuesday we were in Seattle for the boys check up. Then on Wednesday, Kaia woke up with a fever of 102. So we took her to the doctor. They did a strep test that came back negative, and sent her back to the lab for Influenza A and B testing. (apparently that's popping up around town) Both of those were negative.

It was settled she just had a plain ol virus, and we should all wash our hands well. Thursday she was improving and Mo was still going strong. I couldn't decide if I was catching her bug or just really sick from the smoke blowing into our valley from a forest fire in Canada. We seemed to be coming through fairly unscathed, though.

Friday morning, Mo was up with a 101 degree fever. I went into work, but had to come home to bring Tylenol for him as his fever rose before he could take more ibuprofen. Kaia was feeling better and Mo was down for most of the day. Dana and I are both well, so it was just a kid sharing virus this time around. But now, it's already Sunday! We are leaving for the beach in a week, the house is a mess, I still need to finalize childcare for this week, and the nursery is still in pieces. I have to love our crazy life!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

There is always a good side

As many of my regular readers know, I'm the eternal optimist. I always find the good, always believe in the good, and even when life is at its worst, I don't give up hope for long. Bless Dana for putting up with me. He is almost the opposite, always preparing for the worst, but happy to see the good when it comes.


Yesterday I discussed with him 2 wonderful things that have come from all this "crap" we've been dealing with.
  1. Had we suddenly found out I was having twins during a busy time at Dana's work, or when he wasn't in need of a month off for his eye surgery, I would not have qualified for medical care through the state. I have insurance, but without the state coverage, we would now owe thousands of dollars in co-insurance for the surgery and follow ups on our boys. And so I'm thankful for the financial hardships we have had.
  2. Having a high risk pregnancy has 1 great benefit, we get to see our babies a lot! I had 3 ultrasounds with Kaia. 2 quick ultrasounds at 9 and 12 weeks and the in depth one at 20 weeks. With Mo we also got 3. One to confirm pregnancy at 9 weeks. One at 18 weeks. And finally one at 32 weeks. With Brendon and Bryce we've had... I've lost count. A TON of ultrasounds. We've also had some 3D photos taken, and we've seen them live on video (a video I'm still trying to upload somewhere and edit for you all to view). This has really helped us both to bond with our boys. And now the latest 3D ultrasound:



The boys at 24 weeks 4 days. Bryce is on top, Brendon on the bottom. Brendon kept putting his head up against Bryce's face, so that was the best shot she could get. Now, just who do you think they look like?
Check out Brendon's chin. Then check out this cutie:


Monday, July 20, 2009

I understand


Not only do I know just how he feels, I so wish I could do that.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Happy Birthday!

July is a big birthday month for my family and Dana's. Both of our dads had birthdays in the past week, my niece has had a birthday, and today there are two more.

Happy Birthday Dana! I can't wait to see you, and hope you had a great time on your trip. I love you!

Happy Birthday Grandma! I hope you have a wonderful day and celebrate with friends. Sending my love to you!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Belly Shot and First Benchmark


Note to self: Clean the mirror! Scrap that, just clean your house already!

Today is the day! I have reached my first benchmark of 24 weeks. Babies born this week can survive, although it means months of NICU and future health problems. What's exciting about this benchmark is that I only have 4 weeks before I've met my next benchmark of 28 weeks. At that time survival rate goes up, time in NICU goes down, and risk health problems decrease significantly. Even better is at the next benchmark, the boys can be born here in town.

My goal is still to reach week 36-37, but secretly I won't be mad if it's week 35 as my grandma is visiting from Mexico and leaves at week 36. I'd love to have her here to see the boys as newborns. I have checked the calendar and as long as I keep these boys in until the beginning of October, I should have good healthy boys with almost no time in NICU.

Amazingly I still can get my halter top on! It doesn't cover my belly anymore, but it goes on. I'm measuring at 37 weeks now, so full term, and I have a good 11 weeks of growing left! I have made my goal of 24 pounds at 24 weeks, and waver between 24 and 25 pounds gained. I have 15 more pounds to gain before the boys are born. The good news, food sounds so good these days. Plus we'll be traveling to the beach again soon and the dungeness crab is calling my name. The bad news, I get full fast, stay full longer and have a bit of heartburn at times. It's becoming work to get in my calories, but I'm up for it.

Have a wonderful weekend! I will be working a yard sale tomorrow (pray for lots of sales!) and will also be trying to do something special for a certain someone's birthday.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Just for Laughs

This movie was made by Kaia, who was attempting to take a photo. I think it is hilarious. video

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Lookin Good

The Jack Skellington Photos or Terminators. You pick.


The boys are both looking good. We had an appointment on Thursday, and all the blood flows look good. My cervix is still "rock solid" with 5 cm in length, just as it should be. I'm happy to report that there really is nothing to report. The boys are active, healthy, and enjoy making my belly look like aliens may pop out at any moment.


I will see the perinatal doctor at the University of Washington on Tuesday. As long as things still look good and my non-stress test looks good, I will be released to have all my care in Yakima! I will then see a combination of my OB, Dr. Rowles, and the Perinatal Dr from UW that comes to Yakima to see patients.


I'm sure you all know how happy I am to hear that. Just one more trip! I'm giddy over not wasting full days and endless amounts of money to go to Seattle. Not that it is wasted, our boys are fully worth it, but home is where I want to be and stay!


A little fun fact: I had my tubal ligation on February 13, 2007. At one of my last appointments, the computer did the math and said that my conception date was... Yep, February 13, 2009. I don't believe in coincidences. God has a great sense of humor. Same reason He gave us twins after the tubal ligation and not before.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Equal Opportunity

I worried that the boys would feel left out of the craft project at Kaia's birthday party. Good thing 3 year old's aren't too worried about the color pink.



Just don't call them princesses!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Cupcake Lessons

Each birthday party I have a naive belief that my experience as a professional baker will help me create a wonderful cake or cupcakes for the party. Each year, I am so wrong!

Maybe it's that I rarely have time in all the preparation to bake a cake from scratch, except I know the mixes are just as good. I have at times rightly blamed my cake pans which warped during the baking. Other times it has been a glazing or frosting recipe that just didn't cooperate.

This year I had one small issue and one big issue, the cake flavor and the cupcake liners! Kaia really wanted carrot cake cupcakes. I needed a mix, since her party was less than 2 weeks post surgery, but I couldn't find one! I went to 2 different stores looking, and decided that I wasn't going to anymore stores. I had planned on 2 different flavors, so instead of carrot I bought strawberry cake mix and a chocolate mix. Afterward I learned that the spice cake can be used and the carrots added, also I heard that Albertson's carried the mix Kaia wanted. Luckily she decided that strawberry would be ok.

I found a good deal on the Reynolds Foil Baking Cups. The nice thing was, they were separated with paper liners. So I was able to use foil for the strawberry cupcakes and the paper for chocolate. Silly me, I made the mistake of reading the package. It claimed that there was no need to use a cupcake pan. I thought this was wonderful. I'd be able to cook the cupcakes faster by baking more on a large cookie sheet. I quickly loaded up all the foil liners with strawberry cake mix and put them in the oven. I quickly regretted reading the package when I looked in at my baking cupcakes. You don't NEED a cupcake pan, as long as you don't care what they look like.



The cupcakes were flat on top, and many had baked dents into them. At least all the chocolate cupcakes that were baked in my non-warping cupcake pan (a Christmas present from my aunt) looked good.



They looked better frosted, but were still very difficult to frost as the tops never developed a nice browning to keep them from falling apart. The birthday girl didn't seem to mind though.



I hear the strawberry cupcakes tasted good too. I tried a bite of one, realized they taste like strawberry milk, and quickly gave the rest of it to Mo.

Overall I wasn't happy with the baking cups. Not only should they be used with a cupcake pan, but as you can see from the photo, they separated from the cupcakes too easily. I wanted a pretty sugared edge, but between the flat tops and the peeling liners, it just didn't have the pretty factor I hoped for. There is always 2010, and that year I'll have 3 separate children's parties to throw. Maybe I will have reached my full potential by the boys' first birthday.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Lessons Learned

Bryce looking just like he was laughing at us! 21 weeks


Brendon with his hand up to his cheek. 21 weeks

These past 3 weeks have gone by in a blur. In so many ways we are lucky that from the time of diagnosis to surgery on the boys was just days apart. I've realized now that waiting could have been agony. I'm also so thankful that we were able to have the surgery done, I've heard from other women that weren't good candidates for the surgery, and then on Sunday a friend told me that one of her patients has kidney disease. A young patient that will likely begin to need dialysis soon. When she asked the mom what happened, the answer was Twin to Twin and she hadn't had surgery.



The boys continue to look great at check ups. We have one this week, and one next week, and then I'm back in town with Dr. Rowles! I'm eagerly awaiting that day. That is the day when we no longer spend full days driving to Seattle, we will no longer watch all of our income go into the gas tank, parking fees, and fast food lunches, and I won't have to sit in the scary bunny-boob-bikini art room that is University of Washington Medical Center's Maternal Infant Care Clinic. picture to follow if the waiting room isn't packed full of people



I believe that God had a plan in all of this. Just like He had a plan for me to get pregnant, and then to really throw Dana and I off with twins. He had a lesson for me, one that I've never wanted to learn. The most important lesson I'm taking from all of this is that I don't have to be so independent.



My stubborn independence permeates my life. Some time ask Dana how many times I've actually cried because I was scared, or upset. Unless it's tears of frustration, even Dana and the kids don't see me cry. I just don't cry in front of other people, maybe I fear it shows weakness.


I don't like to ask for help. I don't ask for help carrying a box, or moving furniture, I just do it. When finances have been tight or non-existant, I've juggled and moved things to squeak us by, anything to keep from having to admit that I might need help. Even when it has come to prayer requests, I've always felt better asking people to pray for others, and not me.



Yet in the last month, all of that has changed. I've asked for prayers for me and the entire family not just from my moms devotional group, and not just from church, but from the whole wide blogging world. I've asked for help with meals during my week of bedrest and for some to stock in the freezer to eat after a long day in Seattle. I've asked for help with childcare and grocery shopping. I've even had to ask for temporary help with finances and gratefully accepted cash to help cover trip expenses.



It has been a hard lesson to learn. One that I don't think I would have learned had the lives of our boys not been endangered. And it's still a lesson in progress, as I struggle to write this and hit publish post. But, I'm thankful that I am learning the lesson, and I'm thankful for the good that has come from this experience. Dana and I are more dedicated than ever to working together to bring these boys into our family safe and healthy!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Why I Encourage Used Gifts


One thing I have done for the past year and a half is include this phrase in the Evite for the kids' birthday parties: Gifts are not necessary. Second hand is welcome. Each time the kids have received one or two gifts that were either bought second hand, or were from the home. Many times it has been clothing, but this year for Kaia's birthday we got more.

I find that this breaks down a barrier for people. There is no need to spend a lot of money, and there is no need to buy cheap junk because that's all that's affordable. Often times the second hand gift is worth far more than what someone would buy to give new, because they don't have to buy. On Saturday, Kaia got some great second hand gifts!

1. My cousin, a teacher, gave her a great little cart with colored drawers to organize her art supplies. She also bought another under the bed style plastic tote and a few art kits. If I remember correctly the cost for the gift was less than $10, because the cart was one she'd had for her old classroom.

2. Kaia received a big box of art supplies from my sister-in-law and Dana's brother. They gathered up all of her daughter's leftover paper, a window cling kit, and plenty of lanyard plastic. All of which were no longer useful to an 18 year old.

3. One of the gifts included in that box of art supplies was a doggie deck of Uno. And Uno has become the new family game! We've played at least 2 games an evening since then. Dana and I are enjoying the time with Kaia, and she enjoys the attention. Mo has played a game, but he's passed most of the time because he gets bored.

Kaia enjoys these gifts just as much as her new Skechers, her new clothes, the new Taylor Swift cd, and all the other great art supplies. She also received her first gift card from Grammy and Papa, and she cannot wait to go shopping at Michaels for more crafts.



She also is enjoying her Gabriella costume from my brother and his family.

What gifts have you received that weren't new? Are you comfortable giving gifts that weren't bought new?