The Nursery!

For months, I was sort of bitter about having to move my nice, cozy office down to the basement to make room for the twins’ nursery. I was quite happy working in that bright room, with the sun streaming in every afternoon and Cheyenne Mountain outside the window.

Then we made the switch. And now I can’t imagine that room being anything other than Matt and Nate’s nursery. I am absolutely in love with it! I find myself going in there several times a day for no reason other than to simply look at it.

We had a lot of help bringing the boys’ room to life. Two weekends ago, Keith’s brother Ken was in town. He, Keith, and their friends Willie and Ben spent Saturday afternoon moving and arranging all of the office furniture downstairs, putting together the cribs, and setting up the baby furniture. They were a well-oiled machine, and we truly thank them for all of their help!

The following weekend, our friend Amanda came over to help us decorate the nursery. She has a great eye for decor, so she helped us make the room look amazing! Bless her heart—she even put the sheets on the cribs and tied all of the bumpers on, then helped Keith hang pictures and the boys’ names on the walls. All this, while I sat my big butt in the glider and threw out orders.

Here are some photos of the finished product!

Keith has a new favorite chair!

Thank you, Amanda, for all of your help!

Now we’ll just add a few things here and there as we find them, like a big animal-themed picture on the wall between their cribs. But we already think the boys will love their new room. Thank you to everyone who bought us furniture, bedding, and decor for the nursery!

And, finally, to give you all an idea of how big my belly has gotten, here is a photo of me from two weeks ago at 30 weeks pregnant:

And here I am a few days ago, at 32 weeks!

I feel like I’m about to tip over!

The Home Stretch

Ever since our scare a few weeks ago, both of my doctors have been monitoring the twins closely. I now go for a weekly fetal non stress test (NST), which measures the babies’ movements and heart rates for about 20 minutes using three monitors strapped to my belly. The pressure on my abdomen seems to bug Matt and Nate, because they start moving like crazy as soon the monitors are strapped on, thus knocking them all over the place and making the test unnecessarily difficult. But it sure is fun to watch!

I also go for a weekly biophysical profile (BPP), which involves a lengthy ultrasound that measures the babies’ breathing, movement, muscle tone, and heart rate, as well as my amniotic fluid. My latest BPP was on Monday, May 23. I was 32 weeks and 1 day into the pregnancy.

Matt, our little guy, now weighs 3 pounds, 8 ounces! It seems he is more eager to enter the world than his brother. His head is so far down in my pelvis that the ultrasound technician could not get an accurate measurement. She had to call in the perinatologist, who proceeded to manhandle my belly and slowly guide the baby up higher so she could do her thing. (Pregnant women, don’t try this at home—you can rupture your amniotic sac if you don’t do it properly!) We also could not get a good picture of Matt’s face, since he is facing backward.

Nate, our big boy, is tipping the scales at 4 pounds, 3 ounces! He has settled in behind and above his brother, and not quite head down—which means he will definitely be born second. It also means I will almost certainly get a C-section, since Matt won’t be able to make enough room for him to make his entrance. But, we were able to get a 3D scan of his face. The only problem was, he decided to play Peek-A-Boo and hide behind his little hand. I guess he doesn’t want to reveal himself until he makes his grand entrance.

Peek-A-Boo!

The doctor said that both boys have been growing well and their biophysicals look good. He is not as concerned about Matt’s smaller stomach because it has grown substantially over the past few weeks.

However, Matt’s breathing rate is slightly fast. While the doctor is not too concerned yet, he does want to check it again in two weeks. The appointment will be on June 8. If the breathing rate is still high enough to cause alarm, I will be hospitalized and given steroid injections to stimulate growth of the boys’ lungs … and then the twins will be delivered! If the breathing is slower, they will likely wait another two weeks before delivering the babies.

So, in two weeks’ time, Keith and I may be a mommy and daddy! While that would mean he’ll deploy a bit sooner than we’d hoped, it is overshadowed by the sheer joy and excitement we feel about welcoming our little boys into the world. We are beyond excited to meet them and to become a family … so excited, in fact, that in the two days since the BPP we got the car seats inspected (and learned that Keith installed them like a champ), threw the last few necessities into our hospital bags, and put the final touches on the nursery. Stay tuned for photos!

Baby Drama

The past few weeks have been a whirlwind, which began with our first melodramatic pregnancy moments.

In mid April, my OB decided she wanted me to start having bi-weekly fetal fibronectin tests. The test is given to women who are at high risk for preterm labor. (Being pregnant with multiples automatically places me in that category.) It looks for a protein secreted by the cervix as it prepares for labor. If the test comes back negative, you are likely not going into labor in the next two weeks. If it comes back positive, that’s when things get tricky.

My first fetal fibronectin test came back negative. I had my second test on April 27.

Friday, April 29 began as a great day for me. My mom was flying in that night for a long weekend, and Keith and I were planning to go to a Rockies game while we waited for her to arrive. First, Keith had to go in to work for an important pre-deployment meeting with his brigade commander and a few others.

At 9:05 that morning—only five minutes into Keith’s meeting—my OB’s medical assistant called. “I have some news!” she announced. “Your fetal fibronectin test came back positive!” As my heart began to race, she informed me that I needed to get to my perinatologist’s office “as soon as possible” so he could start me on steroid injections. The steroids would help the twins’ lungs to develop in case they had to come early.

I flew into a complete panic. First, I called my mom, hysterical crying. “I can’t give birth this weekend!” I shrieked. “I’m only 28 1/2 weeks along!” Then, I began to think about all of the things I hadn’t yet done. I had not yet packed a single item into the hospital bag, or even purchased the cribs!

I called Keith right away, and he raced out of his meeting. We high-tailed it to the perinatologist’s office in a frenzy. We did not calm down until he walked into the room and we saw his face. “Relax,” he said. “This is likely nothing to worry about.”

He and an ultrasound technician ran a few tests to look for other markers of preterm labor. There were none present. “You’re fine,” he said. “Go home and relax.”

It turns out that a positive fetal fibronectin test result does not mean much. As the perinatologist explained, it could mean the expectant mom has a 30% chance of going into labor in the next two weeks, or a whopping 85% chance. Only the negative result is absolute. (It sure would have been nice for the medical assistant to share that tidbit with us.) Keith and I went home, collected ourselves, and went to the baseball game—business as usual.

The following Monday—May 2—I went back to the perinatologist’s office for my regular growth ultrasound. For the first time, Keith couldn’t get out of work to come with me. Luckily, my mom was still in town! The boys did not perform much for Grandma, but the doctor said they were looking great. Matthew weighed 2 lb. 8 oz., while Nathaniel was a whopping  2 lbs. 14 oz. (The little tubber!) Nate was also now in a breech position.

The doctor was, however, concerned about one thing: Matthew’s stomach was measuring small for his gestational age. To monitor it, he wanted me to return for another growth ultrasound in two weeks. If it still hadn’t caught up, he’d likely start me on the steroids in case the boys needed to come out early so that Matthew could get more nutrition.

Of course, this sent me into another bout of worry and obsession. Despite Mom’s and Keith’s reassurances, I couldn’t resist going home and doing Internet research to read about all of the horrible things a small stomach could indicate. (Lesson to all: Do NOT use the Internet to research symptoms, unless you want to believe you are dying when you really only have a stomach flu).

But my appointment with my regular OB the following week once again eased my fears. She said that many twins have small stomachs, and that they usually beef right up after birth and are fine. She also said that Matt’s body is doing what it’s supposed to be doing, which is directing the nutrients he is getting to all of his vital organs—his heart, lungs, etc.

So, Keith and I have been feeling quite a bit better about things over the past week and a half. But the scares did spur us to action. My hospital bag is now packed, and the nursery is almost finished. I can’t wait to post photos of it! I am now 31 weeks along, and we are ready for anything. Stay tuned for more updates!

“Haaaa….heeeee”

Keith and I had gotten mostly negative reviews of childbirth classes from friends who had taken them. Adjectives ranged from “comical” to “scary” to “pointless.” Besides, since we are expecting twins, we knew our childbirth experience would likely be quite different from what we’d learn in class.

But all of our pals’ warnings only served to increase our curiosity. So, we signed up for a class given at our hospital. It would include four two-and-a-half-hour weekday evening sessions.

We showed up on the first evening like good students, toting the pillows we’d been instructed to bring. We were one of eight couples in the class. Only two of the couples were expecting girls, and Keith and I were the only ones expecting twins.

We started by discussing the stages of labor. We split into four groups, and each group had to go to the whiteboard to write down symptoms moms-to-be experience in each labor stage. Since all of the symptoms were listed in the books we’d been given, this did not prove to be much of a challenge. One member from each group then had to present the list to the class. Our group must have sensed Keith’s leadership skills, because they designated him as the presenter. Watching my husband stand in front of a room of people and say things like, “She’ll experience increased vaginal discharge,” and “She may lose her mucous plug” was worth the $70 class fee in itself.

We then got to watch a video straight out of the 1970s, featuring women with poor grooming habits pushing out their babies completely unmedicated. As strange earthy music played, the women groaned, screamed, and let out basically every other animal sound known to man. “She is powerful,” said the narrator in a soft voice as one woman writhed in pain. “She trusts her body to do what it’s meant for.”

The instructor told the men in the class to pay special attention to what the dads in the video were doing to support the moms. Their techniques included tentatively patting the moms’ backs, touching their foreheads and noses and mustaches to the women’s faces, and saying things like, “Be strong, honey!” Let it be known that if Keith does any of those things, he’ll likely wind up with a left hook to the face. (That being said, Keith knows better than to do any of those things, anyway).

The video culminated in up-close views of the babies coming out. Our favorite mom was the one who screamed, “DOES IT LOOK LIKE A BABY?!?!?!”

The main lesson I learned from the video? GET AN EPIDURAL, stat. While I truly applaud any woman who manages to give birth unmedicated, no thank you. Not for me. I also learned to not let anyone videotape me in labor and to do my best to visit the waxer before the big day.

Keith’s big takeaway? To not look when the doctors are delivering my placentas. (Yes, I have two of them … lucky me).

We showed up for class number two still scarred from the first class. We were delighted to learn that the first half of class would be devoted to a tour of the birthing center. That was actually really fun! We got to see the birthing rooms, the nursery, and the recovery rooms.

But from there, it went downhill. We were all instructed to lie on the floor with our heads on our pillows—the ladies on our sides and the men on their backs—as the teacher talked us through some relaxation exercises. That was when Nate, who was on the side touching the floor, decided to begin kicking me furiously. I had to lift my hip up as pain soared through my back. I’m pretty sure Keith fell asleep.

Then, the guys had to get behind the ladies and reach over to feel our chests as the instructor told us how we are supposed to breathe during contractions. Now, maybe this is helpful for some moms-to-be, but I know that when the day comes and I am in labor, the last thing I am going to think is, “Wait, how did the teacher say I am supposed to breathe?” As Keith and I did our best to stifle our laughter, the rest of the expecting couples seemed to be really into the exercise. One of the dads even joined in the breathing: “Haaaaa…..heeeee. Haaaaa….heeeee.” That really put Keith and me over the edge.

Needless to say, after that session, we decided our days of childbirth class were over. We skipped the third class, and will sit out the fourth one as well. Do we regret going to the first two? No way. They will provide us with many good laughs for years to come. And, despite all of the silliness, we did actually learn a few things about the signs of labor and what to expect during childbirth. We just think the rest is stuff we can easily read in a book.

Just for kicks, here’s a photo of me at 27 weeks pregnant:

Who else has taken a childbirth class? I’d love to hear your experiences in the comments section!

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