A rite of passage for many expecting couples is the professional pregnancy photo shoot. So naturally, Keith and I scheduled one with the best photographer we know—my brother, Dan, of Marino Photography. As a mom-to-be, I am in awe of my own growing belly and I wanted to document it forever. Plus, I think the twins will get a kick out of seeing photos of how large Mommy was when they were in her tummy!
On March 26, the morning of my baby shower, Dan turned my parents’ living room into a makeshift photo studio. A black backdrop, huge lights, and all sorts of crazy paraphernalia filled the room as Mom and Dad rushed back and forth, getting ready and loading the car for the shower. When looking at the finished product, though, you’d never guess what was going on behind the scenes! Below are some of our favorite shots from the shoot. My only regret is forgetting to get photos with the cameraman himself!
Dan is available to shoot kids, families, events…pretty much anything! Check him out at danmarinophoto.com!
Whoa! It’s been way too long since I’ve posted, but I’ve had a very busy—and very fun—few weeks. I’ll do my best to fill you in on everything in the next several blog posts.
From March 18-23, my best friend, Christine—Auntie Christine to the twins—came to Colorado for a visit. Despite my being unable to drink, hike, or do many of the other activities people like to engage in when they visit, we still managed to pack a lot of fun into her time here!
The weather was in the 70s and sunny throughout Christine’s stay. Garden of the Gods was, as always, a highlight of the trip. Keith and I were thrilled to see lots of parents pushing their babies in strollers or hiking with them in backpacks. It reassured us that we’ll be able to maintain our active lifestyle even with two little ones in tow!
We also enjoyed a DELICIOUS brunch at the Cheyenne Mountain Resort, at which I think I ate more than Christine and Keith put together (but sadly had to skip the mimosa). Here I am on the resort’s patio at exactly 23 weeks pregnant:
And with Daddy!
Seven Falls was also loads of fun:
Even Flat Stanley had to show the baby bump some love!
Auntie Christine and her nephews also enjoyed their first visits to the Olympic Training Center, the Broadmoor, and the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo.
The night after Christine left, Keith and I took a red-eye to New York for my baby shower. It was my last plane ride until after the babies are born, which is strange for someone so used to being able to hop a flight on a moment’s notice. Guess that’s just another change I’ll have to get used to when I become a mommy. Stay tuned for photos from the baby shower weekend!
This morning we had yet another ultrasound. Matthew—who’d been lying across the top of my belly for the first half of the pregnancy—is now head down and in perfect position to make his grand entrance into the world. I wasn’t surprised to see this. About a week ago, I felt some strange movements on my left side while lounging on the couch with Keith. When we looked down, my tummy was completely lopsided. The right side was still its perfect round shape, but the left was raised and kinda lumpy. When we pressed on it, it totally felt like baby.
“Wow!” I remember saying to Keith. “This is definitely Matthew! He’s moved!”
And sure enough, both twins are now head down, feet up. In fact, Matthew is now lower than Nathaniel. That means he technically should be labeled Baby A now … but for the sake of not mixing the twins up, he will remain Baby B.
The boys were playing footsie during the ultrasound! Nate is now one pound exactly, while Matt is one pound and two ounces. Unfortunately, this ultrasound was done at my regular OB/GYN’s office rather than at the perinatologist’s office, so the scans are not as clear. However, I do have a fetal growth ultrasound on April 4 at the perinatologist’s office, so I can post more photos of the growing boys then!
I also have an appointment on April 1 for my gestational diabetes test. Yes, I have tons of appointments, and Keith comes with me to every single one—even if he has to dash out of work between meetings and take me to the doctor in his uniform. That makes me realize that even though he won’t be here for the twins’ entire first year, I am extremely lucky to have such an involved and enthusiastic father for my twins. I love having Keith here to experience the pregnancy with me. He gets such joy out of seeing my belly grow, feeling the kicks, etc.
Keith is also so eager to put together all of the baby gear that our extremely generous relatives and friends have been sending to our house. This is wonderful, but it also means that the twins are already taking over our home! In the past few weeks alone, we’ve received car seats, a swing, booster seats, and lots more. Keith gets to work on them all right away—even though I remind him that the boxes take up less space than the assembled products!
To give you a sense of how just how much space these two little babies and all of their things will take up, here is a photo of our new double stroller (Thanks, Aunt Terry and Uncle Andy!) with one of the car seats in it (Thank you, Tianying and JC!).
It’s about double the size of me! How do I look pushing it?
On Sunday I hit my official 22-week mark! That means if all goes as planned, the boys will be here in about 15 weeks. Whoa!
It seems my belly is getting larger by the day—but ONLY my belly. My perinatologist joked that I may stand up one morning and tip forward. Due to my clumsiness of late, he may be right!
Here I am at 22 weeks pregnant:
And, since Keith had a little something to do with the babies’ existence (teehee), here is a shot of the Mommy- and Daddy-to-be:
Lately, we’ve been trying to come up with ways to keep Keith connected to the boys while he is deployed. We want to get them used to his face and his voice right away. So yesterday, we went to Hallmark and picked out two recordable storybooks. That way, even though Mommy will be turning the pages, it will be Daddy’s voice reading the stories! Keith took his story selections very seriously, and those who know him well will not be surprised by his pick on the left. Here are the books he chose:
I promised Keith I’d stay out of his way while he records the books so as not to give him performance anxiety! We’d also love to hear your ideas for some other things we can do to give Nate and Matt a piece of Daddy while Keith is away. If anyone has any suggestions, please post them below!
As soon as Keith and I told everyone we were expecting twins, the games of “guess the sexes” began. I’d say that “two boys” was neck-and-neck with “one boy and one girl.” Only one person—my Uncle Jerry—guessed “two girls.” It wasn’t looking good for him (although he had guessed before anyone else that I was having twins, so maybe he was on to something)!
I felt strongly in my gut (no pun intended) that we were having two boys. There were other things that led me to believe I was right. While we’d had two boy names picked out from the get-go, we pored over every last girl’s name in our 100,001 Best Baby Names book—and we still weren’t convinced of our choices. During every visit to Babies ‘R Us (I admit, there were many), we gravitated towards the boys’ bedding and decor and scoffed at the girls’. And, it seemed like everyone we knew was having boys.
Keith, on the other hand, was absolutely convinced we’d be welcoming a boy and a girl. After our ultrasound technician guessed at 13 weeks that Baby A (the one on the right) was a boy, Keith would put his mouth up to my belly and talk to the babies as such:
“Hey, Man!” he’d say to the right side. “You’re a cool dude! I can’t wait to play baseball with you!”
To the left side, he’d coo, “Hey there, pretty little girl! You’re such a sweet girl!”
The moment of truth came at our 16-week ultrasound, when we found out my maternal instinct was correct.
“Baby A is definitely a boy,” the ultrasound tech said, then moved the wand over to the left side of my belly. “And it looks like Baby B is … a girl!”
Then Baby B suddenly opened its legs spread-eagle. “No, wait!” said the technician. “Baby B is … a BOY!”
And there you have it. Just like that, we were the parents-to be of two little boys.
Our big 20-week anatomy scan confirmed that our little terrors are, in fact, males. And even though Keith and I had both been hoping for a baby girl, neither of us would trade our boys for the world. Here they are:
The boys are already moving around a ton, and the acrobatics really kick into high gear when I am at a show or a movie in which music is playing. They seem to be big Billy Joel fans. 😉 They also like to party when Mommy is trying to sleep. I hope this isn’t indicative of what’s to come!
It was a chilly, early-December morning. My husband, Keith, and I were on our way to the doctor’s office to get our very first ultrasound. It had been several weeks since my positive pregnancy test, and I was about eight weeks along.
“Hey, can you imagine if we went in and found out we’re having TWINS???” asked Keith, chuckling.
“Don’t you even joke like that,” I scolded. I had just barely adjusted to impending motherhood. TWO babies would surely drive me over the edge.
Fast forward roughly 45 minutes. “Let’s see what we’ve got here,” the doctor—a warm, mild-mannered woman—said pleasantly as she switched on the ultrasound screen. And there, right in front of our eyes, were two little blobs.
The doctor looked up at us cautiously, no doubt trying to determine whether we saw what she did. “Well…” she began, glancing from me to Keith and back again. “I, uh … I see two babies in there!”
Everything grew silent. Then I looked over at Keith. The moment our eyes met, we just lost it. He burst into laughter, I burst into laughter, and we cackled and cackled, gasping for air.
“Well, that’s good! You’re laughing!” the doctor said brightly, before launching into her laundry list of “extras” that would go along with this pregnancy now that we were expecting two instead of one: frequent doctor visits, more ultrasounds, lots of unpleasant procedures to measure my cervical length, etc. Then she congratulated us and left the room. Almost as quickly as it had begun, our laughter ceased.
“What the hell are we gonna DO?” I asked Keith.
By evening, after we had called every family member and friend under the sun, our sheer terror had turned into elation. Then, the very next day, came the order from the Department of Defense: Keith’s brigade would be deploying to the Middle East. In late spring/early summer. Right when the babies were due.
My immediate reaction was that God was playing a cruel joke on me. My entire family lives 1,600 miles away in New York. Keith’s family lives in Ohio and Michigan. I knew that caring for one newborn was hard enough with two parents around. How on earth would I be able to care for two, while at the same time missing my husband and worrying about his safety? And wouldn’t it absolutely kill Keith to leave his babies?
But in true military fashion, we rallied quickly. Keith learned that he’d be allowed to stay behind for the birth of the babies, plus two weeks after—such a relief! I lined up relatives—my parents, my aunt, my cousin, Keith’s sister—to fly out to Colorado in shifts for a few months after the birth to help out. And then, we decided, I’ll return to New York and stay with my parents for much of the remainder of the deployment. I’ll have tons of help from my family, and Keith will deploy with the confidence that his babies—and his wife—are in good hands. And with technology like Skype and GChat and good old email, Keith will stay involved in the babies’ lives.
Sure, it won’t be easy, and life will be crazy for a bit. But Keith and I are ready for the ride—and we want you to come along with us! We will use this blog to keep you updated on our challenges and adventures as we prepare for twins AND for deployment, and then as we raise our two little miracles. Enjoy, and please feel free to leave comments!