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Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Trusting instincts

I feel like I've been getting my first lessons in trusting my motherly instincts, which has been scary and thrilling all at the same time.

When we first found out we were expecting twins, we didn't know how much differently a multiple pregnancy should be treated. Our plan was to continue seeing my regular OBGYN and deliver at our local hospital, in "Small Town" California. Well, after being referred to a perinatologist for our genetic testing, we started to get this feeling that we were in much better hands with her than we were with my regular doctor. Nothing huge, just little differences here and there that really left an impact on us. Our referral to the perinatologist was only meant to be for two visits, after which it was intended that I would continue all my regular visits here in Small Town.

Let me just say: Knowledge really is power.

The more we've learned about our twin pregnancy, the more we've found my doctor and her staff in Small Town to not know nearly enough about mono-di twins. I'm sure they know a heckuvalot more about other things than us, but I would say that our research, in addition to our instincts, have given us a lot to help guide us in different ways than what they've suggested.

This past week we were presented with a few dilemmas that had me worried and stressed. We had our Small Town OBGYN telling us things, and even making decisions for us, that went against everything we were feeling. By nature, I'm not the type to be aggressive and demanding. I like to keep the peace and be flexible to make everyone happy. I was conflicted... do I just go with what this "professional" is telling me? Or do I go against her judgment and forge a new pathway?

In the middle of all this worry and stress, I talked to my parents and other family members who encouraged me to follow through with whatever I felt was right for our babies. Not knowing where to begin, I offered a simple prayer pleading to be guided to the right people that could help point us in the right direction. I knew there were people who had experiences that could help me, but I needed help knowing who. I felt calm, knowing that somehow we would, in fact, be guided.

Well, I spent much of the rest of the day making some phone calls and doing some more research to figure out what I felt was best for me and our babies. I called a close friend, whose husband is a doctor, and with her help I decided the best place to start was finding a hospital where I'd want to deliver. Our top priority for that was that the hospital have a Level 3 NICU. We found one an hour away, and even though we knew nothing else about it for sure, we decided it was definitely better than the Level 1 NICU in Small Town.

As soon as we had decided on the hospital, I suddenly remembered, "Oh yeah, Brother So-and-So works at that hospital... I should call his wife and get some doctor recommendations." Well, I didn't have her number, so I called her sister-in-law. As I explained why I needed the number, the sister-in-law proceeded to tell me about their experience with baby #4 at the NICU in this particular hospital and how incredible their experience was with the hospital and its staff. Huge sigh of relief... I felt a confirmation that we had found the right hospital.

Then, I called this friend, to get some recommendations of good doctors at the hospital. Since I'm already about half way through this pregnancy, I really don't have a lot of time to try out different doctors. I'd rather find one and get settled with him/her without having to waste anymore time starting from the beginning over and over. During our conversation, I had more and more confirmations that we were going in the right direction. She was able to give me the names of two doctors at the hospital where we want to deliver, who come highly recommended based on their experience with delivering multiples. I already have an appointment set up with her first recommendation next Tuesday.

In addition to these two people, who were clearly answers to my simple prayer, I also connected with three other new mothers of mono-di twins, who have shared details of their experience with me that have made it even more clear that we've made the right choice to move in this direction. Such relief!!

This pregnancy means so much to us... we want to avoid as many potential problems and risks as we can. There are already enough factors that we can't control, that when it comes to things we can control we're going to do everything in our power to make sure that our babies are in the best hands possible.

I'm just so grateful that we aren't alone in figuring this out. I know that our prayer, in that moment of need, was heard and answered by a loving Father. I'm grateful for the people that He guided us to that have been such a huge help for us in making these big decisions, and then giving us those peaceful feelings that we've not been blindly making our own pathway, but that He was guiding us all along.

There is a verse in 1 Nephi that has come to mean a lot to me through the last five years, and I was reminded of it again with this latest experience: And I will also be your light in the wilderness; and I will prepare the way before you, if it so be that ye shall keep my commandments; wherefore, inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments ye shall be led towards the promised land; and ye shall know that it is by me that ye are led.

Sunday, June 22, 2008


This past Wednesday, the 18th, we had our 16-week ultrasound... which just happened to include looking for the babies' gender. I've been hesitant to even mention this, because after the ultrasound tech told us what she thought they were, she added, "But, don't go painting the room pink just yet."

Yes, at this point, we think they're girls! But, we're going to have another look in a week and a half at our 18-week ultrasound to see if that's still the guess. It's hard to know how much to trust the guess if they're girls, because if they're boys then you have proof... but if they're girls it's just because you lack the proof, which could just be hiding.

So, there's the tentative news... is that anti-climactic?

Thursday, June 19, 2008

A few of my favorite things

Lately there are a few things that have brought huge smiles to my face:

Homemade strawberry ice cream

Watching the hummingbirds from our kitchen window

Ice water


Lots of pillows

Feeling "butterflies" in my tummy

A couple of weeks ago I started to notice this feeling that I can only describe as "butterflies"... it felt almost the same as that excited/nervous fluttering feeling you get at times. I couldn't tell for sure at first if it was just me or if it was the babies. But, as time has gone on, the "flutterings" have gotten stronger and clearer. I love feeling the tiny movements of these two little ones... it brings me more joy than I can describe. I love them so much already and can't wait to hold them in my arms. I'm excited for the movements to get strong enough for Marc to be able to feel them and find the same joy in feeling them move. I don't know why we've been so blessed. My heart is constantly full, to overflowing, for this awesome blessing. Or, I guess I should say these awesome blessings!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Sucking Thumbs

I'm about a week and a half behind in writing this post, but I had to share what we learned at our last ultrasound.  We were referred by my OBGYN here to have the genetic testing done by another doctor from San Francisco. Fortunately this doctor and her staff travel an hour north once or twice a week for appointments like ours. So, we only had an hour drive to make, rather than a two-plus hour drive.

The appointment went great! The doctor we met with is a perinatologist. She was so thorough and helpful in answering all of our questions and informing us with how things are going. Her ultrasound technician also did an awesome job of capturing some really cute glimpses of our babies sucking their thumbs. So cute! She even took some photos with the 3D ultrasound monitor, which are so amazing!

My favorite part of these appointments is listening to Marc's quiet "oohs" and "awes" as we watch our little babies in their very early stages. I love having him by my side through all of this, enjoying this miracle together. I don't know if there is anything that has brought me more joy so far in my life.

So, here are some photos from our 13-week ultrasound:

This is a profile of Baby A, just about to suck his/her thumb. It also kind of looks like his/her legs are crossed... just chillin' out.

This is a profile of Baby B, rubbing his/her face or eye... so darn cute!

And here they are together. Baby A is on the left, upside down. You can see the legs, feet, and cute little toes really clearly... if you look closely you can see his/her head in the background. Baby B is on the right, it looks like he/she is resting his/her head on his/her hand. Isn't so amazing how perfectly formed they are at such an early stage? Incredible!

(I can't wait until we know what sex they are so we won't have to refer to them as he/she.)

Some things we learned at this appointment:

* Both babies are measuring at about 7.5 centimeters (roughly the size of your pointer finger)

* They are both still measuring right on track with my due date (December 2nd)

* The fluid in each sac is measuring the same, which is good news!

* There is only one placenta ... meaning ...we're having identical twins! (So, I'll have to update the poll, since the "one boy, one girl" option is no longer an option.) Identical twins are more high risk than fraternal twins, but we're going to be monitored every two weeks with an ultrasound by our perinatologist, to make sure both babies are right on track. The longer drive for those appointments is worth the comfort we'll receive, knowing our babies are receiving the best care possible.

This probably goes without saying, but we are still totally in awe of this entire experience. We still look at each other with the expression "this wasn't supposed to be possible." And yet, here we are experiencing the most incredible blessing... one that we never would have expected to come to us. I'm reminded every day that God is truly a God of miracles.