Saturday, September 29, 2012

2 boys, OH BOY!...

This is Steve again...

As you know by now my wife and I are having 2 boys. With this comes great excitement but also great responsibility. Responsibility outside of the obvious things like loving , feeding, and changing them. We have the potential to put out into the world two productive and responsible MEN. All parents obviously have this opportunity. However there are a lot of assholes out there in the world. I am not saying that by any means is it always the parents fault for what the child ends up becoming as an adult. I am saying though that some parents don't exactly give their children the best tools to work with. Some parents don't show their kids enough attention or positive re-enforcement. Others allow abuse to go on in the household. Some expect the school systems and/or TV to be the babysitter. Whatever it may be it is proven that with this type of upbringing it can  bring out the douchebag in your child later in life.

As a product of an abusive household I can testify that life has been challenging as an adult. It took me awhile to realize that physical abuse was not the normal. That yelling was not the only way to communicate. It took me awhile to learn how to trust people again.

I have learned that in being a parent the best thing we can do for our children is learn from our parents mistakes. To take the things that worked and trash the things that didn't.

By doing this we can assure that eventually the world will be a better place full of amazing people.

Friday, September 28, 2012

"Don't be so dramatic. It's just like carrying one baby."

I have noticed something quite striking during this pregnancy: women who have never been pregnant with multiples can sometimes make such rude statements that I'm left speechless.  I decided to write this to shed a little light on the misconceptions and physical differences experienced when carrying more than one baby. And yes, all of these green statements have actually been said to me.

Misconception #1 "Being pregnant with multiples is the same as being pregnant with one baby. You just get to give birth sooner! Consider yourself lucky."
Reality: A multiple pregnancy differs from a singleton pregnancy in many ways, but to focus on a shorter gestation is a fallacy. Your due date with a multiple pregnancy doesn't magically get pushed forward, and your babies won't magically grow more quickly to be ready for the world if they are born early. The fact is that humans are not built to grow more than one baby at a time. Because of this, multiple pregnancies often end in preterm labor (before 37 weeks), mainly because the placenta becomes inefficient once the babies get to a certain size and begin to require more than the mother can provide. On average a singleton pregnancy last 39 weeks, a twin pregnancy 36 weeks, and a triplet pregnancy 32 weeks. Babies born prior to 37 weeks usually need at least some NICU care. I have a feeling no mother would feel "lucky" to have any child in the NICU.
Great example of a belly difference

Misconception #2 "Don't be so dramatic. There are risks of complications in any pregnancy. Having more than one baby doesn't change that."
Reality: Aside from preterm birth discussed above, women pregnant with multiples are also more likely to experience the following (
  • Low Birthweight: Low birth weight is almost always related to preterm delivery.
  • Intrauterine Growth Restriction (IUGR): The growth rate of twin pregnancies begins to slow at 30 to 32 weeks. Triplet pregnancies begin slowing at 27 to 28 weeks, while quadruplet pregnancies begin slowing at 25 to 26 weeks. IUGR seems to occur because the placenta cannot handle any more growth and because the babies are competing for nutrients
  • Preeclampsia: Twin pregnancies are twice as likely to be complicated by preeclampsia as single pregnancies. Half of triplet pregnancies develop preeclampsia.
  • Gestational Diabetes: The increased risk for gestational diabetes in a multiple pregnancy appears to be a result of the two placentas increasing the resistance to insulin, increased placental size, and an elevation in placental hormones.
  • Placental Abruption: Placental abruption is three times more likely to occur in a multiple pregnancy.
  • Fetal Demise/Loss: Very rare, generally occurs during the first trimester.
  • Cesarean: The vaginal delivery of twins depends on the presentation of the babies. All higher multiples are born by C-section.
Misconception #3 "What do you mean you're not going back to work? You're only 26 weeks pregnant."
Reality: The beginning of a multiple pregnancy is very similar to a singleton pregnancy until around 9 weeks. At that point mothers of multiples often begin to show, and will usually need maternity or larger clothes shortly thereafter. During a singleton pregnancy mothers often experience a "honeymoon" phase during the second trimester. They are no longer feeling ill from morning sickness, and they are still very small and able to move around easily. During a multiple pregnancy however, women often experience morning sickness symptoms much longer, even into the 5th month. At this time the growth of the babies is increasing and the mother can find herself measuring 10 weeks (or more!) larger than how far along she actually is. At 20 weeks with my pregnancy I measured 29 weeks! It quickly becomes very difficult to move around. By 26 weeks, the week I would have gone back to teach school, I measured 36+ weeks. Most mothers of multiples will tell you that it is best to have as much prepared and organized by the 28th week (third trimester). The possibility of complications, preterm labor, sporadic bed rest, hospital visits, and general discomfort that you will experience increases dramatically at this time.

34 weeks 1 baby vs. 24 weeks 2 babies

Misconception #4 "Sleeping is always uncomfortable when you're pregnant. Stop complaining."
Yes, sleeping during pregnancy is uncomfortable whether you've got one baby or 5, but I would like you to consider something for a moment: When you get really big with one baby you have a significant advantage of being able to at least lay on one side! First of all, multiple mommies get "that big" much sooner, and the biggest problem can't lay on either side. No stomach sleeping (obviously), no back sleeping (the increased weight of your uterus presses on the major vein that returns blood from your legs to your'll pass out), and no side sleeping because on either side you'll be pressing on a baby. They will kick, push, poke, and do lots of other stuff to make you so uncomfortable you have to adjust your position...but to what??? I spend a lot of time awake.

Misconception #5 "Why are you always at the doctor? Hypochondriac much?"
Reality: Even if there's nothing wrong with a baby's chromosomes, twins or triplets are more likely than singleton babies to be born with defects of the brain, heart, bladder, or liver. Multiples are also more likely to be born with cerebral palsy. Cerebral palsy was recently found to be four times more common in twins than in singletons. Because of these risks and the ones mentioned above, a multiple mommy should expect to be considered "high risk", even if all other aspects of the pregnancy are normal and healthy. With that label comes many extra visits to the OB for general checkups, blood tests, urine samples, ultrasounds, and the rare physical exam if necessary. Around 32 weeks, or earlier for higher multiples, it is common for mothers of multiples to begin fetal heart rate monitoring and weekly prenatal checkups. This usually means that from this point until the birth you will spend 3 days or more each week visiting with your OB and the hospital. At any fetal heart rate monitoring session it is possible that the mother will be admitted into the hospital for delivery, so multiple mommies need to be sure their hospital bag is in the car before the 32nd week begins.

If you  know a multiple mommy-to-be, think before you speak. Chances are she's tired, stressed about the health of her babies, uncomfortable, sleep deprived, and hungry :)

Sunday, September 23, 2012

32 weeks and counting....

We have managed to make it to 32 weeks (picture below)! The past week has been a bit crazier than most. We had our regular OB check up on Tuesday and everything was great. I had even gained a pound! Then Wednesday night regular and frequent contractions began out of the blue and they hadn't let up by Thursday morning. I called the doctor and she told us to head over to the hospital. The wait was ridiculous, but I finally got hooked up to all sorts of monitors and they could measure the contractions. They were coming about 5 times an hour with a lot of irritability in between. The doctor ordered an ultrasound to check on the babies and their fluid. They were just fine, but Baby B had flipped breech =/ Baby B has already earned the title of Trouble Maker! A is so subdued, B is a maniac! (picture example? below...our B will be the one on the right!)

Anyway, they didn't see any significant change to my cervix from the contractions, but they didn't want to chance it so they decided to give me a shot or Terbutaline to stop them. Terbutaline is worthless. It caused my blood pressure to drop to unreadable levels, I passed out, the contractions never stopped, and I had heart palpitations all night. The nurse put ice on my head and used smelling salts until I woke up from passing out. It took around 5 minutes for my blood pressure to raise enough for her to get a reading on it, at which point it was 72/44. They discharged me with the instructions to see my doctor first thing Friday morning. (yes, as soon as my blood pressure was above 80/60 they got me up and said goodbye...although I was dying of thirst and missed my own bed so I didn't complain) As soon as I got home the contractions started up again, and now my heart was racing from the shot. It was a very long night. In the morning we saw our doctor first thing. She gave us both good and bad news.

Good news: the babies are fine, labor before 33 weeks is very unlikely, and my body is definitely preparing to get these babies born.  
Bad news: I lost 2 pounds between Tuesday and Friday, the Terbutaline isn't something I should be given again, and the contractions are going to continue from now until the birth, so I should get used to being (even more) uncomfortable.

So that's pretty much it. Crazy week with a boring result: sit around, have contractions, and wait. We will begin contraction monitoring and ultrasounds at the hospital on Mondays and Thursdays starting October 1 (next Monday). We also have our regular OB visits on Tuesday afternoons, so our weeks are basically just going to be baby appointments from here on out! These boys are closing in on 4lbs a piece, so my belly is ridiculous. I think the worst part is that neither of them appreciate being laid on, so no matter what side I attempt to lay on I get poked, kicked, and pushed until I change positions, at which point that one's brother gets pissed and does the same. As crazy as it sounds, I spend A LOT of time in this position:
The whole nesting thing people talk about? Yeah I don't think it happens with twins. I'm far too big and far too uncomfortable to care about if anything around the house is clean or organized! Steve has been keeping up with most of the household stuff, but in all honesty that's the last of our worries. We do have the nursery ready though! The babies are going to be sleeping together in a co-sleeper near our bed for a while though, so the nursery is kind of a moot point =)

For anyone who checked this out to see my moose-like you are...32 week belly...good lord you all have no idea how much I wish I could go on a run!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Not exactly BREAKING NEWS!...

This is Steve, I am the father. Glad we got that over on to more important stuff:

The one thing that has bothered me more than anything else during this entire pregnancy is when people find out we are pregnant with twins they say "You two are going to have your hands full", "Its going to be so much extra work with two", "With two you're going to have to buy double of everything!"...whoa...what???! You're telling me that with two babies I can't just buy ONE of everything and hope they don't notice?! Are you kidding me? NOW YOU TELL ME! This whole time I was just going to change, feed, burp, and bath one of them and then switch off the next day and use all the same stuff again. Boy am I glad you came along with this tidbit of information. I mean come on, really people? Look, I love all the advice we have been given and I know that most of the people saying these things don't mean anything by it but when you have to go 36 weeks hearing it over and over and over and some point you just want to go all HULK on someone for pointing out the obvious. I just have to assume that these people feel obligated to say it because sadly we all can admit that there is at least one couple out there expecting twins that DOES NOT UNDERSTAND THIS and thanks to them ALL of us expecting twins are getting the "common sense disclaimer." (not the official name but its what I am calling it)

Thanks for listening. You've been a great audience.

Monday, September 17, 2012

31 weeks pregnant...UGH!

Today puts me at 31 weeks pregnant with these 2 trouble makers. I woke up to my first pregnancy dream this morning...quite unpleasant! I was dreaming that my belly was transparent and I could see the babies, but the babies looked like shriveled infant versions of this...

Let's all hope that's the first and last time that happens! 

At this point my days don't consist of much excitement. I am unable to fit my belly into many of the maternity clothes I have, and usually I am pretty uncomfortable no matter what I try to wear. I usually spend days in bed propped up on a pile of pillows laying slightly on my left side. Eating is an infrequent event due mostly to the fact that there isn't much room in my stomach. A child sized portion of anything usually makes me feel like I've just finished a huge Thanksgiving dinner!

The babies are getting quite large! They should each be about 3.5 lbs at this point, so obviously I am feeling huge with the two of them in there! Their movements can be very strong at times, but for the most part is seems as though their kicks and punches have decreased as their space has.

I'm working on packing a hospital bag today. It's advised that with twins it should have been done and in the car by 30 weeks, but time got away from us I suppose. We have a prenatal visit tomorrow and an ultrasound coming up soon after. From then on we'll be monitored in the hospital a couple of times per week until these little guys are born. Twins are generally born by 36 weeks, so we don't have too much longer to go!