Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Too tired for creative titles

A home-health nurse came to our house this morning, and this time it wasn't for me. I found out yesterday that Dylan and Owen qualify for the specialty Synagis shot which is a vaccine that helps protect premature babies against RSV. "Helps protect" is the key isn't a if you think I'm psycho about hand-washing, you can call my nurse and ask her to give you the same lecture she gave me this morning about the importance of it (she actually told me if a person won't wash their hands for some reason, I should tell them the babies' nurse won't let them hold them...ha!)...especially Ethan, since he's likely to be the "carrier" of all things nasty into our house. Anyways, Ethan got these shots too, and it was before my blogging days so there are no rants that can be read about the total snafu that was flu season during his infancy...but I assure you it was filled with lots of irritating trips to the clinic, can't-catch-my-breath-crying calls to my mom, and dropping-of-the-f-bomb (yes, me!) to the company that runs the Synagis program. But, that's neither here nor there now...he got the shots and he didn't get RSV.

**Check out the links for more background on why I'm being pscycho...I was further freaked out today after seeing the nurses diagrams...lung development of term babies versus premature babies...vessels of term babies versus premature babies...while Dylan and Owen look good and healthy on the outside, they are SUPER vulnerable on the inside.

I expected the same type of insurance coverage/program qualification war when I asked the NICU nurses why they hadn't received the December shot upon their discharge and was told that they didn't qualify (their discharge papers clarified that Dylan did not qualify and Owen might qualify). I vowed to take up this issue with our pediatrician at our first visit (we are heading in on Friday morning to meet with a pediatrician...not ours, but it was the earliest I could get two babies in to the clinic with anybody). But yesterday I got a call from the shot-admin company asking to set up Owen's first shot and I brought up the whole why-the-heck-doesn't-Dylan-qualify and they told me that a form from the hospital was never even sent in for Dylan...long-story way forms were sent in to our pediatrician with their risk factors (prematurity, time in the special-care-nursery, older sibling, etc), he signed off on them, admin company verified our insurance coverage, they had a home-health nurse call me, and the nurse came this morning to administer the shots to BOTH boys! tears (from me)!

The boys had little mini-exams...since the shot is based on weight...Dylan is 7lbs 1oz and Owen is 6lbs 7oz...they were 6lbs 4oz and 6lbs 1oz, respectively, upon their discharge dates last week. No "failure to thrive" labeling here!! The nurse even said there was "good parenting" in this household...of course, we love to hear that!! Even though we are going in to the clinic on Friday, it was great to get a chance to ask the nurse a few questions, and get a professionals reassurance that they are doing wonderfully! I have been a little concerned about Owen's intake...but he's been doing much better with the bottle since he's been home, and isn't consistently spitting up anymore (although he had a doozy after his last feeding!)...when the NICU nurses called to follow-up the other day, I asked them about the feeding/spitting concerns and they said to make sure that he has wet diapers and doesn't show any signs of of course, my mom and I have been staring at him during the day to see if he looks yellow at all...his complexion is different than Dylan's...Dylan is much more pink, but he's got blonde hair and Owen has really dark hair and lighter complexion. The nurse assured us he looks just fine.

Dylan and Owen were 3 weeks old on Monday...holy that it?! It seems like so much has happened in the last 3 weeks. I'm going to try and take weekly pictures of them while I'm on my leave...attached is a picture from yesterday...our best attempt to get their "little" heads together (would you believe that Owen's head is actually was measured today by the nurse...Dylan looks bigger to me!)

We feel like we're getting to know them a little bit more every day. Dylan has been really alert a lot and seems to have an older face (even the nurse commented on this today) he's wise beyond his years or something. His features seem more pronounced and he's very handsome. He's a voracious eater...he has been pretty low-key, mellow...good with a pacifier and quiet at night. Owen is my little peanut...and despite his apparently bigger head, he is the little one (I'm finding myself feeling a little overprotective already!), but freakishly strong. Every time I put him up on my chest to burp him, he lifts his head up to look at 3 weeks!! We struggled a bit with his feedings the first day or so, but he's catching up very well. He needs to be held upright after feedings to help prevent the spitting up, and is a little higher-maintenance at night, but I don't mind the extra-snuggling. He looks more baby-like than his twin brother...but he's cute as heck too!

Ethan, oh wonderful you are! Our oldest has been so great. We are having some sleep issues at night which have to be correlated to the current craziness in the household...because we just worked through the same don't-leave-the-room-issue a few months ago. Regression is typical when new siblings arrive. We're working through it, trying to make it as easy as possible on all of us with still sticking to us parents being in "control". Still, it stinks. When he's awake, things are great. He likes to hold the bottles for the babies during feedings and hasn't seemed to mind them being around much...he does actually like to say hi to them and doesn't flip out if he needs to wait for someone to read him a book or something if we are occupied with baby. I think his lack of acting out on the babies is largely attributed to maintaining his routine with Gamma Leslie, which started again this past Monday. For now, the transition seems to be going ok. His talking is out of control and hilarious...lately he has been giving us in "You can read this book, Mommy"..."You can do Superman, Daddy"..."You can talk to Mommy, Gramma Nana"...He is incredible.

Dylan (L) says "Please, more pictures!!"

Ethan and Daddy opening a few gifts on Christmas Eve morning

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Been busy...

Owen is home...expect my next post to be in 2010. Just kidding...or not.

Owen came home on the 26th, around 5pm. We originally went to pick him up at noon after a call from the hospital, but there was some dumb miscommunication about the timing of his echo and we had to leave without him yet again. But we had him home by that evening. Things have been pretty nuts so far...but the boys eat on pretty regular 3-hour schedules...Andy goes back to work tomorrow so I'm on my own tonight (probably...I am hoping not to wake up my mom for help!)...but the past two nights have been manageable with the two of us feeding them at the same time.

My dad drove back to KY on Saturday mom is staying here for awhile to help out which is absolutely awesome! Gamma Leslie will come back tomorrow to take care of Ethan so his schedule will not change much due to the twins coming home. This past week has been really crazy for him....lots going on! I am overwhelmed so I can't imagine what it is like for him. Getting back into his regular routine will hopefully help solve some tantrum-throwing and naptime/bedtime issues.

Add to the chaos our visiting puppy who has been with us since last Monday while her foster-parents vacation over the Holidays. Originally, she was to go back to their house this past Friday. But then Andy got a call that they were extending their stay to Saturday or Sunday...and today, a text that they really meant NEXT Sunday. I'm not sure where the communication failure occurred...if the original Friday was really next Friday from the beginning or if they just randomly decided to extend their stay a week, but I am displeased regardless. This dog has been a serious pain in my ass since the day she came into our house and I really don't need one more stress in my life, but here she is. Noone appears to give a shit that I don't want her around. Next week is a short work week for Andy due to the New Year so it's really only Monday through Wednesday that my mom and I will have to deal with her during the day...I'm assured that my mom will keep me from displaying her head on a post in the front yard.

I'm not sure that it's sunk in yet that I have three children in my house and they all belong to us...but it's great! Challenging, but great. I keep running this saying my mom told me through my head..."Every day is one day less" when things get tough, I'll just think of that...these days will be gone before we know it, and I'll miss them.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Catching up through Christmas Day...

Feliz navidad!

We were expecting Dylan to come home on the 23rd, but when I hadn't heard by that afternoon, I went in to visit. He had been doing just fine with his feedings, passed his car seat test, etc, but his temps had been low overnight. The nurse told me the whole NICU had been cold that morning and she had turned up the temp, plus he had not been wearing as many layers as she preferred he wear...I have issues staying warm in our house so it's always toasty warm and I'm always assuming everyone else is just as cold as I am, so I would tend to overdress my babies. I was annoyed that this stupid issue had held him back a day.

On the morning of the 24th, we were called and told Dylan would be ready to come home around 3pm. Andy and I planned to split up the Christmas Eve celebration (we celebrate with my side of the family) with Andy and Ethan attending the 3:30 through dinner/E's bedtime and then I would go over for presents after dinner...but a few minutes after we got that call, they called back and changed the time to 6:30 since the doctor who would circumcise him couldn't be there until 5:30. So, the 3 of us headed over to Christmas Eve in two cars...we were all able to have dinner with my family and open a few gifts and then I went over to the hospital to pick up Dylan and Andy & Ethan went home so E could go to bed.

One of the nurses went over the discharge papers with me, and then I filled up a paper bag full of hospital stuff our insurance will be charged for (diapers, formula, diaper rash cream, etc), loaded Dylan into his car seat, kissed Owen goodbye and left to get my car...I was glad no one was in the hospital hallways on Christmas Eve because I cried openly on my way out to the parking garage...we certainly don't want to rush Owen, but knowing I was going to leave him behind, especially on Christmas, really sucked.

I'd been worried about leaving with Dylan in the frigid I was glad that I was able to get my car warmed up and pull up to the front of the hospital as a nurse brought Dylan down to the front door for's standard discharge procedure I guess. I was nervous to drive with an infant in the car again...I need to get a little mirror set up so I can see their faces in the rear-view mirror as I drive. It was only a mile or two, but I had to keep checking on him at every stop light.

We had a good night with Dylan last night. He was up pretty much every 3 hours to eat and Andy and I took turns getting up to feed him. We set up a portable crib (the one we bought for this past summer's Sandberg family trip...the one that Ethan never slept in!) in our room...turns out he's a loud sleeper...and I know we'll have to have both babies sleeping in their crib in their own room by Sunday night since Andy goes back to work on Monday...but for last night, we were much more comfortable having him next to us as we get used to his sounds and signals. I jumped at every tiny sound when Ethan was a newborn, but it's different this time around...I think we both have a better idea of what is just a normal infant grunt and what's a "hey, I'm hungry!"

We visited Owen this evening as Gamma and Gampa watched Dylan and Ethan. He is just short of meeting his cue-based 3cc!! Can't they round up?! He's passed his car-seat test, he isn't hooked up to any leads/monitors, doesn't have a feeding tube in, was circumcised at the same time as Dylan (Owen slept through it!)...he's ready to go. The nurse told us tonight that it really depends on which Dr is following him tomorrow...some are conservative, some are not. Of course, we don't want to rush him, but we want our baby home too. He was looking absolutely adorable tonight too...he'd had a bath recently and his hair was all clean and's super dark and long and was standing up in a mohawk.

We all had a great Christmas Day. Ethan opened presents from Santa, us, and everyone else. Andy's family brought Christmas to us at our house which was was great to have everyone together. Our puppy is here on a visit while her foster family is spending the Holidays somewhere. She was really hyper and was really bugging the crap out of me, but Ethan loves to have her here...and he chases her with his tractor.

Ethan has been absolutely wonderful with Dylan so far. We told him on Christmas Eve night that Dylan would be home when he woke up. When he came to our room to have his milk in the morning, he saw Dylan and said "Ooooh, baby!" with a huge smile. He's been saying really cute stuff...running over to him to say "Hi baby!" "Baby can't talk" "Hi baby Dylan"...and the one that cracked us up before his bedtime tonight, "I have too many baby brothers"...just wait until both of them are home, Ethie!!

I'll post some pictures tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Dec 22

Andy checked the mail yesterday afternoon and found that Dylan and Owen are all growns up...they have social security cards!! Now, if only they would get insurance cards!! That takes about 30 days...we're sure that, like with Ethan, we will get the full bill before we get the cards and are able to call in that information...we had a good laugh about E's $80K bill...and that was just for the hospital stay, no practitioners, no additional services. I always thought it would be interesting to get the itemized bill...

gauze blinder for phototherapy lights $3,000
diaper rash cream $5,000
hand-knit hat $2,500

I'm guessing that Dylan and Owen's 2+ week stay will probably cost right around the same amount that Ethan's 4 weeks did, except that we'll have to pay the deductible and 10% of each of their bills. Insurance is really an amazing thing though...what would you do without it?!

My mom and I went to the hospital yesterday afternoon and fed both Owen and Dylan. It was a great visit!! Owen took about 25 of his feeding, which is right in the range of what he's been taking. Dylan chugged down 50...we tried to give him about 10 more since he had taken up to 60 in previous feedings, but once he stopped after 50 he didn't want to take any more. Once it's in the bottle, it's gotta be tossed out...I hate that rule (I hate wasting breast-milk*!!), but re-using it can create bacteria and that is a definite a no no. (Same thing with jarred baby food...what a pain!!)

The most exciting news of yesterday's visit is that the nurse told us that Dylan will probably come home today. I brought in the car-seat and they were planning to do the test that afternoon or evening (Gamma called last night and he was right in the middle of the test and doing very well). The nurse told us that there wasn't really anything more they could do for him there that we couldn't do for him at home...he had passed his cue-based feedings and was maintaining his temps. I've got my cell phone right by me and though I'm trying not to get my hopes up (the NICU can screw with your expectations for sure!), I'm expecting to pick up our Dylan today. Of course, I've been a basket-case of tears when I think of leaving Owen there on this own, and worse, the chance that he might not be home with the rest of our family on Christmas. Ok, new topic...

My husband could be the most considerate person on Earth. Yesterday morning he went shopping and came home with a gift for Ethan's delivery nurses' daughter...the one I mentioned in a previous post whose daughter is fighting cancer. Then, he told me about his idea for a gift for the NICU nurses...he's putting a couple bottles of wine, hot chocolate, and coffee...about a dozen options for the nurses to pick from...a thank-you from Dylan and Owen, and of course, us!! He's too sweet. Also last night, I was crying about something or another and he took out a gift for me from a hiding spot...something from the VS that will make me feel less frumpy - when I fit into it...eventually!

*I will post soon about my breast-feeding dilemmas...I am so torn up about this!!

Hopefully snapfish will deliver our Christmas cards today...I ordered them last Wednesday! Get excited to read Andy's Christmas letter too!!

Monday, December 22, 2008

More things from yesterday, and E pics

A few pictures of my photogenic first-born playing/laying around with Grampa Dode. Ethan thought that Christmas pictures would be enhanced by creating a wound on his face after running into the dining room table. Thankfully, no need for stitches on this one!!

I forgot to post the weight updates from yesterday. Mr Owen is 5lbs 12 oz (born 5lbs 4oz) and Mr Dylan is 6lbs 2oz (born 5lbs 6oz). They are gaining weight just wonderfully!

Another positive tidbit is that neither of them has had to undergo the phototherapy lights for jaundice. Their bilirubin levels have been great since birth...not sure how we avoided this one...luck, I think. It wouldn't have been a huge concern...Ethan had to undergo the phototherapy lights quite a bit when he was in the NICU, but he just looked sad with his little blinders on. I'm glad that Dylan and Owen have been able to avoid it.

The nurses asked us yesterday if we were ready for their homecoming. We totally are! Their room is ready to go...we just need to hang the wonderful curtain that my mom made (with blackout fabric backing!) and we're set. Andy also bought 4 different kinds of coffee beans on his recent trip to the grocery store...we're sure to not get tired of one type of coffee as we caffeinate!!

I'm already sick of poop. It seems that Dylan times his poops to my visits. He dropped one on me while I was feeding him yesterday...probably the reason that he didn't take all of his feeding by bottle...too much multi-tasking! And, now that I'm off bedrest, I can't defer all the Ethan poops to Andy...Ethan and I had a little talk about pooping in the potty this morning...wishful thinking. As long as we're talking about my childrens' poop, we shouldn't leave out little Owen...he's been getting a little pear juice with his feedings to help move things along...which could be a reason he hasn't been taking all his feedings from the bottle...he is just uncomfortable. We used to use prune juice for Ethan, which I had totally forgotten about!! That stuff smells nasty...I was pleased to learn that pear juice serves the same purpose and tastes better for the babies...and smells better to Mom. I've made the poop/pee and feeding charts in Word...probably time to print those out and post them around the house...time for my life to revolve around such exciting topics as bowel movements again.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Dec 20 & 21

Pic 1 - Daddy feeding Owen by bottle today
Pic 2 - Dylan in his crib!

The boys are in cribs and are drinking from bottles!!

Yesterday we went over for the noon feeding with my parents. The nurses told us that Dylan and Owen were both ready to try feedings from bottles. My mom was able to get Owen to take some of his feeding, but I was unsuccessful with Dylan...he was sleeping hard!! The nurse practitioner came in and gave us the update that they would be moved out of their isolettes into cribs very soon...and this afternoon when Andy and I came to visit, they were in cribs!! They had just been moved out this morning.

Last night, Andy's parents went over for the 6pm feeding and Dylan took all his bottle. We were told today that Dylan will now be on cue-based feedings, which means that he has to let them know when he wants to be fed versus being on the strict 3-hour feeding schedule that he has been on (when we were there today, he was sleeping at first and then woke up and started sucking on his hand...he took all of his feeding except for 15 from bottle). He has to take a certain amount within a 24-hour period to "pass"...not sure what happens if he passes, but I'm assuming the feeding tube comes out and then I'd assume he has to keep taking that amount for a few days to show consistency. Dylan is also ready for the car-seat test so I'm bringing that in tomorrow. They will put him in the car seat and leave him hooked up to his monitors to make sure he doesn't have any heart-rate drops or breathing episodes.

Owen took 40 of his 54 feeding today from Andy via bottle. We heard the news I've feared for awhile and that is that Owen is 1-2 days behind Dylan...the idea of leaving him there by himself is too terrible to think about. One of my favorite nurses, Nancy, reminded us that babies change day to day, so I'm hoping he just has a remarkable day that catches him right up!

Friday, December 19, 2008

12-18 and 12-19am

Pic 1 - Dylan - my little blondie, wiggle-worm, and breastfeeding champ
Pic 2 - Owen - my Ethan clone, little peanut, and vice-grip hand-holder

I totally jinxed myself earlier this week...I commented about how I'd been so afraid of post-partum depression because it's one of the big things you read about during pregnancy...and I felt so awesome!! That was on Sunday. I felt great when I left the hospital...even without my babies...I had a great outlook...they are getting the best care that they need...and they'll be home soon.

Sometime yesterday I just totally lost it. Like the past 10 days just hit me all at once. I am sick of having the babies in the NICU, sick of feeling like I don't have anything in control...I'm having a hard time resting and recovering - there's no time, I'm having a hard time keeping up with emails/phone calls/requests to see the babies, I'm having a hard time keeping up with the pumping and getting any sleep while the babies are still in the NICU (wait until they get home!)...and what's worse, on my first day of feeling totally and completely out of control emotionally and very vulnerable, a stupid bitch nurse practitioner insulted my efforts.

I visited the boys for their 3pm feeding yesterday. I was on cloud nine one minute and below zero the next. Dylan and I had a great breastfeeding session...he took 26...half of his feeding size of 52. It was awesome...I felt like we were making progress and I feel totally bonded to him during these feeding times. Then, while I was trying with Owen (he ended up taking 4, I'm not giving up on him!!) this stupid nurse practitioner came in and asked me how breastfeeding was going. I said ok, we're trying. Then she asked me if I was pumping because I'm not bringing in very much...I am, and I was just told yesterday that I had a great supply. I'm even drinking that nasty Mother's Milk tea crap. I am pumping, even in the middle of the night, and I'm trying to pump as frequent as I can, for as long a period as I can (I try for 20 minutes, they recommend 15)....even during times when I'm alone with Ethan...I persuade him to come into the babies' room with me, pray that there's a cartoon on, let him climb in the crib, play with the toys, whatever...the extra rocking chair is a great distraction too! Then she told me that I really need to be here more often. Boy, did I have to fight back the tears when she said that. I simply replied that I have a 2-year-old at home, I refuse to be absent from his life, and I'm doing the best I can. Then she said "keep up the good work" with tone...and left. Maybe these comments don't sound like much...and I know I'm emotional and hormonal, but it was snotty and insulting. And made me feel totally inadequate.

One of my favorite nurses, Dawn, who has been on during the day shift most of the week and has been working with me on breastfeeding and just fun to chat with too, was on at 3pm yesterday. She and I had a great conversation about the stupid nurse practitioner's comments. Dawn has an 8-week-old, and for reasons of her own, she had to stop breastfeeding. So she knows how hard the decision is, and how personal it is. She gave me some things to think now I'm in the evaluation stage. I'm not ready to give it's only been a couple of days anyways, but if I'm not able to "do enough" while they're in the NICU, is it even worth the stress on me? Regardless of what we decide to do post-NICU, I will continue to pump and bring that in while the boys are in the NICU. I'd like to keep trying to breastfeed when I am able to be at the hospital, but maybe we'll just bottle-feed at all other times. The nurses did tell me that at some point before the boys come home, if I'm going to breastfeed, I'd have to be there for every feeding they cue for...well, that is just not going to happen...and I just don't understand why it has to be all or nothing.

Anyways, I'm here again this morning...just had the 9am feeding and will stay for the noon feeding too. Owen was zonked out this morning so I didn't try breastfeeding him, but Dylan was wide awake...we breastfed and he took 36. The nurse warmed up 20, thinking we could just warm up more if he didn't take 32 since he just gets the remainder of the 52 via feeding tube. But he wowed us both and took more than 32!! Really amazing!

While Dylan and I were breastfeeding, Gamma and Ethan came to visit. Ethan was cranky (could be that he woke up at 5:30 and came to bed with us, saying "I won't!" when we asked him to go back to sleep) and kept saying "No, no, no!" when he was in the room with the babies. It didn't go that great. The nurse did take Owen out of his isolette and showed Ethan his little feet...he seemed to like that, but otherwise, was not impressed by his little brothers. I guess they are better in theory than reality to Ethan. I'm worried about the transition into our home. One of the nurses was so excited to hear he was coming in...Ethan was her first vent baby when he was in the NICU. I was hoping he'd be his charming self to meet all these nurses that remembered him, but no luck today! This is huge for him, so it's totally understandable.

The boys are a few degrees away from being moved to a crib. Dylan is a little is probably because he weighs 5lbs 13oz and Owen is 5lbs 9oz. Dylan also isn't having the spit-up issues that Owen is having, and is digesting his entire feeds of 52 while Owen's are at 50 and he is spitting up some. Owen's spitting up only seems to happen at night though...they are still pretty sure that he will outgrow's improved a lot since he first started taking feeds. I'm starting to think that there's a chance Dylan will be ready to come home before Owen and that will completely break my heart. And I'm totally losing hope that they will be home by Christmas. Yesterday, the nurse who was on when I first came in was talking about how fun next Christmas will be for us and I said I wanted this Christmas to be our first one all together....She said Christmas might be pushing it, but probably by New Years!! WTF? I remember all these different timelines from Ethan's NICU stay, so I'm trying not to get discouraged, but seriously...

My parents are traveling today on the second stretch of their trip to MN from KY...really hoping the snowstorms in the forecast stay out of WI and Eastern MN as they are traveling from Madison today. I am so excited to see them...I need my Mommy and Daddy right now.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


I successfully bathed my babies yesterday before the noon feeding. I was freaked out about it at first...they are so small and slippery, but it came back to me pretty quickly. I am much more comfortable handling the boys than I was with Ethan when he was in the NICU. Because the bath is a stressful event (two minutes in the tub and getting dried off!) for preemies, the nurse recommended I skip the 3pm feeding and just let them rest. I tried a quick breastfeeding session with Dylan, but he was too tuckered out from the bath to do anything. Regardless, I love the skin-to-skin snuggle times. Other than the obvious emotional wonderfulness of it, it is beneficial for my milk production and productive for the babies in many ways as well. They are both absolutely precious and make the cutest faces...I know the little smiles are probably just gas, but I'll take's so cute!!

After bathtime, I dressed them in clothes for the first time. Dylan is too long for the preemie sleepers, so he donned a newborn-size long-sleeve onesie. Owen fits just perfectly into the preemie sleepers and really freaked me out today as he lay on his back with his arms stretched above his ja vu...below is Ethan right after he came home...And Owen, this morning...

When they wear clothes in their isolettes, the nurses are able to dial down their isolette temperatures to see if they can still maintain a temperature of 98 or around there. Dialing down the temp slowly is how they graduate to a crib. We're not very close yet since they just started wearing clothes yesterday. This buys me a little time to work on breastfeeding without slowing down their progress towards coming home. If they were already in cribs, the nurse said they'd probably suggest we work on bottles...and I would be totally fine with that!! But since they are still in isolettes, we have time to work on the breastfeeding. We'll see what happens. The charge nurse said today that we'd probably start doing bottles around 36.5 weeks (end of the weekend?) if they haven't made good progress on breastfeeding. Owen still hasn't gotten anything directly from me...Dylan did the last two mornings, but hasn't since then. They are both interested though...are latching on and sucking/swallowing a little bit. They are still young, so noone is pushing them. If we try too much, they will expend too much energy, so it's a thin line between practicing enough and practicing too much, which can actually set them back. And that's the last thing I want to have happen!! Another breastfeeding tidbit I learned from the neonatologist the other day is that my body "knows" that the babies were born early and compensates somehow with my breastmilk...weird. However, they are fortifying it with some type of powder. Breastmilk has calories of 20 and they are fortifying to 22. They will likely come home on some type of iron supplement as well...we used something called TriViSol for Ethan.

I think I forgot to mention that when I arrived on Monday morning, the boys had been moved from the main NICU room to the coveted suite. This is the same room that Ethan was in. It fits two isolettes/cribs. When Ethan was in there, he had a roommate for awhile, but then had it all to himself. It is just a separate room right off the main NICU room with it's own's perfect for private skin-to-skin times, and ideal for breastfeeding. I am SUPER happy that they are in there. The main NICU room has curtains that provide some privacy, but there is just something about the suite that is could be my plush chair-and-a-half!

I got the pleasure of changing really nasty diapers on each baby today before the noon feeding. Owen must have known that I was skeptical about using up our "tower of diapers"...we have tons of Newborn size (the twins are currently in preemie size)...see below...the black bag is filled with them (a co-worker brought her leftovers!!), and underneath the black bag is two more plastic bundles of newborn size!! He decided to squirt one out as I changed a wet diaper before his feeding. I peeked, thought he was done, and placed down another clean diaper...repeat, twice. He went through 4 diapers in one changing!! I no longer think we'll have an issue with having too many mini-diapers!!

After the noon feeding, I went over to Target to do some damage. Ethan is aware of Santa and his stocking this year...I got some cute stocking stuffers...matchbox cars, etch-a-sketch, recorder, bath toys, and a microphone just like Sid the Science Kid has (one of his favorite shows, and one of my least favorite...Sid is totally annoying...but darnit, he's educational!!)...and some presents from Santa...gigantic Thomas the Train coloring pad, and a few big-piece puzzles...a few days ago Dad picked out play tunnel thingy like the one they have in the big motor room at his ECFE school that will be from Mom and Dad. I didn't get anything for the twins...honestly, I can't think of anything they need immediately that they don't have and they obviously don't "want" anything...I just think of us as each others' gifts this year...We gave them life and we got them!!

I finally took a few pictures of Owen and Dylan that I find acceptable for Christmas cards so I finally got those ordered this afternoon. I'm taking the easy way out and combining the Christmas card with the birth announcements. They looked pretty cute on the computer, so I'm hoping they turn out ok. I'm way behind this year...last year I mailed mine the day after Thanksgiving!!

Tonight I am heading out to a Girls' Night for Anne's birthday! I have successfully practiced drinking wine at home now without feeling like I'm going to pass out, so I'm really excited to head over to Kristy's and partake in the wine a little's been a REALLY long time!!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Party of 5

This is my favorite new picture...but I cry when I look at our mantle now...


I was so wrong about my little Dylan...he is a boob guy. After my last post yesterday, I went in to the NICU for the noon feeding. I tried breastfeeding with both boys. They were each weighed before and after to see if they got anything directly from me. Owen poked around, but didn't really suckle much so he didn't gain any weight from breastfeeding. Dylan gained 10!! And this morning...15!! I tried again with Owen this morning and had the same result...but we'll keep trying. They are still really young for feeding on their own and Owen has had some spitting up/gas issues that might have something to do with his slow start. I'll be here for the noon feeding today...and hopefully the 3pm feeding too. Yesterday I went home after the noon feeding so I could lay down. There isn't anywhere very comfortable to lay down in my Parenting Room and I'm still recovering from surgery.

I was more prepared for my trip to the hospital this nice thing about the Parenting Room is that I can use a hospital-grade pump while I'm I don't have to lug my pump here each day. I also planned ahead to bring some snacks and lunch so that if I'm feeling ok and want to stay the whole day I can make sure I'm eating well enough. It is still wicked cold today, but you can't keep me away from these precious is so fun to see them when they are a little more alert and we can stare at each other!

Andy visited the boys last night after work. The nurse on duty, of my favorites...recommended we bring in some clothes so they can start dressing them and dialing down the temperature in their isolettes. Maintaining their own temperatures is one of the things they need to do to be able to come home. So, I brought in all my preemie clothes and some newborn-size onesies today. I can't wait to see them dressed up! They are both really dirty right now, so I'm going back early for their noon feeding to give both boys baths...I'm guessing we'll put an outfit on each of them after they are all cleaned up. I am a little nervous about bathtime...I remembered being terrified of bathing little preemie Ethan...bathtime is SO different now, that I barely remember how to bathe an infant. Cleanest to dirtiest, support the head, and hang on tight!!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Last belly pic

This will conclude our "belly picture" series. 34 weeks and 4 days. I will not be posting belly pictures on my way back down! I think I'm currently around an 18/19-week look. Dig those up from the archives if you are curious.


I'm hanging out in my Parenting Room right's pretty sterile and depressing...hey, it's a hospital room...not exactly where I want to spend my day, but at least the sun is shining in the barely looks like it's -5% out!!

The boys continue to do well. I visited during their noon feeding yesterday and got to hold Dylan. I held him skin to skin and, opposite from his brother's interest the day before, Dylan thinks boobies are yucky...he actually made a face...a face like I'd tried to feed him beets or something. Oh well. 'Course now I'm back and forth again on the whole breastfeeding thing...the nurse yesterday said we should still plan on them taking the 4 weeks until their due date to come home, but bottle-feeding does get them home sooner (This was the first time I'd heard 4 weeks!! I am still hoping it will be around 36/37 weeks which would be this week or next). This is simply because it is much easier for everyone to know how much the babies are getting (they would weigh the babies before and after breast-feeding, so there is some technique used to determine how much they get), and the actual mechanics of it are typically easier (bottle in mouth, ta-da!!) than breast-feeding, especially with twins. So, I know I will continue to pump and bring in breast-milk during their stint in the NICU, but I made it clear this morning that I am not gung-ho on exclusively breast-feeding. I just want our babies home!!

Andy went yesterday morning to do kangaroo-care with Dylan too. We are having a harder time getting snuggle time with Owen due to some of his spitting-up issues. They check to see what's left in their stomachs before each feeding. Owen has had some residual amounts, but they look like they are partially digested...which is good, his body is doing what it is supposed to, it is just doing it slower. This is very common in preemies. True to his in utero form, Dylan is sucking up everything in sight and hasn't been having any digestion or spitting up issues. Both boys are almost back up to their birth weights.

I continue to be amazed by how different they look from each other. Owen is like a little Ethan least, Ethan when he was this age...they both were born with extremely dark hair. Dylan is such a blondie...I joke that he looks like he stopped at the salon on the way and got his hair looks just like that!! They are handsome...even when they're wrinkly!!

Ethan is still talking up a storm...picking up on everything (ok, who taught him "damnit"?? :>). When he wakes up in the morning or after a nap, he tells me "Mommy's owie getting better"...And yesterday when I was explaining to him how I'm pumping to make milk for the babies he said "Mommies and cows make milk"...I laughed so hard I cried...but it's a true...he's a smart one. It's been great to be able to get down on the floor (slowly!) and play with him again. I'm starting to feel emotionally a little better about my relationship with E again since I can start to be more interactive with him as I heal. I have been feeling really bad during most of this pregnancy between morning sickness and my physical restrictions since it has really limited my ability to spend quality time with my first-born (besides reading books on the couch).

I need to write the rest of my "birthing story" soon...before I forget even the little parts I am able to remember now (we'll blame the Oxycodone). I'm still waiting for my incision tapes to come off which are supposed to fall off by today. They don't look like they will just "fall off". Then the stitches from my incision and the mole (they removed a mole during my surgery since it was right by the incision site...yay!) removal will dissolve eventually. I'm still trying to figure out exactly where my incision starts and ends, but I don't think it's very large. I can already tell that the swelling is going down and the pain has been much more manageable. That being said, I tried to have a glass of wine with Andy on Saturday night (after I let my pain meds work their way out of my system)...I took two sips, got a nasty headache, and my incision started to ache Andy finished my wine and I took my meds. I have not yet attempted the wine again...for those of you who know me personally, this speaks volumes about the pain involved with the recovery of this surgery. I do love me some wine.

Off to the noon feeding!!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

12-13 updates

I had a wonderful visit with the boys today. I skipped my pain meds this morning so that I could drive over there while Andy and Ethan went shopping. I had a great conversation with the nurse about my intentions to attempt breast-feeding. She recommended we get a Parenting Room during their stay. So, even though we live close, I'll have a room to use next week (at least) so that I won't have to run back and forth from the house or spend the entire day in the NICU...I can take a break for a nap, watch some TV, read a book, finish the final touches on the cross-stitch!! This way, I will be able to be there for their feedings every 3 hours...hopefully my being there more often and practicing breast-feeding with both of them while they are in the NICU will increase our chances of success. If breast-feeding doesn't work, I won't be doing the pumping and bottle-feeding that I did for's too much...but I will at least be doing that during their stay at the NICU...I've only been home one night, but it was weird to get up in the middle of the night last night to pump when no babies were home.

What was special about today's visit was that I got to hold Owen skin-to-skin..otherwise known as kangaroo-care. The nurse recommended that I put him to breast during his feeding (by feeding tube) to see what he'd do..." just to play" as she said. She didn't expect him to do much, just poke around, but he latched right on!! Whoa, is that different than pumping!! It's amazing. I never got Ethan to latch and gave up pretty easy...really, I think I was really scared about his size and directing his little head into position. I'm much more comfortable this time around...I know I'm not going to break them...I can gently grasp their head and guide them and that's what helps them until they get the hang of it. Anyways, the nurse was really impressed by him and I am totally encouraged that this might actually work. Next week, I'll be spending lots of time at the NICU/Parenting Room and I've requested a lactation consultant to help me. It's worth a shot.

I wasn't able to have this special time with Dylan this time around so I was really bummed about that. But Andy was able to make it over for the 3:00 feeding and did kangaroo-care with him. The nurses really recommended that dads get in on that too...bonding with both parents is very important!!

I brought over two storage cups of breast-milk when I went over for the noon feeding today. I was thrilled that it was enough (and a little leftover) for both boys' lunches!! Even though each storage cup was three pumpings worth, it felt really great to give them a meal all from me...made waking up at 2am last night definitely worth it!!

I got a quick update from the neonatologist while I was there. Both boys are gaining weight. Owen has been spitting up a little so they backed off on his feedings a little bit. There are no current breathing issues with either of them. The two issues left (breathing was the third) that determine when they will come home is maintaining their temperature and eating from bottle or breast. They are currently getting all their feedings via feeding tube and are in isolettes to maintain their temp. It's just a matter of time, he said...some preemies go home around their 36-week mark (this coming Thurs) and others 37 or it's just a waiting game from now on. Dylan does have one "issue" that they are watching...actually, it's on the back-burner...the neonatologist didn't even mention it to me today...I asked just because one of the nurses had mentioned it a few days ago. He has a small murmur that they hear off and on...they check everyday, but are not concerned. If it's still there by the time he is ready to come home, they might run an details on what that entails yet.

Ethan has been a doll since I've been home...a real snuggle-bug. I really missed him and I believe the feeling was mutual! We had a good snuggle after nap-time today and I totally teared up as he leaned his head against my shoulder...I glanced at the 5 stockings above our fireplace and was overcome by how lucky I am.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Babies! Post One

We had two babies since I last posted!!

Not 5 minutes after I last posted, I was back on the phone with the on-call dr at my clinic. I was bleeding again, but was told to not worry about it unless it continued. It didn't, in an alarming amount anyways, so I stayed at home and tried to sleep again on the couch.

Sunday morning I was still contracting, and all day I was convinced that my water had broke and I had a slow leak. By late afternoon, I called the clinic again and talked to the same dr as the night before...Dr I...he was on-call all weekend, and when I was in triage on Saturday morning and was very helpful, but I'm seriously irked now that I know he was wrong. Not that drs can't be wrong, but he was wrong and his "worst case" was actually the worst case, so I found out today. He told me on Sunday that the worst case would be that my water actually had broken and an infection would throw me into labor, but he said what I had described to him didn't sound like it was enough to be a leak. Anyways, long story short about that...I was right, my water did break...and I found out today that an infection around Baby B (Dylan) had thrown me into labor. Ugh. I am suspicious that my water might have actually broken on Saturday...since the triage nurse was pretty sure it had when I went in that day, but the test they ran came back negative...another type of test was done on Monday morning that came back positive.

Anyways, I trusted my gut, and on Monday morning I was still leaking something and was still contracting and cramping like crazy, so I risked being the most annoying patient ever and called the clinic when they opened. They sent me in, my amniotic fluid test came back positive...and I birthed two boys via C-section later in the day!!

I had very helpful nurses while I was there during the day on Monday....they were very open about the pros and cons of vaginal and C-section deliveries. Now that I know about the infection, I'm not even sure if vaginal delivery would have been an option when it came down to it, but at the time, we had been leaning more towards C-section and I never heard anything about any infection. If we had gone the route of vaginal delivery I had a few options...waiting it out for active labor or speeding it along with Pitocin. I had actually dilated backwards from Saturday and was back down to a 1+ and wasn't contracting actively, but we probably wouldn't have elected to speed it along if we'd chosen vaginal...Regardless, I needed to be done with this pregnancy, and since my water had broken it was pretty much just a question of "today" versus "tomorrow" and we chose today.

Anyways, Andy left work early and got to the hospital around 4:30, Dr H arrived in my room at 4:45, we decided on a C-section at 4:55, the team was put together about 10 minutes later and Owen was born at 5:40. It went so fast, which was great because I never really got the chance to get nervous. My nurse told me on the way to surgery that if she'd had the chance to hand-pick my team she would have picked everybody in the OR...My anesthesiologist was kinda eccentric, but awesome and everyone was really reassuring and informative during the whole thing. The whole experience was surreal...not even sure how to describe it. Not being able to feel anything on your body is totally crazy...I couldn't even feel the pushing and pulling that most people describe feeling during the delivery. It was just, hey, there's Owen!! Hey, there's Dylan!! And off they went with Andy to the NICU. Andy, by the way, was totally awesome. He is so calm in these situations...he is so comforting and incredible and exactly what I need when I am spastic and freaked out.

Hopped up on this and that, my memory is kinda spotty for the rest of the night. Andy made lots of phone calls. I got lots of drugs and had a billion leads/IVs hooked up to me. I spent about an hour in the recovery area before being wheeled up to the post-partum floor where I had the best room ever...with two windows!!

I had some bleeding issues during the surgery that I got a shot of something for. I also had some heavy bleeding the first night post-surgery. Bleeding can be heavier after twins because the uterus grows so much larger and therefore has so much more to do when contracting back to a normal size. Also, two placentas were attached and then separated at birth, so those spots have a tendency to bleed more too. It was kinda scary, but I was really out of it so I stayed calm.

OK, given the magnitude and importance of this post, I must break to refresh myself with pain relief...

Look forward to topics such as:

How incredible showering can be
Walking and talking at the same time while on Oxycodone
Those damn contracting leg boots
The unfairness of nurses administering Ambien only to wake you up 2 hours later
How quickly one regrets commenting on low milk flow once they awaken with cement boobies
NICU 101 and our sons' ability to kick-ass at 34w 4d

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Drumroll please

And the winners are..........

Owen and Dylan!

The demi-god sons were born at about 5:40 PM yesterday via c-section. Owen was born first, and tipped the scales at a respectable 5 pounds 4 ounces. 18 inches of good lookin' baby. Dylan followed him out, and not to be outdone he had beefed up to 5 pounds 6 ounces, and 18.5 inches.

Hilary is on the mend in her room upstairs. She is not very mobile right now, but she was very pleased to have her first trip down in the wheelchair to have some quality time with them.

Gamma brought Ethan for his first visit this morning. The big brother did not like all the equipment surrounding his brothers, but he talked to them and was excited to see them.

Updates to follow.
Mom and Dylan have their first cuddle: Owen getting a little extra air with the CPAP:

Saturday, December 6, 2008

L&D trips #3 and #4

I had picked December 6th in the unofficial baby pool that Mary Jo, Jessica, Courtney and I are having. This morning, I thought I was right on.

As you've read, I had my weekly prenatal appointment with my doctor on Thursday morning and was dilated a "fingertip"...I was fine for most of the day, a little uncomfortable, but ok. Thursday night I started to feel some good contractions and a lot of it was in my back, low down like pressure on my tail bone. The Terbutaline wasn't doing anything for me. I barely slept and tossed and turned all night. I called my clinic on Friday morning and they told me to go get checked out at Labor and Delivery.

I spent about an hour there before they told me to go home and wait it out. I was contracting, and had dilated to a 1+...but nothing else was going on. My doctor told them not to give me anything to knock out the contractions (like the shot form of Terb which they typically give at the hospital), but I was told I could take the pill-form of the Terb for my comfort. I tried taking it again later in the day, but it truly was/is not doing anything for me.

I felt like shizz all day on Friday...and last night I tried to fall asleep in bed, but ended up coming out to the living room to sleep on the couch around midnight. It was actually more comfortable than our bed. I know I'm not supposed to sleep on my back...but when I lay on my back at an incline with my torso leaning up against the corner of our sectional with my wedge pillow under my rear and two or three pillows behind my back, there is very little pressure on my hips and the babies are out of my rib cage...However, I saw 12:30, 1:45, 3:35 (that was my best stretch of sleep!), 4:20, 5:40, and 6:45. At 6:45 I was awoken by a sharp pain...I got up and went to the bathroom before heading up to Andy (I could hear Ethan singing in his bedroom too!)...I noticed a little bit of blood and then a lot of other stuff...yep, it was the glamorous "bloody show"...really, can't they give it a better name!!

The boys and I lounged in bed for a bit, I showered, and then called my Clinic right before 8. My doctor was on-call and told me to head over to L&D again. I finished packing my bag and Andy called Gamma to see if Ethie could come play at her house. We dropped him off at her house and headed over to the hospital.

On the monitors, I was contracting a lot and was seriously uncomfortable. When we first got there I was still dilated to a 1+ and was seriously bummed that nothing had happened from all the contracting the night before. From checking me, the nurse was suspicious that my water had broke, so they sent a test to the lab (with Ethan there was no question that had happened, but slow leaks also occur). She was pretty sure it had, but they have to verify with a lab test...if it was fluid, they would have kept me there. However, the test came back negative (and I wanted to cry). In the meantime, I had dilated to a 2+ (I'm also 60% effaced). Given the negative amniotic fluid result and the fact that I didn't dilate any more in the hour after I reached 2+, they told us to go home and wait it out..."wait it out" most hated phrase from now on.

I've been feeling really depressed today, more so than I have in the past week or two. I just don't know what to do with myself. I am so uncomfortable and it's been hard to go through these false starts the past few days. Also, I'm so confused about when to go back in...I'm supposed to go back in when my contractions get more intense and closer together...when I start to bleed more...or when my water breaks...But will I really be able to bad do the contractions need to be, how much bleeding, what is a slow leak like?...It scares me that it's all up to me to be the one to make the call on when we go in again...noone else can help me identify the signs. It's very frustrating.

What I do know is that we will likely meet these guys least if this labor runs in the same fashion as Ethan's...however, the nurse told me today that she's seen people sit at even 5cm for a few weeks...NOT what I want to hear.

Andy's out tonight enjoying his last night out pre-babies...When I told him I'd picked Dec 6th in the baby pool, he joked that the 7th would really be more convenient for him since he had plans on the 6th. This morning, I thought I had unintentionally foiled those plans, but I'm glad he gets to have some fun before the craziness sets in. My last night "out" was the night before I found out I was pregnant in early May so I'm really ready to have a night out...guessing it will be next June or so!

Ethan is excited for the babies too. When I ask him who is in my belly, he kisses my belly and tells me who's in there. I told him the names last weekend and told him "Shhh, don't tell, it's a secret"...'course he's been running his mouth and I'm suspicious that some people may know already. I knew he might tell, but I really wanted to hear him say the names...and I was's stinkin' cute!! But don't ask him...he'll tell you!!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

34 weeks

A fingertip!! I'm dilated a fingertip. That means...not much, but something!! It's not like I want to go into labor tomorrow, but this is an indicator that the babies are at least thinking about being born.

My eyes popped out of my head when I stepped on the scale today. Mind you, I've had like zero appetite for a few weeks now, but have still been trying to eat some...I just haven't been eating much...not as much as the rest of my pregnancy when my weight gain was slow and steady. However, with zero appetite I have gained 7 lbs in the past week (since last Friday, actually)...that's 12 lbs in 2 weeks. I asked my Dr if that was a concern to anyone but me. She said it was very typical of what happens "near the end"...fluid weight. She said I'll drop it in a snap once they are born...sweat, pee, drops off. Phew. I'm at 50 lbs total.

She measured me and commented on how my skin appears to be giving up the fight. The few stretch marks I had last week have become a few more. As I whined to her about it, she said that anyone having multiples just needs to expect stretch marks...just starting budgeting for the tummy tuck. Boo. Maybe I'll just get my boobs done at the same time :>

Baby A is at 160 and Baby B is at 150. They are usually the opposite...B is usually faster & more active, but A was all over the place during the appt...B must have been taking a nap.

Typically, people go into labor when the uterus has reached it's maximum capacity. Given my skin and measurements, it's probably pretty much at capacity. Another sign that we might be close to "the end" is that babies usually jump ship when they can't get everything they need via the placenta. Given my total lack of appetite (I seriously am giving it my best!!), I'm guessing that it might indicate a need to come out too. Peanut butter sandwiches, honey nut cheerios, orange juice, milk, and water...those have become my staples.

If I went into labor today, they wouldn't try to stop it (with magnesium sulfate or terbutaline)...but they wouldn't help push it along either (pitocin). Andy and I have been discussing and are feeling a little more comfortable with delivery via C-section due to the fear of a complication for Baby B...but since both babies are vertex, I wondered if any Drs would fight with us over this decision. I know my Dr wouldn't since I've talked to her about our concerns (heck, she created them!)...she's putting a note in my chart that we're leaning towards C-section. However, if I came in dilated to an 8 and A's head is right there, they'd all encourage me to deliver vaginally. She talked to me about breech extraction for B if he moves out of the vertex position and now I feel much more comfortable about it. So...we settled on leaving the note that we are leaning towards C-section, but we will just see what happens when it is time. I've never been tied to a birth plan so I'm all for doing what's right for the babies and right for us given the situation we find ourselves in at the time of labor.

I parked in a spot without a car to the left of me so I could easily get out of the van today. When I returned, some A-hole had parked ridiculously close to the driver's side. In my regular state I might have been able to shimmy myself through, but there was no way I was getting into the car in my current shape. I had to enter the car via the passenger side. That was still difficult...trying to get my leg over the console (even though it's low since it's a van) and under the steering wheel above the driver's seat. When I told Andy about it after my appt, he suggested coming in through the back seat and climbing around the driver's time (I have this same issue in the hospital parking ramp...I really do need a handicap sign for my vehicle!) Regardless, I looked around to see if anyone was watching before I entered the passenger side...I'm sure it was quite the sight. Don't laugh at me.

Here are some recent Ethan funnies...

The other night, I gave Ethan some apple juice (water with a splash of juice) in a big boy cup and sat next to him as he sat in his little lounge chair in the living room...Sometimes after he takes a sip he will say "Ahhhh"...That night, I decided to take it further and asked him to say "Ahhh, that's refreshing!" after a sip. He did it each time he took a sip...too funny. I love this stage of talking...too early for much back-talk, but I can make him repeat things for my own amusement. Awesome.

This one is TMI...stop reading if you don't like potty talk. Ethan isn't potty-trained yet, nor are we anywhere close...but he is pretty aware of when he is going potty in his diaper. He thinks it's cool when he pees in the tub and he likes to be left alone when he is pooping and will typically find a private spot behind the couch or something so we don't look at him. Most of the time he will announce that "Ethan pooped" or "Ethan has poopy diaper"...The other night, he was laying his head on my belly as we were reading a book together and my stomach was making lots of loud noises (I don't think my stomach size can handle all the water I drink)...Ethan looked up at me with excitement and said proudly, "Mommy pooping!" was SO funny. I try not to laugh at him when he says things like this because I don't want to make him feel silly, so I just explained that sometimes our tummies make noises after we eat. But on multiple occasions after he went to bed that night I randomly started laughing as I thought about the look of excitement on his face when he said that to me.

Ethan has a little platform that he can stand on that elevates him to counter-height called the Learning Tower. When someone is in the kitchen cooking, he runs to it saying something like "I need Learning Tower...I help Daddy/Mommy cooking"...I haven't been cooking in the kitchen much, but I holler to him from the living room to be careful on the Learning Tower because the little monkey tries to climb over the top of it to get in versus climbing through the middle space that's intended. Last night, he was helping Daddy cook and yelled to me "Mommy, I'm being careful in the Learning Tower!" Not only is that a spectacular sentence, but it proves that he listens to me at least a little bit! :>

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

33w 6d update

Well, here we are at 33w 6d. I just got back from my weekly BPP ultrasound at the Maternal Fetal Medicine (MFM) clinic. The boys passed again with perfect scores!! I swear the nurses at MFM are going to throw me a party once these boys are born. Today, I was greeted with such enthusiasm...."Hilary, you look great! You've just done so awesome...look how far you've made it...." Lots of comments about what the hell happened with my first doesn't make sense that I'd carry twins this long. But here we are...yay! That being said...I must have these babies by Christmas week...that will be 37 weeks so it's not like I'm trading the health of my babies for short-term-disability runs out on the 26th and we have $1500 left in our FSA for 2008...but, finances are finances and are absolutely secondary. So, how about the fact that I can barely walk...let that be the reason for delivery at 37 weeks...that is 3 weeks away though, so why worry now. I do, however, find it interesting that my clinic won't deliver before 38 weeks and the Twins book I'm reading doesn't even cover anything past 36 weeks since that is full-term for twins. There is a 28-32 week chapter and a 32-36 week chapter...and that's it!! There is NO 36-40 weeks chapter!!!

The Twins book also has a chapter on what to expect in the NICU and it's organized in pre-34 weeks and 34 weeks and greater...making it to 34 weeks makes such a difference in the health of the babies...'course all babies are different...Ethan at 32 weeks had typical preemie issues, but not as severe as your average 32-weeker (ventilator for only 12 hours!!)...some 34-weekers might go home, and some might have some pre-34-week see what I'm saying?...regardless, it's great. I am so much more comfortable with the idea of delivering at this point on. The January 2009 EDD message board on already has lots of birth announcements...lots of twins born in November, and even October...parents hoping to bring their preemies home by Christmas. I'm hoping to have ours here by Christmas too, just without the NICU time.

After my appointment, I stopped by Target to pick up the Terbutaline refill I called in yesterday. The pharmacist that helped me was the same one that helped me last time...she remembered me and asked how the boys were doing...she even remembered their names...uh oh...don't head to the York Ave Target Pharmacy and start asking around!! I told her the names when she asked me last time I saw her...thinking, seriously, I don't know this woman and she doesn't know anyone I know.

I am such a spectacle out in public. You'd laugh if you saw me get in and out of the van...I actually think I'm getting to the point where it might not be such a good idea for me to be driving myself around anymore...but the options are limited!! It's also cold in MN and I can't button my regular winter jacket. So I wear a long scarf and cross it over my belly and then button the top button of my jacket to hold the scarf in place. It's goofy-looking, but I'm past the point of being vain!

Wherever I go, someone asks me about my due-date or talks to me about something pregnancy-related. I went to the Starbucks in the Target before leaving to get a fake coffee and the clerk was 25-weeks and she asked me all about caffeine during pregnancy...I'm no expert, I just decided not to drink any (Andy did make me a cup with decaf beans/caf beans/milk last was pretty milky so I think I ingested minimal caffeine...but I drank it in like 3 sips it was so good). I ordered a medium decaf mocha with skim milk but said yes to the whip cream....apparently this was very funny. It's half-healthy, and really, do you think I'm concerned about the calories of the whip at this point?! I ordered skim out of habit and because I think all other milk looks chunky and the idea of it in my "coffee" makes me want to gag.

I was supposed to have my shot this morning...I never received the FedEx with my next 2 shots (my old nurse, Pam, forgot to order it until yesterday)...So I called Jen this morning and she picked up a vial on her way...but forgot the syringe. So, we did the rest of the visit stuff and she's coming back to shoot me up this evening. I think next week is my last week...still uncertain if we're going through 35 or 36 weeks with these shots.

Tomorrow morning is my weekly prenatal visit. Curious to see if I'm dilated at all...they couldn't tell at the US today because Baby A is like WAY down, they were shocked how far down he was and that I wasn't dilated (according to last Friday's check) given that, and some recent wicked contractions (knocked out with Terb still), I am hoping for a 1 or a 2...come on, boys...give me something here!! You can still hang out until 36/37 weeks, but give me some sign that you are at least thinking about coming out to meet us!!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Best tree ever...

Like I wrote yesterday, Ethan was SO excited about the Christmas tree. Ethan spent most of the day yesterday playing over at Gamma and Gampa's house, but while he was gone, Andy put up the lights on the tree. I didn't turn them on until Ethan got home because I wanted to see his reaction to the lights coming on. Andy got a remote for the lights so that you don't need to shimmy under the tree to plug in the can just press the "on" button. So, I showed Ethan where to press and he turned on the lights. Biggest smile ever!

I didn't do any decorating when he was gone either...I was kinda curious to see if he'd be into it and want to participate. After dinner last night, we gave it a try and he was SO helpful! I opened the box of ornaments and he picked them out and handed them to me to put on the tree...telling me what each one was...the funniest was a plain red bulb that he called an apple. We have lots of santas and snowmen on our tree...they were his favorite. He tried to put some on the tree himself which he was very excited about...a stuffed Elmo that I got from my mom when I was in college...a pooh and piglet ornament from his first apple (not the red bulb mentioned above, an actual apple ornament)...a pig...a puppy with Santa hat...we have a fun tree this year. The problem is, I had to cut him off after a while...we have TOO many ornaments (he was not pleased and called for "more decorations, more decorations!")...I would say that we probably don't even have half of the ornaments on the tree...maybe next year we'll do two trees...a fun one and a "pretty" one with all the fancy bulbs. But, next year we'll have two crawlers/possible-walkers by this time so who knows what our tree-situation will be...maybe we'll only have half the room we have even this year as we decorate the tree only above the two feet mark!!

Anyways, decorating the tree last night with Ethan trumped even my fondest memories of decorating Christmas trees...those which included a lit fireplace, Christmas music, and fancy wine...a tough combo to beat, but we had a great time last night...and please, no more ornaments!!

It's Dec 1 and I'm pregnant...and in awe of it.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

More Ethan commentary...

I can't get enough of Ethan's so funny. He's like our little commentator/narrator. In case you don't know what's going on, Ethan will inform you.

"Mommy talking to daddy"..."Mommy all done talking to daddy"..."Mommy eating Cheerios"..."Daddy working tools"..."Daddy cooking in kitchen"...

It's so cute...and I always know what Andy is up to around the house...because my little man comes to tell me what's up.

There's some bossiness that comes along with the talking, but it's so cute, that I can't help but laugh at it...."Wake up, Mommy"..."Get up, Mommy"..."Sit there, Daddy"..."Go away, tractor/car/anything that's in his way"...

And sometimes it is funny, but not so fun to how he likes to point out how Mommy is too big to do this or too big to do that...but sometimes he'll throw a Gamma is too big or Daddy is too big so I don't think that he's picking on my belly. And it's typically about playing with his Mommy is too big to stand on the train or Mommy is too big to walk on the car I'm not too bummed that I'm too big :>

The enthusiasm that comes along with all this talking is heart-melting. Primarily, the "I love you, Mommy"s...but yesterday he came running into the house after being out at the store with Daddy and was so excited. He came running over to me and said "I picked it out, Mommy...I picked it out"...talking about our Christmas tree. It is too much.


I have stopped sleeping with the snoogle the past couple nights because it makes me too hot. But the absence of the body pillow isn't doing anything to help my poor hips. Andy did some stretches on me this morning and they did help a little bit. While slowly getting off the couch this afternoon, I joked to him that I needed to be hooked up like a a marionette...with strings attached to my feet so that when I stand up I could just pull on the strings to move my legs. My hips are so stiff after sitting/laying that it really takes a couple painful steps before they start working like they are supposed to.

Today is the last day of November...I wasn't supposed to be pregnant in December, but I'm glad that I will be. Hope I'm not jumping the gun is only 3:30!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

33w pic

33w 2d. I passed the fFN again. It was negative. The nurse told me that it will be my last since they don't run them after 34 weeks...since they run them every 2 weeks and I'm 34 weeks next week, this one was my last.

I'm actually starting to let myself believe that we might take two babies HOME with us when I'm discharged from the hospital after their birth. Whoa.

Friday, November 28, 2008

33 week appt...

Another dull appointment today. I haven't received the results of the fetal fibronectin test she took this morning, so maybe "dull" isn't the way to describe the appointment, but a few hours will tell. It was the first time that she really discussed what we would do if it comes back positive...I am guessing she thinks it will. All that means is that it's likely I'd go into labor within the next 2 weeks...35...that wouldn't be so bad. If it's positive, she wouldn't run any more tests...since we would assume that they'd all result in positive results.

I'm still contracting and cramping a ton, but my cervix isn't doing a damn was still closed when she checked today...which is good, obviously, but I really wish my body would just stop practicing so much!! My dr thinks it's unlikely that there would be any decrease in contractions from now on...just one time, they will be real. Sometimes, the body starts practicing earlier in the 20-weeks and then there's a lull until real labor, but since I've been contracting so much in the early 30s too, there's no reason to believe any lull is in sight. Bummer.

One thing the maternal fetal medicine clinic (the clinic that does my biophysical ultrasounds (BPPs)) wanted me to ask my dr was if they should do the next growth ultrasound or if my clinic should do it. The next one would be on the 17th, at 36 weeks. She responded, well, you'll probably never get there, but it's a good idea for the other clinic to do it...apparently, I am getting to the point where it's harder for my primary clinic to do my ultrasounds (too much baby in there) and I really need a Level 2. Fine by me, since I'll be going to the MFM clinic for weekly BPPs anyways....less getting in and out of the car (which is crazy hard!). Actually, after she told me I'd probably never make it to 36, she recanted and said that hey, maybe I would...all our other predictions of how long I'd make it were wrong, so maybe our pessimism is helping us. 36 weeks is the ultimate goal now...the 18th...(Happy Birthday, Anne T on the 17th!). At 36 weeks, I'd no longer need to have my Progesterone shots, should no longer be taking the Terbutaline and the best part is, we'd likely be able to take the babies home with us!! Wonder what that's like!! That being said, I have still picked December 6th in an unofficial baby pool with some ex-co-workers/friends of mine.

Something interesting is that I have gained 5lbs in the past week putting my total at 43lbs. Hurray, I have met the 20lbs per baby recommendation! The interesting part of the 5lb gain is that my appetite has been seriously decreased for about the last 2 weeks. So, I think I can blame some of the 5lbs on turkey dinner yesterday...thanks to my in-laws and Andy for cooking! My dr said that decreased appetite and nausea (I've been having that too, mostly in the early evening) is really common in the late third trimester due to my shrinking capacity for food, so I should just try to eat little snacks/meals throughout the day. I'll give it my best try, but I really only feel like eating fried eggs and ice cream...not together. She said that even though I might not be eating a lot, the babies are grasping onto everything I am eating and that's probably where the weight gain is them (good...they can take it with them when they are born too :>). They are in fat-gain mode and bulking up for the outside world. Plus, I am probably not burning a lot of calories while on bedrest.

Babies' heartrates were 130 (A) and 135/140 (B)...typical variance between the two and a little slower than usual, but 120-160 is a normal range...

We missed the 32-week picture, but we'll take a 33-week picture today and post that soon. I noticed this morning that I am becoming more "shelf-life" on top. I might have seen a stretch mark and consulted with Jen about it last Wednesday. She didn't think it was one since stretch marks usually happen on the lower part of the belly and this purple line was right in the middle...whatever it is, she thinks it will go away. Phew.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Ethan says...

I try to write down the cute things that Ethan is saying so that I can blog about them every so often, but who am I kidding...everything he says is cute. Here are a few things from the past few days...

Ethan likes to announce to me, while pointing at Andy, "That's my daddy!"

I have become part of the car track. Since I am often laying on the couch when Ethan is playing in the living room, he drives his trucks and cars over me...starting at one end of the sectional, over me, and then parks them at the other end....he says, "Over Mommy!" as he drives them over me.

Ethan was standing in his Fischer Price animal train, the engine part, a couple nights ago and said "Ethan stand on train"...then followed that up with "Mommy too big stand on train"...thanks.

Last night Ethan was telling me about how he went to the mall with Gamma, and how he goes to the mall with daddy too. I asked him if he wanted to go to the mall with Mommy when Mommy's tummy wasn't so big and he said "Mommy's tummy go to mall"...apparently it is welcome to join us on the trip.


We are starting off Thanksgiving with cartoons and donuts. Ethan is wearing a new pair of footie pajamas from Gamma. He is very excited about them and points to his feet saying "My feet, my feet!"

Today I am 33 weeks, and although I am having tons of contractions, I don't think we'll be having any Thanksgiving babies. A couple weeks ago, Thanksgiving was the ultimate goal...if we could only make it to 33 weeks...and now we're here!! We have lots to be thankful for. Enjoy the Holiday weekend!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

I make good babies...

I need to take another belly picture...I'm 32w 6d today, but I haven't taken my 32-week picture. There's really not much of a noticeable difference from week to week, if you ask me. I'm still WAY out in front...I'm big...and that's for me to say, not you :>

Today I had another biophysical ultrasound, and a growth ultrasound too. The tech started with Baby A's head and asked me where they've come in on their past growth ultrasounds...average, larger than normal? When I told her they've been about a week ahead of their gestational age, she said "I'm asking because A's head measures at around 35/36 weeks", I had to explain the whole "Sandbergs have big heads" thing again...B's head measured big too...around 34 weeks, but she couldn't get a really good view of him due to his position, so it's probably bigger than that...he's been the big guy all along.

After the other measurements, she estimated A to be 4lbs 9oz and B to be 4lbs 13oz. That's a lot of baby in there!! I am so glad to hear these estimated weights!! I had guessed that B would be around 4.5 lbs and A a little less...they were just over 3lbs and just under 3lbs at my last growth US about 4 weeks ago. At 32w 1d, on his birthday, Ethan weighed 4lbs for twins to weigh close to that at just a few days older is super great!! Their percentiles are right around 50th...A was 46th and B was 54th...I'm assuming that's based on overall size, because their heads would certainly be a higher percentile than that!

They both passed their biophysicals too...we had to wait about 15 minutes for B to show the practice breathing and I just about passed out laying still on my back for that long, but eventually he did it. They both have good fluid still too.

So, they scheduled me for my next 3 biophysicals...they are weekly from now seems so weird to schedule appointments out to mid December, but who knows...they've surprised me this far!! Keep up the good growing, kiddos!

Friday, November 21, 2008

32w 1d

Not having any "exciting" updates at 32w 1d is a really good thing...but it will make for a very boring post.

Yesterday I had my doctor appointment and it was the fastest visit ever. They took my weight (no gain since last week...out to the decimal point...I eat ice cream every night and will continue to do so)...checked my blood pressure...measured my belly...listened to the babies' heartbeats. Then we just talked...She confirmed that they would induce no earlier than 38 weeks (Jan 1...although I think it's a tad bit premature to worry about having the boys in 2009 vs this year) but she was 99% sure I would go into labor on my own before then...I asked if I needed to worry about contractions if I had a negative result to my last fetal fibronectin. They are like 95% accurate, but it shouldn't give me a full sense of security and I should use my best judgement about the severity of my contractions and come in when needed (she told me not to be afraid to cry wolf)...and they can't predict when your water is going to break. So, they might tell me I'm unlikely to go into labor with contractions, but my water could break at any time apparently. That was it...

This morning was the biophysical ultrasound and both boys passed with flying colors. They are still both taking practice breaths (I also learned that taking in some amniotic fluid into their lungs helps with lung development...this part of the exam shows that their brains are teaching their bodies how to breathe). They both have enough fluid, good heartrates, healthy placentas....And my cervical exam showed that it's still closed. I got two GREAT pictures of B's face...he looks like he's smiling...I can't look at it without tearing up. We tried to get A too, but the poor guy, no matter what position the two of them are in (transverse or vertex), is always squished against something. His face is pressed right up against my he's the one that makes me jump every so often.

I have some more appointments next week, despite it being a Holiday week. When the hospital called to schedule my ultrasounds, they asked if I was going out of town, which I thought was really stupid...I just said "Um, no"...but seriously...should I be traveling far from home right now? I won't even let Andy go to Northfield to hunt and that's like 40 minutes away!! (I would "let" him, but I would pout about it)

Anyways, next Wednesday is my shot and another biophysical ultrasound, plus a growth ultrasound, at the hospital perionatology clinic where I was at today. Since everything has to be "ordered" by a doctor and a growth US hadn't been ordered for today I wasn't able to get estimates on their weights...but they sure did look quite a bit bigger to me. It will have been 4 weeks since my last growth ultrasound by the time I have the next one on Wednesday so I'm expecting quite an increase in weight. Next week on Friday I have another appointment with my doctor.

All the medical personnel at my appointments seem to get all cheerleady with me when I get great results like today. I'm excited too, but I don't clap my hands and jump up and down and hug people (they like to give me hugs) like they do...I guess I am just cautiously optimistic. I keep running through my head the comments from my dr earlier in my pregnancy...the first was when we first found out we were having two babies and she told us that it didn't mean we'd take home two babies, or even one (uplifting, right?...she's much more personal now)...and the second comment was several weeks later when things were going fine and she said that twins can be doing great one day and cause trouble the next. So...I take things day by day...really. At 32w 1d, 7:30pm, it looks like these boys are going to beat their older brother in gestational age...Tomorrow will be the most pregnant (time-wise, not size-wise!! :>) I have ever been!!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

"31" week picture and updates...

31.5 weeks in this picture taken a couple days ago...could be the angle, or the lack of zoom, but it doesn't look as big as some of the recent weeks' pictures...

Had my 32-week shot today. Holy crap, the boys are 32 weeks tomorrow!! Ethan was born at 32w 1d. I can't believe that it is likely that I will make it longer with twins than with my first baby. Although, I would have gone into Labor and Delivery last night, but noone answered the after-hours line at my clinic when I called around 10pm. I was having some nasty contractions close together last night. The terbutaline was NOT helping at all. I finally just went to bed and hoped for the best. I woke up around 2am and took some more pills...then fell back asleep until 6am. That's the longest stretch of sleep that I've had in the middle of the night for awhile now. Usually, once I wake up once, I'm up every hour until the rest of the house wakes up. I've been feeling fine today...just a couple contractions that have been isolated. Jen told me to go in if it happens again tonight...and that in instances like last night I should just go in to L&D and call them on my way letting them know I can't get ahold of my clinic. I really just need to come to grips that anytime I call the clinic with questions they are going to tell me to go in...with my history, noone is going to tell me to just chill out and put my worries it makes sense that I should just go to L&D and keep trying to call them on the way.

Tomorrow morning is my weekly doctor's appointment again...already! The weeks are going by pretty fast...each day, not so much, but the weeks...they go by fast. I'm interested to see if the contractions have been doing anything or if they are indeed "fake"...they don't feel fake! In the afternoon, one of my co-workers is coming over with her baby boy (born mid August) to drop off bins of clothes for us. She had twin boys first (a month younger than Ethan), and her singleton second. It will be nice to get lots of 0-3m clothes for the boys...we pretty much just kept Ethan in onesies and blankets when he was first home and through the winter because we really didn't go anywhere....but it will be nice to have lots of stuff so I don't have to stress about keeping up with laundry.

Friday morning is the second biophysical ultrasound. I'm so excited to see the boys again and to get an estimate on what their weights are. Our last ultrasound was about 3 weeks ago, so I'm guessing them to be close to 4lbs each, maybe more. Three weeks ago they were estimated to be 3lbs 3oz (B) and 2lbs 13oz (A)...

In other news...

We were turning a corner with Ethan at bedtime recently. The last few nights, Andy has come down from his room and said "He's an angel"...he's no longer taking a bottle of milk at night, just decided one night that he didn't want it. So Daddy and Ethan read books together, brush teeth and then turn on the turtle night-light to blue together (it projects stars on the ceiling/walls)...then he gets tucked in while they say "Night-night" and "I love you"...Andy leaves the room without any protesting by Ethan. It's only been a couple of nights that this has been going on, and last night was a total snafu so hopefully we're not going backwards.

Ethan went to Toddler Tuesdays at the MOA with Gamma yesterday for the premier of the movie Wall-E. He sat in his very own movie chair with apple juice and popcorn and watched 90 minutes of the movie!! He came home with a poster which we hung in his room last night...he's very excited about Wall-E and his girlfriend Eve.

Ethan's had a cold, but has been a pretty good sport about it...not too fussy, but really cuddly!! He needs constant hugs and kisses...tough job for us! I wish this phase could last forever, without the cold. One thing that's bad about the cold is that he hates to have his nose all kids probably...he thinks it's really funny to sniff in...he's a snot's gross. So he's sniffs in and then laughs, blowing snot back out. Obvs, it's super gross, but it's a good strategy to get him with the kleenex since I can't get him to blow his nose...when I say "blow out"...he blows air out of his mouth like he's trying to whistle. Maybe I need to be more specific.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Now what?

In the morning, when we have just woken up, Ethan has his morning milk while watching cartoons with us in our bed. He insists on bringing at least 2, sometimes 3, of his own blankets into our bed. It's cute because he wants us to snuggle with "Ethan's blue blankets" and likes to snuggle into "Mommy and Daddy's covers and pillows"...When pregnant, I sleep with a ginormous body pillow called the snoogle and sometimes when Andy gets up to go shower, Ethan will climb over the pillow so he's snuggled right up next to was one of those mornings. He grabbed his 2 blankets, climbed over the snoogle pillow and was laying right next to me with his head on my pillow...then looked at me and said, "Now what?"...I laughed and said "Just lay here and snuggle"...he cracks me up.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

I need a tissue.

I'm trying to keep my pregnancy hormones in check...who I am kidding, I cry really easily when I'm not pregnant too. I'm just emotional.

Ethan has been working at my heart strings...this evening he was telling me who he loves and who loves who..."Mommy loves daddy"..."I love Ethan"...then he said "Mommy Daddy Ethan happy"'s too much. Good tears.

Friday, November 14, 2008

31-week appointment recap

Contractions, contractions, contractions...the bane of my existence! It's all I do, counting contractions...and somewhere in there, I do some cross-stitching.

Wednesday night was really bad. I was up nearly every hour with painful contractions. A couple times I thought "it was time"...but after counting two contractions over 15 minutes, I fell asleep. Must not have been that serious. Since I made it through the night, I proudly stated to my doctor at Thursday morning's appointment that I had made it a whole week without making a trip to Labor and Delivery (my last trip was Wed Nov 5)...I was no longer her "problem child" least for that week!

My appointment yesterday went well. I gained another 1.8 lbs over the past weight gain = 38.8lbs; my blood pressure is good; I measure over 40 weeks for singletons; baby's heart rates were 140 and 145; cervix is closed, but she can feel someone's (probably A's) head right there; did another fetal fibronectin and I found out in the afternoon that it was negative again.

We talked about my continuing contractions and since they are not in any sort of pattern, she is not alarmed. Most are not painful, I can just feel the tightening, but some have been doozies. I have read, and have been told by my doctor, that this is just my uterus practicing for that I say "Uterus, you have mastered this skill...please lay off." I asked for a prescription for Terbutaline and filled that yesterday at Target...I haven't taken any yet since my contractions since then haven't been painful and didn't wake me up last night much...Terb has a lot of yucky side-effects, but it's nice to know I have it nearby just in case. I'm sure I was quite the spectacle at hips are shot so I'm a full-fledged waddler...and the pharmacist told me I looked like I was going to pop any minute. Nice.

I think my MetLife claim is moving in the right direction. My doctor had received a faxed medical form from MetLife that morning (still pissed that it took until Thursday, from when I called for the second time on Monday, to get a request to my doctor) and she confirmed my last day of work with me so we were on the same page. She promised to fill it out and fax back yesterday afternoon. So I'll call MetLife next week to make sure they have it and are reviewing. There will probably be a lag for my next check (still got paid in full yesterday since my first week of bedrest was required to be PTO), but I'm hopeful the rest of this process will run smoothly. I've alerted HR that I'm having issues and they confirmed I'm taking the right steps...but it's so irritating still.

I brought up delivery options again and now I'm back on the C-section train. I go back and forth, weighing the pros and cons of each...for the babies first, and for me too. I have too much time on my hands to think about this stuff. I think we'll play it by ear, but she did confirm that it is our decision and we can make it up to the last minute.

I have several appointments next week...Shot on Wed, doctor appt on Thurs, biophysical US on Friday...Next Thursday will be 32! Today I am 31w 1d...this is right around the time I went into labor with Ethan the first time. So, even though I'm getting into my "comfort zone", I hope these guys aren't in as much of a rush as their older brother. My cervix being closed and negative results for the fetal fibronectin could certainly lead to 1-2 more weeks, or more if we are lucky.

Yesterday, Gamma Leslie brought over some treats to celebrate our making it one more week. Each Thursday will be celebrated as a "non-Birthday"! They are chocolate-peanut butter bars and are delicious...Ethan celebrated the non-Birthday yesterday and exclaimed..."I love this non-Birthday cake"...."More non-Birthday cake, please!"...too funny! (see pic below)

I was encouraged after yesterday's appointment and was motivated to do some serious cross-stitching yesterday afternoon. Since I have the feeling now that I will make it at least one more week, I think I could actually finish this thing. Yesterday I finished all the cross-stitching and just started the back-stitching at the end of the day...after that will come the names, weights, and birthdate and then over a hundred dollars worth of matting and framing...voila! (see pic below)