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Janet’s Pregnancy Update – 26 weeks in 10 minutes

Pregnancy is one of those things that just prompts all kinds of massive changes in your life. For example, look at us – we’ve finally started a blog! The pregnancy is moving right along, but here’s a recap of the first two trimesters to bring you up to speed.  

Tuesday, November 4 – Election Day 2008 may have been a historic day for our nation, but to be honest I barely noticed. As it turned out, that day proved to be historic for Dan and I as well – that’s the day we found out we were expecting our first child!!! I called the doctor and they scheduled an appointment for three weeks later. Three weeks! Why so long? What was I supposed to do in the meantime? Well they waited three weeks because that would be about 8 weeks pregnant – and that’s when they can see the heartbeat on the ultrasound. And as for what to do – life as usual, except no strenuous lifting. So I carried on, but nearly constantly chanting “We’re having a baby” in the back of my head.

We spent the next three weeks going about our day to day lives – but filled with great anticipation. Our first doctor appointment was scheduled for Tuesday before Thanksgiving so we decided early on we would wait to share the news until after seeing the doctor. If I thought I was preoccupied now, I had NO IDEA how I was going to feel in just a few short weeks.

An interesting side note:  Since the doctor visit was three weeks away and I just couldn’t wait that long I did the next best thing – research on the internet. Did you know there’s an online calculator for EVERYTHING. Not just mortgages and interest; there’s a “due date calculator” for pregnancies. It’s based solely on the date of the last menstrual cycle. When I plugged that information in, it spit out a due date of July 8 – which happens to be my Dad’s birthday. So I spent the next three weeks thinking my child (because at this time I didn’t know any better) might have the same birthday as its grandpa.

ultra11Tuesday, November 25 – Our first doctor appointment. He did an ultrasound and showed us the beating heart of our child. Amazing!!!  Then he shifted the sensor and discovered the beating heart of our SECOND child. We’re having twins! I was speechless, dumbfounded, nearly incapacitated. Dan took it in stride. The doctor measured the babies (18 mm) to determine the date of conception and advised that our due date was July 5. He also told us to expect an early appearance since twins have a tendency to run out of room before their due date. When the physical exam was complete the doctor said, “We have a lot to talk about.” I responded, “Whatever you’re going to say, you should have told me before the ultrasound.” I was still pretty stunned and didn’t know how much of what he was going to say would really register. Afterwards, I went back to work. I might have just gone home and called it a day, but Dan was leaving from the doctor’s office to go to Shafter to pick up Grandma Siemens so she could spend Thanksgiving in Livermore with everyone. I composed myself as best I could and went back to work. I’m not sure how much work I actually accomplished (every other word that went through my head was “TWINS!”), but I made it through the rest of the day without anyone asking what was up. Not sure I could have maintained my silence in the face of a direct question.

Tuesday-Thursday, November 25-27 – We shared the joyous news with family. I think everyone we talked to was just as excited as we were. I also had a very mild cold over Thanksgiving weekend. Had I not been pregnant, I barely would have noticed. But I was already needing extra sleep and then with the cold I think I slept half the weekend.

Sunday, November 30 – Shared at Sunday school/church. Word spread quickly from there.  I think at least half of the congregation had heard before we left the building.

Monday, December 1 – Shared with co-workers.

ultrasound2Wednesday, December 24 – Our first appointment with the specialist. Turns out that in addition to meeting with our OB, we’ll be meeting regularly with a perinatal specialist. He’s able to monitor the babies more closely and make sure they’re growing at similar rates. They took some measurements of a fluid in the babies necks and combined that with information from a blood test they did on me to give us personalized statistics on one of the babies having Down Syndrome. Our risk is 1 in 1,400 vs. 1 in 96 based solely on my age. I’ll confess, I had no idea our odds were so high – and I’m glad I was ignorant. It might have caused me to spend way to much time worrying about it. A highlight of the visit is that their machine translates the flicker that is the heartbeat into sound so we were able to hear the babies’ heartbeats for the first time.

December 30-January 2 – It’s long been a tradition to spend time after Christmas in the mountains at a friend’s cabin with a bunch of people. This year was no exception. Although I didn’t go for any walks this year. I walked from the car to the cabin; spent the next several days inside; and walked from the cabin to the car. Didn’t want to risk falling on the icy roads. We had fun playing games with friends. And despite two different people being sick while we were there (one of whom was later hospitalized for pneumonia), I thankfully managed to avoid coming down with another illness.

Sunday, January 11 – This was no ordinary Sunday. When I got up, I noticed I was spotting a little. Very minor, but something that I hadn’t experienced before. So just as a precaution, I called the doctor’s office, pretty much expecting that he would say not to worry and give me symptoms to be aware of that might warrant further followup. Instead, the doctor on call wanted me to go to the emergency room to have it checked out. Okay, now I was a bit scared. So we headed out to Pleasanton and then proceeded to spend the vast majority of the day waiting (we were there a total of five hours). During the exam they were able to hear heartbeats for both babies and detect movements – a good sign (the nurse winced whenever one of the babies kicked while she was searching for the heartbeat. I guess kicks are louder than heartbeats.); I didn’t have any cramping/pain – good; there was no dilation – good; and there was only a small amount of blood – better than more blood. Eventually they gave me an injection of RhoGAM (just in case I had been exposed to any blood from the babies since I’m rh negative and we don’t know if they’re positive or negative) and sent us home with instructions to take it easy – no heavy lifting or running. I already had an appointment with my OB scheduled for Monday so since I was going to have to leave work early anyway I figured I would take the ER doctor up on his offer of a “take the day off from work note.” Plus it had been a very emotionally draining day.

Monday, January 12 – So we met with our OB today and he said everything looks fine. The spotting stopped as of yesterday, the babies are active and he can hear the heartbeats, and yesterday’s bleeding was dark/dried blood – not bright red, new blood. He said that the blood works differently during pregnancy and that’s why it’s common to bruise more easily, have nosebleeds or gums that bleed. There didn’t seem to be anything that had caused this and to carry on with normal activities (except heavy lifting or running) and not to worry about it.

Thursday, January 22 – I’ve spent some time each day for the past couple of weeks trying to be aware of what’s going on in my tummy to be able to notice it when the babies move. Today I felt the first flutters (although I wasn’t sure about it until several days later). It was evening and we relaxing and talking. And then I felt this little flutter. But I was talking, not paying attention. So by the time I became aware of it and concentrated on it, it was too late and the sensation had passed. It was Saturday before I noticed anything again – and again I wasn’t looking for it and only really became aware of it after it had passed. But with the clarity of hindsight (and repeated experiences) I know now that it was indeed babies moving.

Monday, January 26 – Question of the week:  Did you hear about the woman who had eight babies?! Yes, I did.

February 14-16 – Valentine’s and President’s Day on the same weekend. What a wonderful opportunity to take a mini-vacation and visit Cayucos. Dan had a cold when we left Livermore on Friday, but we had been looking forward to this for several weeks so we went anyway. On Saturday, we did a little hiking/geocaching on Bishop’s Peak in San Luis Obispo. It was a beautiful day – sunny, reasonably warm for mid-February, green hills… Dan can always outhike me even when I’m not pregnant. When he needed more rest breaks than I did during our hike I knew he really wasn’t feeling well. When we checked his temperature that evening, it was over 102. We took it easier on Sunday and just did some driving around Cayucos & Morro Bay. Generous, thoughtful, caring guy that Dan is, he naturally shared his cold with me. I started feeling it on Sunday evening and ran a low grade fever off and on Monday. Fortunately, it didn’t hit me as hard as it did him.

ultra3Tuesday, February 17 – Back to the perinatal specialist today for a big anatomy ultrasound. The exam lasted over an hour and a half. During it we got to see each baby’s hands, feet, legs, spine, skull, heart, kidneys and other organs – and we found out we’re having two girls!! When I told Dan he was going to be outnumbered, he said that was OK, he likes girls.

Sunday, February 22 – Lots of little movements today. Very distracting during church.

Monday, March 2 – Registered today. Spent a couple of hours at Babies R Us. What do I need? What’s just going to clutter up my house? I told Dan that registering for our wedding was much simpler. At least then I knew what I wanted, how I would use each item, how often I would use it, and where it would go in the cupboard. But some of this baby stuff they suggest I didn’t even know what it WAS. Fortunately I have some friends who’ve had babies recently so I’ve been able to get some advice from people who’ve been there.

Tuesday, March 10 – Dan felt the babies for the first time today. How fun and exciting to be able to share that with him!

Friday, March 13 – There’s a Mothers of Multiples club in the Tri-Valley that I’ve joined. One of the big reasons for joining is they hold a BIG equipment and clothing sale semi-annually. Dan and I went with two other friends who have twins and we were able to pick up some equipment at pretty reasonable prices. We’ve begun to gather the “stuff” we’re going to be needing. Our friends were amused at the two backpack carriers we got. But hey, we spend so much time out geocaching on trails that would not be conducive to strollers. And while I fully expect that our geocaching lifestyle is going to be modified, I don’t expect it to be ELIMINATED. So, down the road, backpack carriers seem like something we’re going to want to have. We were also able to pick up some other items (high chairs, nursing pillow, a few clothes) that our friends agreed were completely practical.

Tuesday, March 17 – Twenty-four weeks down and time for our monthly appointment with the specialist to make sure the girls are sharing the prenatal resources fairly. The technician who conducted most of the exam kept commenting on the “beautiful” babies. We’re in complete agreement with her. The babies are GROWING and weigh 1 lb. 9 oz. and 1 lb. 8 oz (remember they were only 18 millimeters – about 2/3 of an inch – at our first doctor visit).

Sunday, March 26 – Today marks the end of 26 weeks and the second trimester. We’re two-thirds of the way there. Well, maybe a little more since our pregnancy may be a little shorter than average.

Praise & Thanksgiving – Pretty much every pregnancy related health complication has increased odds of occurring when you have multiple babies. But so far things have gone extremely smoothly (with the exception of the one ER visit). I didn’t have any morning sickness or nausea. And while some of my favorite foods no longer appeal to me they don’t make me sick, I just choose something else that sounds more appetizing. I continue to feel healthy. We still go geocaching, although our walks have been shorter and flatter. I still do gardening, but for shorter stretches at a time. In short, I feel very blessed and thankful.

janet1

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