Tuesday, December 31, 2013

10w3d...Unfolding Before Me

Yesterday was a good day.  We saw the babies again!  Both babies are still there!  No one vanished!  The vanishing twin phenomenon greatly worried me.  They measured a little ahead this time.  Baby A was 10w6d and Baby B measured 10w4d.  Both had heartbeats around 168....considered normal during week 11.  I had two favorite parts of the whole thing...
1.  At first both babies were still and peaceful in there, all snuggled up.  Then, the doc pressed with the ultrasound thingie, and each one, when engaged, moved all four limbs...did a little dance.  It was precious to me.  To see that evidence of life healed something in me.  There were tears.  And smile that shone right through them.
2. Yesterday I got to say good bye to my pal "wandy".  Yes, friends, a new graduation day.  Boy am I happy that part is done.  The babies showed right up the "regular way".  I am becoming closer and closer to a "regular girl".  

My next appointment is 1/13.  At that appointment I will be 12w2d pregnant.  I will finally be passed that ever elusive safety point.  In some ways, I never thought I would get there, never visualized what that would feel like, never dared to dream that far.  It hurt too much.  The consequence to that is, however ridiculous it is, this girl who has been trying for motherhood for 10 years, is nowhere near ready for what is coming.  Nowhere near ready for success. I didn't even dare to dream it.  What does that say about my faith in God?  I'm not sure.  I did a lot of dreaming about children in my arms, how I would nurture them, but the "how" they got there was never clear.  The journey was always up to God. And now it's unfolding before me, miraculous, and glorious, in all it's wonder, something only a God who truly loves me could create.  So maybe it says a lot about my faith after all?  There was no secure plan, there is no choreography to follow.  So I'll just strive to do one thing, snuggle up to Him and wait to feel the momentum of the curves up ahead.

The next "curve in the road" is beginning on Jan 4th, and it will surely be a faith walk. Hubby and I get to "step down" the support drugs.  We get to only do the progesterone in oil shots every other day, and the estrogen patches are also cut in half.  The end of the drug parade is Jan 11th.  When 12 weeks are finally behind us.  We are thankful that this expensive drug support is finally easing.  We are also praying that there are no consequences for the cutting back.  The babies look so healthy in there, let's hope their placenta's can take over the heavy lifting seamlessly.

Also, Dr. A wants me to schedule an appointment with the specialist.  Not sure when, but the specialist's office is already calling to schedule.  I'll keep you in the loop for when that appointment will happen.

And now, something I've been chewing on for a few days....a quick note of apology to anyone I have withdrawn from in the last few weeks:  I am sorry for my absence.  My heart has missed each of you.  I am sorry for the distance.  I think I understand the "why" and I would like to share it with you:
1.  I am so tired.  Scary tired.  The kind of tired that makes me worry a little.  I have been resting my mind and my body because I am trying to learn to listen to what I need, for them (of course).  Its an adjustment for me to not pick up the phone and reach out, to cover in prayer instead of actual talking, to let that be enough.  Know that each of you are not far from my heart, even if the frequency of our discussions makes me feel far away.
2.  My tired brain is mostly thinking about how to avoid throwing up.  Seriously, I'm overcome with how I physically feel, I'm trying to plan the next snack or meal, think of something I can stomach.  It's made me obsessive, and I fear that all this focus on food in, food out, has made my relationships suffer.  I'm truly sorry for that, and hopeful that there is some relief in this area soon.
3.  I think that God was/is doing something with me spiritually.  I think that only God knew how hard, emotionally and physically, this first trimester would be for me.  I think that God planned some heavy lifting for me in regards to beginning to heal my broken heart, and He wanted me to have some space and time and energy so that He and I could do that good work.  This momma has to be healthy and whole for these babies.  Thank you for letting me have the space to do the work, and for loving me through with your texts and your calls and your support with blog replies.  I know that you are right here with me, I feel you everyday, and I will be back to do my part in the future.  Know you are not forgotten, you are loved, and you are always prayed for.  I am thankful for each of you.

I pray much love and happiness and peace over each of you in 2014, this year of Hope.  Thank you for coming along with me on this road paved with hope.  I'm thankful for the company. Cheers!

Friday, December 27, 2013

10w0d How many times can I use the word PUKE? And how much inappropriate punctuation can I include?...Who cares!

Finally...some time to rest.  I'm loving being a teacher and being on holiday break!  No work until 1/6! Except for a side project I can do in my jammies!  This means a break from public puking.  No enduring of anything annoying to my poor tummy (examples...no spectrum of people smells...B.O...perfume...dirty diapers..., no riding in cars when nauseas, no forced/trapped listening to stories I've already heard, no expectations to be charming).  No hiding my grimace of yuckiness. The "grimace" means one of the following:  "I think if I eat I may not puke, but everything I think of eating makes me want to puke", "I think what I just ate to avoid puking is going to make me puke", "I think that you stink and I may puke", "I think that I may puke for no apparent reason what so ever".  No one around ='s no explanations, no extra talking, no hiding how I feel.  Some at home time is just what this girl needs.  

Week 10 is behind us as of today.  And so we embark upon week 11. Monday we get to see these little lovelies again.  I'm praying they are on target.  My weight is creeping up which is good for twins.  We will see where I stand on Monday.  Dr. Luke's book says 25 lbs by 20 weeks.  We started at 137, and with 10 out of 20 weeks down, we are at 143. Up by 6 lbs.  Dr. Luke says that the weight of these babies at birth is directly related to how much I gain all throughout this pregnancy.  My major goal is to be able to take these babies home with me, and breast feed.  I want them with me from moment one.  I want no NICU separation.  My best chance for that is at least 6 lb babies.  My best shot for 6 lb babies is to gain weight, good weight...protein...healthy weight all the way throughout this pregnancy.  So far, I'm blessed and thankful to have gained with all the puking going on.  Dr. Luke says if I gain good weight all the way throughout, then breastfeeding will take it off quickly after the babies come.  I'm pretty sure I will never be back to my size 6, but it's all worth it.

I've been having such a pukey week.  We are trying out ensure plus shakes.  So far so good, the first one is staying down.  Sweet hubby planned our meals for the rest of the week.  Then he grocery shopped.  He is serious about following Dr. Luke's advice.  I'm so incredibly thankful for him.  These babies and I are blessed to have him as our hubby/daddy.  When I stand back and watch him taking care of us, and being patient, and worrying, and planning for our future, I am filled with awe and gratitude.  We have both grown so much in these years of struggle.  Of course, here in this place, when I'm chuck full of babies, it's easier to let all of the waiting make some sort of sense.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

9w1d A Mountain of Gifts and a Mountain of Days to Go!

Today I wrapped a mountain of gifts.  I love wrapping gifts, tying ribbon, fluffing tissue...trust me its pretty close to as crafty as I get.  I kept thinking that if all goes well, it may be years before I can wrap to my perfectionist's heart's content.  Instead everyone will get last years gift bags, wrinkled or not, Christmassy or not, because friends we are going to be in budget lock down, and there is no way that two five month olds are going to let me wrap presents for hours on end. Yeah, no that ship has definitely sailed.

Only 9 more wake ups until my next ob appointment.  To say I am counting the days would be a gross understatement.  I misspoke in the post where I claimed this two week wait would be hard...because this is an 18 day wait...which is way longer that your usual TWW.  Also, this morning sickness makes the days drag on, everyday they feel longer.  By the 30th I should be 10w2d pregnant. I am praying that both babies measure on target and that both heartbeats are strong.  I am trying to do everything right, take my crohn's meds, keep my vitamins down, eat protein, drink water, etc.  Not all of these things are occurring though, not with the constant competing nausea, and with the going to bed really early.  There just isn't enough time in the day to be perfect with everything.  So I am trying not to think about any guilt equation if things are iffy on the 30th.

I also have to remember the three great ultrasounds we've already had.  There is no evidence of anything going wrong.  I just can't help preparing a little.  All the while though, that quiet constant peace is still way down there helping me rest.

And in the meantime, we have Christmasness to get through.  And, by the Grace of God, I have two weeks off to puke in private, and really rest. I do have a special project to work on that will bring in some unexpected money...it's just the kind of challenge I like to dive into.  Maybe it will be enough to distract me?

I'm looking forward to the family time, and some time with my sweet hubby.  Although, here's hoping he's better during labor than he is during the puke party.  Poor guy doesn't know how to help, he keeps trying to talk to me during, like I can answer!!!  I told him the best thing he can do for me is clean the throne for me and not make me wait for meals.  He's been doing most of the cooking because this girl is going nowhere near raw meat!  He's working on it.  I love that man.

Monday, December 16, 2013

8w2d Preggo Meet my Cool Pal "Bessie"

This girl is so sick.  I have now become a veteran at puking in public places. It's a new flavor of awesome.  I'm even thankful for this nauseous adventure.  I'd be worried if it was otherwise during this latest two week wait.  I am thankful for this data, for this proof, for this evidence of these babies.  

So, I'm doing my job to avoid the nausea, and keep my head out of random garbage cans, I am eating the freaking world.  I carry a giant cooler with me full of things I think I can stomach.  I can be found shoving the contents of said cooler in my mouth at any given moment throughout the day.  I met with more than one of my bosses today and in between semi-intelligent utterances, I shoved cheese and crackers, dried mango, and an uncrustable (yes, I am craving processed pb&j) in my mouth instead of breathing.  It was completely out of control.

I hear that there might be some "twenty pound by 20 weeks" rule with twins.  So far I've only gained a pound with 8 weeks behind me.  With my Crohn's I'm guessing I might have trouble meeting this benchmark.  My answer to that, a constant companion cooler. That thing is spending more time with me than anyone else in my life, except for my bundles!  Maybe I should give it a name?  How about "Bessie" since it's main purpose is to transform me right out of my size 6...which I may never see again! Feeding these babies is my most important job.  I don't care what it costs me in the long run.  There's always the gym.  Besides, with two babies, I may never sit on my couch again!  Which, by the way, is exactly what I've been waiting for!

Meet "Bessie"

Friday, December 13, 2013

7w6d Preggo...I'm Just a Regular Girl

So, for the first time in 10 years I'm at my OB/GYN and I am not having ripples of emotional pain at the sight of all the preggos, and preggo related paraphernalia.  I'm surrounded by baby themed, belly related schtuff, and I haven't cringed once.  I fully remember how I used to feel.  The memory is not gone.  But I can't feel it the same way.  It feels out of my reach.  I realize that, on this side of the proverbial stirrups, I can fully see the girl I was, and I love her deeply in her pain.  I long to give her pieces and parts of the peace I have now.  I long to hold her, and show her the pictures of these two that will be hers.  Although, back then that probably would have hurt too.  

I can remember it all, but it is as if these two in me have given me an emotional epidural.  I can't hurt for wanting for them, because they are here. Really here.  Really a part of who I am even now.  Their presence is such an overwhelming comfort to me.  

Dr. A is awesome.  He even complimented me for sticking it out and never giving up.  He said he was proud of me.  He has such a strong paternal presence.  I'm thankful for him.  He says I need to consult with a specialist because of my age and the twins.  He also said that its ok with him if I need to see them (ultrasound) more than most.  He understands that it will help me be calm if I can see them doing well in there. My next appointment is 12/30.  We will get to see them again then.  He looked again today, a pleasant surprise.  The heartbeats were just a little higher today...164 and 158...two days ago they were both at 150.  Here is the chart I'm hanging my hat (and heart) on...so to speak:
I'm so thankful for this encouraging info.  My God must know how much I need it.  So It's time to settle in for another two week wait.  Is this one going to be easier than all the ones that came before?  I have no idea.  I'm praying it is.  These little ones are giving me lots of reminders of their presence.  I'm surprised I don't look as green as I feel.  I've got two parties tonight, and I will be lucky if I make it 15 minutes at each.  Going to rest now while I can.

When I wake up tomorrow, 8 weeks will be behind us.  I already love them so much.  So thankful.  

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

7w4d Preggo...RE Graduation Day

Today we had another great ultrasound.  We are ready to tell our closest friends and family, and you that, by the abundant grace of God, we are expecting a double blessing in July of 2014.

We heard both heartbeats again! They got faster as they should.  They both measured 6w1d at the first ultrasound and Baby A had a heart rate of 120 beats per minute.  Baby B was just 9 beats behind at 111.  These were VERY strong heart rates for little ones so young.  10 days later, today, 12/11/13, Baby A measured 7w4d and had a heart rate of 150 BPM.  Baby B measured 7w1d and also had a heart rate of 150 BPM.  The normal range is 120-160 BPM....so we are right on track.  Very very healthy.  We are thrilled, and thankful, and humbled by all the love and prayers.  There couldn't be more prayed for babies after 10 years of hoping and praying and yearning.

We have graduated to "regular pregnant people" land.  The RE's office will still follow us with the meds until 12 weeks....Jan. 11th.  They will start to wean us off of them in a few weeks, and will do blood work once a week until then.  It's time to try a new adventure of the regular OB.  Not sure I'm going to like that much.

I am back to that feeling of peace.  Now, with all this wonderful info, I feel I can embrace this peace that is a gift from God.  I am feeling less fear, and more certainty everyday.  I am feeling that these are finally my babies.  I am more and more certain that these are the little ones that I will get to hold.  These are the faces that will look back at me that first moment they are placed on my chest.  These are the hands I will hold on the first day of school.  These are the hearts I will teach and nurture.  These are the faces that I will help to turn toward the Son.

To my sisters out there who are waiting, hoping, praying, and yearning.  I know what it can feel like to read news like this.  I know that there is no way to avoid the deep reaction that would happen to me every time I heard of someone else getting what I so deeply wanted.  I can remember it feeling different when it was someone who had struggled, someone who knew what loss felt like, and/or who had walked along side me loving me every step of the way.  Know the love and the prayer that I have for each and every one of you.  After ten years of building a prison for myself, the door is finally unlocked and gently opening up for me.  It will open up for you too.  To what (or who, or how) exactly, only God knows...but I promise you that prison will not be there forever.  Keep believing, and hoping, and opening your eyes to whatever God has for you next, and maybe that prison will turn into a beautiful carousel, with colorful horses, that sometimes spins a little too fast, where almost nobody is sleeping, and where you smile so big for so long that your cheeks ache, and your hair always looks like a windblown mess, and everybody is too tired to care!

These babies are miracles, and I know that my loved ones in heaven are fighting for them right alongside us.  My grandfathers, Jake and James, my dear Dreama (I'm sure she's already made her presence known in heaven!), Eileen Scholl, Carol Throm are all up there guarding these babies.  I am so thankful to my Jesus for the gifts of each of their lives and for their love and prayers all these years.  I am so thankful to my Jesus for His great love, and for teaching me who He is along this journey.  These babies already belong to Him.

Friday, December 6, 2013

6wp3dt 6w5d This World is Forever Changed

I'm sorry you haven't heard from me.  As is life's inevitable pattern for this girl, hugely wonderful news has been faithfully followed by something I've been dreading for the last few years.  The loss of my beautiful and wonderful, classy and sassy Grandmother, Dreama, happened yesterday at 1:34 in the afternoon.  She was surrounded by her equally incredible daughters.  She died in her own little bed, in her own nightie, on her own pillow just they way she wanted.  

Every time I saw her the past two years,  I found myself saying good bye.  I knew that we would lose her, and that maybe it wouldn't be in God's plan for me to be by her side.  I am heartbroken that I can't snuggle up with her in her bed anymore, and feel that little extra squeeze she saved for me at the end of every hug. Every time I walked into a house where she was I would yell "Hello, my Dreama!" and she would exclaim in true Dreama fashion "Ohhhhhhhhhh it's my Cristy!" while rushing to greet me.  It's funny that we would both describe each other with "ownership" words.  As if we loved to declare to the world that we belonged to each other.  As an adoptee, I think that the way she loved me, as if I was hers without an inkling of doubt, filled a hole in me and helped me become whole.

Dreama had a little box on her white kitchen table. In it are prayers for each of her children, grandchildren, great grandchildren.  She prayed these faithfully every day.  For ten years there has been a slip of paper in there for hubby and I, for this baby already so loved.  I have long yearned to see a child of mine in her arms.  Now, today, in heaven I choose to believe she's holding the one's I've lost, gazing into thier faces as I've longed to do, loving them and letting them know they belong the same way she loved me.

I hope they have hard rolls with butter and strawberry jelly in heaven, I will be picturing all of them, in blue robes, around a little white kitchen table, that prayer box in the center, tearing off little crusty  pieces of bread, while they are still too hot to touch, putting on a chunk of real butter, and the right ratio of jelly. Enjoying the company of My Dreama.

I'm headed to Buffalo to stand at my mother's side.  If you're looking for me, you just might find me snuggled up in Dreama's bed, hiding under the covers having a good cry.

This pregnancy is one of Dreama's miracles.  I've asked her to protect it.  While she's gazing into the tiny little faces of those we've lost, I know she will move heaven and earth to make sure my arms are full as soon as possible.  My Dreama would say, "nobody deserves it more!". Well I say, nobody deserves heaven more than my Dreama.  

I wonder if an angel's gown would include a feather boa?  Well it should!!!!!

Monday, December 2, 2013

26dp3dt 6wks1day Finally...We heard it! Praise the Lord!

Today is the day.  Today is a major day in 10 years of infertility history. Today we have made it farther than we have ever made it before.  Here is how today went down.....Later, I owe you the story of how God prepared me for today...a little preview...He let me know it was safe to go into today and rest in His peace.

This morning, and throughout today we felt surrounded with support.  I was getting texts all day, thank you to everyone whether we heard from you or not, we know your prayers were holding us up.

This morning my hubby was lingering as we said good bye.  The heaviness of what would happen this afternoon was hanging between us.  He was kind of pacing around, and I knew he was looking for the right words.  I could feel his heart in the heaviness, and I said "Thank you for us getting this far".  If he hadn't said yes to this course of treatment, made it happen for us financially, and been there every step of the way, we wouldn't have an ultrasound to go to today.  I wanted him to know, in a simple statement, that his faith in God, in us, and in our future meant the world to me...he thanked me right back.  

Our appointment with the RE for our first ultrasound was at 3:15 today.  This meant that almost an entire work day had to happen before the big event.  That was torture.  My partner at work did a good job distracting me until it was finally time to head home to meet the hubby.

When we arrived, we did blood work, and went into the same room where the empty uterus scan happened only 4 and 1/2 months ago.  When we entered that room, all that I had experienced there washed over me, it stopped me my tracks a little.  I went a little mechanical...got undressed, draped the cape over me, ignored whatever my hubby was saying, he was trying to distract me, hopped up on that table, and  bowed my head in prayer.  I prayed against the spirit of fear, and I asked for the Holy Spirit to fill every inch of that room.  As soon as I did, the peace I knew, deep down, was there all along, was a tangible presence.  I knew that what ever came next, would be the will of God, and that I would have the peace of God no matter what the ultrasound result was.

Then, it was as if God launched a campaign to give me the "normal ultrasound" of my dreams.  Dr. T came in and gave us the "really early....might be too early to see anything, but you wanted really early, so here we are" speech.  He said we may only see a yolk sac and no baby yet...My God said, oh yeah Dr. T....watch this....bam, right away, baby clearly visible!!! 

Then Dr. T says, sometimes it's hard to see the heartbeat this early...and then... he said...ah...there it is...looks great.

Then the doc says....it is really early to be able to hear the heartbeat but let's give it a try....and then I heard the most beautiful sound I've ever heard. It was already strong...120 bpm.

We measured 6 weeks 1 day which is considered RIGHT ON TARGET.  That's right friends, today Dec 2, 2013 I am thrilled to report that we have experienced the elusive "normal ultrasound".  My hubby has permagrin:).  I am breathing a lot easier.

Honestly, I'm kind of in shock, and thrilled, and the boulder that I shoved over that place in my heart that holds all the hope, is all of the sudden feeling lighter, and smaller, even insignificant.  Maybe it's because today pieces of my broken heart came together, maybe because my heart feels more whole than it has felt for years.  My heart may have even managed to swell large enough to hold all the love and hope that exists for this pregnancy.  I am beyond thankful to my Jesus.  He heard every word of your prayers.  Please keep them coming, we still have a ways to go.  Another ultrasound in 10 days.  Resting in His peace tonight.