Sunday, August 23, 2009

Life is so precious

This week was a great challenge to me, everything is fine with the babies and myself, but it became completely clear to me how quickly life can change. A dear friend and coworker of mine was also pregnant, she found out a week before me and we have commiserated every step of the way. Last week she had received news that one of her blood tests came back with a high result indicating potential downs syndrome and would require further testing. It was obviously a concern for her, but it was also abundantly clear to anyone who had ever met her that she would love this baby no matter what. An ultrasound was scheduled for Monday, and unfortunately no heartbeat could be found. The baby had not made it. Because she was so far along, twenty weeks, they made her deliver the baby. I cannot imagine the pain she went through knowing that her labor was all for naught. After eight hours she delivered a beautiful baby boy, they were able to hold his lifeless body. He was named Noah Lee, and they were given an inked footprint as a keepsake.

The pain that she is experiencing is beyond my capacity, I have been blessed to have never experienced the loss of a pregnancy. And to be so far along where this baby was a constant companion actively moving in her womb. My heart breaks for her. Upon hearing the news I was devastated. Though not logical in any way, I feel so much 'survivor's guilt' for there not being complications with my pregnancy. I know that I am still in a position where anything could happen, but that is the case with virtually every pregnancy on earth.

The memorial service was so hard to attend, I knew that I would receive unwanted attention simply because of my condition. But it was so hard to see this poor family and all of their loved ones suffering from this loss. I couldn't keep it under control and was so grateful for the tissues that I had snagged on my way out the door. It was so nice to see such support, and I know that the ceremony and burial would give them some level of closure.

With all my heart I wish that things could have changed for her, for Noah. But in the meantime I'm doing everything in my power to take the best care of me so that I can do whatever possible to protect these precious gifts that I have been entrusted with.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Sonograms 10 wks 4 days

Baby A on top, you can only see the head. Baby B is laying profile hogging the shot!

Baby A only, to show that there's a whole baby there not just a noggin, like in the other shots!

I love this shot because even though you can only partially see baby A, if you look on baby be you can see the little arm that was just waving around like crazy! ...And I adore that the two sacs almost make a heart. I'm a girl, what can I say!!!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Seriously?! Seriously?!!!

After almost a month of officially knowing that I was pregnant I was incredibly excited to find out exactly how far along I really was. Again the joys of having a stressful job wreaking havoc on any sort of cycle I had going made the actual conception date quite the mystery. I had my first ultrasound and official appointment scheduled over at Women's Medical Center. (This after two at-home pregnancy tests, and two blood tests administered by the military since the first result apparently disappeared into cyber oblivion.) There was no doubt in my mind that I was pregnant, but how pregnant was important to find out!

John was really supportive of me throughout the entire pregnancy with Kaleb and was at my side at all of my appointments. This time around his schedule isn't necessarily going to permit that, but I was pleased that he wanted to go along for the ultrasound. That morning I woke up and drank the required amount of water to prepare. John took Kaleb to daycare and met me over at the clinic, after a quick stop for a refill for my water bottle. Too much water, too early wasn't a great combination for me so I practically had to start over with drinking!

Finally after a short while in the waiting room we got called back for the ultrasound. I positioned myself on the mini-bed and John got comfortable on the chair. I was rocking maternity jeans because none of my regular jeans were going to cooperate with my new expanding belly. I pulled down the fabulous navy stretch fabric that all pregnant women come to know and love and prepared for the goo!

The set up was quite nice, with a tv monitor mounted on the wall for John and I to view instead of having to peek over and see what the tech was seeing. The first picture that popped up on the screen was fairly clear to me, it looked like an amniotic sac but I didn't see a baby. The tech scrolled down a little farther to what I thought was a different angle of the same thing, this time I saw a blur of potential baby.

"Ummm...well, there's two."

My head exploded in that moment! I hear John say, "Can you check again?"
A little more pressure and a few clear strokes there was no more question in my mind that there truly were two babies. But I still absolutely couldn't wrap my head around how on earth they got there!! I have no history of twins in my family, except one occasion when fertility drugs also played a role, and John's family was full of singletons as well.

We watched with very little communication, we both were in shock. I kept checking in with John as the scan went on to view more specifics, making sure he wasn't going to pass out on me! Hearing the tech refer to Baby A and Baby B was such a foreign concept from my initial game plan!

Everything was beginning to make more sense, about the portion of pregnancy that had already passed. The overwhelming nausea, the aches and cramping that I hadn't experienced until much further along with Kaleb.

We established that I was 10 weeks and 4 days along. I was truly hoping that I was farther, but knowing now that my body is doing double the work it was alright.

After the initial shock wore off it was very cool to see the different angles and the wiggly little fetuses. Both babies were so active, and watching their heartbeats was really incredible.

John went home after that portion of the appointment because he had seen what he needed and wanted to avoid seeing anything he didn't want to see! All of the labs and paps and lovely femine things that follow on the initial appointment.

I sat in the waiting room, mentally going over the news that absolutely changes all of our lives. I was mentally calculating the cost of duplicate everything, this pregnancy sure was a lot cheaper an hour before! My cell phone was at home charging so I didn't have the opportunity to call my mom, update my facebook or any of the other technological wonders that I was aching to use--since I was just bursting wanting to share this crazy new information!

It was actually a very neat coincidence that one of my girlfriends from the spouses group showed up for an appointment of her own and I was able to squeal and get it out there in the universe.

The rest of the day was a blur of spreading the word and trying to accomplish some work in the process. When I got home after work, I caught up with my boys out playing in the backyard. I asked John if he had explained to Kaleb what was going on. He said that he had told him, but he wasn't sure it stuck in his three year old head. I called Kaleb over, got down to his level and said, "Hey honey, remember how mommy has a baby in her tummy?"

Before I could even finish my thought Kaleb interrupted, "No mommy, two babies." I looked at John with raised eyebrows, I had been told. My fear that Kaleb would be upset by the news vanished and despite the fact that I know he will have issues when the babies are born and he suddenly has to share the spotlight, he is very happy in the now. So despite all my concerns and nerves I know that I can do this, even if it does terrify me! I am just going to take it one day at a time!

Oh mama, welcome back to pregnancyville

Even when you 'know' it's still a shock to see those two pink lines on the pee stick. I thought I might be pregnant again because of the way my body was misbehaving, and it had been a while since my favorite visitor had stopped in regularly. Looking for confirmation I did a quick run to Walmart before work to pick up two tests--never trust one!

As a twenty six year old, happily married, working mother of one I was feeling pretty good about where I stood in life. My husband John and I had discussed having another child before, and though it took some convincing John finally agreed that it might be nice for our son Kaleb to have some company that wasn't four-legged and furry. He agreed to the concept but we had no firm plans in mind, nor a time frame to consider. My day job and freelance photography work were plenty to keep me distracted in addition to the countless hours spent entertaining Kaleb. Needless to say, pregnancy was a potential possibility but it was definitely not a planned adventure in my near future.

Fast forward to spring 2009, John had been going through training and instructor school for his military career. He was TDY off and on, mostly on, from Feb. through June. Home and/or Hotel weekend meet ups were about the extent of our family time. Apparently that is also ample time to 'expand' the family as well! Welcome Backs/I missed you's are often tucked into whatever free moments one can muster away from the three year old, precautions aren't always top of mind!

I wasn't sure which occasion had created the fetus growing in my belly, but the daily vomiting, lack of energy and general need to pee every twelve seconds removed all doubt that I was indeed expecting.

I called John to inform him of the status change, and after a few shocked moments I think it sunk in. Luckily he came home 'for good'--as far as military life allows--not long after. We have been adjusting and making plans for the upcoming months and even years. I dare say, John had even transferred from the 'shock and awe' mindset to actual excitement.

Despite the yucky feeling that HCG blesses me with, I am excited for the future!