Our beautiful baby boy and baby girl made their grand entrances on Sunday, August 24th. Grayson was born at 3:20am and Hallie at 3:22am. Aaron and I are both overwhelmed by the love we feel for these precious, tiny humans we have fought so hard for. They are 9 weeks early and therefore, safe and sound in the NICU. I'm on a love high!
I debated sharing this post because the last thing I want to do is complain when I feel so grateful and blessed for all that we've been given, but my goal in blogging is to document my pregnancy and anxiety has unfortunately been a part of it. I've never suffered from anxiety prior to pregnancy, and now have a whole new respect and heart for those who suffer from it. The most common question I've been asked is 'how are you feeling' and I can honestly answer that I feel great. My spirits have stayed up, physically I feel well and am enjoying pregnancy aside from the issues we are overcoming with my cervix. And then there is the anxiety. When I first came home from the hospital I had a concern that due to pregnancy and bed rest I was at higher risk for blood clots. Normally, I would discuss it with my doctor to see what, if anything we should consider as a preventative measure and move on. Well, I've learned anxiety doesn't work that way. The hard part is that I immediately think the very worst will happen. I had a bad panic attack right after coming home from the hospital. Fortunately, Tracy was with me and helped me through it and we were able to laugh about it later. There may even be a picture floating around of me breathing in a paper bag. During the thick of it I was ready to call 911 as I was sure I was having a stroke or heart attack. She continued to remind me how alike panic attacks and symptoms of heart attack are. I wasn't convinced. The rational part of me was losing to the anxiety. Poor Tracy! For a month or so everything was fine and then I discovered a mole. Aaron was rubbing my back and noticed a it that had changed and was inflamed and irritable. I was sure it was the worst case and I couldn't shake the bad feelings and dread for days. I hate to admit it but at the height of these episodes I feel like I am going to die. Awful. I know. Making things (much) worse I jumped on Google further convincing myself the mole was something to be concerned about and the non-existent blood clot would cause a stroke. I saw a dermatologist today who said she felt certain my mole was irritated but not cancerous. I requested it be removed and sent to pathology for further peace of mind. I was also put on blood thinner as a precaution to ease my mind about potential for blood clots.
I do my best to focus on the good, praying and listening to calming music when I start feeling anxious or worried thoughts. I realize my hormones are out of whack and I have an unusual amount of time to (over)think what-ifs. Aaron has been patient but has mentioned he would like the old me back who used to give him a hard time about being a hypochondriac. I agree. I want the old me back, too. This stuff is no fun. Living with anxiety is not easy and I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy. As always, my faith carries me through and gives me peace when nothing else can. My mother in law shared a few scriptures with me that I have focused on and read over until I felt a sense of calm. Friends and family have been helpful (and patient) when I have these crazy thoughts allowing me to talk through them while listening and reassuring me. I know this is a phase I'll work through and what is most important is the health of Grayson and Hallie. I refuse to let this steal my joy. I'm 31 weeks and counting and couldn't be happier about that!
My daily devotional spoke loudly to me today as it often does!
“I AM A GOD WHO HEALS. I heal broken bodies, broken minds, broken hearts, broken lives, and broken relationships. My very Presence has immense healing powers. You cannot live close to Me without experiencing some degree of healing. However, it is also true that you have not because you ask not. You receive the healing that flows naturally from My Presence, whether you seek it or not. But there is more— much more—available to those who ask.”
I can do all things in Christ who strengthens me.
How far along? 30 weeks! Can I get a round of applause?!?!
Total weight gain: 28 so far. My doctor said 30-35lbs is average at this point of my pregnancy. I'm under the average weight?! I laughed and told Aaron it's probably lack of muscle. Anyway, I'll take it!
Maternity clothes? Yes, but nothing exciting to report here besides t-shirts, tanks and the once a week doctor appointment wear I actually where maternity yoga pants and throw some make up on. Fashion is wayyy down the priority list these days. I look forward to my fall wardrobe once the babies are here.
Stretch marks? None. Fingers still crossed.
Sleep: Sleeping well at times and others not so well. I'm experiencing pretty regular Braxton hicks which keeps me up counting and timing making sure they are still sporadic and not true labor contractions. A few nights ago one of the babies was laying or pressing against my bladder causing me to get up every few minutes. It was extremely uncomfortable but I finally fell asleep sometime after 3. Surprisingly, I'm not exhausted when nights like this occur. I wonder if that's my body preparing for the sleepless nights to come? Hmmmm.
Best moment this week: Everything about 30 weeks makes us so happy! My 30 week appointment went even better than we expected. This is the first week in several that my cervix did not continue to shorten but actually measured longer at almost 1.6cm! Each week I prepare myself for a shorter cervix knowing that when it's gone my risk for infection and water breaking increases drastically. Aaron's mom later told us she's been praying specifically over the last week I would measure longer. I never thought it would grow so I've prayed for stability but Karlos' prayers have been answered. Wow! Dr.C said we are exceeding expectations and she is thrilled each new week we are in her office rather than labor and delivery. Hearing we are exceeding expectations feels soooo good! Grayson and Hallie continue to grow and are now 3.2 and 3.1lbs. He is just a tad bigger than her. She is transverse again (sideways) so I may need a c-section after all. We will leave that up to the doctors to decide the safest and best delivery plan without getting our hopes up for one way or another. Thanking God for these awesome blessings!
Miss Anything? Being outside. Sushi. Going to Starbucks. Church. All soon enough.... :)
Movement: I usually have a baby part sticking out somewhere, and if not, one or both of them have the hiccups. It seems like I feel Grayson move more than Hallie.
Food cravings: Depends on the day. A friend brought her son over the other day and he had a grape Capri sun. Luckily Aaron was home so I could send him on an 'emergency' grape juice run. Holy cow... who knew Ocean Spray grape juice has 70 grams of sugar?! One bottle was almost more than half of an adults recommended intake. Yikes! Of course, I drank it anyway but good reminder to make fresh juice for the kiddos!
Symptoms: I am super congested from laying down and I have terrible heartburn which is likely from laying down as well. Lately, my hips feels like they've been beaten with a hammer. Dr said this is not only from laying on my sides 23 hours a day but my hips and joints are changing as we get closer to delivery.
Anything making you queasy or sick: Nope.
Labor Signs: Only continued Braxton hicks. Hopefully, I won't have any real labor signs for a few more weeks. If I do, I will be admitted to the hospital to attempt to prevent pre-term labor.
Wedding rings on or off? Off. No jewelry needed for the couch.
Happy or Moody most of the time: So happy, so grateful, so blessed!
Looking forward to: Meeting our precious babies and bringing them home. I can't wait to fill our house with baby smells and baby cries! I'm also looking forward to having two little bundles of joy during the holidays....my favorite time of year is getting closer! I've dreamed of Christmas with our children for as long as I can remember. I absolutely can't wait.
Highlights this week: Jolene, our longtime family friend from Washington is staying with mom this week and they brought fresh salmon and crab cakes Vince caught back home. Great to see her and YUM! Shout out to Mom for her birthday! I feel bad I can't celebrate with her but her two little birthday presents will be here soon and we will celebrate then :)
Happy birthday, Mom!!! We love you and appreciate ALL you do for us!!!
Waking up today I have an overwhelming sense of gratitude and joy. 7 weeks ago we were so close to losing the babies we prayed so hard to have. I've never experienced such fear or helplessness. Today, although we still have a long road ahead, I am focusing on how far we've come. As I've said a hundred times, each day and each week truly makes such a difference in their health and development. I'll admit this has been a roller coaster I never wanted to ride but I can't help to think of how fortunate we are to be 29 weeks and counting. So today will be a day of counting each and every blessing and soaking in the beauty of my pregnancy.... As I believe it will be the last one!
The babies both passed the third trimester screening and testing today with flying colors. As usual they were bouncing all over the place. The doctors always comment on how busy they are. My cervix continues to shorten week to week. I am currently measuring between 1.4 - 1.07cm.... Not much left to work with! Once it shortens behind the cerclage there is risk a membrane may rupture (in other words my water breaking). Today we could see Grayon's hand waving around right by the stitch. Eek, kind of scary! Dr.C wants us to be overly cautious and go to the hospital if I have 3 contractions within an hour. If this happens they will do everything they can to stop labor. I asked her again if she feels we will make 32 weeks and she said it's very possible. Prayers up! Everyday we are closer to less risk of major and long term complications, but of course in all preemies development issues are a concern. A common concern prior to 27 weeks is the possibility of bleeding in the brain. I am beyond relieved to have passed that point and as I say every week, grateful to be one week further.
Next week, on mom's birthday, we will hit our 30 week goal. August 15th I'm ready for you!
Today is the start of many new things... Beginning of August marking my 6th week on bed rest, my 7th month of pregnancy and third trimester/28th week! Celebrating these milestones makes each day/week easier. I feel really good and am growing by the day. As always, I'm so grateful to have come this far, counting my blessings daily.
My 28 week appointment went well overall. Mom went with us to this appointment so that Aaron could go to work right after. She loves seeing the babies as much as we do. The Sono tech scared us all when she spent almost 10 minutes looking at Grayson's heart and then had Dr. Cresan look further. Fortunately, he was just at a difficult angle that didn't allow them to see all 4 chambers of his heart but all looked well. He now weighs 2.10lbs and she weighs 2.6lbs. He is a little ahead and she is right where she should be in terms of average size for their gestational age. More good news; they are both head down which will allow natural delivery rather than a c-section. Her head was up a few weeks ago and sideways last week so she slowly moved in the right direction. Good girl. Now we hope she says there! My stitch is still stable and holding, but there is increasingly more pressure on it from my growing uterus. This bummed me out a little, but is unavoidable. I suspected this may happen based on the pressure I'm feeling when I stand or even roll to my other side while laying down. She suggested more laying and less walking and sitting up. Really? Is that even possible?? I lay down ALL day long with exception of bathroom trips, a shower every other day and doctor visits. She also wants my legs and hips elevated again like I was in the hospital. Aaron lifted my daytime bed in the living room with bricks and I'm not sitting up to eat anymore, instead I prop myself up on my elbow. This makes for extra laundry, but I can't sleep on a pillow case with my dinner on it. We knew Dr.C is preparing for the babies to make their arrival when we asked if we could move our appointments to Fridays rather than Wed/Thru. She said prefers us to come in the middle of the week in case I need to be admitted so that our team of doctors are available rather than on call weekend docs. When we asked her how long she thinks I'll continue to carry she said she would love to see us make it to 32 weeks, but of course we hope/plan to go further! This is when I remind myself He is in control.
We continue to pray and trust in God's timing and Believe our littles will arrive when they are supposed to no matter how big or small. God has given me a strong peace about our journey. I know we will have two perfectly created babies in our arms very soon!
Philippians 4:7 'And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.' Highlights this week... Aaron's Aunt Kathy and Uncle Tommy came over to visit while they are in town from Belize. I finished a great book about a mother's fight for her autistic son, enjoyed a surprise delivery of chocolate covered strawberries and the baby's bedding arrived.. It's the little things!
G on top. H on bottom. They look so different from one another!