Tuesday, September 30, 2008

More Videos!

Here's a couple more videos. The first one is of Asher sucking on his binkie (you have to wait about half way through the video before he actually starts doing it) and the second one is of Levi yawning. Too cute! I also uploaded 5 more photos to the boys' online album.


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Today, Nathan and I had the unfortunate experience of having to fire one of our nurses. The nurse from last night just did a lot of things that made us uncomfortable and concerned for the boys. When we got there just before their 8:00 cares, the nurse really didn't give us any information, unlike all the other nurses we've worked with. When we asked her questions, we got really short responses, like we were inconveniencing her. After we got done with the boys' cares, she asked us if we wanted to hold them. Of course, we said yes.

When she pulled the boys out of their isolettes, she really didn't pay attention to where their lead wires and IV's, but thankfully none of them were torn off. She then just plopped them down on our chests...the other nurses have been letting us pick them up out of their isolettes ourselves so there is less shifting them. She then didn't give us any more than one small blanket each to keep them warm with, even though I mentioned that Asher felt a little cold. It seemed like every concern we had was met with indifference.

Other nurses had also told us that whenever the boys are taken out to be held, we needed to hold them for at least an hour, in order to give them a chance to rest before moving them again. They said that was really important. This nurse, however, evidently hadn't gotten that memo. As soon as the boys were done with their half hour long feeding, she immediately took them away from us...without asking if we were ready, explaining why she was taking them away, or anything. While she was moving them, once again she wasn't paying attention to their leads but this time she managed to rip Asher's heart moniter lead off of him. It was only stuck to him with a sticky, but still. And then she immediately covered up their isolettes and acted like it was time for us to leave.

All in all, we were a little upset and not a little concerned. At 11:00 last night, we almost went back to the hospital because we were so worried. Instead, we spoke with a nurse supervisor, explained to her our concerns, and asked that this particular nurse not be assigned to our boys anymore. She thanked us for our feedback and we agreed to let her tell the nurse what we had said...otherwise, how would anything get fixed? We hated doing it, but we also know that if we hadn't said anything and she had been assigned to the boys again, we would have been nervous wrecks. Other than that, all the nurses and doctors we've interacted with have been absolutely wonderful.

Monday, September 29, 2008

More Stats

Ok, I got the official numbers.

Yesterday, at one week old, the boys both weighed 2 lbs 11 1/2 oz. Today, Levi weighs 2 lbs 14 oz and Asher weighs 2 lbs 13 oz. So Levi gained 2.5 oz and Asher gained 1.5 oz in a day. Way to go boys, keep it up!!! In just a couple of days, they should be ready to be swaddled for the first time, which is super exciting. And the nurse said that they should be ready to move into a "big boy crib" in just week or so.

Anyway, just a short update. Nathan will be back in just a couple of minutes to pick me up. Then it's off to help with the boys' 8:00 feeding/diaper changing, after which we get to hold them again. We've been sticking with our schedule of holding them one night, giving them one night to rest, and then holding them again. That way we don't tire them out too much and they don't burn too many calories. We want to fatten these boys up!

Oh, and my hands are finally small enough to wear my wedding ring again! For the first time in MONTHS! Yay! I also walked to the hospital twice today...that is the most I have walked in two months. It felt good, but I am definitely tired!

Continuing to Improve!

It seems like every time we go see the boys, we hear nothing but good news. And believe me, I'm not complaining!!!

Yesterday, when we went to see the boys in time for their 11:00 am feeding, their doctor was there. It was the first time I had seen him since the boys were born. He said that the twins are doing amazing. Their feedings are now being increased by 2 ml every 12 hours, instead of just 1 ml and they are currently receiving 18 ml total every 3 hours. A full feeding is 28 ml, which they should reach by their 11 pm feeding on Wednesday!

What is really exciting about that is it means that they can then be taken off of their IV that is providing them with a mixture to supplement their feedings. If they weren't handling their increased feedings as well as they are, they would have to have a pic line (a deeper IV that doesn't get infected as easily as a regular IV) put in, which is a lot more invasive. But as it is, they should be able to skip the pic line completely. Once they are off the IV, they will then only have their feeding tubes down their noses and the wires that are keeping track of heartbeats, oxygen levels, and respiratory rates.

According to the doctor, at that at point, the only thing keeping the boys in NICU will be gaining weight and learning how to feed. Right now they don't have the ability to suck, breathe, and swallow at the same time, which is necessary for being able to feed without drowning themselves. But that instinct should kick in somewhere around 34-35 weeks...the boys are now 31 weeks 4 days. By the way, in case that was confusing, preemies are still referred to by their gestational age instead of by the amount of time since they were born. So while they are 1 week 1 day old, all of their doctors and nurses refer to them as being 31 weeks.

Speaking of feeding, I think Levi is going to develop that instinct sooner than Asher. When I was holding Levi night before last, I felt him doing something really strange against my neck. When I looked in the mirror that they provide, I saw that he was opening his mouth, pressing his mouth against my skin, and then closing his mouth, over and over again. I showed the nurse and she said that it is his rooting instinct kicking in...he is able to smell me and was attempting to latch on to feed. Sorry kiddo, that's going to have to wait for a few weeks. But way to go!

Last night Nathan drove back to Baker so he could meet with his boss this morning to set up his computer and such for working from Boise. So this morning I walked to the hospital for the first time. It is only a block away from the Ronald McDonald house, and it felt great to get outside! I got there in time to give Asher a bath for the first time, which was a little nerve wracking, but a ton of fun. He didn't fuss as much as I expected him to. I'll be going back at 5:00 to give Levi his bath and then both Nathan and I will go in time for their 8:00 feeding and will get to hold the boys again.

Asher is continuing to have his Brady episodes, but he is also continuing to pull himself out of them without stimulation within about 3 seconds, which is really good. He'll eventually grow out of them, possibly in the next couple of weeks. Their nurse today said that Asher has gained around 2 oz since yesterday and Levi has gained about the same amount...the doctor had their charts, so she couldn't look up the exact amounts. But they're gaining weight!!! YAY!

The boys have started keeping their eyes open longer after being fed and having their diapers changed, which just makes me giddy! I can't get enough of looking directly into those tiny eyes and knowing that these are the most perfect boys ever! It takes my breath away and I fall more and more in love with them every day.

I did take a couple of photos of them this morning, but Nathan has our laptop so I can't edit them and upload them until he gets back. So you'll just have to be patient!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Happy One Week Birthday!!!

As of approximately 7 minutes ago, the boys are officially one week old! Funny how it can seem like a lot longer than just a week and yet seem like just yesterday at the same time.

I actually don't really have anything more to update you on yet, since we haven't seen the boys yet today. I did, however, manage to get all of our photos of the boys uploaded onto our online album. And I created a link that goes directly to that album, located on the right side of our blog about halfway down, titled "Levi & Asher Photos". Just click on that and it will take you directly to their album.

I'm sure there will be more to write later!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

More Videos!

We went to see the boys tonight and got to hold them for quite a while. I held Levi while Nathan held Asher. Levi was completely out from the moment that he got settled in, while Asher was a little more restless. I am loving being able to see their faces without any masks or cannulas on. The nurse tonight gave us little knitted hats to put on the boys while we were holding them because their room was a little cold. Asher's hat was a little girly, while Levi's hat was so tall that it looked kind of like an elf's hat. As soon as I'm done with this post, I'm going to upload tonight's photos onto our online photo album, so check them out!

But first, the videos! The first one is of how Asher always sleeps with his mouth wide open. It's pretty entertaining. The second one is of Levi having the hiccups, just like he did while he was in my tummy. So cute!


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Lazy Day

Evidently the boys' nurse from yesterday told Nathan to tie me to the bed if I refused to rest. So I'm resting. And so is Nathan. For some reason, I'm having a really hard time sleeping at night. It's not really that I'm worrying or anything. I think it's the combo of being away from home, sleeping on a Sleep Number bed (not a big fan actually, it's kind of like sleeping on a glorified air mattress), sweating because they had a plastic mattress cover on the mattress (got rid of that this morning), and the fact that I can't seem to get a deep breath. I wonder if this feeling short of breath has anything to do with my diaphragm moving back into its normal position. Anyway, it makes for some sleepless nights.

The good news...this morning, after pumping at around 5 am and getting a snack, I was able to fall back asleep at 6:00. Hard. For another 5 hours. Nathan got up and organized our photos of the boys while I slept and slept and slept. It felt SO good! After some lunch and a shower, we went over to see the boys just in time to help with their "cares", which is what the NICU staff call changing their diapers, feeding them, taking their temps, checking their blood sugars, etc. It's always fun to be there during those times, because the boys are awake and we get to feel like parents.

The exciting thing is that, as of 11:00 this morning, the boys are completely off of oxygen and breathing 100% on their own! Yay!!! Also they have increased the amount that the boys are being fed. Before each feeding, the nurse pulls from the tube that goes to their stomachs to see how much milk is left in their tummies from the last feeding. Lately, both Levi and Asher have had hardly anything left in their stomachs, which means they are digesting it the way they are suppose to and should start putting on some weight. They've both gained just under an ounce since yesterday...it doesn't sound like much, but it's the first time they've reported a weight gain since they were born, so it is kind of a big deal. They also moved the boys' feeding tubes from their mouths to their noses, which looks SO much more comfortable.

The nurse today said that we should be able to hold them again today. So we're planning on going to NICU in time for their 8:00 pm cares and then will hold them while they are being fed. I get so giddy whenever I find out that they are stable enough to be held...I just can't wait to wrap my arms around one of my cute little monsters.

After we visited the boys, we finally made a trip to Payless Shoes, where I got a pair of tennis shoes big enough for my swollen feet. Until now, I've been wearing my moccasin slippers everywhere because they were the only shoes that fit. I have now graduated from a size 6 or 6 1/2 to a size 7. Sweet. After grabbing some Dutch Bros (the only coffee I drink...the coffee I've been pining for over the last 7 months), we came back to our room, watched the first episode of this season of The Office (which I slept through when it was on tv), and now Nathan is taking a nap. I'll let him sleep for another hour before waking him for dinner and then time with the twins.

Physically, I'm feeling a lot better. I'm no longer taking Norco, the narcotic pain med that they had me on. The super strength Motrin seems to be doing the job. My mom got me a tummy support that is specifically made for use after a c section, and boy oh boy does it help! Today was the first day that I walked all the way from the parking garage into NICU and back...I was tired, but wasn't hurting. And it actually seemed to help with the stiffness in my legs and feet caused by the swelling. They're still swollen, but not quite as tight feeling.

We did get some really cute photos of Levi today without his nasal cannula, but we haven't gotten any photos of Asher yet today. So after we get some tonight, I'll put them up on our online photo album.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Whew

Yesterday was a bit of a hectic day, especially after the enforced laziness of my hospital stay. I got released from the hospital, a process that took literally all day long. Which, in and of itself, was incredibly frustrating because I had to wait around my room for the nurse, doctor, etc to come see me and I couldn't go see the boys! We did get a brief visit in late morning before Nathan and my dad took our stuff over to the Ronald McDonald house and Mom and I went to Motherhood Maternity for some nursing clothes and a pump.

When we got back from running those errands, we were finally officially checked out of the hospital (after getting my staples out and getting a tetanus shot). Nathan took me over to the Ronald McDonald house to see our room, which is great, and then we went out to dinner at the Ram, a local brew pub. It felt SO nice to get out without feeling like I was playing hookie...first time in almost two months! I also got to have my first glass of wine since February! And from my favorite vineyard too!

After dinner, Nathan and I went back to our room to watch the season premier of The Office...well, Nathan watched it. I slept. Hard. I woke myself up snoring. And then it was time to go see the boys finally. Both Nathan and I love going to NICU after 9:00 pm because it is so much quieter and relaxed in there late at night. Usually we're the only parents in there, and there aren't a bunch of extra people running around emptying trash, changing linens, etc. The NICU rooms, while fairly spacious for it being a NICU, are still fairly small and can start feeling crowded really fast.

We got to hold the boys again last night. This time Nathan held Levi for the very first time while I held Asher. The nurse last night, Kimberley, was just raving about how well the boys had done all day and about how Asher hadn't had as many Brady episodes (slowing down of his heart, not the TV show) as the day before. Well, evidently the little squirt was just too darn comfortable laying on my chest and he had three episodes while I was holding him. The good news...he bounces right back and throughout the episode his oxygen level never dips, which Kimberley says is very rare but very good! I guess I'm just that comfortable to lay on!

Levi did great being held and it was so much fun to watch Nathan holding him. Levi is definitely the fussier of the two, simply because he takes longer to calm down than Asher, but they both really like to "tell stories" about how they are just so abused. You can't help but laugh at their pitiful little cries, especially when you know that they aren't being hurt and they're just letting you know that they aren't happy with being moved. Levi's cry sounds like a tiny little sheep. Sorry baby boy, but Mommy can't help but laugh when you are snuggled into your Daddy and yet you're still busting out that pitiful cry for no good reason.

The nurses in NICU continue to impress us with how caring and knowledgeable they are. While I was holding Asher last night, I realized that I was leaking everywhere, especially when he would let out a little cry. Too much info? Oh well. We told Kimberley what was going on and she immediately tracked down an extra pump for me that we're going to be able to just leave in the boys' room so I can pump whenever I want/need. You can tell all of the nurses genuinely care for our boys and love their jobs, because it shows in the extra effort and kindness they give.

Today we are planning to just spend a lot of time in the boys' room. We're hoping that they can take the jaundice lights away today and it will just be nice to spend the day relaxing in the gliders they have in the room without the glare of the blue lights. Both of them are responding really well to the increase in the amount of my milk they're getting with each feeding, their glucose levels are doing well, and all in all, they are just thriving. I'm sure there are going to be hard days ahead of us, where it feels like they've fallen back a few steps, but so far every day is filled with positive changes and I feel so blessed for that.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Video of Asher

I took this short video of Asher tonight because he's just so adorable when he's in action. Hopefully I can get this to work! Nathan is holding his pacifier in and also doing a calming hold on him. When the boys get fussy, we simply cover them with our hands to calm them down because it simulates the feeling of being in the womb. Most of the time, it seems to really work.


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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Good Day!

What a great day!

This morning started out a little rocky for me, but I blame it on the post-delivery hormones. I think this morning was the first time that the boys' situation really hit me and I completely broke down right in the middle of NICU. Slightly embarrassing. But really, all in all, the boys are both doing amazingly well.

Asher had a couple more spells where his heart rate dipped really low, and we think that may be in part because he was held twice yesterday and he got really tired out. So we didn't hold either one of them today and just gave them the chance to rest up. By the end of the day, they were both holding really stable. Nathan and I went back down to NICU tonight to see the boys around 9:30, where we were told that the boys were going to be taken off of CPAP and put on simple nasal cannulas!

This is super exciting, because it means that both of them are regulating their oxygen levels really well AND it means that they no longer have those funny masks on so we can actually see their adorable faces! Now they look even more like little old men. They both lost some weight since being born (this is fairly normal) so they have lots of extra wrinkly skin. It's cute, but we can't wait until they start putting the weight back on! Hopefully their jaundice will also be under control sometime tomorrow or the next day, so they won't have those hot lights beating down on them all day.

As for me, I'm getting released from the hospital tomorrow after I get the staples in my incision taken out and replaced with steri-strips. It's going to be a relief to have the staples out, they're not the most comfortable things in the entire world. Nathan is spending tonight over at the Ronald McDonald House...he just called me to inform me that our bed there is a Sleep Number bed. Wow! Much better than the tiny little pad he was sleeping on in my hospital room!

It sounds like us being at this house is the best situation possible...the gal who gave Nathan his tour said that the community donates food and items every day, so they really don't charge for ANYTHING and the house is always stocked with food items. The cost is a $10/night donation that you don't have to pay if you simply can't afford it. How sad is it that we are amazed and astounded to find a place offering these kinds of services for no cost?

Anyway, life is good. As soon as I finish this post, I will put together a web album of the boys under our "Labunski Family Albums" link to the right. There are new photos taken tonight of after they were taken off CPAP so you can see their little faces! Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Kangaroo Care

The whole family.



Mommy with Levi and Daddy with Asher.


Mommy and Levi.


Mommy and Levi.


Daddy and Asher.


Getting Daddy and Asher settled in.


Daddy and Asher for the first time.


Same.


Such a tiny baby!

More Photos

Asher in his isolette.


Levi surrounded by blankets and Mommy & Daddy's hands.


Asher with his binkie.


Grammy Gayle with Asher.


Asher cuddled up to his blankies.


Mommy and Daddy with Levi.


Levi up close.

Day Two

Sorry we didn't get a chance to update yesterday, but any time we weren't with the boys in NICU, we were sleeping! So bear with me, there's a lot of things to try to remember to include in this update!

Both of the boys are doing great! Levi is no longer intubated, so he is breathing on his own. Both of the boys are still on CPAP, which simply increases the level of oxygen that the boys are inhaling. I can't even tell you how much of a relief it is to know that they can both breathe on their own after being born at only 30 weeks. They are also free of any infections, so they were both taken off of antibiotics today. Gradually they are getting their various IV lines and such removed...it feels like every thing removed is a small triumph.

Last night, I got to do Kangaroo Care with Asher. This basically means that I put on an open front gown, the nurses took Asher out of his isolette, and placed him on my chest in only his diaper, skin to skin with me, and then covered us with a blanket. What an experience! This has been proved to calm the baby, increase bonding, and help with development. We got to stay like that for about an hour, during which time I simply enjoyed holding my son for the first time while he made adorable squeaking noises. He's our little Squeaker.

When they took Asher away in order to put him back in his isolette again, it was hard simply because it felt SO GOOD to feel him that close again. This morning, Nathan got to do the same thing with Asher again, only he got to hold him for about two hours. I think it was a little stressful at times, because Asher's oxygen monitor is constantly going off as he has a harder time regulating his oxygen levels. His heart rate also has a tendency to drop suddenly from around 130 bpm all the way down to around 40 bpm. All it takes is a brisk shake to bring it back up and the nurses say that it's really common, but it's still a little stressful. Despite all this, Nathan was definitely feeling better after getting to hold one of his sons for the first time since they were born.

This afternoon, I took the opportunity to sleep (oh yeah, I'm recovering from surgery, I almost forgot!) while my parents took Nathan out to lunch. When I woke up, Nathan took some of the milk I pumped down to the boys and when he got back, he told me that the nurses said that if we went down to see the boys around 6, we'd be able to hold both of them. So of course we went. I got to hold Levi, while Nathan held Asher again. This was the first time that either one of us got to hold Levi. I can't even describe how holding my sons makes me feel. I've never been this in love with another human being before. When I'm not with them, I miss them constantly. I can't wait until the day when we can pick them up and hold them whenever we want.

It's sounding like I'm going to be released from the hospital on Thursday, at which point we will move in to the Ronald McDonald house that is only two blocks away from the hospital. We weren't sure that we were going to be able to get a room there, but the social worker here pulled a bunch of strings for us. The combination of how young the boys are and how far away we live bumped us to the top of the house list and they managed to get us a ground floor room so I don't have to climb stairs. We should be able to stay there until the boys are sent home.

All in all, things are going incredibly well. My recovery is going smoothly, Nathan is loving spending time with his sons, and we are feeling the ton of support that everyone is giving us. Thank you so much everyone!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Happy Birthday Levi and Asher!

Here's some promised photos. Sorry if they're kind of grainy/fuzzy, the lighting in NICU isn't that great. Tomorrow we hopefully get to hold Asher and we were told that Levi will hopefully have the tubes helping him to breathe removed as well. It's going to be a long road, but the boys are doing so well! Ok, here they are!

Levi and Mommy.


Mommy, Daddy, and Levi.


Levi holding Mommy's finger.


Asher with the small tube venting the oxygen out of his tummy and the nasal tube providing him with saturated oxygen.


Asher


Levi


Asher with a newborn binky.


Daddy and Asher


Asher


Asher holding Mommy and Daddy's fingers.


Asher's little feet.


Asher's tiny hand holding Daddy's finger.


Asher


Levi


Asher


Levi's little foot.


Levi's adorable little face!

Both of us are just dying for the opportunity to hold our little boys. Tomorrow is going to be a long day, but hopefully a good one. I get to lose the catheter, possibly my IV, am going to be ordered to go on at least 3 walks down the hallway, and will get to take a shower. I think we'll both be spending as much time as possible with the boys.

And now...it's time to collapse. So strange that so much has happened in only 24 hours. I'm a mommy! Nathan's a daddy! Hee hee.

THEY'RE HERE!

Yep, I kid you not, our sons were born this morning at 30 weeks 3 days. They're both currently in the NICU in Boise, are on CPAP to help them breathe, and are actually doing very well for 30 week twins.

Last night for some reason, Nathan and I both stayed up a lot later than usual watching Kitchen Nightmares and The Office together. At just after midnight, I suddenly felt this strange pop in my lower tummy, followed by a little wetness...gulp! I managed to get to the bathroom before, sure enough, my water broke big time. About 30 minutes later, we were in the Birth Center in Baker where they verified that my water had broken and immediately called St. Luke's to order a life flight plane.

As we were cooling our heels, I was given a steroid shot to help the boys' lungs develop faster and was put on magnesium....not fun! It made me feel like I was in a roaring sauna, but from the inside out. It also made it next to impossible to move my muscles and control my eyes/eye lids. But it did seem to slow down my contractions a bit, which had started showing up every 6 minutes or so. When Smithson got there, he checked me and determined that I was dilated 2.5 cm. Yeehaw!

Thankfully Nathan was able to go on the plane with me, so my parents drove from Burns to Baker to pick up our subaru and then drove here to Boise. But they didn't get here before the boys were born. Even after getting settled into the hospital in Boise and upping my dose of magnesium, my contractions were still only 5 min apart and getting stronger. An exam showed that I was dilated to 4 cm and an ultrasound showed that Asher was still laying across my tummy. 15 minutes later, I was being wheeled into the OR for a c section.

Everything went off without a hitch. Nathan was great...sometimes I had to remind him to keep me entertained because he was so interested in what was going on with my tummy. I didn't even know what was going on until Nathan said, "Here comes one!" Already?!

Levi was born at 8:21 am at 3 lbs 9 oz and Asher was born at 8:22 am at 3 lbs 10 oz...or something like that. I know I have the times right. They both came out crying, which was music to our ears. Nathan got to bring Asher over to me before the boys were taken to NICU. After I spent about an hour and a half in recovery, I got wheeled to NICU so we could see both of the boys. They're so tiny! And soooo adorable! The head doctor in the nicu told Nathan to plan on the boys being here for two months...that way if they get to go home early, it will be a pleasant surprise. But they really are doing pretty darn good for 30 weeks!

One of the nurses did take pictures of right after the delivery for us, but we probably won't get those until later this evening. After I have a chance to rest, we're going to try to get me to walk around a little bit and then we can go back down to the nicu to see the boys again. We'll take more pictures then, also.

Really, this entire thing went very smoothly.

Thank you Lord for watching over our beautiful family and please continue to spread your healing through us!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

30 Weeks 2 Days

Random thoughts for the day:

Why is it that I am exhausted ALL day long, and then when it's actually time to go to sleep, I am wide awake? I didn't even take a nap today! So weird.

There is a man that rides his bike down our street every day who looks like a 70 year old Drew Carey. I kid you not. Makes me giggle every time I see him.

It rained here tonight. A lot. We had the windows open throughout the house when it started and it made the air smell SOOOOOOOOOO good. I love it when it rains here.

Ok, now down to business. On Thursday, we had an appointment in the afternoon to have another fibronectin test done. Got the test done (UNCOMFORTABLE!) and then did the rest of the usual OB stuff. Everything looks good, boys heartbeats are still going strong, I'm not dilating yet, and my blood pressure is still in the normal range. Unfortunately, we had to wait until the next day to get the result from the fibronectin test.

This morning, at about 4:30 am, our awesome neighbor went hunting and we suspect he left without feeding his three dogs that he always leaves in their backyard. And, of course, the dogs started barking...at 4:30 am. And didn't stop until he go home sometime in the afternoon. Needless to say, both Nathan and I were awake early. I did manage to go back to sleep until our OB called to tell me that the fibronectin test was positive. Just as a refresher, a positive result basically means that I have a higher chance of delivering before the boys are full terms...um, no real shocker there.

At that point, our OB told me to get to the hospital to do another internal ultrasound on my cervix (Dr. Smithson: "You have an appointment at 10:30...oh, that's in 20 minutes!"), after which he would call my OB in Boise to decide what to do with me. We get the ultrasound, my cervix is the same length it was two weeks ago in Portland. This is good news. Meanwhile, since my Boise OB is out of town for the week, my Baker OB called my Portland OB instead.

By the way, how many of you ladies have/had three OB's on your case? I'm not sure whether to feel special or overwhelmed.

Long story short (ha ha), until I start feeling contractions, start dilating, or my cervix starts getting disturbingly shorter, I get to stay home. Yay! As Smithson put it, what's the point of me hanging out in a hospital bed when I'm not having any signs of preterm labor? Heck, I'm not even feeling Braxton Hicks contractions...is that weird? I am, however, getting more and more uncomfortable every day. But can you blame me? I mean, when they measured my tummy on Thursday, it was measuring the same size as a singleton pregnancy at 42 weeks! That's 2 weeks overdue people! Not to mention 12 weeks ahead of how far along I actually am. Oh, and on Monday and Tuesday I get to go in to have steroid shots to help the boys' lungs develop faster. Oooh man that's going to hurt, but it will be worth it to give them a stronger start!

More good news...the internal ultrasound showed that Levi is still head down and just waiting for the gates to open. No idea what the heck his brother is up to, but Levi is ready to go!

So tonight was spent with Nathan watching Kitchen Nightmares on Hulu and then packing our "To Go Bags"...one for me, one for Nathan, and one for the boys. Now, if by some chance I go into labor in the next few days/weeks, all of our stuff, including the boys' carseats, is right by the door ready to go.

Can't you just feel the excitement building?!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Keeping It All In Perspective

My hands are puffy. My feet have swollen to about half again their normal size. My back hurts and I feel like the boys are both breech because it feels like I have a baby head sticking into each side of my ribs. Sleep doesn't come very easily.

How blessed am I?

No, that wasn't sarcastic. I am home in our beautiful house. I get to spend time every day with my wonderful husband. I've finally given in to his love for The Office and so every night has turned into a type of date night complete with ice cream, season 4 (what are we going to do when we run out of episodes?!), and lots of laughs. I have my awesome dog to keep me company during the day while Nathan's at work. Because we live in a place where people take care of each other, we no longer have to worry about whether we will have two incomes coming in for the next few months. We are surrounded by loving friends and family. The boys are growing and so far complications really have been non-existent (besides the whole bed rest thing).

But I'm not in a hospital bed.

In the past week or so, I've been following two different families who make our situation look like a cake walk. I've never actually met either family, but my friend Carley wrote about them in her blog. The first is the Nielson family from Arizona. On August 18th, Stephanie and Christian were in a plane crash with Christian's flight instructor. Both Stephanie and Christian survived, but are currently still in the hospital with significant burns all over their bodies. Stephanie's sister is keeping track of their progress on her blog here.

The other family who can use everyone's prayers and support are the Deckers from Washington. Back in June, Carol, the mom, went in for an emergency c section because of numerous complications. She had their little daughter who is doing well, but Carol just got home from the hospital as her complications led to needing to have both legs below the knee and one hand amputated. She has also lost her sight. They believe she is past all of her numerous surgeries, but now she will be beginning the long process of physical therapy. Her husband, Scott, is keeping everyone up to date on their blog here.

I'm not sure why it is that these two particular families have been brought to my attention, but reading about them just serves to remind me that what Nathan and I are dealing with right now is small carrots compared to what we could be going through. And maybe that's reason enough. I hope you will keep these two families in your thoughts and prayers.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Today's Appointment

For those of you who were waiting with bated breath, our appointment today went fine. My blood pressure is still in the normal range, even if it is a tiny bit higher than it has been up 'til now. And I have regular levels of protein in my system, so for now, no preeclampsia. Nope, I'm just puffy everywhere because I'm carrying two big boys and I'm almost 30 weeks along. Whew.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Bump Tracker

Here we are at 29 weeks 4 days. Proof that I am just as large as I feel. Yeesh. I've been told that I look like I am carrying the boys lower than I use to, and it definitely feels that way, but I don't know how much I notice it in this photos.


My feet, hands, and face have definitely puffed up big time, no matter how much I keep my feet up, lay down, drink water, etc. So tomorrow morning I have an appointment to get my blood pressure checked, to check for preeclampsia. I'd love to see how the boys are positioned right now, because it definitely feels like they're laying different than they have been for the past 7 months. I'm just hoping that neither of them have decided that they would like to be breech.

Wow I'm ready for this to be over. Yeah, yeah, I know...I'll wish they were back inside of me once they're born. I've heard that before. But still...

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Latest Ultrasounds

Here's the cuteness!!! These are the latest ultrasounds that were taken on 9/4.

3D of Asher. His hand and umbilical cord are in front of his face but you can see his arm really well.


Same but now you can see his knuckles. Wow!


Side of Levi's face and his ear.


Levi's profile.


Levi's mouth and nose from a lower angle.


Another of Levi's face.


Levi's face straight on and from a slightly lower angle.


Asher's profile.


Asher's....ahem....manhood.


Levi's profile again.


Same.

Aren't our boys adorable?! I can't wait to see them in person and just pinch those little cheeks! The other day, my mom mentioned that she thinks that the boys have dropped...the more I thought about it, the more I think she's right. Whooboy. Oh, and I have entered the Puffy Zone again. No matter how much I keep my feet up, my ankles, feet, and hands are non-stop swollen. Grr.

Oh well, it will be over soon! And then we'll have our beautiful boys to hold and love!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

29 Weeks!

I was talking with my friend Arly the other day (the one who is 11 days ahead of me in her pregnancy...she's also having a boy, named Nathan, ha ha ha!) and we couldn't help but marvel at the fact that we're already in our 3rd trimesters, when it seems like just yesterday that we were totally excited about being 10 weeks along!

Sorry this post has been so long in coming, but I'm really getting to the point where I can only sit up for so long before my ribs, sides, and back start hurting like crazy. Tylenol and a heating pad are the only things standing between me and going slightly crazy. As it is, I've taken to sleeping most of the night on the couch, simply because there I can wedge myself halfway between sleeping on my back and sleeping on my side, which seems to take pressure off of my hips. I've finally convinced Nathan that this isn't a personal thing, that I really would like to sleep next to him in our bed, and that it's actually pretty normal for pregnant women to be more comfortable sleeping somewhere besides the bed.

Our appointment on Tuesday with our OB here in Baker went really well. I think he was really surprised to see us back, but in a good way. The good news is that they are able to do the fibronectin test here in Baker, as well as keep an eye on my cervix, so we won't have to be driving to Boise every two weeks. I'm now on modified bed rest which, as Smithson put it, means "take it easy". Works for me, there's only so much moving around I can do before I am needing to be horizontal with my heating pad again.

Smithson seems to think that these boys won't stay in much past 34 weeks, and I can't help but agree with him. For some reason, I actually think they're going to show up sometime between 32 weeks and 34 weeks. Which would mean...we have 3-5 weeks to finish preparing to bring two baby boys home with us! If we make it to 34 weeks and everything looks pretty straight forward, Smithson said he wouldn't have a problem with them being delivered here. Any time before that, we'll be going to St. Luke's in Boise. Sounds like a plan to me.

As for the boys themselves, I think Levi is still head down like he was at our last ultrasound in Portland, and I'm pretty darn sure that Asher still has himself wedged across my tummy and up in my ribs. So I'm really hoping that Asher will cooperate in the next couple of weeks and shift around to be head down also...a natural delivery sounds better and better, as long as it comes with a side of epidural. Don't think less of me for so easily resorting to drugs...let me see you push two big boys out without drugs and then I will listen to your opinion. If the boys are still growing at their last rate of about 1 oz/day, then they probably now weigh right around 3 lbs 2 oz or so...each. Then again, don't babies put on weight faster in the 3rd Trimester?

I am still absolutely loving being home, where I can be as relaxed as possible and where Nathan can be a part of this last bit of pregnancy. I just have a couple of concerns: first, there is only one more childbirth class offered in Baker this year. It's a series of 4 classes, starting Oct 6th and ending Oct 27th....somehow I'm not sure the boys will still be unborn by the time those classes are over. Second, we were planning on buying a breast pump at Emanuel after giving birth....I'm sure we could do the same thing at St Luke's if we end up going there, but what about here at St. Elizabeth? Because if we buy it through a hospital, our insurance will cover 80% of the cost, whereas if we buy it anywhere else, they will cover less of it. And third, how the heck do we register for giving birth if we really don't know where the delivery is going to happen?

Thankfully, I think these questions may be able to be answered when we take a tour of the birth center at St. Elizabeth this evening. Who knows if we'll actually deliver here, but at least if we do, we'll know what we're walking into! As for making a "birth plan"....ha ha ha, good luck making any sort of plan when everything is so up in the air! I think this is just further driving home God's lesson that He has everything in control and we're in control of absolutely nothing.

In other news, yesterday Nathan and I went to my work to pick up my pay stubs and ended up talking to my boss for a while...at which point he told us the awesome news that I have currently received over 2 months worth of donated leave from the three departments in our building! And he expects more to be coming in!!! Combine that with the paid leave I still have left, and that's right around three months worth of paid leave at this time...wow! I can't even tell you how huge of a burden that is off of our shoulders! And the really exciting part...that means that I should have enough paid leave to get me through to the end of the year, making it possible for me to spend the holidays at home with my new family, which is something I've really been praying could happen. Talk about being provided for. It's pretty humbling to think of the generosity everyone has shown us through this whole thing.

So all in all, life is very good.

Monday, September 8, 2008

I <3 My Home

So...I discovered something. Tylenol PM knocks me out for 12 hours. And it makes me kind of loopy. This amuses Nathan to no end. But sleep is gooooood. Sleeping through my hips, stomach muscles, and back hurting is even better.

For the past few days, Nathan and I have been gradually putting our house back together. It's all little stuff that needs to get done and doesn't take very long, but now that it's the work week again things are going a tad bit slower than it did over the weekend. But Nathan, ever the trooper, is more than willing to let me sit and tell him what needs to be done! Already the house looks amazing!

I really can't get over how different the entire house looks! Every time I walk into the kitchen, I can't help but smile! Yeah, my husband rocks. Seriously...he did this all in about 4 months or so! Yesterday, Nathan hung our new pot rack, wine rack, and wine glass rack in our kitchen and dining room. They look so great! We're also thinking about rearranging the living room. Now I just wish we could throw a party to celebrate!

I'm a little nervous about my appointment tomorrow. Who knows what Dr. Smithson will say in terms of our plan for the next few weeks, bed rest restrictions...oh, and whether he even knew that I was coming back to town!

Ok, Tylenol PM has definitely kicked in. Bed time!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

28 Weeks 3 Days

Just thought you'd enjoy a picture of what babycenter.com thinks our boys look like this week. Except at the last ultrasound three days ago, Levi was head down and in the same position as the baby on the right, while Asher was still laying across my tummy.

Even after having a rough night last night in terms of being able to fall asleep (or lack there of), Nathan and I decided to go to church this morning...not a good idea. While it was great to be at church, I have never spent a more uncomfortable hour in my entire life. The entire time, my tummy and back muscles were screaming at me and I had forgotten how long-winded Pastor Jon is during the second service when he doesn't have Sunday school to let people out for.

As we got in the car after church, I told Nathan that unfortunately I don't think I will be going back to church until after the boys are born. As soon as we got home I popped a Tylenol and took an hour nap. My muscles still aren't up to par, but I don't think they will be until after the boys are born. But hey, the nap felt good!

Bunches of Photos!

Alrighty, here are the promised nursery photos. I still stick my head in the room every once in a while and can't get over how much I love how it's set up! All that's missing is my glider and some decorations on the walls. And now, without further ado....


Left side of the room with the changing table/dresser.



Center of the room. My glider and ottoman will go where the mini wicker rocker is.


Right side of the room with the cribs. Hee hee.


Changing table/dresser, canvas drawer tower, diaper organizer, and diaper genie.


Diaper organizer...cause I love to be organized!


Changing pad with really soft fuzzy cover and a black basket for....something.


Nursing area with canvas drawer tower...in another week, my glider will be in that corner.


Asher's crib, complete with the name thingy my mom quilted. So cute!!!


Levi's crib, with his name thingy. Now we just have to make sure we put them in the right cribs!


Small table with the baby monitor on it...ok, actually it's a stool with fabric over it. But it works perfectly!


The closet organizer we got. I haven't even filled it yet. Gotta love having tons of storage!


Baby clothes!!! Notice that it's mostly blue or green. At least it's not all pink!!!

And last but not least, a surprise! Some of you might not like this because you insist I look better as a blond, but let's face it...blond hair is just SO much harder to take care of! I just can't seem to get away from the brassy blond color that haunts me. To make blond look good on me, I'd basically have to go to a salon and shell out $70 a month. So I decided to go back to a light brown color. I'm really happy with it. I thought it would come out a lot darker than I wanted it to be, but it came out just right! Hope you like it!