Our Family

Our Family
"These are the children God has graciously given to me. (us)" - Genesis 33:5

Friday, August 29, 2008

Just a few pictures of the boys...

...horsing around...

...pirating the house...
...and in general "driving" me crazy! (see the slippers haha)

Saturday, August 23, 2008

More Twin Updates

Since I'm seeing all of these doctors so often, I'm able to have constant updates on their growth and my progress toward "Double D Day"!

The specialist, Dr. Johnson, is a perinatologist and he deals with high risk pregnancy's. Since there was a slight concern regarding the weight difference between the twins, (a 1/2 lb.), the docs decided it was in our best interest for Dr. Johnson to take a look at things. His ultrasound room is really cool...from the comfy recliner bed, to the 30" HD screen on the wall so that I could really see everything they were seeing.

Twin A is VERY low in the uterus but vertex (head down) and weighs in at around 4 lb. 5 oz. He has a head of hair, (yes we could really see it), and likes to have his feet wrapped up around the head of his brother. Twin B is quite the opposite and is VERY high in the uterus, still breech with his head and body almost transverse but not quite. He weighs in at 4 lb. 13 oz, also has a head of hair and likes to kneel on his brother's head. They refused to look at the "camera", so we couldn't get any good pictures to show you...stubborn little guys. It's safe to say they have already run out of room! AND, they are only going to continue to get bigger. That's right...I have 9 lbs. 2 ozs. of baby in there already and they are only going to get bigger. Let's recap the size of my other kiddos...shall we? Ethan: 7lb. 1 oz...3 days early; Joshua 6 lb. 11oz...2 weeks early; Rebekah 7lb. 4oz...2 weeks early!!! I'm not quite sure where I'm going to put these babies!

Anyway, even though they are still about 1/2 lb. different, they are both growing well and staying on their own curve...so at this time no worries with regards to their health. The biggest dilemma right now, is delivery. If they stay the way they are by the the time I have my next ultrasound at 36 weeks, I will have to schedule a c-section for 39 weeks. If I go into labor before then, (please, please, please), then they will do one more ultrasound to determine again where the babies are, and if they aren't BOTH vertex, then they will do a c-section. Only if both babies are vertex will they allow me to do a VBAC. Again, completely out of my hands...not something this type A personality can deal well with...but I know that there is a plan and God will make sure that things turn out the way they are supposed to. (Ask me again tomorrow and I may not be as optimistic and faith filled, but I can blame it on the hormones which are raging out of control on an hourly basis...just ask my poor husband!)

The other fun thing I get to do are non-stress tests, NST's, twice a week!! Every Tuesday night and Friday afternoon I have to get hooked up to the monitors so they can evaluate how my placenta is holding up to the nutrient exchange and demand from the babies. It's not too bad, as I get to lay back and relax for an hour, it's just trying to find that hour where I could get away to do it. As long as the test results are "reactive", we know that my placenta is holding together well. Reactive means, the babies are moving at least 2 times every 20 minutes, and with that movement their heartbeats go up about 15 beats and hold for at least 20 seconds, before coming back down to a resting beat. If the test is "non-reactive", then they will repeat the test the next day, and if the results are the same, then they would determine whether the babies need to be delivered ASAP to keep them healthy.

Who knew there was so much to think about with twins? Just when I thought I had gestation and delivery down pat, my body decides to throw in this interesting twist, you know, to keep me guessing. One thing I know for sure, Mike and I are getting more an more excited to meet these little guys. We can't wait to lay them side-by-side, stare into their little faces, smile and say hi!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Just a Quote

"Children are comforted when they're held in their parents' arms. Hugs help sparkle up a day."

-Gary Smalley and John Trent

Friday, August 15, 2008

Twin Update

No startling news...just an update.

I have to visit the docs every week now, and at every appt. undergo a non-stress test. For those of you who don't know what that is...I basically sit upright in a bed or chair for anywhere from 20 -45 minutes with two heartbeat monitors as well as another device that monitors contractions, attached to my belly. For me, it's actually quite relaxing as I have to sit still and relax for a set period of time. For the twins, they take the invasion of there ever decreasing space personally and bring forth an onslaught of punches, kicks and movements unlike those they do on a regular basis. So much to the point that one of them ended up with the hiccups towards the end.

Mike and I were in stitches, (which kind of ruins the whole "non-stress test" part of the test) because you can actually hear them beating on the monitors along with their heartbeats and hiccups. It really felt great to hear them and laugh over the fact that we really do have two little incredibly active, healthy babies in there.

The results of the test basically told us that I'm experiencing numerous braxton-hicks, and that the babies are dealing with that tightening just fine. Due to the lack of space, I have to be monitored to make sure that both babies can handle what my body is about to do to them when I go into labor. Sometimes one baby won't be able to deal with the contractions due to placement in the womb. Which is why we meet with the perinatologist at Dartmouth Hitchcock next Wednesday. He will do a more specialized ultrasound to determine size, placement and my ability to deliver them...which still remains undecided.

We've been able to discuss, quite openly with the midwives what our wishes are, knowing ultimately we will do what is necessary to help these babies come into the world safely. It is more a matter of trusting the will of God, as well as the experience of our incredible midwives.

The ultimate goal...aside from getting week to week, we'd like to make it to September 2nd as that will put me at 35 weeks. At that point, any signs of labor will be allowed to progress how is seen fit at that time. The average delivery for twins is 36.3 weeks...which would be around the weekend of September 12-14. I am currently 32.3 weeks, but measuring at exactly 38 weeks...about 6 weeks ahead. Most twins measure about a month ahead, so we're growing well. Having said that, I've only gained 35 lbs., but both the docs and the midwives are happy with that weight gain as the babies, so far, have achieved their appropriate weight gains for their gestational age. So, we will continue to eat, rest and prepare as best we can. Please pray for our little guys, as well as the rest of our kiddos because things are about to change like we've never imagined...and we can't wait!

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

My Crafty Side...Thanks Gram!

When I was in high school, my grandmother moved in with us. It was a little crowded to say the least, and it always felt like we had two mothers yelling at us to do different things. At the same time, it was nice to have her there because she would teach us how to do all sorts of really great things that only grandmothers can do.

Before she moved in, when we'd visit her, we'd learn how to do just about anything that had to do with crafts or cooking/baking...as well as numerous types of games, (just ask Mike about how "good" she was at card games...hehehe) So, when she lived with us, we were able to continue doing a lot of the same things. I can't begin to go into how much she taught me with regards to cooking, baking, and ya...card games, but I did want to share with you a craft she taught me, that to this day I try to do as often as possible so as to teach my daughter how to do it. It's called crocheting.

My grandmother would never let me forget how very difficult it was for her to learn how to do it, every time I would complain that I just couldn't get it right. See, she was left handed...despite how many times the nuns would rap her knuckles whenever she tried to write lefty! The person who taught her how to crochet was not only right handed...it was her only hand. That's right. This lady would crochet the most magnificent blankets and clothes with only her right hand and her left elbow...(she had lost her left hand up to the elbow when she was a child).

So, with this added guilt, (remember I was a "know-it-all" teenager) I did my very best to learn this crafty skill. She tried to teach me how to "read" the patterns, but because I'm more of a hands-on-learner, it was easier for her to show me how to do a stitch and then learn the names for them as I went along. It wasn't until recently, as a matter of fact, that I taught myself how to read patterns.

I've never gone on so far as to say that I'm an excellent crocheter, as the patterns I pick out are generally the easier ones. I think that's mostly due to lack of time to work on them. I need something that I can sit down and do without much thought. So, about 6 years ago, I found a very simple pattern for a baby blanket, and kind of tweaked it to make it my own...something else she taught me how to do.

I had decided that for each of my children I would make them a lovey blanket that would be their own. (Scars from my childhood blanky being passed down to the next sibling pushed me on with the gestation of each child, sorry Mom!) So, when we learned we were expecting twins, I knew my time would limited trying to make two of these lovey blankets before they were born.

Well, I succeeded, and completed Caleb and Elijah's blankets this week!

(L to R: Ethan's, Joshua's, and Rebekah's lovey blankets)

(L to R: Caleb and Elijah's lovey blankets)

Thanks Gram for teaching me this awesome skill. It's something I've been able to use from the day you taught me to not only find a wonderful way to show my love to my children, but to hold on to a cherished memory from time.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Her First Haircut

Hair? She doesn't have any hair!

Yes, we know. However, when you run your fingers through that extreme lack of hair, you would have found that what she did have was actually quite long, fine and kind of ashy brown in color...so it's hard to tell.

Since I was getting my haircut though, we figured it would be a great time to have her introduced to the scissors and comb. We've been doing the boys haircuts at home for quite sometime...they both had their first haircuts BEFORE they were even a year old! So, I'm sure we'll do the same for the twins. But, I had decided a while ago that I wasn't going to try and touch Bekah's hair...at least not yet. Besides, maybe the trim will help encourage it to grow in a little more! :)

She did great. How could she not? With a huge mirror in front of her, and both myself and the hairdresser paying all of our attention to just her, really, how could she not find it enjoyable. It only took 19 months for us to get her first haircut, but it actually does look a little different!

Friday, August 01, 2008

HIPPO Therapy

On July 11th we began the boys on a new therapy called HIPPO therapy. No, it doesn't involve hippopotamus', although that would be pretty cool too, it is a type of speech and/or occupational therapy that is done on horseback.

Toward the end of Joshua's early intervention therapy his therapist, Jenn, recommended HIPPO therapy as a form of treatment that she felt would not only help strengthen Joshua's core, but also help his speech develop clearly. She also felt it would be great for Ethan as well...having been around him with Joshua's home therapy, and knowing that children with Asperger really do well with this kind of therapy.

So, we did an evaluation through HorseTalk Hippotherapy with Toby Freeman, in Bedford. She does in-office speech therapy at her Bedford office, but the actual HIPPO therapy is done in Bow, NH at an indoor arena that she rents specifically for this therapy.
The boys absolutely LOVE it! It's amazing to see how different they are on the horse. For Josh, it slows him down, and I can clearly hear him see, "Hi Mama, I ride the horse!" every single time he goes by me. For Ethan, he has finally been able to identify smells. For the first time, while on the horse, he said the words, "I don't like that, it stinks!", when they were trying to get him to blow a bubble with that really smelly goo-on-a-stick stuff. Then, this past Saturday he commented on the smell of the pancakes that Mike made for breakfast by going into the kitchen and saying, "Mmmm, that smells good daddy!". He even commented on the stink he makes in the bathroom now...again, he's never commented on any smells...ever!
Anyway, they enjoy their half hour on the horse...pictured below are the boys riding Summer...a beautiful horse.
Joshua with Miss. Toby his speech therapist, riding Summer the Horse
Ethan with Miss Toby, his speech therapist, also riding Summer the horse.