Saturday, December 31, 2011

Hospital Bedrest - Day 2!

I received a visit from the on-call peri in the morning on Friday who said based on what was in my chart she felt the right thing to do was be aggressive with how early we were in the pregnancy and start me on a low dose of procardia as soon as they got me relocated to my more "long term suite" the next floor up. So they came and packed me up and wheeled me up a floor and introduced me to my new home away from home! The rooms here really are nice and I immediately liked the new section they put me in. Definitely geared for exactly what they had admitted me for (potential long term care), and the nurses were very different compared to the Labor and Delivery floor. There was a snack cart that came by right after I got into bed and they told me to "take, take, take!" I had felt like I had to beg for something to eat the night before I had gotten so hungry but I took cheese cubes, an apple, honey nut cheerios and milk and a bag of pretzels and they asked me if I was sure that was enough. I figured I'd have to see how the day went, but it sounded like plenty especially since I still have the yummy granola bars from Jenn and Chad too! I ended up not really having much of an appetite until the evening anyway, so just now at 2:30 in the morning I'm eating my apple and cheese cubes!

Breakfast was a ham and cheese croissant with hashbrowns, apple juice and some oatmeal. Filling but that one didn't taste so great. I didn't get hungry 'til after lunch though, so it did its job! :) That morning someone from the food service stopped by and gave me a menu and had me pick my meals through Saturday which was nice to have a choice!

I got my first dose of procardia at 10am after they checked my blood pressure, apparently this med can cause low pressure and I tend to run on the low side of normal anyway but I was fine to take my first dose. I felt really flushed within a half hour of taking it, and a little sleepy (but had slept REALLY poorly the night before anyway, so not sure how related that was to the meds) but other than that can't complain about any real side effects which I was thankful for. Jenn said to make sure to stay well hydrated, it can help level out blood pressure too and obviously I'm supposed to be focusing on good hydration anyway, but its an extra reminder to drink, drink, drink!

Lunch came I think a little before 1pm and I enjoyed a turkey sandwich on wheat, some chicken and rice soup with crackers, milk and there was some sort of pear cobbler type dessert. The fruit part tasted good but whatever the breading stuff was kind of seemed like a hunk of doughy rubbery something so I left that! :D The dietician came by and gave me some general diet info and said to make sure to get plenty of protein and to feel free to ask them to add boiled eggs, etc. to my orders. I also got a visit from Happy Tails! They bring dogs around to visit patients just to cheer them up and it was awesome. They were both rescue dogs and I had a great time talking with the ladies and gentleman who were escorting them, and getting to snuggle both the dogs for awhile. There was a brittany and a cute little chi. They spread a sheet next to me on the bed and let them get up next to me to snuggle. They both settled down and laid down next to me while we talked and I got to pet them. Kent and his great grandmother showed up right at the end of their visit and Kent had a good time petting the puppies too and filling them in on our 5 rescues at home. The dogs were sniffing his pants and shoes like crazy! :)

Kent and Honey brought me my laptop, books and some clothes for my stay here which I was very happy about! So nice to be able to actually type out posts and responses and read in full size! :) I was also very excited about getting out of the hospital gown and into some comfy pajama pants after they decided if I could shower later! It was good to see them both and I am very grateful that Honey has been able to jump in and make sure Kent is being cared for and making the drive back and forth from her house to ours to make sure the dogs are getting checked on, fed, and that the indoor dogs are able to stay inside for the most part and get let out for potty breaks.

So things took a turn of events, in a good way I think after the peri did their u/s yesterday afternoon! We'll see what actually happens today, I'm not counting on anything at this point but when the peri's office did their own ultrasound they said everything looked just great! Babies are both measuring well, good fluid, about 2 lbs 7 oz each and he said my cervix was measuring 3.2-3.8??! He said it looked "beautiful"!! Jenn and Chad got to call and talk to him directly after the appointment and when we texted she said she got the impression he didn't believe that reading they'd gotten at the OB's office on Thursday and he didn't put any stock in the FFN result. The thing I noticed that was the major difference between the two when doing the measurements is the OB's office ONLY measured the portion that was still fully closed of my cervix, and the peri's office included the part that was a little bit funneled at the top. The funneling didn't look as open at yesterday's scan as it had on Thursday but maybe it was the difference in machines... that part I wasn't sure what to think about, but I trust the peri's office knows what they're looking for!

They monitored me again for about an hour last night and sounds like no contractions again showed up and the girls heartrates were good. So, based on all that the peri said expect them to maybe let me go home today at some point!! If I do go home I'll stay on bedrest there through next Friday, then go back to the peri's for another u/s and they'll decide then whether or not to send me back to work. I am just ecstatic at the idea of being home with my kiddo and puppies and honestly more than that ecstatic that maybe everything really is ok with the pregnancy and we're not at such risk so early afterall!!

I was SUPER excited that I got the ok to shower last night!! Sometime around dinner a nurse came to take out my capped IV. That sucked. She took a LONG time and kept wiggling on the IV part - it was taped down REALLY good and she couldn't seem to get a good grip on the tape. I was having to hold my breath and wanted to just grab the tape and pull!! FINALLY though she got it out - freedom! :) They gave me my 2nd dose of procardia at about 6:00pm then said rest awhile to see how I felt and then I could shower! I sort of dozed and watched TV for a good hour before I went and enjoyed a wonderful shower. They make it really easy to sit and shower so I was able to stay off my feet and just enjoy the spray of the warm water while I washed my hair, soaped up and washed my face. It felt WONDERFUL. Showers can make you feel human again if it's been awhile. Plus after enjoying all that fabulous warm water I got to come out and put on my OWN favorite clothes. I put on the fuzzy pajama pants Kenneth got me while he was home and a maternity tank top and it felt really great! :)
The nurse came in about an hour ago to give me my next dose of procardia but my BP was too low - the bottom number came up 49 the first time then 42 the next two times, so she propped my bed up a little and brought me some more ice and water and said we'd try again probably soon and see if my BP goes up to an acceptable number. I actually slept solid from about 9:30pm when they came to remove the monitoring straps until just before 2:00am which was awesome! I feel pretty good right now, though it would be nice to get another 4 or 5 hours after she comes to check my BP again and give me my next dose.

I am hopeful and curious to see what the doctor will say in the am when they come by to see me but think maybe I'll be getting out of here a LOT sooner than originally anticipated. Fingers crossed! :)

Friday, December 30, 2011

Hospital Bedrest - Day 1

today started out normally enough. i was tired when the alarm went off and snoozed awhile but eventually got up, showered and dressed. i was thankful it was Thursday and i would have a long weekend to get Christmas decorations put up and just relax soon. i stopped for a bacon Gouda sandwich and tall decaf peppermint mocha at Starbucks since that had been sounding good and i had gotten a gift card for Christmas. i can not really say exactly when i started getting uneasy that morning. i think it was around ten thirty. i had been at my desk not doing too much since it was pretty quiet and had what felt like about three braxton hicks contractions fairly close together. normally i only get them upon standing or walking to the car from the office. it just did not feel right. i texted Jenn to let her know and asked if she thought it was worth a call to the ob. she said yes and i left my obs nurse a message. she called back shortly and said yes come in as soon as you can. i got to their office at noon after trying to wrap everything up at the office just in case i did not make it back that day. i sort of thought maybe i would be sent home to put my feet up and told to drink more fluids. i had already made a point to chug some water as soon as i started feeling off earlier. they got me back to a Dr pretty quickly once i got to the ob office around noon. i gave her the same info and said i was not sure what to do with everything but there it was. she said well sounds like we need to check you and ordered a fetal fibronectin test, and a vaginal cervical length check by ultrasound. when she took the swabs for the ffn she also manually checked my cervix and told me i had dilated to a one. crap. at that point we had not done the ultrasound yet but she said to expect to head over to the hospital. the ultrasound confirmed my cervix had shortened to one.six from four centimeters at our last check three weeks prior and was funneling. the girls looked good though, good fluid levels and the tech printed a couple cute pics for Jenn and chad. after the dr reviewed the pictures she sent me straight to the hospital, do not pass go, do not collect one hundred dollars. i cried all the way over. i feel so guilty, feel like my body is failing these two sweet babies and their parents and worry about my kiddo and my puppies at home. i know i am where i need to be to give them the best chance at baking many more weeks but it is still hard to wrap my head around going from all is well and looking good and still working full time to full on hospital bedrest. there are lots of details still to iron out and no solid idea of how long i will be here which makes it hard to plan. the ffn test came back positive and though the dr did not seem to feel we are in immediate danger of an early delivery since there were very few contractions picked up while they had me hooked up to the monitors she said she uses the ffn results more to decide whether care will be inpatient or outpatient which is why they are keeping me at the hospital and she said plan on two weeks. so that has been my day. babies are good, i feel ok, but my cervix has shortened and i will be making myself comfortable here until told otherwise. Jenn and chad came by this evening and brought me a phone charger and some granola bars and my father in law stopped by around four in the afternoon. Kent's great grandmother is going to help with him for a couple days while i figure out something more long term and the fabulous Irina from rotts n pups is going to come pick up miss maple and is helping me find somewhere for my chihuahuas to stay. in the mean time i am doing my very best to lay here, stay positive and trust everything really is going to be ok. and sorry for all lowercase i am typing this on my phone but praying Kent and honey will visit and bring me my laptop and a few other items from home soon.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

27 Week Belly Pictures!

Pictures from this evening, me and the girls at 27 weeks!

Our Pregnancy: 27 Weeks!

Welcome to Week 27 baby girls! :) Here's what's going on this week!

Week Twenty Seven: Eyes can open

You are 27 weeks pregnant. (fetal age 25 weeks)
The fetus weighs almost 2 pounds now and is about 14.5 inches long.
The head is over 2.5 inches (7cm) in diameter.
Your baby's hearing continues to develop.
The eyes can blink, open and close.

Welcome to the third trimester. Congratulations! You have made it 2/3 of the way through. It may be hard to believe, but your baby now appears much like he or she will look like at birth. Baby now has eyebrows and eyelashes and hair is growing everyday. The muscle tone is improving and his or her body is getting plumper.

Your little one's brain continues its rapid growth. Don't forget to share music, conversation, and even books with your baby. Baby may start to recognize your voice as well as your partner, so be sure to say lots of nice things.

The retina at the back of your baby's eyes is beginning to develop. Those beautiful baby eyes can open now, and the baby will notice and may turn his or her head if you shine a flashlight against your belly.

At 27 weeks, your baby's length will have tripled or quadrupled from the 14 week mark. If your baby is born this week, the chances of survival is now at least 80 percent. However, serious complications are still possible.
We are now just ELEVEN weeks away from our final goal of 38 weeks for delivery, or 77 days if you're counting! :) I enjoy all the kicks and punches I feel and definitely notice sitting seems to cause more activity then laying, and laying on my side often initiates movement from whoever is on the "bottom" (or at least I am more aware of it when I'm laying on my side)! We have a midwife check next week and then I am really looking forward to the next ultrasound we have on January 12th! We'll be just over 29 weeks at that point and I cannot wait to hear about how big the girls are and make sure my cervix is still behaving itself.

I had all of last week off and it was wonderful. I didn't sleep great so didn't feel all that rested, but I felt pretty good. Today is my first day back at work and I feel like I'm running on empty again. I'm completely wiped out. I haven't had too many leg cramps this past week, and only a little swelling in my ankles/feet.

My OB called today with the results from our Glucose Tolerance Test last week and I passed the 1-hour! Yippee!! That was great news and I was really happy about that! They told me my iron was only 11 though, the nurse who left the message just said to up my iron rich food intake but I am going to start some OTC supplements as well and make sure to take them with some Orange Juice. I saw Raisin Bran on the list of iron rich foods and am going to make sure to pick up a box of that and some spinach as well. I've been eating a bowl of cereal as a snack a few times a week so Raisin Bran will come in handy.

Here are some of the suggestions:
Beef, buffalo (lean cuts)

Sardines (with bones, for a calcium component)
Cooked clams, oysters, mussels, and shrimp
Cooked dried beans
Soybeans (edamame) and other soy products
Oat bran
Pumpkin seeds
Dried fruit (raisins, apricots, prunes, peaches, or currants)
Jerusalem artichokes
Blackstrap molasses

I doubt I'll be adding seaweed and duck to my diet anytime soon, but it's helpful for a few good ideas I can try to incorporate more often! :)

One week closer to my next mental goal of 30 weeks - then a month from now we'll be at 32 weeks the next big one! So far so good (knock on something), I just keep hoping and praying for many more weeks of things to continue as they have been, though I'm anticipating the "REALLY big and uncomfortable" stuff to start within the next month or so, we'll see!! :)

Monday, December 26, 2011


Today was Kenneth's last day home before he heads back to Louisiana and then overseas sometime soon. I am heart heavy to say goodbye, and yesterday was such a highs/lows day for us. Christmas was wonderful at my inlaws cabin in the mountains, lots of great food and pictures and gifts exchanged. But it ended really sadly. One of our foster puppies had been sick since Saturday. They'd been dewormed Wednesday and we were told they'd have some upset stomach as everything worked its way out, so when she started acting sick Saturday am we thought she just needed a day to be sick and that she'd start feeling better soon. She didn't eat or drink that whole day except for just a little water once. She also vomitted three times and that's when I started worrying it wasn't just worms. On Sunday she was really listless and looked worse than the day before and I called the rescue group owner and gave her the update. She said one of the siblings she was fostering had similar symptoms and had been at the vet for two days but parvo test was negative and doctor said it was just stomach upset essentially, she said she'd stop by our house Monday am with iv fluids and antibiotics. By the afternoon though we were not thinking she was going to make it through the night - she was keeping fluids that we were giving via syringe down, but was SO lethargic and looked awful... we stopped at the emergency vet on our way home that evening. Within a couple hours of her being there, they'd run a CBC on her that showed her white cell count was only 500 which is VERY low. Her glucose levels were also very, very low. At that point the Dr. said we need to run a parvo test. They did. It was positive. She died about 2 hours after that... So I bawled a lot last night, and Irina (the rescue group owner) was able to get back to me about an hour after we got the phone call that Penny didn't make it. I'd been sending her texts and leaving voicemails but she was somewhere her phone wasn't working for those hours. It was heartbreaking all around. Penny had been a lively, chunky, happy, bouncy puppy just 2 days before and then she was just gone. Parvo is horrible, horrible, horrible... We're keeping a very close eye on her sister now, but if she's been with Penny this whole time and is still happy and healthy her chances are good... Anyhow, it was lots of ups and downs yesterday to say the least. So I say farewell to sweet baby Penny... we only had one very short week with her here on this earth and it was far from long enough. She had a home pretty much lined up and everything. I am so sad for her, for this loss of innocent life for something so senseless. It infuriates me and saddens me. I know these things happen, I know there's really not much else we could have done, and none of that matters - my heart hurts for her loss and for all she suffered before she left this earth. I pray she felt some love and comfort in her days with us... and I pray her sister stays healthy, happy and bouncy and will be on her way to her home soon where she will live a long and full life...

Maple is the brown puppy, Penny is the black baby girl...

We just got back from dropping Kenneth off at the airport, he should be in the air right now on his way to the Houston airport... it has been such an emotional couple days and I am going to miss him and I will worry about him even though kept telling me he'll be home in no time and his job isn't dangerous. Silly boy, like that'll stop me!! :)

Here are a couple pictures from Christmas that I loved and hopefully I'll be getting updates and pictures from him in his new work location very soon and getting to hear how he's doing and how he likes his job.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Snickers Bar Peanut Butter Cookies

Another Holiday Baking cookie for the blog! :) Fixed these this afternoon after we went out and saw Twilight Breaking Dawn Part I - Kenneth suffered through it because he loves me so much! :D I appreciated it very much and enjoyed the heck out of some buttered popcorn! We picked up a couple groceries after inching our way through the CRAZY traffic around here! Everyone apparently remembered it's Christmas in a couple days and decided to shop this afternoon! Geez! We got what we needed at Kroger and headed on home and I've been baking ever since!

I use Stevia in place of white sugar and refrigerate the dough between batches - it's pretty soft and greasy and you have to roll each cookie in your hands to make sure it evenly coats the miniature snicker bars, so it helps to have the dough chilled!

These are great cookies and come out beautifully every time! I always bake for just 13 minutes per batch.

Find the recipe by Sara Smith on here!

Snickers Bar Peanut Butter Cookies
Makes: 2-3 dozen cookies

1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 egg
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
24-36 miniature size Snicker Bars (original or use a mixed bag with dark, almond, etc.)
  1. Cream together white sugar, brown sugar, butter or margarine, vanilla, peanut butter and the egg.
  2. Add in flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
  3. Wrap 1 heaping teaspoon of dough around a bite sized milk chocolate covered caramel and nougat candy bar. Bake 13-16 minutes at 350 degrees F. Let cool 5 minutes before removing from pan.               

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Peanut Brittle (Microwave)

Continuing the Holiday baking! :) This is a recipe I've used for a couple years now that I love and it has always turned out really well for me (except for the time I tried to double it and it didn't get hot enough so wouldn't set up and the first batch I did this morning which burned dang it!!) I've used peanuts and almonds with it and it's easy, just a few ingredients and super fast! It's addicting too!

This recipe comes from and can be found here!

Peanut Brittle (Microwave)

Makes 1 pound • From the kitchen of Penny Y.


1 cup peanuts
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup corn syrup
1 teaspoon butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda


  1. Coat a 13x9 inch baking pan with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. This recipe is done completely in a microwave on high power.
  3. Stir the sugar and corn syrup in a large microwave safe bowl. Cook on high for 4 minutes.
  4. Stir in the peanuts. Cook on high for 3-5 minutes. Add the butter and vanilla and blend well.
  5. Cook for 1-2 minutes. Add the baking soda and stir until foamy.
  6. Spread the mixture in pan and let cool for 1/2 hour.

Usually I cook at the longer temperature amounts, or at least in the middle but for whatever reason when I did that with my first batch this AM it burned, so I cooked at the bottom range of the cook times and my 2nd batch seems to have come out just fine! It's still setting up and I can't wait to taste test and "make sure"! :)

Also, even though this is SUPER sticky (and you have to work FAST between each step!) clean up is super easy. Just put all the sticky utensils and bowl in the sink, fill with hot water and let it sit for 15 minutes or so and the water will melt all the hard sticky mess completely away (and I let the hot water run over the part that's stuck on the edge of the bowl and then it comes right off as well)!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Cracked Sugar Cookies!

'Tis the Season for HOLIDAY BAKING!! I've been wanting to bake some cookies this week and Kenneth was asking for sugar cookies, so last night I pulled out an AllRecipes Recipe we have enjoyed before and whipped up this super fast and easy Sugar Cookie recipe! Kenneth likes SOFT sugar cookies, and this one always comes out beautifully. Depending on how sweet you like your cookies you could add another 1/4-1/2 cup of sugar but I like them the way they are with just a touch of sweet. They come out with lightly browned bottoms, gently cracked tops and are so soft!

Find the recipe on AllRecipes here!

Cracked Sugar Cookies I
Makes 1 1/2 - 2 dozen cookies

  • 1 1/4 cups white sugar
  • 1 cup butter
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). Lightly grease 2 cookie sheets.
  2. Cream together sugar and butter. Beat in egg yolks and vanilla.
  3. Add flour, baking soda, and cream of tartar. Stir.
  4. Form dough into walnut size balls and place 2 inches apart on cookie sheet. Don't flatten. Bake 10 to 11 minutes, until tops are cracked and just turning color.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

26 Week Belly Pictures!!

Tonight Kenneth took some pictures for me which was fun for a change!! We are 26 weeks today, and the belly is measuring 36 weeks - I'm sporting my new fuzzy pajama pants Kenneth got me from Target - I love the monkeys! :D

I got to stand in front of the tree and he snapped away - I love the last one!!

Ok, not exactly a flattering face, but loved the round belly! :)

The view from below!! :D

Our Pregnancy: 26 Weeks

Here's whats going on with the Chadiferinas this week!

Week Twenty Six: Second trimester ends this week

You are 26 weeks pregnant. (fetal age 23 weeks)
  • The baby measures 14 inches long and weighs over 1.7 pound.
  • Baby measures 35.5cm long and weighs over 760 grams.
  • The feet are 2 inches (5cm) long. Hands are very active.
  • The baby's eyes begin to open around this time.
26 weeks handsThe fetus makes breathing movements, but there is no air in the lungs yet. Hands are active and muscle coordination is such that they can get a thumb into the mouth. Thumb sucking calms the baby and strengthens the cheek and jaw muscles.

The fetal brain scan will show response to touch. Touching and playing with the baby is possible now, as they may respond to your touch through your belly wall. Brain growth continues with brain wave activity for the visual and auditory systems starting to develop. Baby is probably very active in the womb, as the most active weeks are typically between weeks 24 and 28.

26 weeks footYou may begin feeling your belly tighten and relax at odd moments or irregular intervals. These are Braxton Hicks
contractions. They are painless and help the uterus prepare for the birth. Many babies have developed a predictable routine for sleep and active periods. Twins may have entirely different routines from each other.

If your back is feeling the strain of your growing belly, try doing some pelvic rocks to relax it. Stand with your back against the wall, knees slightly bent. As you inhale a breath, press the small of your back against the wall. Exhale and relax your back. You may be experiencing shortness of breath as the uterus is very close to the rib cage at this stage. Some moms are not able to fully expand their rib cages; however, this does not negatively affect the baby in any way.

The end of week 26 marks the end of month six, which is the last month of the second trimester.
Last week of the 2nd trimester!! Super exciting to think in just one more full week we're in the 3rd and final trimester! 26 weeks pregnant, and less than 100 days to go!

Today was our OB appointment and glucose tolerance test. I've been dreading that thing since Dr. Jo told us she wanted me to do the GTT and not just do glucose monitoring like I did last time. I had to do the GTT with my first surrogacy and was SO sick afterwards, I felt horrible not to mention that the drink itself tasted nasty and I remember it was thick and syrupy. This time was completely different thank GOODNESS! They sent the drink home with me to take on the way to their office and told me I could have a light high protein/low sugar breakfast. So we woke up at 6:00am and by about 6:45 I had eaten some scrambled eggs with a little bit of cheese and ham in it and we were on our way. At 7:45 I had finished the little bottle of fruit punch flavored glucose drink (which I had refrigerated well beforehand) and it actually didn't taste bad at all - like Hi-C! I felt a little light headed when I first started drinking it and then wanted to conk out and sleep within about 5 minutes of finishing it. I dozed a little on the rest of the drive to the OB's office!

They took me back not long after showing up and I told them when I'd finished the glucose drink then gave a urine sample, was weighed and had my BP checked. I went back to the exam room and the nurse found both girls' heartbeats which sounded beautiful as usual! Then Dr. Jo came in and did a quick check in with how I'm feeling, measured my belly (measuring 36 weeks today!!!) and we talked about the "what's next"! She said as long as I'm feeling good and not having regular or painful braxton hicks, no bleeding, cramping, etc. I can continue to work my normal schedule, but keep them posted on how I'm feeling. I told her I'm hoping I can continue at my current schedule at least one more month, but we shall see! Appointments are now every 2 weeks, and we have them scheduled for January 4th and 23rd. The 4th is a midwife check and the 23rd is with Dr. Jo again. She also wants us to make sure we're on the same page for our delivery plans (really they are "hopes" - like you can really make PLANS especially with twins!!) and she'd like us to go ahead and get a c-section on the schedule for March 12th-14th, since it's easier to cancel it then it would be to try to get one scheduled closer to the date we might need it depending on which direction babies end up around that timeframe!

So that's the summary for today! I'm going to try to get a new belly pic tonight to post! I still can't believe I'm measuring 36 weeks already! Within the next 2 weeks or so I'll be measuring as big as I EVER have with my 3 singletons... that's incredible to think about how much more growing me and the girls have left to go!! :)

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

25 Week Belly Pictures!

Pictures from this evening - 25 weeks!

Our pregnancy: 25 weeks!

I found a site I like besides just BabyCenter for getting an idea of what is going on with each new week of pregnancy here!
 Week Twenty Five: Exploration continues

You are 25 weeks pregnant. (fetal age 23 weeks)
The unborn child is 34 cm in length and weighs almost 690 grams.
Baby is around 13.5 inches in length and weighs 1 and half pounds.
Bones are becoming solid, hands are now fully developed.
The brain is growing rapidly, the brain cells are starting to mature.
The sexual organs are fully developed.

Baby is now pretty well built portion wise even though it still has little body fat and its skin is thin. The structures of the spine begin to form -- All 33 rings, 150 joints and 1000 ligaments. The tiny brain is growing rapidly, and the baby is starting to fill the space in your uterus. The uterus is now about the size of a soccer ball and mom looks pregnant.

Your baby's hands are now fully developed, although some of the nerve connections to the hands have a long way to go. Dexterity is improving. Your baby can make a fist and clasp objects placed in palm. Exploring the structures inside your uterus may have become baby's prime entertainment. Fascinated by the amount of tactile stimulation a fetus gives itself; it touches a hand to the face, one hand to the other hand, clasps its feet, touches its foot to its leg, its hand to its umbilical cord. Twins will explore each other and begin their bonding. See: Twins 3D sonagram movie.

Blood vessels of the lungs develop. Your baby's nostrils begin to open. The nerves around the mouth and lip area are showing more sensitivity now. Their swallowing reflexes are developing. Baby can hear sounds outside the womb and the brain cells are starting to mature also. Already it can learn and remember and can recognise its mother and fathers voice. The inner ear bones have hardened so hearing is more acute. Baby may hear your partner's voice more easily than yours, as baby is sensitive to a deeper pitch.

Babies born at 25 weeks of pregnancy have about a 50% chance of survival.
I watched the twin sonogram clip and it is adorable!! So amazing to watch babies interracting in-utero. I am thankful for reaching another week and love watching them tick by! :) Just two more weeks until we're in the 3rd trimester!

Counting down to Friday evening and getting to see my hubby, and all the activity that is coming the following week while we spend a few final days with him before he heads out and of course all the family get togethers and activity for Christmas!

All my packages and letters are mailed off now and I'm just waiting on 2 more gifts for Kenneth to arrive via UPS, once I get those wrapped up I'll be all set although I still need to get him a birthday card to go with his birthday gift (his birthday is Christmas Eve, lucky guy! :D )

I'm tired, having lots of congestion and a few uncomfortable braxton hicks every day, sometimes when I'm sitting and often when I'm up and moving around. Not all the time, but every now and then I get a really heavy and uncomfortable pressure down low too. Swelling hasn't been too bad the last couple days at least that I've noticed. So overall things are pretty "normal" which I think is great news!

We had Chinese last night, it just sounded good and had been a little while since I picked any up. The cashew chicken I ordered was sooo good! We ate it while we watched "Hachi: A Dog's Tale" and we both cried all throughout the ending of the movie!! It was so touching, so sad, but such a great movie too! Kent and I were laughing at each other and calling each other cry babies. :)

I'll take a new belly pic this evening when I get home - it's getting hard for me to tell but I imagine I'm about the same as last week still...

Sunday, December 11, 2011

A few of my favorite things...

This is my favorite way to spend the evenings...

With the lights in the living room off, and just the twinkling tree lights giving the room a soft glow, seeing all the presents under the tree and listening to some quiet Christmas music... add in a comfy couch and a warm blanket and that is my very favorite way to spend the evenings after Kent heads to bed in December!! It is "me" time to be still, reflect, be thankful and to dream...

I keep wondering what the coming year will hold - this past year really packed a LOT in when I stop and look back. I put together a letter for family for the first time in ages and when I actually stopped and thought about it all, it sort of amazed me to think about how many "events" have happened in 2011! Kenneth got out of the Marine Corps, graduated college, had spinal fusion and started a new job which has had him away from home in training since July. Our transfer of these two little girls was just days before he headed out for training. I met Jenn and Chad in late February and have been working on this surrogacy most of this year between matching, testing, contracts, cycling and transfer and then the twin pregnancy. Kent is taking 3 AP classes (for the first time), participated in the SAT, has a new girlfriend, turned 13, and is shooting up like a weed before my eyes (oh and don't forget the fact that his voice has changed DRAMATICALLY within the past few weeks!!) We've also fostered 5 dogs/puppies for Rotts N Pups rescue but managed to maintain our "permanent" dog count at 5! :)

It's been a good year and I am thankful for the chance to reflect back and think about all the opportunities we've been blessed with and take a moment to say "Thank You". I think 2012 is going to be a good year too, but definitely with its challenges with Kenneth being overseas for most of it and Kent fully entering teenage-hood! Praying for guidance, wisdom and strength for the coming year! :)

Friday, December 09, 2011

24w3d - ultrasound update!

I was hoping to have a picture to link up but haven't gotten a copy yet - but our ultrasound yesterday went just great! The girls are absolutely adorable and we got to see them moving around and showing off for a good while between three different people doing scans! My favorite moment was when we could see what looked like baby B "petting" her sister's head... it was the CUTEST!!

** Edited to add ultrasound picture!!!

Both girls are being perfect little ladies and are practicing heading in the right direction and were head down during the scan. The first thing we saw when she put the wand on my belly was two round heads! So cute!! :D They both behaved very nicely and let the sonographer get good images of brain, heart, measurements of the femur, belly, etc. They were moving but weren't being super active (they save that for the middle of the night).

The RE said they are just perfect and I get a gold star! :D My cervix is holding up still right around 4cm again too which was a relief to see. I get nervous with all the pressure and heavy sensations and knowing there is over 3 lbs of baby in there now (each weighing in about 1 lb 9 oz according to u/s measurements) along with all that fluid, etc. So far so good though, hoping to keep it that way throughout the end of February at least! Counting down to the 30 week milestone between now and then...

After the scan Jenn gave me my Christmas present of a gift certificate for a pedicure at a spa which was SUPER sweet and I'm very excited about!! One of these weekends I am going to have enough downtime to go out and enjoy it and I know my feet will appreciate it! :)

I am counting down this final week until Kenneth is home and am feeling sort of numb about the fact he'll be gone right after his visit home... I know in my head that's what's happening, I keep thinking and talking about it, but it honestly isn't fully sinking in yet... it is VERY different having him a state or two away versus in another country in a war zone and I think I'm still sort of blocking out how I really feel about it all... I feel ok with everything still... which is why I think I'm not quite to the "acceptance" stage, more in denial still! :) I am going to miss him terribly and really miss his phonecalls. He trys to call at least for a few minutes most nights despite their crazy busy schedule and I always look forward to hearing his voice and getting to catch up and share what's going on over here and hear how he's doing... I will miss those exchanges and that connection.

I've had two late nights at work now and am ready for the weekend!! I have my final Christmas shopping lists for family and was able to get a couple of the Washington family items in the mail today, the rest should be able to go out tomorrow as long as I can stop either on the way home tonight or first thing tomorrow for one last item. I am debating on whether or not to brave the Post Office which I KNOW is going to be packed and will require standing in line and maybe just mail the package from work on Monday using for postage... I really dislike standing in lines at the Post Office! Ours is pretty tiny and it gets so hectic this time of year. I wrapped a few items and got them under the tree last night and am looking forward to getting a few more done over the weekend - clearing some space on my "wrapping table" (aka the dining room table) and getting the tree loaded up! :D

I guess that's the update for now! Babies are good and I'm doing well - next perinatologist appointment is early January and then we "graduate" to bi-weekly appointments as we'll be in the THIRD TRIMESTER by that point! :)

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Survival Rates by Gestational Age

I saw a chart on another surrogate's blog about survival rates and gestational age and ran a search and found this chart which I found fascinating!! I found it on this website. It shows the median survival percentage by weight and gestaitional age and then the ranges within each gesational age by weight as well!

Figure 1 shows the proportional survival of singleton European infants known to be alive at the onset of labour.

Infants from multiple births had, for the same birth weight, gestation, and ethnic origin as singleton infants, a greater chance of survival (odds ratio 1.4, 1.1 to 1.8).

Here's a handy grams to pounds converter!
This is the graph I'd seen on the other blog:

Anyhow, nothing particularly exciting or specific to our pregnancy today - just some things I was looking up and thought I'd share! :) Feeling pretty wiped out today and have had two people ask me how I'm feeling and saying I haven't been looking like I feel well the past couple days... :( Always nice to be politely told you look like crud! :D I just need more rest I think and daydream about bed most of the day!

Looking forward to tomorrow's ultrasound!! Yay!! :)

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

24 Week Belly Pics!

Here I am - in all my 24 week hugeness... I mean glory... yeah... :D

Our Pregnancy: 24 Weeks!

We made it to 24 weeks!! Many more weeks to go, but this is a good milestone check off point to enjoy for today. :)

I had a lot of trouble sleeping last night, was up for about 2 1/2 hours in the middle of the night again. Finally got tired of just laying there wishing myself back to sleep and got up for about an hour to have a PB&J sandwich, some milk and watch two episodes of Private Practice then back to bed for a couple hours of sleep before the alarm went off. I am wiped out today! It's been fairly busy though, so the time is passing quickly. I'm just so ready to get in my car for the long drive home and my "date" with the couch this evening!

According to BabyCenter this week:
How Jenn and Chad's babies are growing:

Your baby's growing steadily, having gained about 4 ounces since last week. That puts him at just over a pound. Since he's almost a foot long (picture an ear of corn), he cuts a pretty lean figure at this point, but his body is filling out proportionally and he'll soon start to plump up. His brain is also growing quickly now, and his taste buds are continuing to develop. His lungs are developing "branches" of the respiratory "tree" as well as cells that produce surfactant, a substance that will help his air sacs inflate once he hits the outside world. His skin is still thin and translucent, but that will start to change soon.
Counting down 'til we get to see the girls again on Thursday and anxious to hear they are still growing well and make sure my cervix is behaving. I get a decent amount of "kicking action" down low and feel pressure and heaviness sometimes and I worry at least a little and am always happy for reassurance that all is still well! I pray hard my body continues to behave and hold up just fine throughout the coming months until these two are FULLY baked and big and healthy and ready to meet the world!

Last night I got a copy of In the Womb: Multiples via Netflix and was fascinated to watch and imagine just what's happening as these two grow and develop together. I was AMAZED at the triplet mom who delivered her three at just 32 weeks and they all weighed over 6 1/2 pounds EACH! That is incredible!! I need a copy of what that mom fed her babies for those 32 weeks to get them so big and healthy! :)

Ten more days 'til Kenneth comes home for his last pre-deployment visit!! Cannot wait to see him! I know he's going to be SO tired that first day or so - they have them up before the crack of dawn and keep them working until 8-10 at night most days lately! Poor guy - I know they're cramming a LOT in this last week and a half!! I've already started thinking about care packages again and am trying to create my "mental list" of what I've done before. Kenneth is never ANY help and pretty much never has any suggestions. Usually he just wants pictures and Copenhagen... easy to please, I guess! :D

I'll get a new belly pic when I get home and get it posted - belly is growing, growing, growing!!

Monday, December 05, 2011

23w6d - soooo tired....!

I am excited for another "rollover day" tomorrow and being at 24 weeks, but I am also completely wiped out... it seems to fluctuate back and forth, but my fatigue level is increasing lately for sure. I was afraid it would end up that way since I wasn't able to rest much this weekend.

Backing up a little the PBO is officially DONE!! Jenn and Chad are officially the girls' parents and all the legal documentation is in place for them to go directly on the birth certificate. PBO day is a great milestone and I am thrilled that's done and in place! Next we'll make an appointment with the hospital to meet with a few people there, make sure they have copies of everything (including insurance, PBO, etc.) and have a chance to ask our questions and do a tour. Since I've not delivered there I am looking forward to seeing the layout and getting an idea of where everything is.

I've been having some braxton hicks I think - sometimes I notice it across the top of my abdomen where it just feels very taut all of a sudden and is uncomfortable and othertimes I am getting them low and it aches for about 30 seconds and feels tight before letting up. All signs and acknowledgements of the growing going on! No regular pattern and nothing that's all that painful, just annoying more than anything so that is good but I think I am beginning to wonder how much longer I will physically be able to handle my "normal" routine. I don't feel "bad" or anything yet, I feel ok most of the time, but between the increased fatigue and the braxton hicks starting up lately I know my body is definitely asking for some slowing down, at least a little.

Normally I try to do that as much of the weekend as possible to be able to make it through the work week in decent shape, but this past weekend was pretty hectic and I didn't get as much down time as I probably needed! On Saturday the alarm went off at 6:15am and I was up not long after and getting breakfast ready for Kent, waking him up at about 6:40 so he'd have time to eat a good, hot meal and wake up a little before we headed over to the local high school for his SAT test (as part of the Duke TIP program). I got him checked in (after standing outside in the COLD for about 15 minutes waiting for them to unlock the doors and let the big group of students IN!!) around 8:00am and headed back home. I crawled straight back into bed and slept for about 3 more hours before getting up, showering and running a couple errands and getting some laundry going.

I picked up Kent around 1:30pm and we headed back home. He was pretty wiped out after the long morning so we didn't do more than a few chores around the house and he played some game time while I relaxed and played on the computer for a little while. It was time to get ready for my company Awards Banquet by about 4:00pm and I left for that at about 4:45. It was a great evening and the Fernbank Museum was a wonderful location for it! Affairs to Remember did a beautiful job with the catering and even sent some leftovers home with me! Yumm!!

I was exhausted by 10pm and happy to head home and crawl back into bed. I slept 'til 8:00, had some quiet time in the house in the morning until Kent got up and then fixed us a good breakfast of French Toast, eggs and bacon around 10:00am when he finally was up and moving! Not long after breakfast I headed back to bed for another nap. After I got back up in the afternoon we pulled down a few of the Christmas boxes from the attic! We got the living room rearranged, the tree up and a few decorations out. I put less than a third of my normal decorations up this year because I didn't want to have to move more boxes from the attic and as long as the tree and stockings are up and a few of my favorite snowmen I'm happy! I was getting some strong braxton hicks after all the moving stuff around so I laid on the couch and listened to Christmas music and sipped some water while Kent put most of the decorations on the tree after he put the whole tree together by himself! He's such a great helper!

After we got all the decorations out and put the rubbermaids away in the guest room we got everything vacuumed up and looking decent again and then I took him over to the The Avenues for a Barnes and Nobles visit and a brief stop at GameStop - his two favorite stores. He got to use his birthday gift certificate at B&N and I had a decaf peppermint mocha and read one of the many cooking books that I am always drawn to while he browsed! I do enjoy spending time there and it was relaxing, but I was still feeling pretty wiped out and was ready to go home. We warmed up leftovers for dinner and watched a couple shows together and called it "quits" around 8:00pm! I think we were both tired after a couple busy days and I slept pretty soundly last night. I woke up feeling about as tired as I went to bed feeling though and am thinking a nap is in order at some point today. It is nice to have lots of great leftovers to enjoy for the next couple days, no worrying about what to fix for lunches or dinner - just reheat some leftovers and I'm all set! :) I used a couple pieces of the salmon fillets from the catering leftovers to make a sandwich and put some of the really yummy green beans in a tupperware for lunch today.

This week's projects are to get Christmas cards filled out and addressed and get the digital keychains I bought for most of my far away family as presents loaded with pictures and wrapped so I can do my "mass mailing" on Saturday and be done with that - and now that we have the tree up I can start wrapping everything else and getting things under the tree! I always look forward to some quiet time with the tree lights on when it's dark out in the evenings before bed time... very relaxing and a great way to end the day!