Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The Starfish Baby's Almost Birthday

Wednesday April 8th, 2015: 37.5 Weeks
It was spring break... I had lots of plans on how productive I might be to get ready for the Starfish Baby while I was able to be home for extra time.  One thing on our agenda was to go to my 37 week doctor's appointment.  I had finally made it to a point where I was going to the doctor every week and it felt great.  It's funny, I've had my doctors say to me more than once how great it must feel not to have to come as often as when I had twins and how wonderful it must be not to have to get all these ultrasounds as often to which my response is always something like, "Um yes, that's been quite an adjustment" or "I'd come here every day if you wanted me to."  Or "Ultrasounds were actually very nice."  "My Crazy" wants to roar much more loudly than that, but I am able to quiet her :) 

Anyway, the appointment was going as normal: drop a urine sample, get asked questions by a nurse about how the pregnancy is going and if I have any concerns and then the quick visit from the doctor happens.  He asked me if I knew where baby was positioned. I told him that last I knew, from two weeks ago, baby was head down (this was great because it was the first signal I needed that maybe a VBAC - Vaginal birth after caesarian - might be possible for me).  He fished around on my stomach for a bit and said, "I'm not sure baby is head down anymore... would you guys have time to stay for an ultrasound if I could get you one just to double check?!"  He had said my magic word: ULTRASOUND!!!!!!!!!!!!  I hadn't seen this baby since I was 20 weeks and it was KILLING ME.  Again, "My Crazy" wanted to roar, but I said politely and calmly, "yes, we can certainly stay." 

When having the ultrasound, it did confirm that the Starfish Baby was positioned with his/her head in my upper right corner and his/her legs were down in my lower left corner.  This baby had certainly flipped.  A comment was made about my large studio apartment and how much room I had for baby to move all around still.  We got to see all kinds of other things: baby practicing swallowing, moving around a ton, etc.  They also checked the fluid level I had going on in there.  We were then escorted into a different room to wait for the doctor to come back in, which was routine, but what came out of his mouth when he got there was definitely not...

"Your fluid level is low,"  he said, "we like it to be between 10cm and 20cm, but get concerned if it's under 5... yours is 5."

I answered him back, "what does that mean?"

He said something to the effect of, "we might be celebrating a birthday today."

It was CRYSTAL CLEAR on Josh and my face that we were both in SHOCK.  My mind went freaky nuts!  Today!? I'm only 37.5 weeks!!!  I then realized very quickly that Josh and I had NOTHING ready: no nursery, no name, no hospital bags packed, and I had done NOTHING to get ready for my maternity leave at school.  We were completely taken off guard, completely surprised, and completely screwed.   Excuse me?!  Come again?! 

People who know me know I am a serious planner, but I don't plan stuff for babies nearly as well because of... you guessed it, "My Crazy." 

As all of these things I still needed to do crowded my head, a conversation was taking place that I was catching most of.  Basically the fluid level can be a predictor of how the placenta is working and can also be a predictor of whether baby is getting enough food or not.  Fluid levels can go up and down and can, sometimes, be changed just by drinking more water.  If I am dehydrated, then obviously baby is going to be dehydrated too.  The doctor also said how important it was that the Starfish Baby was moving like crazy during the ultrasound; if he/she was not getting enough nutrients, you would typically see the baby slow down his/her movements because he/she would be conserving energy.

Next thing I knew, I was hooked up to a Non Stress Test (don't even get me started on how I feel about those... for another time) to monitor the Starfish Baby's heart rate and movements.  He/she passed this with flying colors, which meant I was given more time before this baby was coming out.  I was sent home with orders to drink up, to pay very close attention to how much baby was moving, and to come back in two days to check again.  If my fluid levels were low again, this baby was coming out. 

The rest of our week (Thursday and Friday) went something like this...
  • Decide on names aka finish Name Bracket
  • Get furniture moved OUT of spare bedroom, get baby stuff in!
  • Pack hospital bag
  • Josh spend a good chunk of extra time at work getting ready to be gone
  • Kristin spend a good chunk of extra time at school getting ready to be gone
  • sending out emails and texts to close friends/family letting them know baby might be here shortly
  • getting everything ready for Nolan and Judah for when grandmas and grandpas are around helping out if/when baby comes
  • Having small meltdowns
  • Drinking so much water that I think I may have actually gotten sick of it (at least 120-150oz per day)
And lastly, but not leastly, accepting the fact that I may in fact, deliver ONE baby earlier than I delivered TWO babies.  This would totally strip my twin street cred.  This was also part of the reason this appointment was such a shock to me.  I assumed that if I can keep TWO babies in for 38 weeks that certainly this baby was going to last 40 weeks AT LEAST.  I had assumed I would be overdue... even planned on working up till two days before the due date.

**As I sit here now, THREE days OVERDUE, I realize that my assumptions were actually correct, which just makes me laugh**

At our doctor's appointment that Friday (37 weeks, 5 days), my fluid had gone up from 5.0 to 5.8... baby was still transverse-ish and we were given more time to cook this baby!

I went back Monday (38 weeks, 1 day) fluid level had gone up from 5.8 to 8.3... now baby was head down again!

Went back the following Monday (39 weeks, 1 day), fluid had gone up again from 8.3-9.2... baby still head down

Back again the Monday after (40 weeks, 1 day... officially overdue), fluid was from 9.2 to 8.5... baby still head down.

It's been three weeks since we almost met our Starfish Baby in person.  Since then, I've had the pleasure to see him/her on ultrasound 5 times and been given good news that baby is okay to stay in longer each time.  I am lucky.  Period.  If baby had come at 37.5 weeks, we would've been overjoyed to welcome a full-term baby of course, but I am grateful for this extra time to get more prepared, to allow the baby to cook longer, and to be able to cherish and enjoy more time with just Nolan and Judah and some much needed time with just Josh too.

We learned a lot that day... babies sure do have their own clock and I will never make assumptions about what that clock is again :) 

We will celebrate your birthday soon, Starfish Baby, and we can't wait <3

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Pregnancy Before Having Kids VS. Pregnancy While Having TWO Toddlers

As this pregnancy comes to an end (sometime in the near future), I am reflecting on what a different journey it has been with the Starfish Baby VS. when I was pregnant with Nolan and Judah, here are some of the biggest and some of the most surprising differences I have experienced...

1.)  Physical Exhaustion: When I was pregnant with Nolan and Judah, I was carrying around TWO babies.  I was certainly tired, certainly sore, and certainly physically tired.  However, chasing those same two angels around, picking them up, bending over to pick up their toys, and not being able to rest very much because they always need me has actually made me MORE physically exhausted while being pregnant with the Starfish Baby.  I essentially put myself on bed rest towards the end of my pregnancy with the twins; totally CANNOT do that this time :) While pregnant with Nolan and Judah, I rested when I wanted to, napped when I wanted to, took it easy when I wanted to, and sat around and did nothing when I wanted to... Not this time people!  By the end of the day during this pregnancy (and sometimes even by like 9:00am) my body is absolutely pooped.

2.)  As Time Passes:  While pregnant with Nolan and Judah, those 38 weeks could not have gone any SLOWER.  Every single thing in my life revolved around that pregnancy.  I always had something to worry about, sometime to fret over, something to control my thoughts.  With the Starfish baby, my amount of worry and fear was still the same no doubt, but Nolan and Judah needing my attention throughout the day has helped me incredibly to feel like this pregnancy has gone much faster.  It's impossible to let this pregnancy control my everything even if I wanted it to because two other babies need me too.  This has been a HUGE pro for a crazy person like me.

3.) Sleeping Abilities: Thankfully, during this pregnancy, I have been able to sleep better despite my crazy, despite my worrying, and despite being uncomfortable now that I'm much bigger.  Nolan and Judah tire me out.  In general, when it comes time to go to bed, I am out!  Before having other children, when I was pregnant with Nolan and Judah, I was up during the night a lot. Towards the end, it was pretty much every night when I would eat my first breakfast sometime between 3-5am.  The Starfish Baby wakes me up too, but I am so exhausted I have no trouble falling back asleep quickly.  When the twins used to wake me up, I would be up for at least one hour minimum, but often more like two.

4.) Keeping a Pregnancy a Secret:  As many doctors have said to me throughout these last 39 weeks, I have a very large studio apartment for the Starfish Baby to enjoy and he/she has his/her brothers to thank for that.  Nolan and Judah stretched me out... like big time.  I have been fairly large for a very very very long time, which made it harder for me to "hide" this pregnancy.  Subsequently, I've gotten many more comments from strangers and acquaintances asking when I'm due over the last several months and they always look shocked when I would say the end of April because I have looked like I could give birth at any second for at least two months, but probably even three. 

5.) The Starfish Baby's Genius: When you read pregnancy books, they always mention how powerful it is to read to the baby, sing to the baby, talk to the baby while pregnant.  Josh and I certainly did that while pregnant with Nolan and Judah.  However, the Starfish baby has a HUGE advantage here.  I am already doing those things (talking, reading, singing) SOOOOOOOOOOOOO much during the day with Nolan and Judah and the Starfish Baby is able to reap the benefits.  He/she probably gets 20-30 books read to him/her a day and certainly many, many songs sung to him/her.  This baby will probably pop out being fluent in We're Going on a Bear Hunt  or How Deep is the Sea? or Goodnight Gorilla and will probably be able to sing most popular songs from Disney movies and Raffi.   

6.) Lack of Pregnancy "Glow": I LOVE maternity clothes, I really do.  When browsing through the sale rack at Target, I've been known to pick out maternity clothes on accident because they're so cute and been bummed that they weren't for "regular people."  However, it's a lot harder to look cute in cute pregnancy clothes when you have two toddlers at home.  Does my hair ever get done?  Please!  Do I take care to make sure I keep up with the makeup I need? Yeah right!  Do I make sure to accessorize to compliment my look? Ummmm, no.  I am lucky if I've even showered!  As I look back through the pictures I took every week with the boys while pregnant VS. the ones I've been taking while pregnant with the Starfish baby, there is clearly a difference between the way I have been taking care of myself.  I guess that's what happens when you are taking care of other people...

Even though there are several things that feel really different this time around, there are also some things that definitely haven't changed for me between these pregnancies...

1.) I am just as grateful and just as appreciative to be pregnant

2.) The flutters, kicks, and other movements are just as special

3.) The prayers Josh and I say at night over my growing belly are exactly the

4.) My "crazy" has caused me to have some very worrisome moments/nights/days/weeks, etc

5.) Josh and I did our baby name bracket just like last time

6.) This pregnancy is an incredible miracle too... different, yes, but a miracle just the same 

Monday, April 6, 2015

How We Told Family About Starfish Baby

Back in August/September/October 2014
This baby is so special since we were able to conceive of him/her on our own.  This gave us some freedom we didn't have before because people didn't really know we were trying.  This also gave us the gift of being able to tell people how/when we wanted since people weren't asking and checking in with us.  Here's the low-down of what we did...

How we told my mom:
-On the phone --> not special necessarily,  but I couldn't keep that secret in long; someone has to be around to listen to me worry incessantly besides Josh :)  I told her reasons why I decided not to go running and the pregnancy was the last thing I mentioned, which totally caught her off guard!

How we told my dad:
-I wrote it on the memo line of a check I was writing to him at the end of August.  He didn't have his glasses so he made me read it out loud to him.

How we told my sisters:
-I found out I was pregnant right around the whole Ice Bucket Challenge craze.  I challenged my sisters to do it and told them there would be a reward for whoever did it first and a reward for whoever did it best.  Fortunately for my sister, Laura, she was the only one who did it so she was able to get BOTH rewards.  One reward was a picture frame saying "I love my aunt" with a picture of the boys in it.  The other, inside a card congratulating her, was our announcement that we were pregnant and we also gave her the permission to tell Colleen and Rachel too, which she did, right after she read it! 

How we told Josh's parents:
-We wrote the announcement in Josh's dad's birthday card.  He got to learn about it first AND also be the one to tell Josh's mom, which he did, right after he read it!

How we told Jessica:
-For Josh's sister, we capitalized on an opportunity when she was going to be there when the boys woke up from a nap.  We had Judah draw a picture and we wrote a note inside saying that he, as her godson, wanted her to be the first to know from him that he was going to be a big brother (Nolan was already a big brother of course, by two minutes).  The note was taped to his Pack-N-Play so she got to see it when she went to pick him up.

How we told Lance and Megan:
-While they were over one day hanging out and playing with the boys, Josh sent them a picture of an ultrasound on their phones.  They both got the text message and were confused, but then very excited! 

It was really fun to individualize things and be able to take advantage of opportunities to tell people when they presented themselves. 

SIDEBAR --> Josh's dad asked me if I was pregnant RIGHT at the beginning of August and my mom had a feeling that I was too right around that time.  I wasn't, but they were only a couple of weeks off.  They both have some crazy 6th sense with these things.