Tuesday, June 15, 2010

30 Weeks!

I can't believe it.  I can't believe I have made it into the 30's!  6 weeks ago, I never would have believed it.  Now I am feeling like we could even make it full term with these girls, I just have no idea what will happen!  Once again, God has a plan and it's not for us to know beforehand.  :)

Things are going very well.  I AM STILL HOME!!  Shocker there too!  lol  Both girls are still head down, so we are definitely planning for a vaginal birth still.  I am having more and more contractions the larger my uterus grows, but they are not changing my cervix for the most part.  I have been to Labor & Delivery several times for monitoring and I am a good 4cm dilated (nearing 5cm according to my OB,) 80% effaced and -1 station.  I am getting close to the point where they won't let me return home due to advanced dilation, so I am super happy to still be allowed to be home.  I don't live too far away from the hospital, and they know I know when I need to come in, so they are allowing me to continue bedrest at home.  I am getting HUGE and therefore rather uncomfortable, but I am not complaining!  I am just so thrilled to still be pregnant!

Here is proof of hugeness.  ;)  30 weeks and 3 days!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

29 Weeks!

Ok, so I am terribly behind with blogging!  However, the good news is, I am still gestating!!!!  YAY!  We are 29 weeks 2 days today, having made it 5 extra weeks so far from when all of this started.  What a blessing!  We had a growth ultrasound on Wednesday and Carly is 2lbs 13oz and Callie is 2lbs 15oz.  Still growing right on target and good sizes.  I have been doing home bedrest for a week now, and I have to say that while I had my reservations about coming home after a day filled with contractions and medicine to stop them the day before they sent me home, I think it has been the best thing for me!  I feel so fabulous and am enjoying being able to spend quality time with my family again.  We are able to go to the pool and I can lay in the lounge chair and watch them play and get some fresh air and sunshine.  Does the body good!

Here are my 28 week and 29 week belly shots:

In other news, Mikaela is doing FABULOUS potty training finally!  She went the entire day yesterday with NO accidents!  She even went to the potty at the pool.  I'm so proud of her!  (And very thankful that hopefully we will only have 2 in diapers when these little girls are born!)

All in all, things are going really great for us right now.  I feel completely blessed in so many ways.  I watch how great Mike is doing with handling everything and how good he is with the kids and am just so thankful to have such a wonderful husband.  I am so blessed that I am still pregnant and almost to the 30's!  I have such great kids, even though Mikaela is a stinker and a handful, she is a ray of sunshine at the very same time!  God has blessed me beyond measure. ♥

Saturday, May 8, 2010

My Survivor ... My Haley Bug

Yesterday didn't turn out so bad after all.  My friend, Carrie and 2 of her kids came over for a little while so the kids could play outside.  Mike went and bought me a comfortable chair to sit outside in the beautiful Virginia weather we are having and watch the kids play.  It sure felt good to feel the sunshine!  Mikaela spent some time pushing Carrie's baby, Lexie, around the yard in her stroller.  It was so cute!  Mikaela just loves babies.  She is going to be a GREAT big sister!

When it was time to get ready for the Relay For Life, Mikaela and Noah (who usually fight like cats and dogs!) were playing so nicely together that we decided Mickey should stay home and they would hang out for a while longer.  I figured since Mikaela hadn't had a nap, she would probably be terrible at the Relay For Life!  Mike took Haley and her friend Kasey to the Relay For Life, so it was even more special for Haley without the grumpy 2 year old whining constantly!  LOL  Aunt Tiffany met them there after she got off work also.  Before they left, Carrie and I took some pictures of Haley, our survivor!  I didn't have the best vantage point sitting in my chair, so Carrie took over!  :)  Here is My Haley Bug ... My Survivor!  8 years in remission from Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia!

After they left, we sat outside for a little longer then we all moved inside so I could lay down on the couch.  The kids even played nicely inside!  When it was time to Carrie and the kids to leave, me and Mickey laid on the couch together and watched Monsters, Inc.  It was some good mommy/Mickey time!  It was all a great distraction for me, who was super bummed to be missing out on the Relay For Life.  Every year, watching Haley walk the survivor lap is such a special time, a time to relish in what a miracle she is and how blessed we are.  But, Mike did a great job documenting it with pictures for me, so that made me happy!  Here they are.

Haley signing the survivor banner

Haley won a door prize at the Survivor Reception!  She gave it to a very happy Mickey when she got home since she is a little old to be into princesses now.  ;)

Haley walking the survivor lap

Walking the survivor lap with Kasey

Haley & Aunt Tiffany

While I am sad to have missed it, I know I am doing what I have to do for Carly and Callie right now.  Things seem to be status quo.  Still having contractions, but nothing regular.  I still worry that I won't know when I need to go back to L&D, but I am just putting my trust in God and doing everything I know I can to keep these girls baking for many weeks to come!

Friday, May 7, 2010

25 Weeks and Relay For Life

Well, I have made it an additional week from when all of this scary preterm labor stuff has begun!  Things are still the same - having annoying, irregular contractions, but nothing that feels different so far.  25 weeks today.  I am thankful for every day, but each week is a huge milestone now!  Here is the 25 weeks belly shot - the girls are really low now!!!

Tonight is also Relay For Life.  This will be Haley's 8th year participating!  We started the year after she was diagnosed and have never missed one yet.  I am terribly sad today because I will not be able to go as I am on bedrest, but Mike is taking the kids so everyone doesn't have to miss out.  This will be the first one I have missed and that we weren't all there as a family celebrating what a survivor our little Haley Bug is!  Mike will just have to take pictures to share with me tonight.  If anyone is interested in making a donation via Haley's webpage to help stomp out cancer, here is the link:  American Cancer Society Relay For Life, Chesapeake, VA.  We are so lucky and blessed with Haley's health now!  It is our hope that through fundraising and research one day we will wipe out all cancer so no one ever has to endure what our Haley Bug has or lose their life to this horrible beast!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

24 weeks, Preterm Labor and Hospitalization, Oh My!!!

So, last Friday, April 30th, at 24 weeks on the nose, I went in the morning for my regular OB appointment.  It was an early appointment, so I just left Mike home with Mikaela and went by myself.  When we did the cervical length ultrasound as we had been doing, we discovered that my cervix had gone from 3cm to 2.1cm.  Not a good sign.  They wanted to see it remain at 3cm or greater, but anything below 2.5cm is indicative of preterm labor and at a significantly greater risk for preterm delivery.  My OB went and talked to the MFM (Maternal Fetal Medicine, basically the high risk pregnancy people) and they wanted to admit me to Labor and Delivery for 24 hours of monitoring.  First, they wanted to have my cervix checked to make sure I wasn't dilated.  When she checked my cervix, we discovered I was 2cm dilated and 50% effaced.  NOT good at all at 24 weeks, especially with my history and being pregnant with twins.  I was immediately admitted to L&D and hooked up to the monitors.  Everything from there was a complete whirlwind.  I was having regular contractions and it was a huge concern that Carly and Callie were going to be born.  I was started on Magnesium Sulfate for 2 reasons.  1.)  It is a smooth muscle relaxant and can be used to try to stop or slow contractions in preterm labor  2.)  Studies have shown that inutero exposure to Magnesium Sulfate has significantly reduced the incidence and severity of Cerebral Palsy, a very high risk factor to babies been prematurely.  I was given this via IV for 12 hours.  For those who aren't familiar with Mag Sulfate, it makes you feel TERRIBLE!  You get mega hot flashes and it just overall makes you feel like crap.  But, of course I would do whatever I have to do for my babies!  Aunt Tiffany was able to come home from work to watch the kids so Mike could come be at the hospital with me.  He got there around noon right when they started the Mag Sulfate.  Thank goodness because I was a complete mess and really needed him with me.

I was also started on Indomethacin, another drug used for the treatment of preterm labor to help slow or stop contractions.  I continued this medication for 72 hours.  It is a short acting medication that can only be used for 24-72 hours due to it's potential to cause negative side effects to the baby.  It is hoped that in that time frame it will stop contractions completely, or at least delay birth long enough to get steroids to help mature the babies' lungs and get the Mag Sulfate for neuroprotection.  I was able to get the 2 steroid shots (Betamethasone) 24 hours apart.

They sent a Neonatologist from the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) to come talk to me.  He was telling me that at 24 weeks, twins had a 10-40% chance of survival.  He also talked about all the likely things they would deal with, even though we already knew all about it since we had already been through it all with Haley.  It was a lot to wrap my head around - it all happened so fast from what was supposed to just be my regular OB appointment.  They did a growth ultrasound to estimate how big the girls were after the Neonatologist left.  Carly was 1lb 11oz and Callie was 1lb 10oz.  This was good news because they were measuring much larger than they expected them to.  This is good because it has been shown that the larger babies born prematurely are, the better they do.  After the Neonatologist got the results of the growth ultrasound, he came back to let us know that it was great news they were so big.  He estimated their size would give them a 50-70% chance of survival if they were to be born.  I was thankful for my first bit of good news of the day!

So, here I am terrified that my babies are going to be born, I feel like complete crap and I have people having me sign consent forms for anesthesia and Neonatologists from the NICU coming to talk to me about chances for survival and what to expect for babies born at 24 weeks.  To say it was all very overwhelming would be a complete understatement.  Of course we all hoped that we would be able to stop my preterm labor, but all day Friday and early into Saturday, it wasn't looking like that was going to happen.  I think my doctors were just hoping they would be able to delay it long enough to get the steroids and Mag Sulfate on board.  Everyone thought our girls were coming.  Luckily, things didn't turn out that way.

I had contractions all day Friday and throughout the night.  Early Saturday morning around 4am, I started with very painful back labor and constant cervical cramping.  This is when I thought for sure they were coming.  After another dose of Indomethacin at 5am, that feeling finally subsided around 6am.  They checked my cervix and thank goodness there was no change - still 2cm dilated and 50% effaced.  After that my contractions really seemed to calm down. 

By early afternoon, I was stable enough to be moved from L&D to the ward for women.  I was on bedrest with privileges to get up to go to the bathroom and shower while I finished my course of Indomethacin.  I got my last dose of that Monday evening.  I did continue to have contractions, but they were not at all regular.  I was encouraged to get up a little more on Tuesday simulating more how it would be at home (having to walk further to the bathroom, getting my own water and food, etc.) to see how I did.  The contractions continued on just the same - still present (and annoying, might I add!) but not with any regularity. 

Wednesday morning, they checked my cervix and still no change!  So the plan was to send me home on bedrest.  I was scared yet happy at the thought of this.  Of course I want to be home!  It's more comfortable, you get a lot more sleep, and most of all, I really missed my kids!  However, I was scared I wouldn't know when I needed to come back.  Obviously I cannot tell the difference between the contractions that aren't changing my cervix from the ones that are because it was only discovered at my regular OB visit!  I was hopeful that I would come home on either Terbutaline or Procardia as a maintenance tocolytic therapy to keep the contractions at bay, but my current doctors just do not believe in it.  Studies have shown that maintenance tocolytic therapy did no better than placebo in preventing preterm birth from preterm labor.  That is a super hard pill for me to swallow considering this is the complete opposite of my treatment with other doctors when I was pregnant with Mikaela.  But, a new set of doctors with a new set of views and they weren't budging on it.  I did research it online, and the studies do say just as they said. 

Before I was discharged, they did a growth ultrasound to check their overall size and relative size to each other.  That was, again, wonderful news!  Carly was 1lb 14oz, putting her in the 100th percentile and Callie was 1lb 13oz, putting her in the 95th percentile!  First of all, they are both growing relatively equal.  Secondly, they are big girls for their gestational age!  This is great because, again, the bigger babies born prematurely are, the better they tend to do. 

So, I am now home doing bedrest on our couch.  I am happy to be home, but today has definitely been a challenge.  There are a lot of stressors at home with an almost 3 year old running around the house!  Luckily, Haley is a super big help.  Mike is on leave through the weekend, but starting Monday he will have to go to work for 4 or 5 hours a day.  Luckily, he has a really great Chief in charge of him, and it is a woman with compassion!  She said we can try that next week and see how it goes.  If he needs more time than that off they will work it out.  So, he will be working from 10-2.  I will just have to manage for 4-5 hours a day with just Haley to help out.  Hopefully that will go OK.  I think I had no idea how hard bedrest at home was going to be! 

Even still, I know I can do this.  I know how important each and every day that I keep these girls baking makes a HUGE difference on how they start out their lives.  We have been down the micropreemie road, and none of us want to go there again.  Every day is a blessing, but I am hoping for many more weeks of pregnancy before Carly and Callie make their entrance into this world!  We are praying as hard as we can, and we sure appreciate all the wonderful thoughts and prayers from everyone else!  Keep them coming, so far they are definitely working.  :)

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Virginia Zoo

Mike is on leave right now for 2 weeks, a much needed break from his crazy schedule as a Navy Recruiter!!  So, on Monday we decided to take the girls for a trip to the zoo.  It was around 80 or so degrees and beautiful outside, so a perfect day for it!  I hadn't realized this, but in the 10+ years we have lived here, Mike has never been!  Haley and I have been several times, but Mikaela hadn't been just yet either.  So, off we went for a nice family outing - something we NEVER seem to have time for!  We had such a great time.  Haley has always loved animals, and has always loved to read all the signs about the animals and soak in every bit of information she can about them!  Oh, the joys of homeschooling!  It was definitely an educational field trip for her though.  ;)  

Mikaela couldn't wait to see the elephants, and she sang Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star to one that looked like it was dancing and needed some music!  I think for all of us, our favorite part were the Meerkats.  There were 3 out and they were so cute and funny!  Mikaela couldn't wait all day to ride the train, so we saved the best for last and did that right before we left for the day.  We got a Family Membership because it would have already been half paid for after paying for the day, so we will have to make many more trips to the zoo for some family fun!  We really had a great day.  Here are some pictures ...

A fun belly shot in the water globe in the front of the zoo.  :)  Hard to believe I am 23 weeks already!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

22 Weeks ... and we picked names!

Here we are, at 22 weeks and things are still going great!  I had an OB appointment yesterday and everything looks good.  My cervical length was right at 3cm which was good.  Baby A is still just chillin out in there and Baby B still never sits still!  So funny.  I found out that I will be delivering in the OR even though if Baby A is head down, we are going to shoot for a vaginal delivery.  They like to deliver in the OR just in case they end up needing to do a c-section if things don't work out with delivering both babies vaginally.  Necessary, but it means that only Mike will be able to be in the delivery room.  :(  I will miss not having Tiffany (my sister-in-law) in there with my again. 

I am having contractions still, but they obviously aren't doing anything, so they are just here to annoy me still!  I'll take that over preterm labor any day though!  ;)  I'm amazed every day how wonderful this pregnancy is going.  I pray that God will continue to bless us and keep these babies safe!  My first goal is to make it to 34 weeks.  :) 

Here is my 22 weeks belly shot - I really can't believe how huge I am already!  Sometimes it is still hard to wrap my head around the fact that there are 2 babies growing in there.

In other news, we came up with names for our little girls!  Baby A will be Carly Ann and Baby B will be Callie Marie.  ♥  We just loved the names Carly and Callie together, and their middle names are in memory of Mike's grandma who was such a wonderful, fun, beautiful woman, Annette Marie Ryan.  She lost her battle with cancer nearly 7 years ago.  She and Haley went through cancer and treatment together and they had such a special bond.  The world lost a very special person and she will always have a very special place in the heart of anyone who knew her.  Carly and Callie will always have a part of her with them.  ♥

Easter Pictures ... catching up!

I kept meaning to post about Easter and share some pictures, but time just got away from me! Easter was wonderful in the Curtis house. Mikaela was so cute the day before coloring Easter eggs. She got SO excited every time an egg came out of the color. It was so much fun watching her hunt for Easter eggs Easter morning too. She was just so darn cute and fun to watch this year. Haley and Taylor were super sweet about leaving eggs for her to find and Taylor even kept letting her take eggs she like out of her basket! It was a wonderful morning.

Carrie and her kids came over later to have dinner with us and play outside. The weather was absolutely gorgeous and the kids played outside ALL day long! Izzie was in Heaven as she played outside all day with them too! Mickey was in her beautiful dress all day plahying hard. It was very dirty by the end of the day, but it all came out in the wash thankfully. :)  It was adorable.  It was a wonderful time spent with family and friends.

Miss Lexie, Carrie's baby girl

Friday, April 2, 2010

20 weeks ... Halfway There!

Today marks 20 weeks pregnant!  In some ways it has felt like it drug on (mostly in the beginning when I was SO MUCH more worried!) and in other ways it feels like it has FLOWN by!  The contractions are starting, but after a trip to L&D this week, it has been determined that so far they are just Braxton Hicks because my cervix is still measuring >3cm and hasn't changed.  I have been trying to get some shopping done as I know my shopping days are limited!  It is so hard to walk around already because the round ligament pain gets out of control and now that the contractions are starting, it makes me nervous.  I am not on any type of bedrest yet because they aren't real contractions, but they are scary because I don't know how to tell the difference with my history!  I am starting to feel more movement, and Aunt Tiffany even felt some movement from the outside this week!  It's pretty sporadic still, but so much fun to be feeling real movement and jabs.  :)

Here is my 20 weeks belly shot:

The big news in the Curtis household right now is the new swingset!  It is all put together now, complete with a wooden border and some cedar mulch thanks to Mike!  He is awesome!!!  ♥  Mikaela is really enjoying her new swingset and first thing when she wakes up it's, "I wanna go play on my swingset!"  So cute.  Honestly, all the older kids are enjoying it too!  Here is a picture of the completed project, and a few I took last weekend just before it was completely finished.

We are enjoying some gorgeous 70 degree weather here in Virginia!  This week has been beautiful and the weekend is supposed to be perfect!  We are looking forward to enjoying the weather and Easter together.  Mikaela is so excited about the Easter Bunny coming and bringing her candy!  It's so cute.  :)  Speaking of, we took her yesterday to see the Easter Bunny and she was SO EXCITED and then when she got on his lap, she wouldn't look at him or smile.  She was all seriousness!  Luckily, Aunt Tiffany was able to get a cute little grin out of her for the picture at least!  Once she was off his lap though, she was talking up a storm to him and asking him to bring her candy and prizes.  So cute!

I hope everyone has a great weekend and a very Happy Easter!  Mikaela is going to be a blast this year.