Thursday, March 12, 2015

An Overdue Update

There have been so many days where I have thought about sitting down to write about our life as of late and then I get to the blog and see the post recounting the birth of Lindsey and Owen and I can't bring myself to replace that as the most recent story.  I don't know why it is, but I felt like moving forward from that post was like saying that life without Lindsey was going on just fine and dandy.  There have been lots of great days since Lindsey and Owen were born.  Actually, I think there have been more happy days than sad ones.  I just didn't want anyone to perceive that I had forgotten my little girl I guess.
So, what finally motivated me to update the blogosphere on our happenings? Well, I'm supposed to be writing a talk (sermon) to share at church on Sunday and I'm feeling a little stumped, so this is a great exercise to get my writing juices flowing and procrastinate what I should really be doing, all while Owen naps.
Owen.  Man, I love that little boy.  He is such a sweet kiddo and seriously amazes me in the ways that he explores the world all around him all of the time.  He and Koda are the best of friends.  Koda follows Owen around when Owen has his snack cup and for every one cracker Owen eats, he takes one out to feed Koda.  Koda earns every one of those treats though for being so patient and letting Owen sit on him, tug gently on his ears, and even sitting still while Owen gives him slobbery kisses and hugs.
Owen is officially 17 months old.  He doesn't say a lot of decipherable words, but is a fantastic communicator.  He has just recently started repeating some more of our words and phrases, but his favorite, by far, is NO! in the sweetest sassy voice you have ever heard.  He loves to dump things out and put them away.  His favorite morning time chores go in this order, feeding Star and Koda, putting his clothes in the hamper, and throwing his diaper in the diaper pail.  Sometimes he thinks it is funny to pretend he is going to throw the diaper in the hamper only to see me frantically scramble to stop him.  He's definitely got his dad's sense of humor.
He walks, runs, dances, and tries really hard to jump.  He has mastered climbing up and down the stairs and would go back and forth on them all day if I didn't distract him with some other activity once we reach the level of the house I want to stay on.  Speaking of distractions, he does not forget about what you wanted to distract him from.  Often times 30 minutes later, he'll go back to what he was originally trying to do, which for me is often frustrating.  I also see it as a sign of intelligence and independence, so I try to facilitate his desires in the safest ways possible.  Dancing on the kitchen table is never a concession on my part though, safety first, right?
Diet wise, Owen is a pretty champion eater.  I don't know if I'd be able to tell you the foods he doesn't like because he often sneaks them through the leg holes of his high chair to feed them to Koda.  I only know it's happening because he giggles when Koda licks his hand.  The pediatrician says he'll have a super strong immune system from all of those Koda kisses at meal time, so I don't freak out about it. I reluctantly gave up Owen's every morning nursing session when he was 16.5 months old.  He's done fine without nursing but still doesn't like whole milk, or cow's milk in general.  He eats lots of cheese and yogurt though, so no worries there.  It does make me wonder if he was the reason I hated dairy so much while I was pregnant with him and Lindsey.  Lindsey LOVED when I drank chocolate milk.
In other news for our family, Owen has learned a word that will be used a ton in our house this year.  He says, "baby" now and then bangs his head into my stomach.  I like to pretend that he is affectionately attempting to hug/kiss his little sisters, but know that he really just likes to bonk his head on my belly.  In case you missed that, I did say sisterS. Not one little girl, but two, will be joining our household at the end of June.  My forty week due date is July 14, but after losing Lindsey, we will not carry these girls longer than 37 weeks.  My doctor is totally on board for their early delivery and said that it will be as much for her peace of mind as it will be for ours.  She has been wonderful and just as thorough this time as last, so I feel totally confident having myself and these little ladies in her care.
At some point I will have to post a FAQ about these girls like my friend Ruth did, because I thought it was such a witty idea, but here is the start of how we found out.  After dealing with infertility treatments and then losing Lindsey, Jon and I both felt strongly that we should not prevent welcoming more children into our family.  We had so looked forward to our kiddos having built in siblings, and realizing that it might take another three years to get one more, decided to just let nature take its course, no medications, no treatments, just let things happen. 
In October Jon headed to Minnesota for a work conference and the morning that Owen and I dropped him off at the airport I started feeling sort of sick.  We had both been really sick earlier in the month with a stomach bug and I was worried that it was coming back.  To help battle the start of nausea, I poured myself a bowl of cereal and pulled out the milk.  Opening the container, I gagged.  That's when it hit me.  It was a brand new gallon of milk and it smelled rancid to me.  The only other time that had happened was when I was pregnant with Lindsey and Owen.  I looked at the calendar and tried to quiet my thoughts that I might be pregnant because it should have been 5 days too early to tell.  As I put Owen down for his morning nap though, I felt like I might as well just take a test because it would quiet my concerns.  Imagine my surprise when it came back with a very faint positive.  A positive and Jon was going to be in Minnesota for THREE WHOLE DAYS!!!
I was going crazy.  I went to Pinterest to find ways to surprise him and tell him.  I drove to three different stores trying to find a big brother shirt that would fit 13 month old Owen.  Apparently stores only sell big brother shirts in size 2T and bigger unless you order online.  I took two more tests, and sent a picture to a friend to make sure that someone else could see the positive as well, so that I wasn't doing all of this and my eyes were really playing tricks on me.  I felt like I was going crazy and floating all at the same time.
That night, Jon called me and Owen on Facetime just before Owen was going to bed.  I filled him in on our day and then we got to talking about gift ideas for his mom's birthday.  That's when I couldn't hold back any longer.  I told him I had the perfect gift idea for her, another charm for her bracelet.  He was really confused and said, "She doesn't need another charm.  She already has one for Owen and and one for Lindsey." I grinned like an idiot and said, "Oh, but she does need another one, for another baby." It was so cool to see his eyes light up as he realized what I was saying.  I took the phone into the bathroom and showed him the tests.  He was happy, but we both realized that we needed to be cautiously excited at this point.  There were so many variables and I hadn't even missed a cycle yet, but Jon encouraged me to call my OB right away the next morning.
I was already scheduled for a yearly appointment the next week, but when I called my OB's office the next morning and explained my positive test, the nurse wanted to push my appointment back by a few weeks.  I felt really anxious about that, and I'm going to blame hormones, and tearfully explained that I was hoping to be seen sooner because we'd lost Lindsey and I needed to know that everything was OK with this pregnancy.  She put me on hold and came back to tell me that they had scheduled me for two blood draws the following Monday and Wednesday to check hormone levels and based on those results would then schedule an early ultrasound for my peace of mind.
Monday I went for my blood draw and I was supposed to be exactly 4 weeks pregnant based on LMP. I checked online in the afternoon and my HCG level was 683.  The average at 4 weeks is less than 99.  I went for the repeat draw on Wednesday, and my levels had more than doubled to 1683.  The nurse from my OBs office called back that evening and said she had scheduled me for an ultrasound on November 13 to "rule out multiples," because my HCG was very high.  High HCG can also be an indicator of ectopic pregnancy or a blighted ovum, so I knew we weren't in the clear yet. 
Jon scheduled time off of work to come to the ultrasound with me.  He chit chatted with the ultrasound technician as I got ready and based on my dates I was only 5 weeks 2 days pregnant.  Jon explained to the nurse how we were having the ultrasound so early for peace of mind because of losing Lindsey.  The tech was very sweet and understanding and Jon expressed that we were sort of hoping that this pregnancy might be twins again so that we would get the experience of raising two together.  As soon as the ultrasound started, the tech said, "well, are you seeing what I'm seeing?" We both smiled and teared up as we responded, "are there really two?!" She spent quite awhile confirming that there were just two gestational sacs, each with a yolk sac a piece, so DI-DI twins, just like Lindsey and Owen.  Having an ultrasound that early meant that it was too early to be able to see cardiac movement.  She waited and waited, hoping to just see a flicker of a heartbeat in either sac, but calmed our nerves by explaining that even with advanced technology, the hearts are just too small to see beating until around 6 weeks.
We then met with my OB's nurse who mentioned starting extra vitamins already and we scheduled a follow-up appointment for December when we'd really be able to see the babies' heartbeats.  That follow-up appointment went well, and every appointment since has gone well.  There has definitely been greater anxiety leading up to each appointment than there was with my first pregnancy.  I know that every day that I have with these girls is a blessing.  Although there is a lot of discomfort in pregnancy, I try to be thankful for it because it means that they are growing and developing well.  I had so much happiness every day that I carried Lindsey and Owen that I don't want the worry from the outcome of that pregnancy, to effect the happiness of this pregnancy.
I'm currently 22 weeks 5 days along and we have had two ultrasounds to confirm that we've got two girls on the way.  Baby A is Alice Elaine and baby B is Eleanor Grace.  Like I said before, Owen loves to give them "kisses."  It's hilarious to watch him react when he can feel them move, because he likes to push them back.  I know it's going to be a crazy adventure having three kids in the house under 21 months old, but I am truly so grateful for this opportunity to give Owen siblings to enjoy in this life.  I know that he feels Lindsey's presence occasionally, but I loved having the companionship of my sisters throughout my life and know that he will too.
This post ended up much longer than I had originally anticipated, but I hope that in reading it you can sense the joy that there is in our family.  Having these baby girls will not replace losing Lindsey and I know that neither of these babies will have her spirit.  She was and is her own person, waiting for us in the hereafter.  I do like to think though, that these girls get to hang out with Lindsey for now, that she was the one that petitioned to send two down together.  I joke that she told Heavenly Father, "Well, I tested it out, two can fit so send another set down please."  I hope to blog more often before the girls get here and will hopefully add pictures to this post at some point, but for now, a certain little boy is waking up and is ready for some after nap snuggles.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Rachael's Recounting of the Twin's Birth

I know I need to document this not only for my sake, but for Owen and for Lindsey, however it has taken me more than three weeks to find the courage to go through all of these emotions again.  How do you write about the happiest and saddest day of your life without reliving it all?  I’d love to just remember the happy, to go back and change it all so that all we felt that day was joy, but I know that in order to do that, I wouldn’t be honoring my sweet Lindsey girl.  I would never erase her from my memories and I would never choose to not be her mother.  I just wish that I could change it so that she were here and home with us, not waiting for us in heaven.  Here it goes.  Sorry if I go back and forth from that day to memories from things that happened previously, I just have to mention them because they were the thoughts that got us through that day.
Our family photo taken by Erin at Lindsey's blessing
Let me start by saying that I was blessed to have the perfect pregnancy.  Right from the start when we found out in February, I felt great.  I had a few nauseous days and I got really tired for a while there at the beginning, but really, I had a dream pregnancy.  Then, at 16 weeks to find out that our miracle baby was really two miracle babies, I felt like I was floating for the remainder of the pregnancy.  Everyone was warning me that I’d have to go on bed rest because when you are having twins you’ll start to go into labor early, or dilate early.  With every passing week though, I felt strong and healthy, and more energized and happy than I had in ages.  After hoping and praying for a baby for so long, I was just in awe that I was pregnant and that I was finally a mother.  My babies weren’t even here yet and I was so grateful for the chance to be a mother.  Starting at 20 weeks I got to go in every 4 weeks to see Owen and Lindsey on ultrasound.  They were measured and I was measured and everything looked great at each appointment.  They were measuring so close in size to one another and my body was doing a great job of stretching to keep them in there without too much discomfort. 
At 34 weeks pregnant I had my last day of work at Deseret Book and it seemed so bittersweet.  I still had lots of energy, but I knew that I needed to rest before the twins came.  I felt like I might over do it if I kept working because I was feeling so good.  So, I stayed home, well sort of.  At that point I started having weekly appointments with my OB and weekly NSTs at the hospital to make sure that the twins were both doing well.  Every week I got to hear their hearts beating and at the beginning of the NSTs I got to see both of them wiggling and interacting as they measured the amniotic fluid to ensure that both babies had enough space and oxygen.  Every appointment went well.  Every single one.  All the way up to week 37.  That Friday I went for a NST and Lindsey’s heart rate was really elevated.  She was moving around like crazy and I was having a little bit of difficulty breathing because of the way the bed was positioned, but the doctor who reviewed the heart rate strip said everything looked fine and that Lindsey was okay because her heart rate would come down between bursts of movement.  I’d also had orange juice with my breakfast that day and that always got her really excited.  That was the Friday before our scheduled C-Section.
One of many ultrasound shots that showed the two of them snuggled together head to head.
  I went in the following Monday for one last NST and one last appointment to make sure that both babies were still positioned appropriately for a low transverse incision.  Before arriving for my NST I said a little prayer for Lindsey that her heart rate would be healthy and that all would be well.  I’d prayed every appointment that they would find her heart beat.  That seems strange to say because I was never worried about finding Owen’s, but it’s the truth.  Just like Jon and I had prayed for both babies before we even knew it was twins.  All along Lindsey had been positioned in a way that it made her movements hard to be detected from the outside.  She was sitting breech, almost folded in half, with her bum over my cervix, her spine running up my right side, and her head tucked just below my ribs.  Before my appointments I would try to jostle my belly to make sure I could feel both babies and with so little space, I started second guessing myself in knowing that they were both okay.  There was no reason for the fear, my monitoring and growth, and their growth was fine, so I never mentioned the fear to my doctor or anyone else.  I didn’t want to be a crazy first time mom.  So, at my NST Lindsey was doing well.  I even got to watch as she “practiced breathing.”  At a lot of my appointments they pointed out the rise and fall of her chest as she breathed the amniotic fluid in and out.  Owen was seen practicing occasionally, but not as often as she did.  That day, she even turned to look at the ultrasound wand as the tech measured the amniotic fluid levels and I marveled to know that my body was making these two perfectly sized little babies.  Her heart rate was in the normal range the whole time and within the first 6 minutes of monitoring I passed the NST and just had to stay hooked up until I hit the 20 minute mark and the doctor could sign off on it.
I went from my NST to my last OB appointment before their scheduled C-section and Dr. Robinson heard both babies’ heartbeats again, around 140 each, just like they always were at my appointments with her.  She went over the list of things to look out for and said, “Well, if none of those happen, I’ll see you at the hospital Friday morning at 6.  She was so confident that I’d make it to my scheduled time because I was 50% effaced and had not dilated at all.  I went home and looked forward to Friday, double and triple checking my hospital bag, finishing the last few crafts and taking the time to print pictures for both of the babies’ baby books.  I’d put off writing in their books because I have horrible handwriting, but decided that it was finally time.  That and rearranging all of their clothes in their dresser seemed like my biggest priorities that last week.
On Tuesday night I sent Jon to bed and tried to make myself comfortable on the couch for the night.  I’d given up sleeping in the bed because I was so big (52 inches around) that trying to roll from side to side to get comfortable made it impossible to breathe.  After sitting on the couch for a couple hours I went in and told Jon I was having contractions and that I planned to sit in a warm bath to see if the contractions would go away.  After soaking for 45 minutes and falling asleep in the tub, only to wake up really cold, the contractions had stopped and I decided I wanted to sleep in the bed.  Jon was really concerned about the contractions and suggested we go to the hospital and I almost agreed, but since I had only had 4 per hour for 2 hours and they stopped once I was in the bath, we both agreed it was better to just wait until Friday.  Jon went to work; I stayed home and watched Castle, wandering around when I was uncomfortable and soaking in the tub when my lower back was sore.  That’s what continued for the day Wednesday.  Jon checked in throughout the day to make sure that I was still feeling the babies move and I was pretty sure that I was feeling them both.  He checked on them when he got home though and we both concluded that all was well. That night I decided I wanted to go out to dinner one last time before the babies came, so we went up to Cracker Barrel and then stopped at the Hennessey’s house to visit for a bit before coming home. 
Thursday was a repeat of Wednesday with the pacing and trying to find a comfortable position and the soaking in the tub.  At about 11 that morning I was so uncomfortable that I text Jon and told him, “I think I’m in early labor or something.  I can’t get comfortable no matter what I do.”  He responded that it was a good thing we were going in the next morning to have the babies then.  Less than 30 minutes later I looked down at my stomach and noticed that it was listing to the left.  I text Jon and told him that I thought the twins must be snuggling because every time I tried to shift them back to the right, they would pull to the left.  The lean to the left became more pronounced throughout the day and Jon could see it when he got home from work.  He’d checked frequently to see if I could feel both babies that day as well and although there was less movement than usual, there was still a ton of movement so I said yes.  Once we’d settled in for the night, Jon brought a chair into the living room for me to sit in so that he could give me a priesthood blessing for comfort in preparation for the surgery the next morning.  As Jon placed his hands on my head and began to reassure me that things would go well, his words changed course and I was stunned to hear him use the exact words from my patriarchal blessing to let me know that there are difficult decisions in being a parent and raising children and that as long as I was prayerful, that I would find comfort in my choices.  That patriarchal blessing had been given to me the winter before my 16th birthday as I prepared to go and live with my sister Sarah in California.  I did not understand why Jon would be prompted to say those words and mentioned that to him after.  He gave me a huge hug and said, “I don’t know, they were just the words that you needed to hear I guess.”  As the night got later I became more and more uncomfortable and Jon became concerned about the babies.  I lay on the bed in our bedroom as Jon shined the flashlight all around my belly trying to get the babies to move around.  Owen was obviously moving and I thought I could feel Lindsey’s flutterings in middle of my stomach.  I tried not to be paranoid though and decided to soak once more in the bathtub.  It was 12:30.  After sitting in the tub and timing what were now obviously contractions I realized that they were coming every 3-5 minutes and were lasting 30 to 90 seconds and increasing in intensity.  I went in and woke Jon up again.  This time telling him I was pretty sure I was in labor, but that my water hadn’t broken.  He said, “Well, lets get ready and head to the hospital.  What’s the worst that they’ll do?  Tell us to come back in a few hours?”  I got in the shower and shaved my legs one last time.  I dried and straightened my hair, something I hadn’t done for weeks because I wanted to look beautiful for my babies in their first day pictures.  Jon showered and at 2:00 am, we headed out the door for the hospital, opting to take Jon’s car because I felt good enough to climb in.
The final belly shot in the mirror minutes before we left for the hospital.
We drove in nervous excitement to the hospital, marveling at how little traffic there was and gritting through the contractions as I rubbed the right side of my belly.  Whenever I was worried during the pregnancy I’d rub Lindsey’s side and tell myself that it would all be okay.  We parked in the parking garage, not in a labor and delivery spot, and I walked very, very slowly up the stairs to the hospital.  Jon kept teasing me that with every step I was going slower. We rode the elevator to the fourth floor where I’d been on Monday for my NST.  We were greeted in labor and delivery by a male nurse who took my information.  He confirmed that we were preregistered and scheduled for a C-section that morning at 7:30.  He shared that he had boy/girl twins at home and we were so excited that we’d be joining that club so soon.  Another nurse came and greeted us and took us to a labor and delivery room where I was instructed to put on a gown so that they could hook me up for monitoring.  I had my blue and pink belts from the NSTs that I was so excited to use to listen to the babies one more time before they were born.   
 The nurse told us when she came back in and helped me into the bed that she had 13 year old girl twins at home and how excited she was for us also.  As she got the heart rate monitors untangled and the contraction monitor ready, I kept thinking how perfect it was that we had the staff that we did that day.  It was then that everything changed.  The nurse asked where she could find baby A’s heartbeat for monitoring, I showed her on my lower right side, and as she placed the Doppler there, there was silence.  Jon and I both looked at each other, a little worried, as she moved it around, not finding any noise.  I’d prayed every other time that Lindsey would be okay, this time I hadn’t because we were so close, I didn’t think anything could go wrong.  The nurse seemed worried, but said, “We’ll come back to baby A, where can I find baby B?”  I showed her the upper left spot where Owen’s chest was and as soon as the Doppler hit my skin we were hearing his heart thumping steadily.  She then put the contraction monitor on and I watched as my contractions were coming quite steadily.  She went back to Lindsey’s heart rate monitor and attempted again to find her heart beat.  She quieted Owen’s monitor so that we could hear as the silence from her side continued.  She told us not to worry as she called another nurse in to check and called for a portable ultrasound so they could try to find her.  When the portable ultrasound came in, the other nurse moved the probe around and we could see Lindsey’s head and then down to her chest and there was no movement.  I’m pretty sure that was when my shaking began.  I was trying to remain calm, but I was hurting a lot from the constant contractions, and just didn’t want to believe what I was seeing.  Jon held my hand and kissed my forehead, and just said, “We can do this.  We’ll be okay.”  We both knew inside that Lindsey had already passed away, but neither of the nurses could say that, instead one of them went to get the doctor who was on call for the night, so that she could confirm things.  Jon grabbed the ultrasound probe then and after finding her chest; we could see the chambers of her heart as they sat motionless.  When the doctor came in I just wanted her to change what I already knew.  I asked the nurse if we could just try to zap her, not meaning with electricity, but with the probe that I had heard them use during other people’s NSTs.  I’d heard babies who were very inactive wake right up with the loud sound buzzed on their mothers’ stomach.  The nurse squeezed my arm and said, “I’m so sorry, it won’t help.  She’s already gone.” I was in full shock at that point.  What was supposed to be the very best day of my life, when I got to hold my squirmy twins for the first time, had turned into the saddest day.  It was a day that I had hoped I would never experience, after watching my parents lose my sister, and my sister-in-law lose her son, I never wanted to know their pain. 
Things started moving at a break neck pace at that point.  At least it felt like the world was spinning out of control to me.  The doctor on call went and called Dr. Robinson and they decided they needed to get Owen out as quickly as they could to ensure that he would be okay.  They started pumping me with IV fluids to prep for the surgery and I listened as Jon had to call his parents and my parents to tell them that we’d lost Lindsey.  After he told his mom and dad, he asked if I wanted to use his phone to call my parents and I just told him that I couldn’t because I didn’t want to break their hearts.  He did it for me and made that call over and over again to let the family know what was happening.  It was so early in the morning; everyone thought we were just calling on our way to the hospital.  Jon tried to answer everyone’s questions as best he could, even though neither of us had any clue as to what happened.  Every time he’d greet a new person over the phone and say, “We lost Lindsey”, I would have to stifle a sob because I didn’t want it to be true.  I think the hardest call was when Jon said he needed to try to call Erin. We had both mentioned the year before when James passed away that we felt like his passing was preparing us for something.  We didn’t want it to be this.  It was obvious to us both that the Lord knew that we would need the comfort of others who had this experience, but we just didn’t want to be experiencing it.  He wasn’t able to get her on the phone while we were preparing for surgery.
When Dr. Robinson arrived I had to start signing papers and listening as doctors, anesthesiologists, and nurses explained what would happen next and have me sign forms to say that I understood.  I wasn’t scared at all about the surgery anymore, I just wanted my babies out so I could hold and kiss them.  I wanted them to be delivered so that I could see that Lindsey was really okay.  In my head I just kept thinking, if they can get her out they can save her, they can still bring her back.  That’s what I kept thinking until the doctor sat down with one last form and explained that because Lindsey had not had a heart beat for more than 5 minutes prior to their delivery, that no life saving measures would be performed.  I felt like my heart was tearing as they handed me a pen that I could not keep steady.  I kept muttering, “I understand,” as I signed the form.  I still couldn’t grasp it though, I still hoped that something would change and they would pull her out and she’d cry and squirm and turn nice and pink.  They then explained as we walked to the operating room that they would wrap Lindsey up as soon as she was delivered and have a nurse bring her to Jon so that he could hold her and I could see her while they delivered Owen and as they checked him to make sure he was okay.
Once we got to the operating room the anesthesiologist got right to work.  Jon was trying to get the camera working so that he could document their birth and for some reason, the lens that was on it wouldn’t work.  I was shaking so hard at that point that I started to worry about the spinal block and my ability to stay still as they inserted the needle.  As I hugged the pillow and felt the slight prick of the numbing shot I tried to will myself to calm down.  I knew that I needed to calm down for the babies, that if I didn’t remain calm I might hyperventilate or throw up or something and then I wouldn’t even be allowed to see them.  By the time the spinal block was done, Jon had finally fixed the camera and had a few shots of the operating room floor.  I was asked to swing my legs up onto the operating table and as I tried they felt very heavy.  As I turned I felt a gush of warm fluid and one of the nurses said, “We’ve got a bloody show.”  I listened as the nurses and doctors took a count of all of the instruments and sutures, and as Dr. Robinson requested a smaller scalpel and a tray for taking a biopsy of a mole of my stomach.  I was a little relieved that in all of the commotion, she hadn’t forgotten about that.  Sometime close to this I started asking if they were putting medicine in my IV really often because it kept burning every time they added more.  By the second time I asked the anesthesiologist brought an oxygen mask over and placed it over my mouth and nose.  I thought it was just standard procedure, but I’d done a bad job of not hyperventilating and I needed it.  I was shaking so hard at this point and I had my arms laid out on the arm pieces of the bed and I kept wondering when they were going to strap my arms down.  They never did strap my arms down but I dutifully kept them stretched to my sides. 
When the surgery began Jon was standing near my head watching and providing a calming commentary.  He was asking lots of questions and the doctors were helping both of us stay calm by answering them patiently.  I remember at one point Jon teased me because they were cauterizing the incision and he said, “Rachael, I can smell your flesh burning.”  I couldn’t smell it because of the oxygen mask.  Soon after that as they cut down through another layer they hit a vein or an artery on my left side and I spurted blood 6 feet or so and hit every person in the surgical area.  Jon cheered for me for getting them all and the doctor teased that I needed to behave.  Then, they were deep enough to deliver the babies.  Lindsey was delivered first, just as was always planned.  When they broke her bag of waters it was full of blood rather than clear amniotic fluid.  Jon asked if it was normal and they responded that it wasn’t and that he’d see the difference when Owen was born.  He also asked if her cord looked normal, to which they gave the same response.  Her cord was red and shriveled instead of white and rubbery.  I could feel them tugging as they tried to get her bum unwedged from my pelvis.  Jon watched as her lower half came out, completely folded in half, the doctors then had to work to get her head out.  She was wedged under my ribcage.  I could feel the pressure of the doctors pushing on my stomach trying to get her head out and I just wanted to use my hand to push her head down because I could feel exactly where she was.  Once she was loose she came all the way out and Jon just exclaimed, “Oh, she’s beautiful!”  One of the nurses or doctors commented that she was beautiful and that she had so much hair.  I just wanted to see her; I couldn’t believe that she was actually born because she was so silent.  They called her birth time at 4:29 am.  Then as they wrapped her up to bring her to us, Owen was born.  Jon could see the difference because his amniotic fluid was the normal yellowish color and his cord was fine.  He came out head first, with his body sliding out easily after and made one loud squawk to mark his entrance into the world at 4:30 am.  He stretched all the way out and every marveled at him as well commenting on how tall he was right from the start.
Lindsey's toes.  Owen definitely got Jon's feet, those pictures are still in the camera though.
The nurse brought Lindsey over for Jon to hold and after briefly showing us Owen, they took him to be weighed, measured, and wiped down.  We could hear him screaming about it as we marveled at our sweet sleeping beauty.  She looked so healthy and so alive.  Her lips and fingernails had a dark tint to them that made her look so much more delicate and feminine.  We noticed right away that she had my dimpled chin and it was so important to me that Jon unwrap her lower body and show me her toes so I could know if she got my feet or his.  She had mine, with the overlapping second toe.  They had said that I could hold Lindsey, but I was still shaking so hard and wearing the oxygen mask that kept fogging up my glasses and I was still expecting that my arms should be strapped down so I just laid arms out and watched as Jon adoringly stroked her cheeks and kissed her head and loved on her.  It was so beautiful to see him repeat the process with Owen when he was brought around.  I had been a little concerned about loving one baby more than the other or thinking one was cuter, but seeing the two of them, I knew that they were two of the most beautiful babies and although they were obviously brother and sister, they were so uniquely wonderful that there was enough room to have love for each of them in my heart.
Holding hands, Owen on top, Lindsey on bottom.
Brother and Sister all snuggled up in their going home outfits.
You can definitely tell that they are twins, yet they have their own looks for sure.
As we enjoyed the babies they continued to work on me, delivering the placentas and taking samples of cord blood and sending both placentas to pathology to see if they could find the source of Lindsey’s death.  They gave us the stats for both babies then.  Lindsey was 6 lbs. 11 oz. and 20 inches tall; Owen was 6 lbs. 12 oz. and 20.5 inches tall.  They gave Jon a tour of my uterus showing him all of the parts and where they would all go as they put it back inside my incision.  They then biopsied my mole and the whole staff laughed as no one could find a Band-Aid to put over the three stitches that were placed to allow the biopsy site to heal.  They covered it in gauze and surgical tape instead.  I was then shifted to a recovering bed and both babies were placed on me, one on either side, as they wheeled me to the “VIP room” to recover and spend time with our sweet babies.  The thing that broke my heart the most about the ride though, was watching as they positioned the blankets over Lindsey’s face so that prying eyes wouldn’t see that my sweet girl was born sleeping.
Head to head at Lindsey's blessing, they are so similar, yet so individual.
Getting settled into the room, someone brought our things from the first Labor and Delivery room and set them on the couch.  Then Jon began the task of making more phone calls to the bishop, to his siblings, to my family to confirm that I was okay and that Owen was healthy, and to a few friends to let them know what happened.  While that was going on nurses were telling me that Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep had already been called and a photographer would be there shortly to take pictures of my Lindsey girl.  They also brought in a white dress and blanket for her to wear as well as a memory box for her clothes and hospital things to be stored in.  The nursing staff gifted us the Angel of Hope Willow Tree ornament that holds a lantern.  While all of this was happening every person who came in commented on the beauty of our babies.  Owen was so content and after just a few minutes began rooting, ready to start eating right from the get go.  He latched on really well right away, but when visitors began arriving, the nurse suggested giving him a binky so he’d remember the suckling reflex.  Bishop Chidester, Josh Lukenga, Patty Godfrey, and Trina Smith were the first visitors of the morning.  They came to represent the ward, but also as our friends.  Bishop confirmed that we would be allowed to give Lindsey a name and a blessing and that we just needed to let him know when we wanted to do that.  The next visitors were the Talbots, the Morrisons, the Graves, and Beth Child.  Beth had stopped at our house to get Lindsey’s blessing dress just in case we decided to use it for pictures.  During this commotion we learned that Drew and Susan had bought tickets and were on the first flight from San Diego, they had dropped everything to be there for us.  My mom was already booked on a flight to get there that night and my sister Beth had packed bags and was driving up right away from Nevada.  I told my Dad to stay in Michigan and wait until we had more plans about when the funeral and all of that would be.  It was just a whirlwind of all of our families and closest friends trying to get there to be with us and support us as quickly as they could.  I don’t think I’d ever felt such an outpouring of love.  I think one of the harder moments for Jon during this time period was talking to Erin on the phone.  He finally got in touch with her and after telling her, heard as she handed the phone to Jon Mason and went outside to scream for a few minutes, to just shout to get the pain out.  I was feeling like that was what I wanted to do so badly, but I couldn’t.  I could already feel the strength and the calm from everyone’s prayers washing over me.  I just kept thinking we’ve been prepared for this, right from the beginning.  We hadn’t ever really considered it, but both Jon and I felt like we knew all along that this was a possible outcome.  The Lord prepared us through all of our life experiences to have both of these sweet babies come into our lives, knowing full well that one of them would never have a chance to take a breath in our arms.  We both knew in the moment that it was all part of Heavenly Father’s plan for our family and that this trial was something that we had agreed that we could handle.  It wasn’t just Jon and I who agreed to it, Lindsey had agreed to be our daughter and to lead the way for us.  Owen had agreed to come to Earth with his sister and be our happiness and our joy in such a sad time.  We had all been prepared.  When that peace washed over me, I remembered the words of Jon’s blessing and my testimony that this was part of a greater plan was just reaffirmed.  Jon had been inspired to bless me with the same words that I had heard more than 10 years before so that I would find comfort in knowing that this was the Lord’s plan for me as a mother.  For some reason I have always needed two witnesses and in this circumstance I had it.
Our Sleeping Beauty, photo thanks to Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep
As visitors stayed and held both of my babies and stroked their cheeks and cried on their heads, I slowly came out of the fog of the narcotics from my surgery.  My legs regained feeling and my whole face and body began to itch.  I felt present in the experience, but so distant from it all.  I was still shaking so much that I was nervous to hold Owen at first and I had to sit in the hospital bed and watch from afar as Jon had the opportunity to give Lindsey a bath and dress her in her coming home outfit so that we could take pictures to remember our sweet girl’s birthday.  In all of it though, I felt my daughter’s presence there with me, reminding me that she is mine and that I can do this.  That I have to do this; I can make it through every day and every challenge, for her.  Well, not just for her, for her brother too.  That’s the remarkable blessing in all of this.  Owen is safe and healthy and mine here on Earth as well as in the eternities.  In the last calendar year, I went from thinking that I might not ever have children here on Earth, to having one waiting for me in Heaven, watching over me, and another here on Earth with me, for me to watch over and protect.  I am so blessed in both instances and I need to remind myself on the hard days that “its going to be okay and we can do this.”  We’ve been prepared and we are an eternal family and we can get through anything as long as we rely on the Lord and remain faithful.  I’ve quoted Neal A. Maxwell before, but I have to keep reminding myself, “Faith in God includes faith in His timing.”  If I knew it to be true with the conception of these sweet babies, then I know it to be true in the way that I get to raise them too.  There are a lot of other things from that first day and these first few weeks that I would like to document, but this is what I need to share for now.

Friday, June 21, 2013

24 Weeks

This week has been a wonderful whirlwind of fun with friends and family.  Here is the week in review.

Sunday - We celebrated Jon on his first Father's Day as a father to human babies, because last year he was celebrated as a father to Koda boy and Star girl.  After having a delicious dinner of hot dogs, mac and cheese, and corn on the cob, we went for a walk to enjoy the finally cooled down temperatures.  At 8, my friend Brynna called to see if I'd go for a walk with her, she was 39 weeks pregnant and hoping that walking might move things along a little.  So, I went for a walk and Jon went to help Dustin with the evening routine at their house.  After 40 minutes of walking and no contractions, we stopped back at their place to just relax for a bit.  Well, relaxing lead to regular contractions for Brynna, which lead to full blown labor!  Jon and I headed home at 10 when the contractions were about 7-10 minutes apart and we got the call at 11 that contractions were closer and they were going to head to the hospital.  Jon and Koda stayed home to snuggle and I went over to their house to sleep so that the other two kids could just stay sleeping in their own beds.  I was totally expecting to be there into the morning, but was pleasantly surprised when the text came at 5 am that their newest bundle had been delivered at 4:26 am and Brynna's mom was coming from the hospital to hang out with the kids for the rest of the day.  What an awesome way to start the week though!

Monday - Work from 9-5, then dinner at Cafe Rio where I had an awesome choking on cheese episode.  Jon's such a trooper for being understanding when I get food stuck.  It doesn't happen very often, but when it does it is a little scary.  After dinner we headed to the hospital to meet the brand new baby!  It was so special to hold her and be able to feel both of our babies squirming around at the same time.  I have a feeling that they will all be great buds.  Jon was brave and not only held a brand new baby, he even ventured to touch her hair.  Soft spots creep him out a little bit.

Tuesday - Work 8-6, not 6 on purpose but it turned out that way.  It was really busy and I was luckily able to get a lot of much needed projects complete.  Then came the fun of carpet shopping.  We were able to look at remnants at RC Willey and although we didn't buy anything, we got a lot better idea of what we want and how much it will probably cost.  Looking at carpet prompted online shopping for cribs as the reality set in that the nursery needs to be set for the twins to arrive in 11 weeks.  They might come later, but that's as earlier as they would let them come.  So now the war between this crib and this crib begins.  Any input on either would be much appreciated.

Wednesday - Work 8-5:30... again, the late hours not on purpose but I was able to get every project wrapped up before leaving work and coming home to prep for family to get to town.  Rushed home from work to do the last minute tidying before the Barries arrived from Nevada to stay with us over night before heading up to Logan for the start of the Wasatch Back Ragnar.  Mike, Maddie, Matthew, and a friend Allyson arrived at 7:30 and hung out til 8:30 when Mike went to get Beth from the airport.  Matthew and I also went to Walmart to get a few last minute supplies for the race.  We all hung out and finally headed to bed around 11:30.

Thursday - The Ragnar crew was picked up by our family friend Nola at 4:30 am.  Jon went to work as usual and Matthew and I got up at 9 to get ready to head to Huntsville to volunteer at exchange 9, Woody's field.  We were in charge of listening to which teams were coming in and recording the time that they exchanged the wristband.  We got there at 11:15 and the first runner made it into our exchange at 12:44.  The next runner came in a 1:20... so that first team was crazy fast.  We stayed until 3:45 when our volunteer shift was over and then headed to Layton to grab some dinner and hit up the toy store.  After 2 hours of wandering around the mall, Toys'R'Us, and Barnes and Noble, we loaded back into the car Huntsville bound again.
 This time, we went to exchange 12 to volunteer in the merchandise tent.  Our scheduled shift was from 7:15-midnight, but when we got there, we found out that almost all of the teams were all checked in at the exchange, so we'd probably be sent home early.  I don't think I've ever been so excited about a volunteer shift ending early.  The highway we took to get to Huntsville was closing at 9 pm and I didn't know how to get home an alternate way.  So, Matthew and I folded shirts, hung hoodies on hangers, told customers that all of the clothing shrinks, and enjoyed socializing with our fellow volunteers.  It turned out, one of the volunteers grew up in Green Valley, Nevada, where Matthew lives now, and where does he currently live?  Bountiful, Utah.  Crazy right?  After chatting with him for a few minutes he told us a faster/easier way to get home and avoid the closed highway.  I was very grateful for his input and even more grateful when at 9:20 we heard the cheer go up at the last team had checked in at exchange 12 so the merchandise tent would be closing for the evening.
 Exchange 12 is at Snowbasin Ski Resort, so before we left, I went in and got a Dr. Pepper.  Before I get feedback that caffeine is so bad for pregnant people, let me say, this is the first time I've had caffeine in 6 months and my doctor said that it is safe to have one serving of caffeinated soda per day if I wanted.  So, Dr. P in hand, we headed back to the car to drive home, a little more alert.  We made it back at 10:30 pm and Matthew headed straight to bed.  It had definitely been a long day.  Jon and our friend Stratton were hanging out watching Pawn Stars, so after cleaning out my car, I sat down to relax with them.  I think that's when the caffeine hit the babies.  They were bouncing off of the walls, literally.  After feeling someone bumping my hands up near my ribs 8 or 10 times, I called Jon over to very carefully put his fingers where mine had been.  We'd tried to have him feel the babies countless times over the last few weeks and every time, they'd stop as soon as his hand was there.  This time he felt it!!!  He was so excited!  He was pretty worn out from the day though too, so after finishing an episode of Swamp People and teaching Stratton which families on the show are crazy and which ones we really like, Stratton headed home and we went to bed.

Friday - So, it had already been a great week up to this point, but add to the week our 24 week ultrasound appointment and it's just icing on the cake.  Jon went into work early and Matthew and I both got to sleep in.  At 10:20 we headed into Salt Lake for my appointment and Jon met us there at the scheduled time of 11 am.  At the 20 week ultrasound everything had measured well and right on schedule, but we hadn't been able to get really clear shots of Lindsey's arms.  So, that was the number 1 priority today.  As the tech moved the wand around we were not only able to see Lindsey's arms, but also see that she might have hitch hikers thumbs like her dad!  She had her hands fisted up most of the time, but she did unclench the right one just enough to show that her thumb can bend pretty far.  She was in a better position today to be measured.  It was really cool to have Matthew there with us to see the ultrasound.  His birthday is in September, so he'll probably be sharing his birth month with these two and he really was able to see a lot of the things that the tech was pointing out.
I have to say, I always thought ultrasound appointments would be cool, but seeing these two interact with one another in utero is really just awesome.  Lindsey is breech right now, her bum pressing on the bottom of my uterus and her head up on my right side.  Owen is transverse, spread across my abdomen with his feet on my left, his spine against my ribs, and his head right next to Lindsey's.  When one of them startles and wiggles, the other one usually responds.  We watched as the tech took measurements and discovered yet again that they are measuring right on for their gestational age.  Lindsey is actually a little bigger.  She is about 1 lb 8 oz and Owen is about 1 lb 7 oz.  That means they are both 50th percentile for size.  When listening to their heart rates we learned that not only do they like to be active at the same time, they share the same heart rate too.  Last time it was 140 and 142, this time, they were both exactly 155.  We got some cute pictures that I will post as well.  The tech finished up the ultrasound and then the doctor came in to interpret/go over everything we'd seen.  At this point he said everything looks great with the babies, but we did find two anomalies with me that he said not to worry about.  I have two small fibroids on the outside of my uterus.  They don't know what causes them, but 25% of women in their childbearing years have them.  We just have to monitor and make sure that they don't get too big and there is a chance that they will shrink or disappear after the babies are born.  So, even though I initially started to freak out inside when the doctor told us about them, I'm feeling more calm.  Jon said as he headed back to work, "Don't worry about those right now, the babies are fine and you are fine."  I really appreciate his level headedness, even though I'd bet anyone $10 that he went on webMD and looked up uterine fibroids as soon as he got to work.
That's been the week so far.  We heard from the Ragnar crew that they will be done around 5 this evening and we should see them back here in Bountiful at 7 or 7:30.  They are super troopers because they are running with 10 runners instead of 12 after they had someone back out and another runner injured his knee two days before the race.  Right around the time they get home, Jon and I also get to go to a wedding reception for our buddy Curt.  See, amazing week right?  Oh and we have a Stake Chuck Wagon breakfast at 8:30 tomorrow, then a baby shower for Lindsey and Owen at 11:30.  The shower will probably get a post of its own.

And the reward for either scrolling to the bottom to find the pictures or making it through my ramblings, ultrasound pictures that you may have already seen on Facebook!
Owen's head on the left, Lindsey's head on the right.
Lindsey's profile with her arm up by her head.
Owen's profile, his head is tilted so his nose isn't as prominent.
Lindsey's right hand, pointer finger out, thumb tucked in to the fist.  It looked like she had a hitch hikers thumb just before we got the picture.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Sometimes the Internet is No Good

This afternoon I was having a fantastic time on pinterest.  Pinning cute baby picture ideas, pinning cute quilts, just pinning away.  Then I noticed a pin about the number of diapers that it takes on average to diaper twins for one year.  I followed the link and started reading this lady's blog.  It was very informative, so I read a couple of other posts that she wrote.  That's when the internet turned into a no good, dirty rotten scoundrel.  I followed a link to her birth story.  I am so glad that she shared it, but still, reading some people's birth stories are TERRIFYING!!!  Especially twin birth stories of people who never wanted a C-section.  Just reading through it had me crying for her and for the fact that she didn't get to see each of the babies before they were wheeled away to the NICU.  I read the comments that people left and they mostly linked to similar horrendous experiences.  So, rather than feeling betrayed by the internet for now making me feel somewhat paranoid that my body will go into labor at 28 weeks (I'm 22 weeks right now) or that none of the hospital staff will answer any of my questions (we picked the doctor that we go to because of the time that she takes with each patient to answer any and all questions), I am going to make a plan for the worst.  Here it goes.

1.  My babies will probably be delivered via C-section and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.  I would love to deliver them vaginally because I have heard that the recovery is much easier, but I will do what is best for the babies and not be afraid.  During our infertility treatments I had no fear about egg retrieval, where I underwent anesthesia and was on bed rest for 2 days after, so if I could have no fear going into that process of wanting to have babies (egg retrieval was always a success, the embryos fertilized as well, they just never implanted), I should have no fear of a process for actually bringing the babies into the world.  Yes, there are horror stories, but I have to trust that the doctors I am seeing are very skilled in what they do and will know how to take care of things.

2.  After a C-section, there is a chance that I won't be able to see the babies before they are taken away to be checked on.  I will probably feel very sad about this, but I know that Jon will be able to go with them and he will have seen them and he loves them every ounce as much as I do.  I know that they won't be taken away just to hurt my feelings, but because there is a need for them to be cared for.

3.  I might have the babies sooner than the end of September or even have to be on bed rest for awhile.  Now, this might be the hardest one for me to accept.  So far, I have been really active this pregnancy.  I am on my feet for most of my 8 hour shifts at work and although I am sore and sleepy by the end, my feet are not uber swollen, and I am able to look forward to a shift the next day.  Since we found out that we are having twins though, our doctor has changed her recommendation on daily activity and starting at 24 weeks she wants to restrict me to walking less than 3 miles a day and limit my actual exercise to zero.  That just seems crazy to me.  It seems counter intuitive to be less active and I think most everyone would agree that it seems that way.  So, I pried further at my last appointment as to why I have to be restricted, and apparently, the body doesn't pay attention to how many babies there are, just the size of the uterus in regards to when to go into labor.  Most women who are having twins reach the measurements of a singleton full term pregnancy at 28 weeks.  At that point, their bodies think it's just time to deliver.  So, really, my body just needs to cooperate, and if it doesn't, I just need to accept that these two are going to make me slow down.

4.  This one is not related to having the babies, but relates to getting ready.  According to most of the twin pins I've followed and what everyone says, I need to have the nursery prepped and ready to go by 28 weeks.  That is 6 short weeks away.  I should probably solidify crib choice and mattress choice and maybe get carpet ordered since we already cut out the carpet that was in that room previously.  We bought paint already, we just need to put it on the walls... so the next few weekends will be fun project weekends for sure.

So, there are all of my reasons to not be afraid, so here I go to try to not be afraid.  Now I'm going to go snuggle the cutest dog on earth to help calm my nerves even more.

Friday, May 24, 2013

20 Weeks Down

This morning we had our much anticipated 20 week ultrasound.  It was such a fun experience and the doctor, ultrasound tech, and student who worked with us were some of the most friendly I have encountered.  Not that I have really encountered a lot, but they were very thorough and friendly which was fantastic.  Last night I was very concerned about the appointment, I didn't feel worried about the health of the babies, but I had this odd fear that Fetal Fotos got the gender wrong and that we were really having two boys.  I would have been happy to have two boys, but I had this irrational fear that if it were two boys that the one would be scarred from being referred to as Lindsey for an entire month.  

Good thing those concerns were put to bed at the appointment today.  Baby A is still a little girl, Lindsey, and baby B is still a little boy, Owen.  They are measuring within 3 days of the date we originally thought, but they did move the 40 week date to October 11th, from October 12.  Both Owen and Lindsey measured in right at 11 oz, so it's good to know that they are close in size.  The doctor at LDS hospital said that there is a 75% chance that they will be born between 35 and 37 weeks gestation.  It's crazy to think that they could be here in 15 short weeks.  She also said that if I get to 38 weeks they will have mercy on me and induce labor.  That means rather than October babies, we will have mid-late September babies.

It was amazing to see all of the anatomy that they were measuring today.  We got to see the four chambers of each baby's heart and the two main arteries as well.  We looked at the bladder, kidneys, diaphragm, and stomach too.  Spinal measurements, brain, and amniotic fluid measurements were all taken as well.  At one point the ultrasound showed the blood flow from the umbilical cord into the body.  It is just so amazing to be able to see the miracle of growing life inside of me.  Jon and I both feel that these babies are a miracle in our lives, but really, every life is a miracle.  We are so grateful that these two are so healthy.  We learned from the anatomy scan that they both have intact upper lips, so cleft lip/palate is ruled out.  We saw that the neural tube on each baby is fully encased, ruling out spina bifida and other spine issues.  We saw the 20 fingers and 20 toes.  We saw all of the necessary parts of the heart and two function kidneys per baby.  How amazing.  When I think about the time in which we live, where there are so many medical procedures and advances that allow for us to have this knowledge, I cannot help but be grateful to have been born when I was.  I know that people in olden times were blessed in other ways, but what a relief it is to be able to spend an hour at the doctor and see that all is well.

Well, I should be heading into work, but I wanted to write about the experience while it was still fresh in my mind.  Oh, I wanted to squash the boy/girl heartrate myth too.  Lindsey was 142 BPM and Owen was 140 BPM.

Sorry if our blog has turned into a baby update blog.  I'm not very good at keeping a journal and feel like some of these things just need to be documented, and I'd love for family and friends to be able to enjoy them as well.

Owen on the right, Lindsey on the left.  Those are their heads.
Owen's profile.
Lindsey's profile.
Owen proving that he's still a boy.
Lindsey proving that she's still a girl.
Lindsey's feet.
Owen's left foot.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

No Better Way to Celebrate

This is the first year that in the traditional sense I can celebrate Mother's Day and it's been an interesting slew of emotions.  So, since I'm up at 1 am with heartburn and I'm feeling all emotional because I can't stop thinking about all of the amazing women in my life, I thought I'd write about it.

Let me start out by explaining that I don't love Mother's Day.  I do love my mother though.  I think she so is amazing!  She is such a loving person and I don't know many people who work as hard as her.  When I think about the experiences that she had in raising 5 daughters, I am just so impressed that she not only put up with us, but did so lovingly.  I can't imagine that my sisters and I made things easy for her and thinking about the amount of stress that we added to her life, I hope that the joy that we brought and will still bring to her can outweigh that.  The thing about Mother's Day for me though, is that I feel like it cheapens the way that I am able to show my love for my mom.  I know that it doesn't change the fact that I can tell her I love her every day, but it makes me feel like if I don't find just the right gift to express my gratitude at her willingness to bring me into this world and care for me, then I'm not being grateful that she's my mother.  I guess what I'm trying to say is, I know I'll never find a gift that can truly express my love for my mom, so I hope that I can show her in my words and actions that she is the best.

Now, not to discount anything that I have just said about my wonderful mother, I also take issue with Mother's Day because there are so many women, who do not fall into the traditional category of mother, who deserve the love and admiration that mothers get.  I hope I can explain this the way that it feels in my heart.  I think about women who do not or cannot have children often on Mother's Day, whether it is their choice or not to be childless.  It makes my heart hurt to think that they don't have the chance to feel the amazing love from someone this day each year that I have toward my own mother.  Every woman should have the chance to be appreciated for their divine role as nurturers in our society today.  I think about Dar, my god-mom, who has been such an amazing influence for good in my life, and just know that she deserves to be celebrated on Mother's Day also.  I celebrate her, not to discount the love I have for my mom, but because she has also been integral in my raising.  Just because she did not birth me, doesn't mean that she doesn't love me less than if she had.  There isn't a day during the year that is set up for me to tell her that I love her also, so I choose to share this day with her.  I really hope that she and my mom both know that celebrating them both does not take away from celebrating them individually.  I know that they each have unique roles in my life and I am glad that there is an excuse once a year to be overly emotional in expressing the gratitude that I have for them, even when a greeting card cannot do the sentiment justice.

Along similar lines to explaining that all women should be celebrated, I think about how I felt on Mother's Days past.  I know that my reactions to past holidays were my own sour puss moods because that's the way that I chose to look at things, but I also know that there are probably a lot of women who share my feelings.  Prior to this year, when Jon and I are now expecting children to join our family, I felt like Mother's Day was a holiday for rubbing salt in the wound that we might not have children.  It made me sad the years when we were struggling to become pregnant to think that I might never have a child, let alone a child who would feel the same love for me that I had for my own mother.  It was a reminder that even though I had the righteous desire to be a caregiver to a precious child, that the desire might not be enough to get a child here to share my life with.  During those years I struggled to explain to Jon how I was feeling, rather I made outlandish demands of delicious breakfast or my favorite dinner on Mother's Day to help cover up the way I was really feeling.  He was such a trooper and always went along with it, but I am glad that this year I could tell him that none of those things matter anymore.  I know that being pregnant has helped me to be able to move past my sour puss feelings, but I like to hope that even if we weren't blessed with these growing babies that I would see the value in just showing love for all women on this day.  I know that Jon values me as his wife and, that in the years past, even when we weren't expecting, that he still loved me and my potential to be a nurturer to his future children.  I am so glad that he put up with my silly demands and that he's been there to help me see that God has a plan in all of this.

I guess where I am going in all of this is just to say that this Mother's Day I am feeling extra grateful for God's plan to send us to Earth in families, whether they be birth families, or the families of people we choose to love who surround us.  I've come to really see that although having a holiday to remind us to express our love is great, it's even better to express that love year round.  I don't think greeting cards or chocolates are necessary for the celebration of love between us, I think it's more genuine when we find simple ways to show that we care.  I keep singing the song from the movie Enchanted in my head, "That's How You Know."  Although the song does give examples of going on picnics and buying flowers, it's mostly about showing the other person that you love them through your every day words and deeds.  I hope that this Mother's Day and in years to come, that I can find ways to show my family that I love them.  I also hope that I can find a way to express these feeling of love and understanding for the plan that God has for us in my lesson at church tomorrow.  When I originally started preparing it I was feeling somewhat overwhelmed.  The theme is the power of faith and character, which seemed rather vague at first, but I think I see now, that it's really a lesson all about attitude.  I pray that I'll be able to share my changed attitude toward this holiday with the women at church and express my love for them and the examples that they set for me as well.

Now that I have rambled for an hour, I should probably try to sleep again so that I don't end up rambling forever at church tomorrow.  If you take anything away from my post though, I hope it's this, you are loved.  I know it's the day for loving my mom, and I do and I'll tell her too, but we can celebrate mothers because of God's plan to send us to Earth in family units, and that plan alone is evidence that we are all so loved.  Sorry if that's preachy, but it's how I'm feeling tonight/ this morning.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Nursery Planning

I thought it was hard to wrap my mind around decorating one nursery.  Picking a theme, finding coordinating fabrics, seeing what furniture I can already reuse from around my house, it all seemed a little out of my decorating skill set.  Well, it got a heck of a lot harder when I realized we'd be cramming 2 cribs into the space we'd planned for 1, and coordinating for a boy and a girl.  You see, there aren't many "girl" items that are actually neutral.

Seriously, go look at baby girl items with polka dots, they all have pink in them.  The "boy" ones are definitely the more neutral of the two, with all bright rainbow colors, well, all colors excluding purple.  So, imagine my guilt when I came home this afternoon after having some fun registering at Target and Babies'R'Us to find that all of the bright colorful nursery things I registered for were labeled, "boy."  Totally unfair.  I promise I'm not trying to prevent Lindsey from being girly, I have just never loved pink or purple myself and thinking of finding a way to incorporate those colors into a room she'll be sharing with her brother, just didn't work out.  So, for my non-Pintresty friends, I'm sharing my very basic nursery plans here on the blog.  (It's also for the non-Pintresty me, who only figured out how to pin things after my oldest sister told me I needed to learn last week.)

To start, let me explain that I do plan to have Owen and Lindsey share a crib when they are tiny, but I do want to get 2 matching cribs so that when they are ready to sleep alone, or if they hate cuddling one another from the start, we can split them up.  It also has to do with the fact that big box stores offer a twin discount where you get an extra 10% off when you purchase 2 of the same large item for twins.
This is the way I'd like to orient the cribs under the window in the nursery.
This is the crib that I am in love with... but I could go for the IKEA equivalent.
So, that's hopefully what the cribs will look like, white and modern and very streamlined.  They convert to toddler beds too so I'm thinking we'll get a few years use out of them before switching to bunk beds.

Now, onto the fabric, and finding something that can work for a boy and a girl.  Let's rewind to Christmas of 2011, when I found an adorable Alexander Henry print that I could not leave at Joann's.  I convinced Jon at the time that I would make my own bedding set, if he'd get me a few yards of the fabric.  Being the loving husband that he is, he bought me 11 yards, definitely enough for two quilts, two crib skits, and a valance to go over the window coverings.  Want to know something awesome about the fabric?  It's Noah's Ark themed, two by two!  It's totally perfect!

See, bright animals in pairs!  It's called "It's Gonna Rain"
Ahh!  And while searching for an image to share of the fabric I have, I found the coordinating stripe!  I am doomed!  Really, I can use any bright dots, stripes, and solids to go along with the other as long as it excludes pink and purple.  Sorry Lindsey.
Hm, so I've covered fabrics/ colors, cribs... what else?  Changing table and chair are the other two BIG things in the room.

Rather than getting furniture with drawers, I love the idea of these shelves that could be used for cloth bins on top and toys/books on bottom.  I'd put it horizontal and set the changing pad on top.
As for a chair, I think I am in love with this staple from Target.  The gray is perfect for draping a bright blanket over and it looks somewhat similar to my favorite chair at my parents' house that they used for rocking me and all of my sisters.
So, that's all I've got planned so far really.  We bought paint for the nursery and our room earlier this week.  They are from the same gray family, the nursery will just be one shade lighter than our room.  We like gray because it is such a neutral backdrop for dressing things up with bright pops of color.
Speaking of bright pops of color, isn't this crib bumper adorable?  And it's breathable, so I won't worry that they are squishing their faces against it.
Well, that's all I've got really.  If you have any cute ideas, send them my way.  Just remember, no pink or purple...  Oh, and since I didn't want to post a bump shot on Facebook, if you're reading the blog, here's a shot from this morning of my 18 week bump.

Sorry for the awkwardness of the photo, I haven't mastered self shots of the bump yet and when Jon tries to take them I usually look really grouchy... I should work on that.