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.