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Pregnant with Twins 32-34 Weeks

September 20, 2017


This week we had another mile marker, another WAAAYYY out there date – Rob’s birthday – that seemed impossible back in February and March. Lucy’s birthday is this weekend, and I wondered way back then just how I would be feeling at this point in time. Will they come early and share a birthday week? Will I be miserable?

The answers are looking like no and not totally. I have this resignation that they will never be born, ever, and in fact they are just a prop in my belly, and that carrying around this belly is my new normal.

^Look at that! She switched things up with a new angle.

Perhaps this is because my OB scheduled a C-section at our last appointment (they are both breech), and she put it on October 17.

October 17.

4 weeks away. The day we booked the c-section, I was totally depressed. I am ready to tap out now I thought. I’ve been ready to tap out for at least a month.  I knew that going before 36 weeks meant the babies could have trouble breathing, and this of course was my doctor’s logic to waiting until after 38 weeks. But how in the world was I going to last until then?

My attitude was largely due to the fact that I was on the tail end of being really sick with the worst case of bronchitis I have ever had. With no room in my body to cough or breathe, I couldn’t sleep at all, and I lived for my breathing treatments every 4 hours. (Isn’t this post SO fun?) I actually forgot about how uncomfortable my belly was because I was so sad about how much my lungs and ribs hurt. It will just go down as the hardest week of this pregnancy.

But in the week that followed, as I started to feel better and get more sleep, my attitude improved. Where I was feeling trapped by thinking of going 4 more weeks, I started to just think of it as my countdown and just accepted it. And in that finite structure of a month, I began to get my bearings, and think about what was still possible in those weeks. Writing. Reading. Allowing myself to binge watch TV (so far, Scientology: The Aftermath and Billions have been my go-tos). Trying to take each day at a time, enjoy my kids, and let myself rest.  I focused on appreciating a full night of sleep since it will be the last for a little while. I went on date nights with my husband.

Of course I could go sooner but my babies always tend to hang on to me, blowing past due dates and induction dates that were set, but couldn’t be completed because conditions weren’t ‘favorable to induce’. Not that anyone is counting but they were all born at 40W, 41.8W, 41W (with a failed induction at 40W), and 39.8W (with a successful induction). So of course it makes sense I would carry twins to 38.5 weeks. Shaving a mere 10 days off of my singleton pregnancies. (Of course it is ALL worth it for healthy babies! This fact is very clear to me, of course).

But as I quickly approach 35 weeks, and there are only 3 weeks left, I am all of a sudden…fine. I am working hard on trying to finish my next book. My bag is not packed for the hospital but the babys’ bag is ready, and our bedroom is ready for our little co-sleepers when they come home. I am not in love with the amount of doctor appointments I have especially with 2 NSTs (non-stress tests) per week. The last one I had they kept me there for THREE hours because I got Starbucks right before and apparently a Salted Carmel Latte and Croissant make these boys think they are in a mosh pit or something.

The boys moved so much they couldn’t complete measuring their heart beat for 20 minutes so I had to walk over to the birthing center for a more complete NST and when that didn’t work they sent me down to get an ultrasound with BioMarkers. (They scored an 8 out of 8, and I kind of felt like it was all a little unnecessary). But of course, hearing their heartbeats and seeing them is always awesome. I read somewhere in a twin pregnancy to let all these appointments at the end be a chance for you to bond with the babies, and it is great advice. I just hope we can bond for less then three hours next time.

So unless something amazing happens, you’ll probably see this belly reach inhuman proportions at a 36 week update. I don’t even want to think of how big I will be at 38 weeks so let’s just not talk about it.

xoxo Katie

Pregnant with Twins 30-32 weeks

September 3, 2017

I am writing these updates for other women who are pregnant with twins because I keep looking for them – shared experience is a powerful thing. You all have been so supportive every time I post one though, and I was honestly not expecting the outpouring of kindness, so thank you!

In trying to keep these honest, I worry that they might just sound negative, and as this pregnancy goes on I am focused on staying positive and trying to avoid the negative spiral that fatigue and pain can trigger. So I will just say this: imagine measuring full term 40 weeks (which I am), carrying babies that weigh between 4-5 lbs. (so, like a 10 lb baby) and then having 6 weeks to go.

But also: there are two healthy babies in there! Who already provide lots of entertainment to my other kids when they have a dance party after dinner. Think of two puppies in very tight bag and you get the idea. I’m trying to focus on the fact that every week is a progression towards having babies with less eating and sleeping challenges that will come home sooner rather than later after they are born. When I am really tired and don’t feel well it is so hard to remember this (basically all of yesterday), but then a good night sleep reminds me of the bigger picture. Lucky for you (and posterity) I am writing this today.

Plus, this week there has been so much news from the flooding in Houston that puts everything into perspective. I am sure there is a twin pregnancy (or singleton, or newborn or nursing baby) that has a mom who is also battling displacement, hunger, loss of property and possibly life.

In addition, in the last week, I learned of the death of a beautiful baby named Colin, who was born at 34 weeks with hydrops, an 11 year old who died in a boating accident, and a good friend shared the story of losing her baby Lily after she was born at 40 weeks. She found out at her 20 week ultrasound that she was missing the part of her brain that would regulate her breathing outside the womb. I will never take a healthy ultrasound for granted – something I already knew but just had a powerful reminder. Life is heavy sometimes, and I hope we can help others carry those parts together.

These last two weeks brought us through two of our biggest transitions – meeting our new au pair and the kids starting school. These dates loomed on the calendar and felt so far away, and now they are here. The great news is we feel like we won the au pair lottery. Louise is mature, kind, funny, grateful, and very willing to help, so I know we are going to be in good hands.

And the new school year has brought a structure that is exhausting in the beginning, but will mean everyone is settled on a solid, happy path when the babies come, and I am up all night and knee-deep in diapers and feedings. I could not be any more proud of these beautiful people.

While they are in school, I am hoping to do a lot of writing and reading, which make me forget about my fatigue and my heavy belly, or the fact that walking is difficult. I have already had a few great windows to work and it feels so good. And I am excited to dive into good books – I have been meaning to read My Brilliant Friend for a long time, so it is up on the reading stack. And I finally bought Slow Motion, Dani Shapiro’s memoir of the year after her parents car accident which killed her father and left her narcissistic mother in need of her care. And I will hopefully fill our freezer with meals for after the babies come. Let me know any good recommendations you might have on either the book or the food front!

So prayers for Houston, thanks to Louise, and yay for things like schedules, warm meals, and good books to comfort weary souls.



28-30 Weeks Pregnant with Twins

August 21, 2017

Time is so relative: two weeks with a newborn? A nanosecond. Two weeks pregnant with twins? Molasses.

Still, the end of summer is a sweet combination of distractions – soaking in the last of beach days and pool days and the anticipation of a new school year just around the corner. There is never a day where I don’t wake up, look around, and see plenty to do. And then I realize I can only do 12% of it. But for me, distraction has been the key to passing time while I feel so huge.

I have to give so much credit to my kids – we have had a great summer, and they have been so understanding and excited about this pregnancy. I worry that I brush them off when I am needing to sit down/go to the bathroom/carrying something heavy. I always try to follow up with a check in and say, ‘I’m sorry, my belly really hurt when I was carrying that’ or ‘I really needed to sit down for a minute when you wanted my attention’. I have been very consciously putting them first these last few weeks, and holding off on all my ideas for writing & blogging until they go back to school next week. (Currently as I write this they are having a much needed movie morning after a busy weekend. Scooby-Doo for the win.) Also, my son has been a huge help in carrying and moving things for me, a fact I realized when he started his intense two week conditioning for football last week and was so sore I couldn’t bare to ask him to help me. Super proud of him.

As any preggo mom knows, the key to the answer ‘how are you feeling?’ depends on how she is sleeping. For the most part I am sleeping really well. I am so tired I hit the pillow like a ton of bricks. Needing to go to the bathroom wakes me up once or twice but I can go back to sleep right away. (I definitely remember pregnancy insomnia with my other pregnancies, when going to the bathroom would wake me up, then I would need to eat, and wound up scrolling through with yogurt and a banana, but not this time. I need to sleep.) On the few nights that I have had less then 7 hours of sleep though I have felt every pain, every step more acutely. And I know sleep deprivation is right around the corner, but I am a one day at a time girl and trying not to let it scare me. At least I will have cute babies to hold – plus oxytocin hormones and wine – when it comes.

My glucose test at 28 weeks came back great, but my iron was low, so they started me on iron supplements. I do feel a little more energy, and I have an easier time breathing with those. So yay for being able to eat bread, feel better, and breathe after walking up the stairs.

One symptom of this pregnancy that I haven’t recorded yet is allergies. Constantly having to sneeze, blow my nose, itch my nose, is a kind of torture I have never properly understood until now. I will never again be lukewarm towards an allergy sufferer. It is the bane of this pregnancy, along with super-human pelvic pain. Also, how weird is it that you can suddenly get allergies when you are pregnant? Lots of things to offer it up for, of course, but had to list it here in case someone else is feeling incredulous about pregnancy-onset allergies too.

The babies are moving a lot, which is the best. I am getting an ultrasound tomorrow, which always rewires my attitude and reminds me of the bigger reality going on: my belly is getting huge because of huge babies! Last time they were almost at 3 lbs. so looking forward to hearing what they are tomorrow.

At my last check up with my OB I actually lost 4 lbs. My total weight gain was about 35, now back down to 30. I have plenty of weeks left to change that I am sure but this is the only pregnancy I have gone in the opposite direction after the first trimester. Of course, I have been spending my days cleaning, taking kids to sports, visiting family members in the hospital after minor surgeries (but that is a lot of walking! Every time I get back to my car  when I leave the hospital I am like, ouch!). The day before my 30 week checkup I had gone to the beach, taken kids to sports and gone to the mall for 2 hours with my 9 year old for special time back to school shopping. I could *barely* move walking out of the mall, and had lots of Braxton-Hicks that night. My OB heard this and said, “Don’t do that!” She said my body doesn’t know there are 2 babies in there and thinks I am 36 weeks pregnant, so I need to take it easier. Duly noted. I forced myself to rest yesterday before we met friends at the pool.

^^Pool braids before we had an amazing dinner with two other families last night.

This will be helped greatly when our au pair arrives on Friday. Louise is coming from Brazil and we hope to learn so much from her. We don’t have that much family that can help us besides my mother-in-law, and my husband travels quite a bit for work, so it is a great relief to my husband and to me to have an extra set of hands, to be here if I go early or have a c-section. Rob and I have so much peace of mind about what the end of this pregnancy will bring knowing that there will be someone here to cover home base in an emergency.

This week is getting ready for her and for school, finding ways to rest in between. And maybe one or two more beach days.


Also – the news about Down syndrome being ‘eliminated’ in Iceland was horrifying to read. We are still prepared that one of our son’s has Down syndrome. I posted on Facebook about it after I shared this mom’s post. It is so wise, I am pasting it here:

I’ve been reading and thinking a lot this week trying to find the words. Friends and strangers have written from the heart and it had been shared widely. I feel like I have a bit of a different audience with a significant amount of Ds family on my page. So, in light of singing to the choir, I’ll say this….
Deciding to have and raise kids is hard work. Period. Whether my child has 46 or 47 chromosomes is rarely the reason for the challenges.
I didn’t think about not having my child after getting a likely prenatal diagnosis, but I have thought about it since. When the stories flood the media every few months and the hatred towards anything not typical rages and the days feel much too long, those “what if” thoughts surface. I try to imagine what our life would look like without Owen and I really struggle to see it. It doesn’t feel right; it doesn’t feel complete.
I can never fully put myself into someone else’s shoes. I’ve heard too many awful experiences in the past 5 years. I know that parents want what is best for their children and if they are not given a full view of life with a child, they are truly being failed. The diagnosis system is not working.
This is all why we work so hard at Down Syndrome Diagnosis Network – DSDN. Along with other organizations, we know we can make a difference and help ensure every family has information and resources in hand along with a new or possible diagnosis.
Life is certainly not all rainbows and unicorns. But I make a conscious choice to work to see it each day in my life. Find the good, find the joy and keep moving forward. Make a moment better when you can. Give grace. Do better. In the whirlwind of these media storms, remember this. Make the conscious choice and choose your path and attitude and work towards it. Share information. Share resources. And, if you are comfortable, keep sharing about your life and family.
I believe our families have a brighter future ahead than any other generation before us because they have paved the way. Let’s honor all of their work and build upon it for those to come.

Pregnant with Twins: 26-28 weeks

August 7, 2017

As I suspected, just how big I can get defies all comprehension.

This two week period was marked by a lot of happy: we spent a long weekend in Pemaquid, ME, where we visit every year and is the setting for The Wideness of the Sea. Having been inside this place in my mind so much in the last year, I felt like I might bump into my main characters around every corner. And my favorite bookstore in downtown Damariscotta took a big order of books which made me so happy. I hope to do a reading there next summer. This trip confirmed my belief that this place is magical since while I was there I nearly forgot about being huge and instead looked at the harbor filled with the sea, the wind blowing through lush trees, and the moon and stars in those velvet night skies. Nature has such a wonderful way of taking you out of yourself, uncomfortable pregnancy and all.

Unless I look down, of course:

I also had an ultrasound that showed the babies big and healthy – 2.5 lbs! And surrounded by lots of fluid which is great. It somehow flipped a switch in me and I was left with two thoughts: 1) real, big babies are in there, thus my huge stomach and all my discomfort is for a great purpose and 2) we need diapers.

I went strait from my ultrasound to Target and got everything we needed to bring babies home: diapers, wipes, binkis, burp clothes, that special detergent you need for sensitive skin. (Nesting impulses: the struggle is real). And since I am carrying twins while getting older kids ready for school, I also checked off our sports supply list too. So my cart was filled with newborn diapers and soccer gear, which is a pretty accurate depiction of my life right now.

My husband took my two oldest kids to Saratoga Springs, NY, where they were both born, to visit friends and to hold a work event at the race track. I was home with the two younger kids and it was so slow and sweet. We cleaned and swam and cuddled while we watched movies. I felt like I was drinking them in at these ages before all the changes that are about to take place and I will turn around and they will be 8 and 5 instead of 7 and 4.  One early evening, while we were still in our bathing suits after swimming, we stopped at their favorite Chinese buffet for an early dinner. Sitting there with nothing else to focus on but them, my heart was alternately a mushy mess and a ball of laughter – they are so sweet, and so ridiculously funny. Andrew tried every dumpling they had, and they were overjoyed at the giant cubes of jello for dessert. I left dinner on a cloud of happiness, that was followed up by early showers, pjs, and a quick show before an early bedtime. Not sure if a more perfect evening exists for a 28 week pregnant mom.

I took advantage of the quieter days to organize all the baby stuff and finish washing and folding all the newborn baby clothes (read: do something productive while sitting down). By the time the big kids got home I was done, and it felt like something major was accomplished. Then it was time to turn to fun, and get ready for my friends from BC to come visit. Going out to buy wine and beer and BBQ food felt so good, even if it took every ounce of energy I had. We had this visit on the books for a while, and in my mind it always felt like by the time it rolled around it would be almost time for the twins to come, so it made it all seem very real.

Their visit was so sweet, though one of my friends had problems getting a flight to Boston due to thunderstorms and couldn’t come (how? what?). We missed her, but were so glad to have such a sweet weekend of berries and ice cream and swimming and lobster rolls. Nothing is better then friends that fill you right up, except maybe watching your kids love each other too. And as proof of how much fun we had I took zero pictures that weekend.

New logistical challenges: We got a washer and dryer that easily does 3xs the amount of laundry our old ones did. But I can barely get in front of them because of my tummy. In parking lots I have to walk extra far since I can’t fit between most cars. And bending down or getting up from sitting is comical. I have really relied on Blanqi Leggings and a support belly band lately because the weight of these little boys plus all their in utero accessories is really hard to carry.

But I am still thankful to be sleeping well. And for feeling these sweet boys moving around. Our au pair comes in 3 weeks so now it is the great room shuffle: renovated attic version.  We will head up for one last summer soak up to our condo in the White Mountains, where I plan to best my 11 year old at chess, watch them all splash in rivers that look like they are right out of A River Runs Through It, and sit with my husband on the porch, in rocking chairs, after they all go to sleep, and listen to the stillness, the calm before the storm.