Wednesday, January 19, 2011


Hi everyone! I'm moving!! Please feel free to join me over at Twinside Out. I'd love to see you there!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Long Overdue Announcement

(It's been so long since I posted, I'm not sure I remember how to do this anymore!!)

After three months of bedrest, hospitalizations, awful medications, tears and prayers, we made it to 36 weeks exactly...and then the twins decided they were ready to take on the world. Joshua Caleb and Isabella Ruth were born on Father's Day, weighing in at 5 pounds each.

I debated whether to publish their names - and I cheerfully reserve the right to edit this post in the future and remove them - but they have special meaning to us that I want to share. Since these little ones are a testimony of God's faithfulness to us (and are really a story of redemption in and of themselves), we wanted to give them names that reflected this heritage.

We chose the name Joshua Caleb years ago; really, it's a name I adored before I ever even met C. The story of Joshua and Caleb in the Old Testament has always been a special inspiration for me. If you're not familiar with it, you can find it in Numbers 13 and 14. God told Moses to send men to check out the land of Canaan that He was giving to the Israelites. The scouts came back with glowing reports of the land itself - fertile ground, flowing with milk and honey - but also a warning about the land's inhabitants. All of the men who journeyed into Canaan claimed that the land was populated by people who would be formidable foes, and who were best left alone. All of the explorers, that is, but two: Joshua and Caleb. Even while the Israelites threatened to stone them, Joshua and Caleb proclaimed that surely the Lord would go with them into this land as He had promised. They trusted God even in the face of opposition and the threat of death, from their own people. Joshua means "Jehovah is salvation" and one of the meanings of Caleb is "faithful; bold."

We also wanted to choose a strong name for our daughter. Isabella means "consecrated to (or set apart for) God" and Ruth means "friend" and "compassion." The Old Testament story of Ruth is another of my favorites. After the death of her husband, Ruth gave up any hope she had of remarrying and having a secure future when she chose instead to stay with her mother-in-law Naomi, now also a widow. She left behind everything she had ever known to move to a strange land, out of loyalty to Naomi. She put her trust in the God of the Israelites even when the future was uncertain and bleak; Ruth was a woman of excellence in everything she did. In the end, God blessed her more than she could ever have imagined - including giving her a husband and a son (who eventually became David's grandfather).

I'll post the birth story separately, since I'm sure that's not something everyone wants to read! :) I still can't believe that after everything we've been through - our little miracles are finally here and three weeks old already! (I also can't believe how much my muscles have atrophied during all that bedrest. Yikes - get out the Denise Austin DVD's!!) But's so good to surf the internet on a real computer again instead of my little phone!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Ups, Downs & Kung-Fu Fighting

Today has been a bittersweet day. C left early this morning for North Carolina, where he is going to be in a wedding. On the beach. I was supposed to go along, but Dr. Jazz (our high-risk OB, who always has jazz music playing in his office) didn't feel comfortable clearing me to travel when we first asked him. This was before the pre-term labor incident, so we didn't bother to ask again. Truthfully, I don't think I could have handled such a long road trip anyway - even if there was a free stay in a gorgeous beach-front mansion awaiting me on the other end. So, as C drove off for a week of awesomeness with a carload of really fun people, I sat upstairs all alone, wallowing in self-pity.

It's a tribute to the potency of pregnancy hormones that it hadn't even occurred to me that C was off to the beach - which just so happens to be my favorite place in all of creation - while I remained landlocked in the dreary Midwest. I didn't consider in the least that I should be envious of his ocean getaway. No, I was too fixated on C's absence to take note of these things. I had been dreading this moment since we decided I would stay at home, and I started crying the moment the door closed. Only later did I realize how out of character this is for me. I'm self-sufficient, task-oriented, and not overly emotional. Regular Jennifer would have found something to do right away - reading, working, scrapbooking. (Ok, maybe not the scrapbooking. But someday, I really will put all those wedding photos in a nice album. Really.) Pregnant Jennifer bawled for four hours, ate a pint of ice cream, and cried some more.

Then I had a flash of brilliance. I put on the IHOP prayer room's live stream and just let it play in the background for a while. (Did you think pancakes? You did, didn't you? Maybe it's the pregnancy - but even though I know it stands for International House of Prayer, I always think pancakes, too.) It never ceases to amaze me how music that worships and glorifies God can break me out of the most depressed and self-indulgent of moods. So, no more crying - for now, at least. I'm actually pretty joyful at the moment. When I stop to take note of those I care about, I see that God is doing wonderful things right now. My bloggy friend Kim of Thoughts by Kim fame may be a mommy this time next month! On the heels of much heartbreak, she and her husband have been chosen by another birth mom. My sister Mary (Threefold Blessings) and her family are expecting to receive their travel dates in a few days, to travel to the Ukraine to pick up my two new precious nieces and my new handsome nephew. Personally, I have a lot to be thankful for, too - and I can think of no better reason to be sitting in Ohio right now than the two ultimate cage fighters in my belly.

We got to see them again yesterday, which always makes for a red-letter day. Dr. Jazz was pleased to note that no further cervical changes were observed. I was quite happy about that too; cervical length ultrasounds always leave me chanting, "No Whammy! No Whammy! No Whammy!", just like the old game show. He is quite sure that reducing my activity and stress levels has kept us out of the danger zone, and he encouraged me to continue to rest. It was good news all around: the babies are doing really well, too. Baby A (the boy) weighs 1 lb 4 oz, and Baby B (the girl) is close behind him at 1 lb 3 oz. Both landed smack dab in the middle of the growth chart - not too big, not too small.

The best part of the ultrasound was when the sonographer was doing Baby A's growth scan. The poor little guy was squished in the pike position, with his toes touching his face. We were looking at his little legs when Chris realized that Baby B's head was also in the shot. As we watched, A drew back his tiny foot, bent his knee, and then let 'er rip. The little rascal kicked his sister in the head. (My dad freaked out when I told him this - even though I explained that they are both in separate sacs, and B was not harmed in any way.) The moment of contact is above, for your viewing pleasure.

One more thing I wanted to write about - and then I will close the longest post EVER - is what we've chosen for the babies' names. Joy (When Does Daddy Come Home), who not only likes Red but enjoys Stargate too (how much cooler can anyone be?), asked about that; while I would love to share, C has asked that we keep them to ourselves until the babies arrive. It's the only thing he's felt strongly about during this pregnancy, and I am doing my best to honor that (it's so hard!). But I did want to say that I am very excited about what we've chosen. I wanted names that reflect how these babies are gifts from God, and that they are set apart for Him, and I'm really happy with what we've agreed on. And I can't wait until they are here, and I can tell!

So I guess this is what happens when I don't blog for months on end - I write a giant missive worthy of Tolstoy. Hopefully it's not been as boring. It's getting late, so I'm off to bed, but I am looking forward to catching up on my blog reading (and commenting) over the next few days! Thanks everyone for all of your encouragement - I really appreciate you. :)

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Gender Update

Baby A is a boy and Baby B is a girl! We found out about A first, since he's a wiggler and doesn't have any modesty issues. B, on the other hand, refused to uncross her legs for several weeks in a row. We actually found out her gender when we least expected - it was at a routine (non-ultrasound) appointment with the regular OB. They weren't sure if the doppler was picking up both babies' heartbeats, or if they were hearing an echo of the same baby's heart. (Their heart rates were exactly the same, for a while.) So the doctor did a quick ultrasound to verify visually what they were hearing - lo and behold, there was Baby B with her girl parts for all to see! I promptly told her that she could go back to crossing her legs for the next thirty years. :)

We've gotten to see some amazing pictures of our babies recently. I have appointments with the high risk OB every two weeks (and lately, weekly, but more on that later), and those always include an ultrasound. We watched as A (who tends to lay horizontally toward the bottom of my uterus) reached out to hit his sister's bottom, in an effort to get her to give him more room. We've seen B wave her hands when the ultrasound probe was hovering near her face (she really doesn't like it). Last week, we saw A using my bladder as a chair - which, incidentally, explains a lot!

We did have a bit of a scare last week, when my cervix began to shorten. The next evening, we ended up at the hospital with pre-term labor. The contractions were painless, more of a tingly sensation really, and so I didn't recognize them for what they were at first. When I finally thought to time them, they were between seven and nine minutes apart, for over an hour. Thankfully they began to ease on their own, and by the time the nurse got the monitor on me they had mostly stopped. I did learn, though, that the stabbing pain I usually associate with round ligament pain is actually a contraction. Boo.

After a week of bedrest, my cervix seems to be holding and I am allowed to resume "normal" life - with some restrictions. I still need to take it easy, and get lots of rest. We are at 22 weeks, 4 days - so those babies still have a while to bake!

Thursday, February 4, 2010


My mom tells a story about my toddler days: she had given me some Cheerios, and one of them wasn't perfectly round. Apparently I had a very serious problem with this, and threw a temper tantrum the likes of which no other child could ever replicate. This doesn't surprise me; I like things the way I like them. I tend to think I'm just particular - but truth be told, the word for it is stubborn. (Why, yes, I was that child who drove my mom to read "The Strong-Willed Child." Why do you ask?)

C, on the other hand, is the kindest, gentlest person on the planet. He is a peacemaker at heart. But when he has his mind made up about something, he can be rather...stubborn about it. (Of course, while I still throw temper tantrums, C is much more polite and laid-back. He takes a matter-of-fact, you-can-believe-whatever-you-want-but-it-doesn't-change-my-mind approach.) So I don't know what we expected from our children, but it seems we may be in for a dose of our own medicine.

At yesterday's appointment (which went incredibly well, by the way), the doctor spent a very long time trying to coax the babies into positions where we could see their little boy or girl parts. She used a multitude of ultrasound wands, came at them from different angles, everything she could think of. Finally, after spending an eternity trying to get a good look at Baby A, she moved on to Baby B. It was as if the little monkey knew what we were trying to do. As soon as B came into focus on the screen, the baby crossed his/her legs. Seriously. Even the doctor was laughing.

So now we have to wait until our next appointment to try again; hopefully they will be more cooperative! My doctor sends all twin pregnancies to the high-risk OB for an in-depth, high-powered ultrasound to make sure everything looks ok, so that is next on the schedule for us. We don't know when the appointment will be just yet, but it should be in the next 3 weeks or so.

In the meantime, it was really good to see "my" doctor. As much as I appreciated Dr. No-Bull, his focus was just to get us pregnant and through the first trimester. Dr. S, on the other hand, was with us through everything prior to our IVF cycle. She dried my tears and kept hope alive for me when I was ready to give up. And now, she is part of the group of doctors who will help me bring my babies into the world. Whereas I might have felt a little silly unburdening my anxieties on Dr. No-Bull (he wasn't exactly the comforting type), I had no problem yesterday pouring out all my fears to Dr. S. I felt really reassured after our conversation.

The other great thing about our appointment yesterday: while we were waiting for the ultrasound room to open up, I told the nurse about all the scary stories I've heard recently. She got out the Doppler and let us listen to both babies' heartbeats, so I didn't have to wait any longer to know that they were still doing ok.

Today I am riding the high that I get every time I see them. It becomes a little more real with each ultrasound!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Kicking Gray to the Curb

Time for a change, don't you think?

It's winter, and while I'm sure the sun still exists somewhere, here in the Midwest everything is gray and dead-looking. Even the snow no longer looks white; it's dingy and black in places. For a long time that's how I felt: gray. Ugly. Empty. There are still days when I feel that way, because when you walk through a valley, it takes a while to step out of the shadow. But for today, as much as I love the cow picture, I can't take any more gray. (If you want to know why on earth I would love a picture of a cow on a beach, click here.) Ironically, as I look at my new blogskin, I just realized that I used the same color palette we've been thinking about for the nursery. Hmmm. Guess I like it!

We have our very first ultrasound with the regular OB today. It's hard to believe that we have already passed the 16 week mark! Hopefully we will be able to find out the babies' genders today. If not, though, I will be thrilled just to see that they're doing ok. I've still been struggling with anxiety a lot. (Thanks to everyone who commented and emailed me about having the same experience!! I felt better to know that I'm not the only one who freaks out about these things.)

In the humor department, I heard through the grapevine that my dad was telling everyone we're having two boys. I didn't pay too much attention until he left me a voicemail message about how excited he is that the babies are boys, and how he can't wait to have grandsons and do little-boy-things with them. Um...ok, Dad, do you know something I don't? Seriously!! I guess he told everyone on his side of the family...I will be cracking up if they both turn out to be girls.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

A Case of the Grump Bugs

I am not a morning person. If it is anytime before noon, I'm grumpy, and if you get too close to me, you'll find out why Oscar the Grouch is my favorite Sesame Street character. You'll also find out that I have a stunning right hook.

My mother, on the other hand, has the dubious distinction of being one of "those" people. You've met the type - perpetually bubbly and happy. When you want to pull the covers back over your head, this is the person who stands by your bedside, cheering you on like the leader of the pep squad. Now that I'm older, I recognize this phenomenon as brain damage brought on by years of caffeine over-consumption. (I write this with all affection - my mother is truly an incredible woman, and I love her with all my heart. She's just overly cheerful sometimes, and not.)

When I was little, my mother's response to my cranky, anti-social behavior was to swat away all of the "grump bugs" that only she could see swarming in my air space. She would wander around, smacking her hands together as if she had caught a fly, and exclaim, "Got one! Oh - wait - got another one!" (In the interests of full disclosure, I must admit that I recently pulled this stunt on C. Suffice to say, it didn't go over well. But that didn't stop me from smacking the air with glee, killing off all the grump bugs...)

I need someone to swat away my grump bugs today. It's 3:09 PM, well after noon, and I am in a bad mood. Maybe it's because I just had to explain to my boss that confidential pay rate information needs to be password-protected if it's stored in a place that others can access. (Um, hello? Did you really think that was ok?)

Realistically, though - it probably has more to do with pregnancy hormones, and my frustration over having to wait another week until I get to see A and B again. I haven't seen them since last Monday, and I've fallen off the high of watching them move and knowing that they're okay into the deep abyss of fear and the land of what if. I just read about another blogger who lost one of her IVF twins recently. I don't have any words for that. It is my worst fear.

So, now that I don't have any tears left to cry, I am reminding myself that my babies are in the Hands of the Most High God - and whatever happens, good or bad, He is in control. And between those reminders (and the occasional muttering about my boss), I'm swatting away the grump bugs with my own favorite remedy: pictures of A and B. (Check out the close-up of A's brain! Cool!)