Wednesday, September 29, 2010

33 Weeks (or) A Temporary Detour to L & D

Yesterday I went in for my weekly Dr.'s appointment.

The sono tech waved her wand and found the boys to be just where we left them - head down and happy as can be.

Baby A weighed in at 4 lbs. 12 oz, and Baby B at 4 lbs. 15 oz.

Their heartbeats are fine, their development fine, their outlook on life just jolly.

Then we had to do the blood pressure, weigh-in, all that fun stuff before we could begin everyone's favorite game - the non-stress stress test.

My blood pressure registered slightly elevated (not surprising as I was probably deeply considering how I was going to get Baby A to sit still while I tried to sit uncomfortably still myself for 40 min.) so my Dr. told me she wanted to wheel me down to labor and delivery to run some more tests.

Happy to be pushed anywhere (I've been eyeing the motorized carts in Target for about 4 weeks now), I climbed into the wheelchair and Marcel, my mom and I made our way over for more tests.

After getting settled in the bed I tried to come up with the perfect words to use when calling Chris so as not to alarm him. I decided to leave out "labor and delivery", "bed rest", "could be having babies today" and "scared."

I knew he would ask enough questions though that those words would eventually have to be used.

"Yes, there could be bed rest. Yes, there could be babies today. No, I'm not scared."

The upside of waiting on further tests was that I got to do the stress test in the hospital bed lying on my side.
We squished Baby A good and managed to have both babies on the monitor for over 40 minutes.

My mom and I both felt in our heart of hearts that everything was going to be okay.

We turned on Everyone Loves Raymond and tried to figure out if we'd be able to leave the hospital before rush hour started.

As I laid there my blood pressure readings went from slightly high, to not high, to normal to barely alive.

Seriously, after about 40 minutes I had almost fallen asleep.

Who says those hospital gowns aren't comfortable?! (Possibly the most comfortable thing I've had on in months.)

Blood work all came back normal and I was given the green light to go home.

A slight detour but no cause for concern. Just a good group of proactive Dr.'s doing their best to make sure our family is well taken care of.

We have a 38 week c-section scheduled for November 1st.
In the meantime, we'll continue our weekly visits and see what happens.

Just to ensure that the boys do stay put a little longer I now have my hospital bag packed and ready to go.

Cause of course, when you don't have it packed is when they'll come.

Onward to 34 weeks!

Monday, September 27, 2010

A Journalin' We Will Go

Anyone that knows me well knows that I love to journal.

The first journal I ever got was given to me by my Dad when I was about 7 years old. It had a bear being lifted into the sky by a bunch of helium balloons, and even had it's own number coded lock on it so no one could snoop.
(I would include a photo but it's tucked safely away in my folks attic.)

I remember the first thing I journaled about - my Brownie troop trip to the Dallas zoo.

I'd love to tell you I've been journaling ever since, but 'tis not the case.

It wasn't until 1998 that I started writing again, and it wasn't until 2002 that I started doing it consistently.

Since '02 I've filled up quite a few journals.

(The Dream Journal isn't really dreams - it was probably just on sale the day I needed another journal.)

It may not look like that much, but if you could see the handwriting inside you'd understand - it's tiny.

Did I write everyday? Of course not. But I think the longest gap was maybe 4 months.

It's hilarious and inspiring and moving to read back over those journals now. It's absolutely unbelievable how much of your life you forget about.
And how much of it you remember incorrectly.

My journals continue to be invaluable to me and I love keeping up with them.

Sometimes I'll look back on them and see what I was doing this time a year ago, two years ago, what have you.
And sometimes I'll just randomly open to a day and see what antics I was getting up to that day.

It only makes sense then that one of the greatest joys I've had in this pregnancy is not only journaling about it for myself, but starting the boys their very own journals.

Yes, one for each.

The journals contain handwritten letters to the boys, one for every week of the pregnancy. I tried to keep the letters short so I would keep doing it. And I tried to write about random things during the week, things I wouldn't otherwise remember.

Pregnancy is 40 weeks long but no babies are actually in existence until week 3. So for the first few entries I was just hoping and dreaming (and still writing in the singular sense).

Here are a couple of entries from the first trimester. (You can click on them to make them bigger).

I don't expect that the boys will make much sense of these letters until their later years, but I do hope some day they'll find the journey of their anticipation interesting.

And they might journal themselves, and they might not.
Their Dad journals erratically so there's definitely going to be lots of exposure to the idea.

But whether they do or they don't, I know I'll have lots of notes for them to look back on.

Sunday, September 26, 2010


I figured out why over the last few months I've been avoiding the blog.

I was trying to avoid having the blog be all about pregnancy and babies.
I get that your own pregnancy and your own babies are never as interesting to other people as they are to you.

But then I realized - that's our life now, and the blog has always been about our lives.

When it started, the blog was all about engagement. (Which I'm sure some people didn't find interesting.)
Then about the wedding. (Which my own husband probably even bored of from time to time.)
Then about Turkey. (I don't think that was much of a bore to anyone!)
Then about re-entry to America.
Then pregnancy.

"Don't bury the lead," Chris says.

My bedside table use to have 4 travel books, one education book and one fiction book. Now it has 4 How to Raise Twins books, one fiction book and a Real Simple magazine.

My closet use to have high heeled shoes and running shorts and boots. Now it has maternity clothes, a double stroller and a nursing pillow.

So yeah, the blog is going to be about pregnancy and babies for awhile. And I think I'm coming around to being okay with that.

It's called The So that's what it's about.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

First Day of Fall

A good deal of non-US residents read our blog and today's post is for them.

It's now officially Fall in America.

Fall is by far my favorite season of all.

Apple pies, Halloween candy, pumpkin bread, football, the start of school, cooler weather, soft sweaters, big turkeys, pumpkin patches, hay rides, carnivals, State Fair of Texas, cider, elections, my birthday...I don't think there's a single thing about Fall I don't like.

If you came to the States right now and went shopping, you'd see pumpkins and fall leaves and orange candles and Halloween costumes and candy for sale in every store.

I just randomly picked three major US based retailers websites and you can see immediately how Fall is marketed in the States.

(Though most of this stuff starts appearing right after the 4th of July.)

It's not the things you buy though that makes the Fall so special for me.

Fall holds a special place in my heart because it's when Chris and I first starting dating all those many moons ago. It's our season. Every time the weather gets cooler and the leaves begin to fall, it feels like it's our time.

It's a pretty neat thing that the boys will be born in the fall. It will be the season of choice for the whole Wehkamp family.

New beginnings abound.

The best way I can communicate all the joys of Fall with those living in England and Spain and Belgium and Turkey and a host of other countries, is by flipping through my old photos.

Fall in the States (and especially in Texas), always means the start to a new football season.
Which to me meant the start of cheerleading.
Yes, I was a cheerleader. See if you can find me.

Then I grew older and started cheering for a new team - from the stands.
Good 'ol Texas Christian University.

I haven't been able to spend every Thanksgiving state-side. Quite a few times I've tried to bring the joy of turkey and over-eating to different parts of the world.

This was 2002 when I convinced a bartender at my favorite Madrid pub to serve a Thanksgiving feast to all my friends.
I think maybe two in the group were American but all the food and festivities were well-received.

The next year I tried to do things on my own in Spain...

I considered this quite a success at the time.

Then there was the year Chris and I tried to inject some Thanksgiving cheer in Ankara.

But it's truly hard to beat this.

Some of my favorite shots always come from The Dallas Farmers Market; it's full right now of squashes and pumpkins and fall flowers.

Halloween - not just for the little kids.

Fall use to always mean the start of a new school year for me. The smells of freshly sharpened pencils and new books and boxes of crayons.

For the first time in a long time, I didn't get to experience back to school this year.

I do miss the children and the teaching - but I also know it will always still be there for me should I chose to go back.

I'm excited about the new adventures we have ahead of us.

It's going to be a fall unlike any other - there's no doubt about that.

Happy Fall to all - both here and abroad.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

32 weeks (or) Medical Community Confirms Wehkamps Parent to Twin Spazzes

A lot of people ask me, nay, tell me, they can't imagine what it would feel like to have two babies in them. Especially in regard to them kicking and moving around.

When we started this twin pregnancy adventure it was Baby B I felt the most. Chris felt Baby B kick a week before A, and B just continued to let himself be known.

B would perk up when the church organ played, he'd start kicking when I got in the car, he was always kicking up a storm when the Dr. would try to get the Doppler on him, so somewhere along the way we decided that B was going to be our spaz.

Around week 30 though, Baby A started making up for lost time. He kicks furiously all through the night and during dinner and just whenever he feels like it really.

So, it should have come to no surprise to me yesterday when the Dr.'s all but gave up on monitoring their heartbeats for 15 min. straight.

We started the appointment with a sono. A really good one where we got to see both babies quite well. I even saw one of them yawn.

They are both head down now and everything about them and me looks great.

I apologize that the photos are so small and not labeled for easier viewing - but Photoshop is angry with me today and I don't feel like fighting it.

This is Baby A. First two are profile and the last one he's looking right at you. The black hole is one of his eyes (kind of scary I know).

Then this is Baby B. Same thing. First two are profiles and the last one he's looking right at you.

And how much do these boys weigh now?...4lbs. 10 oz. each.
Those are some big, healthy boys.

Next we did the non-stress stress test. The most inappropriately named test ever.

It was a first for both the boys and I.

The idea is to strap 3 discs to my belly. One to monitor contractions, one to monitor Baby A's heart rate, and one to monitor Baby B's heart rate.

Then they give you a little thing to squeeze each time you feel the babies kick (I asked if I could just duct tape the button down.)

The nurse put the monitor on Baby B and tried to anchor it down.
He promptly moved and kicked it off.

She tried A.
A moved and kicked it off.

After about 5 minutes of positioning, gel, and patience, we got both babies on the monitor.

The nurse left and it was just my dad and I.

Five minutes into the monitoring my dad noticed a red light start blinking on the monitor and also noticed the paper report wasn't coming out anymore. I asked him to please go get a nurse because I was not going to start this all over again.

Maybe here is where I mention that lying back on a table strapped to 3 belts and 32 weeks pregnant with two almost 5 pound babies in you is not even a little bit comfortable.

The nurse came in, and sure enough, monitor out of paper.

My dad told me "see, I could work here."

The refilled the machine and told me we would have to start over anyway since the last 4 minutes had only recorded one baby.

The nurse tried to get Baby A back on the monitor and was amazed that she could actually feel him kicking the disc off right when she had it where she wanted it.

This back and forth went on for about 20 more minutes before Chris called to make sure everything was alright since he hadn't heard anything from me.

Yep, I said. Your sons are just being themselves - total spazzes.

We gave up on me clicking the button every time I felt the babies move because the nurse and Dr. both figured that aspect of things was fine.

We also soon gave up on the contraction disc after the Dr. asked me "do you think you're having any contractions.?"

"Um, no. I don't think so," seemed to appease the Dr. and that disc was then ignored.

The Dr. had to actually hold the remaining 2 monitors in place herself. She did this for about 4 minutes and then told me she needed about 10 more minutes and we could go.

At this point, she left.

I was feeling so sick and so hot and so flushed I thought I might pass out. The nurse brought me some water and told then noticed that the babies had moved again.

She got the Dr. and they both noted that they had never seen anything like this before.

Of course you haven't.

So, not only do we get pregnant the first time we try, but we get pregnant with twins - and not just any twins - identical twins. Identical twins who are for all practical purposes already confusing and frustrating their medical team. Awesome.

The Dr. finally turned to me and said "you know, I think we have enough. They're probably fine."

Fine? Ya think? Baby A has been deeply involved in a drum solo for the last 40 minutes and Baby B qualified for the Jr. National pole vaulting team about 10 minutes ago. Yeah, I think they're fine.

The neatest part, if there is one, is how cool it is that I already know my babies so well. When that nurse told me they were going to find the heartbeats and then monitor them for 15 min. straight I so badly wanted to tell her "that is never going to happen." I know these babies. They don't sit still for anything.

Maybe I'll lead with that when we go back next week.

So what's it like having two babies kick around inside you? It's a little bit funny, a little bit annoying and a whole lot of indescribable.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

31 Weeks

I don't know who's in charge of this blog but they need to get their act together.

This has been a big week in the lives of the yet unborn Wehkamp boys.

On Sunday they got to listen to Daddy yell at the first football games of the season.
(Some games more than others.)

We chose their pediatrician, went to a meeting about how to deal with sibling rivalry, and today got to see them live on the big screen again.

I feel more confident than ever in my belief that one of the biggest upsides or having twins is the plethora of sonograms you get to have.

We got the 3D turned on today via our eager request (our Dr. humors us...I think it's his way of pitying the sleep deprivation he knows we have coming in a few weeks!)

I'm currently 31 weeks pregnant. Baby A is weighing about 4 lbs and Baby B about 4 lbs. 5 oz.
Believe me when I tell you I can feel every pound of them!
I have been very blessed in not having many of the common symptoms associated with pregnancy - but this belly - it's no joke.
And the babies in it - they're an active crew.

I was just sure the other day that Baby A was going to break skin.

Here's the profile we got of Baby B today. He is currently head up so we got a good peek at him.

Dr. Jenica says his nose looks so big because it's smushed up against my uterus.
My mom says he looks like Chris.

I just say I love him so freaking much!

A is head down and was facing away so we'll try for him another day.
He may be camera shy but he holds nothing back when it comes to punching and kicking.

I think we were hasty in our prediction that B would be our spaz.

They're both going to be spazes!

Next appointment is Tues. and we'll keep going every week until either 38 weeks, or until there is any sign of stress on me or the babies. At this point there's no indication that things shouldn't continue progressing normally.

I'll talk to the blog manager and make sure updates are sent more regularly.