Tuesday, May 26, 2009

31 Weeks, 5 Days and still chugging along!

VA Shower
A couple of weekends ago Js sister and mother threw us our 2nd baby shower down in Virginia. It was at her new house which turns out is perfect for hosting baby showers! :) We got a lot of really adorable clothing and gifts. But more importantly we got to see some of our friends from when we used to live down in VA -- many of them have not seen J at all during this pregnancy, so they were all shocked at her size! The shower was absolutely perfect - except the swollen feet J ended up with. The weather was really nice but it was a little warm. So after being on her feet at the shower for a few hours and then spending the rest of the afternoon and evening with some of our friends, Js ankle and foot bones had completely disappeared! That night we went out with 4 of our close friends to PF Ch.angs for dinner. The waiter really took a liking to us and especially to J and her belly. At the end of the meal he brought us our fortune cookies but insisted that he go around the table and each person pick a cookie and give it to someone at the table, and then that person takes one and gives it to someone else, and so on so we were gifting fortunes to each other. In the end, M picked the last fortune and gave it to J, when she opened it up the back of the fortune had the chinese word for "Mother"! How weird is that! M's fortune had the chinese word for "On Time" - so we're hoping that means the girls are going to come out at the right time and not too early!!

NJ Shower
This past weekend was our final shower and it was at our place in NJ. Originally it was going to be at Ms brothers and his wife's place in NYC, but the guest list was a little too big for their tiny apartment so we had it at our place instead. It was really a great day and we are so grateful for everyone that came and showered us with lovely gifts! We played a little game where everyone had to guess at the size of J's belly around. We had played the same game the previous weekend at the shower in VA and were quite surprised to find that Js belly had grown 2 inches in just 1 week!!

Our nursery has really come a long way from the old spare bedroom/office it used to be! We've got two fully assembled and bedded cribs, but we still need the protective crib pads in them. The changing table is ready to go, but we still need a changing pad. The toy box is assembled and full of blankets for now. The dresser and closet are both full of adorable pink clothes and we only need a few more things to complete their wardrobes. All in all we are doing pretty well! We even made the largest of our purchases this past weekend - we bought a minivan! We got the fully loaded Honda Odyssey - a real family car :) It is seriously awesome, and we think the girls are going to love riding in it! This coming weekend we plan to finish buying the odds and ends that we still need ... then we should be pretty much ready for their arrival. Speaking of - that is only 6 weeks away (MAX!)! So its a good thing we are getting to the end of our TO DO list! Pictures of the nursery to follow soon!

Last week we had an appointment with our ob. Dr H told us that everything looked and felt great and that there were no signs of pre-term labor. When we were looking at the u/s she pointed out how our girls rib cages were moving up and down. Although they are not breathing, their diaphrams are moving up and down simulating breathing, and seeing this on the u/s is a very good sign that doctors look for but don't always get to see. Dr H also told us that they won't do anything to stop labor if it starts after 34 weeks. She said the drugs they use to hold it off are more dangerous than having the babies at that point. She said their lungs are fully developed by then and the only reason they'd need to be in the NI.CU then would be to put on weight. She said there is a 100% survival rate at 34 weeks. This news sent a wave of relief over both of us since we are currently approaching the end of our 31st week!

This week we have an appointment with our specialist and can not wait to see the girls and how big they have gotten! J really feels every move they make and by the size of their movements we can tell that they are getting really big. Also we can tell how big they are getting by how uncomfortable J has been lately. With all the work that needed to be done around the house (and nursery) sometimes J overdoes it, and then she can't really walk because of the pain she gets in her pubic bone. Luckily if she rests for a day or so the pain subsides and she can move around again. We are really trying to get everything done so we can just sit and relax the last few weeks of our pregnancy. We'd like the girls to stay in there as long as possible and are pretty sure that relaxing is the way to go!

We also have an appointment this week to meet our potential pediatrician. We were given the reference from a friend, and once we found out that the doctor is only 2 miles from our place, takes our insurance, and is affiliated with the hospital where we will be giving birth to our girls, it was a done deal! Hopefully all goes well with the meet and greet on Thursday! It would be great to be able to cross that off of our to do list :)

Friday, May 8, 2009

29 weeks and 29 updates...

This past weekend we had our first baby shower. We are actually having 3 showers in total, but there's a good reason for it (before you go thinking anything bad). Our family and friends are spread from VA up to PA and out to NY. It's really not easy to get them all in one place, and we are so lucky to have awesome sisters/moms/sisters-in-law! The PA shower was thrown by M's sister, Mom, and our sister-in-law. It was mostly M's huge family and also some of our friends and it was fantastic! It was so great to see everyone and all anyone could say to J was how great she looked. Several times she was asked, "are you sure there's twins in there?!" It's true, J has been very lucky gaining weight only in her belly and no where else. From behind you would never know she was pregnant. The night before the shower we were out for dinner and since M could only see from J's bbs up at the table, she also commented that J didn't even look pregnant...until she pushed back from the table to reveal that giant belly!

We got a lot of great gifts at our shower - things we really really need for the girls and also a lot of really ridiculously cute baby clothes! When we got home we unloaded all of the stuff in our living room and it basically looked like a giant pink explosion! Look at these cute little feet!

Tomorrow J's sister/Mom are throwing us a shower in VA. We are really looking forward to seeing J's family and our old friends from that area and even down into NC where J lived for 9 years! Some of them haven't seen J pregnant yet so they will be surprised when they see her!

As for baby updates, last week at our specialist appt, the dr said the girls looked great! They are about 15 inches long and they each weigh about 3lbs. They BOTH actually are weighing a WEEK larger then a SINGLETON would at that same week! CRAZY! No wonder J feels like her belly is so heavy and so large! The ultrasound techinician jokingly remarked that these girls are definitely not starving for nutrition and J should keep doing what she's doing. Both girls are still transverse, which means they are lying horizontal instead of vertical. J often says that she feels like the sides of her stomach are going to split open. The technician actually remarked that it looks painful as they are stretching J's uterus the wrong direction. Aside from the belly stretching, J has had pubic bone pain as well. Who knew the pubic bone was actually 2 bones held together by ligaments (or is it a muscle??)?!? With all the extra relaxin J's body is producing because she's carrying 2, along with her small frame and the weight of the babies, she sometimes has trouble getting up or walking from the pain of her pubic bone being pulled apart. This past Monday J had to take the gestational dia.betes test. She had 5 minutes to drink 5oz of some thick sugary substance that she said just tasted like thick, flat Spri.te. She made M try a finger dip full. ;) We got a call on Wednesday saying that J had passed! PHEW! No 3 hour test for this girl! We were a little more nervous since J had an increased risk since she's carrying twins. Alas, J's still anemic but her numbers are going up and getting closer to normal! Finally!

We had our last class this week as well. It was our breastfeeding class and we found it to be very informative. The lactation consultant/nurse who taught our class actually had twins (boys) so even though we were the only ones carrying multiples in the class, she always stopped to reference how we could do things with two. It was great! Now... if only it is as easy as it looked on the video that was shown.

As for our nursery, we have our 2 cribs, 2 mattresses and our changer/dresser set up. We are having a problem with getting rid of that "new furniture" smell (stain smell? The furniture is E.spresso in color). Does anyone have any recommendations as to how to get rid of the smell? We have had the drawers out of the dresser and the mattresses out of the crib airing out for several weeks now and even wiped down the wood a few times but to no avail. We don't want to put any of the girls clothes in the dresser in fear that they will smell like stain. Any suggestions are greatly welcomed!

We hope all our blogging friends that have recently given birth have a great Mother's Day and we are sending lots of baby dust to those that are in the throws of becoming Mommy's!!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

To Store or not to Store ...

That is currently our big question. All along we thought that the decision to privately bank the blood from our newborns’ umbilical cord was a no brainer. But now we aren't sure if this is something we should be investing in. We have done some research and have come up with the following list of pros and cons:


1. "Just in Case" - Storing stem cells would provide a type of biological insurance, in case our baby or another family member needed a stem-cell transplant or related therapy in the future. Scientists think stem cells may hold the key to treatments and even cures for Par.kinson's, dia,betes and a range of other diseases. And stem-cell transplants are already used to treat some can.cers, and immune, and blood disorders. Wouldn't we want our babies to have their own ready supply of perfectly matched stem cells, just in case? Of course. What parent wouldn't?


1. Expensive - blood collection fees typically range between $1,500 and $2,500, and storage fees run between $100 and $200 per year. And since this is per child, our initial fees and first year costs for the twins would be close to $5,000. Of course, we'd spend any amount of money to protect our children, but is private banking of cord blood really warranted considering the next few Cons ...?

2. No conclusive proof - much of the stem cell promise is still more theoretical than practical. Research has found only a few cases where cord-blood banked "just in case" had actually been used. This is in contrast to the main marketing message of private banks, which promote the idea of children using cells from their own cord blood. Doctors, in fact, won't even use a child's own stem cells for some illnesses, as this could reintroduce the illness into the child's body.

3. Other sources - stem cells can come from other sources, including bone marrow, public cord blood banks and someday possibly even adult cells.

4. Recommendations from the Am.erican Academy of Ped.iatrics and the Am.erican Med.ical Association - both organizations advise against private cord blood banking for most families, as the likelihood of children needing their own banked blood is low. The range of available estimates is from 1:1,000 to 1:200,000. Empirical evidence that children will need their own cord blood for future use is lacking. The exception is when there is a family member who has a current or potential need to undergo a stem-cell transplant. We have a family member with MS, but there is no available research on the benefits of umbilical stem cell transplantation for individuals with MS.

We'd really like to get some of your thoughts/opinions on this topic. Even though our Cons list is much longer than our Pros list, there is still that question of "what if?" that we can't get past. We are hoping someone will say something that will help us with our final decision.

If we do not store our newborn's stem cells for our own use we will most certainly donate it to a public cord-blood bank. Donating to these banks is typically free and the benefits to someone in need can be immeasurable. You can contact the National Marr.ow Do.nor Program at www dot marrow dot org for a list of sites. We wanted to donate to a cord-blood bank specifically dedicated to MS research but as of now we haven't found any sites that are looking for cord blood specifically for MS research.