Pardon the pun. It’s my coping mechanism currently.

I went for the high resolution ultrasound today, fully expecting them to find the bright bowel was a mere blip from old, crappy machinery.

No such luck.

Bright bowel is still there, and after an incredibly thorough ultrasound, the perninatologist went over the results with me. He said the brightness was visible through the whole bowel, though still sounded confident that it was very likely nothing. He went over my options, and sent me for blood work to be tested for infections and cystic fibrosis. If my CF test comes back negative, that’s the end of that story. If I come back as a carrier of a CF strand, J will then need a blood test to see if he’s a carrier, too. I guess it’s only if both parents are carriers of a CF strand that there’s a chance the baby will be born with it. The doctor says the chances are like 1% of cases–he’s only seen one birth with echogenic bowel that resulted in cystic fibrosis. He said the chances of infection are really low, as well, as he saw no other symptoms of infection in the ultrasound.

So that brings us to the big one: Downs Syndrome. As I mentioned yesterday, echogenic¬† bowel is a soft marker for DS. The doctor talked about the options that were open to us if we wanted to continue testing (amnio), though said this is really only a recommendation when the chances are greater than a 1 in 200 chance (greater than? less than? I hope you know what I mean). We’re just above that. As a result of our blood work and our NT scan, Baby B had about a 1 in 1600 chance of having DS. Echogenic bowel increases your odds 6 fold, so we’re sitting at about a 1 in 250 chance (the doctor did the math–I trust his more than my own). He said the risks connected to the amnio are nearly on par with the actual chances of finding Downs, and frankly, I’m not prepared to do an amnio at this point. And really…what are we going to do about it at this point?

The doctor kept repeating that he saw no other markers for Downs, and that both babies are growing really well. That was comforting.

Then came the news about Baby B’s kidney situation. Neither him nor his ultrasound tech could find Baby B’s left kidney, leading them to believe that this kid will likely be born with 1 kidney only. Not the end of the world, he explained, but I felt like a frigging truck hit me over.

There is still a chance that they’ll find the kidney at another scan, but they couldn’t see anything this time, nor could they see any blood vessels going to it. Again, the doctor didn’t seem concerned and said there are no real health issues related to people born with 1 kidney. It’s very common, blah blah blah.

All I could think about, though, was SERIOUSLY? Haven’t we been through enough? It’s like this whole stupid roller coaster never ends. As soon as I start to feel comfortable and settle into this pregnancy, I’m bowling-balled with shitty news. I’m feeling pretty sorry for myself today, and am just hoping against hope that we go for a future ultrasound and everything is magically okay. I appreciate the fact that the doctor was so positive about everything, but I just want two perfectly healthy babies. A lot to ask, I guess.

Ugh. This parenthood thing is hard, and these babies aren’t even born yet.

-Wishing things were easier Family Van.

We had another OB/GYN appointment today, which I was anxiously awaiting for after our growth ultrasound two weeks ago. I had it done at the same lab that did our anatomy scan, with the same tech, so I was pretty comfortable with the routine. The tech was great both times, though this most recent one was a little harrowing.

Everything seemed to be chugging along as usual–I wasn’t nearly as anxious as I was for the anatomy scan. We knew everything was there and was okay. As far as I was concerned, this ultrasound was just to make sure both babies were “sharing nicely”, as my OB/GYN always says. Sometimes twins can be resource hogs, I guess, and one takes all the good stuff away from the other. From all I’ve read, that’s more common with identical twins, as they share more stuff in utero, but anyway…

So she was scanning my belly and using an unusually large amount of jelly on my belly (it rhymes!), but this happened last time, too. I was digging that stuff out of crevices for hours. I’m pretty sure when my belly button finally pops out, so will all kinds of dried up ultrasound goo. Delicious. Anyway, she started with Baby A, as per usual, with nothing too exciting to report. Baby B’s scan seemed fine, until the end. She said she needed to go show something to the doctor on staff.

Um…what? Can you fill me in here, lady?

She asked me to de-pants myself while she was gone so she could measure my cervix, so I was lying there, pants-less and afraid, but trying not to spazz. She said nothing when she came back, and proceeded with the dildo cam. I felt so used. So cold. So sticky from all that ultrasound jelly.

She sent me off with more pictures, including two updated 3D pictures of the babies’ faces, but again, Baby B looked like a Melty Face. Baby A is getting cuter and cuter, which makes me hope even more they’re not the same gender.

So let’s skip ahead past the 2 weeks of imagining the worst and waiting for a phone call from my doctor telling me some awful news. When none arrived, I figured nothing was actually wrong with the scan, so I could relax.

Wrong. Well, sort of.

My doctor told me today that Baby B showed a spot of “bright bowel” on the ultrasound, or echogenic bowel syndrome, if you want to be fancy about it. He said he sees it all the time, it’s super common, and he’s not concerned. I wish I could say the same. He said possibilities for causes could be that the baby drank blood (am I housing two tiny vampires?), has an infection, or it was a crappy ultrasound machine. Echogenic bowel syndrome is also a “soft marker” for chromosomal defects, I was told, though the doctor feels that with the great results we got from the NT scan and blood work, the chances of something like this are tiny, tiny, tiny.

Still there, though, so…freaking out a little.

Tomorrow morning I’ll go for a high resolution ultrasound with a perinatologist at the hospital. The good news: I’ll get results right away from the doctor conducting the ultrasound. J asked about whether we should be worried about Baby B’s melty face. Our doctor suggested I ask the doctor tomorrow for a better picture, but assured us he’s never delivered a baby “with no face”.

Ugh.

So bottom line is this: dull bowels are happy bowels. Fingers crossed for the dullest bowels ever tomorrow, for everyone concerned.

Baby B Baby A

-Fingers crossed Family Van.

So it’s been a minute since I last reported on my pregnant self. Lots to share!

I’m a few days shy of being 21 weeks, and I’m not going to lie: I’m sad to think that this pregnancy is more than half over. Never in my life have I felt so good, so full of life (literally–HA!), nor have I ever had so many compliments. Pregnancy suits me. I look good, I feel good, and I freaking LOVE this big ol’ round belly. We were at a wedding this past weekend, and rented a hotel room. Upon entry into the room, I stripped down to my birthday suit and proceeded to run back and forth. Pregnant nudie bodies are hilarious, even more so when they’re in motion!

Anyway, let’s back track a little, because there’s been some major events that have gone on. At about 16 weeks, I felt like something wasn’t quite right, and thought it could perhaps be a bladder infection of some sort. I didn’t know who to call, or what to do. Do I go to a walk-in clinic? Do I call my OB? I called my OB, and the nurse told me I could see the doctor if I got there early, so off we went. I was kind of paranoid because my pee hadn’t been tested when I saw him for the first time (a week or two before). When I described the feeling to him, he told me it was probably just round ligament pain, and that I shouldn’t be worried. He listened to the babies’ heartbeats, and I was really happy to see that little machine get pulled out. He stayed on my left side, so we only heard one heartbeat.

But there’s two babies in there…

I think I said something about only hearing one, and he told me you usually only hear one at this stage with twins. “They’re on top of each other”, he said, even though every scan I’d had showed they were next to each other. What was also disconcerting was the fact that a week or two before at our initial appointment, he was shocked to hear two distinct heartbeats.

I held it together until I got into the car, and then…explosion of pregnant lady freak out crying. Sobbing, ugly crying about disappearing twin syndrome, dead babies inside of me, the whole deal. Poor J. He suggested we find an ultrasound clinic and pay out of pocket for an ultrasound to calm my nerves. My anatomy scan was two weeks away, which seemed like a lifetime.

I ate a taco, we bought a car seat, and I calmed down a little.

Sort of.

I waited the two weeks for the anatomy scan, but was still so so so worried that we wouldn’t find two live babies in there. Oh, I should mention, too, that the doctor said something like, “We’ll have to wait to the anatomy scan to see if there’s two” or something like that, though J swears that I misunderstood what the doctor meant.

Anyway, J wasn’t allowed to come in with me at the beginning of the anatomy scan. They’d call him in later. I could kind of crane my neck to see the screen, and saw the 4 beautiful chambers of Baby A’s heart. I got some comfort from this, though it was never A that I was worried about. A is on the left, so that’s who’s heartbeat I heard at the doctor’s.

I had to wait a long time, but ultimately saw the same image for Baby B. Two heartbeats, two beautiful healthy babies.

We got a shit ton of photographs of the babies, including two 3d images of their faces. Baby A looks adorable, but Baby B has a mangled face because s/he was waving his/her arms over his/her face. I have to walk everyone through where the actual face is. I love that I’m the only one who can see it. Sweet little mangled face…

J created a graph to illustrate my nerves vs. ultrasounds. Gotta love engineers…

Idea note_14_01

Here are some photos of the babies. I’ve labelled them in an attempt to make Mangled Face seem a little less so.

Baby A!

Baby A!

Baby B!

Baby B!

 

-The “Still-Pregnant-With-2” Family Van

It’s been a busy couple of weeks around here. Never a dull moment.

This week marks 14 weeks of pregnancy, of which I am so very thankful. This week also marks our first appointment with our OB/GYN. He’s the baby man, so we’ll call him Dr. B.

So because we said hello to one doctor, that means we had to say goodbye to our doctor at the fertility clinic. Our appointment was pretty quick, we got to see the babies again, this time I got a little screen at my head so I had a great view of what was going on. Baby A was crossing its legs–pretty funny to see, and Baby B was bouncing around, as usual. We saw the spines, the hands and fingers, the feet and legs, and best of all, two absolutely proportioned noses. No more beaks on these two! Their crown to rump measurements were smaller than their gestational age by a couple of days, no biggie, but their biparietal measurement was like a week ahead of schedule. These kids are going to have giant melon heads! This should not come as news–my husband and his cousin were famous for their enormous heads. My mum let me know that my brother’s was massive, too. Ouch, is all I have to say about that.

We met with the doctor after the ultrasound and he reviewed the NT results–both babies look great. He gave the shpeel on cord blood banking and thinking about what we want to do with frozen embies, and then walked us out. I was already near to tears (I’ve mentioned the Kristen Bell sloth video on here before, I think, and how this. is. my. life), but put out my hand despite my impulse to hug him.

“Oh, we don’t shake hands at the end of this, we hug”, he told me, and all I could think was, “that’s all I wanted to do!”. I cried a little as he talked to us a little bit more, and felt really kind of sad and alone while leaving the building. Who was going to take care of us all now? We’ve been seeing this doctor on the regs for a year now. He did both my surgeries. We have HISTORY.

Anyway, I pulled myself together and soldiered on.

Then today.

Dr. B works out of the hospital where we’ll be having the babies. The birthing suites are beautiful, and look more like hotel rooms than hospital rooms. The NICU is a level III, though we’re obviously hoping we won’t have to find out how great it is because we’ll have two healthy babies.

It didn’t feel right, though, going to this giant hospital and not being familiar with how things ran there. I felt really uneasy and all I wanted was to be back at the clinic with the doctor I knew and the system that I knew. Sign up for ultrasound, take the number, sign up to see the doctor, sign up for bloodwork, wait and watch the fish.

We were super early to the meeting, so J suggested we play a game on his phone. He didn’t know until I told him after, but I had a little cry while waiting to meet Dr. B.

Update: Dr. B is awesome. He had so much time for us, was relaxed, and we got to hear the heart beats for the first time. No ultrasound, but it was really cool to hear two distinct heart beats. He didn’t think we’d be able to differentiate them, but Baby B is still faster than Baby A.

Now I’m relieved. I know I’m in good hands. He gave us the stats from the NT scan (which we didn’t get from the clinic), and Baby A’s odds were 1 in 1600, and Baby B’s were 1 in 1400. He said these were great results, especially given my age (odds should have been more like 1 in 350). Way to overachieve, babies!

In other news, we started telling people our news. Friends, I mean, family had known forever. I had a major spazz on Sunday, knowing that J was out there spreading the news. Shit suddenly got…real. I was so afraid that something would get jinxed, even though we had waited a good amount of time. It was nerve-wracking. I cried. Obvi.

So that’s what’s happening right now. I’m starting to show a little, I told my class (the story is awesome, but I’ll save it for another time), and most other teachers know now. It’s so nice to not have to hide my expanding belly, and I love how it pokes out in tight dresses.

Now, I’m off to eat some tacos!

-Will Probably Cry Before The Night Is Done Family Van.

Apparently, my digestion history has been pretty textbook. I ate, I pooped, I burped a little, and occasionally (!) let out some toots.

As a result, I have no idea what is currently happening to my body. I keep getting these little puke burps, and it feels like I have all of this food stuck in my chest, kind of at the point between my ribs. Is that indigestion? Last night I had a total, actual pukefest after feeling awful for the past couple of days with zero appetite. So awful, in fact, that I couldn’t really sleep because it felt like the food hadn’t gone down properly.

So what is this? I woke up feeling fine, but then after eating breakfast, the same feeling of trapped food and pukey burps is back. I feel like an idiot asking my doctor about it, because I’m 33 years old. Shouldn’t I know what indigestion is? Google searching “vomit burps” hasn’t helped either so now I’m kind of at a loss. I’m nit really worried, I just would like to know what this is.

Thanks for any insight, ladies. Your help is much appreciated!

-Puke-filled Family Van.

Apparently, I teach the most intuitive Grade 5 and 6s ever. They’re on to me and my little secret(s).

One of my students asked to speak to me privately today after school. She was beside herself because she’d used my phone earlier in the day to translate words from English to French (I teach a French program), and she accidentally hit the browser button.

“I saw the page you were on”, she said.

Okay…I had no idea what she was talking about and panicked a bit at possible swear words or something she had seen (note to self: be more aware of what’s on your phone before handing it off to students).

“It said something about motherhood…?”

This is the sweetest, most lovely student I may have ever taught, and I could see how awful she felt for having seen anything. She then proceeded to tell me that a bunch of students have been talking, and they’re all convinced (“conVINCED!”, she tells me) that I’m pregnant. They’ve seen a bump, and they just know that their teacher is preggers.

What.

The.

Hell.

What do I do with this? Of course, I can’t think on my feet and I’m honest to a fault. It never occurred to me that I could lie about it (seriously, how hard is it to say, “that was for a friend”, or “I was researching something”?).

So I admitted it to her and told her she has to keep it quiet for another two weeks. As if I’m asking an 11-year old to keep a secret for me.

In other news, I guess I’m showing more than I thought…

-Big Ol’ Pregnant Family Van

12 weeks, 1 day today! Hooray!

We had our NT scan today, which I was super nervous about for a couple of reasons. The first was that I hadn’t seen the babies post-SCH scare, and was more than a little paranoid that something had happened to them between the scan we had two weeks ago and today. The second was normal NT scan fears: what was that magic number going to be?

Turns out, no reason to be nervous on either front. Both babies are doing great and were wiggling around in there like crazy. They’re positioned next to each other, and I guess Baby B is kind of a space hog and kept pushing Baby A over and out of the way. J got a better view of them for most of the appointment, but I saw them a bit, too. Baby A was waving its hand at the beginning of the scan, and Baby B jumped. Funny. Baby A was super cooperative, and had its measurement taken easily. 1.1mm. We’ll take it.

Baby B was not so cooperative, and was giving the ultrasound tech a hard time, wiggling around in all the wrong positions. She got it eventually, and that measurement was 1.6mm. Both well under 2.5mm, so the doctor says we’re in great shape.

We got a clear profile of Baby A, and holy crap, that kid’s got a massive nose! I’m hoping it’s just the angle they got him/her at, because it looks like a freaking beak! Now, I knew big noses were a distinct possibility. I am married to a man who has a big nose (and I think makes him very handsome!), but this is kind of ridiculous!

We’re tossing around the name Cyrano. What do you think?

That is one super sniffer!

That is one super sniffer!

-A Very Happy Family Van

Not quite as good as Jerry’s here, but pretty solid nonetheless.

11 weeks, 3 days of nausea, yes, but puking, no.

Except for today. Cue Pukey McPukes a lot making an appearance as soon as I get to school this morning. Here’s the really sick part, though:

I kind of liked it. For the first time, I felt like I’m pregnant. Let’s be honest, though, I don’t think I’d like it so much if it hadn’t been such a novelty. Daily pukes? No thanks.

In other news, there has been no more bleeding since last Thursday. There was a bit of brown spotting for a few days after, but hardly anything. For this, I am truly grateful.

-Pukey McPukes, aka The Family Van.

Today was frigging terrifying.

The day started out normally enough, though I didn’t get a seat on the subway and it was so hot in there. I kept taking off layers of clothes, but still felt like I was on fire. The roads were super icy, too, so the bus I take to complete my commute detoured, as the main street was closed due to buses sliding down it. I took my usual bus nap, and woke up thinking, “Where the hell am I?”. I got to school a lot later than normal, but so did a lot of people. The roads were a mess.

Things continued to chug along, and despite an indoor recess due to…snow?…everything was normal. At the beginning of the period before lunch, though, I felt a little gush, like the discharge I used to feel from the progesterone suppositories, but I hadn’t felt that in quite a while. I thought it odd, but that was it. Then I felt another one. Then another one. This continued for most of the 50 minute period, and I started to freak out a bit. What was going on down there? I had to wait until lunch to find out that I was bleeding quite heavily. When I went to the washroom, I also passed two small, but still there clots, and proceeded to lose my mind a little bit. All I could think about was that I was losing my babies, and I didn’t know what to do.

I called J, who was a total superstar during this whole ordeal, and he jumped in a cab to meet me at school. Of course, today would be the day that the roads would lead to major traffic delays, but he got there. I had a hell of a time trying to get a hold of my doctor, but when I did, he told me to come to the clinic.

The cab ride there felt like an eternity, and I worried that I was going to leave a huge bloody puddle on the seat of the cab. I’m pretty sure I didn’t, but I also didn’t check. Once we got to the clinic, we waited for a really long time to see the doctor, at which point he told us to have an ultrasound done, which we waited for, as well. At this time of the day at the clinic, they are running the full pelvic ultrasounds for pregnant women (I’m assuming), so all of the ultrasound rooms were taken, and those exams take a really long time.

I should say at this point, though, that had we gone to the hospital, I probably wouldn’t have even seen anyone by now, 4 hours after this whole ordeal began.

The ultrasound tech who saw me is awesome, and even before I went in, she asked if I wasn’t expecting this. I had no idea what she was talking about, but when we got into the ultrasound room, she showed me on my chart that they had found a small subchorionic hematoma (SCH) on my last ultrasound. My doctor hadn’t mentioned it, likely because it was so small he didn’t think anything would come of it. The tech assured me my babies were going to be just fine, and bet me I’d be giving her a hug after she was finished the ultrasound.

She got her hug.

The babies are both fine, have both grown since Monday’s ultrasound, and everything is okay. The doctor spoke with me and explained that the size of the SCH is maybe the size of two peas, while the pregnancy is the size of a small melon at this point. He’s not concerned, and is quite confident most of the SCH is gone, though I may experience more bleeding over the next week. I’ve been instructed to “rest” (i.e., continue watching Frasier on Netflix obsessively), and not to lift anything heavy. He didn’t like the weight of my knapsack, and I was told I have to start taking it easy, whatever that means.

I’m finally breathing normally again, but holy shit, this was one of the scariest experiences of my life. All I wanted was for those two sweet babies to be okay, and they are. I’m not religious, but I am so, so, so very thankful that today turned out the way it did. I thought for sure this was it, that today would mark the worst day of my life, and it’s overwhelming to think of how lucky J and I are that things are going well.

-So Very Thankful Family Van

 

Today marks ten weeks. Those tiny buddies are growing bigger and stronger everyday.

We had an ultrasound today, and saw baby b moving around. Baby a was spread eagled facing the camera…pretty funny. They’re looking more like tiny people and less like blobby goobers. I’m thankful for this.

So far, everything is looking great. Both babies are measuring at exactly ten weeks. Can’t really beat that. Heartbeats looked good today–171 and 180.

Warning! Poop talk ahead! Not for the squeamish!
In terms of symptoms, I’ve had very little of anything that might suggest I’m preggers. I was super bloated last week, which got me excited over my adorable baby belly–until I had a night of rip roaring farts and a couple of good poops and the belly was gone. No one really warned me about the havoc pregnancy wreaks on your digestive system. Oh my. Constipation is in full effect, and having a poop is pretty much the greatest thing ever these days. My doctor asked what I was doing about it. Uh…waiting? I’m not a big pill popper, so I tend to just ride things out. He suggested I try Colace, which I have done exactly once, as the result was a severely clogged toilet. It was like weeks worth of waste just flowed from me. A bit shocking, really. I’m not feeling ready to open those flood gates again quite yet.
End of poop talk.

I’ve been super tired, but on a weird, weird schedule. I take little naps over the lunch hour, using my mittens as pillows, which inevitably results in Mitten Face. I fall asleep promptly upon returning home, and it’s all I can do to shove some food down my throat that passes for dinner. But then I’m up until 12:00+, which is not normal. Usually, I don’t nap but I’m in bed by ten, eleven at the latest. It’s driving my early bed time husband crazy.

My appetite is off, too. All of the foods I once found delicious are gag-inducing at the moment. I would have taken a good spicy shrimp curry any day, and yet even as I type those words, I feel like I’m going to retch. All I wanted were fish tacos last week, but now the thought of those turns my stomach. Weird.

The nausea is there, though I haven’t puked yet. I’m not generally a puker, though, so I’m not overly surprised that I haven’t experienced this particular delight of pregnancy yet.

Generally, I feel great. People keep telling me I’m glowing, though I’m chalking that up to finally opening up the new thing of bronzer I’ve had sitting around instead of using those little left over crumbs. I’m drinking a buttload of water, too. That probably helps.

So overall, things are awesome. I’m so thankful for two happy growing babies in my belly, for still feeling human through all of this, and for a pretty super husband who has been more than a little neglected. I need to do something kind for him. He deserves it.

Progesterone and Estrace stop next week, which is a little anxiety inducing, but that’s a story for another time. Synthroid dosage is being doubled Monday and Friday, though TSH levels were tested today so that may change.

NT scan booked for February 12th. Won’t see the babies again until then. It’s amazing how much I love little blobby goobers already…

In other news, anyone have any recommendations for twin strollers? I’m thinking Phil and Ted’s Promenade. The Bugaboo Donkey looks like a behemoth, and apparently, we all hate big strollers here in Toronto.

-Full Of Love (and babies) Family Van