MicroblogMondays: Almost There

I can’t believe we are still at home.  The babies are holding on tight.  Today we will have our last nonstress test.  If they are still staying put, Annie will have blood test done at the hospital on Wednesday.  Our scheduled C-section is going to be bright and early on Friday.  It’s crazy to know that whether or not we are ready, the babies will come on Friday at the latest.  It still feels very surreal even though our house is looking more and more ready for the babies to come home to.

We got our maternity photos back.  I printed out three of them and hung them on the wall next to the window.  One of them is very sweet: Annie and I were sitting down with my hand on her belly and both of us looking at her belly.  These pictures look great on the wall.  And then last night, Bob and I spent a long time doing this:

The lighting is a bit off because the pictures were taken at night.  In the morning you should be able to see that the walls are beige/yellow and the wall decals are gray and yellow.  We are very pleased with how it turns out.  We had to literally stick each piece on one at a time.  It really took patience, and it pays off big time.  I love how this looks in our nursery.

We were supposed to also put this bible verse right above the dresser/changing pad, but I was too tired after applying the elephant and the giraffe, so it will have to wait.

Annie has also been doing some work.  She put together two baskets; one for the OB’s office and the other one for the hospital nurses.  Inside the baskets there are homemade caramel corn, Baby Ruth, double mint gum, Sour Patch Kids, and Hershey’s kisses.  She also included a card with a picture we took at our professional photo shoot.  I thought that was very thoughtful of her.  And it tells you how good she has been feeling, that she has the energy to do all of that.

I have been calling this past weekend a bonus weekend since I really didn’t think that we’d have it all to ourselves.  It was quite heavenly.  I did a Tar.get run and bought a bunch of essentials.  We enjoyed lunch and dinner at two of our favorite restaurants.  We even took a nap on Sunday just because we could.  The babies are allowing us to enjoy some down time before the craziness begins!

If all goes according to plan, Bob and my mom and I are going to fly out on Wednesday.  We will spend some time with Annie and her family on Thursday.  T-4 days!  We can’t wait to see our babies face-to-face.

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MicroblogMondays: Feeling Silenced

My guy best friend is currently in town from out of state. Whenever he’s around, we always get together.  This time he came one week before his wife did so he could visit his parents with his 7-year-old daughter.  When we were making plans for dinner, my friend alerted me that I’d have to be prepared to explain to his little girl why I had babies coming without having a big belly.  Apparently he hadn’t told her our news yet.  I said I’d be ready to explain. And then he told me that he hadn’t had the talk with little girl about human reproduction yet.  When she asked questions about how babies came about, he told her to ask her teachers.  I guess he was uncomfortable talking about it and really didn’t want to do it at this point.  I told him that 7-year-old is not too early to learn about where babies come from.  He said he’d think about how to talk to her.

Fast forward a week later.  In the afternoon right before our dinner date, my friend called to finalize the details.  Then he asked, “Is it okay if we don’t talk about the babies tonight?”  Honestly I was taken aback by this request.  He went on to explain that he still hadn’t told his daughter about our situation, and he still didn’t know how to explain human sexuality to her.  So he thought that it would be better for us to simply not to talk about our pregnancy or anything that had to do with our preparation.

I don’t know.  I was sitting there with my phone in my hand feeling a little disappointed and sad.  I know that he wasn’t ashamed of our situation.  I know that he does want to celebrate our babies with us.  I know that it was solely his problem of having a hard time with this talk with his daughter.  It is simply his choice of parenting and it is a decision that has nothing to do with me.  But why did I feel that I was less than those who could achieve a pregnancy and proudly present their bumps?  Why did I still experience sadness and disappointment that my best friend could not rise above this situation and use this opportunity to educate his young child about unique ways of building a family?  If I were pregnant with a big bump, this wouldn’t have been an issue for him because then he wouldn’t have to explain how our embryos got transferred into the surrogate.  I know that I am not less than others who physically carry and give birth to their children, but my heart still ached that I could not just proudly talk about our excitement and our future.

Dinner was weird.  Bob and I sat there and talked about everything but our babies and surrogate.  Our life recently has been so engrossed by the preparation for the upcoming birth of our babies that I felt choked by this enforced avoidance of the topic.  It felt so unnatural and tiring to have to consciously watch our words.  When I handed my friend a thank you card for his gift, his little girl asked what it was.  Bob was so smart that he quickly changed the topic to distract the little girl.  And my friend finally asked how we were doing with everything, but it was done in our native language so his daughter couldn’t understand it.

It just made me sad that our joy and pride had become so hush-hush that night.

When we said our good-byes in front of the restaurant, I asked my friend how he was going to explain the sudden appearance of two babies in our life.  He said he’d wait to see if school would teach about human sexuality and go from there.  I know that his choice does not mean that he isn’t happy for us, but it just left a bad taste in my mouth for a few days because we could not openly celebrate this newest chapter of our lives with one of my best friends.

Still Hanging

36 weeks 1 day today.

Today’s OB visit was a growth scan instead of a nonstress test.  Usually Annie and I would do video conferencing so I could see the ultrasound images.  The connection at the clinic for video has been horrible, so I suggested talking on the phone again.  Annie said that she had her two boys with her so she asked if I minded just receiving messages.  Of course I didn’t mind.

I wasn’t super nervous about this.  After all, we have reached 36 weeks already.  But I still had a little bit of nervous energy going into it.

Shortly after the appointment started, Annie messaged me with the babies’ measurements.  She typed “6.04lb” for Baby A and “5.15lb” for Baby B.  Immediately I was alarmed at the difference between the two babies’ weights.  I thought it was really 6.04 pounds and 5.15 pounds.  I was thinking interurine growth restriction and other scary things.  Later, I verified with Annie that those points weren’t decimal points.  She  meant Baby A was 6 lbs 4 oz and Baby B was 5 lb 15 oz.  So there is only a 5 oz difference instead of a whole pound difference.  I know that these measurements could be off, but it was reassuring to know that they are quite big already.

I listened in on the phone while Annie was meeting one of the OBs in the practice (not our usual).  He said that the babies looked good with good weight.  The amniotic fluid was enough.  The blood flow to the umbilical cord was good.  All in all, everybody is doing well.  There is no sign of them coming any time soon.  The doctor said, “It looks that their birthday will be September 15th.”

Poor Annie has been exhausted, uncomfortable, and irritable.  Her hemorrhoid has returned.  She can hardly do anything at home.  Fortunately, we are in the home stretch.  The end is in sight.

I truly truly hope that we can deliver on the day we have planned for.  But I am also prepared for any time sooner.  Looks like no matter what, the babies will be born in September.

Bob is totally giving his red underwear and Batman shirt credit for the great scan today.  Crazy guy.

MicroblogMondays: Clothes and Stuff

We are 35 weeks 5 days today.  Being so close to our scheduled delivery date (and knowing that the babies may come at anytime), we need to pack our bags soon.  I started writing a list of things to pack, and certain things have already been put in the suitcases (such as the car seat adapters for our frame stroller).  One thing that has been stressing me out the most is the babies’ clothes.  Not knowing what size they may be when they are born, what kind of clothes do I prepare for them as their going home outfits?  And we are expecting to stay an extra night at a hotel after being discharged from the hospital before flying back.  So my mind has been going a little crazy trying to figure out what size the babies may wear and how many pieces of clothes to put in the suitcase for them.  Figuring out baby clothes sizes has been a bit confusing.  Different brands’ sizes are little different.  Some run big and some are small.  We saw this outfit and really like it.  However, it is not available in newborn size.  I still bought a pink and a blue 0-3 months ones for the babies and will still bring them on our trip, but I fully expect these outfits to be too big for the babies when they leave the hospital.  I was still a big confused about how many pieces of clothes to prepare in general and what size they should be.  Recently I joined our local parents of multiples group.  This group is super awesome.  Half an hour after I joined the group and was added on Facebook, these parents of twins offered a double jogging stroller for free.   Because I was the first person responded (literally two minutes after the post showed up), we were the ones who got them.  This free stroller is now sitting in our garage waiting for the babies to show up (and hopefully one day will sit in it while Bob goes running with them).  So back to the group.  I posted my questions about what size clothes to prepare and what size clothes these parents’ babies fit into when they were born.  People are so nice.  So many of them answered my questions with their own experience.  After reading all of their answers, my conclusion is that there is no set rule.  Some babies were born heavier (over 6.5 lbs) but fit into preemie clothes.  Some babies were born below 6 lbs and fit into newborn size clothes.  So my take home is, we won’t know until the babies are born and their sizes may not depend on how much they weigh.  The most awesome thing about this group is that there is a preemie closet!  We don’t have to buy any preemie size clothes because we can borrow them to prepare for the twins’ arrival.  Once we are done, either because we don’t need them or because they have outgrown them, we can return the clothes to the group so that the next family can use them.  This is such an amazing thing for parents of multiples and it saves us a lot of money or hassle to have to worry about buying them.  I will go pick up the preemie clothes today so I can pack some in the suitcase to prepare for the trip.  Our babies may not need them but I feel a whole lot better having them around.

Getting closer and closer!

MicroblogMondays: Labor and Delivery Tour and Nonstress Test

Last weekend, Bob left Annie’s town early and I stayed behind one more day to attend the first nonstress test with Annie.  Since I’d be in town, I scheduled a tour at the birth center where the twins will be born.  The nonstress test was scheduled for 11am.  I was going to ask for a tour afterwards.  The OB nurse manager there could only do it earlier, so we scheduled for 10am.  Good thing we did, because the one-hour time window for the nonstress test was a lie.

Let me talk about the tour at labor and delivery first.  The birth center was expanded about a year ago and looked fabulous.  It’s located on the first floor of the back side of the hospital.  While waiting for the nurse to meet us, Annie commented on the security of having the birth center on the first floor, since she had only been to labor and delivery on second or third floor.  I am quite sure that the place is very secured.  You cannot go in and out of the the unit unless you get buzzed in by a staff member.  There are secured doors everywhere that you can’t access to unless you’re being let in.  The OB nurse manager showed us around, and said that having it on the first floor was the only way to have all the space it needed.  Instead of sharing an operation room with the rest of the hospital like it used to be, here they have two operating rooms just for this birth center.  They can staff the OR themselves whenever they need to.  The OR’s back door opens to a hallway that connects to the neonatal intensive care unit, so any babies that need to go in there don’t have to travel far.  The place is huge and seems to be never-ending.

We discussed about the logistics and details of the birth.  Annie has been scheduled for a Cesarean-section on September 15th, which is 38 weeks 2 days.  The babies may come any time between now and then.  But if it is not an emergency C-section, it is very likely that Bob and I as well as Annie’s husband can all be in the OR.  Even the birth photographer that we booked may be able to be present.  Our photographer said she has done it twice in this hospital so I hope that it will happen for us as well.  The nurse manager said that it is not a guarantee, but they often try to accommodate the parents as much as possible.  So it is highly likely that we’ll be able to fit everyone in there.  My friend who used a surrogate there for her twins did it.  So I am hopeful.

After the birth, we’ll have immediate skin-to-skin, as this hospital is called a “baby friendly” hospital.  The babies will be placed on my chest and Bob’s chest if they are both healthy and don’t require additional medical attention.  This hospital also encourages nursing.  For the second time, the OB nurse manager asked me if I’d be doing “re-lactation”, as she already asked me on the phone a few weeks ago.  It’s interesting to use this term because it denotes a prior experience with lactation, which I didn’t have.  I told her that we will try to have Annie hand-express colostrum during her hospital stay, but we will start the babies on formula immediately.  The nurse manager said that the birth center provides donor breast milk if we desire, and all babies in the NICU are fed donor breast milk.  But she understands that this is an expensive endeavor when we return home so she fully supports us whatever decision that we make.  A lactation consultant is available to help with whatever we need 16 hours a day at the hospital.

Bob and I are going to be given a hospital room during our babies’ stay.  The babies will be in the room with us the whole time barring any need for the NICU.  Annie will be recovering in a room next door.  Typically she’ll be released from the hospital in 48 hours.  The babies could also be discharged in 48 hours if they both do well with everything.  I asked if I have to write down all the details for the hospital, but the nurse manager said that there is no need as they will take good care of us.

The visit there was very positive, and now I know exactly where to go and what to expect.  Things may not go exactly according to plan, but it is so good to have some idea of what may happen.  I am so glad that we made this special trip to Annie’s town so the tour could happen.

Okay so what about the nonstress test?  We thought that it was going to be a relaxing time for Annie, but no… it was stressful!  Annie lay down on one of those recliners and got hooked up right away.  Baby A’s heartbeat was easy to find, but Baby B was nowhere to be found.  To say that I was nervous about it was an understatement.  I know that he/she is deeper inside so it will be hard to find him/her, but boy, I was anxious about anything being wrong with him/her.  It took 10 minutes and a second nurse to come in and finally find Baby B.  In the meantime, Annie continued to push that button whenever she felt them move, so she couldn’t just relax.  Those two heartbeat monitors were strapped on her and the nurses left.  After about 10 minutes, both of the babies went offline probably due to movements.  So Annie had to ring a bell for the nurses to return.  Baby A was again easy to find, but Baby B was moving around.  Dr. OB came in to check and said that Baby A was showing us what they wanted, which was for the heart rate to go up and down 15 beats three times.  But Baby B was having a more stable heart rate and had one spike at that point.  So Dr. OB ordered the nurse to use a buzzer to hopefully wake up Baby B.  After that, it was still hard to find Baby B.  Dr. OB eventually pulled in a bedside ultrasound to find the exact location of Baby B’s heart.  At least I got to see Baby B on the ultrasound!  This kiddo has been hiding his/her face from the machine for many weeks now.  The funny thing was, even though they could find the exact location of the heart, the monitor did not always pick it up at that one location.  After Dr. OB left, two nurses kneeled next to Annie, one holding the monitor for A and the other one for B.  I was told to use the buzzer one more time on Annie’s belly to wake up B.  Once that was done, Baby A was probably angry that we woke him/her up and started to react to the buzzer with a heart rate acceleration.  Baby B’s heart rate also started to go up, but took a very very long time for it to come back down to baseline.  Annie and the nurses were joking that I will have a baby who will stay angry for a very long time.  We needed Baby B’s heart rate to go up one more time, so all of us were cheering him/her on by saying “Come on baby!  You can do it!”  Two extra nurses came in to study the print out, and said that we just needed Baby B to perform one more spike.  The nurse who was holding Baby B’s monitor saw it on the screen that the heart rate did spike one more time.  We were so relieved!  It took one surrogate, one intended mom, four nurses, and one OB to finish this very stressful nonstress test.  The whole thing took one hour 45 minutes.

And this is only the beginning.  Annie returned last Thursday for a second nonstress test.  Later on she told us that both babies were doing well, and the test took “only” one hour 45 minutes, again!  I sure hope that it will get easier for Annie because she’ll have to do it twice a week until the day the babies come to this world.  She is such a rock star.  We feel very blessed to have her on our team.

We have at most four weeks four days to go.  Wow…

Update: 32 Weeks

32 weeks today!

We had our growth scan on Monday at 31 weeks 5 days.  I was still a tiny bit nervous like usual.  Maybe I won’t be able to breathe more easily until the day our twins are safely in our arms.  Every time there is a scan, I feel mostly confident that things will be fine, but there is still a small part of me that is anxious.  Bob is so funny.  He dons his Batman T-shirt and his red underwear for good luck on every single scan day.

This time I didn’t get to watch the ultrasound.  Annie went by herself and tried to video-conference me, but the connection was so slow that I could barely see anything.  We chatted on the phone instead.  She sporadically reported to me the babies’ stats.  While we were waiting for the technician to check on the babies, we chatted about her boys and her life.  She was telling me that she started feeling sad because in weeks time the babies will be born. Although this pregnancy has been a lot harder for her than her previous singleton pregnancies, she has enjoyed every single minute of it.  She said she would really miss carrying the babies and feeling them move.  I was quite touched by what she said.  I know that the babies are well loved, and it is so important for them to be loved by their carrier as well.  She also told me that her bump is now about two inches away from the steering wheel.  We will probably have to figure out a way to get her to the nonstress test two times a week in the future if her bump is too big for driving.

Back to the twins.  Here are the numbers.  Baby A’s heart rate was 141.  He/She was 4 lbs 3 oz measuring at 32 weeks 1 day.  Baby B had a heart rate of 147 and was 4 lbs 4 oz, which made him/her 32 weeks 2 days.  Annie’s cervix was measuring at 5.1cm.  The babies’ heads were together again.  This time they were like an upside down L.  Baby A’s head was on Annie’s right side and lying across.  Baby B’s head was next to Baby A’s head with his/her feet down.  I find it so cute that every time there is a scan, the babies’ heads are always together.  It seems like they just attract each other.  Apparently since Baby B is in the posterior position of the placenta, it has been very hard to get a good profile photo of him/her.  We again couldn’t get one this time.  I don’t know what is up with that kiddo… he/she is hiding all the time!  I was planning on using their ultrasound photos for the maternity photos this Sunday.  It looks like I’ll have to use Baby A’s profile and Baby B’s alien looking photo.

I didn’t even ask to speak with Dr. OB because there was really nothing for me to ask about.  About 30 minutes later, Annie sent me a text saying that the visit with Dr. OB went well and everything was good with her and the babies.  This weekend Bob and I are going to fly there to spend some time with Annie and her husband.  Maternity photos will be on Sunday.  Bob is going to come home on Sunday.  I will stay for another day to go check out Labor and Delivery at the hospital as well as to attend Annie’s first non-stress test.  She asked Dr. OB if I could sneak a peek at the babies next Monday at the appointment.  He told her that he would definitely look at the babies (and let me look at them) if he is around on Monday.

I joke that Bob now has to figure out a way to keep his Batman T-shirt and red underwear clean because he’ll have to wear them twice a week from next week on for all the nonstress tests.

MicroblogMondays: Baby Shower

We are 31 weeks 5 days today.  We had the most amazing baby shower on Saturday.

First of all, my dearest blog friend Maddie flew all the way from the east coast to attend the shower.  It was our first time meeting each other face-to-face, but we had been talking to each other on a regular basis (weekly if not daily) for at least the last three years.  I can’t begin to tell you how touched and thankful I am that she took a couple of days off to come all the way here to celebrate our twins and witness this important milestone with us.  We had the most wonderful time hanging out.  She and our other dear blog friend Jane Allen also met face-to-face for the first time.  This mini blogger get-together was so precious.

The shower itself was phenomenal.  It was everything that I had hoped for in a shower. My sister-in-law and our pastor’s wife were the hosts. The shower took place at my pastor’s house.  The home decor matched the colors of our nursery and the theme of the baby shower: yellow and gray, which made the whole baby shower look very harmonious.  At the entrance of the house, there was a station where our babies’ ultrasound photos were displayed in picture frames.  On the other side, there were pieces of very pretty paper in gray and yellow patterns on little clipboards for guests to write any advice or prayers for us.  The living room was decorated with yellow flowers.  The dining room table had a beautiful three-layered white cake with gray stripes and polka dots, and lots of onesies’ on the other side for guests to decorate.  On the kitchen counter were snacks with little yellow flags as labels.  Everything was just so pretty.  The hosts did a fantastic job decorating.


Got to love the advice from my sister-in-law: Let them eat dirt and crayons!  But the rest of her advice is so heart-felt and to the point.  This is just one example of the advice that we got.  We have a jar-full of prayers and advice from our guests.  I have read every single one of them twice.  I am sure I will read them over and over again and learn from all of our friends’ wisdom.

The highlight of the day was being able to visit with every single one of our guests.  We hadn’t seen some of them in a really long time.  It was lovely to spend some time with them.  Since it was a non-traditional shower, we decided to go co-ed and invited many of Bob’s friends.  It was so much fun to have the guys there as well.  And it was extra special to have Maddie and Jane there with me as they have walked this journey with me from the beginning.  Everyone seemed to have had a great time.  Some spent time to write down prayers and advice.  Others decorated the onesies.  We had some very talented people in our midst.  We had cats, giraffes, flowers, bunny, Hello Kitty, elephant, dogs, Superman logo, turtle, etc.



About an hour into the shower, we met Annie on video chat.  Our guests got to meet her, say hi, and see the bump.  It was special to share this moment with Annie.  After that, we opened presents.  Our friends and family are so generous with us.  The gifts were amazing.  After opening all the presents, we had cake.  The cake flavors were my favorites: chocolate and red velvet.


My very talented friend Jo took all of these incredible pictures for us.

The fact that we have come to this point of our journey is nothing short of amazing.  When we were in the throes of the infertility journey, it was very difficult to imagine being able to celebrate our bab(ies) with our loved ones at an event like we had on Saturday.  We just feel so loved.  We can’t wait to meet the babies, and can’t wait for the babies to meet all of our friends and family.

We have a growth scan today.  Hopefully 6.5 more weeks to go!