September 26- Week 23 Baby Bump

I got my first pair of maternity jeans and some other clothes. I was really trying not to get any specific maternity stuff and have been doing fine wearing regular dresses, but with chillier months coming up there's going to come a point where dresses won't suffice. My belly has grown a little more in the past two weeks. It has grown 10 inches total (all the way around)! And to think I still have a few months to go!

September 25- Moving Right Along

I had my monthly OB appointment today and all went well. Since I was going to MFM, they really only check the heart rates, my weight, and if I have any questions. But starting next month I will be back doing my monthly ultrasounds with them, which I prefer anyway.

I had a list of questions for my OB, like if the different physical things I'm feeling are normal and if I lean over am I smushing the babies. (The answers were yes and no). I also talked to her at length about me really wanting a vaginal birth but know in the end it probably won't be up to me. She was very thorough in her discussion and while it doesn't change my odds I at least have a better understanding as to why they make the decisions they do. Basically unless both babies are head down and I don't go into labor before 37 weeks, I have a shot at a vaginal birth. But if one is breech they will not pull her out by the feet. I guess they used to, but modern medicine dictates it's unsafe because after the first one comes out the cervix starts to close and could potentially close off on the baby's head. They also won't let you deliver vaginally if you go into preterm labor before 37 weeks because it is taxing on the babies. Which strikes me as odd because with all the twin moms I've met and all the forums I've read, it seems a lot of people have delivered twins vaginally before 37 weeks. So it's times like this I question western medicine. Are all the reasons for these specific protocols truly because of safety, or is it to protect the doctors and hospital? I'm sure it all depends on the doctor and hospital and what guidelines they follow. I'd like to think since I'm going to one of the best women's hospital in the country that I'm in good hands. I mean, all her reasons make sense, but then I also get this nagging feeling of how if I had trusted western medicine during my bout of infertility, I wouldn't be pregnant in the first place because they said it couldn't happen. But... I guess I need to just put my trust in them because really what alternative do I have?

So basically both babies have to be head down and not come before 37 weeks in order for me to have the type of birth I want. Those aren't very good odds. :-/ I did find a website called Spinning Babies that gives you different things to try, such as positions to sit in, as you get closer to your due date that are supposed to help naturally move the babies into the right position. Hey, I'll try anything! Sitting up straight is one of the key factors so I'm going to get a yoga ball and start sitting on it at night since intend to sprawl out on the couch. It's worth a shot!

In three weeks I go back for ultrasound and glucose test. Not looking forward to drinking a bunch of yucky sweet stuff, but I do look forward to all the appointments. Especially ultrasounds! Aaaaand in three weeks I also get to do the big 3D/4D one! We are just going to do it at Prenatal Impressions (where we did the gender reveal) because insurance doesn't cover it either way and I just found us a Groupon for it! Woohoo!!! My parents are definitely invited to come to that one, they have a big room with couches. My dad may not come though, we'll see, he says it creeps him out a little. Old folks and modern technology... LOL. I imagine he'll suck it up and go though.

Yup, things are sure moving right along! I also booked our birthing class in November and a Happiest Baby on the Block workshop in 2 weeks. (For those of you who haven't heard of it, it's a special method that is supposedly a sure-fire way to sooth a crying baby). I was initially just going to get the book, but for $20 we get to go to a class and a DVD is included!

For those of you who want to see what it's about:
Happiest Baby on the Block- Book and Reviews

Lots of fun pregnancy things to look forward to in October. It's all starting to feel more and more real!

September 23- Nursery Flooring is Down!

Today my Pop came over with a friend and put in the flooring for the nursery. We have to get new base molding, as the old stuff broke when it was pulled up. So we'll get the rest done Friday or Monday, depending on when my dad comes back out. But the floor looks AWESOME, especially with the wall color we chose. The color pops and is so bright and cheerful. I can't wait for the rest of the big tree decal comes in, that is going to look SO good on the wall!! We will order the cribs soon and we will definitely have the nursery ready in time for my Shower next month. So excited! Just another added thing that makes it all feel more real!

I should have taken a better shot of this room before we started working on it, especially of the floor, but you can tell it was ugly old carpet in there. 
Wait 'til you see the difference!

It's like night and day, right?!? Totally changed the look of the room and I think it definitely looks like the start of a NURSERY! It's a great contrast coming from the living room because we have dark gray walls in there. Can't wait to get the base molding in and start putting the room together. Especially decorating, that's my favorite part! 
Hopefully I can come up with a good accent color to go with it...

September 20- Braxton Hicks

I'm pretty sure I've been getting Braxton Hicks lately. It feels different from the sharp round ligament pains I've been feeling for months. Those suckers hurt and sometimes stop me dead in my tracks during dance class if one of the babies moves in the wrong spot. This is more of just a tightening in my belly that lasts less than a minute and usually happens when I stand up quickly. From everything I've read that sounds exactly like it. I was always under the impression it was a bad thing signifying preterm labor or something but apparently it's not and it's common. One of the causes is dehydration though, and I'm wondering if I'm drinking enough water. I ONLY drink water, but with how much I sweat at dance each day I probably should be drinking more. I have an appt with my OB Wednesday so I'll mention it to her then. In the meantime I'm feeling great, so no complaints here! Not sure how long that will last so I'm trying to enjoy every last minute of it! I AM pretty tired today though. Not getting much sleep lately. Aside from having to pee every hour or two, my hips are killing me at night. They are fine at first but after a few hours the pain wakes me up. I think it's stemming from my sciatica because it shoots down into my thigh. So when laying on either side hurts badly and you have no other options, kind of makes it tough to get any sleep! I've tried sticking pillows between my legs, but it's not helping. I sure hope this isn't a permanent thing for the test of the pregnancy!

September 19- Released From MFM

This week we had our monthly appointment with Maternal Fetal Medicine at the hospital for our routine ultrasound. The Dr. checked out all body parts and growth and both babies are right on schedule. River is weighing in at 1.2 oz. and Riley is coming in close at 1.1 o.z. They are currently both laying sideways across me, but are still stacked top and bottom. I actually could tell that River moved this week. He is usually vertical (and Riley has always stayed horizontal) but all of a sudden one day I felt a lot more pressure in my belly and noticed it was lopsided. You can actually see the roundness of his little head sticking out off to the side just below my belly button. They are both still moving like crazy, especially after I eat or drink something cold. My belly definitely popped this week, but I am still feeling good and have lots of energy. My only complaint is that my hips are starting to hurt pretty bad at night and I'm waking up in a lot of pain. Unfortunately it's on both sides and that is the only way I am supposed to sleep. I am trying to use pillows between my legs, but it's still not helping. I think it's the extra weight putting pressure on my hips and nerves. I've gained a total of 31 pounds in 22 weeks, which feels like a whole lot to me, but the doctor said I am okay, although on the high side of normal even for twins. But I eat super healthy, no processed foods and work out 6 days a week though so he said just keep doing what I am doing and try to aim for gaining one pound a week until delivery. I am officially released from MFM and will now be only going to my OB for my monthly ultrasounds and checkups until I'm 32 weeks, which is when I will also be going back to the hospital for weekly scans to monitor the babies and me to make sure we are doing okay. I am a little sad that I won't be seeing the MFM doctor anymore. I really like him and he seems very experienced with twins. That's not to say my OB isn't, but he is a little older than her and with age comes wisdom. I almost wish he could be there to deliver, but alas, he no longer does that. I'm sure when the time comes I will be so ready to get them out of me that I won't care if the janitor delivers them! 

So all is well with the kiddos. It's always good to see them again, although I can't wait until we can do the ultrasounds back at my OB's office. Surprisingly their machine is SO much better and you get to watch them on the big screen. We have our regular checkup with her next week, but they just check the heart rates and see how I am doing. Next month I'll go back to full checkups and ultrasounds there though. I honestly love going to all these appointments and wish there were more! That is probably the ONLY time I will ever say that about Dr. visits! LOL

Here are some pics for ya!


River's head sticking out. How crazy!






22 Weeks Ultrasound

Sept 15- Montessori Floor Beds- Vetoed

Well, it looks like we won't be doing the Montessori Floor Beds. With all the research I did and detailed presentation, the hubs still vetoed the idea. Which I thought may happen. He's just concerned with the safety factor, even with baby proofing the room. He's on board with everything else Montessori, which is fine by me. I was just thinking the floor beds would also allow for more room since the nursery is on the smaller side, but G is worried that the two of them could somehow get hurt and doesn't like the idea of them not having traditional sleeping schedules. It's a little frustrating because I'm the one who is going to be home with them 24/7 but honestly I don't have it in me to argue right now (which is unusual for me if I feel strongly about something! LOL). I will still do all the developmental stuff that Montessori promotes and once they are old enough to be out of their cribs we can pick that part up from there. I'm sure it will work out fine. 

I did find an AMAZING resource for raising the twins Montessori style. It is a blog that is apparently pretty popular and the woman has a book and a DVD series out. She has her 2.5 year old twins doing incredible things like helping to put dishes away and gardening. Her blog is chock full of ideas and suggestions on dealing with any situation you can think of and she even has videos. I can so see myself doing this stuff, as it was how I planned on raising them anyway- I just had no idea it was actually called something (Montessori). As an educator, I know that giving kids the opportunity to learn and hands-on experiences is the best way to teach them and promote a deeper understanding. I really can't wait to get to that point, where R & R are old enough to communicate and learn. Not that they don't learn things when they are infants, but I am just talking about being able to interact with them. I think being able to do that will also satisfy my need to teach and help with my feelings of having to put my career on hold for a while. It's for the most worthy cause, but it isn't easy. I worked really hard to move up in my field and working with students is so fulfilling. But I know having the twins will be a whole new kind of fulfilling and I am extremely glad and grateful I will be able to stay home with them through the early years. It's an adjustment, but one that will benefit them and that alone makes it definitely worthwhile.

Sept 13- Raising Kids Montessori Style

I love learning about new things. Being an educator and a strong advocate for fostering developmental skills in children, when I came across the Montessori style of raising kids and did extensive research on it, I found it is definitely in line with my way of thinking and aligns with my plans to providing the twins an opportunity to learn from the very beginning. I had always heard of Montessori when it comes to schools and I have always liked their educational practices, I just never knew you could take those same concepts and apply them at home. I absolutely want to raise our kids this way, the only thing I am still looking into is the floor bed. It is one of the main components of Montessori methodology and it means having a crib mattress on the floor rather than a crib. When I first heard about it I thought it seemed crazy, but upon looking into it further it actually makes cribs seem like the more impractical choice. I'm sure I'd get some strange looks with this, that it's weird or unconventional, but remember how cigarettes and GMOs were once deemed perfectly safe for people so I can see how just because babies have been put into cribs for years, doesn't mean that is the best thing for them. I'm not 100% about the floor bed idea yet, I still want to research more, but the fact that so many children get hurt climbing out of cribs each year and all the recalls on them from injury, it does make a good case for keeping them close to the ground. But there is much more to the process, it's not just about putting a bed on the floor. The concept behind a Montessori room is that you design it with the perspective of a toddler. You have specific low shelving that has a few developmental toys and books for them to choose from if they want to play, some art work secured low to the wall for them, a mirror next to their bed for them to discover how they move their own bodies, and a pull up bar with a mirror (looks like a miniature ballet bar) for them to learn how to pull themselves up and apparently babies LOVE it!  I am pretty set on the whole concept, I am just trying to figure out the logistics of doing the floor beds with twins before committing to the room layout. I have posted some some great links with questions answered and people who wrote about their experiences with using the Montessori method in their household. I was so surprised to find that so many people out there are doing this successfully. I also like the whole idea of teaching them at an early age to think more independently and naturally, which promotes critical thinking skills. It's definitely an interesting approach that coincides with my line of thinking educationally. My gears are certainly turning... decisions, decisions...

Here is the philosophy behind Montessori...


About Montessori

When most people hear “Montessori”, they think of it as a type of pre-school or kindergarten.
In fact, Montessori is a holistic, comprehensive, wide-reaching philosophy and methodology of childcare and education.
As millions attest, Montessori theories and practices may result in more confident, independent, well-adjusted children, while at the same time leaving their parents feeling less stressed, overwhelmed, and overworked.
What we now call “Montessori” was developed through observation and intuition by Italian educator Maria Montessori, who opened her first school in Rome in 1907.
According to Maria, and the experts she trained who now continue her work, children under 6 (especially young children under 3) cannot be taught or educated—and that trying to do so may lead to developmental and behavioral maladjustments.
The Montessori method, therefore, teaches not children but rather parents and educators to: (A) more intelligently and perceptively observe children and determine their needs; (B) create environments and opportunities where children learn willingly and naturally; and (C) provide children with the freedom and autonomy necessary for excellence to emerge.

Here are some links from parents who are successfully using this method with their children. Interesting reading and a lot of questions answered. 






Montessori Rooms for Twins:




Pictures of Montessori Rooms and Floor Beds:


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GREAT VIDEOS!!!

General Montessori Video:


Montessori Floor Bed:
(look at how much he loves looking in the mirror!)


Video of Baby Using Montessori Pull-Up Bar:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hkHJfOjcdhY


Educational toys/tools for first year of life at home

September 10- Encapsulation Deliberation

Given that my entire pregnancy happened due to alternative treatments and supplements, it's no surprise that when I hear of an alternative/modern approach to postpartum and raising kids I'm naturally intrigued. As the months fly by (all with too much time on my hands) I spend a lot of time researching things to be better prepared and more knowledgeable as a mother. Some of the things I've been on board with since day one and others I continue to research before making my decision one way or another. All of which are incredibly interesting and whether or not I decide to go with any or all of them, I am that much more well informed than before.

Rather than bombard you with a plethora of different topics all at once, I'll go with one for now. And I won't lie, it's one that makes me squeamish....

It all started with a good friend of mine who is also pregnant, about 6 weeks ahead of me. Her and I have always been on the same page when it comes to most things, especially having a holistic approach to life. We eat clean, take yoga together and are big advocates for eliminating toxins from our bodies and lives in general. But when she told me she would be encapsulating her placenta to take as a pill after giving birth, I thought that was going a bit too far off the deep end of the hippie pool for even me. I dismissed it and put it in the back of my mind. But then something crazy happened. All of a sudden I started hearing about it in all sorts of places. My pregnancy forum, the Fit Pregnancy magazine I read, on the news, and from other friends who apparently took it after they gave birth as well. So of course being the information seeker that I am, I have scoured the Internet far and wide to find out more about it. And to be honest, the more I learn and hear about it, the more intrigued I am and the less crazy it seems...

For one, it has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for hundreds of years. TCM is the very reason I was able to get pregnant in the first place so I trust Eastern Medicine practices more than anything. That being said, it's the amazing benefits that have me leaning toward going for it. It has been shown to help balance your hormones, replace depleted iron levels, assist the uterus to return to its pre-pregnancy state, reduce post-natal bleeding, increase milk production (which is good if you are breast feeding), increases your energy levels and makes for a happier, more enjoyable post-natal period. Well that sure sounds worth it to me! I mean, we're not talking about making a sandwich out of it, the only part I would see are little pills. Doesn't seem too terribly bad...

So while the concept initially grossed me out (and to be honest still does) I feel the benefits outweigh the ick factor. Hey, as long as I don't have to see or touch the placenta itself, it's all good. From what I understand I would just need to bring a cooler to the hospital during delivery and then bring that to the midwife who will be doing the encapsulation. I'm going to a birthing center with a friend of mine next week to be there with her while she does her glucose test, so I figure I can talk to the midwife about the process then. One thing I want to know is with me having twins, would they just pick one placenta or the combination platter? (Yuck! LOL. Sends shivers down my spine). But all queasiness aside, if this is something that will truly benefit me in the long run, then I am all about having a faster, healthier recovery after child birth!

September 9- MiMi & PopPop

My parents came to visit today to help me try and find flooring for the nursery. Having a tough time because we originally thought we could just continue the flooring we already have in the rest of the house into the baby room, but they don't make it any more. So rather than find something that's similar (because it will be noticeable that we tried to match it but it wasn't exact) we are trying to get something totally different so it looks more intentional, and will have the planks going in a different direction. We did that for our bedroom when we moved in and it looks fab. But again we run into a problem the because if we use the dark flooring like our room it wouldn't work since the baby furniture is also dark so that leaves us with either whitewash or very pale yellow. So far no luck within our price range, but I'm determined so I'm sure I can come up with something. I just want to do it soon, as my goal is to have the nursery done for my shower on Oct. 20th. Gotta get crackalackin'!

It is always nice spending time with my parents though. They have been separated for 20 years, and although the live only a mile or two away from each other, it's only been the past year or two that they are civil so it's a fairly new thing that I get to see them both at once. It's difficult at times due to the past, but I look at it as I don't know how many years I have left with them (they are older) so I'm grateful for the time I do get to spend with them.

They have decided on their grandparent names, which is pretty adorable. My mom wants to be called MiMi and my dad wants to be PopPop, as that's what my dad's dad was to me. They both got to feel River moving around yesterday (he is at the bottom and easier to feel, especially because he's so squirmy!) and my mom took a video of my dad talking to my belly that is SO flippin' cute! I figure we have the technology so we need to start making more use out of it because really, having video footage of the past to watch in the future is absolutely precious and priceless. Something we'll treasure forever.

Here's the video of my dad talking to the twins through my belly. It's so funny because he was so detailed and well spoken as if they understand what he's saying! Hopefully we'll have lots more videos throughout the pregnancy!

PopPop Talking to My Belly- 21 Weeks

September 8- Roller Coaster

I swear I've never felt so many back and forth emotions in a short amount of time. And this is a daily occurrence! Most of the time my emotions shift from one way to the other from hour to hour. Like my body for instance. Sometimes I look in the mirror and all I see is a blown out version of myself with rolls tucked here and there and my ever-expanding ass. Other times I look and think, "well it could be worse" and that maybe I'm just being too hard on myself. People are always telling me I look small for being 20 weeks pregnant with twins but in actuality I've already gained close to 30 pounds in the past 5 months. The one thing that drives me nuts is when people say, "well you've got two in there." Right. But I'm not carrying them in my hips and thighs! I see women who are way further along than me and they have skinny arms and legs and only a cute baby bump. And I'm talking chicks who are 38 weeks! I'm guessing it's because I've battled with weight issues my whole life so it's easier to put on the pounds as opposed to those who were skinny all their lives. But it's still a bummer! My husband is being ├╝ber supportive though. He's my little cheerleader! (Oh sorry honey... I mean big, strong, burly grizzly bear of a manly man) LOL. It does help though. And I know whatever I put on I will take off, but man did I ever work my ass off to finally get to the fitness level I was at before getting pregnant. It literally took a lifetime. But alas, what's a prego to do? Just suck it up and deal with it. I know it's for a good cause, it's just frustrating. Especially since I know the worst is yet to come.

Which brings me to another topic of concern. The impending third trimester. I'm caught between a rock and a hard place because I want to seek out support from others who've been through twin pregnancy but at the same time the things I read on the forums terrify me. Most of the posts I read people are in agony once they reach 32 weeks and complain of pure misery. They are so uncomfortable they can't take it any more and many are on bed rest. So when I read that stuff I work myself into a tizzy because I'm headed toward that and there's nothing I can do about it. But then at other times I think about how strong and healthy I am and in shape and think I can beat this! I've continued my workout routine throughout so far and have lots of energy and firmly believe that can only work in my favor. (See what I mean about the back and forth stuff?). I guess really it's a fear of the unknown. The unpredictability of what's to come. But I suppose I need to get used to that, as I'm sure being a parent in general is an unpredictable job in itself...

September 5- Starting the Nursery

Hooray! We decided on a color for the nursery! Initially we thought we were going to be going with a green or turquoise-ish color, as we were trying to pick something gender neutral but not boring. We also knew we wanted this particular tree decal to go on the main wall and any of the colors we were choosing wouldn't have meshed well with it so we went in a totally different direction. Apricot! Not quite pink, not quite orange, it is an absolute lovely shade that will make the tree pop and look fabulous with the espresso cribs and dresser. 

I'm looking forward to working on this, as it provides a creative outlet for me and I LOVE to decorate. My goal is to have the nursery completely done for my shower, which is Oct. 20th so we have about a month and a half or so. Definitely feasible. Since the baby room is at the front of the house to the right when you first walk in, I want to make it stand out and be a bright and cheerful room. Just one more added thing making this all the more real! 

I'll keep you posted as the room comes along!



September 4- Week 20 Baby Bump Pic

The Twins are the size of bananas and weigh one pound each! Craziness!



September 3- Excitedly Terrified

     It's been a few days and I'm still feeling the twins move every time I sit or lay still. I feel River the most and I'm not sure if that's because he's smushed closer down my pelvis or if it's that he just moves around more than Riley. I mean, he's the one always being complicated by squirming and flipping around during ultrasounds so it could very well be that I have a future Cirque Du Soliel performer stuffed in my uterus. Poor G really wants to feel it, too. Every once in a while if I start feeling them move and I keep my hand pressed down over the spot I'll feel a little flick from the outside, but not always. So he'll put his hand in the spot and hold it there but hasn't felt anything yet. He feels a little left out, but I'm sure that moment is vast approaching and before long I'll be feeling it a lot stronger. (Cue: "Everybody was Kung Fu Fight-ing")

     I recently realized that what I'm picturing going on in my belly is not quite right. Since it feels sort of bubbly I've been imagining a wide open space with the two of them in their little sacs floating around bouncing off my innards like a pinball causing me to feel them. But that's not the case. In actuality they are crammed in there like sardines and the movement I feel is their limbs pushing into me as the kick or shift positions. Duh. I have no idea why I was picturing it the other way. I guess because the whole concept of having living creatures move around inside me is completely foreign to me. It's a cool feeling and every time I feel them it makes me instantly focus in on it and tell whoever is around that I'm feeling it. Maybe it that's the extrovert in me; I want someone else to share the feeling with me so I'm not experiencing it on my own. In that respect, I really do wish G could feel everything I do. It would be great if our partners could go through all this at the same time, wouldn't it?!

     Finally feeling all the commotion that's going on inside me has put me on an emotional roller coaster ride though. Not in the sense that I get all weepy over it. This roller coaster consists of going back and forth from excitement to terror. One minute I'm pondering how amazing it is that I've got two babies growing inside me and the next I'm thinking holy shit I've got TWO BABIES growing inside me... Which leads to me thinking about them getting bigger and me getting to the point of eventually being miserably uncomfortable, followed by the worst pain I'll supposedly ever feel in my life and then poof! there will be two babies in this world. Then there goes the panic attack! All they stuff excites me in some ways and terrifies me in others. But I'm guessing I'm not the first person to feel this way. It was funny, the other night I went through the whole feeling one way and then the other and G was like, "wait... you were just feeling all amazed and happy ten minutes ago!" Yup... And I'm sure it will bounce back and forth in my crazy head for the rest of the pregnancy! So for now I just have to take a deep breath and try to relax about it because there ain't no getting off this crazy train, so I might as well embrace it!


September 2- The Big Name Reveal!!

After COUNTLESS hours... weeks... months... of looking through THOUSANDS of baby names, we have made our decision. It hasn't been easy and the two of us have spent an unbelievable amount of time working on it and we are finally ready to officially share it with you.

Drum roll........

I introduce to you.....



RIVER ATLEY & RILEY JEANNE

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The name River means something very special to us. With G growing up on the Raquette River and myself growing up in Toms River, NJ- both places we hold dear to our hearts- plus our love of being on the water, we felt it was the perfect fit for our little future water skier. We ran through the gamut of middle names and it was tough. Some of the names we liked (such as Chase) didn't work so well, as River Chase sounds like an amusement park ride! We researched every name out there and we fell in love with Atley, especially G. Nothing else worked as nicely!

Naming River was pretty easy. Once we put that name together our hearts were both set on it. It was the girl name we had the most trouble with. Not that we couldn't find one, we just had a few in mind that we both really liked so it was tough to choose just one! With having two names that we loved, we went on a wild goose chase to see if by chance there might be something out there we liked better but to no avail. And believe me when I say it was an exhaustive search! The second runner up was Paisley, and for a while it was in first place. But we decided that Riley went perfectly with River with both of them starting with R and having 5 letters, the names roll smoothly together and are quite fitting for twin names. The middle name, Jeanne, is my mother's middle name. When she had me, she passed on her middle name but added a "tte" to the end of it making it Jeannette. I figured I would keep the tradition by going back to Jeanne and hopefully someday Riley will use Jeannette for her daughter's middle name! You never know...

So there you have it! Now we can talk to them using their names! We told our family and soon we'll announce it to the rest of our friends and family via FB. It is really great to get such a major decision out of the way because that was occupying WAY too much of my thoughts. Next up... working on the nursery!!