Thursday, May 31, 2012

Our twin pregnancy journal: First Trimester

What I have here is a retrospective pregnancy journal. Month by month, I've written the highlights of life with two babies on the way. I know I'll be glad to have even this in the coming years, both for us and for others who wonder what it's like to be pregnant with twins. I can't tell you what it's like for everyone, but I happen to be an expert on what it was like for me!

Month 1:
We only knew I was pregnant for sure during the end of the first month, although I'd suspected I was for about a week prior to finding out. I was incredibly exhausted, and my sense of smell kicked into overdrive right away, although the smells weren't nauseating, just irritating. We only told close family members and close friends at first, eagerly awaiting the day when we could tell everyone.
It's so strange to feel your own body behaving just like a book says it will! All of my symptoms seemed very pronounced, and since running felt so strange, the doctor told me to give it up until further notice. We wondered what was going on, but had no idea what it might be.
Aside from the ban on running and some restrictions on lifting (no more than 10 lbs, be careful not to strain muscles around hips), the first month ended quietly and uneventfully. An otherwise routine visit to my doctor to have a nagging foot problem investigated provided a blood test to confirm what we already knew. Little did we know what the next blood test would have in store for us . . .

Month 2:
I began the second month with some trepidation: according to What to Expect When You're Expecting, morning sickness usually hits during this month. And hit it did - the morning I turned 6 weeks, I attempted to get out of bed at 5:30 am and was struck by overwhelming nausea and dizziness. I crawled back in bed, called in sick, and spent the rest of the day in a miserable, nauseous heap. Morning sickness? Let's try all-day-long-and-sometimes-at-night sickness! I had to learn how to get out of bed and get something in my stomach quickly; otherwise, I'd throw up. Orange juice, which had always been my go-to morning drink, turned my stomach horribly. Coffee smelled awful, even to this former Starbucks addict. Milk seemed to do the trick, though. Water helped too. If I drank something and then ate, the nausea subsided for a little while - long enough to get ready for work. At my boss' suggestion, I stopped working opening shifts, as this routine was time-consuming and didn't always work. After a couple of weeks, though, it became easier to anticipate and fend off a bout of nausea, and I got used to the constant queasiness. Overall, I think I was very lucky. I know mamas who were much, much sicker than I was.
As I mentioned above, I'd had a blood test around 4 weeks confirming my pregnancy. At 5 weeks and a few days, my OB/GYN's office had me come in for a second one to check my progress. The results were apparently noteworthy, because I got to go in for a third test about a week later. Based on that test, they scheduled an ultrasound. The nurse on the phone who scheduled the ultrasound explained that I was definitely pregnant, and read me my hCG levels from the two tests. I don't recall the first one, but the second one had come back at 102,000. What to Expect When You're Expecting listed "normal" levels as ranging from a few hundred to around 7,000 at this point. The author reassured readers that levels could be outside these numbers and still be normal, but that very high numbers could mean miscalculated dates or a multiple pregnancy, among other things. No wonder this warranted an ultrasound!
I mustered up the courage to ask my mom if there was any - any - chance I might be pregnant with twins. To my surprise, she replied that my grandmother, her mother, had been pregnant with twins her first pregnancy.
I won't say I was terrified, because I wasn't. In fact, Dan and I discussed it briefly on a trip to the coast the day before the ultrasound. I was 7 weeks pregnant, and we really were excited about being parents. I was much more terrified that we wouldn't see a heartbeat on the screen. So when I laid down on the table and the sonographer gelled up my belly and focused in on two dark spots, I panicked. Holes? I wasn't supposed to have holes. My anxious mind didn't get any farther than that, because just then I heard the sonographer's voice. "There's one baby . . . and there's the other baby!" she announced cheerfully. Dan and I were so relieved, we both laughed. The two "holes" were their sacs. Looking for all the world like tiny grayish gummy bears, the two babies both had strong heartbeats. I couldn't stop staring at them in delight. We'd prayed all weekend for a heartbeat, and there were two! We were having twins!
Our first glimpse of our twins - 7 weeks

Month 3:
We'd shared our fantastic news with the rest of our friends and family after our ultrasound at 7 weeks, and after that, weeks 7-11 were fairly uneventful. I was still nervous that something would go wrong and prayed several times daily that our babies would join us, happy and healthy, sometime in June.
The week before Christmas, just after I'd passed the magical 12-week mark, I started bleeding profusely. What had been a routine day at work turned into a terrifying evening in the ER. Because we knew we were having twins, the doctor ordered an ultrasound to check on our babies rather than relying on hearing a heartbeat. Dan wasn't allowed in the tiny ultrasound room with me, so I took my phone with me to update him. I was relieved beyond words to see their tiny, wiggling, kicking bodies on the screen. They were so active, in fact, the sonographer had to take measurements for over an hour to get their approximate age estimate. She finally said they measured around 13 weeks (way to grow, babies!) and looked healthy as far as she could tell. She also saw the source of the bleeding - a clot behind one of the placentas. The ER doctor didn't seem too concerned, although he said I could be in danger from the bleeding and needed to come in if it continued over the weekend. My OB was much more concerned. She said I needed to reduce my activity - meaning bed rest. Worse than that, she said she couldn't guarantee things would be okay. With heavy hearts, we headed for our tiny apartment, my 24-hour-a-day home for the next 17 days.
Since I was still nauseous and tired, lying on the couch or in bed all day didn't present much of a problem. The trip from our bedroom to the couch meant a walk of approximately 7 feet, so I was able to minimize my exertion. I read all I could about my condition, called a sub-chorionic hemorrhage (SCH). Women who had healed from these talked about drinking lots of water and adhering to bed rest as strictly as possible, so I did. My days passed in a haze of Food Network and Cooking Channel, naps, and the occasional magazine. Dan kept me company in the evenings, bringing or preparing me dinner.
In early January, when I was almost 15 weeks pregnant, I was cleared to return to work 4 hours per day doing desk work. Even better, about a week after I returned to work, I woke up one morning feeling . . .normal. I wasn't nauseous! It was as though I'd been lifted out of a pool of murk into a bright, sunny day. I had energy and felt revitalized. Life suddenly seemed less scary. I was allowed to go to work again, I felt like myself again, we'd made it through the first trimester, and we were still expecting two babies!

Me, 15 weeks pregnant

Saturday, May 26, 2012

7 Quick Takes Friday: Vol. 3

As always, thanks to Jen for hosting! These are going to be a bit shorter this week, in keeping with the "quick takes" theme. Or perhaps not. We'll see.

--- 1 ---

First of all, we've made it to 35 weeks! This is cause for great rejoicing here on Olive Street. At this point, our girls weigh an estimated 6 lbs apiece and are much more ready for life on the outside than ever before. We still can't wait to meet them, and it's starting to feel realistic to count in weeks (or maybe days!) when we talk about their arrival.

--- 2 ---

My belly is HUGE. As in 43 inches around - and growing. As in my shirts barely cover me. It's unnerving to realize just how far I stick out. After all, I have 12 pounds of baby girls inside me! But I am embracing my new girth, since I know it will never again be this easy to hug both of my babies at once. I still do a double take every time I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror, though!

--- 3 ---

I've been saddened the last week to see how quick people can be to rudely dismiss the beliefs and opinions of others, particularly over the Internet and on Facebook. It's perfectly all right - even healthy - to disagree with those around you. Opinions are like noses - everyone's got one. Discussing the issue at hand? That makes sense. Attacking another person over their beliefs? That doesn't make sense. I'm lucky in that I rarely, if ever, see this happen within my group of Facebook friends. I have seen it happen on various blogs and elsewhere on the Internet, however. I hope someday that we, as a society, might learn to either respectfully disagree or productively discuss the issues which divide us. It might sound like a tall order, but hey, I'm optimistic - nothing wrong with that!

--- 4 ---

On a more upbeat note, we went from summer-like weather to cool, rainy days this week. I can't say it really bothered me; I like a good rainy day. The plants on our patio seemed pretty happy with the weather too. It's supposed to go back to drier, if not sunnier, weather this weekend - it's pouring right now on Friday night, so our Memorial Day weekend might start off a bit on the soggy side.

--- 5 ---

I've had fun this week pondering what I've learned from my vast collection of old cookbooks and home ec books. Over the next week or so, I'm planning to continue a series of posts with retro solutions to modern problems. Read the latest installment here

--- 6 ---

I was super excited today to be shown a website with a fantastic selection of modest swimsuits! Although I've worn a bikini in the past, I've struggled a bit with the idea of this example for my girls. On one hand, I don't want them to feel their bodies are shameful and that they can't wear a bikini if they so choose. On the other hand, I think it might set a better example for me to wear a more modest swimsuit. I suppose I have a year or so to make up my mind, but I think I'll be getting one of these regardless!

--- 7 ---

I hope you all have a fantastic Memorial Day weekend - BE SAFE, and have fun! Make sure you don't forget the reason for the three-day weekend, either. Monday is set aside as a day of remembrance for those who've fallen in service to our country. Please honor their memory, lest their priceless gift to us be forgotten.

Head on over to Conversion Diary to read lots more Quick Takes!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Maybe Grandma knew best, Vol. 2: Seasonal Eating

There's been a lot of talk lately about seasonal eating, as though it's some new idea that's just recently been discovered. You can find all sorts of reasons to embrace this philosophy: seasonal food tastes better, doesn't have to travel as far to reach your plate, can often be grown with fewer pesticides since it won't be traveling as far, tends to be much less expensive since you purchase it when the supply is highest . . . you get the idea. Seasonal eating tends to go hand-in-hand with local eating, which offers all of the above benefits plus supporting your local economy and minimizing overall environmental impact in your food choices.

These ideas aren't really new, though. Just a few generations ago, prior to World War II, the options found in even a "supermarket" would have seemed extremely limited by today's standards. Produce, especially, was limited to fresh items that were grown nearby or items which stored well, such as potatoes and apples. Families either grew and canned vegetables and fruit or purchased commercially canned produce. Later on, commercially frozen vegetables and fruit became available. This meant that for families in the northern United States, whole winters could pass without a fresh salad. Spring, with its promise of new and abundant green edibles, was truly an occasion to celebrate!

Housewives of this generation would have scoffed at the idea of purchasing fresh strawberries in the middle of winter, except perhaps as a very rare luxury. Even if they'd been readily available as they are today, they certainly wouldn't have been a budget-wise choice. Food budgets of this era took a much greater portion of the family income, in a time where fathers worked and mothers kept house and cared for their families. Food wasn't processed and manufactured to the extent it is today, and the agricultural system still relied on smaller family farms. Meat was raised on these farms as well, and was much more expensive than today as a result. An average housewife had to really stretch her dollars carefully when it came to planning meals; the prices she paid reflected the costs of production on a smaller scale. She didn't really have to make any special decisions regarding seasonal or local eating, she simply purchased food to feed her family. The rest was a given.

Today, we can purchase a dazzling array of foods at prices that are relatively low when compared to our income. It's hard to know what's in season in terms of fruits and vegetables, because practically everything is available year-round. Production of most foodstuffs takes place on a grand scale, with "factory farms"raising cattle and chickens by the thousands and enormous commercial farming operations over-producing corn and soy, so far exceeding demand that the government must pay them for their crops to keep them in business. Breakthroughs in science and technology have made it possible for farmers to grow disease- and pesticide-resistant crops, and for animals to be raised with the ideal body for us to eat. Because production costs are much lower, cheap processed foods are widely available. Unfortunately, this doesn't always mean they are good choices for us to buy and eat.

Which brings us back to seasonal eating, and why it makes sense and always has. Even if we have the option to buy fresh summer fruit like melons and berries in the middle of the winter, the fruit will have most likely traveled hundreds, if not thousands of miles to reach our local supermarket. Though there may not be any budget-related reason to leave the fruit at the store, such as with the average housewife of years past, the environmental costs of the fruit's travels would be a good reason to think twice before placing it in the cart. In addition, if you've ever tried a tomato fresh from the vine or a plump, just-picked blueberry, you know how much better food tastes when it's truly fresh. As tempting as middle-of-the-winter watermelon might seem, it's likely to be a let-down when you take the first bite. Stick with what's in season as much as possible; learn to prepare it and enjoy it. Not sure where to start? It wasn't uncommon to find seasonal menus in cookbooks of years past; if you can find one of these or its equivalent (online, perhaps), it can be a great guide to recipes and different combinations of foods. Give seasonal eating a try; this is certainly the easiest time of year to do it! I think you'll be glad you did - and your grandmother? She'll be proud of you.

Friday, May 18, 2012

7 Quick Takes Friday: Vol. 2

--- 1 ---

First of all, I'd like to thank Jen at Conversion Diary for hosting, you all for stopping by to read, and also for bearing with me while I work on some longer posts that should be up in the next few days! I know I haven't been posting much this week, but I promise these will be worth the wait :)

--- 2 ---

And while we're talking posts, I highly recommend stopping by and checking out other 7 Quick Takes posts!

--- 3 ---

Dan and I spent most of today (3 hours anyway) at the doctor's office, but we received so much good news while we were there, I think every minute was worth it. We're almost to 34 weeks, and our girls are weighing in at an estimated 5 lbs, 5 oz. for Miss Emily and 5 lbs, 8 oz. for Miss Erin. Almost 11 lbs of babies - I couldn't be more proud! Everything the doctor checked for me came back clear as well, so she was very pleased with our progress. So pleased, in fact, that she said I'm allowed to go out for ice cream or coffee or even dinner once or twice a week, as long as I don't overdo it the rest of the time at home. I know bed rest was, and still is, absolutely necessary to help our girls get big and healthy, but I am still excited for a couple mini-outings with Dan over the next few weeks.

--- 4 ---

The nursery's done! I'm so grateful for all the help we had getting things together. Our parents, Dan's aunt, and some of our friends all played a big part in making it look as nice as it does now. Thanks everyone for your help! I can't wait until our baby girls can enjoy it too.

--- 5 ---

On a slightly more serious note, we took a step that was a bit scary this week; I received two steroid injections to help speed up the girls' lung maturity. These are given, from what I've read/heard, under a few different circumstances - preterm labor, expected preterm delivery, and really any other time the doctor feels it is in the best interests of mom and baby(s) to be prepared for life on the outside before 36/37 weeks. Although I'm not in active preterm labor at this point, we still decided it was the best thing to do since it's likely I will deliver early. Just how early, we don't know - could be another 2 weeks, could be another 4 weeks, could be the next few days. It's really up to the babies. But I really feel better knowing I've done one more thing to help get them ready - even if it took some courage, prayer, and a little pain on my part to get us there.

--- 6 ---

Earlier this week, Dan asked me to find an old snapshot. In a rare moment of organization, it was easy for me to tell him where ALL our family pictures were: under the bed in a clear plastic bin labeled "photos." How logical. And this from the girl whose half-finished knitting project resides in her sock drawer, who thanks Facebook for keeping her digital pictures safe and organized, who is convinced the kitchen won't stay organized until she acquires a label-maker . . . you get the picture. I'm shocked that they were still there. In the same bin, the one that resided under my bed when I lived with my parents. But I digress. I got to flip through several albums of pictures (we'll ignore the fact that I found the sought-after picture in about 3 minutes, in a frame on the wall) and found some gems from days past:
This is a picture of me with my younger brother, his freshman year of high school and my senior year.

--- 7 ---

Finally, I wanted to share how thankful I am for the women of #CathSorority, fellow Catholic bloggers that I've been getting to know recently. The faith, fellowship, and prayers they have shared over the past few weeks has really helped me through the final weeks of my journey toward motherhood. Even though some of the topics we discuss would be cause for heated debate elsewhere, all of our conversations are thoughtful, respectful, and encouraging - and no, we don't all agree. These ladies are fantastic writers, and I encourage you to check out their blogs! I will have a link up to make it easy in the next few days. That's all I've got for this week! I hope you enjoyed, and please stop by this weekend and early next week for more on retro-style grocery budgeting and a mini pregnancy journal! Enjoy your weekend!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Maybe Grandma knew best: Part 1

This post will be the first in a series drawing on what I've learned from my collection of vintage cookbooks and home economics books.
As some of you may know, I collect vintage cookbooks and home economics textbooks. I got started on this at a fairly young age, probably 7 or 8, when my dad brought home a 1950s-era Betty Crocker kids cookbook. I had started cooking with my mom around age 4, helping stir, peeling and cutting up vegetables, etc. So many of the recipes were within my reach immediately, without need for further lessons. I loved how neat and tidy the results looked: the messy chaos of food preparation could produce a gorgeous meal. I'm not sure how old I was when I cooked dinner for the first time (mostly) by myself, but I think I was about 8 or 9. I sat down with the aforementioned cookbook and selected a menu (the book included several) and proceeded to read the instructions on how the food should be prepared. In my opinion, this is a concept sorely lacking in modern cookbooks- it's rare to see any mention of the order of operations, or how to combine foods to have a balanced meal That is, you must plan your dishes, but you can't cook everything at once. You'll end up with burnt toast, under-cooked bacon, and rubbery scrambled eggs, if you're making breakfast. And where's the fruit? But I digress. I went on to make dinner that night, and many other nights. I wasn't an expert cook, but I knew I could make a meal. As I got older, I could take over for days at a time- a huge help to my mom for sure, and a great skill to take into marriage. Now don't get me wrong. I definitely enjoy modern food, and I think that a lot of current recipes offer a variety of flavors completely unknown to the humble housewife of the 1950s. But I loved that old, battered cookbook and its idyllic pictures for another reason: it, along with my mother's patient tutelage, prepared me to feed a family. I had to think about the whole meal. A lot of people now grow up learning how to grill a fantastic steak, or bake beautifully light and fluffy cupcakes. But the basics of putting a full meal on the table - main course, vegetables, salad, bread, and dessert - seem lost today, left to holidays and other special occasions. Cooking meals at home enjoys trendy phases, but most families are too busy to do it on a regular basis. Perhaps once again embracing this concept could help with several issues today, including our obesity epidemic. Healthy, balanced meals cooked at home can be tailored to a family's needs, and reduce the risk of missing out on vegetables or overloading on portion sizes. Maybe we need a basic cooking class as a graduation requirement for high school students. It could go along with financial literacy and resume writing, spread out over a year. Students could learn the essential skills of cooking, as well as how to shop, plan balanced meals, and prepare a meal. This shouldn't be an elective skill. Meal preparation is something everyone will have to do at some point. I definitely don't want our generation to lose sight of the fantastic flavors and textures that young chefs are creating right now, but not everyone is as lucky as I was and grows up knowing how to plan and prepare meals for a week. It's time to reclaim the full meal from the holidays. Let's bring healthy, well-rounded, balanced meals back to our homes, and teach each other how to cook them so we can feed our families.

Friday, May 11, 2012

7 Quick Takes Friday - Vol. 1

--- 1 ---

I'm still on bed rest to prolong my pregnancy, but I've made it to 33 weeks (!!), and I'm starting to feel better about how things are going. I know that the 10-ish pounds of babies in my belly are starting to tax my body, and that full-time rest is really the only thing I CAN do to help our little girls grow and develop some more. It helps that simply getting out of bed and walking to the couch (roughly 20 feet) is exhausting. I'm grateful for how well my husband has stepped up and taken over the housework and cooking. He's been wonderful, and to top it off, he never makes me feel guilty about not being able to help. I've definitely had a few guilty days, and he's been great about cheering me up and assuring me that my job is to be lying down.

--- 2 ---

This Sunday is Mother's Day, and I've been thinking a lot about how lucky I am to have been raised by my mother. She is an incredibly selfless, loving, giving woman. Mother's Day seems like a different idea, now that I'm more or less on the other side, and the more I think about motherhood, the luckier I feel to have her as my mother. She has also been fantastic while I've been off my feet: cooking and grocery shopping so that Dan doesn't have to worry about coming up with dinner from scratch every single night, and helping me immensely with getting ready for our babies. I feel so lucky that we're able to give her grandchildren, because I know she will be a fabulous grandmother too.

--- 3 ---

The Time magazine cover showing the woman breastfeeding her nearly 4-year-old son bothered me a bit. Not because I am anti-breastfeeding, and not because I think those who breastfeed past 12-18 months are doing something wrong. Quite the contrary; I'm excited to try breastfeeding our twins, and I think that there are certainly health benefits for keeping it up beyond 12 months. I'm more bothered by the idea that this mom felt it was appropriate to pose with her son for a magazine cover. His name is on the cover. Things like magazine covers don't disappear overnight. It's one thing for her to partially expose her body for millions of people to see, but quite another for her son to be involved in this picture. He may be too young now to know what's going on, but he won't always be.

--- 4 ---

Since my bed rest is the type where I'm allowed to go between the bed and the couch a couple of times a day, I do get to see the rest of our apartment most days. I usually spend about 2-3 days a week in bed the entire day, and the others I split between the bed and the couch. This last week, every time I walk past the nursery, I find myself pausing in wonder. I look at their cribs and imagine going in there to pick up tiny baby girls to feed them or change them or play with them. Even though my belly is the most prominent part of my body and I can embrace my wiggling, kicking babies, I still can't quite believe it. Life is a miracle, indeed.

--- 5 ---

I've spent a lot of time pondering the cost of groceries this last week, mainly because I think it's the area with the most flexibility in a household budget. You can choose whether you would like to prepare food or buy it partially prepared; whether you need to buy packaged or bulk food, whether you are a one-stop shopper or willing to go to several stores to get the best deals, whether you use coupons or not . . . you get the idea. I want to write some posts about grocery budgeting and how it works out for us as a family of 4, though that might be something that comes later on this summer or in the fall since I think our life will be very full soon! If any of you have good grocery-budgeting tips, please share them in the comments or email me!

--- 6 ---

The weather here has been fantastic! I love getting to look out the window and see the sunny blue skies and all of the trees and flowers. I feel as though I've experienced spring more fully this year than in years past, even though it's all been inside, simply because I've had to stop and look to see what's going on. I see the changes, day by day, and can take pleasure in the trees changing from masses of pink flowers to lovely light green leaves. I fully understand the meaning of my "spring green" crayon as opposed to my "green" crayon (I think I'd had that one down for a couple of decades, actually.) In all seriousness, however, I feel surrounded by the beautiful green newness of spring, even if it is from our third floor windows.

--- 7 ---

Finally, I'd like to say how happy I am to be blogging again. I love putting my thoughts into words, and I can't think of a better way to share our journey and our new family with family and friends far and near. I'm also grateful for the friends I am making blogging, both those I've met and those I have yet to meet. I'm truly blessed to have all of you in my life!

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

A little about our family

How we met
My husband Dan and I met in high school in our church's youth group, in 2004. We found we had a lot in common: we both liked running, sports, time at the coast, going for walks, and while Dan didn't share my love of cooking, he did like to eat. Dan's learning to cook now, and I've learned to watch football (I even took a couple classes on it!) We started dating partway through the school year and continued through college, even though we went to different schools directly out of high school. After our freshman year of college, we both attended University of Oregon, and in July 2007, we got engaged. We were married one year later, on July 12, 2008.
Posing with our cake before we cut it.
Our new life together
We are both from Eugene, so we knew we wanted to start our new life together here. Luckily, we both had good jobs and found a nice starter apartment within a few weeks of graduation. Since we got married about a month later, this meant a lot of changes in just a few short weeks!
The first couple of years we were married, we focused on spending as much time together as possible. We knew we would be postponing starting a family for those years, since I was having my teeth straightened and couldn't finish the treatment without a number of X-rays and a possible surgery (not recommended during pregnancy). That's a whole story in and of itself, but suffice it to say I am thankful every day for my improved bite and my fantastic post-braces smile!
Since both of us tend to work long hours and our schedules didn't always overlap, we tried to plan little getaways to the coast or to visit friends in Portland or Seattle. The highlight of these trips was a ten-day road trip in 2010, where we drove down the Oregon and California coasts to Carmel, California, and then headed up to San Francisco for a few days before driving home.
Sure, you can pose with a streetcar in San Francisco- you just have to be at the baseball stadium!

This past summer, we did take one trip up to Seattle in early June, but we spent the majority of the summer focusing on something else: making our living space work for us instead of merely adapting to whatever space we were presented with after a move. We have moved a few times since we got married, once to get closer to Dan's work so we could keep living with one car, and once last summer to improve our living space. Look for an upcoming post detailing why we made this move and how it changed our lives for the better. Most recently, we were able to move into a two-bedroom apartment so we would have an extra room for our nursery - in case you haven't heard, we're expecting twin girls in June!
Me, 30 weeks pregnant

Getting ready for life as four
Over the past weeks, while I've been on bed rest to help prolong my pregnancy, my husband and our parents have been working hard to get the nursery ready for our girls. I am allowed up for small chunks of time during the day, so I've seen the progress and had input on many of the aspects so far. It's been a blessing knowing that we are opening our life together as two for the two little girls squirming inside me right now. The nursery is certainly the most tangible evidence of this, although the feeling has been there the whole time.
What about God's plan?
Though I've already written about the moment when we found out we were having twins, and plan to write more about my pregnancy, I haven't touched much on how much of a wake-up call this was for me. I was raised Catholic, as was my husband, and we continue to practice our faith. While we were dating and engaged, as well as in our early years of marriage, we'd discussed how many children we thought we'd have. I grew up with just one brother, while my husband has two younger siblings. Obviously, our experiences shaped our beliefs about the perfect family size. As our new family went from fantasy to reality when I got pregnant, I began to wonder anew about how many children we would have. I'd always pictured two, probably because that's what I grew up with. We knew we wanted to be young parents, to share our life with our kids instead of feeling like we had to sit back and watch them have fun. I could picture us playing with two little ones, running with them in the jogging stroller, eating meals together. I can think of so many times in my life where I looked to the future with exactly this type of image. My plan for the future. What about God's plan?
Around that time, someone had told me "the best way to make God laugh is to tell him YOUR plan". This resonated with me for some reason, and I began to feel more comfortable with our upcoming journey as a family, however many of us there might be. It was only about a week later that we went in for our first ultrasound and saw two tiny hearts beating on the screen. Ever since that day, I have had a deep sense of calm in regards to my pregnancy, knowing that this, like everything else, is part of a larger plan for us and for our life.
As a pregnant mama of twins, I get asked pretty frequently if the girls were a "surprise". After 7 months of answering this question, I am very comfortable with my answer: "They were a surprise, and we feel very blessed." Our little blessings, Emily Grace and Erin Maureen, are expected to join us sometime in the next 5 weeks or so. We can hardly wait to meet them, the tiny bundles that have been cradled so safely in my belly for the last 7 1/2 months. Their daddy loves to feel them wiggle, hiccup, and kick, and both of us want nothing more than to cradle them in our arms and let them know how loved they are.