Saturday, 31 December 2011

33 weeks 6 days

Made it, almost to the end of 2011. Here's hoping the spicy Chinese takeaway earlier doesn't spark any action and trigger the girls to come any earlier than they will anyway, though with any luck there won't be a 2011 and 2012 baby (one of the more awkward though perfectly feasible situations discussed recently).

Christmas Day bump cuddles (33 weeks)

Since posting last, we've had one more scan, one more consultant appointment, I've had the flu jab and met my new community midwife, and oh of course the minor matters of Christmas and Gemma's 3rd birthday. Sitting here on New Year's Eve it feels much like the least important of the occasions to be going through, though the last time we properly celebrated past midnight was actually 4 years ago, the New Year before I conceived Gemma. 

At the 32 (well, 31+4) week scan, we heard the welcome news that the breech girlie had turned and was head down, meaning both were cephalic (though she could well have flipped back again by now!). Size-wise, more chubbiness - this twin was measuring off the scale for some of her measurements, and estimated to be 4lbs 11oz, with the leading twin between 4 and 4 1/2 lbs (though precise measurements couldn't be got as her head was so far down). Yowsers. At my consultant appt a week later, he rubbished the idea that I would end up with a 9lb-er and an 8lb-er and agreed that I was probably a week further on than my official dates, meaning I have 2 'average' size babies inside me rather than 2 whoppers. Also means that he suggested inducing me at 37 weeks (when I would more likely be 38) which I am more than happy to go with.

It's all getting a bit tense, and that's not just my belly. Very frequent and uncomfortable Braxton Hicks contractions, lots of shooting pains very low down (possibly due to heads engaging) and I can barely walk anywhere now without the pressure and pain becoming too intense. A few days before Christmas I had an awful night of painful contractions lasting into the morning,  prompting the cancellation of a pregnancy massage (boo), a call to the midwife and a call to the delivery suite at the JR, though the latter merely generated a suggestion to take paracetamol and see how it went, as 'we're very busy today'. Erm, yeah but babies don't care how busy midwives are do they? Luckily a shower and a walk about eased things off but the consultant later that day told me to go straight in if it happened again. So now every twinge and pain and feeling of heaviness is a major worry :( but no major and urgent signs so far.

So we shall see what happens. At the very least we'll have our girls with us in a little over 3 weeks, but I wouldn't be in the least surprised if they decide to come earlier than that. January 2012 babies, anyway!

Sunday, 4 December 2011

30 weeks

And measuring 38 weeks at the last midwife appointment last week. As you will see from the bump photo, there has been some significant growth. Oh yes indeed. We had a scan at 28 weeks and the girls are both, well, the sonographer's word of choice was 'chubby'. Twin 1, still breech, very high up under my ribcage and the cause of much back pain the little minx. She was 3lbs 3oz at the scan which is above average even for a singleton. Twin 2 is still head down bless her, and was 2lbs 12oz, still a good weight. So if they stay the same, and I don't think they have flipped round, I stand a good chance of delivering naturally (with twin 1 being breech birthed).

All gloom and doom a couple of weeks ago as well as I discovered the first stretch marks. I never got any when pregnant with Gemma and I didn't realistically expect to get away this time without them appearing, but it was still a bit depressing. I am trying to keep them at bay with Dr. Hauschka's Blackthorn Body Oil so hopefully they won't get too much worse.

Mostly symptoms are the same as 3 weeks ago, apart from the added new one of very strong and frequent Braxton Hicks contractions since the end of last week. Apparently it can be a sign of a urine infection so I'll be getting that checked out this week, but also with twins they do often occur a lot earlier and with a lot more intensity than single pregnancies. It's a very weird and odd feeling as well as being quite uncomfortable especially when they're coming every 10-15mins or so, but not like real labour. I am getting pregnancy massages every 1-2 weeks from the wonderful Bella at Eau De Vie in Oxford and they are wonderful, doing loads of good for my back and legs which are bearing the brunt of the added weight. I'm tempted to try the flotation tank next...

Other than that, we moved house 2 weeks ago. I'll probably get round to writing a post about that some time soon but headline news is that we don't plan to move ever again. And we DEFINITELY will not be moving house when I am 28 weeks pregnant with twins, or even pregnant at all. OH NO.

And finally - 5 days left to go at work, hooray!!!

Sunday, 13 November 2011

27 weeks

Looking at the last post the thing that strikes me is the relatively compact bump size. Boy oh boy does that feel different now. At my last midwife appointment at 25 weeks 3 days, I was measuring 30 weeks, so now I reckon I'm closer to 33 weeks-ish in terms of singleton pregnancies. I have developed a very unflattering and highly uncomfortable pose when walking of thrusting the bump and hips forward in order to try and actually get from A to B, as I can't stand properly upright any more. Luckily I'm only seeing the physio if I feel I need to as I'm sure she would be horrified at what this back-arching waddle is doing to my posture - and it's certainly meaning a lot of aches and pains from early-mid afternoon onwards, all over the back, under the shoulder blades, all around the bump, hips, legs, you name it, it aches. Restless legs early evening onwards and occasionally even after I've gone to bed which is really horrendous. Heartburn ditto. Urine infection a couple of weeks ago and attendant cramping was equally rubbish. Grumpiness and general pissed off levels? Well what do you think?

On the plus side the mornings are mostly fine - whatever aches and pains and pressure the afternoon and evening bring, seem to drain away overnight (and after at least one middle of the night loo trip) and mean that until just after lunch I can function at work / home, not moan too much, and feel like things are actually not that bad. So having at least half the day feeling OK-ish is not a bad thing. I can still eat pretty large portions at mealtimes and am managing to combine nutrient-rich stuff with lots of treats, and only put the weight on the bump (so far 1st 9lbs weight gain) and miraculously so far no stretch marks (though my inny is very flat and on the verge of becoming an outy). No swelling of hands or feet, and my skin is pretty good and spot-free. It could be so much worse! And the girls are very active, lots of kicking and wriggling going on. Good news.

In other news, we have made the first twin related purchase - the double buggy + carrycots etc. We went for the over the top sounding TFK Twinner Twist Duo, after reading great online reviews and going to visit one of the UK's very few stockists in Bath one Saturday. It felt like a great buggy but still remains to be seen whether it will fit through the front door of the new house*...

I have also become a lot more nervous about spending time in hospital unexpectedly, after a woman on one of the Babycentre boards gave birth at 28 weeks - so some hospital bag purchases were made today (nighties and the like, and a few tiny baby sleepsuits) though there is still a lot to get.

I also made the decision to start my maternity leave earlier, as physically it is becoming a real strain to be at work and mentally I feel like I need at least some sort of break from the stresses and strains of everyday work life to focus on the family and the twins' arrival. Given that they could come pretty much any time (though very unlikely to come this early thank goodness!) I wanted to protect some time before the birth for a bit of sorting, planning, nesting and focussing on their big sister too. So 9th December is my last day at work for a year and my word it can't come soon enough. 4 weeks to go, whoop whoop!
* more of which in next post

Friday, 21 October 2011

23 weeks 5 days

Comparing pregnancies is starting to get a bit silly so I think after this post I'm going to stop referring to what it was like being pregnant with Gemma. Current bump size is about midway between 29 and 36 weeks size last time, I am 10st 4 lbs (20lbs heavier than when I got pregnant) which I think is about 2 lbs heavier than I reached when about to give birth last time! and symptoms, well, got the lot this time and had hardly any last time. So twinnies, you are truly unique.

One thing that is different, is the level of preparedness for the babies at this stage in the pregnancy. I'm sure last time we had made buggy and cot decisions, decided on monitors, and started making purchases. This time, nothing at all bar one slightly half-hearted visit to a local pram shop to look at double buggies. Part of this will be due to the fact we're shortly to move house, and there seems little point in buying a lot of new stuff we'll only have to pack up again into boxes and unpack when we move. In my head I am envisioning us, one week(ish) post-move, with a dedicated, fairly decent sized room for the twins, starting to really sort out existing things and make online purchases for new. If we move by the end of November (please, please let us get a completion date soon) that should give at least one month to plan for Christmas, Gemma's birthday and the twins' arrival, before January arrives and with it the very real likelihood of them coming earlier than their due date. If they come really early, before Christmas, well, at least they won't be naked, as they'll have all of Gemma's old stuff to wear, some of which might even be washed. But unless we pull our fingers out they won't have a whole lot else...

Of course work tends to have an inconvenient way of getting in the middle of my nice nesting plans, and currently I am going to be in the office right up until Christmas. However, the way I've been feeling (back and hips really sore and aching every afternoon and evening; broken sleep; wretched heartburn; feeling like my bump could literally explode with the pressure) I wouldn't rule out finishing a bit earlier. Unlike last time, where I left the office on my last day not knowing when or how I would be returning, I am pretty sure I will be back at Oxfam in a year's time (or in a day or so after I go on leave, as I'll be taking Gemma to and from nursery every day!) so my current work days are taken up with planning for 2012 to make sure my team are OK and I don't come back to more chaos than is necessary in 2013...

Next scan is at 28 weeks so we'll see the girls again and find out how they are growing. I had a cervical scan at 21 weeks which luckily showed my cervix to be of a normal length (if it had been short I would have been at risk of delivering the twins very prematurely) so as far as we know I am as low risk as you can get for a multiple pregnancy. Both girls are currently kicking away thanks to the berry smoothie I've just ingested, and I heard strong heartbeats at a recent doctor's appointment. As long as they are happy, I can put up with most discomforts. And luckily the very weepy stage seems to have abated a bit ;o)

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

20 weeks 3 days

Some good stuff and not so good over the past few weeks, but let's focus on the good first! We had our anomaly scan today, where the twins were very well behaved, lots of wriggling going on but they let us and the sonographer see all the important bits. All organs and limbs are developing really well, no issues or worries at all and both are around the same size and measuring well. They are around 370-380 grams each which is the right weight for babies of 20-21 weeks gestation so no wonder I feel so enormous - I have two normal size and weight babies inside me! Apparently after about 28 weeks they slow down a bit when they realise there isn't a lot of room any more...good job as with the rate they're going I will be toppling over every time I stand up by December.

the only one of two babies together - two heads (I think!)

baby 1 (head down, first out!)

baby 1 again - a great 3D shot
baby 2, breech, hopefully will turn later on!

And yes, we found out the sex, and we are having 2 more girls! Neither little lady was shy about showing off her lady bits so it was pretty clear in both cases. Now I need to find some way of staving off the inevitable onslaught of pink from now until teenage years. Gemma was a little underwhelmed when we told her - she interrupted us by saying she wanted a boy and a girl - so hopefully by the time they arrive she'll be well conditioned to accepting the fact that she'll get two little sisters.

It's such a relief to know that the babies are both doing well, that it's made the past few weeks a little easier to bear. I am currently signed off work for a week, the first time I think that's ever happened, due to the severe coccyx and back pain I'm getting on sitting, and also a horrendous cough and cold that's making the back pain worse. It doesn't help that half the time I blow my nose I end up with a nosebleed either. So the past few weeks I've been feeling very sorry for myself, very emotional and dissolving into tears frequently when feeling run down - which is pretty much every day after about 2-3pm. At a physio appointment yesterday I was so tearful the lovely therapist immediately made me a doctor's appointment for later in the day and virtually ordered me to take a week off work, which of course made me feel hideously guilty and start weeping again. Anyway hopefully after a few days of resting, getting rid of the cold  and not sitting at my desk hunched over email, I should be feeling a bit more chipper. And I also have a fetching belly-tubigrip type thing to wear, which may also help. So today is a great day for taking my mind off all this, and reminding me I have 2 lovely healthy, blossoming wee girlies growing inside me and how grateful I am for that! :)

Thursday, 8 September 2011

17 weeks 4 days

On holiday for what is likely to be the last time before the babes arrive. On the plus side, we managed to cram all our packing into the boot of Ali's car - not even needing to split the rear seats and precariously balance things next to Gemma's car seat, or have all the foot wells brimful of stuff. Now Gemma is older, she doesn't need travel cot, bed guards, much in the way of food, or nappies any more - just clothes, toys and a few snacks. I reckon we could even have got away without the buggy this time as we have hardly used it since being away. This, I know, will be the one and only time we will travel this light, until, ooh, maybe 18 years time when Ali and I may possibly be allowed to go on hols by ourselves again?

We've had a lovely time in Padstow, even though the weather has been a bit iffy at times. Beach, Eden Project, ferry rides, a trip to a steam railway (Gemma's new favourite is Thomas the Tank Engine, though she still loves Peppa). On the down side, no cider for me (boo) and no trip on the bikes on the Camel Trail - Ali took Gemma out for the morning which gave me a chance to rest, but I would sooner have been out with them. This week's bump picture has me looking in a slightly better mood than the last one!

Bump-wise I am getting bigger and bigger. And bigger. Lots of things are aching, principally back (all over, upper and lower, but not coccyx as I haven't been sitting on hard chairs for long periods - NOT looking forward to going back to work for this reason); but also hips, and the bump itself is also getting a bit tight and hard and achy by the end of the day. No cravings but I am fast becoming a connoisseur of traditional 'fiery' ginger beers - so far the Crabbies non-alcoholic version is the leader though Luscombe Farm is also pretty good. I have also taken the opportunity while in Cornwall to feed the babies up on clotted cream fudge ;)

I'm definitely feeling movements, mostly from Thing 2 (the higher up twin) as he or she is not as deeply within me, but Thing 1 (lower down, deeper within my pelvis) is also now providing some distinct flutters. This is all very reassuring as when I went for my 16 week appointment with the (very nice, but very no-nonsense) midwife Diana, she could only find one heartbeat with the doppler. This apparently is not unusual with twins especially when one is more hidden away than the other, so she wasn't worried at all, especially as we heard some squealy noises that were pretty sure to be movements from Thing 1 - but until I felt him or her move myself, I was panicking a bit. Appointment with the consultant is next week and in 2 weeks we have the anomaly scan so will find out the sex then. Can't wait!

Sunday, 21 August 2011

15 weeks

Well, 15 weeks is the official date, but as the larger of the two babes was measuring 5 days further on at the last scan, that's what I'm telling anyone who asks, which makes it slightly complicated. "Well, officially 15 weeks, but actually nearer to 16 weeks"and all this made even more surreal because from the expressions they have you can tell people are really expecting me to be about 5 months gone already. Looking at the first bump picture I posted when I was pregnant with Gemma, it's a whole other kettle of fish. I reckon I am slightly bigger than I was at almost 23 weeks before (see this post for ref...!) and on re-reading it, I can't believe there were still people then who didn't know I was pregnant at 5 months. No chance of that this time.

No new symptoms but I have a consultant appointment now, for a week before my anomaly scan. Googling the chap's name he appears to have done lots of very complicated and skilled surgery on women who are pregnant with multiples, and is a renowned expert in fetal medicine, so that has reassured us a lot. I trundled along to the midwife last week to ask a few questions and came away with the advice to take Floradix, a herbal liquid iron supplement, so chugging that before meals now. Back is aching, mostly coccyx pain but I should get a physio appointment soon. Other than that, no news to report other than the occasional flutters mentioned in the previous post, which are coming a little less frequently now. Can't wait for proper movement so I can guess whereabouts the little blighters are located!

Monday, 8 August 2011

13 weeks 1 day

Something is going on in my insides. I can't possibly be feeling any baby movements YET can I? I have only just had my lunch so am quite willing to believe that there is some radical digestive commotion happening beneath my ribcage but honestly, I am assuming it's to do with my little buns. Sweet now, maybe, but what if they are this active at 28 weeks? I will be forever jerking about and clasping my belly with firm hands in attempts to quell the obvious judderings. And I'll be getting even less sleep than I am now. Oh cripes....

Friday, 5 August 2011

Spot the difference

Well, a socking great bump for one.

Yes, at almost 13 weeks, I am pregnant again! with some significant differences to last time. I suppose first off is the fact I'm blogging it much earlier than with my pregnancy with Gemma, where I started writing at 15 weeks, but didn't put any posts live until after we'd had the anomaly scan at around 21 weeks. Having had a very early miscarriage before my successful pregnancy, I was a little paranoid that things wouldn't go to plan, so even though we started telling friends and family after the nuchal scan at 11 weeks, I held off from announcing anything online. I'd done quite a bit of research into baby stuff, pregnancy facts etc but hadn't yet started reading the wealth of parenting forums, mummy blogs, and online baby resource sites that there are out there. It seemed a bit weird to be talking about my expanding waistline with the ever present risk that I would have to blog about something not so nice in the event of things going wrong later down the line. So I waited.

This time, however, things are a bit different. I am a bit more open about sharing progress earlier on, having read some heart-wrenching but beautiful stories from other women and knowing that for every one of my friends and colleagues who has had a successful happy pregnancy there is likely to be one who has a sadder story to tell as well.

Also, as mentioned, there's a bit more to tell this time. Twice the amount, in fact. Yes, it is TWINS. TWO. DOUBLE THE FUN.

To say that I was shocked is an understatement. I don't think I have ever felt so absolutely at a loss before in my life, than I was at the moment the doctor moved the scanner over my belly, went 'ohh!' in a surprised voice, and confirmed there were two babies nestling in my womb. With no family history of twins, no fertility drugs or IVF, it wasn't a possibility that had even remotely occurred to me - at 10 weeks pregnant I was at the clinic to get my bloods taken prior to having a nuchal scan at 11.5 weeks, and expecting to have a quick dating scan to confirm the dates and check for a heartbeat. Prior to that moment my only concern had been to see a living being in there (ONE living being, that is) and not to find out I'd had a missed miscarriage.

So there's been some pretty radical readjusting going on in mine and Ali's head space over the past few weeks. It is of course amazing, wonderful news, both babies are currently fine and developing brilliantly and after the nuchal scan today we are a lot more reassured that things are progressing as well as they could be.

But it's also massively scary. A complete curveball for me, who had planned to do everything pretty much the same this time round. Easy pregnancy (hopefully), finish work about 3 or 4 weeks prior to due date, natural birth in the pool in the midwife unit, breastfeed as long as possible, cloth nappies, 9-12 months maternity leave etc etc. But now it's officially a high risk pregnancy, so no pool, no midwife unit, the chances are high they will come earlier therefore stopping work earlier, breastfeeding I am assured will be OK but a bit more challenging! and all the other considerations to come. Not to mention the need to move house asap and change the recently purchased Polo (OK for 2 car seats, limited boot space) for some kind of people carrier.

Symptoms wise it's been a whole lot rougher. Nausea in the afternoons and early evenings is thankfully tailing off now, but absolute bone-shaking tiredness has been present since about 5 or 6 weeks and shows no signs of abating. Spots, yuk. Stuffy nose I can't seem to get rid of. I feel starving all the time! And I am ALREADY enormous and in maternity clothes, whereas I didn't really start showing until about 17 or 18 weeks with Gemma.

So it'll be an interesting next 4, 5 or 6 months depending on how far I get before they decide to make an entry to the world. I'm going to try and do the same as before, which is blog how I am feeling physically, mentally and emotionally throughout the pregnancy. I am 100% sure that after two little ones arrive there won't be time to do more than track their progress along similar lines to what we've done for Gemma. So I feel it's important to have this space to detail some of the journey towards their arrival. Hopefully future posts will be a little more succinct without sounding quite so freaked out by it all!

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Get a grip

Something very strange and nice has happened to me over the past few weeks. I appear to have been welcomed into the warm embrace of what could be termed the 'mummy bloggerhood' via twitter and blogworld, with a few new followers and lots of new people's lives to read about and nod in agreement with. (It's also opened me up to a concept which quite frankly would scare the bejesus out of me if I didn't know that most of my Twitter followers don't actually want to read about the minutiae of my life, and that is tweeting a link to a newly published blog post. I used to have my blog linked to Facebook and a few of my FB friends found it from there, but since the squillion upgrades they've had that has disappeared. It feels very odd indeed to be proclaiming to the world at large that I've written something but hey, let's give it a go...)

But all this has led to a few roundabout conversations in my head about how much I can commit to write every week. When I started my blog I was commuting hours each day on the train; had no childcare responsibilities, a varied social and home life and consequently a large variety of things to write about. When I got pregnant I was still commuting and found it very therapeutic to blog about my weekly bump progress. When Gemma came along and I landed a local job with no commute, well look at the yearly archive of posts and the numbers for 2009 and 2010 speak for themselves. I joined Twitter over a year ago and have used it to tweet a random mix of personal, work/industry related stuff, and tv musings (Masterchef, Strictly et al), none on a regular basis. I follow a similarly assorted bunch of celebs, friends, work colleagues, and industry tweeters - a bit like the blogs I read, which I categorise in my reader under various headings - local, craft, personal, e-commerce, etc. One of those headings is 'baby' which is a catch all term for the mummy bloggers I've come across over the years. It's probably more relevant as a 'where did I first hear about this blogger and what did I immediately typecast them as' rather than what they actually blog about - all of them being intelligent, creative, articulate women with excellent taste in music, books, food, culture and all sorts of other interesting things. They just all happen to have kids and write entertainingly and movingly about them. This post is an interesting take on the 'mummy blogger' phenomenon and actually made even more interesting for the comments after it.

So why I am I so hesitant about becoming part of this throng? Like anyone I crave acceptance to a group, and perhaps not like anyone am paralysed with worry when I feel I'm being judged or not accepted. However - I know this is not happening to me at the moment and it shows my overanalytical internal nagging at the issue at hand. I was tagged in a meme the other day - the first time ever - and it totally freaked me out. Not because I don't have 7 things to say about myself that are faintly interesting (eh-hem well more likely I don't) but because firstly time seems to be of the essence with these things and once a Twitter day has gone by everyone has moved onto the next thing, and I haven't had a moment to sit down and write anything until now. If I didn't do it what WOULD people think?? Secondly, it wouldn't occur to me to write a blog post about something like that ordinarily, so why should being tagged make things different?

I'm sure I am flouting all sorts of blog etiquette rules here and probably ruling myself out of any meaningful relationship building with my new cyber friends. Most have probably realised by now that they're not going to get much out of me other than a few tweets now and again rather than a chatty conversation; and a blog post once in a blue moon. In turn I will still enjoy reading the new blogs I've found and will ping back a tweet to a comment that particularly resonates with me. But just as I don't call myself a craft blogger because I'm a member of Ravelry and knit occasionally; or a food blogger because I made some jam last November, I don't really feel I can call myself a mummy blogger because I sometimes write about Gemma.

In fact looking at recent posts I seem to be writing an awful lot about whether or not I'm going to continue writing and what type of writing that is and the fact that I don't write as much as I used to. This cannot be good for anyone. Draw the line. Onwards and upwards. My next post will be about compost heaps, or estate agents, or something.

Friday, 14 January 2011

Is this the solution to my blogging productivity?

So. I downloaded the BlogPress app onto my phone, ooh, ages ago. Never used it before but if this works (and looks ok - I am a stickler for presentation) it might just prompt me to post a bit more often. Slightly more scope than 140 tweeting characters, fewer readers than for my FB statuses, who knows what scintillating insight (or random TV commentary) you could be subjected to in the future. Watch this space...

Just noticed the little camera icon too. Here's a pic! Not of me. Obviously. I like this app!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone