1 Week Old

(George, William)

I'm a few days late on this post, but Saturday marked William and George's 1-week birthday. And quite a week it was. I'll follow up with a post on the details of the day of their birth, but everything has been going well as we settle in to our new family of four.

We stayed in the hospital until midday Wednesday and had the help of my mom Wednesday evening, Thursday and Friday, plus overnight help, but were on our own Friday night through Sunday. And so far, so good! We've survived the night feedings -- George is a champ with the nursing and William is just starting to get it more so I'm trying to tandem feed as much as possible (the My Breast Friend twin nursing pillow is key!). I'm getting used to sleeping in short increments, but surprisingly it's been working out okay and I'm able to fall back to sleep and even catch a nap during the day. They're sleeping a lot in general, but it does feel like the time between feedings flies by.

I'm proud to say that we ventured out on Saturday for our first walk and we tackled what immediately popped into my head with dread the moment I found out I was having twins... the Ferry Building Farmers Market. We made sure to feed them right before we left and then headed out for the mile and a half walk to the market. I was moving slow. I'm recovering well from the c-section, but had to ask Dave to slow down... that never happens. We got lunch and then I split up from Dave and the boys to do some shopping; maybe I haven't totally overcome my fear of pushing the double stroller through the farmers market -- it's so packed that I had Dave wait towards the front while I picked up what we needed. Then we walked back home. I was exhausted by that point. Perhaps the 3-mile walk was a bit ambitious 1-week post c-section, but it did feel good to be out and walking, not to mention the weather was gorgeous.

Sunday was another big day for William and George as we had a photographer come over to take newborn photos. The boys were so good, but there were no diapers during the shoot so there was plenty of pee and poop everywhere and Dave went through 3 shirts. I can't wait to see the photos!

So this week it's just Dave and I, plus help with the overnights, before Dave returns to work on Monday and then my mom will be with me for the next month during the day. But for this week, Dave and I are taking advantage of what I've deemed a 'staycation' and are trying to get out with the boys every day. Today we headed to Sausalito for our favorite crab sandwiches at Fish. As long as we feed the boys right before we leave, we have a good 3 hours to get out. It's supposed to be another great week of weather so we're thinking of heading for a walk at the beach tomorrow.

So far there have been no breakdowns at home, though they're bound to happen, but right now we're enjoying every minute.

1-week stats

weight: 6lb 13oz (7lb 1 oz at birth)
height: 19 inches
head: 34cm

weight: 6lb 10 oz (6lb 11oz at birth)
height: 19.5 inches
head: 33.5cm

weight: (yes, I asked to get on the Pediatrician's scale) -22 lbs (though 14lbs of that was baby)

And then there were four...

William Elliot McDowell, 7lbs, 1oz, 19", 4/20, 11:39am

George Louis McDowell, 6lbs, 11oz, 18 3/4", 4/20, 11:38am

13 lbs of Babies

Last month when we went to the Perinatal appointment, I really didn't expect to be back four weeks later. April 17 felt soooo far away and at 36 1/2 weeks, I knew there was a good chance I'd have already had the babies. I've been coaxing the babies to stay in and so far it's been working, but I was so happy to be going to my appointments yesterday.

First, I headed to the obgyn and while these appointments are always fairly quick and not that insightful compared to what I get to see at the Perinatal office, I still am always slightly anxious because even a simple check of blood pressure can send you straight to the hospital. I didn't feel anxious, but the nurse went through the normal routine, weight (+48 lbs), then blood pressure. She frowned and I asked, 'Is it high?'. She nodded, asked me to take a few deep breaths, and then started again -- well at that point of course I'm going to be anxious but I tried to relax. She said it was lower the second time. So when my doctor came in, I immediately asked about it and she said, 'it's higher than normal, but nothing to be concerned about.' Apparently my blood pressure is always really low, so while it was higher than normal for me, it still wasn't worrying at all. Phew. I seriously had images of delivery later that day.

Nothing much else to report from that appointment. My doctor checked the heart rates and they were 155 (baby A) and 135 (baby B), the same as they've been for months. I left making an appointment, which must be my last, for Wed, April 24.

In the afternoon, we headed to the perinatal office for the ultrasound to check the babies' growth as well as meet with Dr. Katz. The babies were each in pretty much the same positions as they were a month ago, with baby A head down, still way down, and baby B breech. Everything looked great, the doctor was really happy and while again they had some trouble getting the head measurements due to their positions, they felt like they got a pretty good indication of their weights, which were 6lbs 2oz (baby A) and 6lbs 14oz (baby B). This really is great news. I've read that towards the end, twins' growth can really slow as they run out of room and I've even read on others' twin pregnancy blogs where women have gone in for their monthly check only to see that their babies haven't grown at all since their last appointment and then they have to deliver that day. My babies gained about 1.5lbs each over the past month, which is great, and just slightly less than what a single baby would be expected to gain over the same period, which is about 2 lbs. I was really hoping to have at least baby B into the 7lb range, but really, I'm so grateful that they're each as big as they are. If we make it to scheduled c-section day on April 30, and they continue to put on even a little bit of weight, then they should both be in great shape.

So finally I met with Dr. Katz. I think he was slightly surprised to see me back as well, but he was thrilled with everything he saw as far as the babies growth. My cervix is now down to 1.2cm, which is only natural at this point, and reminded me that any signs of labor should send me straight to the hospital, no waiting around. He measured my fundal height, which is the distance from top of the public bone to the top of the uterus (so for me, just below my bustline). For women carrying a single baby, this number in centimeters should correlate with the weeks pregnant they are -- so 36cm for 36 weeks pregnant. Well, with twins, generally it's 4-6cm ahead, which means you're generally showing about 4-6 weeks ahead of someone carrying a single baby. Well, Dr. Katz was thrilled and said I may have the record for the year at about 50cm! My obgyn had measured it earlier that day and told me it was about 44cm; I told Dr. Katz that and he made a face. Dave thinks that my obgyn, being a woman, is more sensitive to the fact that I may not want to know how big I actually am. Which does make sense as she did ask, 'do you even want me to measure?'. I have no problem with it though, clearly I'm huge, I'd like to know how huge! Bottom line is that I appear to be at least a month, maybe more, past my due date. I'm glad I don't have to go out in public often as people expect me to deliver right then and there.

So Dr. Katz said to let him know if the babies come early, otherwise he would stop by in the hospital. Then he shook my hand and thanked me for keeping his reputation in tact :) Although we'll never know if the cerclage made the difference, or the combination of that and the bed rest, whatever it was, it clearly has worked and Dr. Katz has been instrumental in what I'd call at this point a successful pregnancy. So grateful!

Week 36: Les Deux are the Size of Honeydew Melons

How far along? 36 weeks
Total weight gain: I'll find out if we make it to our appointment on Wednesday.
Maternity clothes:
Very little fits at this point, at least as far as clothes that I can wear outside the house go. I told Dave that if we keep going and are able to do a few more dinners out, he's going to see me in the same outfit every time.  I'm definitely not buying anything new at this point.
Stretch Marks: Still nothing, thankfully.
Best moment this week:  It  was a pretty slow week, but I made it to Friday to get my haircut and then had fun with visitors on the weekend.
Feeling: Emotionally I'm feeling really good. We've gotten everything done on our list and feel as ready as we'll ever be -- although I don't like saying that; I'd rather them stay in even longer. I continue to get more and more uncomfortable. Some days are better than others, but often I can't get comfortable no matter what position I'm in -- laying down, sitting, whatever. Standing is sometimes the best, but I'm supposed to stay off my feet and get tired easily anyway so can't stand for too long. It's mostly pain in my right rib area or my back -- some days the lower back, sometimes higher up or in the shoulders.
Sleep:  This has been pretty much the same as last week, it really depends on the night. Generally it's been pretty good, waking up once to go to the bathroom, but for the most part, being able to fall back asleep until 8 or so. Although it may not be the best sleep as there's still a lot of tossing and turning, I think I'm still managing to get 8-9 hours of sleep a night which is awesome.
Movement: I definitely noticed a difference this week. Whereas the last few weeks it's been more of a rolling where it feels like a whole little body is moving, now the movements are much more jerky and I can tell these guys are running out of room. There's still a ton of movement though so I'm excited to see what positions each of them are in.
Food cravings: Although I'm not eating as much as I was a few months ago, I'm still amazed I'm able to eat as much as I am. I'm still sticking to a good-size breakfast, a morning snack, lunch, a salad and then dinner. I tend to eat more during the week as I have a good schedule I stick to.
Labor Signs: Still no changes here; in fact, it I almost think I've had fewer contractions than I have in other weeks.
Belly button: Half-out
Rings on or off?: I still don't think my hands look any different though Dave says they're not as spidery as normal ;) and even if just wearing my wedding band for a little while, it is pretty tough to get off. So I think I'll put them away for now.
Our boys
Miss anything?:
Same as the last few weeks, I just miss being free of all these aches and pains, but I know I'm almost there.
Looking forward to: We definitely aren't making any plans at this point, but I hope we make it to our doctor's appointment on Wednesday. I never thought we'd make it that far so it will be great if we get to see them once more through an ultrasound, see how they're positioned and get an update on their sizes. I'm also anxious about the fact that they really can come at any time now. I feel like I've been thinking and saying that for months as it is, which is true, but now it's become real. Each day I wake up wondering if it will be that day. I really want to make it to 37 weeks -- full term. I'm so grateful for how long they've gone already and know we should be in good shape, but I'd love to get even one more week, if not more, despite how uncomfortable I am.

Nursery Reveal!

As soon as I started thinking about the nursery, I knew I wanted to do grey and yellow. Originally, Dave and I weren't going to find out the sex, so I figured that grey and yellow could be prepped ahead of time and then I could add an accent color after the baby arrived. Well, after finding out it was twins, we felt we had enough surprises and were probably in for a more eventful pregnancy, and delivery, so we decided to go ahead and find out. It really hasn't changed too much with the nursery, although I have had fun buying clothes.

In the 3+ months I've been on bedrest, I've had plenty of time to scan pinterest for all kinds of ideas. It was so odd to look at my credit card bill from the last few months. Sadly, the monthly balance hasn't changed much but all purchases, except for one dinner out with my girl friends, were from online shopping. I have to say, I'm so lucky to have the internet during this period -- you can do and buy practically everything without leaving the house!

The room was a guest room/Dave's room before we converted it and while the double bed is still in there, Dave had to clear out all his music stuff, desk and clothes. He's fully moved in with me now, and luckily our bedroom closet is large enough for both of us, plus he's even moved in to 'my' bathroom.

The nursery has been a work in progress for the last few months, but it all started when I found the grey and white chevron ottoman online. I ordered it immediately, which I wouldn't necessarily recommend. While I loved the grey chevron, you can find a million pieces in grey chevron and I may have chosen a larger statement piece like the rug instead. Regardless, I'm really happy with how it's turned out.

Crib and bedding:

I liked the sparrow crib, but with the hefty price tag, and the fact that I'd eventually need to purchase a second one, as well as the conversion-to-toddler-bed for each, I wasn't totally sold. Some searching landed me on the Babyletto Hudson and since you can get it on Amazon, it was free shipping and arrived within a few days.

I loved this bedding from Carousel, but wasn't sure if I wanted to do a crib bumper and then realized the crib skirt probably wouldn't fit the crib I chose. I also wanted a brighter yellow for the crib sheet. So really it served as inspiration, especially when I decided I was going to test my hand at sewing. I found a great tutorial on Pinterest for making a crib skirt for the exact crib I had and I'm proud to say, I made 2 skirts all by myself (don't look at them too closely, but I'm happy enough with my work). I ordered the fabric from Carousel as it seemed to be the closest match to the ottoman. Matching various yellows proved to be a challenge as well, but I love these bright sheets.

And yes, I did make that boppy cover out of the leftover chevron material, following a tutorial here.

Closet/Changing Area:

I knew with the size of the room, as well as the fact that we wanted to keep the double bed in there for at least the first few months, that the best option was to do a dresser with a changing pad on top and ideally get it in the closet. This again was a bit tricky. I had something in mind as far as what I was looking for -- a big dresser with lots of drawers as it would be the primary storage for the boys' clothes, but what many people don't realize is that standard dressers are lower than waist-height (at least my waist-height) and I didn't want to be bending over too much when changing diapers. The dresser could also only be so long as the way the closet doors opened, anything too long would prevent drawers from being able to slide out. I kept an eye on craigslist as what I really wanted to do was find the dresser that was the right size and then paint it. After some searching, I found the perfect option, size-wise, and it looked like it was in great condition. It was at an antique shop up in Santa Rosa and when I called, they said someone had it on hold. I was diligent and called back the next morning and luckily the person hadn't come to get it, so it was mine. Now we just had to figure out how we'd get it home. Dave measured the back of our car and unfortunately it looked like it was just too big. So, we tested out TaskRabbit for the first time. This worked out great, basically you post your task and different people bid on the job until you agree to move forward with one of them. Apparently you can add any sort of random task you don't want to deal with yourself. In our case, it was a guy with a truck who agreed to drive up to Santa Rosa, load the dresser, drive back to SF and deliver it to the nursery.

Dresser before:

The dresser was perfect and after my dad painted it and we installed some new drawer pulls in turquoise from Anthropologie, it looked just how I had envisioned it. My inspiration came from here.

Dresser after:

Changing pad cover: I checked on etsy and there were tons of great options, but in the end, I decided to make mine with the same fabric as the crib skirt, adding some gray minky for the middle strip. There was a great tutorial here.

Mobile: This I decided to do after coming across this cool spider photo holder at Urban Outfitters. Then I ordered some die cut whales on etsy, in colors to match the nursery. Only thing is I wish I had ordered them so that the color was on both sides, as they're black on the back and you can obviously see both sides when they're hanging. Anyway, I don't expect this mobile to be around too long -- it's definitely not that durable, especially when strong little hands start grasping it. But I love how it looks :)

Peg Board: I loved the look and practicality of this as soon as I came across this on Pinterest. My mom said they had a bunch of these at the preschool she used to work at too. So my dad was on the job again. He got the peg board, painted it gray and then he and Dave installed it. With some S hooks, we hung Crate and Barrel baskets off of it which will hold diapers and other essentials. I'll likely add some more decor, maybe wooden letters of their names, but will wait until they're born.

Other Decor

Petit Prince Wall Art: From Prints.com. It was really easy to get it matted and in a fun frame, and seemed to be more affordable than other sites.

Spice Rack Bookshelves: Got the idea for this from Pinterest and although anything IKEA can be hit-or-miss, these worked out fairly well. I painted them the same color yellow as the dresser, they were really easy to assemble, but they don't come with anchors to hook to the wall (although there are slats on the back of the racks to do so), so it took our handyman several tries to finish this project.

Rocking chair: Joya Rocker in charcoal with walnut base from Monte. I love that is is on the smaller side as we really didn't have room for a massive rocker. I won't be able to feed both babies in the chair at the same time, but from what I've read, I don't think there's really a chair that would be conducive to feeding twins at the same time.

Rug: Searched forever for the right rug and finally settled on this one from Dwell Studios.

Gray chevron Ottoman: The piece that started it all!

Yellow blanket: Pom Pom yellow throw featured on One Kings Lane. Ironically they accidentally sent 2 and this was right after I found out it was twins!
 Side Table and matching mirror: From I.O. Metro, but don't appear to be available anymore.

Bookend: Just a fun piece to go with the color scheme.

Nightlight: From Urban Outfitters

Bookshelf and storage: We've had the shelf forever, but added Land of Nod storage bins and the suitcases.

Lego lamp: I love this piece and wanted to add something 'boyish'. Found it on Etsy and love that she could make it in yellow for me.

Fan: Read that it's good to keep air circulating in the babies room and since i found it in the accent color of turquoise, I knew I had to get it!

World Map Decal: I loved that this came in a bunch of different colors, but I chose something fairly neutral. While it took some time to figure out exactly where to center it, the application process was pretty easy.

Flag Garland: Land of Nod (and still on sale!)

Peacock storage bin: A shower gift that perfectly matches the color scheme.

 Paper lantern mobile: I followed a Pinterest tutorial and instead just hung some loop/hooks from the ceiling, which proved to be a project in and of itself as that portion of the ceiling seemed to be concrete. My dad finally figured it out with some liquid glue and then Dave hung clear fishing wire from the different hooks in the shape of a triangle. From there he hung fishing wire off of each lantern and staggered the placement. This was definitely a bit of a project, but I love how it turned out.

Now all we're missing is our two little guys!

Week 35: Les Deux are the Size of Coconuts

How far along? 35 weeks
Total weight gain: +45 lbs as of Tue., seem to steadily be gaining 2 lbs per week
Maternity clothes:
My selection is definitely dwindling and even my maternity shirts are riding up. I refuse to buy any new ones though, but as long as I'm wearing my pants that rise over the bump, at least I'm not showing any skin.
Stretch Marks: Still nothing, thankfully.
Best moment this week: This was a great week of visitors which really helped pass the time. I'm so grateful I at least made it to the Breastfeeding Twins class on Thursday and the much-needed spa day on Saturday.
Feeling: Pretty much the same as last week -- some days are better than others, but there are days where I'm uncomfortable all day long which isn't very much fun. At this stage in the pregnancy though, it's to be expected. Otherwise I'm feeling so happy that we've made it this far and am just so anxious to know how much longer we'll go. It could be just over 3 weeks (the doctor scheduled a c-section for Tuesday, April 30 which is 38 weeks 2 days, though doesn't expect me to make it that long) or it could literally be any day (my last fFn test, the last one I could get, gave me the clear through last Friday).
Sleep:  It varies by the night. Most nights I am waking up one time to go to the bathroom, probably around 4 or 4:30am, and some nights I'm lucky and fall right back to sleep. One night this week that happened and I got a full 10 hours. Other nights it takes me forever to fall back asleep and even when I do, I don't feel like it's really good sleep. A few nights ago, a backache woke me up and I was so uncomfortable I don't think I slept much more the rest of the night. Again, I feel like I've been pretty blessed in the sleep department, but at this stage, it's inevitable to have more trouble.
Movement: They're both very active and I seem to have permanent discomfort under my ribs on one side. Sometimes I can sort of push the baby down a bit to give me a bit more room but it's probably not fair to them either -- pretty tight quarters in there now! I feel them both with the hiccups too, though not at the same time.
Food cravings: I'm still trying to keep up eating like I have been, but I think that's slowing down a bit. Nothing in the way of cravings.
Labor Signs: Luckily, again, nothing new here. Still feeling contractions every day, but they're spread out and not the slightest bit painful.
Belly button: Half-out
Rings on or off?: My fingers don't appear to be swollen, but my rings are definitely tighter, even when I wear them just for a few hours. I may retire them for the next few weeks, don't want to risk getting them stuck.
Our boys
Miss anything?:
Same as last week - just being generally comfortable. I feel like we're getting so close that I really don't mind staying at home and laying down as much as possible. But the fact that even when I'm doing that, I have aches that just won't go away no matter what position I'm in, that's harder to deal with.
Looking forward to: Dave's birthday, can't believe it's here! That was definitely a mini-milestone for us, if the babies could make it to his birthday, that would be would be great. I know Dave would love for them to be born on his birthday, though I know both of us want them to stay in a bit longer, so hopefully he doesn't get a birthday surprise. I'm not scheduling much more in advance at this point, but do have a haircut on Friday night... will I make it??