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Monday, 29 July 2013

Our Special Duo - Twin Pregnancy

This pregnancy has taken me by surprise - not being pregnant; that was planned - but expecting twins was most definitely not planned or even expected. When the sonographer showed us that I am quite clearly carrying two little babies we were thrilled and speechless, then we were scared and anxious and now we swing between the two. I feel like it's pretty special to be having twins and there is so much I'm excited about; I've read a lot about their bond and I could gush about that all day. On the other hand there is a lot I don't know and the chances are that this pregnancy will be different to my previous one with more monitoring and intervention.

After being told we were expecting twins it suddenly occurred to me to ask if they can tell if they will be identical when the sonographer announced to us that she was going to get a second opinion to see if there was a membrane or not. At the time I had no idea what that meant but she thought that they were identical. The second opinion confirmed that they couldn't see a membrane and she told me they were in the same amniotic sac. This meant very little to me or my husband as our high school biology is a quite few years behind us and it was only a few days later with the help of some research and my maternity notes that I learnt a little more. 

I already knew twins are either identical or non-identical; so far so good, our twins are identical and share a placenta. Then I read that identical twins are either Monochorionic diamniotic (MCDA) or Monochorionic monoamniotic (MCMA). MCDA twins share a placenta and one single outer membrane, but they each have their own separate inner membrane. MCMA twins share a placenta but are also both in the same inner membrane. A quick scan over my maternity notes and I can see ours babies are MCMA and I then see that this is quite rare, I've read several times that they only account for 1% of all identical twins! Thankfully I resisted the urge to Google this as I knew I would only frighten myself.

I already knew that I would be monitored more as they booked me in for scans at 16, 18, 20, 23 and 26 weeks and then made sure the scans were on days when I could speak to the consultant afterwards. I have more antenatal appointments and there is a higher chance of complications. The scans check the growth of both babies and look out for any signs of twin to twin transfusion syndrome (TTTS). Every hospital has a different policy regarding delivery of identical twins; some will recommend caesarean straight away and others will see how the pregnancy progresses before making the decision. It seems most will consider the babies full term at 37 weeks and will aim for delivery then. However, after finding out a bit more about MCMA twins, they generally seem to arrive a little earlier then this. 

The extra monitoring doesn't bother me - if anything it puts me at ease to know that they will be keeping a close eye on everything. I'm now just waiting for my chance to speak to my consultant at 16 weeks and get some answers to my questions. I want to know the best case scenario; how far along I can hope to get before delivery and how I can do everything to make sure I reach this. I'd like to hear their recommendations for delivery; both caesarean and vaginal births have pros and cons and although I'm a little scared of caesarean recovery I just want to know the safest option for the babies. Obviously if the babies are born early there is a chance they will need to go into Special Care so I want to know how much we need to prepare ourselves for this possibility. 

At first all this seemed over-whelming but I'm someone who likes to be prepared so the more information I have the happier I'll feel. It has inevitably made me a little more cautious and I'm making sure I stick to the 'rules' with this pregnancy. One thing this had made me realise is that I really, really want these babies! All the worries we had about how will cope and can we afford it seem insignificant when your faced with the possibility of complications. I'll start a pregnancy diary from 16 weeks so I have a record of how everything goes and hopefully it will continue smoothly and I'll be able to carry on with updates!

If you are expecting multiples I would recommend the TAMBA website; I found plenty of useful and sensible information on there.

Saturday, 27 July 2013

Keeping Cool In The Garden

Let me just say that I am most definitely not complaining; I love this weather, I love the heat and the sun and I love being able to get outside but at the hottest point of the day we do generally retreat indoors. It is just that little bit too hot to play outside comfortably and Lucas more often than not won't wear a hat so I don't want him to spend too much time in direct sunlight. This has also meant that we've been finding different ways to cool down, we've already had a little paddle in the car ball pool but this week I made some ice shapes to play with. I've seen these all over Pinterest and they are easy enough for even me to make! I just filled some of our plastic container with water and any other waterproof bits and bobs; beads, buttons, plastic toys, dice, sequins and stars then left them in the freezer to go solid. 

One particularly hot afternoon I got a tub out and just let Lucas investigate  He spent so long playing with it and kept coming back when it had melted a bit more and he could get more bits out of it. As the ice melted it left a little pool of cool water than we both splashed in to cool our feet and the little stars were sticking to his hands. When he got to the middle and found a plastic toy dog he was delighted; I even had a little play pulling some beads out. It was so quick and easy to make (as long as you remember the day before) and I just used things I had around the house but have a look on Pinterest as there are some lovely ideas. It cooled us down, kept Lucas entertained and gave us something different to do in the garden.

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Thursday, 25 July 2013

The Funny Things You Do {22 Months}

Dear Lucas

Everyone has been saying to me this month that you seem to be turning into a little boy before their very eyes. You've shot up again and you are able to communicate to us all a little bit more; added to this your naturally cheeky personalty which shines through more and more everyday and all of a sudden there are almost no signs left of the little baby I brought back from the hospital.

With your second birthday fast approaching I can see how quickly you are growing up. You seem to have changed more this month and along with these changes we are getting endless tantrums as I suppose we are nearing the 'terrible twos'. I could never say they are terrible but they are certainly testing us. 

You have been enjoying playing in the garden in our lovely summery weather. However, you like nothing more than to go out barefoot and play in the soil! When Daddy comes in from work you take him into the garden to show him the flowers and I can hear you both chattering about the colours and the bees and butterflies you can spot. 

You can be such a daredevil with certain things and then very hesitant with others. You are so keen to escape my grasp when we are walking, particularly at the park when you are desperate to go exploring. Although if you spot a dog you are straight back to me to hold my hand as we walk past. 

One big thing that has changed this month is that we have found out that you will be a big brother to not one but two babies. I wonder if you have picked up on some of our shock, joy and anxiety; when we first found out, the first few days after you seemed unsettled. I hope that you will be able to understand a little that we will be adding two new babies to our family. I know you will be an amazing big brother but I also know that it will mean some big adjustments for you and I will always worry about that. We will do everything we can to make it easy for you and I can't wait to see you grow to become a proud older brother. One thing I know will never change is our love for you; you will never be short of love and although I'm sure our house will rarely be peaceful it will always be full of affection.

All my love

Friday, 19 July 2013

The First Trimester {Flashback Friday}

I've been finding it very difficult to blog over the past couple of months because I had a huge part of my life that I wanted to share but that I wasn't quite ready to go public with. My head has been filled with so many pregnancy thoughts and I've been reading blogs about siblings and getting all teary eyed sat at the laptop and I haven't been able to share any of it! Everytime I have sat down to blog I've felt like I have nothing to say because I can't say what I wanted to. 

Now I can chat about it to my hearts content! The first 12 weeks went fairly smoothly. Before we found out that we are expecting twins being pregnant this time round didn't seem as life-changing (that changed very quickly when we saw the scan!) Last time it was all I could think about and it consumed my thoughts. I would spend hours looking up baby things and researching and even looking up every little stage of my pregnancy. This time I was a bit more trusting in my body; my last pregnancy was pretty straight forward except I was so anxious and always thought the worst. This time I was feeling happier to let things take their natural course and I had absolutely no inclination that I was pregnant with twins.

I had the normal early pregnancy symptoms; I did feel drained, much more so than I remembered with Lucas but I put that down to running after a toddler all day when I was sat behind a desk first time round. Sometimes I would come home from work and have a nap or go straight for a bath whereas when I felt tired early on in this pregnancy I had to carry on. Although, there have been a few nights when I took myself off to bed straight after Lucas!

I was never actually sick when I was pregnant first time round and it was just the same this time but I was nauseous all day. Again this did seem slightly worse than I remembered it with Lucas and we had one incident when I cooked his tea and couldn't feed it to him because I felt so sick; butties on the couch it was! I generally felt a bit off colour from 6-11 weeks but nothing out of the ordinary.

I hadn't even put any extra weight on that might have given me a clue that there's two babies in there. I must admit I hadn't quite shifted my baby-belly from Lucas so I knew it wouldn't be as obvious early on but I actually lost a bit of weight in the early weeks. I was so fussy about what I would eat as so many things turned my stomach and I could only eat tiny portions. This really is the only thing that might have tipped me off as many woman who are pregnant with multiples find they get full quickly as there quite simply isn't as much room. Then again I know a lot of women who are pregnant with only one baby experience this too but I didn't with my first pregnancy. Even now I can't eat big portions and I have a cut off were I just cannot eat anymore as I feel so full; not like me at all.

I'm 14 weeks on Sunday and I have started wearing some maternity clothes (luckily me and my Sister-in-law have a shared stock!) because some of my clothes won't do up and they are also so comfy, especially when it is hot out. I am going to write a pregnancy diary but I won't start it until 16 weeks as hopefully I'll be a bit better informed by then about everything. There is still a lot I have yet to discover about the ups and downs of a twin pregnancy; I know I will now be monitored a lot more but I am going to take each week as it comes and enjoy as much as I can because I don't think I'll be doing this again!


Monday, 15 July 2013

Letting It Sink In

Yesterday I announced to you all our news that we are expecting two new additions to our family. We have had nearly a full week now to let the news sink in but I did a little writing when I came back from the scan just to get some things off my chest. So much has changed already in a week and I'll do another post about my type of twins and how my feelings have changed over the week. Since I wrote this I've learnt a lot more (but still not enough) and there have been tears and laughter but I thought I'd put this in, just as I wrote it after the adrenaline had worn off:

I've decided to handwrite some of my thoughts as I am too shocked to even move to the computer. Today we found out we are expecting identical twins and other than shock my first thought was happiness but now I'm sitting at home, James has gone back to work and I'm terrified. For every good thought I think I have several that panic me; I'll have a moment of glee and a moment of anxiety that takes my breath away. I look round our tiny house and think of the most stupidest things, like all the extra washing. Then I look at the scan pictures and I think of two babies, two identical babies, two little bundles to make us into a family of five; what I have always wanted! I look and Lucas and think he won't know what has hit him and his little world will be turned upside down. 

The funny thing was I was feeling so confident in this pregnancy; confident that I had found my feet as a mum and trusting my body to do what it has to do. Now, I feel like I've had the rug pulled from under me; I feel so unprepared and I know nothing about twins. I have quickly learnt that my amount of appointments has quadrupled but my head is a whirlwind I have so many questions. I still think of the littlest things, as if my brain thinks obviously you will will be worried about health, money, space, transport but then I think what if we mix the babies up!

More importantly the scan showed both babies are doing well, looking healthy and I know they will be incredibly loved. I will always worry but nothing could wipe the smile from my face when I see my two scan pictures; I think it's pretty incredible.

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Our Announcement - Double Trouble

In April I took my first pregnancy test which confirmed that we were expecting. It was planned so we were both made up and I was making it through the first few weeks without too much worry. 

This week me and my husband went along to the hospital for my 12 week scan. We were excited and looking forward to seeing our baby on screen for the first time, I always feel like I need it to confirm that there is actually something in there. As the sonographer turned the screen round we could quite clearly see a baby and another shape over to one side. We have both since said that our exact thoughts were, 'I don't remember seeing the placenta on Lucas' scans.' So when she said to us, 'Well, I have some news' I knew exactly what she was going to say! Twins! I cried and I turned to see James grinning. She quite clearly showed us two babies and two heartbeats and later confirmed that they will be identical! 

I cannot begin to explain how I felt; so, so shocked but absolutely thrilled.  I'll do some more posts on what has happened since and the rollercoaster of emotions but for now I just want to say that we couldn't be happier and we are looking forward to becoming a family of five.

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Sunny Days

It has been so easy for us to get outdoors this week with the amazing weather. We have packed in so many fun things over the last few days to make the most of the weather. We've been to the playground with Lucas' cousin and had a picnic at the park, we've played in paddling pools and kept cool in the garden, we' have had so much fun with family and friends. He loved being at the playground with his cousin but getting him to sit down for a picnic was more of a challenge; he is definitely a flight risk! Lucas has never been a natural water baby but with some encouragement he finally went down the slide into the paddling pool and then there was no stopping him. We filled his little car ball pool with some water when we got home and he was straight in there (as was everyone else, at his request). I think back to last summer and he was only just starting to walk and now we are the ones trying to keep up with him and it is amazing fun.

I'll leave you with my favourite photos of us enjoying the sunshine and I hope you are all having lots of outdoor fun in this amazing weather!

With Nanny in the paddling pool.

Dancing at the playground with his Auntie.

Walking with Grandma and his Cousin.

Wahoo! Finally in the pool.

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Friday, 5 July 2013

Music Tag

My friend Let's Talk Beauty has done this tag and I really loved it so thought I would have a go too. If you have joined in with this Music Tag let me know I’d love to read your answers. The questions come from Terri’s Blog – Hello Terri Lowe. 

What are your 5 favourite songs right now?
I don't listen to music as much as I did because I used to listen to so much in the car and I don't have a car now. I usually have music on when I'm cooking and I definitely listen to more old music than new! At the moment I'm loving Black Keys - Next Girl, Frank Turner - Plain Sailing Weather, The Pierces - It Will Not Be Forgotten, Rise Against - Swing Life Away, The Gaslight Anthem - Even Cowgirls Get The Blues.

Who are your favourite bands of all time?
There are so, so many but I have been listening to a lot of the same bands for some time now;

Biffy Clyro, Lissie, REM, The Pierces, The Pixies, Blink 182, Incubus, Placebo, The Black Keys, Frank Turner, Alkaline Trio, Rise Against, The Gaslight Anthem, Bruce Springsteen  Dropkick Murphys, Smashing Pumpkins, Foo Fighters.

What is the most played song in your iTunes?
My most played song is Love Ire & Song by Frank Turner.

What song can you not get out of your head?

Paint It Black by The Rolling Stones - I don't even really like The Rolling Stones but it has been stuck in my head all week.

What was the last album you bought? 
Frank Turner - Tape Deck Heart

What was the last single you downloaded?  
I don’t really download singles but it was probably a charity one, maybe the Hillsborough Justice version of He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother.

What is your favourite band right now?

A tough one but probably Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls, we've seen them live twice this year and I never get fed up of listening to them.

What is your favourite type of music? 
Probably Alternative and Rock but I really will listen to most types of music, I love a bit of Motown!

In your 25 Most Played list, what is #10?
Back to the Motor League by Propagandhi

What was the first gig you ever went to?
In 1995 my Mum took me to see Take That for my 11th birthday, we went to Manchester MEN on a coach and I loved every second of it; I was so excited when she surprised me with the ticket for my birthday.

What was the best gig you’ve ever been to?
The most memorable would be Smashing Pumpkins on Halloween 2000 in the Manchester Apollo; Billy Corgan and Melissa Auf der Maur dressed up as Posh and Becks and seeing Billy Corgan in a Manchester Untied kit was a unique experience! Dropkick Murphy's have got to be one of the best live bands I've ever seen, I didn't even like them that much until I saw them live. Me and my husband see them as much as we are able to; we just love them!

And finally, if there was one band/album/song you would recommend everyone listening to RIGHT NOW, what would it be?
Frank Turner  - Love, Ire & Song

Thursday, 4 July 2013

The Funny Things You Do {21 months}

Dear Lucas

What a roller coaster my life has become since you made me a Mummy! Last month seemed to be particularity tough as you were asserting your authority but this month has been a joy. I think it has helped that we had Daddy at home for two whole weeks and you both had so much fun together. I love to see the two of you together; you are usually screeching and wrestling but occasionally you are snuggled up watching Postman Pat. Daddy is the most fun because he can throw you up in the air and blow raspberries on your tummy, both send you into fits of giggles.

You are so desperately trying to talk to us and always chatter away when you are playing. I can see that sometimes you are so frustrated as we can't understand what you want to tell us and I can't wait for the day that we can chat away to each other. Once you get going I know that you will never be quiet! You are now starting to say the names of people when they visit; Grandma and Grandad, Nanny, Nana and your cousin (I am still eagerly awaiting a 'Mama'). When you see someone you recognise you have an excited little dance that you do before you run off for them to chase you.

You are still loving to read but have become more particular about what we read. Some bedtime books get rejected and we have to go through several before you find one that you are happy with. I love to find you holed up in the corner of you room with a book, quietly looking through the pages.

You are still my little outdoors boy and you are so independent (maybe too independent) whenever you see some open space. You seem to have no fear when we are outside, you want to climb, play in the dirt, run down the hills and you always make a beeline for the biggest slide in the playground. I am looking forward to exploring with you this summer but I spend most of my time running after you trying to keep up.

As I spend every day with you I don't always notice the little changes but when I come to write this at the end of each month I see how much has actually changed. You are growing up quick and I am starting to think about you becoming an older boy and going to nursery and even school! It's hard for me to imagine a time when I don't spend all day with you, when I don't see you learning to do all these new things and taking in the expanding world around you. For now I am just enjoying being your Mummy; you make me smile each and every day and that is pretty special.

All My Love


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