Tuesday, July 24, 2012


Several months ago, my friend Jaime wrote a blog about her own personal truths as a mom, and how judgemental other parents can be. (I'm paraphrasing Jaime, that really doesn't do your writing justice).
That blog really touched me, for several reasons. One, because I am very sensitive to moms judging each other when we should be supportive. Second, because I too can get on my high horse and make snap judgements. I tell myself it is because I am passionate about certain causes; while that may be true,  I have also been working REALLY hard to be less judgemental. This journey I am on has taught me so much about aspects of parenthood that were previously unknown to me. I was told when I was pregnant with Stella that every child you have teaches you one big lesson, you just have to be prepared to hear it. Stella taught me to loosen up and let go of some of my control, Roy taught me to laugh at life. I think that these babies are teaching me to embrace all moms and respect their journey; for there, but for the grace of God, go I.
So in the spirit of truth telling and acceptance, here are my truths:

*Both of our children co-slept with us for the first several months of their lives
*We did not circumcise our son and I am a big proponent of boys staying "intact"
*Breastfeeding was amazingly hard and gratifying; I feel like a failure for not doing it longer
*My kids watch too much tv, and I don't care

So there you go, my truths, like 'em or not. The point is, every good parent makes the best decisions they can based on the info they have and what feels right to them. I try to remind myself of that every day so that I can be a more supportive friend, doula and mother.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Let them eat ice cream

I knew that carrying twins would be different than a singleton, but it didn't know HOW it would be different. Like most people, I knew that twins are usually born early, but I didn't know why. I also knew that multiple pregnancies are considered more "high risk" than singletons, but really didn't get why that was the case. I asked around and was referred to the book "When You're Expecting Twins, Triplets or Quads" by Dr. Barbara Luke. Awesome, I love reading just as much as I love being pregnant! Right away, this book had me realizing just what I was in for.

There are several reasons why multiples are born earlier. First, the growth rate for twins is much faster than for one baby, but then it slows down much earlier in a pregnancy. Instead of continuing to develop all the way up to 40 weeks, twins slow down before then. Twins are generally more mature developmentally than a singleton at the same gestational age, and are therefore ready to be born sooner. Second, the placentas tend to age more quickly and start to become less efficient. Finally, the uterus can only stretch so far! By the time a mom of twins is 32 weeks, her uterus is the same size as a singleton mom at 40 weeks. Wow. So the goal is to get those babies all the nutrients and weight gain they need as soon as possible so when they are done cooking, they are as big and healthy as they can be.

Twins, on average, are born around 35 weeks. There are other factors involved with this, including the mom's obstetrical history. Those that have given birth at least once have an advantage and better chance of keeping those babies in longer. Yay!! Also, women over age 30 are significantly more likely to carry twins at least 35 weeks. Hooray!!

So how does this change this pregnancy for me? It hits close to my heart: EATING! You guys know I have a voracious appetite, so this is good news for me. However, the sheer amount of calories I am supposed to consume in order to get these babies nice and fat and happy is pretty staggering. 3500 calories a day. Yep, thats right. But this does not mean just pigging out on anything. This recommended diet is based on a diabetic diet, so there are rules. Here are the guidelines:
*10 servings of low fat or non-fat dairy
*12 servings of lean protein
*6 servings each of fruits and veggies
*12 servings of grains and starchy vegetables
*14 servings of fats, nuts and oils
*8 16oz glasses of water )128 oz a day!!!!
Good news: I love protein and ice cream/milkshakes are highly suggested
Bad news: I am eating constantly and peeing constantly

The goal is to gain the vast majority of my weight before 28 weeks, whereas with a singleton, moms should follow the "slow and steady" approach. Holy cow, it is not easy. But it is worth it. The moms who follow these guidelines have significantly longer pregnancies and bigger, healthier babies. That is the best thing I can do for these babies, so that is the plan I am following. I do love a plan.

Friday, July 6, 2012


Well today was the big day, the day the intended parents and my family have been waiting for: the first ultrasound. I am so glad they were able to make the trip to be there with me so we could hear the news together! This is how it went down:

The doctor began the ultrasound and as soon as it appeared on the screen, I noticed there were 2 embryonic sacs. So did the parents. We looked at each other, but didn't say anything because "what if..." Dr. Miller says, "Interesting...how many embryos did they put in?" "Two"  "Oh good, my guess is that both of them took!" Woohoo!!! Tears and prayers from everyone around! He then found the little flickering heartbeats in both sacs and confirmed that it was twins. They are too small at this point to get any accurate measurements, so I will be going back in 4 weeks for another ultrasound. The parents, the nurse and I were all crying and laughing, and Mom even dropped to her knees and said a prayer right there on the floor. It was amazing to see their faces, to see those two heartbeats, to see my doctor grinning from ear to ear. (This was his first surrogacy too :) ) Holy crap, TWINS! What a blessing that a couple who has wanted a child for 15 years is now looking an an ultrasound picture with two beating heartbeats.

I cannot even believe that this is happening, our most hopeful hopes are actually coming to fruition. All we can do now is pray that this remains a strong healthy pregnancy. And there is no reason why it shouldn't. I firmly believe that everything in this journey so far has gone so smoothly because it is meant to be. I believe that God has put us in each others' lives for this very reason. And I believe this will be a great pregnancy; I am confient in that. I am the eternal optimist, for sure, but I am not naive. I know that this will be different because there are two babies. But that doesn't worry me, doesn't scare me, doesn't make me feel any more at risk. I am still going to work with my midwives and barring some crazy complication, I am having my natural vaginal birth. I will not be intimidated by having two; if I can push one out, I can push two out. This is not to downplay the hard work and difficulties that mothers of multiples face; this is just the beginning of my experience and there are things I have yet to experience. I am THRILLED to be doing this. I know some of my family is worried about this being "hard" on me, but I know myself. My mother told me when I informed her I was having an unmedicated birth with Roy and wanted her to be there: "I know you. You always do whatever you set your mind to. You never try something without knowing you can do it. If you say you can, I believe you." And yes, I am aware that with pregnancy and childbirth, you have to roll with the punches, that there are unforeseen circumstances. But I also know that for me and for a lot of women, labor is hugely mental. I always encourage my doula clients who want one to PLAN on a natural birth, not to TRY for one. If something changes, so be it. But "There is no try. Only do." I hope this doesn't come off as arrogant, that is not my intention. I just feel happy and confidant and strong. Thank you all for the love and support!!!