Tuesday, May 31, 2011

barefoot and pregnant

22 weeks and counting! The babies are moving more and more, which is amazing, and Andrew has gotten to feel them several times. By now, they should be at least a pound each, but three weeks ago they were a couple of ounces ahead so they may have passed the one pound mark. They are around one foot long and growing every day...and my belly can tell!

As you can see, I'm looking very pregnant these days. My most pregnant feature is currently my feet. On Sunday, in a matter of about two hours, my feet went from normal to marshmallows. I'm having trouble fitting into shoes and am afraid I'll be completely barefoot soon. A small price to pay for two healthy babies!

Monday, May 30, 2011

sharing Jesus

Four years ago, I joined the Catholic church. Since I began going to Mass with Andrew, one of the things that drew me most to this place was the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist. As Catholics, we believe that communion is more than a symbol. Each week, Jesus allows us to partake in His very Body and Blood. It is no longer a wafer and wine, it is our crucified and risen Lord. At Mass, we are nourished by this holy meal.

While pregnant, the Eucharist is even more miraculous. At around 10 weeks, the placenta is fully formed and begins sharing all the food the mom eats with the baby. So each time I receive the Body of Christ, the very substance is shared with our little ones. In a tangible way, I get to share Jesus with our son and daughter. What a unique privilege! I am incredibly thankful for the opportunity to carry these two little miracles, and am humbled to get this opportunity each week to introduce them to our Lord.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


Several times recently, I've heard pregnant women say that they are nervous to give birth...that once their baby is outside their body they will feel unable to protect him or her. I feel the opposite. I cannot wait until these babies are strong and healthy enough to live outside me, and I am so looking forward to the day when they enter this world. Don't get me wrong--I love being pregnant. It is literally a dream come true. But our prior experiences have changed my perspective.

While I have never been anywhere close to this point before, I have been pregnant previously. Three times we conceived a child, and three times my body failed. No matter how many times people tell you it wasn't your fault, human nature wants to assign blame. Getting past that blame is turning into the biggest obstacle for me in this pregnancy. The anxiety is immense, often overwhelming. Each day feels like a bit of a battle to believe.

I am incredibly thankful for sweet Andrew and the encouragement he provides, and I love love love each little nudge I feel that reminds me that these precious babies are growing. But I am also aware that being pregnant doesn't "heal" infertility, and it definitely doesn't erase the scars from previous battles. Like the scars we get as kids on the playground, these will hopefully fade over time, but they will always be present as reminders of the road we traveled to get to this new place.

Sunday, May 22, 2011


This past week has been full of practice...practice for labor and practice for how crazy life with twins will be at times (though I'm sure neither were even close to the real thing). It all started a week ago this past Friday. Due to some symptoms I was having, I had to rush to the doctor to get checked for pre-term labor. Because the risk of pre-term labor is so much higher with twins, I was terrified, but thankfully everything was okay.

Fast forward to Wednesday. I literally felt like I had been hit by a truck. On Thursday I called the doctor, and they recommended I come in for testing the next morning. That afternoon, I had my first Braxton Hicks contractions--an unwelcome surprise. The nurse said they were fine as long as there were no more than 4 per hour. When 4:30 finally rolled around, I drug myself home and decided to take the dogs for a walk to try to up my energy level a bit. At the very end of the walk, Stella hurt her paw. Cue the emergency vet. Stella got sedated, which ended up giving her just enough rest to be magically cured. With Stella conked out, I thought I could rest for the remainder fo the evening. Not so fast. Around 9:00, I had three strong contractions within 15 minutes, so we called the on-call doctor. His recommendation? Take a 30 minute bath and drink 2 liters of water. I was a little nervous about this prescription, but gave it a try anyway and was able to fall straight to sleep after.

Friday morning we gave Stella a dose of her medicine, then I headed to the doctor before work. I still had an infection--the antibiotic I had been taking for a week hadn't worked--and I told the nurse about the contractions the night before. Once the doctor got out of surgery, he decided he wanted me to come in at 2:00. When the nurse called to tell me, I informed her of the shooting pains in my back. Her response: how quickly can you be here. For the second Friday in a row, I was checked for pre-term labor, and again got a good report. All the symptoms were most likely caused by the infection.

I went home for just a few minutes to catch my breath while my new prescription was filled, and Stella got terrible diarrhea. I spent the next 30 minutes cleaning her. Needless to say, she didn't get any more medicine. A wonderful end to a wonderful day.

I'm sure this is just a small glimpse into the sometimes chaotic life of a twin parent, but it was exhausting nonetheless. I guess practice makes perfect!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

the big 2-0

Twenty weeks and counting...the traditional half-way mark! My belly looks quite a bit more than half-way finished, but I have a feeling it has lots of stretching to do yet.
I'm starting to feel more movements, and I just love their little squirms. This past Saturday during Andrew's sister's graduation, one baby in particular was going crazy and Andrew felt them move for the first time! So precious! I'm still having a little trouble telling when it's the babies, but I am sure they will make it clear fairly soon.

After I had a mini meltdown about being totally unprepared (I blame it on the pregnancy hormones), we got a great start on the nursery. We ordered bedding, sheets, changing pad covers, mobiles, and furniture...I am so excited for this project! We ended up purchasing a floor model of the dresser we wanted, so we got to take it home and put it in its new space. I've been sitting in the floor staring at the dresser dreaming of all the diapers we will change. We cannot wait!

Friday, May 13, 2011

popping out

My belly has really popped out over the past few days, and now we know why. We had a bit of a scare this afternoon (everything is fine), so we had to go in to see the doctor before the weekend. After making sure the twins were great, we had a few minutes to chat. He asked if I had felt the babies, and I told him that I had some twinges high under my ribs on the right side, but that that was too high to be the babies. He then proceeding to show us with the ultrasound that my uterus now extends from below my belly button all the way up to the bottom of my chest! Crazy!!! The twinges were most likely baby girl, whose head is currently on the right side of the very top of my belly. He said that at this point I should measure the same as a single pregnancy at 24-26 weeks! No wonder I'm huge!

On a completely different note, we did some registering this week. I thought I was unprepared when we registered for our wedding, but I had no idea...there is so much baby stuff! How do we know which pacifiers the Shafer babies will prefer? Despite being totally overwhelmed, we had a great time dreaming about and planning for our little ones' arrival.

Andrew is always in charge of the "gun," and he takes his duties very seriously.

Monday, May 9, 2011


Tomorrow we will hit 19 weeks...half-way to the magic 38 week mark where we would likely be induced! It's crazy to think that this pregnancy, which we worked towards for so long, is now half over. I am beyond thankful to have made it to this point. I have two miracles thriving in my belly...sometimes I am overwhelmed by how good God's plan for us is.

We had our big anatomy scan this morning, and to say I was nervous would be an understatement. I was an absolute wreck! I felt like I did with those first few ultrasounds, just knowing that something was going to go wrong. Thankfully, though, the twins looked great. The sonographer immediately confirmed that Baby A is a boy and Baby B is a girl--time to start decorating! She then went over each baby with a fine toothed comb, looking at everything from brain lobes to heart chambers to fingers and toes. Everything checked out great!!! They couldn't see either babies' spine because of their positions, so we have to go again in four weeks (which I totally don't mind), but everything they could see looked perfect.

With all the good reports, I'm starting to feel like this may actually happen...that we may actually have a son and a daughter in our home this fall. Thanks be to God!

Sunday, May 8, 2011


It's official...we moved this weekend! After a crazy couple of weeks of being set to close, not set to close, hail storms, etc., we moved into our new home on Friday and have been unpacking all weekend. The twins now have their own room! It's currently full of boxes and looks nothing like a nursery, but it's theirs. We're all settling in and looking forward to beginning the second half of our pregnancy in our new nest.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

belly watch- 18 weeks

I'm happy to report that we've reached 18 weeks...and I can officially not fit into any of my pre-pregnancy clothes. I attempted to put on a few cocktail dresses last night, and it was a fairly humorous event. Needless to say, those have all been retired.

Here's the 18 week twin bump in all its glory:

Above is what I look like walking around in public now. I'm pretty sure people are beginning to know I'm pregnant just by looking at me, though it depends largely on what I'm wearing. Hoping this growing bump means healthy, growing babies inside!

Sunday, May 1, 2011


To any expectant parent, the sound of their baby's heartbeat is magical. That quick, rythmic thumping holds so much promise. Before the mother has felt the baby move, the heartbeat is undeniable proof that there is a child resting inside. For me, our babies' heartbeats are the most comforting sound on earth. Every time I hear them at the doctor's office or on my doppler at home (yes, I am crazy and bought a doppler to use at home), I know that our babies are still thriving...I am still a mom.

We were able to record our ultrasound last week, but I got so caught up in the boy & girl excitement that I forgot to share with you all. Here's a link to the portion of the ultrasound where you can see/hear the heartbeats: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jvYMeAiKBlY. First up is Baby A, our boy, then it switches to Baby B, our girl. The final images where you can see the baby's spine and ribs are the boy. Enjoy!