I figure I need to have an update on the progress of our twins, and my belly!! There won't be any bare belly pictures just yet...my belly is still too bruised from all of the blood thinner shots that I've been taking! But I'm almost done with those, and hopefully the warzone will go back to a normal color soon! So someday, there might be a shot or two of this belly--huge with twins! I just know I'm going to be big--and many of my students remind me of that daily! I hear, "Mrs. Steiner, you're going to be HUGE!" Cracks me up every time! And makes me happy! I never really got to be huge with Jonathan, so here is my chance to really get to enjoy a big belly! =) I'm silly, I know, but its the little things about this pregnancy that make me happy!
Here is one shot for you...kind of strange without my head, but you can definitely see a glimpse of the belly popping out! =)
I'm still feeling great. I am just so incredibly blessed to be one of those people who don't seem to get morning sickness. I'm well aware of the fact that I still have plenty of time where it could kick in, but I've definitely enjoyed the time not having it and getting to enjoy being pregnant!
I have about a week and a half more until my next OB appointment, and I am hoping that I can somehow finagle another sonogram then too! I am planning on meeting with my high risk doctor around 14 weeks, so I'm thinking that I'll for sure get another sonogram then. Maybe even a glimpse at the sex of the babies?? I hope so!
So all is well here in Steiner Twinland...thank you for all your continued prayers!!
Could you also send up a prayer for the family of our good friends Pete and Jolene Erickson? We just found out at church this morning that Pete's younger sister was killed last night in a home invasion. Her husband was also shot, but from what we hear, will make it through. I just cannnot imagine the pain and agony their whole family must be going through right now... Our hearts are breaking, and they are not even our relations. Death is something that is so hard to deal with, but this kind of random act of violence makes it so much harder to understand and make sense of. Please lift them up with us.
What a wonderful weekend we had!! It started out bright and early Saturday morning down in Dallas at the March for Babies! There had to be about 10,000 people there, all walking for an amazing cause--working to prevent premature births! Here is Team Jonathan...Left to right...my dad Steve, Justin's mom Kathy, her friend Shari, my mom Joyce, me, Justin, Justin's dad Gene, and Shari's husband Mark.Justin and I felt so privileged to have all these family and friends with us, in honor of our sweet boy! (Please excuse the nasty hair I was sporting--it was early, misty rainy at first, and a little humid...a terrible comination!!)
Here are the amazing 5 mile walkers/runners. Justin ran half of the route with some good friends of ours who were also there, and Kathy, Shari, and Mark did an amazing job walking 5 long miles!! My parents, Gene, and I were the support part of the team...the cheerleaders! We are all looking forward to walking next year, though, pushing a double stroller with Jonathan's little brothers or sisters!!Here is our team shirt...with Jonathan's footprints and birthday on the front... and March for Babies on the back. Gene, Kathy, Shari, and Mark are actually continuing on Team Jonathan in the Tulsa March for Babies next week! I love it!! Thanks, guys!!
Here are my parents--we found a good spot under a tent while they were walking.Here is Katie--her husband Harry is Justin's triathlon buddy, and somehow, in all those people, the three of them found each other and ran the last half together! Amazing!
I have never been involved in such an amazing gather of people--all for one cause. There were so many people their...families, couples, workers from many sponsoring companies...I have no idea how much money was raised in total for this amazing cause, but I'm sure it had to be a lot! How wonderful!! Thank you again to those of you who donated! We raised $500, and Justin's company matches...so we contributed a total of $1000.00 to the March of Dimes!! Thank you everyone!
We also celebrated Kathy's birthday this weekend! Her birthday is actually Monday, but we were able to celebrate with her a day early since she was here! We had fun going out to eat at our favorite hibachi restaurant, Shogun.
Happy Birthday, Kathy! I'm so thankful that you are in my life! You're an amazing woman, and I thank you (and Gene) for doing such a great job raising my wonderful husband to be the man he is, for me! Hope this year is a wonderful one for you!
I just got a heartbreaking call from my friend Amy. Cooper, her precious furry child, passed away tonight. Amy is all by herself since Dusty is away on business. Will you please lift her up? Her heart is broken, and I feel completely helpless as a friend. I wish I could be there with her to wrap my arms around her and cry, but I am stuck so many states away. So all I can do is pray, and ask you to pray as well. Thank you for lifting my sweet friend up in prayer.
Okay--finally, my computer charged up, and I can share some pictures!!
Today I am 8 weeks and 5days, and the babies are each just slightly over 2 cm or about .8 inches. The first thing that popped into my head was that they must look kind of like gummy bears right now! Oversized heads, little arm and leg buds, and around an inch!! So are my gummy bears boys or girls?? We won't know for at least 6-7 more weeks! Can't wait!!
Here is Baby A today--not sure if it was the same Baby A as the last sonogram. I'm really not sure how this works...maybe some moms of twins can fill me in on that? Do you establish who is where in the uterus at a certain point, or do they just always call the first one they see Baby A? Just curious! =) Anyway...Baby A was 2.08 cm and had a wonderful heartbeat of 167 beats! It was so fun to actually hear the sweet little hearbeat today instead of just see it! Its head is on the right side, with the tummy and legs to the left. Imagine it is laying on its left side and you're seeing a profile. the round shape underneath is what is left of the yolk sac. This will disappear completely once the placenta fully takes over. You can kind of see the umbilical cord in the lower left corner. Here is Baby B...2.11 cm and its heartbeat was 176 beats. It is also laying on its left side, but the head is down a little lower than Baby A. The little dot behind its back is the yolk sac. I love how the sonographer put "Hi Mommy & Daddy!" on them too!!
This last picture is a shot down at the tops of their heads close together with a yolk sac in between. By this time we'd already seen the membrane/amniotic sacs so we knew they were safe in their own cocoons, but it was so cute because even though they are in different sacs, they are laying close together! It is like they don't want to be far apart!! Right now their heads are still developing, so they are kind of elongated. The last few pictures are kind of blurry and some have weird reflections on them. These are the ones that she kept for my file and we didn't get copies of. But while I was getting dressed, she left them in the room, so of course we took pictures of them with our iphone! =) We just wanted to have them so we could see the sacs...
The first one is one baby from the side, head on top, with the umbilical cord attatching to the placenta. If you look at the top of the dark space, you see a white line...that is this baby's amniotic sac boundary. Here is the other baby, and you can faintly make out the white line showing its amniotic sac as well.
This last one she did a side by side of both babies, and I just thought it was cute to have...even blurry! =)
We also videotaped some of the sonogram, but I haven't even had a second to look at it yet! I think we got the heartbeats, and I will definitely share it if it turned out! I'm exhausted, so I'll have to work on that another day! Hope you enjoy the newest pics of my little gummy bears!!
We see two sacs!!! Praise Jesus!! The babies are also both now over 2 cm long and we heard their heartbeats!! So amazing!!!
I rushed home to upload the pics and put out a blog, but of course, my laptop is COMPLETELY dead!! :-(. So, a quick iPhone update is all I can do now, but I promise to post pictures and (maybe even a video!) later tonight!
I'm leaving in about 30 minutes for my first moms of multiples meeting! I just found out about this group this weekend, and their monthly meeting was tonight! Perfect timing!! I'm so excited to go, and they encourage you to start coming early in your pregnancy. They even pair you up with a mentor who will be my go to person as I go through my pregnancy! How cool is that?!
So I promise pictures later--my itty bitty babies are just too cute not to share!! Thanks for your prayers!!
...about those I have been asking you to pray for. I just can't thank you enough for agreeing in prayer with me for these friends and family members! I never dreamed that this "blog world" would be such a place of support and people I could count on when I started blogging 2 1/2 years ago! Thanks!
Update #1... just found out some sad news... Becky (a friend of a friend who is pregnant and having some spotting last week)...
Becky ended up in the emergency room last night and lost her baby. Please pray for her.
Update #2 Cooper, my friend's dog.
Check out Amy's blog here for some amazing post of how Cooper is actually pulling through! What a miracle this puppy is...she was literally on death's door last week, and now it looks like God is healing her body! Her red blood cells, which were so low and not regenerating, are actually coming back now, and she is slowly gaining strength! What a miracle! I'm so thankful that God is allowing Dusty and Amy more time with their precious puppy. It's amazing how God can take these most difficult times in our lives, and grow us in the midst of them. I've experienced this in my own life so many times, and I'm thankful that God remains faithful, even when the realities of life seem to be hopeless. God is good!
Update #3 My sweet Gram!
God has continued to do miracles in my sweet Gram's body. After the last two months of ups and downs with her health, with many times where we were preparing ourselves to say goodbye to her here on earth, she is actually doing amazingly well! My mom was even able to come home last week, after 2 months out in California!! Grandma is in the rehab facility that is at the assisted living place where she has lived for the last 6 years. She is able to do so many more things for herself, and has even been doing rehab on her hip twice a day! She even challenged one of her friends to a rehab bike 'race' last week during therapy! Not what you'd expect to hear going on with an almost 90 year old woman who has spent the majority of the last few months in ICU!! Praise Jesus! She is willing to put in the hard work of recovery, for as long as God has her here still to do His work on Earth. Seriously, my gram is an angel, and an example to me and everyone around her of how to live a life FULLY devoted to God. I'm so thankful and grateful that God has given us some extra time with her! Thanks for all your prayers!
and an update on me...
Everything is still going well! I just LOVE being pregnant!!! I'm really looking forward to the next sonogram on Tuesday. I can hardly wait to see my sweet babies again! I have really been feeling like my uterus is growing this weekend. Even though the babies are only about 1 inch long right now, since there are two, I'm definitely seeing a faster growth of my tummy than I did with Jonathan! I compared my tummy now at 8 1/2 weeks to my pregnancy with him, and I look like I did when I was 10-11 weeks with him! Amazing!! I even broke out the maternity jeans last week, to be extra comfortable while I was giving some tests at school, and on Friday I was miserable when I tried to go back to regular jeans, even with a rubber band on the button! I was thinking it was all in my head, since now I knew I was going to grow faster, but I guess I am just going to have to pull out the maternity clothes earlier! And that's fine by me! =) I've had so many wonderful friends give me and let me borrow maternity clothes--what a blessing! Justin is very thankful too!
What a miracle every single day is. I wake up, and my first thoughts are, "I am actually pregnant! And there TWO babies!!" It still is just the most amazing thing to me! I'm so thankful!!
I can't tell you all how much all your encouraging comments mean to me! Thank you!
Especially Karen in CA...I don't know you in person (I don't think!) but your comment today made my day!! I hadn't heard any examples of people finding the membrane that late, and it really gives me even more peace to know that we might just have to be extra patient!! I do like to know as much as possible, and knowing this will definitely encourage us through the next few weeks! Thank you!
PS...a friend of a friend of mine named Becky is 6 weeks pregnant, and has started spotting and cramping. She is having some tests done and will know how the baby is doing tomorrow. Will you say a quick prayer for her? Thanks!
Yesterday was supposed to be my first official OB appointment of my pregnancy, but my doctor had an emergency and had to quickly get to the hospital for a baby being born. So, my mom and I headed back to the office today and had a wonderful appointment! I just love my doctor. Even though she was technically squeezing us in today, she gave us her complete attention and all the time we wanted to ask every single one of our questions! She spent probably a little over half an hour just talking with us and then the initial exam on top of that! To me, that is what makes a great doctor...when they really listen, and never give you the feeling that they are needing to rush off to the next patient!
Everything looks good so far. I have a sonogram scheduled at her office next week, and I'm really looking forward to it. At that appointment, we are hoping to see that each baby is in its own amniotic sac. Since they are identical, we know they will share a placenta, but having their own amniotic sac makes the pregnancy MUCH less risky for the babies. In less than a week, I have just begun to realize of much a clue I DON't have about identical twins. I'd thought about twins, dreamed about twins, looked at pictures of sonograms of twins, but didn't really know anything about identical twins. Oh, I read the Sweet Valley Twins/Sweet Valley High books when I was young, and even had a set of identical friends in swim class one summer, but the more I google identical twins, the more interesting info I find out. So exciting!!
When I posted last Thursday that they were in the same sac, I've learned that I (and the sonographer) were referring to the gestational sac, not the amniotic sac. On the first sonogram, she didn't see what they call the membrane separating the babies, but said it just could be her machine or that it was too early. After researching monoamniotic twins (sharing an amniotic sack), it is definitely not what we want to hear next week. There are just a lot of dangers with those kinds of identical twins--cord entanglement and cord compression are two big risks. Cord compression after my water broke was what killed Jonathan, so obviously these are not things we want to relive.
But...even with all these facts, details, possible scary outcomes for these babies, I am trusting my God. He has given us such amazing miracles in these precious little babies. He has and is continuing to answer so many of our deepest prayers, and is revealing to us piece by piece the masterpiece that is His plan for our lives. I choose to trust God right now, instead of worry over what could or could not be on the sonogram next week. I'd rather spend this next week, the eighth of my little babies' lives, enjoying them, praising God for them, watching my belly as it (already!) starts to grow. I would appreciate your prayers for my babies--that they would both have their own little cocoon--their own amniotic sac. I figure if I can ask for prayer from my warriors for lining, for follicles, for pregnancy hormones numbers, I can sure as anything ask for prayers for amniotic sacs! Thank you for your continued prayers for us, for our babies, and for these next 7 months or so as they grow!!
I will definitely keep you posted, and have some great new pictures to show off next week! =)
TWO BABIES!!!! Identical twins is what they see! One sac--two babies with strong hearbeats!!! Praise Jesus!!!
Here is the first picture of our babies together. Now if we hadn't seen both heartbeats flickering on the screen at the same time, I would think this was just one little baby! But she labeled them for us! We just can't believe it! There are two!!!!
Here is Twin A's close up. Right now, it is measuring 10.31mm crown to rump, which puts it at 7weeks 0days--which is what I'm at today. Its heartbeat was 129, which they said is great for right now!
Here is Twin B's close up. It is measuring 10.59mm crown to rump, which makes it 7 weeks 1 day--just right! This one's heartbeat was also 129! She said that right now, they like to see twins measuring about the same length. If there is too much of a difference, they worry. So our little babies are looking just perfect!!
Here are their heartbeats--identical! 129 beats per minute. The lines along the bottom show their heartbeats. It is too early to hear them, but it was so amazing to see their flickering hearts on the screen. What an absolute miracle!!
Here is the embryo that they believe was the one that split. The amazing thing is that identical twins don't come about from fertility treatments. An embryo that splits is just random. Ususally people see fraternal twins from fertility treatments! Which makes our twins even more of a miracle!!
God is SO good, and we are just in complete awe of His blessings!! Thank you for your continued prayers--now for both of our babies!!!! I have my first appointment with my OB on Monday, and I can't wait to tell her the good news!!!