A blog for all that goes on in our family.


Elias and Jude’s Birth Story

It’s so overwhelming to even begin writing this story; there are so many emotions that flood my heart! We had been expecting the boys for quite some time by that point, because we’d just been trying so hard to keep them in my tummy after around 20 weeks.

I woke up around 1 am on Monday, June 16, 2014, and went to the bathroom. When I went back to bed, my water broke, and I remember feeling a deep peace when I realized what had happened. I was ready to meet them, and I knew it. I so wanted to hold them each in my arms.

I woke up John, and since we’d been ready for the hospital for a few months, he got ready while I calmly sat on the bed and called Beth to come over, and then Grandma Kay (who would take over for Beth so she could go back home). When Beth got there a few minutes later, we went in to wake up Anna to tell her where we were going and that Grandma Kay would be there when she woke up; she was so excited, even in her sleepiness! We also went in to kiss Josie goodbye.

A few minutes later we were in the car and heading to United Hospital. My contractions weren’t strong, but getting more so as time went by. I remember during this time I still had such a strong feeling of peace and excitement – we were both SO excited!

In the parking ramp, I decided I didn’t need to be wheeled in, so we parked together and got out of our cars next to another couple who was going in to have their baby. In the elevator we asked them if this was their first, because they looked quite terrified. (It was.)

We had to wait a few minutes for our room (maybe 3 or 4 – it wasn’t long), and when we got there, the nurse apologized because their internet system had gone down a while before and it was throwing everything off. We, again, didn’t mind. We were just. so. excited.

By about 3 am my contractions were strong and regular, and I started to get “the shakes,” as I call them (I’ve heard other people call them tremors or shivers). They were continuous; I knew that with Josie’s (natural except for pitocin to induce labor) birth, they had been strong but not continuous through contractions until close to the end. At this point I was still only dilated to maybe a 4 or 5. They asked if I would like to have the epidural placed or the cerclage removed first, and I asked for the epidural. It went great with the exception of the shaking throughout (it’s hard to hold still when your body is involuntarily bouncing all over the place). But it worked, and although the shaking continued, the pain was diminished and I was ready for the next step.

About a half hour later, the doctor was ready to remove the cerclage, so they brought me to the operating room. And then came the only true pain I remember during the entire labor. About 20 minutes into the procedure (which normally takes place just in a doctor’s office), I was crying and I told John to ask if this was how long it normally takes. The doctor, who was very kind but whom I didn’t have nice feelings toward at this moment, said that it typically is done in just a couple minutes, but that the second stitch of my cerclage had moved up so far that she couldn’t get a good view of it and she didn’t want to cut blindly (with which I suppose I agree). Finally, another 10 minutes later, they were done, but I must have been cut or scraped somehow, because I could feel pain in that area every time I had a contraction.

They then asked if I’d like to go back to a room or stay in the OR. I knew I’d have to deliver here, so with an epidural, it meant I’d need to be moved to another bed and then back again before delivering, and I actually prefer just lying down during labor. So I opted to stay where we were, and I’m thankful they gave me that option. We sat/laid there for the next hour or two; I listened to my calming labor playlist and tried to rest, while John dozed off next to me off and on. At around 7 am, the nurses began their shift change – and I said I felt like I needed to push!2014 06 16_0090

The nurse had checked only about 5 minutes before this and I’d been at a 7, but I was sure I was ready now. So she checked me again and sure enough, I was dilated all the way. There were suddenly a lot more people in the room than just the few nurses changing shifts and giving their reports! They asked me not to try my best not to push until they got the doctor there. There were two NICU teams and a lot of nurses, and then in came Dr. Cappechi. There were many doctors who could have delivered me, but I’d had a bad experience with the doctor who delivered Anna at United, so I was a little nervous. But I had met Dr. Cappechi at St. Peter’s, and I felt a strong reassurance from God that this was his extra blessing for me this morning. The only question I had for him was whether or not he would try to deliver Jude (Baby B at the time) breech if he changed positions, and he said he would, which was what I was hoping for; no one wants to recover from both a vaginal birth and a c-section if they can help it.

Dr. Cappechi started by asking if the epidural was working, and he touched a few spots to ask if I could feel it. At one point I said yes, and he looked at me with surprise. “You can feel this?” he asked. “Yep!” I responded. “That, too!” He then wanted to know if I wanted some numbing medication for that area, and I told him to go right ahead! I assume that the epidural doesn’t or didn’t work in certain spots in my body, which is why the cerclage removal had been so painful. Either way, I was not in pain anymore and was excited to meet my babies!

By the time the shift change was over and I could go ahead and push, John said there were 17 people in the room (not including the babies). I was completely oblivious to everything else going on, with the exception of John, the two nurses, and the doctor all standing immediately around me.

I was ready, and after only one contraction, at 7:35 am, Elias James was born. He came out so easily and I remember seeing his sweet hands and little head pop up as they placed him on my lower abdomen and cut his cord. They quickly took him over to the warmer to make sure he was healthy and breathing ok.

At this point, I had always expected to think, “Oh no; now I have to push again!” But it was the complete opposite. All of my endorphins and adrenaline had me running on high, and I had just met one perfect baby boy and couldn’t wait to meet the other. I vividly remember thinking, “I get to do this again!” It was beyond words to describe how wonderful that felt, knowing another baby was coming soon.

As soon as Elias was in the warmer, the nurse began to push on my stomach to get Jude to move head down. His water broke sometime around here, although I don’t really remember it. He moved pretty easily, and they started monitoring his heart rate again right away, as it had dropped a few times earlier. I had asked that it be turned down during labor, but with all the people around, it was hard for anyone to look at it closely during the deliveries, so they had turned it up a bit. I would guess that about three minutes after Elias was born, the doctor asked to have the monitor turned up more; he had noticed (as had I) that Jude’s heart rate was still dropping repeatedly, with no relation to contractions, as I hadn’t had one since pushing out Elias. And then we started to lose his heartbeat all together. We would hear it slow down and stop for a few seconds, then speed back up a few seconds later. The first time it did this, the doctor asked if I was having a contraction yet, and I wasn’t. Then he told me to push as soon as I felt a contraction coming on. The next 30 seconds or so I remember being very still and quiet as we all listened to the heart beat and waited. I am thankful, looking back, that I still had the endorphins and happy feelings of having Elias born, or I think this would have been a lot scarier at the time. It felt like forever (but was really so short – a lot can happen in five minutes!), but I finally felt a contraction coming, and at 7:40 am, with only one push, Jude Robert was born.

I didn’t see Jude right away, but I remember listening for his cries. John said that they did something with his neck and thinks the cord was wrapped around him, but he stretched his skinny arm out and grabbed my finger. I was elated. They took him to the warmer right away and got him started on oxygen, while Elias was only requiring the nasal cannula for a little extra air at the moment. As they were checking both boys out, I asked how much Elias had weighed and when they said 4 lbs, 8 oz, I started laughing. He was the same size as Anna, and she had been born over three weeks later. And then Jude, being 4 lbs, 6 oz, surprised us because the last ultrasound had said that he might not be growing as much as Elias. But they apparently shared their resources quite well!2014 06 16_0095

The nurses brought each baby over to me one at a time before they were taken to the NICU. I kissed Elias’ sweet head and was sad to see him go, but was also still a little nervous about Jude. They brought him to me and I got to kiss him quickly. Everyone reassured me that he was doing great now (his original Apgar score had been a little low), and then I sent John to go with the boys.2014 06 16_01082014 06 16_0111

The doctor cleaned me up and said I didn’t tear at all; no stitches or anything. I was thankful for that! They returned me to my original delivery room, where I had to stay for one or two hours (I can’t remember) while the epidural started to wear off and they checked my vital signs. The tremors/shaking I’d had before pushing came back full force, and the nurse struggled to take my blood pressure with the cuff and eventually did it the “normal” way. I made a few calls from the room and had breakfast, then got the ok to get in a wheelchair and go see my babies.

I held each boy for as long as I could, and I remember feeling elated that they were here and sad that I couldn’t hold them both at the same time. But they were doing so well! They were both on just extra air through a nasal cannula by the next morning, and I was discharged from my maternity ward that afternoon.

I spent that second night in the NICU with the babies and the pump. Early in the morning, I went out to use the restroom and when I got back to the room, I felt like my water had broken, but when I looked down I realized I was bleeding. Everywhere. It had soaked through everything in about 10 seconds, and I called for the nurse, who brought a wheelchair and they brought me down to the Emergency Room.

I called John and he came over to be with me, because I was a wreck. I was scared something was wrong and also missing all of my children. The doctors checked my hemoglobin and also did an ultrasound, but everything looked fine, so I was able to go back to the NICU and rest there.

The boys were born at 33 weeks and 3 days, only six and a half weeks early, and were beautifully healthy. They also were right around the 40th percentile for weight, which was great – twins are typically smaller than other babies born at the same time, but these little ones grew really well.2014 06 18_0072

Anna got to see her little brothers the afternoon they were born. She was able to go from isolette to isolette and she sang them an equal number of songs. It was just about the sweetest thing I’ve ever seen. She didn’t care about the wires or any of the machines; she got to touch the babies’ hands and was just so excited that they were here. Unfortunately, Josie had a pretty bad cold and had to stay out of the NICU.

About a week after they were born, Children’s NICU was almost at capacity and they needed to take on more babies who were in much worse positions than our boys were. They requested that we transfer to Regions Hospital, which we accepted, although it wasn’t easy to make that choice. John went with the babies as they transferred them in their little pods. As he was leaving, one of the nurses watching happened to mention to another coworker that she was so happy we were making more room for other babies; I think her exact words at one point were, “Yippee!” John was not thrilled with this, as even though we knew it was for a good reason that we were being moved, it was still not an easy thing to do (you always worry about your babies, and now we also had to learn another new set of protocols for visitors, pumping, parking, etc.). He ended up mentioning the interaction with a nurse supervisor and just said that maybe staff shouldn’t talk about things like this in front of parents who are under a little bit of stress. The nurse apologized, and we made the transition pretty smoothly.

Brothers- edit copyThere were a lot of great things about being at Regions. It was a lot quieter, for one, and the boys were also able to be in one large room – TOGETHER! Jessica Shurts came to visit the first night we were there and the nurses let me hold both of my boys in my lap while Jess took a few photos. I hadn’t realized that they would let me hold them both, so to have them in my lap together, and to see their faces at the same time, right next to each other – it was just incredible. These are still some of my favorite photos of Elias and Jude, and I’m so thankful Jess was able to be there to capture such great shots of a really meaningful moment for me. (Thank you again, Jess!)

On Thursday, June 26, Josie got to meet her brothers. Our whole family was finally together, if only for a few minutes. Josie held each of them and gave them lots of kisses, while Anna continued to sing to them. So sweet to see the love they had for their brothers right from the start!

Also on that day, the doctors informed us that it was likely they could go home in 7 to 10 days, as they were starting to eat well from a bottle and had been keeping their temperatures up on their own. They had a few breathing and heart rate spells throughout the past week and a half, but nothing too alarming. Typically once you noticed it, they got themselves out of it, but Elias had one heart rate spell that took a lot of work to get it back up (nurses rubbing his legs, moving him, etc.). Because of that, he had to be monitored one full night at Regions before being allowed to go home. That Sunday, going home became much more real; they said they could probably go home the next day if Elias passed his heart rate test. So John went off to buy some diapers, because we didn’t have any at home!

Elias passed his test beautifully and on Monday, June 30, after only two short weeks in the NICU, the boys were given the green light to go home. We packed them up in the minivan and the girls welcomed us home with lots of gusto. And we began our life as a family of six (with four under four!).

I can’t finish this story without thinking of all of the help, support, and prayers we received over the course of the boys’ pregnancy and newborn stages. A huge number of meals were brought, our girls were always well taken care of, our house was cleaned and laundry done, money and gifts were received, babies were fed so parents could sleep. I am so grateful for all of the many people who supported us through their immense generosity; it made the time considerably easier than it could have been. If you helped us in any way, THANK YOU. You were Christ to us, and we hope we are able to do the same for you some day.2014 06 30_0016

Photo Shoot

A few weeks ago, just before the boys’ due date (August 1), our friend Jessica came to our home and took some photos for us. The boys weren’t super cooperative, but she did get some good shots.

As you might be able to tell, Elias and Jude are quickly putting on some baby fat. They had their two month check up this week and are over 9 and a half pounds, and still only one ounce apart. They apparently grew over three pounds in just four and a half weeks. Yikes! We’re so thankful for our healthy, growing baby boys.

Our favorite photos are below (click on one to be able to see larger, more complete versions of the photos). Thank you again, Jess!

Due Date!


Elias (front seat): Hang on, Goose. I’ma put ‘er down hard. Jude: Roger that, Maverick.



Elias (left): Happy due date, brother! Jude (right): Wait, you mean I could have spent the last 44 days inside Mom, nice and warm?!?

One Month with Twins

Our boys came home from the hospital after just two weeks on June 30. Overall they seem pretty happy and very healthy. Their big sisters have taken their role very seriously; it’s been wonderful watching them try to show their brothers just how much they are loved! Both girls give lots of kisses, sing songs, and in general just love to be close to Elias and Jude, as shown by my favorite photo from last week:

Outdoor kids

The boys were one month old last week so we started taking photos with a stuffed animal for comparison once again (unfortunately they have no animals, so we just used one of the girls’). As of Monday, July 21, Elias weighed 6 lbs, 9 oz, and Jude weighed 6 lbs, 10 oz – both very healthy weights!

It has been somewhat surreal to watch our family of four turn into a family of six. We are enjoying it as much as we can and have been so thankful to have a lot of help from family and friends. Once again, thanks to everyone for their support and prayers! Let us know if you want to stop by to meet our two newest cuties! Who can resist these sweet chicken legs???

Boys - One Month


The Twins are Here!

On June 16 at 7:35 and 7:40 AM, Elias James and Jude Robert were born at 33 weeks and 3 days gestation. Elias was 4 lbs, 8 oz, and Jude was 4 lbs, 6 oz. Sara was a champ all throughout this pregnancy and labor; she is a strong, brave woman. The boys are still in the Special Care Nursery but should be coming home relatively soon; they are still learning how to eat. For now, a few pictures will have to suffice!

Operating room selfie.

Operating room selfie.

Elias on O2. They were off of it after only a few hours.

Elias on O2. They were off of it after only a few hours.

Jude gets his snuggles in.

Jude gets his snuggles in.

Elias snuggles, eyes wide open.

Elias snuggles, eyes wide open.

Anna snuggles Jude. So happy!

Anna snuggles Jude. So happy!

A Twins Shower

To help us prepare for the next two members of our family, my sister-in-law and sisters offered to host a baby shower for us. There are a surprising number of items that are needed (or at least very convenient to have on hand) with two little boys on the way, not least of all a whole new double wardrobe of boy clothes.

Even though I was on bed rest, the shower went really well and was so much fun! It was, of course, MN Twins-themed, which worked out especially well when we learned that the babies were boys. (But no, they will not be named Justin and Joe… sorry, all you other Twins fans!) A couch was pulled out for me to lie on as we all enjoyed the stadium eats (brats and hot dogs: some of this pregnant woman’s favorite foods), the gifts, and the conversation with a lot of friends and family. I couldn’t resist sharing all of these photos that my mom took, because the decorations at this shower were amazing!

Thank you to everyone who helped plan this fun night, and to all of you who were able to attend. We are so grateful that you are all a part of our lives!


Winter ’13-’14

When I say “winter,” I mean the time of year when there is snow on the ground here. And this year that lasted quite a long time. I may be starting a bit early with a Thanksgiving picture (I can’t remember now), but it definitely lasted past Easter.

These are just a few of the events from our lives this past winter, and I wanted to make sure I hit most of the highlights. Unfortunately I’m sure we’re missing a lot, but still, it was a pretty fun winter… even if we did have to stay indoors almost the entire time.

Twinshock and Onward

(I realize most people reading this already know most of this story, but I’m using it like we use the rest of the site – mainly as a way to document what’s going on in our lives. And since I haven’t posted anything about this pregnancy yet, this will be very long!)

Waaaay back on Thursday, November 21, 2013, two little lines appeared and we celebrated that we were pregnant again! We were really excited and started sharing the news with family and close friends. Only about one week later (just short of 5 weeks pregnant), I remember mentioning to John that I wasn’t feeling great, and hoped it wasn’t a stomach bug. Yes, I knew I was pregnant, but with both girls I didn’t start feeling sick until around 9 or 10 weeks, so I didn’t really think it could be “morning” sickness. Of course, I was wrong – I didn’t feel great for a long time after that, although it did seem to get quite a bit worse around 9 or 10 weeks. Thankfully, although it was rough at the time, it wasn’t substantially worse than what I experienced with either Anna or Josie.

Although the nausea wasn’t much worse, I did feel much, much more tired than I ever remember feeling in any of my previous pregnancies. Most of you know that I am not usually much of a napper, but it was almost impossible for me to not nap when the girls went down in the afternoon, and I remember feeling guilty that I could barely drag myself off the couch, even in the mornings, when the girls wanted to play. Again, thankfully, this has not lasted the entire pregnancy and wore off around week 16 (at least to some extent… the naps did continue!).

And then came the BIG NEWS. We went in for an early ultrasound (after the miscarriages, we always have at least one around 7 or 8 weeks). John and even the girls were all in the tiny room as the technician started to look around my belly. Now, my first instinct in every single ultrasound (even now, late in pregnancy) is to look for the heartbeat. In fact, I get really anxious before every ultrasound and don’t relax until I see that the baby has a heartbeat or is moving around. I remember lying there during this particular ultrasound on December 17, 7.5  weeks pregnant, and when the image showed up on the screen, all I could think was, “I don’t know where to look.” Usually it’s pretty simple; there’s a little oval-ish shape that is the baby, and around the middle of it you can see the heartbeat. But this time, nothing registered in my mind. In about the span of two seconds, the sonographer said, “Do you see what I see?” And John said, “Uh… there are two.” And then I figured out why I didn’t understand what I was looking at – there were twins!

While I think John spent the rest of the ultrasound in shock, I kept alternating between tears and giggling. It was wonderful and terrifying at the exact same time. And this pretty much sums up the next few weeks of the pregnancy. I tend to think of it as pre-twins and post-twins; everything seemed to change when we found out there were two little munchkins in there. We were ready and wanting to have a third child running around… but a fourth, too??? This brought on a whole new world for us. We were excited, scared, nervous, happy; “overwhelmed” has never described anything better in my life. I heard later of the term “twinshock” and found it very appropriate, since the end of December and start of January all seems to be a big blur to me. It was odd to feel so excited and yet so worried at the same time. (For a hilarious version of another woman’s experience finding out she’s pregnant with twins, see this. I can relate, although I am glad I’m maybe not as outspoken!)

We spent that night and the next week calling our family and close friends to tell them the news. At this point, we weren’t doing it so much for their benefit as for ours; everyone else gets SO excited when they find out you’re expecting twins! That was what we needed at the time – our loved ones telling us that we could handle it and showing the enthusiasm that we wished we could display. Part of me really hates mentioning our feelings during this time, because it seems that we were ungrateful, when in reality we were just worried. John was worried more about the practical aspects, like finances and fitting two babies in our house and the stuff we’d need to get, and I was able to try to calm his fears about a lot of that while he also found some solace in a few blogs of parents of twins. On the other hand, I was terrified of the implications of carrying two babies for an entire pregnancy. Not only was I worried about miscarrying one baby, but now I was worried about the possibility of losing two. I was also nervous about what might happen later in pregnancy, when I’d already had two pretty small, relatively early babies. And of course it didn’t help that my hormones were already wreaking havoc on my emotions, and that didn’t seem to subside (somewhat) until around the third trimester. Thankfully, John was always so supportive and encouraging in these areas, like he always has been. It’s so great to see how God has worked in our marriage, balancing each other out!

During my thirteenth week of pregnancy I saw some spotting for over a week. While it pretty much drove me crazy, I did get to have another ultrasound and see that everything was going well. We also confirmed that the babies shared a placenta (which they had also done at the earlier ultrasound, but we weren’t sure we remembered correctly – twinshock!), which means they are most likely identical.

Somewhere around week 16 I started to lose some of the nausea and the exhaustion, which helped my nerves. John and I had also been able to sit down and hash out what kinds of things we’d need or want, and what the next year or two might look like for us. By now we were both really excited, even if the worry and nervousness never completely goes away. At my ultrasound that week we found out we were having BOYS. (Wait. What? Is that possible in our family? Are you SURE they are boys?) We are thrilled that we get to experience parenting boys, even if it means a lot more clothes are needed! And yes, the boy parts have been confirmed in at least six more ultrasounds since then, so they are definitely boys.

Everything between week 16 and 20 went really well for the babies and me, at least physically (I was still having a hard time emotionally). I do remember already being pretty uncomfortable and thinking that I had a looooong way to go! I had a few extra cervical ultrasounds to make sure nothing was changing there, since I had started noticing contractions pretty early on, and it looked great – still over 3 cm long at just shy of 20 weeks.

At 20 weeks and 6 days, on March 21, I had another full growth ultrasound as well as all the level II details (stomach, kidneys, etc.) that are normally done at this point in pregnancy. My sister Traci had joined me for this appointment, and it was so great to share it with her! Unfortunately, although the boys looked to be doing really well, my cervix had started to shorten (from 3 cm the week before to 2.1 cm during contractions). I was put on modified bed rest: no watching my nieces or doing any unnecessary lifting, but could still work because I sat at work and could lie down every so often.

I went back one week later, on March 28, and my cervix had shortened further (down to 1.6 cm, if I remember correctly). According to our doctors, if the cervix gets to be less than 1.5 cm, there are higher risks of infection getting in to the uterus, and therefore causing water to break, babies to get sick, or – most likely – labor to progress. However, they don’t like to do a cerclage (stitch the cervix shut) after 23 weeks, and I was getting very close to that. So I was put on full bed rest (only up for the bathroom and meals), and we set up an appointment for the following Tuesday, April 1, with the hopes that nothing would change.

Unfortunately, my cervix continued to shorten to 1.2 cm and had also started thinning on both ends; up to this point it had only been on the uterus side that things were changing. In other words, my cervix was now less than 1 cm thick. It had shortened over 2 centimeters in less than two weeks. That morning was rough; John and I had to decide whether the cerclage was worth it to be put in place. While discussing it with our doctor (who did not pressure us one way or the other, which in fact made it harder for me to make a decision), we learned that if I had been carrying one baby, the benefits of a cerclage are clear in this case, due to the amount of research and data available. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of a twin pregnancy. Some studies show that it makes a good difference, some show a negative difference, and some show no difference at all on the length of the pregnancy. Ultimately, for us, it came down to the fact that we wanted to know we had been proactive and tried our options. If I had not had the cerclage and had gone into labor in one week, I would still not have been even 24 weeks along, which is the point at which babies have a 50 percent chance of surviving. If I had the cerclage and then had gone into labor, I would have less guilt over whether or not we had tried our best. As for the cerclage itself, the risks were minimal, and the doctor performing the procedure explained everything very carefully so we knew exactly what they do at this particular hospital to minimize any potential hazards.

That afternoon I was started on magnesium sulfate to help reduce the number of contractions I was having, and that evening around 6 pm I had the procedure to place the cerclage. I was totally awake and had just a spinal for anesthesia, and let me tell you, being awake for something like that is a really weird experience! Thankfully everything went really well. The only downsides of the whole experience were the discomfort that night (Tylenol, and apparently even Percocet with it’s extra oxycodone, doesn’t really work for me – at all) and the nauseousness and weakness I experienced after being on the magnesium sulfate for around 24 hours. They kept me on it, but they reduced the amount going into my IV, which helped me feel like a whole new person!

That Thursday afternoon I was able to come home, just in time for Josie’s birthday the next day. I was kept on bed rest and scheduled to come in the following week for a follow-up. I went in on April 10 and 18 for ultrasounds, and the babies continued to look good while my cervix stayed at roughly 2 cm thick. Contractions were still happening around one every 10 to 20 minutes.

Early on the morning of Thursday, April 24, I woke up because of my contractions. It was about 3:30 am. I took the nifedipine that my original doctor had prescribed to me to take only when I felt the contractions getting more frequent or stronger. And then I waited for about an hour and a half… with no change. I was having contractions around five minutes apart, pretty consistently, and something told me that I should call the office and see what the on-call doctor thought. I was told to come to labor and delivery immediately, where they checked me and found that I was dilated 2 cm. (This is when the tears started – I did not want these babies delivered at 26 weeks!) They started me on the magnesium sulfate again, and a NICU fellow came to discuss what it would be like if I were to deliver early. That night I was transferred from L&D to a floor designated mainly for bed rest pregnancies, and throughout the next week I was switched between a few different medications to help limit the contractions. That Tuesday I was put on magnesium yet again, this time just for 12 hours, which is how long it takes to get the babies’ what they need (magnesium sulfate, if given close to birth, can reduce the chances of neurological disorders – and it also has the added benefit of relaxing the mama’s body to hopefully stop contractions). I was put on the highest dose possible of nifedipine that Friday, and for some reason that has managed to keep my contractions in check for the last few weeks.

Being apart from John and the girls for two weeks was hard. It was much harder on me than I expected it to be at first, but it was made somewhat easier knowing that they had a lot of help at home, even though they were getting the short end of the stick (I could watch TV all day, if I wanted to!). Thankfully it was only two weeks (15 days, to be exact), and not longer.

May 9 was a big day for us! I had another growth ultrasound that showed the boys were right around 2.5 pounds each, which meant I was carrying more weight than I did with either girl. It also meant they were right on track for development and were staying healthy, which was WONDERFUL news. I was 28 weeks, which was a great milestone to hit (much fewer developmental delays and a higher survival rate for babies born at this point). And when they checked my cervix, they found that it had not dilated any further! Yippee! This meant it was time to go home!

Being home has been wonderful, with the minor exception that I had a strain in part of my lung that caused a ridiculous amount of pain the first few days I was home… ask me about it and I’ll tell you more. 🙂 It is so good to be together with my husband so we can support each other, and of course being around the girls is so great. Their snuggles and “I love you’s” and “I’m glad you’re home, Mommy’s” are the best thing in the world right now. Not to mention that the highlight of this pregnancy has been Anna feeling the babies’ kicks; watching her face light up is priceless!

I still have between 4 to 8 contractions an hour, and sometimes they’re even more frequent, but not strong enough (at least not consistently) to make me think I’m actually in labor. I’ve made it to 30 weeks, so we’ll see if I can make it to 37!

We are so, so beyond grateful by all of the generosity people have shown to us, especially our parents, siblings, and friends who have helped us with child care for the past 8 weeks, and all of the meals we have received. God has truly shown us that He provides when we need it. This whole pregnancy has increased our reliance on Him and our trust in His providence, no matter what happens now. We are thankful for every person He’s put in our lives, especially these two little boys, who we hope to meet face-to-face in a few more weeks! We are so excited!

Josephine is Two!

Since we haven’t posted on our blog for many, many months, and since I have at least a little more free time than normal, here I am – finally! – putting up some info and pictures about our growing family.

At the start of April, our little Josie turned two years old. Since I was on bed rest and recovering from a procedure and two-day hospital stay, we weren’t able to prepare much, but family stepped in and saved the day. Auntie Beth made all the vegetarian pizzas for us (seriously – who plans a kid’s birthday party on a Friday in Lent?) and also made some great decorations with a Finding Nemo theme. My mom made a beautiful cake, and Grandma Kay helped with other food as well as keeping our girls occupied until party time.

Josie blew out her candles like a champ, enjoyed her cake and presents, and all in all seemed to like the attention from everyone who came to celebrate the life of our littlest girl. Thank you all for your help and your presence!

Josephine, you are such a joy to us! You are full of smiles (see the photos!) and snuggles. We call you the “nuggler-in-chief.” You can keep up with your sister when she wants to play fishies with you, and she loves you for it. You love your baby doll and take such good care of her that we are sure you will be a wonderful big sister, just as you already are a sweet younger sister. We love you!



A Saturday Morning in Advent

It seems we have skipped right over December in Minnesota. Temperatures have plunged into single digits with below zero wind chills, which is usually a feature of late January weather. Nevertheless, our daughters have found ways to stay entertained, even if it is a little too cold to play outside for any length of time.

As Mom and Dad put up Christmas decorations this morning, two little girls played:

Butterfly wings, angel wings.

Butterfly wings, angel wings.

The lineup.

“The angels say, ‘Oh no, we forgot about the new baby! Sorry Mary. Look at Jesus! He’s so beautiful!'” (Actual quote.)

Meanwhile, Josie thought about going outside...

Meanwhile, Josie thought about going outside…