33 weeks

Well. It finally happened.

I hit a big number. Two of them, in fact.

50 pounds gained.

I now weigh 200 pounds.

These are both large numbers. Big, round numbers that look menacing.

But then I take a breath. There are two fetuses in there, with all their accompanying fluids and support organs (plus the amount of blood actually doubles in a woman carrying twins, versus an increase of 1.5 with a singleton), and 50 pounds so far can’t be that bad. And I can look at myself (well, not physically; I can’t even see my belly button, but I do have a mirror) and can see that I’m not a huge fat person-blob. I really don’t look like I weigh that much (see above!), which tells the rational part of my brain that all is fine. Then of course I have to remember that I/they are not done growing yet, so I’ll will probably hit 60 pounds gained, if not more.

My doctor hasn’t said anything about the number of pounds at all. She says everything is still going great, in fact. I’m really hoping that these two will stay in there and keep growing for awhile.

In other news, I think I have hit the wall in terms of comfort in the last week or so. Pretty much anytime I’m upright and moving, something hurts or aches. The lower backache is pretty much constant. There’s also a weird ache/pressure in my pelvis or somewhere, which hurts the most when I get up after sitting. It’s got to be pretty hilarious to watch, as I struggle to standing and then waddle-limp tiny steps. In the morning is the absolute worst; I push up sideways so I’m sitting on the bed, and then stand up. I stay there for a minute and rotate my hips a bit, but then I have to move, and I can barely put weight on at least one of my legs (ache/pressure/joint pain in my lower back/hip). I wobble across the room to the bathroom and by then it’s better.

Not very fun.

Additionally, in the last few days I’ve noticed that I think I’m getting Braxton-Hicks contractions any time I’m up/walking for more than a couple seconds. They don’t hurt, but they aren’t comfortable either.

I still have no classic heartburn, which seems kind of miraculous when I talk to other pregnant ladies. Sounds like they can’t eat a lot of things or a lot of volume. I seem to be able to eat plenty still. A couple times I do get some kind of acid-y feeling around my belly, but not up above it where heartburn/reflux would be. I have some acid reducer that seems to help, so maybe it’s indigestion? Also the occasional vomit burp…which seem to be getting a little more frequent.

Last week I realized that I can’t sit up straight, because my belly hits my thighs.

I have to take big deep breaths or sighs randomly to get in more air. Even just sitting on the couch. I swear that last night while trying to go to sleep I felt like I wasn’t getting enough breath through just my nose.

Sleeping has been a little difficult since early summer, but it’s the worst it’s been now. It still takes several moments and a series of small movements to turn over. The last few days, that wakes me up enough to realize I need to get up and go to the bathroom. Which then wakes me up even more and sometimes I can’t go back to sleep easily.

My belly button seems to be all on the outside, though I’m sure it has farther to go to pop out even more. You can see it through my top in that photo!

A week or two ago, I noticed that I’m starting to get faint stretch marks around my belly button. I’m disappointed about it, and I’m disappointed that I feel disappointed, if that makes sense. I know that there’s nothing to be done, and that it happens all the time, and it’s genetic. Nonetheless, I feel a little sinking sadness whenever I see it. I have started applying the Trofolastin twice a day now too, to see if I can hold off on further development. (I bought another tube last week–it’s back on Amazon now, and the shipping was really fast!) I guess it’s a vanity issue, one more thing I didn’t want ‘marring’ me.

In sum, things are uncomfortable. I know that it won’t get any better, it will probably get worse, maybe a lot worse. However, I’m really not complaining much–I still have had no complications, no problems, and overall things have gone so well. Everything could be so much worse. I’m doing my best to accept that it’s not going to feel good for the next few weeks. That’s not a bad trade-off if the babies are healthy and growing.

Really hoping that all continues to go well physically so that these two can keep cooking for up to five more weeks. And holy cow, FIVE WEEKS is not very many weeks! Making it to at least 36 weeks would be fantastic…except that that’s only THREE weeks away, holy shit! End of November is still my goal, though 38 weeks (the longest I’ll be allowed to go) would go into the first week of December. As long as possible is great by me!

Pregnant Products

I wanted to share a round-up of things I’ve found useful, interesting, or not at all helpful while on this pregnancy journey. It got kind of long with all the pics, so be aware. 🙂 Amazon links are affiliate.

Shopping:

Trofolastin

Trofolastin antiestrias duploThis is a stretch-mark cream that allegedly has scientific studies backing up its effectivity. I heard about it on a blog and ordered some. I think I got some on Amazon, but it’s not always there. I saw a link to this Spanish site. I only use it once a day–not sure if it’s supposed to be twice. I haven’t seen any stretch marks yet, but I know that genetics and maybe luck plays a big part. However, I also put it on my upper outer thighs, on my high-school stretch marks, and I swear the skin there feels much smoother, softer, and the marks are much less visible. I should probably order another tube!

The Pregnant Body Book


I also heard about this book on a blog, and it is one of the coolest things I’ve seen! It’s a big hardcover book that’s part textbook, part coffee table book (if anatomy is something you like having on your coffee table). There are photos of a female body with the fetus for each month, and they’re almost life-size. In between are lots of scientific drawings, photos/images, and facts about what’s developing each week or month. Completely, totally fascinating, and I would recommend this for any pregnant person and their partner.

Body Pillow


For at least ten years, my bed has been a nest that includes lots of extra pillows or stuffed friends. I sleep on the side a lot, and I noticed that my knees/hips/back would hurt a lot, but that a pillow between my knees eliminated all of that. Being pregnant is a great excuse for this, and it’s even more necessary and comfortable to have pillows surrounding me. The body pillow is for my legs/knees/feet (yes, I like all of them to be cushioned/elevated, even if I’m on my back), and then I have pillows etc on both sides of me. My body pillow is one I found at Costco that’s soft but not too thin/squishy. I’ve also found them at Target.

Belly band: I got a Belly Band early in the summer when my trousers were getting a little tight. I used it a couple times but it was annoying, because I was in that in-between stage of not exactly needing it but not exactly able to go without. For the rest of the summer I wore skirts and dresses, which was way more comfortable and easy.

And then! I figured out the most awesome thing, and this is my best secret advice: I use the belly band as a tube top! Just for sitting around the house and sleeping. It’s so much better than any bra-type thing–I hate straps!

Books:

Mostly I was interested in reading about twins, so all of these may not be helpful or applicable for singleton-pregnant ladies.

What to Expect When You’re Expecting, 4th Edition


I wasn’t going to read this because I’d heard it was annoying. I found a previous edition at a thrift shop and then someone gifted me the newer one. I’ve read most of it in parts, and while it’s not the most annoying book of the bunch, it’s definitely not one of my favorites. Partly because it’s organized so terribly. In that it’s not organized at all. You don’t need to read this.

When You’re Expecting Twins, Triplets, or Quads: Proven Guidelines for a Healthy Multiple Pregnancy, 3rd Edition


This was the first twins book I read, and it’s always on everyone’s recommended-reading list for expectant twin mamas.

I rather HATED this book. First of all, it reads like it’s freaking Cosmo magazine, with the way anecdotes are written. Second, it’s written by this doctor who directs a program, and the entire thing is all about her own method and how amazing and successful it is. Which I guess is her right, seeing as how it’s her book and all, but after awhile I realized how very un-objective it is. Third, a huge chunk of the book is about food/eating/nutrition. She says straight out that even if you’re a vegetarian, you should really eat meat or at least eggs while you’re pregnant. I am very vegetarian, not for moral reasons or anything preachy, but I’ve been a weird/nonmeat eater for literally most of my life. Even if I wanted to suddenly eat fish and chicken for the health of the fetuses, after never having them for at least thirty years, I can’t imagine that my body would react well. She goes on to include sample menus and daily lists of food, and it’s actually laughable how much it is. Like, it takes two pages of the book to list out everything you should eat in ONE DAY. And I don’t doubt that she’s right and that it’s a good idea…it just doesn’t seem terribly realistic.

Twins 101: 50 Must-Have Tips for Pregnancy through Early Childhood From Doctor M.O.M.


We listened to this one in the car during our road trip. I’ve wanted Andy to read some of the advice-type books that I read (below) so that he would have the same frame of reference and so that I wouldn’t have to explain everything to him. He reluctantly read parts of them, but agreed that he should read more, and an audiobook while a captive audience driving through the emptiness that is most of Wyoming was a good match. Some of the “tips” are pretty silly (“Write loving thoughts in your pregnancy journal!” “Get a private room at the hospital!”), but some were thought-provoking and helpful. In particular, she has a list of good twin baby products and websites. (Of course, that’s the downside of an audio book–we have to either track down a PDF that came with it or see if we can find that section to listen to again and take notes.)

Twinspiration: Real-Life Advice From Pregnancy Through the First Year (for Parents of Twins and Multiples)


This was a fun book to read, because it’s more about experience and what happens after two babies arrive. She is always very clear about sharing what they did and what worked for them, and acknowledges that that may not work for everyone, and she doesn’t come across judgmental at all. This book gets really into the nitty-gritty of everyday life with twin babies–talks about schedules, daily duties (diapers, bottles, keeping charts of those), options for night feedings, etc. I really appreciate the specifics–I think that’s so helpful. Also, there was a chapter on gear–what you need two of and what you only need one of. Again, really helpful for that kind of specificity.

Ready or Not Here We Come!: The Real Experts’ Guide to the First Year With Twins


A mama of twin one-year-olds lent me this one this summer. It’s very similar to the book above, in that it chronicles this woman’s family’s experience and suggestions. It’s not organized very well at all, but it was still helpful to read about her experience and advice. This one also has suggestions and advice about gear, and it was a little different than the other one.

(Truthfully, I should probably read both of these again in the next couple months and take some notes or something–I’ve already forgotten a lot of the helpful information!)

Clothes: 

Obviously regular yoga pants lasted a long time in the clothing rotation. My long ones got too tight under my belly, but I have some softer, knee-length ones that are still comfy.

Also, I found several of these convertible skirt/dresses. You can fold over the top to make it a skirt. They’re really soft and swingy, and I can still wear them even now (and obviously they can be worn very comfortably without being pregnant too!). I found all three of mine at Marshall’s for ten or fifteen dollars. (Here’s one I’m wearing as a dress–you can see how the green part can be folded/scrunched to be a skirt top.)

The first maternity clothes I bought were really early on; I got a few tops and a dress from the Liz Lange Maternity Target line. They looked good before I started showing, and they still look good.

Then in mid-July I got a big pile of on-sale maternity clothes at Old Navy during one of their sales/open a credit line and save extra deals. Normally I would never do that, but I got like eight things for under eighty bucks. Honestly, I never shop at Old Navy anyway, because it’s so cheap. But if there’s ever a time for cheap clothes, it’s being pregnant for a season or two! I got a few shirts, two dresses, and a pair of jeans. (Aw look at my little tummy!)

Those jeans were not at all comfortable–the panel wasn’t as soft as I would have liked, and it would actually fall down, and then the jeans would sag. I felt like I needed a belt to hold the stupid jeans up. I posted about my dilemma on facebook, and a friend recommended Destination Maternity. 

No Belly 5 Pocket Boot Cut Maternity JeansFirst I bought these jeans because they don’t have a belly panel and they look cute. I ordered the large and the button in front just barely closed, but they were still too big and baggy. I went into one of the stores and tried on the medium, but the button would not close. Bummer.

Secret Fit Belly(r) Signature Pocket Boot Cut Maternity JeansThen the salesgirl brought me these jeans (or something similar!) and said they’re a best-seller and promised they’d be comfortable. I tried them on and they felt much better than the Old Navy jeans–they were lighter and they definitely stayed up a little better. Plus the panel is softer and stays up nicer. I’ve happily worn these jeans all day on multiple occasions. And while I definitely have to tug them up at times, overall they’re very comfortable. I don’t think I’ll be wearing the Old Navy ones ever again (must remember to put those in a consign pile).

French Terry Drawstring Maternity PantsThese drawstring sweats-type pants are fantastic. I’m wearing them right now. Soft, comfy, perfect for lounging.

Lastly, I went to a baby/kid consignment sale last month and got a pile of warmer maternity tops/sweaters. That is definitely the way to go! That one was the Just Between Friends Sale and it happens twice a year in many locations around the country. There have been a handful of other large, organized consignment around Portland this fall too. Which makes me happy, because in a few months I’ll have a way to get my used maternity/baby things out to someone else who needs them at a great price.

30 weeks!

Or–these will be actual, outside babies sometime in the next eight weeks. EIGHT! That’s a single digit number of weeks, which isn’t very many. I’m not ready!!

My belly button is getting closer, but still hasn’t popped.

Looks like I have another light linea negra below my belly button, but of course I can’t see it myself.

I swear that I’m growing a rectangle belly instead of round. No growth in belly circumference this week.

30 weeks twin pregnancy photo

I’m up to 190 — that’s forty pounds. It’s been about five pounds at each doctor’s appointment, which seems like a good, even pace. Which means that in two weeks or so, I’ll hit 200. Whoa. That is a really big number. I’m not exactly worried about it, though I really wonder how I’ll look and feel afterward. I don’t want to put in a lot of negative energy and worry into weight and body. I’ve got plenty of worry about these growing beans!

Physically, I’m doing okay. My hands are less painful now that I’m drinking more water. They still hurt plenty, but it’s not as bad (except first thing in the morning). Unfortunately, something has gone terribly awry with both of my thumbs now–it was my right thumb for a couple weeks, and then it somehow switched to my left. Ouch. I can’t write normally and I can’t really use either of them as opposable if it requires any pressure.

My back still doesn’t have any joint pain, hallelujah! It does now ache a bit though, from carrying around all these pounds at the front. When I brush my teeth, I rest my elbows on the bathroom counter and the release of pressure on my lower back feels so good. I have to remember to get Mister M to practice some back massage for me! There’s a prenatal swim class I heard about that I want to try, if I ever get some kind of swimwear. Maybe a bikini top and bike shorts?

I’m finally feeling the effects of slightly squashed lungs. When I yawn, it feels like my belly can’t expand enough to where I want to breathe. Sometimes I talk a little too fast or laugh a little too much and end up almost panting and needing to catch my breath!

Stuff-wise, we’re getting more ready. Last week, I went to the twin club consignment sale and got a TON of gear: a double snap n go stroller, 2 boppies, a handful of clothes, some bottles, a monitor, another bouncy seat, a nice looking diaper bag. Plus two free cans of formula. The haul barely fit in my car! (That stroller does not fit in my Saturn’s trunk. Oops.)

(just some of the stuff!)

Then some family and friends threw me a surprise baby shower, which was so sweet! We got two brand new car seats, a ton of cute clothes, some books, even some diapers and wipes.

I also went through some boxes and bins of things stored at my parents’ houses and now have some blankets and clothes from my own (and my brother’s) babyhood.

So we have some piles in the baby room and in our living room. The next–big–step is organizing it all somehow. It’s time for furniture.

28 weeks

28 weeks twin pregnancy photo

An amazing thing happened two mornings ago: I squeezed the tube of toothpaste! I hadn’t been able to do that for about two weeks with that stupid thumb pain. I still can’t bend it very far on its own, but if I push down and bend it, it doesn’t hurt. My hands are still painful, but I think that in the last couple days it’s gotten less intense. I’m not sure why–maybe from drinking more water? Maybe my body is just being nice and doesn’t want to torture me forever? Whatever, I’ll take any progress I can get.

I’ve visited the chiropractor twice now, and WOW, what a difference. My left back/hip joint basically stopped hurting two days after the first appointment. My front hip was still flaring up some days. Then, last Sunday, I unpacked a bunch of boxes and even though I didn’t lift or move anything heavy, all the bending got to be too much. I could barely walk the next day–the back of my right hip was out of joint and very painful. Whoops. Happily, my next appointment was for Monday afternoon anyway. And lo and behold, on Tuesday, the pain was gone. Hallelujah! My front hip still hurts when I’m lying down, but overall the pain has gone way down.

Tonight we went to the Portland Art Museum–it was our first real outing! It felt good to be walking around again. Partway through our visit, I noticed my hands–when they were hanging by my side I could feel fluid pooling in them (sort of tingly and pulsing), so I spent the rest of the time holding them up on my belly. Also, my back and hip starting hurting and I had to slow way, way down. So I clearly overdid it; next time I should probably keep track of the time and only be up and moving for maybe an hour and see how that goes.

I also went to a dermatologist last week (referred to one by the OB) and she prescribed some clindamycin, which is a topical acne treatment that’s safe for pregnancy. It’s a relief to finally be battling my skin back, but it’s an uphill battle after a few weeks of no treatment. 🙂

Oh! We also finally got the official results from my sugar test, from back in Brooklyn. All is fine! They also checked mineral levels, and those are fine too. That made me feel good that I’ve been taking the extra iron supplement (in addition to the prenatal, which has iron).

My belly button seems to be edging its way toward popping. The top part of it at least is starting to stick out, and the rest is feeling pretty flat. Also, I think I’m developing a light linea negra, but it’s only on the top part of my belly, not below my belly button (although maybe there’s one there; I just can’t see it!).

After three weeks of no growth around my belly circumference, this week it’s finally grown another two inches–44! As always, see the full series of belly shots at the link to the right.

We had an ultrasound this week, the first one since early August. It was great to see the fetuses (the “b” word still is a little too real for me! :D). Overall they seem to be doing fine, though they’re not huge (which explains why I’m not huge). There’s a 23% size discrepancy between the two of them, which is borderline iffy, so we’ll have another ultrasound in three weeks. Really, I would prefer to have one twice a week!

I do feel plenty of movement (though there are times/days when it seems like it’s more of one than the other), and I love putting my hand on my belly to feel whatever’s going on in there. It’s fascinating and one of my favorite things. :)The movements are big enough to be visible or move things that are touching my belly. I finally got a video capture of one–take a look!

27 weeks: ouch

When were at the new doctor’s office last week, I got on the scale and it was official–180. One hundred eighty pounds. That’s THIRTY pounds gained–and not even seven months along! I think the Brooklyn doctor originally suggested 35 pounds of weight gain for the entire pregnancy. Oops!

The thing, though, is that other than my hips getting bigger (at least 4 inches already!), and obviously my chest too (EIGHT inches), and my belly really isn’t that big (still measuring the same belly-button number for three weeks)…so I’m not sure where that big number is coming from. I really don’t look (or feel!) like I’ve gained thirty pounds. But all the same, that’s kind of a scary number. The Portland doctor didn’t feel like it was anything to worry about, and in fact she said it could double by the end! I’m nearing the third trimester (for some reason I thought it was this week, but I still have two more weeks I guess), which is when the most weight gain happens for mom and babies. It’s intimidating thinking about what is to come–I have no idea what I will look like or feel like. I suppose it’s all going to go downhill as I get bigger?

Everyone did and still does exclaim at me that we did this big road trip while I’m pregnant. My response has been a suppressed eyeroll and, “It’s just sitting! It’s not like I’m walking across the country.”

The timing turned out to be perfect as well as lucky. Lucky because I’m still carrying pretty small for twins (in my own uninformed-but-internet-reading opinion), so I wasn’t uncomfortable. Timing because at the time I was pretty able to move around. If I had been any bigger or already aching, it would have been even tougher to sit and get up and down.

As it was, every time we stopped for a break (every 2-3 hours), I struggled to get up and straight-up hobbled like an elderly person for a bit. Then I would loosen up a bit and walk a little more normally. But the sitting part was fine. I kept a pillow behind my back and leaned the seat back a bit, and I was comfortable.

I brought my pillows with me, and every night brought in my body pillow to our hotel rooms. That really helped me sleep better, to have the same kind of leg/knee/foot support I was used to at home.

At our last OB appointment before we left, I remembered to ask about skin treatment and benzoyl peroxide. She said don’t use it, because it’s an unknown how it might affect a fetus. So I stopped my normal treatment routine and my face (etc) exploded. It’s a constant battle with my skin anyway, so all these extra hormones are surely not doing my face any favors. Which means I look a fright and of course worry that I’ve poisoned these babies. Sigh. PDX OB referred me to a dermatologist, and I’m hoping she will be able to help!

I mentioned awhile ago that my hands had swollen. I may have mentioned some discomfort too. My feet also got a little swollen and hurt for awhile.  Soon, though, my hands started hurting, and they still do. A lot. Everything hurts–bending, gripping, pulling. (Surprisingly though, knitting did not hurt last month! It did this week though.) It’s not the joints; it’s the in-between, meat-y parts of my fingers. Our Brooklyn OB tried to tell me it was carpal tunnel, and PDX OB started to as well. I told them both no way–no pain in the wrist, I’m on the computer a lot but I don’t actively type that much or that often, and all of my fingers hurt, including the pinky (the nerve that gets irritated with carpal tunnel syndrome does not affect half of the ring finger or the pinky). I know that hand swelling is normal, since there are extra fluids running around my system. But nowhere do I read that people have this kind of pain and discomfort. I suppose that if I knew it was common and/or if there was something to do about it, it might be easier to deal with, mentally (obviously I have to deal with it physically all day anyway).

To add to the fun, last week I did something to jam my right thumb. It’s been over a week and it’s still very painful. It doesn’t bend all the way and the bottom joint is painful to the touch. Occasionally it will bend too far and I will gasp out loud.

AND, for at least the last two weeks, my back has been hurting. Yes, yes, that’s par for the course with pregnancy and a growing belly. But this is different; it’s the back of my left hip.  If you feel at the very bottom of your back, you can feel joints on either side of your spine. On the left it feels like it’s been out of joint, like it needs to pop back into place. I’ve tried my normal tricks to no avail. It left me hobbling and limping–at first only a little, but for at least the past week, all the time. Then my front left hip flexor started aching, so I was limping twice!

The Portland OB referred me to a chiropractor that specializes in women and children, and I went on Monday. I was really hoping that she would be able to pop that joint back in and I would feel instant relief. That wasn’t the case, but she did a little massage and I realized how tense my whole lower back has been. Makes sense, I suppose, not having been walking normally for a few weeks!

Yesterday afternoon I was walking up the stairs (there’s a half-story between the living room and bedrooms), I realized that it didn’t hurt! No more back hip pain! A miracle!

I will go back for two more adjustments, but what a relief to be able to walk more normally again! Now I just need to get that hip flexor to behave and maybe I can try to go for some walks around the neighborhood.

So yeah, the last couple weeks have been tough with everything hurting. I realize that things are still going so well and that this is really still an easy pregnancy. No complications, no problems, nothing. Things could be so much worse. But not being able to do anything with my hands without pain, not being able to walk…when we met with the doctor last week and I was describing my issues, I felt myself starting to tear up. Not sure if it was frustration or pain or what. But looking at another two months of this is…not fun. Getting walking back is good, but I imagine that soon enough everything else will get even more uncomfortable anyway.

this body: almost 23 weeks

Lots of changes are afoot in the last few months, and I figured it would be good to keep track of them for posterity. So here’s a round-up of what’s already happened, and I’m sure there will be more changes as we go on. I’m almost 23 weeks right now, so there is a LOT of time and belly growth still to come!

22 weeks twin pregnancy photo

The biggest and most recent development is that I can feel all kinds of movement. Kicks, bumps, rolls, nudges, who knows what they’re doing in there, but I can feel them. Also, the movement is strong enough to be felt by other people if they put their hand on my belly! Even more so, you can SEE IT. My skin kind of jumps out when they budge up against there. So weird!!

I’ve always been a very fast walker and literally cannot move very slowly with slow/dawdling walkers. It makes walking around Manhattan frustrating, and I’ve learned to push and shove on the subway with the best of them. However, being pregnant slowed me WAY down. (And I might add that because I am considerate of others, I always tried to walk to the side so as not to block the way for faster people.) Especially in late April and May, when things were still new, I couldn’t walk any faster than a slowpoke! Any faster and I would just feel icky. There were days on our trip in Europe that poor Andy had to barely shuffle with me (but I’m glad that he did :D).

Thankfully, in the last month or two that has gotten better, and I’m much faster again, at least on flat ground (but not as fast as I used to be). Going up a flight of stairs, however, it’s like I’m in slow motion! Just can’t go any faster and I don’t know why. And actually, I go pretty slow down stairs too.

On the treadmill, I used to walk at 4mph (which on those machines is the ‘jog’ setting), but now I can get up to 2.7mph and with a small incline too. On the elliptical, I used to warm up at level 5 and then gradually move up to 10 or 12. I went to the gym a few weeks ago, and had to warm up on 1, and then made my way up to 5! Not very impressive.

In the last few weeks though, I’ve gotten more tired and unwieldy, and decided to let go of the whole idea of working out. I’ve been getting a lot of little aches and pains, and twisting and folding/bending is more and more uncomfortable. So no more gym or pretending that I will go to the gym. I do have occasional walks though and those usually seem to be ok. My mom likes to remind me of all the pregnant women she sees in her classes working out and being superstars, and unfortunately that’s just not going to be me. Technically this is a high-risk pregnancy, after all! Don’t I have a good excuse to be lazier? 🙂

Speaking of lazy, sitting is what I do the most of lately. Getting up and down is more difficult though. I have to use my hands to push myself a little, and overall there’s definitely more effort involved.

Sleeping has been a more uncomfortable for the last month plus. I’m a side sleeper, and turn back and forth during the night. Well, as this belly has grown, and presumably my abdominal muscles have completely atrophied and spread out, I can no longer move myself quickly from the core. I have to sort of turn (and often grunt) in bits and fits now.

It’s hard to eat enough. A few weeks ago I got hit by some seriously powerful hunger–like an endless desperate gnawing of hunger. It’s less desperate now, but the gnawing can come on very quickly. When we were out west, we went out for dinner with some friends. I was already starving, so when I heard there would be a 20-30 minute wait til we got seated…well, I knew that just wasn’t an option for me. So I left Andy there and I went to the McDonald’s next door for a snack! Classy, right? But hey, gotta keep health in mind. And don’t worry, I still ate a big dinner and dessert at the real restaurant!

Like I mentioned, bending/folding is uncomfortable. My belly isn’t even that big yet, so I’m sure it will be impossible soon enough. Currently I have to put on shoes and socks sideways, which is weird. I guess I will need to shop for some slip-ons come fall! And I think I won’t be able to shave my lower legs in awhile either.

A few months ago I bought two pairs of maternity pants, before I definitely needed them. Happily the weather has been good enough that I’ve been living in skirts and dresses for the last couple months and didn’t need to bother anything at all with pants. I did decide to wear them on the plane back to NYC…and I was not a fan. The band thing was uncomfortable, and it felt like they kept slipping down, especially in the back. I had to keep hiking them up! I felt like I needed a belt or at least some belt loops to tug on and keep the pants in place!

I was happy to see that at least I looked pretty good in the jeans. My hips have grown two inches wider, but overall I’m not fatter or anything. I’ve gained at least 15 pounds I think, probably more by now. (I don’t have a scale and only used to weigh myself at the gym. Since I haven’t been there in about a month, now I have only the doctor visit weigh-in to go by.) But it’s all in the belly and chest! And also my fingers, which are swollen and a little painful. I took off my rings for good last week.

Speaking of belly, sometimes I forget I have it. On the plane, I tried to scoot past a large man in the aisle, and bumped my tummy right against a seat. This week at a restaurant, I kept bumping against the table. Whoops!

I know that when one is pregnant enough, one’s belly button flattens and then pops out like a turkey timer button thing. What I didn’t realize was how the spreading works. My belly button seems a pretty deep innie, but as it’s spreading out, that means there is basically new skin that’s never been outside before, surrounding my belly button. It’s noticeably whiter than the surrounding skin, and remarkably softer. It’s essentially a small ring of newborn baby skin! It’s all VERY weird! I’ve never heard or seen anyone talk about this or show this before, have you?

Bigger and Bigger

I’ve been taking weekly photos for my belly progress–it’s really interesting to see little changes week by week! For example, within the last week, looking at photos, my tummy doesn’t look a lot bigger (though it is, by a full inch!), it’s rounded out noticeably. Not something I saw or would have seen without the comparisons.

I uploaded all of them so far in a separate page and will continue to update them each week. So the photos will all be in one place, and you can find it in a ‘page’ there on the top!

So it’s there if you want to see it, but this way I don’t have to clutter regular posts with photos.

It Grows

This is me at 19 weeks compared to 9 weeks (ie, nothing). It’s really starting to show! Last week two different people asked about it. It’s really obvious here, in something tight, and especially if you knew what I looked like before. I’ve been wearing a lot of dresses, and some of them sort of camouflage or downplay any belly, and at least one of them makes it pretty obvious. I guess from now on I’ll need to be ready for more comments from strangers.

It’s also strange that I can see the roundness from the front (just as bare belly). My belly button has been getting shallower for weeks now too, so the whole thing looks different. My whole abdomen feels firm, instead of just where my uterus is; I didn’t expect that. And it’s definitely firmer to the touch after I’ve eaten.

Last week I decided to keep track of my growth (too bad I didn’t from the beginning!), so here’s what’s happened so far.

 

Before measurements:

Chest: 34″ or so

Waist: 30″

Hips: 38″

Weight: 148 or so

 

19 weeks measurements:

Chest: 40″

“Waist”: 33″

Belly button circumference: 37″

Widest part of belly: 38 1/2″

Hips: 40″

Weight: 160

The belly button measurement hasn’t changed from last week, but in comparing the photos, there’s a noticeable difference, in the fullness.

I’m now comfortable saying that I’m feeling movement. There’s a fishy kind of swimmy feeling that I’ve sensed for a few weeks now, so I think that really is it. Tonight they must have been doing a bunch of somersaults, because it felt like things were rolling over and over in there. They are both about 6 inches long now, so I guess it’s not surprising that I can feel two of them moving around.

When I visited the doctor two weeks ago, she said I was measuring at 20 weeks (while I was at 17), so I’m not too much bigger than a singleton would be. I think overall I’m carrying on the small side (for twins, obviously! the twin standard is singleton + 7 weeks). It’s crazy to think how much will continue to grow and change for four more months!

Believing

We have assorted ultrasound photos tacked to the fridge, along with the most recent referral form, which says at the bottom, “twin gestation”.  So most of the time that I do something in the kitchen, my eyes fall on one or some of these items, and whoa.

Pregnant.

Twins.

I’m four and a half months through this thing–halfway, considering that full term for twins is 37 weeks instead of 40–and it still hits me occasionally. The magnitude of the whole thing. The alienness of having new life bumbling around inside, and that there are two of them! TWO. OF. THEM.

We are very lucky in that we get to see at least a quick sonogram at every OB visit. (We go to an office/hospital a couple blocks away, and since Andy also works nearby, he can and does come to all the appointments with me.) With a singleton, the OB can use an instrument to just hear the heartbeat to make sure everything is still kicking. But with more than one, you can’t pick out discrete beats audibly, so she does a quick sonogram to check visually.

We had an appointment last week, and we saw one of the aliens swallow, and the other alien was having a full-on party, dancing or playing the drums or something. I could see not just the bones, but the lighter gray tissue of its actual limbs all moving around.

GOOD LORD THERE ARE TWO ACTUAL MINIATURE PEOPLE IN THERE.

It is just so weird. So weird!

And that makes me feel odd. It seems like most pregnancy things I read (and I’ve definitely been doing my share of reading) talk about their delight and love and feeling all beautiful Mother Earth Goddessy.

This whole thing has been such a surprise that I often feel like it just hasn’t sunk in, still. Maybe it’s partly because I still occasionally have trouble believing that I’m a grown-up. Maybe it’s partly because it hasn’t been so physical on the outside (YET), so it’s less real because I can’t see it. (That is beginning to change–the seeing part, I mean.) Or maybe it’s because I was never one of those people who always knew she wanted to be a mother from the age of whatever. (Remember that I helped care for my two much younger siblings, so babies are not exactly mysterious beautiful things for me.)  I’m not sure what it says about me and my future parenting potential if I’m not beaming beatifically all the time at my belly and at the world. Does it mean that since it’s so hard to believe this is actually happening, I won’t be good at it?

I already worry about these aliens, insomuch as what I am or am not doing for them. Am I cooking them appropriately? Since I don’t eat meat or eggs or fish am I doing something bad for their development? Are the vitamins really enough of a substitute? Will they come out okay? (For the record, the first round of chromosomal testing came through all clear. Second round results in a couple weeks.)

I’m a little protective too. I already hate, loathe, abhor cigarette smoke and I wish it would be banned from any kind of public open space. And now that I’m carrying some innocent life that’s still building itself, I find that I hate having to walk by smokers even more for polluting the air, my air, the aliens’ air.

So at least I’m already looking out for what’s best for them. That’s good, right?