21 weeks

22 Apr

Written Friday, April 19, 2013 (and it’s a long one…)

21 Carrots fetuses

How Big are the Babies?

My sources say the babies are as big as pomegranates and long as carrots this week, measuring about 10 1/2  inches, head to heel, and weighing about 12 ounces, or 3/4 pound.

How I’m Changing

All the books were right: My center of gravity and balance have started to suffer as my belly has grown and my weight has gone up. Christopher and I were carrying empty luggage from our bedroom upstairs down to the office on the main floor for storage; I got about five stairs from the floor, slipped and bobbed on my bum all the way down. Fortunately, I fell and slid on my bum, rather than forward onto my belly. Unfortunately, I really hurt my tailbone (again!) and had to forfeit workouts, even walks, and take extra care while sitting the rest of the week.

I felt what likely is distinct baby movement Wednesday. I was sitting at my desk, working on a story, when I felt this wave in my lower abdomen. It lasted just a few seconds, but it was unlike any other feeling thus far.

I also experienced a lot of belly discomfort Thursday (my birthday). I felt like my belly was larger and more in charge that day than ever before. It made it hard to get in and out of the car, up and down from a seat and got in the way while cooking. I mustered a pilates workout, and I found it much, much harder than previous sessions.

How I’m Feeling/What I’m Thinking

Two big things were weighing on my mind this week:

First, our second ultrasound and anatomy scan Tuesday.

Because we started with a midwife and then had to switch to an obstetrician (because we are having twins, which automatically makes the pregnancy high risk and requires the care of an OB, rather than a CNM), there was a miscommunication: Our midwife scheduled our 20-week ultrasound about two months ago, before we saw the OB. But our OB, for every twin pregnancy, schedules 20-week ultrasounds in Rockford, where they have the capabilities for Level 2 ultrasounds. So, we sort of had the ultrasound in Freeport on April 8 for nothing; we now have to go have another, more detailed scan in Rockford on Tuesday. And we probably will have to continue to go to Rockford for detailed ultrasounds more often, to monitor growth and development.

Also, while the quad screen came back negative and while the ultrasound showed no signs of abnormal development, the girls are on the small side – only in the 12th and 13th percentile for growth, which isn’t really concerning, per se, but is reason enough to watch it more closely. Our OB said she normally starts to worry if they are in the 10th or lower percentile, but 12th and 13th is cutting it close. I asked if that’s more common with twins, because there are two babies sharing one womb, but she didn’t really answer my question.

And second, our obstetrician.

Like I said, we started with a midwife. I selected her about a year before we started trying to get pregnant, because I wanted the level of care and personal attention that often comes with midwifery. I had a good experience last year, and when we found out we were pregnant this year, I was excited she was going to be at our sides for the journey. She was warm and welcoming, sweet and attentive, and calm and thorough. She recognized us every time we came to the office, she seemed to be up-to-date on my chart, and she took time to answer our questions.

But, again like I said, we had to switch to an OB. Our midwife recommended her, and we finally saw her in March, when she returned from her own maternity leave. I trust her – she obviously has the training and experience necessary and is a smart woman – but I don’t really care for her bedside manner. She seems out of touch, her head usually buried in my chart, rather than facing Christopher and me. She seems a little scattered and impatient, often barely answering our questions or glossing over myriad items in just a few moments. (For example, the first time we saw her, at about 17 weeks, she brought up delivery options – a little ahead of schedule, no? – and seemed to push me toward a C-section, without asking me much about my preferences or reasons for having those preferences.) And she seems generally disinterested in us and our pregnancy; the first time we saw her smile was when she noticed we were having girls, but then she followed up with a comment about how we needed to get the checkbook ready because little girls clothes are so cute.

I feel a little like going all the way up to Freeport has been for nothing; we likely would have had a similar experience (maybe better with a different OB) in Dixon or even in Sterling. But I can’t change the course of time. We didn’t know we’d have twins and have to switch from our hand-picked midwife to an assigned OB. We didn’t know we’d have twins and likely spend a lot of time at special appointments in Rockford, where the hospital is equipped with better equipment and technology.

The next big question is whether we want to take any kind of childbirth classes. Our OB said they are optional. We aren’t following any specific birth technique (e.g. Lamaze, Bradley Method, etc.), so we don’t necessarily have to take classes. But we might want to for the peace of mind and to help us feel prepared.

21 Carrots profile

  • Weight gained (to date): 18 lbs.

  • Workouts: Just two – a 2.75-mile outdoor walk and 45. min prenatal pilates.

  • Food aversions: None.

  • Food cravings: Watermelon, fruity slushies, ice cream and cheese curds.

  • Baby items received from friends: Several! Amy gave us a couple sleepers and fleece sleep sacks that were extras from her little guy. And Valerie gave us a bag full of things she has collected over the years, as well as a sweet red dress she found on clearance.

  • Maternity items purchased: None.

  • Places visited over the weekend: Six – Chicago to see our friends John and Becky; Franklin, Wis., to see our friends Brad and Amy and Baby M; Milwaukee to visit with my dad and brother and to take in a hockey game; Manitowoc, Wis., to visit with Christopher’s folks; Green Bay to watch our friend Jason graduate from massage school; and West Bend, Wis., to visit with my folks and our friends Valerie and Andy and their black lab, Dobby.

  • Birthdays celebrated: One – mine – on Thursday. I turned 28.

  • Birthday wishes received on Facebook: 54.

  • Brewers wins watched or listened to: Three!

  • Next prenatal appointment: Tuesday, 21 1/2 weeks.

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4 Responses to “21 weeks”

  1. Shannon April 22, 2013 at 8:57 pm #

    So excited for you! And, I understand your frustrations with the situation. I did not have twins, but I did end up with an emergency c-section with child one and a planned c-section (due to a similar situation fomenting) with child two. I have a couple of thoughts, which of course you can take or leave. 1) If indications are that a c-section is highly likely, then know that recovering from a planned c-section is much easier than recovering from an emergency one. Of course, a lot depends on what happens beforehand. In my case, with child one, I was in labor for over 24 hours and pushing for three before the c-section was called. 2) If you think you can do a regular delivery, then have you considered the possibility of a doula? We had one for our first birth (until the c-section, that is), and they can be an awesome way to bridge that gap you might be experiencing between the midwife experience you wanted and the OB you got. I am sure your midwife could connect you to some doulas in the area. Food for thought! Keep the food pix coming! lol Great idea!

    • kaylabee18 April 23, 2013 at 12:07 pm #

      Hey Shannon, you are right. I agree with your thoughts on a C-section, as far as emergency vs. planned. If the docs determine that’s the best and most healthy and safe way to bring our girls into the world, then who am I to argue? But, I don’t like that my doc basically implied that that’s the only way to go…and that we are best to do it on schedule (i.e. go into labor in the morning, when they can prep a room and have a surgeon available, rather than late at night…because you know, I can control when my water breaks and I go into labor).

      I have considered the idea of a doula, but I don’t know that they are available locally. We live in a small city in a relatively rural area; I went to a midwife over a year ago because I felt she was the closest I would get to the kind of care I wanted during pregnancy… I, of course, could never have planned for twins, or realized that a twin pregnancy automatically denotes high risk and requires the care of an OB, rather than a midwife.

  2. Libbi April 23, 2013 at 11:56 am #

    I would suggest if you aren’t happy with the OB now, to change NOW before it gets later. Perhaps the advice by Shannon? I don’t have any experience with doulas or midwives, but i do with OBs.

    My BEST experiences with my five babies was actually with a “family practitioner who also delivered babies. To explain, my 2nd child was born by c-section after pushing for two hours while the OB came in and checked me every so often after what seemed hours. He was 8lbs 13oz. The OB said i couldn’t have anything over 8 lbs naturally.

    Many years later, along came baby #4. The family practitioner stayed with me the WHOLE time i was in labor, once he arrived that is. He helped me deliver Mr. 10 lb baby.

    My advice also is to go ahead and take a child birthing class. You learn so much more than their prescribed method and it will help you understand the process so much better and it makes things a whole lot less scary.

    • kaylabee18 April 23, 2013 at 12:02 pm #

      Thanks, Libbi. your advice is right in line with that of other women I love and trust. My husband and I decided we are going to explore our options a bit. We have about half this pregnancy left (and even if the girls arrive early, that’s still a lot of time that we don’t want to spend unhappy and dissatisfied), and we deserve care that makes us comfortable and helps us feel prepared.

      Also, I think we are going to take a class, just for peace of mind. Besides, they are free and available locally; we have nothing to lose.

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