Tuesday, October 27, 2009

a walk in the park (+34 weeks)

Not to say that 34 weeks pregnant is exactly a walk in the park (and it's 35 in two days!), but the leaves are gorgeous here right now, and so we managed to get out a couple of times for walks this weekend. The babies are growing well (5.5 lb each now!!), and my body is hanging in there as a human incubator... Here's some snapshots of our walk in the park.

Jack Sprat could eat no fat, his wife could eat no lean! A little embarrassed at how well we match above. My only excuse is that we're still just a couple of college kids wearing our school sweatshirts and workout pants. And that not much else fits me!

(What are they doing? Well, John has taught them to spit off the bridge to attract fish. So there you have it, my well-mannered little girls!)

Sunday, October 18, 2009


I love semisweet chocolate chips. I was born and raised on the Nestle variety in my chocolate chip cookies. But they occasionally serve to satisfy my sweet cravings from the half-empty bag in the cupboard. You know, not too sweet, not to bitter, just the right combination so that sometimes you feel like you could nibble forever!

Feels like I've had a few "semisweet" moments in life lately. They make me momentarily ache inside, but are oh so very sweet on the other hand.

Giving away all our little girl clothes once and for all. But to make room for baby boy clothes!

Thinking about moving away from familiarity and friends in a year when John graduates. Getting excited about where we might live next, and soaking up the company and closeness of family and friends in the meantime, like a baby shower or adding an uncle to the family for a week.

Raging inside at John for an evening. Realizing I haven't felt that frustration in many months of stress, and that I am so happy to be with him as we head forward.

Dropping Abby off at 1st grade each day. Seeing her greeted gleefully by half a dozen friends. Hearing that she took her first before-the-bell trip to the library because another girl wanted to buy pencils for each of them. Seeing her read through stacks of books and then start writing her own.

If life was all bitter, well, none of us would want to go on living.

If life was all sweet, we'd either never know to appreciate the sweetness, or would eventually tire of the richness.

But semisweet seems just right. Bits of sadness and frustration that temper and then highlight the sweetness that much more. Just that right combination that makes me never tire of going back to the bag for more, and more, and more (of life that is, and chocolate chips!).

Thursday, October 8, 2009

the girl who cried "help!"

This is the story of the girl who cried "help!". Unlike the boy who cried "wolf!", you must understand that this girl wouldn't cry help unless she desperately meant it. She was normally the-little-girl-who-could, who could almost do it all. Cook it, teach it, run it, carry it. (In fact, she thought she could so much, that she sometimes did too much!)

But once in a while, life conspired against her. It was a horrible thing and yet the most wonderful thing all at once.

Her mother died. She moved thousands of miles from her family. She had a miscarriage. She moved, and moved again, and moved again. She got a job in a new city and needed a babysitter. She got pregnant with twins while on a shoestring budget, and no family lived right in town.

Now you must understand, this girl was not only fairly capable, but she also preferred to be a little quiet and keep to herself. But when you need HELP, you are no longer capable and keeping to yourself is no longer an option. And so she cried "help!"

Here is where it gets wonderful. A friend flew to stay for a week when mom died (they've been friends even more since), and a boy that helped her talk through it in later years became her best friend and husband.

An acquaintance called her right away after the miscarriage, and she still feels safe talking to her many years later.

Each time she moved away from somewhere, (and especially as she accumlated more stuff!), she finally met the neighbors. The ones that she'd said "hi" to for years but never "help" suddenly became willing movers and finally shared meals both then and years later.

In desperate need of one day of babysitting while she went to work at a new job, a friend of a friend (a stranger!) was willing to help. That help turned into hours upon hours spent together, kindnesses traded, and two little girls growing up best friends from age one to age six together. Countless other babysitters (strangers, colleagues, playground moms) became reliable friends.

And so with babies soon to arrive, she knew she had no choice but again to cry "help!" It was time to finally have that conversation with a neighbor, a mom known only in passing, familiar friends that she just didn't usually need help from. She cried "help!", and they finally exchanged phone numbers, watched her children, had something to talk about, or became even dearer friends or family than they already were as they expanded their care for her.

And so events that may have seemed overwhelming or even horrible turned into life's greatest blessings for this girl. She got over her "I-can-do-it"-ness, and her quietness. She started conversations and asked for and accepted lots of help.

And in turn she discovered new, wider, and deeper friendships everywhere she turned.

The end. Until the next crisis pushes her out of her shell even further and she again cries "help!".

Have you asked for help from someone lately? Or offered?

Thursday, October 1, 2009

31 weeks.

Photography isn't really a talent around here - but you at least get the profile idea! Above, the 28 week pic that I never got around to posting.

I'm 31 weeks pregnant today. It's kind of an important milestone for me, because two friends that I know that have had twins this year each had theirs at 30 weeks. All four babies are big and healthy now, but started off tiny. I kind of had it in my mind that 30 weeks was a really and possibly not-even-so-bad delivery date. Anything beyond that would be icing on the cake, weeks that we weren't at the NICU. And here I am, I've passed that mark! In fact, every indication amazingly says that the babies are healthy and determined to reach 7 or 8 lbs. each inside of me, though I still could be sequestered for good at any given doctor's appointment from here on out.

Many months ago, back in May, I wrote about how hard it was to be thankful for these babies when so much was yet unknown. As we look ahead to them coming, it is as if a supernatural peace had descended on our house - even things that we should be worried about, like names, middle of the night deliveries, and where we'll live next year are just not stressing us out.

Yes, there are still moments when I lay awake worrying, or make lists of what yet needs to be done. But I hope that my heart has been permanently softened a bit through this pregnancy, to say thanks every single day for what is, and hestitate less because of what might be. And so, at 31 weeks and counting, here are a few of my many baby-related gratitudes.

A perfect tiny bit of work this fall. Just enough to make a big difference for retirement, and I'm done with it as of last Monday.

No bedrest. Still walking and (stationary) biking. A placenta that cooperated and finally moved out of the danger zone.

No identical twin-to-twin transfusion, a very real risk for early delivery, fetus fatality, complications. Most dangerous mid-pregnancy, when the babies are too little to be delivered yet. Leads to one twin taking way more nutrients than the other (and growing differently). Our twins have literally tracked together perfectly: 8 oz, 1 lb, 2 lb, 3 lb. (and now 4 lb.?!) Even the doctors have been amazed.

A slew of matching twin boy clothes from a friend. With pacifiers, bottles, etc. thrown in. They will match and be very well-dressed. Much, much better than I expected.

Baby stuff in general. So many friends (and grandma!) have given me something here, something there. I went to register for a shower this weekend, and I literally could find only 5 things to register for. The thought that we would need so little because we're being given so much made me laugh then and cry for joy now.

A stack of "large" maternity shirts from a friend for the pregnancy that has outlasted my expectations of length AND size! My usual "chili pepper" body is much more a two-peas-in-the-pod shape :). (I told John I might even consider dressing up for Halloween if I make it that long. I'd hate to make the kids scream as a gigantic pea pod plodded down the street though. Like a veggie nightmare!)

(Love that lighting. I'm much too impatient to force my photographers to work for more than about 5 seconds though. Me at 31 weeks.)

I don't know when the babies will arrive, or how a myriad of other things beyond that will unfold.

But I pause today to celebrate 31 weeks so far, to say THANK YOU to God who has kept me and these babies healthy so far, who is taking care of all that we seem to need. And to say THANK YOU if you've been one who has given to us already, whether in the form of a Boppy, a very large or small piece of clothing, or a prayer for peace and thankfulness.

It's a good week to be pregnant.