Monday, May 22, 2006

19 Weeks & the Surprises Keep Coming!

This post was moved here from another location. It was originally published May 22, 2006.

Well, it has been a few weeks since i last blogged. In that time, Keri's gotten less sick - still not easy (she's had to go on pretty strong anti-nausea medication that is given to chemo patients), but it does seem to be lightening just a bit. Her belly is definitely showing considerably - i'll have to put a picture up if she'll let me! [In other news I just got an article published in a peer-reviewed academic journal - very exciting!]

The work on our house is just about to commence - the builder says it should take 101 days (that's written in our contract), so with any luck, we might be moving back into our house by the time the babes are due. - though i'm not exactly sure when we will 'move in' during all that?!

We have gone on tours of hospital and gone to a twins workshop - we have another this week - which was really good. It was given by an obstetrician and paediatrician, both of which have twins. One of the big things we learned (pun intended), is that at 28 weeks, Keri will be about the same size and in the same state as a woman who is 36 weeks! We've been strongly advised to plan on her not working from that time.

About this time, the babies should be about 22 cm from head to toe (or 8.8 inches) and weigh about 340 grams (12 ounces).

The bones in their inner ears and their nerve endings are now developed to the point where it is possible for them to hear sounds, although their ears are not structurally complete until 24 weeks. (Studies carried out on the reactions of unborn babies to sound have shown that a few babies start responding to noise as early as 19 weeks, but by 26 weeks all babies will respond.) The sounds an unborn baby can hear include your heartbeat and breathing, the wind sounds from one's intestines and the sound of mom's voice, as well as other sounds around. - So i've been beginning (one sided) conversations with them - I imagine they'll get more oppinionated as they grow...

Well, now for what you've all been waiting for... the 19 Week Ultrasound!:

So yes, from what we were told last time round, we had two girls, and now, we have two boys! go figure. Admittedly, it was a bit of a shock and a readjustment to what we hand been preparing ourselves, but by the end of the day, we had completely shifted our perspectives and preparing for a unique experience (yet again!).

We spent last weekend at Keri's parent's beach house with friends (my birthday gathering), and here's a picture of Serge's 6.5 month old boy, Leonardo!:

Next week's blog: Unborn Babies Are Real People Too!

Nothing Like Those Milestone Ultrasounds!

This post was moved here from another location. It was originally published April 6, 2006.

There's nothing that gets your attention quite like a 12 week ultrasound. It is the first time one gets to see what looks distinctly like a small human being. Also, many of the initial risks are assessed and either realised or surpassed. Not only that, but the baby (and of course in our case, babies!) move - a lot! Before I carry on too much, here's an 8 and a half minute movie I made by condensing the 25 minutes of video that I shot during the ultrasound. It may take a few moments to download (good luck if you're on dialup) so you might want to take the opportunity to go make a cup of coffee/tea/whatever. Unfortunately the sound isn't great (the camera was pointed away from the sonographer), so you might need to turn up the volume and listen when it is fairly quiet around you. (My voice booms over the top due to its proximity to the mic.)

Needless to say, I wasn't expecting to see so much movement and the detail is of course a vast improvement from the last ultrasound - the equipment is better, and the babies are more developed so there is more to see. This ultrasound looks and measures many key indicators of development as well as measures (in combination with blood work) the likelihood of one of the babies having a Downe's syndrome - so we were nervous as you can imagine.

It was really most amazing to see & hear all of that information on the screen and speakers - all organs developing as they should, size and proportions was great as was their heartbeats (you might have heard/seen on the video). Not only that, but in our age bracket, the risk of Downe's is 1 in 400 - nothing to laugh at - and on the better end 1 in 1500. Our testing came back at 1 in 6000!!! So we were very relieved and excited.

If you have keen ears, you might have heard the sonographer explaining how if the 'genital tube' between the legs points down, it means a vagina will form, and if it points up, there will be a penis. Well... in case you didn't hear, it looks like both might be girls! There is still a likelihood that that assessment might be wrong, but it is likely to be right - at least 60% accurate. So that is another thing to get used to - I might be outnumbered!

Keri is still sick and exhausted (her body is busy growing not only two babies, but two separate placentas which will provide all the sustenance for the babies' development). She took a day off work yesterday (Wednesday) which seemed to help a great deal - I think I'll be pushing for this to be come a regular event.

I think the video in many respects speaks for itself, with the exception that this whole experience seems to just become more and more incredible and meaningful for us as it goes - as if the creation of completely new human beings from scratch wasn't incredibly meaningful enough!

The next milestone will be the 18 week ultrasound in six weeks. That ultrasound will measure many new bits and pieces that will have formed (we'll know the genders for sure, and of course, there's always new things that can go wrong :-7). But I'm already excited about the prospect of seeing them again!

Look forward to your comments,
lots of love,


This post was moved here from another location. It was originally published March 31, 2006.

I know this whole process will be over in a blink, and before I know it I'll be considering the latest orthodontic treatment, but whoever coined the phrase 'a watched pot never boils' knew a little something about pregnancy! I'm really hanging out for the ultrasound on Tuesday - it is the 'big 12 week one' - we will find out a lot more detail about the babies' development - information regarding the likelihood of Down’s syndrome, their growth and general development, possibly gender, possibly whether or not they are identical or fraternal and a bunch of other things I probably won't understand. Really, I just can't wait to see them again - what an amazing experience! And apparently this ultrasound machine will be much better than the last one we used - even better resolution!

Keri seems (fingers crossed) to be doing a bit better regarding morning sickness - still puking daily, but not quite as consumed by debilitating nausea and fatigue. Now that there is a tiny window opening, we are starting to focus on nutrition again - for a few weeks there, was very few things she could even think about consuming - chocolate milk, a specific kind of chip - Burger Rings (yuck), donuts, a little tuna etc.

Her belly is starting to show already I guess that's not too surprising considering there's twice the volume in there as a normal pregnancy! Very exciting, but still just waiting for the appointments next week. We also have a visit with the obstetrician on Monday during which we might get another go on the old not-so-great ultrasound which would be great! I'll post more movies soon!

Double Vision Is Finally Settling In

This post was moved here from another location. It was originally published March 20, 2006.

It really has taken me a few days just to get a hold on this idea - and I'm not yet sure I have! I'm still getting a pang in the stomach whenever i really think of the idea in depth, I wonder why? After all, it is just two kids (like i wanted to begin with) just at once.

I was reading in one of our many pregnancy books that at the 12 week ultrasound we will be able to tell whether or on they are identical or not. This is apparently done by measuring the layers which separate their placentas. That should be exciting! We may also be able to tell sex then, but for that I think a lot depends upon their position and development. Our orientation with this whole thing is 'total awareness' - not that that is possible, but whatever info we can know, we want to know it - so, when we find out gender, we will be sharing it!

I continue to be surprised by people's responses - twins seems to be something special. It is interesting that going back to the 80's, around 1 in 100 women gave birth to twins. Now that we are giving birth later (which increases the chances of twins) and with IVF and other fertility treatments (which also increase the rate of multiple births), the odds seem to be getting closer to 1 in 50. I postulated to Keri in the car today that perhaps in 30-50 years time, it will be the common thing to have all your kids in one go! They'll come out really early and live in humidity cribs - perhaps 2-4 in a litter! Less stress on the body, more opportunities for career etc. Kinda weird and clone-ish, but who knows??!

BTW - at 10/11 weeks, the little tikes are 1.25 inches or 30cm long and look something like this:

We were reading also that there is apparently quite a bit of interaction that takes place in the womb, kicking and pushing each other - hopefully hugging too - which might begin to show their personalities with how they respond! Amazing!!!


This post was moved here from another location. It was originally published March 17, 2006.

The screen looked like a bunch of blobs of grey and black - I was thinking "gee, that doesn't look right, where's the baby?!" Of course i had no idea how to interpret what I was looking at, so I really didn't believe it when the obstetrician said: "Well... looks like you've got two!"

This is what we saw:

Since the both have their own placentas and yolk sacks, and that they are both of healthy size and features, their is more of a chance that they will both go full term. We won't know sex for a few weeks - that will be the first indications as to whether they are identical or fraternal. It is so surreal, it is still quite challenging for me to come to terms with. Seems like the universe is having fun with us!

Keri just poked her head in and said "hi, just vomiting, be back in a minute" - this explains the extreme morning sickness she's been having - more babies, more hormones wreaking havoc on her poor system. Not only that, but they say that the whole birthing process will be a bit more hard. There's a high likelihood she will have to have a caesarean section - apparently the first baby usually comes out ok, but often the second isn't in a good position. Also, there will be _increased_ chance of preeclampsia.

It has been really interesting telling people about this - there is such a reaction to the notion of twins, it really makes us feel like it is something special. Of course any baby would be special, and is, so I'm not really sure why, but it just feels different some how... Weird, but immensely exciting!