Thursday, August 20, 2015

A Letter to My Babies: On the Eve of Your Births

What a journey this has been to reach today. Tomorrow you will come into the world. Out of my tummy. No more squirming or rolling around. How I will miss those feelings of you two growing into little people inside me. We've come a long way together, the three of us. I never expected it would happen. After twenty years of an irregular cycle, I thought I had no chance at children and wrote it off in my late twenties. But things changed, and my body told me at thirty-five that I might be a mama someday. I met your dad the same year by a stroke of luck, ending up at a lighthouse off the coast of North Carolina, after years of being a gypsy traveler. And a couple years later we decided to give parenthood a try.

Tonight I sit quietly. Contemplating your arrival. How all these things came together to create you both. The surprise at actually getting pregnant. The shock and fear of the first appointment when we learned there were two of you. My body really went all out when it decided to have a baby. These eight and half months have been a little tumultuous. Carrying twins is not for the weak. I spent hours and days worried about you guys. Worried something would go wrong. Worried I wasn't doing enough. Trying my best.

Now, you've grown up from tiny specks to little people in my tummy. Most of the pregnancy you've laid head to head. I wonder if you'll want to sleep that way when you come out. I think so. I wonder how your little personalities will be. We will soon find out. I think you will both be wonderful. I feel so honored to be blessed with you, my little twin babies.

In the morning we'll have a c-section. I wanted to have a natural birth. But it wasn't meant to be. I don't like to force life to go in the direction I wanted. I've learned enough to follow the road as it lays out in front of me. Sometimes it's not the path I imagined I'd take. In fact, most of my adult life has been quite a surprise to me. I hope when you live your lives, you're able to make changes, adjust and lean in the direction you need to go. I also hope to give you the strength to get through the rough patches that will inevitably arrive. Life is full of surprises, good and bad.

So here we are, the last night the three of us will sleep as one. Your little hearts beating with mine, yet all three with our own rhythms. Your hiccups that come and go. The butts and elbows, and tiny kicks. Your squirming and moving furniture in my tummy. All those days, I never got sick of it. I loved feeling you moving inside me.

I'm a little sad it will be over and worried of course, but I can't wait to start the next step of this adventure. I am so honored to be your mom. I can't wait to meet you, my sweet babies.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Almost 37 Weeks -- The Grand Finale!

Here we are... on the eve of 37 weeks... 

My mom arrived ten days ago and has been a tremendous help, pulling together all the stuff that I couldn't do in the last couple of months. Mostly every day I just have been laying in bed or on the couch, with my little protector, Oatie. He has a major affinity for "The Hill" as I like to call my belly, either sitting on it or wrapping his little body around it. I think he knows the twins already. 

My mom arrived a week after I sprained my ankle twisting it off my shoe and shortly after I was diagnosed with Cholestasis, which is bile spilling into your bloodstream. It affects approximately 0.7% of white pregnant females. Apparently I am good at weird odds. About two weeks ago, I'd suddenly been up for two nights with intense itching all night long (sleeping with a towel to itch myself instead of using my fingernails), and ended up in labor and delivery on a Saturday morning. Luckily Kaiser was familiar with Cholestasis, and had me started on medications even before all the labs came back. I was feeling way less itchy after about four days. It's an important one to catch, because if it gets out of control or goes undiagnosed, you have a higher risk of preterm labor or stillborn birth. With Cholestasis they want to deliver twins in the 37th week. 

So we are truly nearing the end with week 37 looming on Wednesday. I'm thankful to be here, and thankful the end is in sight. At this point, I have a uterus which is contracted almost all night long and quite a large chunk of the daytime hours as well. This means every night, I am awake most of the night. It will stay contracted for 5-20 minutes or more at a time and never really releases to normal/soft. It's pretty painful and very hard to sleep when it does this. Changing positions, drinking water, or taking magnesium does nothing. The overnight contractions started about one week ago or so. It's good sleep training for when the twins come, but it is pretty horrible and makes it impossible to sit up at all. 

So I cannot wait to be able to sit up again, and to breathe and to eat normally. And to meet these two little buggers who are in my tummy. It is hard to believe that in not so many days, I will have two kids. 

I've posted a pile of pictures below.

Our delightful OB, Dr. Brass, who also had twins. This was our last appointment with her before birth and final growth ultrasound.

Oatie relaxing on the hill riding in the car. 

We had a handyman (Jeff) in this week to fix the ceiling in the basement where the HVAC people left a huge mess after installing our furnace. Four before pictures of the mess. My mom has built like ten new houses so has a lot of experience with this sort of thing and was able to be there to make decisions and help while I laid on the couch upstairs.
The Kathy helping Jeff tear down the wall and get rid of the door.

First after, more to come.

Oatie protecting The Hill.

 Oatie Ha hiding in my robe on the couch. 

Dug out my mom's 1972 Singer, which works like a charm, to sew together car seat covers for the Charlies. I bought the fabric months ago but couldn't get around to doing it until now. My mom helped a little with the placement of the straps because I was too pregnant to think but I sewed it all myself. She also did a little trouble shooting on the machine, as it had been quite a while since I had used it and with pregnancy had threaded something wrong!

 Finished product

Remnants of the ankle sprain- one month now, still lingering... :( The last time I sprained my ankle it stayed swollen for 3 months. I'm hoping once I lose some of the 40 pounds I've gained, it will go down. This is even with wrapping, heating and icing it.

This was a few days ago. About 36.5 weeks along here, measuring 48 weeks pregnant. 

 The BAG is packed and ready to go! We got the little hats from one of Justin's customers in the Midwest.

My sweet niece Lily (6) drew a picture of her whole family, which includes Justin at the end holding "boy & girl". Pretty amazingly sweet drawing. 

 This is a crooked Hill. They are way off too the right. Which explains why most of my pain is on the right side.

Gorgeous handmade quilts from Great Grandmom Winona in North Carolina. She made fishermen and kiters for our son and little girls in bonnets for our daughter. She worked on them since February! They will be with the kids for a long time. 

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

33 Weeks: Third Trimester Update

33 Weeks

And now I can see the finish line. It could be any day really, but hopefully not until August. I've thought all along that I'd be carrying these little Charlies until the thirty-eight week mark and end up with an induction. But the last few weeks have me wondering if they will stay inside that long.

The third trimester arrived, and overnight I became a pregnant lady who couldn't breathe, couldn't sit, couldn't walk, and felt like nonstop whining.

Until a few weeks ago, I was the poster child for a twin pregnancy. I was walking, biking or paddle-boarding daily, working full time, and generally feeling like myself only larger. I'd had some difficulty breathing, occasional back pain and mild exhaustion, but it was nothing I couldn't manage.

After the four-day Fourth of July holiday weekend, I went to work that Tuesday, huffing and puffing through the day, spending the lunch hour laying sideways in my car with the seat reclined, trying to catch my breath. My heart racing, I shuffled from room to room, trying to make it through the twenty-two patients on my schedule. The week before, I'd noticed a sudden increase in exhaustion, and thought perhaps it was low iron, so I had my OB check that, but I was holding steady and still not really anemic. (It's very common/normal for twin moms to be anemic.) The day of the huffing and puffing, I'd noticed almost no fetal movement (less than 10% of normal). I kept waiting for them to "wake up" but they never did. Typically they move all day long: when I'm driving, sitting, seeing patients, walking, if I get up to go to the bathroom, etc. And they are quiet when I go to sleep. They are very active little Charlies. So it was a quite a difference.

I called the advice nurse after work on the way home. She said I could try to lay down and do a kick count but that it was hard with twins, or I could come into the hospital for fetal monitoring. She suggested coming in. We did, and they were fine. While we were doing the monitoring, an alarm repeatedly went off in our room. We thought they were trying to make us go insane. Later we found out that I kept setting off the alarm because my oxygen saturation was dropping below 95%. It's been in the 93-95% range (below normal) when I was at appointments, resting and laying down. I'm sure it's lower when I am running around huffing and puffing. Our OB said for twins it was normal to be as low as 90%. It just feels like you are suffocating at times, which is a creepy feeling. Heart racing, flushing, wheezing, out of breath, nauseous, dizzy, generally feeling weird. Not nice. But normal for twins. Since all the labs were normal, my OB concluded that the weird symptoms were all related to breathing problems. Our baby girl is transverse (sideways) in my ribs and baby boy is breech below, propping her up. She said it was the worst positions they could be in as far as obstructing my lungs. If he would even flip to vertex, it would be a better situation.

We got home so late that I ended up staying home the following day (Wednesday). I went to work the next day, that Thursday, on a day with an easy schedule. I ended up having several more low oxygen episodes. Laying on the floor in my office between patients to catch my breath, I wondered what I should do. I contacted my OB and told her how things had changed. She said I should be off work. I asked what happened, why I suddenly got so much worse when I'd been doing so well. She said that I'd only done that well because I had started out so healthy. Most twin moms never made it that far working full time. She had twins too, so she knows.

So at 32 weeks, I was pulled off work. I'd been planning to make it to August 1st, which was 34.5 weeks, and got pretty close. Most twin moms get pulled off at 28-30 weeks, or sooner with bedrest. We did great.

Something I didn't know was that your heart rate increases with pregnancy. Mine runs between 95-120, even when I'm sitting down. With twins, we have double blood volume as compared to normal (a singleton has 1.5x blood volume), so our hearts are in overdrive to keep the blood moving (normal to have up to HR of 140 with twins). It's especially weird since I used to have a resting heart rate in the 60s. Right away in the first trimester, it had jumped up to the 90-100 range. During the second, it calmed down a bit and now that they are trying to gain a pound a week combined, it's higher than ever. It's so weird: there are three hearts beating inside me.

Another interesting thing is that it is so hard to keep eating enough to keep up with two babies. I've struggled to gain the weight I have gained (about 34 pounds so far). The last three weeks of work, I had not gained anything. The scale was stuck at 168. In the week and a half since I've stopped, I've gone up to 172. During the third trimester, the twins will add a half pound each per week, so I am supposed to gain two pounds per week (one for them, one for me). If I don't gain weight, they are taking it from me. Which is why my arms and face and everything else has gotten thinner with pregnancy. It's hard to keep up. I've resorted to high calorie ice cream, lots of snacking, and keeping food at my nightstand so when I wake up at midnight or 4AM hungry, I just have to reach over and grab something. I had wondered why a lot of my friends who had twins had looked so thin by the end of pregnancy. Now I know.

So we are settling into the last 2-5 weeks of the pregnancy. We have the baby room mostly ready. We have a few things to order yet, but we're getting there.

My emotions are bubbling up under the surface. Wondering what it will be like to meet these two little people who have been keeping me company for the last almost eight months. I'm imagining my birth. No vision of vaginal or c-section, whatever happens happens. As much as I wanted to experience a vaginal birth, if I don't get it, well, I got twins. That's an amazing experience that most people don't have. So I am feeling at peace no matter which way it goes.

I think I'll be a quiet birther either way we go. I'd guess that tears will stream out of my eyes when these little Charlies enter this world--the whole feeling of creating a person -- how my mom and dad did this for me-- how my dad would be proud-- and my mom will be there with us, ready to be grandma of twins and her first grandson.

Throughout this pregnancy, we've felt love from all over the world. From old friends, and new. From patients. From strangers. It's a grand hug we've felt, and we feel very fortunate to be the recipients of all this goodwill.

I can't say I know how it will turn out. I'm thinking my babies will be in the 6-7 pound range, and they will come between the 12-18 of August. We have our names figured out for the most part. Now we just have to patiently wait for the two of them to arrive.

32 weeks
 Braxton-Hicks contraction- my belly gets really misshapen. The left hill is baby girls' head and the right hill is her little butt.
 Attempting to flip our Little Breech Boy. 
When I was still riding my bike. 
 I was always a master of headstands since I was a little kid, so I decided to give it a try. Didn't last too long but I did it. June 14th. 28 weeks. 
Quite a long time ago when I could still paddleboard. June 14th. 28 weeks.
 We've mastered the Moby Wrap using Oatie. He loves it. And he's great company when I am resting. Which is a lot these days. 
Twisted my ankle yesterday morning, seemed like it was okay until I couldn't walk on it at all at toward end of the day and Carrie and Justin had to get me to the car. Ended up in Kaiser Urgent Care (I was so happy to realise they'd have a wheelchair there) and thankfully only sprained it. (Everyone was so nice, and only one hour total to get everything done). Lord have mercy, this pregnancy. Even when you're doing nothing you can still injure yourself. :) No biggie. 

Friday, May 29, 2015

Remembering "My Dad" Keith

Bemidji, Minnesota, June 14, 1976

“Nine-five! Nine-five!” Dr. Gregoire announced down the hospital hallway as he rolled my mom back to her room. My mom shrunk in embarrassment at her extra-large newborn, while my dad beamed with pride at his first child, a giant daughter who looked like him. Purple, with tons of reddish-brown hair and a frown line between my brow, I wasn’t sure about entering this world. But this man with the curly brown hair and ear-to-ear grin sure seemed happy to have me.

Bemidji, Minnesota, 1976, infant

“I don’t know if she's that smart- maybe she needs her hearing tested,” my mom said to my dad as I was looking around at the world.

“Nah, she’s just a watcher. She’s paying attention to every little thing. She’s a smart little one, I know it.” He said.

Bemidji, MN, Winter 1977, age 1 1/2

My dad was headed outside to get wood from the woodpile so we could make a fire in the fireplace. I wanted to help, so he let me tag along with him and gave me a piece of firewood to haul inside. Clutching it tightly in my arms, I waddled to the back door of the garage while my mom held the door open. Carefully making my way up the back stairs, I managed to get inside with my piece of firewood. I was so happy that I was so strong and I could help my dad.

Manitowoc, Wisconsin, August 1979, age 3

Bath time. My dad ran the tub. “Arms up!” He said. I stuck my hands to the sky. He pulled my t-shirt over my head. Chunks of skin came off my back, chest and under my armpits along with my shirt.

“Kathy!” He called my mom in.

“Get your PJs on. We’re gonna get into the car.” My dad said. I got re-dressed, not sure what was happening. With my red slipper socks on my feet, I crawled into the passenger side of my dad’s car. We drove off in the dark to the hospital while my mom stayed home with my baby sister, Carrie.

After pulling up to the back door, we walked into the emergency room. The doctors decided to admit me to the hospital. My dad checked me in and went home to tell my mom what happened.

I wasn’t too upset to stay in the hospital alone. I thought I was an adult. I’d been trying to take care of my parents for a couple years already. I’d gotten them to quit smoking. I made sure they behaved and protected my mom when my dad tried to tickle her too much. I took away their squirt guns when they were shooting water in the house. But at the hospital, they didn’t realise that, and put me in a crib which made me pretty mad. Then the nurse told me I couldn’t use the little corner bathroom by myself. But I’d been going potty by since I was 16 months, and I didn’t need help. I snuck over and used the bathroom by myself anyway. Once the nurse caught me in there and got mad.

I’d been exposed to impetigo (a staph infection) by one of my cousins which went into my bloodstream causing toxic shock syndrome. My pediatrician, Dr. Bush, gave me strong antibiotics and told my mom the next morning if I wasn’t improving by noon, I’d be airlifted to Milwaukee or Madison.

But I got better. And the hospital stay turned out to be mostly fun. My dad would visit every day after work, with a box of colored Chicklets gum for me. Family and friends brought rainbow striped socks, and a Fisher Price circus train set. I took oatmeal baths across the hall from my room in a clawfoot tub.

I went home six days later, mostly healed. With an experience to last a lifetime. And parents who were relieved.

Manitowoc, Wisconsin, 1980, age 3 1/2

“What happened?” He crouched down on the floor next to me and the giant pile of clothes I’d constructed in frustration after getting into trouble for something I didn’t think I done wrong.

My mom had told me not to go to Ruth Ann’s house and ring the doorbell so I went there and knocked on the door. She said I knew I wasn’t supposed to do that. But I didn’t do what she said not to do. When I explained it to her, she got mad and put me in my room. My mom and Carrie left me in my room with the door stuck shut (our house had shifted so us kids couldn’t open the doors) and walked away from the house. I screamed out the window and decided to show them for leaving me and unfairly punishing me. I emptied out my closet and dresser into a mountain in the middle of the room.

I told my dad what happened. “It’s okay,” he said. Together we cleaned up the mess I’d made.

Manitowoc, Wisconsin, 1980, age 4

“Lift your butt up,” he whispered in his deep, soft voice. I was still mostly asleep in the dark- always one who had difficulty waking and loved to get a full night’s sleep. I raised my butt, eyes heavy-lidded and shut, half in dream-land. He pulled my pants up over my rear, and I rested back down while he tugged my socks on my feet. “Sit up.” I did. “Lift your arms up.” Off went the nightie, and on went my shirt. I was finally waking up some. “Okay, let’s go have some breakfast.” I plopped my feet on the floor and silently walked downstairs. I wasn’t ready to talk yet, and he didn’t prod me. This was the way I often remember my dad getting me ready for school. He was too nice to me.

Alexandria, Minnesota, June 14, 1981, 5th Birthday

I’d gotten my magenta bike with the flowered basket on the front a couple years before and started with training wheels. Then on my fifth birthday, I finally learned to ride without them. My dad had taken the little white training wheels off and we went to the top of the small gravel hill next to our house. “Today’s the day!” He said, beaming, as we went to the top of the hill. He thought I could do anything. And I believed him. I was so excited to be a big girl and ride with two wheels. Running beside me as I pedaled down the hill, I took off on the first try. Feeling the air in my blonde hair flying behind me. My dad with his hands on his hips, a grin as wide as his face could go, laughing and clapping, “That’s my girl!” He hollered. I couldn’t believe it. I was doing it.

Alexandria, Minnesota June 14, 1982, 6th Birthday,

This year there was a new big black dirt bike with yellow writing on the side, outfitted with a yellow pad on the crossbar in case I had a boo-boo and landed on the bar. He always thought I was bigger and more capable than I was. It was so big that I had to climb on the railroad tie retaining wall to get on and carefully coast up to the edge of it when I got home to get off. When I first got it, I couldn’t even ride it and sit on the seat at first. But I did it. I got on and rode that big bike anyway and came back safely to the house. I rode around the driveway and into the street. He thought I could do anything, so I did.

Alexandria, Minnesota, Fall 1982, first grade, age 6

He knelt down clutching my royal blue backpack in his hands. With a house key on a string and a large safety pin, he anchored our house key to the bottom of my backpack. “Come in the front door and lock it behind yourself if we’re not home.” He showed me how to do it. I could take care of myself, too.

Alexandria, Minnesota, Winter 1983, age 6

In the woods beside our house, I stood below my dad looking up at the tree. He’d found something and was taking it down. “It’s a beehive,” he said. “It’s dormant.” He put it in a large black trash bag and cinched down the handle. “You can take it to school and show the kids.” I thought it was a good idea and the next morning I hopped on the bus carrying my show and tell item.

“Morning Schultzie!” The bus driver, Gus, said to me with a smile. He always looked happy to see me. I sat down on one of the green vinyl bench seats and we bounced along to the the next stop. After about twenty minutes we arrived at school. I hopped off and headed up to my classroom.

On the way down the hall, I heard a teacher yelling at me, “What are you doing? You could kill someone!” I turned around and stared, not knowing what I'd done. She snatched the bag and ran off. I noticed some wasps were coming out of the top. But it was supposed to be empty.

I went to my classroom for the day.

Later after getting home, my dad asked me how show and tell went. I told him it went great. He never knew what really happened. I didn’t want to hurt his feelings.

Bemidji, MN, Summer 1983, Fishing, age 7

Our whole family was out fishing off the side of the pontoon boat. We did this every year. I was standing next to my dad. We both had cast our lines into the clear blue lake. I thought I felt a tug. Yes! I had a fish. I started reeling in my line. My dad had one too! We both cranked on our fishing poles hoping we’d caught more than just a big weed. The lines came up. Oh no, my dad’s and mine were tangled together. But there was a fish on one of the lines. We reeled in into the boat. My dad worked on the lines, and said, “It’s your fish! It’s on your line!” I looked at it, and thought it was on his but he was trying to be nice to me. So I just went along with it.

Afterward we were back up outside the cabin. “You can do it,” He said, at the wooden picnic table under the green trees. I had the small fish in my hands at the cutting board. I didn’t really want to clean the fish. It seemed kinda gross. But he wanted me to and was so excited that I didn’t want to let him down. With his wide eyes and soft encouragement, I worked at cleaning my little fish, even though I was scared of it. When it was done, I felt pretty proud of myself and even felt better when I saw how proud he was of me.

Minneapolis, Minnesota, October 1983, age 7

In his hospital bed by the window, he sat with the covers wrapped around him. Smiling from ear to ear, he was so glad to see me there. Just two weeks before, we’d found out he had leukemia. I’d brought my green spelling notebook from my cousin’s elementary school, where I was attending while my dad got better in the hospital. We were supposed to read and spell our words to our parents and have them sign it as proof. I took it out of my bag and recited the list to my dad. “That’s my girl!” He said. I believed him. It was the last time I saw him alive.

And now, Portland, Oregon, May 2015, age 38

I’m expecting my dad’s grandchildren. I think about my dad as “Grandpa Keith” often. When I see my uncles, his brothers. How they laugh and play with my nieces, so easy going. How when I show up they are beaming with pride at whatever I’m doing. How good they are with woodworking and their hands. The crinkles next to their eyes. Their easy laughter.

I imagine my dad playing horsey with my kids on his knees, playing monster on the floor, teaching them to believe in themselves, even when no one else does. Working on cars together, reading them books, chopping wood. What would he think now? Me, his oldest and biggest daughter- I’d be three inches taller than him, a fact that would make him burst with pride- finally having babies. I know what he'd think- he'd be happy and proud.

Pregnancy has triggered memory after memory, slipping into my psyche at surprising times. Most times I realize I’m the only who holds the memory. My sisters were too young to remember anything about my dad as a parent. I tuck them away, hoping I can harness them for use in the coming years as I try out being a parent myself. Hoping I can be softie with an easy laugh, a believer in them and teach them they can do anything too.

In tribute to “My Dad” Keith Loren Schultz: 3/1/49 to 11/2/1983. He was the man who believed in me and taught me to believe in myself. A kind and gentle spirit. A part of him lives with me today. I still miss him to this day.

Friday, April 17, 2015

The Day We Found Out Baby Charlies' Genders

Proud Parents-to-Be!
(PS The lady sitting behind us with the glasses is Carrie, who filmed the video)

In case you didn't see the video: 
(Caution: may cause tears)
Justin & Sara's Twins - We tell you the genders! from Pixel Hawk on Vimeo.

Monday after we finished our ultrasound and appointment with the doctor, our technician Jessica came out with two sealed manila envelopes marked "Twin A" & "Twin B". I stuck them in my journal and stuffed it into my black and red chicken tote bag. Dr. Brass came out as we were about to leave and asked us our guesses. We scheduled our next appointment with her and headed out the door. Everyone was is so sweet to us in perinatology. Like a bunch of old friends.

We had a carload of errands to do: Home Depot, Powell's Books, UPS, New Seasons. Stopping in the rain here and there along the way as we drove north back to our house to check each item off the list, it took a while to get home.

Molly texted me at about 4:00PM while we were in the car: "So are you celebrating? :)" I told her we hadn't looked yet. She said, "When are you crazies going to look?!?"

Delayed gratification. It is an art. Justin and I are pretty good at it.

Truthfully part of it was that we were both nervous about opening the envelopes. It's good to know but then there's no turning back. I was definitely scared to find out. We had both hoping for one of each.

Originally, we'd thought we'd get a coffee or treat after the appointment and go up to the top of Mount Tabor or to our bench under the trees in Fernhill (the park that we live on), but water kept falling from the sky, and the cool air wasn't too inviting.

"Maybe we should just do it at home," I said.

Justin's idea: "I think we should go to Cha Ba Thai." Which is not a fancy place at all, but it is the place we always go to, maybe about twenty blocks from our house. The wait staff already knew us. It was kind of like home.

Around 7:30, we hopped into my car, carrying Justin's good camera and the little manila envelopes. I sped there and got a spot in front of the door. We dressed nice (for us) for the occasion. Since I'm already starting to have difficulty fitting into a lot of my normal clothes, I had a limited selection. Justin put on my favorite shirt of his. We were ready for some life changing news.

"Sit wherever you like," the cute Asian guy at the door told us.

The air was a little loud with conversation in there, and we wondered if it was the right place to be. We chose the wall where it seemed most quiet. And because we liked the barn-looking backdrop.

We sat down and Justin put our little "The Charlies" Valentine's card at the table next to us and the two envelopes sitting out between us. We ordered dinner- red curry duck for Justin and red curry tofu for me.

After the food was ordered, we thought maybe that was the time to do the deed. Who could record it for us? Justin thought the waitstaff but they seemed too busy. I thought maybe the two ladies behind us. We hmmed and hawed. I went over and asked the ladies if they could film us and told them what we were doing. One woman said she could not work a camera, but the other woman with shoulder-length grey hair and aqua glasses thought she could. Justin showed her the basics. Her name was Carrie.

Our moment was here.

We didn't have a plan. But we decided to shuffle and pick. I got Twin A and had to go first.

Opening that envelope felt like jumping off a huge scary cliff. My heart was racing. I was holding my breath and biting my lower lip.

When I saw A was a boy I was thinking, Oh my God, we're going to have two boys. It was a panicked feeling. I truthfully really wanted one boy. But I didn't really want two. It was probably just because I grew up with all girls.

Justin has more practice in being on camera, and using dramatic pause. He took his time opening his envelope. I was so surprised when he said "B is a girl". I really couldn't believe it.

After it was done, we were both so relieved. We both were a little scared of a house full of barbie girls or rowdy boys. One of each seemed like unbelievable good luck.

Our next ultrasound is on April 28th. They couldn't quite get all the views of the heart and spine that they needed. Justin will be in North Carolina, so my sister Carrie is going to go with me and see the twins in action.

So here we go along the way. What an amazing journey already.

A: Sweet Little Baby Boy Charlie
B: Sweet Little Baby Girl Charlie