And babies make 7!!!

17 Jan

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Ok, so with my recent above picture post to Facebook, you may have figured out that I am expecting twins.  I will attempt to answer as many questions as possible in this blog and also give you some responses to the common statements I have heard so far even though some of it can probably be classified as “none of your business”.  I just know that people like to be in the know, so this is my public service to keep you from wondering.  You are welcome.

1.  Was this on purpose?
Nope.  Being pregnant at all was not on our radar.  It being two babies was absolutely the surprise of the century.  That said, thankfully Matt and I both have avoided panic attacks thus far.

2.  Pregnant again?  Do you guys know what causes this?
Yes, actually Matt and I are quite aware.  You do not need to tell us.

3.  Are you going to have anymore kids after this?
We have learned to never say never.  Matt said we were done after Aaron.  After being surprised with Isaac, he adamantly said 3 was our cut off.  Well, I guess God showed us, huh?  Are we going to take permanent measures to ensure no more Smith kids after this?  That most certainly falls under the none of your business heading so let’s just leave it there.  We aren’t planning on being the Duggars, for what it worth.

4.  Better you than me!
Yeah, well, I guess God thought so, too.

5.  What did you/Matt/your kids/your parents say?
I found out I was pregnant on November 5th, and Matt and I were both pretty well in shock for the days following.  I went by myself to have my first ultrasound on November 25th.  The lady doing the ultrasound said, “Ok, let’s check the baby out, you know, make sure there is only one in there.”  I promise you, that is exactly what she said, which she followed up very quickly with “Uh-oh.”  I just knew.  I could see them both, and I just knew.  I think I said, “Oh my gosh,” and “You have got to be freaking kidding me,” at least 150 times.  I called Matt and asked him if he was sitting down, at which point, he started figuring it out.  He made some super strange noises, and I asked if he was laughing or crying.  He said he wasn’t sure, maybe both.  We told Matt’s mom and my parents together that week since Matt’s mom was here for Thanksgiving break.  One of my greatest regrets of this whole thing is that we didn’t video their reactions because it was truly one of the greatest things ever.  Matt’s mom cried, my mom couldn’t get her mouth up off the floor, and my dad was rendered speechless for I think the first time in his life.  We called Matt’s dad, and he went through at least 3 minutes of “Matthew.  (silence)  Matthew.  (silence)  Matthew.”  But, they were all really excited once the shock wore off!  As for the kids, we waited until Christmas morning to tell them.  I was almost 11 weeks at that point with another ultrasound under my belt.  We gave Norah an envelope and had her read a piece of paper that said, “Mommy has two babies in her belly.”  And, Norah seems to be super excited about it, Aaron seems pretty indifferent most of the time, and Isaac continues life blissfully unaware of the rug that is about to be pulled out from underneath his little Mama’s boy hiney.

6.  What are you going to do with 5 kids?
Love them.  Take care of them as best I can.  Teach them about the Lord and pray over them every chance I get.  Same things a parent of 1 kid does, I guess.

7.  Oh, bless your poor heart.
Funny you mention that because the Bible actually does say that children are a blessing.  And here is the thing… we have watched friends walk through absolute hell in recent years–painful marriages, infertility, divorce, cancer, physical separation, and death.  So, if the card God chooses to deal us right now is “Twins” then please, by all means, bring it on.  I think it would be pretty selfish to complain about this or feel like Job about something that in the grand scheme of life is actually a wonderful thing.

8.  Where will they all sleep in your 3 bedroom house?
Not sure yet.  There will have to be some shuffling for sure.  Who knows.  Every child having his or her own bedroom is not a requirement for a happy life.  It would be nice, but they will survive.  And in all honesty, as they get older, we probably will need a different house, not based on square footage but on layout.  I just don’t have the energy to pack and move at this point in my life.  If you want to do it all for me, then by all means, let’s talk.

9.  How are you feeling?
Pretty rough sometimes, although thankfully most of the nausea is finally gone.  I have decided that being pregnant with twins made me twice as exhausted, twice as nauseous, and in more general discomfort earlier.  But, I’ll live.  It isn’t unbearable, and it is only temporary.  But it should give you some insight as to my more than normal disheveledness these days.

10.  Do twins run in your family?
It actually doesn’t even matter.  The doctor feels certain that our twins are identical, and fraternal twins are the ones that run in the family.  Identical twins just happen on their own.  And how do we know that our twins are identical?  Well, based on several ultrasounds, they have been determined to be “mono-di” twins.  They share a placenta but are in individual sacs.  It all has to do with when the fertilized egg split, and you can Google it if that seems interesting to you.

11.  Do you know gender yet?
Not for sure.  At my 14 week appointment today, the ultrasound technician actually made a best guess, but we aren’t sharing that in case it was wrong.  I go back again at the end of the month for a 16 week check, so hopefully we will know for sure then!  But, since they are identical, it is either 2 boys or 2 girls.

12.  Do they have Galactosemia?
Don’t know.  We will have their blood tested as soon as they are born to find out.  But again with the identical thing… either they both have it or they both don’t.  We have talked with Isaac’s geneticist and worked out plans to get the ball rolling once they get here to find out for sure as quickly as possible.

13.  What kind of differences/complications are you facing with a twin pregnancy?
The hardest part of all of this to swallow for me is the fact that an identical twin pregnancy raises the amount of unknowns, and for a freakish planner like myself, it is maddening.  “Go with the flow” just isn’t in my nature.  My “single baby due date” was July 18th, but now my “twin due date” is June 27th so I would be induced that day if I made it to that point.  If I started displaying signs for risk of labor before June, I would probably be hospitalized until I made it to 34 weeks (June 6th).  Also, another huge complication is something called Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome (TTTS) which affects about 15% of all identical twin pregnancies.  The risk for TTTS is highest from weeks 16-26, so beginning at the end of January, the babies will be checked and measured by ultrasound at least every other week for early signs of TTTS.  If they are in TTTS Stage 1, we probably do nothing but carefully watch and wait because it may correct itself.  However, if they advance to Stage 2 or greater, I will be automatically sent to Cincinnati, OH for corrective surgery to be performed.  There are risks with the surgery, but without it, one or both of the babies would die.  Also, if one of the babies dies, the other baby is at high risk for cerebral palsy.  (Side note… if the babies do develop TTTS, the doctors would have to obtain amniotic fluid during the the intervention which we could have tested for Galactosemia.)

14.  What can I do for you?  How can I help you?
I know in those first few questions, I was pretty funny in my responses, but in all seriousness, Matt and I really just need prayers and encouragement right now above all else.  I am terrible about asking for help, so chances are I won’t.  Don’t be offended by that; just know that I am fiercely independent and an obnoxious control freak.  (You know the person in school who did all of the work for the entire group during projects?  Yep, that was me.)  The thought of bedrest or hospitalization (especially before school lets out) makes my blood pressure rise.  I know, I know… Beth Ann, you need to let go.  Well, trust me, God and I are having lots of discussions about this.  Hillsong’s “Forever Reign” is on constant repeat in my head.  I’m already looking forward to how one day, I will remember this time in my life and think about the awesome stuff God taught me.

So, there you have it… The Smith 5 are becoming the Smith 7.  And frankly, I’m almost excited about it some days.  🙂

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7 Responses to “And babies make 7!!!”

  1. DeAnna January 17, 2014 at 10:47 pm #

    We’ll definitely be praying for you!

  2. Dawn@Dawnings January 22, 2014 at 1:33 pm #

    HI Beth Ann, I’m quite sure you don’t remember me. Your mom and dad became the kind of friends only Christians can become when our lives overlapped in Laurel. It was only for a short time, but we have remained friends as much as earthly possible when life carries you in different directions.

    This is a beautiful post. You are going to need that wit and sarcasm in the days ahead.

    Children are indeed a gift from God. The first and the tenth, no matter their birth order. Large families used to be the norm; now they are the subject of ridicule. Some of our very good friends have 7 children and their family is healthy, thriving, and beloved — in a four bedroom house. They added on a master suite and a laundry room in the hallway at the connection to a home built in the 50s in an established neighborhood. They still get looks in restaurants and unsolicited remarks that are quite rude and opinionated. I find it appalling that people are so carelessly forthcoming with their strong opinions on the matter of family size, and bizarre that they would have such strong opinions on the matter at all when it comes to someone else’s family.

    It can be done. It can be done well, and it appears you have just enough spunk to do it. And apparently God already thought so too. (It’s always nice to agree with God, isn’t it.)

    Congratulations on the two little darlings growing inside you. May God give the three of you safe passage and grant you the grace you will need to rise to the occasion, whatever that might be in the days to come.

    With love,
    Dawn Gonzalez

    • bethannmsmith January 22, 2014 at 6:30 pm #

      Thank you so much for your encouragement!!! I find myself increasingly grateful for so many wonderful people to pray us through this season of life!

  3. Lillian January 23, 2014 at 9:28 pm #

    I just stumbled across your blog today. I am an identical twin, and my twin sister and I had TTTS. She had too much blood, I had too little. We arrived via a normal vaginal delivery about 2 weeks before our due date, and the doctors were able to correct the TTTS with an immediate blood transfusion from her to me right after we were born.

    She has been my best friend and “soul mate” throughout my life — the twin relationship is like none other! We got married within 3 months of each other and are now both expecting our first babies (we did not plan to synchronize that… God is just funny!)

    My parents always said that twins are “Twice the effort, but twice the joy.” I know that my twin has been the greatest blessing in my life, and I hope that yours are a joy and blessing to you and your husband. I know they will be. My parents went on to have 5 more kids after us for 7 total, so we must not have been that bad. 😉

    My last piece of advice: Don’t give them matching names. And do give them 2 separate birthday cakes!

    • bethannmsmith January 23, 2014 at 10:10 pm #

      I am glad to know you have such a great relationship with your twin! I am hoping that for ours as well! And I am glad that all of our children will grow up with several siblings. I only have 1 and always wished for more.
      And as for the matching names, someone else had actually suggested avoiding them as well. The closest we would get to that is that our girl names start with the same letter, but they are different lengths/syllables and don’t sound matchy or rhyme. (They are just the names we had picked out for our 2 sons that we didn’t get to use.) And boy names? Ha… Baby A and Baby B may have to go on their birth certificates because my husband and I cannot agree on ANYTHING! 🙂

  4. Momto5 January 24, 2014 at 4:42 am #

    We were in the same situation two years ago. We had 3 little boys 4, 2 and 1 when we found out we were expecting mono di twins. They are now almost 2, so that puts us having a 6, 5, 4 and almost 2 year old twins. All boys. Life is crazy ;). They ended up with TTTS, and had to be taken early, but are just fine now. Be encouraged, it is an amazing and miraculous journey.
    Unsolicited advice: allow others to bless you with some help. We moved at the end of my pregnancy, and I had to accept help. I hated it, but looking back it was such a blessing in so many ways, for our family and for those who helped us. My boys still talk about the meals and the babysitters they had while I was in hospital- they had such an adventure!

    • bethannmsmith January 24, 2014 at 1:33 pm #

      Thanks so much! I know that I will have to accept help so I am trying to brace myself for that. Thankfully, just between our immediate families, I know I will have lots of extra hands!

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