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Thursday, May 31, 2012

A dog-gone sad goodbye...

I knew it was going to happen, but somehow I kept my mind off it until a few days ago when I remembered with a grieved but resolute heart that we needed to do this...

Today we said good-bye to our beloved dogs.  NO, we didn't put them down! (of course not!!)

But we did decide earlier on that our house was just not big enough to accommodate the 3 of us + the 4 babies + our 2 furry friends (especially with the uncertainties that come with premature lung development, pet dander, & possible allergies).  When Andy & I tentatively put it out there months ago, and a good friend of mine and her husband jumped at the chance to be the ones to adopt our sweet pooches.  Sydney and Joe will give them such a loving home, and probably more attention and love than we have in the past few years!  I have known Sydney for about 10 years and they will make awesome adoptive parents to our dogs. 

Andy & I with Oxford & Scout

Scout (our Boxer) and Oxford (our Chocolate Lab) are both great dogs with lots of years left.  Scout is 8 1/2 years old and we got her after 2 months of marriage, so technically she is my "first" baby!  She is a wiggly happy Boxer, and although has had health issues in the past (spinal meningitis... don't ask how much $ we spent on her...), she is healthy now and is such a good-spirited companion.  I know she will LOVE her new home, as long as she gets to lick Sydney and Joe often whether they like it or not!

Andy found Oxford on the streets while at work  7 years ago.  He was a poor, pathetically stinky and skinny dog with a tail that wagged with any attention and eyes that looked old and wise.  Andy trusted his gut and took him home: I was a little more skeptical and did not trust this stinky, skinny dog but he quickly proved to be the most faithful, loving, and gentle dog.  He has a grateful spirit and has always been so well-behaved and kind to not only us but Jenna as well.
Oxford cuddling with Jenna when she was 2 months old!

Oxford's issue is anxiety, which at first made us wonder if he would fare well being adopted.  However, I think he will do wonderfully as long as he has his Best Friend Scout there and people that love on him.  I know Sydney and Joe will heap love and reassurance on him liberally, and when in doubt, he also has Puppy Prozac! ;-)

Jenna with her friends
We had prayed & discussed this a lot, and know this is the best decision for our family.  We are so grateful that a loving couple desired to adopt our wonderful dogs, who are best friends and could never be separated!  While Jenna and Andy have (relatively easily- the nerve!) been able to say good-bye, I have cried buckets over it this past week (yah, four times the hormones!!).  However, even in my tears, I know this is the best thing for all of us.

We will miss you, Scout and Oxford... but are so happy you have amazing new adoptive parents and a new loving home.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

21 week update & ultrasound!

Hello again!
Yup, I think it's confirmed.  I did jinx myself, as I have definitely felt my body hitting one of the many invisible "walls" my doc has told me about.  How crazy that a week ago I was feeling great, and now I feel I am about 70%-80% bed rest status??  I'm telling you, for me this journey is a challenge physically, but really it's more challenging at this time mentally (and emotionally/hormonally) too!!!

And when I say "bed rest", its not like I am laying in bed all day: let me clarify.  I do need to be horizontal or reclined more of the day than less.  I can sit upright, but not for more than a few hours at a time (i.e. sitting in front of computer, scrap-booking or looking on FB!).  I can get up, shower, get ready, make light meals, walk around and do things around the house by pacing myself.  I can go on very light errands (of course, with an amigo to help whenever possible) but this is starting to seem more trouble than its worth.  I can go up and down stairs, but try to limit it to no more than 0-3 times a day.  I do still enjoy friends coming over and chatting and bringing friends for Jenna to play with, but I need to recline on the sofa mostly instead of doing things you just do with friends over, such as getting up, going outside, walking around, making lunches, getting them a drink, etc.  And the hot weather does fatigue me more than I thought it would.  Duh.

Tasks requiring bending over are hard, so my little helper Jenna has been great with this.  Even unloading a dishwasher, as mundane of a task as it is, is difficult b/c of the constant bending and standing, so my lovely hubby does that!  If I do walk around "too much", I start to feel lots of pressure on my pelvic bones just like I did in my last days of pregnancy with Jenna (FYI: this is totally normal considering my size for all you worrying right about now!) so I really try to make a very conservative, conscientious effort to NOT walk too much.  Which can be hard for this stubborn mule, but I keep on reminding myself it is TOTALLY worth it.  I have precious cargo on board!!

And speaking of the precious cargo.... here are some pics!

Our identical twin boys: a profile comparison!

 Our boy "Baby d" has secured a spot in the top left side of my abdomen, below my heart.  I rarely feel his move, but it might be because he has little room already!

 Our girl "Baby b" is on the right side of my abdomen and LOVES to wriggle, move around, and press up on my rib-cage constantly!

Our girl "Baby a" was not feeling too photogenic this day, but let me assure you she is my most active one of the bunch!  Positioned head-down and the lowest baby atop my cervix, I am constantly feeling her move and dance around... 
but she also is very near to my bladder, so maybe that is why I feel her so often!

The doctor was not surprised to hear about my "wall", and just smiled and nodded sympathetically and reminded me we were to expect this around this stage in the game.  I found out my cervix is looking GREAT and is measuring wonderfully, which is huge.  If the cervix thins too much, bed-rest will go from something I feel my body needs to a MEDICAL MUST for vitality of life for these babies.  So praise Jesus for a good lookin' cervix!  My doctor sees no need to order me on "BED REST" or even talk about me needing to go to the hospital.  He wants me home as long as possible and trusts I will put activity restrictions on my body as needed depending on how I feel.

All babies heart rates were great, their fluids looked normal, and all look much bigger than they did 2 weeks ago.  My next ultrasound in 2 weeks will measure them again and look at all these other factors.  The biggest thing my doctor reminded me to do was to listen to my body and he said I am doing an excellent job with this so far.  Yeah!! 

I continue to have had such excellent support from friends and family!!!  I really couldn't do this without them, and I can't thank everyone enough... and for that I feel so grateful and humbled.  My husband Andy, especially, is so awesome and has become such a good cheerleader to me!  I know it sounds silly, but him telling me daily that he is so proud of me and he thinks I am doing great, that he thinks I get more beautiful by the day, is like sunshine to my soul and it bolsters my confidence so much!  I also pray for God's strength daily, and know I can do this because of Him, not because of my own devices.  I personally find comfort in that!

Thank you all so much for your support, well wishes, and prayers as we stumble through this crazy journey.  I really appreciate it!  Hope all is well with your lives!!!!


Sunday, May 20, 2012

I think I spoke too soon!

Wouldn't you know it, on the heels of my post of feeling "great" at 20 weeks, I took Jenna to the park the next morning and apparently walked "too much", my hip got all out of whack, I started contracting, and basically put myself on bed rest the rest of the day?  Yup.  The problem is, that every day it seems my body can tolerate less and less, and I am not always sure what my limit is until I push it!  So, today I will do a whole lot of not much.  Same for tomorrow... and the next day... and the next... !

But really cool story of why Jenna and I were at the park!  Friday I went to garage sales looking for a very specific stroller.  I drove through 2 huge neighborhoods to no avail, went to get Jenna who was at the playground with my mom, and my mom was talking to another mom with 11 month old twin girls!  After chit chatting a little bit, I told them I had no luck finding any Baby Trend Double Snap & Go Strollers, when the mom (Stephanie) said, "No way!  My girls just outgrew theirs and we put it in the basement!  My husband and I were just saying we had to get rid of it!"  I offered to buy it then and there, took her email, emailed her later that day, and then that night she called me up and said, "We will be at the park tomorrow, if you want to see it... and my husband and I talked, and we want to give it to you for free.  God Blessed us so much when we found out we were expecting twins, we want to pay it forward." 
Instant Tears.
So yes, we went to the park and yes, we now have the stroller (and more goodies she gave us!) and once again, we are so humbled and in awe of God's providence and provisions.  Thank you, Stephanie and Jason!  And yes, we will pay it forward as well!

Friday, May 18, 2012

20 weeks along... feeling great!

Good friends of ours came over tonight and brought a yummy dinner, and my girlfriend exclaimed, "Won't you please do another post, Becky?"  so here you  are, chica!  I don't feel like I have too much to report... which is good news!  I am definitely getting bigger :

I really believe everyone's prayers are at work, because I am feeling overall GREAT for what I would have expected at 20 weeks with quads!  I always have more stamina in the morning, especially if I get a lot of sleep (like 9 hours or so... way more than I needed before!!).  My attitude is overall positive and I am happily anticipating the craziness but really enjoying this lull.  I also think the babies have staked their claims in my belly and are situated (for right now) in a more comfortable way.  I feel them wiggling around often, but I must say my girls are much more active than my boys... we'll see if that is telling for how they will be!!  When the doctor first told me to expect to go on bed rest at 20-22 weeks, I did not know what to expect... so I feel pleasantly good and especially blessed!

Don't get me wrong...I can't do much... walking is slow, stairs are a cardiovascular workout for me, and too much activity does produce some small contractions.  I just try to lay down often and thankfully I have had even more help from family lately.  They help with Jenna and other tasks, which definitely helps me conserve energy.  I also have had the pleasure of connecting with several friends over the past couple weeks.  What a breath of fresh air it is to be with friends!  They are gracious and bring food to eat, offer encouragement, laugh and chat with me, if they have kids Jenna plays with them... Seeing girlfriends and connecting with them on life, not quads, helps me feel like a real person!  

With the family on Mother's Day
I also can still do small errands, like shopping (with an Amigo, of course!) and other small things.  My car is my best source of independence right now for as long as my body can manage it.  Today I drove through 2 neighborhoods looking for specific items, and only got out of my car 3 times.  I lazily meandered through the neighborhoods, glad I could do that versus waddle my way from sale to sale!

Another thing that I know has helped my spirits is the study my women's group is doing!  We have done a few good studies together, but it has been over a year since I have done a study from my personal favorite author.  For those of you who don't know who Beth Moore is, just know she is the "real deal" in terms of women's bible studies!  if you are considering a study to do, consider doing any one of hers!  And if you already know and LOVE her studies too, feel free to shout an "AMEN" right now!  We are in week 2 of the study Esther:

This is my second time doing Esther and I am still getting so much out of it!  The best thing about these bible studies, for me, is that they are always personally challenging to work on... ME!  You know times when you hear bits of advice and you think, "Oh, so and so needs to hear this?"  What I always love about Beth's studies (& I have done probably a dozen or so of hers), is that every one I have done the focus is not on what other people might get out of it, but what God is trying to mold in me through the study.  Even when I do the same study again years later, I always get so much out of it depending on where life has taken me and the current struggles I face.  
God never ceases to amaze me at how much He wants to teach me!  He helps bring awareness to me areas I might want to tweak in my heart, mind, spirit, or soul, so I can grow more fully into the person He created me to be.  It's a never-ending molding process, but very needed.  I love being in a women's study.  I love the group dynamics and accountability.  I love opening the Word of God with other women.  I love the honesty & laughter.  Sometimes it is challenging, but anything worthwhile usually is.  
 Not that I am anywhere near where I need to be, but I love that God is always pleased to show me areas that I can improve on in my life.  The other day I was grouchy and Jenna said, with all seriousness, "Mommy, I think you need to go read the bible."  Love it!  And it's true.  For me, I need reminders every day that there's more to life than me.  That on my own, I am full of pride, self-righteousness, greed, pettiness, selfishness, and the like.  I really don't produce that much love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and certainly self-control on my own.  And that's why, for me, I need to ask Him for it daily!  

Sorry to anyone not interested in that... but it's become such a passion to me!  And, my husband can probably vouch, bible studies make me a better wife and mommy!  And even so, even when I try to get in daily quiet time , prayer or study, and as much as I might sound like I have it together, PLEASE let me assure you I DON'T.  I can still be so grouchy, petty, selfish, irritable and irrational... sometimes as soon as I shut that bible!   Sigh.  As long as I am sucking air on earth, perfect I will not be!! LOL!!!

Next week Thursday we have another doctor's appointment, but it will not be as long, and they will be just measuring cervix, heartbeats, and fluids.  Pray all continues to be well for the babies and our family! 
Thank you again for all your support, well wishes, and prayers.   I really appreciate it!!!


Wednesday, May 9, 2012

18/19 week ultrasound findings!

Hello all!

Yesterday we had another ultrasound, and it was a "long one".  What that meant was the amazing nurse took measurements of each baby's "everything" to see if all looked normal... brain, face, abdomen, spine, heartbeat, heart chambers, limbs, and yes... genitals!
What we found out was that every one of the four precious babies I am carrying is indeed looking and measuring perfect and healthy.  Praises to God!!  And we are proud to announce we are having:

 2 girls, 2 boys!!!!!!!!!!!!

Andy and I thought that was the case, and we couldn't be more happy.  We do have names picked, out, and we will tell you the names just as soon as they are born :-)!

Truly, we are so grateful to God and we find ourselves in a slurry of emotions still:  excited, scared, dizzy with anticipation, freaking out, hoping for health, fearing for the unknowns, overwhelmed and numb, elated and anxious... you know, all the normal things you would feel, too, if expecting quadruplets!  We are finding we really need to pray together daily and take it day by day and trust that He has a plan for us.  What an adventure God has planned for us!

This past weekend I have been blessed again SO MUCH!  First of all, I need to say WE HAVE THE BEST FAMILY AND FRIENDS EVER!!!!!!!!!!!  The way everyone is stepping in and offering help and meals and support and prayers is truly humbling and words can't even express my gratitude.  Friends stop by with meals "just because".  Strangers are coming up to me telling me they are reading this blog and praying for us.  Thank you.... Thank you so much!  This weekend my aunt from Chicago came to visit and she and my mom had one mission: to help us out as much as they could.  Well, help they did IMMENSELY!  In 3 days, Aunt Nancy and my mom totally set up the baby room, turned our massive heap of baby items covering our family room into a real room again, put clothes away, organized baby items, cleaned closets, helped set up organization systems, helped clean the house, and also made and froze 6 meals!!!  WOWZA!  That was so helpful! 

Again, we are blessed beyond measure.  Many of you have been asking how to help.  Well, you are helping so much already by your prayers and supports!  Having said that, I do intend to set up a care calendar in the next few weeks and will have a link to it on this blog.  It will be primarily for this summer when I am on "official bed-rest".  The needs will be for meals here and there and house cleaning here and there if indeed you feel gifted or actually want to cook or clean our house! (no pressure if you're not gifted in these areas.... many needs will arise soon enough when babies arrive!).
Again, because I have amazing family support, we already have care for our daughter set up all summer long when Andy is working and we will keep you posted on our changing status and growing needs.  OK, I am so overwhelmed with gratitude right now... tears are coming to my eyes....

Thank you all so much from the bottom of my heart.  God truly provides Abundantly.  Thank you.



Thursday, May 3, 2012

You be the judge...

So I am at 18 weeks gestation (x4) and rapidly getting slower and bigger by the day now!  On a whim, today I looked at my "9 month" profile picture from when I was pregnant with Jenna.  Coincidentally, I was wearing the same shirt today as in this picture.  My sister was over with her kids and I asked her to take a picture of me today.  You be the judge:  which one showcases a bigger belly? 



 Hmmmm... YOU be the judge!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Just your everyday quick errand!

Today I went to Bed, Bath and Beyond to get 3 small items.  Jenna was at home and I had a very slight head cold, nothing really notable unless you are already short of breath!  I went in the store, up the aisle and grabbed the 2 valences I needed, to the back of the store to get my drawer organizer, and back to the front to pay.  It took me a crazy long time and I was huffing and puffing.  Seriously?!?

The clerk, after checking me out, looked at my belly & breathless me and said with a smile, "You must be due any day now, right?" I shook my head and said casually, "No, I'm just pregnant with quadruplets", grabbed my things and was about ready to wobble out the door.  The lady's jaw dropped and the lady waiting behind me made some exclamation.  Then they both asked for clarification.

Whoops!  Gotta remember that even though it is now so normal to me, it is not normally what other people expect to hear!  And there is nothing "normal" about it actually... it is such a blessing from God!  How easy it is to take advantage of His blessings and casually treat them as if they are nothing!!!  Hmmm.... something to remember on my next outing!