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Thursday, March 28, 2013

Thankful Thursday: Pineapple, Smooth Pregnancy & Being Prepared

Here we go... you know what time it is..... time to get our thankful on! It's Thankful Thursday! Another week forever recorded in the history books of time! Let's all sit and reflect on some of the many things in our lives we are blessed with shall we?! Here's the result of our reflection this week, our lists!

Monica's list:

I am thankful for pineapple! I guess you could say pineapple is one of the things I'm craving right now. It seems like I can't get enough of it! I would eat it every single day if we always had it. Thankfully the pineapples have been really ripe and sweet lately too, so that's good! It's such a bummer when you buy fruit and it's not very good!

I am thankful for an easy and non-scary pregnancy. As Jeremy mentioned, I am almost 36 weeks with the boys. It's really uncommon to get this far into a twin pregnancy without a single problem or hiccup. From the minute we got pregnant not one thing has gone wrong or even been "worrying" or "scary". I am so thankful for that!! Every time they take my blood pressure they say it is perfect, I haven't had any swelling (which in itself is crazy considering I'm carrying around 35 extra lbs my body isn't used to!!), the boys are growing perfectly and very closely to each other, and I'm still working. When we first found out we were pregnant with twins I don't know that either of us thought I would carry them this long or be so problem free! Obviously this was what we hoped and prayed for but pregnancies with multiples are just more high risk. God has truly blessed us and I can't wait to see all the other blessings he has in store for us! He is Great!!

Jeremy's list:

I'm thankful for my Neti pot! Out of nowhere I got the sniffles and sinus congestion a few days ago. I had been feeling great! I've been fighting it for a few days now. Usually I get this same thing twice a year as you've heard me say dozens of times and it usually lasts 3-4 weeks and ends in either oral antibiotics or an admission. The last two times it has ended in 5 days or so and not lasted! I count it as a blessing! I think my Neti Pot helped too. :) I got one after feeling so congested last time (several months ago) my forehead was throbbing. I was rinsing once to twice a day and it cleared up in no time. So this go around I started rinsing again when I noticed it and it hasn't really been progressing. It's only been about 3 days and it seems to be improving. I also live on DayQuil and Tylenol Severe Cold & Flu to help with the congestion. I'm thankful for my Neti Pot!

I'm thankful for preparedness! For some reason I have this innate need to always be prepared. I'm not like those people on that one show who stockpile food and water and have bomb shelters. When we're going on trips or doing something big I make lists and try to think of anything and everything that could happen or we may run into so we can prepare for it. When it came to our boys, I wanted to make sure by the time they got here we could be as prepared as possible! We'll never fully be prepared as these will be our first children and so we don't fully know what all is coming until we experience it. BUT, the nursery is done and ready (minus a few wall hangings that need to be put up), all the clothes have been de-tagged, washed and hung up or put in the dresser, and our bags are packed. Everything has it's place and is organized. We have our plan of attack! :) Bring on the sleepless nights, poopy diapers, and hours spent staring at our beautiful creations! I think we're as prepared as we can be! Now to wait 18 more days!!!

What are you thankful for this week?!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Twin Update: 35 Week Appointment

Monica had her 35 week fetal monitoring and doctor appointment yesterday. This time they both decided to cooperate and they passed within 20 minutes. Last week, B was being a stinker and it took over an hour! The first time went really fast too, which got me to thinking. The first time I was there, the second time Monica was alone and yesterday Monica's dad took her. Uh-oh, looks like they were only acting up when momma was by herself, lol!

Her blood pressure is still normal. Everything looks great! She had a contraction during fetal monitoring! I guess that's kind of exciting since it's normal.Her doctor checked her cervix as well to see how it was doing. It is still completely closed! She said it may be thinning some but it's still closed. Those boys are locked in and not coming out! I guess they're not ready to meet the world just yet. :) Monica has been having close to 20 Braxton Hick contractions a day. Because she is having so many they wanted to check her cervix, but looks like everything's still golden!

Monica is still hanging in there unbelievably well! The only things pushing her to want to deliver the boys are the pupps rash, and the constant attention she gets because of her belly. She's not big on being the center of attention. Unlike me. :) I think the comments from strangers and such referring to the size of her belly are starting to wear her out. Obviously no woman wants to hear "You're HUGE!" from anyone, lol. Really the only thing interfering with her sleep and comfort is the pupps rash. If that would go away, we'd be good to go the full 40 weeks! :)

Anywho everything's great in the Parks' household! We can't wait to meet our boys! Oh and they appear to have a lot of hair via the ultrasounds! Again, unlike me. I leave you with a picture of my gorgeous wife!! She's still all baby, or babies I should say!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Big Milestone & Delivery Date

As of yesterday, Monica is 35 weeks with our twin boys! That means we passed a huge milestone in my eyes. According to the folks at the hospital, any multiples born before 35 weeks gestation automatically spend a night or two in the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit). Obviously Monica and I do not want that to happen, but it's a very real possibility with twins. They may still have to spend a night or two there if they have any issues, but at least for now it won't be mandatory.

We're holding out that they are going to be perfectly healthy, happy baby boys! This was a pretty big milestone in my eyes though. It's one more week that their little lungs can develop and mature, and means that a NICU stay will not happen unless needed. They'll be here before we know it! Which as of right now, our scheduled delivery date is April 15, 2013 at noon! They're gonna be tax babies, lol! Think the gov't will give me an extra tax break since they're gonna be born on tax day?!

As long as they don't decide they want out sooner, we expect them to make their arrival to the world, Monday April 15th! Monica and I can't wait!! It's gonna be monumentously epic!! :)

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Thankful Thursday: 10,000 Views, Birthday, V8 and Birthday Boy

Well it's Thankful Thursday time again! It seems like the weeks fly by so fast! I'll go to post about something and realize it's Thursday again and time to reflect on our lives and report some thankfulness. Another week down in the history books! Monica and I have a lot to be thankful for! Here's our lists:

Monica's List:

I am thankful for V8. I have been drinking V8 Strawberry Banana V-fusion pretty religiously and my PUPPS rash is virtually gone! When I don't drink it, the PUPPS starts to come back. I can tell I need to drink some more when I start itching. Less than an hour after drinking it the itching is gone!! It's the most crazy wonderful thing and for now it is doing the trick! My brother, who is a medical student, told me they think PUPPS has to do with your liver. I starting researching vitamins that are beneficial to your liver. This particular V8 is very high in a lot of them and every serving gives you a full serving of fruits and vegetables! Bonus!! Thank you to everyone who has prayed for me and this rash! I've had people tell me they pray for me every single day... that is the most humbling and kind thing I've ever heard! Words could never say how much we appreciate and covet prayers!

I am thankful for my birthday boy (a.k.a Jeremy)! :) I am thankful that he is mine and I get to share this life with him! Every moment is so precious and I am so thankful for every one I get to spend with Jeremy! What can I say?! Marry your best friend and that's what happens! :) I could go on and on about all the things I love about him, but I will only leave you with a short list. I don't want to make anyone gag... :)

Jeremy Wayne,
A few of the many things I love about you, are:
Your love and dedication to God and family,
Your prayers,
Your character, compassion, and humility,
Your sensitive heart,
Your sense of humor,
Your level-headedness,
Your self-lessness,
Your check-lists :)
Your quirks,
The way you squint your eyes when you smile,
Your responsibility with money,
How good you are with children,
Your adventurous nature,
Your hyper, giddyness,
Your hugs... and kisses (I know... gag!) haha,
      ... and the way that you love me!

They say not to marry a man unless you are willing to have sons who are just like him. I can say that I will be so proud for our boys to turn out like their daddy! I love you Pookiebear! Forever and ever babe!

Jeremy's List:

I'm thankful for 10,000 views on our blog! I never thought we would hit 10,000 ever, much less after starting this blog such a short time ago. I'm thankful that so many people find it interesting enough to keep coming back and following our journey through life. I feel blessed to have the opportunity to share our journey with everyone and blessed to hear that this blog is having a positive impact on those who follow it! These past few years have been the best of my life! To all of you who have followed and continue to follow this blog, thank you! If there's ever anything you want us to post on here, email me or leave a comment on here with your suggestions. We'd love to hear them!

I'm thankful for another birthday to celebrate. Yesterday I celebrated my 29th birthday. Man I'm getting old! It's a great feeling though! Each year I celebrate a birthday means I'm doing a good job kicking some CF booty! I don't mind getting old at all. In fact it's exciting to me. I'm not wishing my life away by any means, but I like to see that I am living and will live longer than the doctors told my parents I would!

I'm thankful for a running blazer! My blazer overheated on Tuesday and I had to be towed home. Thankfully the tow truck guy is a mechanic and spotted the crack in my radiator right away. My father-in-law who can fix anything was at our house too when I got towed home. It appears so far that it was just a cracked radiator. So.... my dad and I spent the day replacing the radiator! My mom brought us lunch on her lunch break from work. It's running really smooth now and we'll see how she does on the way to work tomorrow. Cross your fingers, lol! Monica made roast for dinner last night as well, one of my favorite meals! I would have rather not spent the day working on my blazer, but it went smooth and without any hiccups (which is extremely rare). Overall it was a good birthday!

So what are you thankful for today?!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Exciting Delivery

Last night we had a very exciting delivery to our house! No it wasn't the twins, lol! I received 20 copies of a magazine that I was recently published in. In November I was asked by the AARC Times (the AARC is a national organization and stands for American Association for Respiratory Care, therefore, the AARC Times is a nationally distributed magazine) to put my presentation on living with CF into article form. After finalizing the final copy, they also asked for several pictures of me "living life to the fullest," which I try to do each and every day. Not only was I amazed that they were going to print my article in their magazine, but they made it the cover story!

Now my big, goofy mug is right there, smack dab on the front page! Along with Monica's beautiful face! :) She made the cover too. I'm still kind of in shock and awe right now. This past year or so has been extremely humbling. The success and generosity of people on our Indiegogo campaign has also added to the humbling going on around here. If I think too much about it all, I'll get choked up for sure. :) Here's a look at the cover and the main story page. I also added a video from our fun filled weekend! Not quite as fun as Ronnie and Mandi's looked with McKenna (she's a doll) but I think you'll find it humorous!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Belly Pics: 34 Weeks

Here they are, 34 week belly pics! Our boys are growing! Our last visit 2 weeks ago they were just shy of 4 lbs a piece. We'll see how big they are next week! Everything is going very smooth as of right now. Monica's pupps have gotten a lot better again. They flared up in different spots after almost completely disappearing from the original spots. She thinks she has figured out that drinking V8 Fusion the strawberry/banana flavor makes them improve drastically. They are almost completely gone again after she has been drinking it a couple times a day. She's sleeping much better and almost through the entire night.

When the boys move now we definitely see it! You could spot it from across the room! It's getting harder to figure out what is what now. We know that A is head down still and B is breach. When we feel something directly above her belly button, it's hard to know if it's A's feet or B's hands, lol! Monica recorded a video earlier today when they were moving a bunch after she got home from work (yes she's a warrior and is still working). They both were kinda moving quite a bit. She rubbed her hand over where A had just been moving and he pushed his foot waayyyy out and it looked like he rolled over! It's simply incredible! I've worked in the nursery the past few days at work and it has made me even more anxious to meet my little fellas! I don't know if I'll stop kissing them! Once they're cleaned up of course. :) Enough jabber, you're here to see Monica's belly. If you haven't already scrolled past my rambling go ahead and check it out!

                               Baseline                                                                     34 Weeks

32 Weeks

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Thankful Thursday: Payoffs, Energy & Clothes Folding Parties

What up y'all! It's that crack-a-lackin time of the week again! Time to hit the virtual "pause" button on our lives, "take a knee," and reflect on things we can be grateful for. I personally love that we started doing this post! It's the one post we always make sure to do. It's good to always be looking on the bright side and stay positive and this is one of the ways I like to do that! Another week down, recorded in the history books.  Here we go, our lists:

Monica's List:

Coming soon...

Jeremy's List

I'm thankful for seeing that my hard work is paying off! For almost 6 months now I've been doing two treatment sets a day. I get up at 5:00am to do one set before I go to work and do another set as soon as I get home. At first it was hard! I hate getting up early, and getting up 45 minutes earlier than I previously was took some getting used to. Plenty of times I wanted to sleep in. I can't tell you how many times I told myself, "You can skip tomorrow morning" and gave myself an excuse as to why it would be justified. However, I am proud to say I never gave in and always got up. Now it has become routine. I don't even think about. I get up at 5:00am everyday and don't second guess it at all. It is paying off. It wasn't too long ago that my FEV1 hit an all time low of 53%. Last week it was at 66%. It has been slowly but steadily creeping back up. I'm extremely thankful for that!

I'm thankful for energy! Monica and I seem to have a never ending supply lately! I don't know where it is coming from but I like it! We have been going non-stop lately. There are so many things going on right now. Every evening has something that keeps us busy. We've hardly had time to just relax on the couch together and feel my boys moving. This week it has been getting the nursery ready. Monica had another baby shower on Sunday and we got a lot of really great things! We washed all the babies clothes, blankets and anything else that could be washed. I guessed that we would have maybe 2 loads. I was way off. We had 5 full loads of laundry!! I packed that washing machine full too, lol! I'm thankful we have so much already for our boys when they get here. Our nursery is put together now too. We just need to put some finishing touches on it and it'll be finished! Monica is 34 weeks pregnant (tomorrow) with our boys and is still working and going strong! I'm thankful we've both had so much energy lately!

I'm thankful for my parents! They came by Tuesday to drop some stuff off (I think it was just an excuse to come over and visit). We had just finished washing all the clothes, blankets, and everything else that needed to be washed and had it mounded in the middle of the nursery. We were showing them the nursery and talking. Next thing I know, my mom is in the nursery folding things. We ended up having a folding party! We got everything folded, separated by size, organized and put away. It only took a little over an hour with 4 of us. It would have taken much longer with just Monica and I. I'm thankful for another thing checked off the to-do list!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Thankful Thursday: Work, CF Treatments & Twins

Well another week has passed us by, forever recorded in the history books. It's Thursday again, which means two things. We're close to the weekend being here and it's time to celebrate life with some thankfulness! Monica and I got this idea from another couple with a blog a year or so ago. Their names are Ronnie and Mandi and their blog is listed below under "other awesome blogs." We loved it so much, we decided to start doing it ourselves. Here's the idea, we take a little time each week to pick out a few things we are thankful for. Enough chatting from me, here's our lists:

Monica's list;

I am thankful for my job! I need to make sure and remind myself of this one. I am still working and there are days it is just plain hard. But I have a job and I am still able to work and make us some more money! :) I work with some great people who do everything they can to make my job easier on me right now. Without all of their help I wouldn't be able to continue working in my position as a baker. There's a lot of lifting involved and there's always someone lifting boxes for me and setting things up so I can just scale things out. I appreciate it so much!

Jeremy's List:

I'm thankful for medical advances! Things have changed a lot from when I was a kid when it comes to treating CF. I was born in 1984. At that time hand-clap CPT was the main treatment. There was no pulmozyme, no vest, no TOBI (there was tobramycin, but not the specially formulated version we now have), no Cayston. We didn't know the effects of hypertonic saline or taking azithromycin routinely. Things have come a LONG way! I remember when the Flutter came out. It was considered a huge medical breakthrough (at least in my area it was treated that way). I'm thankful that we have come such a long way. I spend a lot of time taking treatments every day, but I'm thankful I have the treatments to take that help keep me healthy! I'm also very excited to see where the future takes us!

I'm thankful that we have 5 weeks or less until we meet our boys! I make a point to feel them moving inside their mommy's tummy everyday. The anticipation and excitement grows every day! I cannot wait to meet my boys! They're gonna be the coolest, cutest, most awesome little guys ever! I'm thankful that they'll be here before we know it and for the blessing that is this pregnancy!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Twin Update: 32 Weeks

We had our ultrasound today! It went really really well! My sister-in-law, who is 15, played hookie from school so she could go to one of our ultrasounds. Just about everyone else has been to one, lol. They took the usual measurements, and checked their growth. At the last visit, Baby A weighed 2 lbs 8 oz and Baby B weighed 2 lbs. 13 oz. It was an 11% difference. This time Baby A weighed 3lbs 12oz and Baby B weighed 3 lbs 13 oz! There's only a 1% difference now! This was great news! They're both growing and developing like they should and now both pretty much the same size!

One little bit of sad news is that Baby B flipped at some point and is now breech. Monica's doctor told her there's around a 90% chance that how they are now is how they will stay. At the time we thought they were both still head down. Sometime in the last 4 weeks, B flipped. Unless in some crazy way he flips again, Monica will have to have a c-section. Some doctors will let women have the first if it is head down and try to flip the second in the womb so the mother can have vaginal deliveries. Our OB does not like to do that because of the risk of having to do an emergent c-section. Then you've have to recover from having a c-section and a vaginal delivery. We have been preparing ourselves for this. It's not a huge surprise as it's very common with twins.

We found out what goes on in fetal monitoring too. This week was the first time we have had this done. Monica has to go back once a week for monitoring now until they arrive. They strap doppler monitors on Monica's belly that look like hockey pucks over where the boys heartbeats are. The boys each had to pass a test. They're heart rates had to go up by 15-20 beats per minute and stay there for a run of 15 beats. This lets them know that the connections between the babies placenta, umbilical cord, heart and brain are all working as they should. The babies are just like adults, in that when they are moving their heart rates go up. They are also looking for variability in the heart rates. They should be constantly moving up and down, faster and slower.

It was pretty funny because at first they were both kinda chillin. Neither was moving much. Then B started wiggling and hitting the doppler (it's kinda become his thing, lol). When they would hit it, it made a bunch of loud noise. There were times when both boys were hitting it simultaneously and there was all kinds of racket coming from our corner of the room! It was hilarious! Baby B passed his test right away, within 5 minutes or so of being on the monitor. Baby A took a little longer but passed pretty quick too. There was one other lady in the room being monitored and she finished about the same time as us but had been there since we walked in. They told us it could take as long as 45 min to an hour. It took 20 minutes. That's my boys! Passing their tests with flying colors!

Overall it was a great appointment and everything is going great! 5 weeks and 4 days at the most until our two awesome boys are in our arms! Now we're off to my clinic appointment. Hopefully I'll post some good numbers!

Here's the pics! The first shows Baby A's little fat rolls on his back. The second how's Baby A's hair, and the third is just a profile of Baby B. They're getting more and more cramped in there, so 3D pictures are getting harder to get.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Belly Pics: 32 Weeks

We're 32 weeks pregnant! It has been flying by so fast! The boys will be here before we know it! It's hard to believe we're this far with our boys already. Less than 6 weeks to go! We're busy trying to get everything ready around here. I got the nursery walls and ceiling painted this past week. Now just need to paint the closet doors, the crown mold and baseboards, and install the crown mold. All that will hopefully get done by this Saturday. Right now it looks like Babies R Us threw up all over our house! Lol!

Monica and boys have been good! She has been having a lot of Braxton Hicks contractions, around 20 a day. They have been getting more frequent and lasting close to a minute. It's making us a little nervous, so please keep us in your prayers. We want our boys in there as long as possible! Our hope is to take them straight home from the hospital. That probably won't happen unless she can make it to 36 weeks or later. She told her doctor about the contractions, but they don't seem too concerned yet.

Tomorrow we go for our 32 weeks ultrasound! Monica has been counting down the hours once we fell under the 24 hour mark, lol! They're going to do the typical ultrasound and measurements and then fetal monitoring, of which neither of us know what to expect. I've heard of fetal monitoring but don't really know what they do. It'll be interesting to see! We'll post some ultrasound pics and an update on how big they are tomorrow! For now here's the 32 week belly pics!

                             Baseline                                                                        32 Weeks
30 Weeks

Friday, March 1, 2013

Multiples class and Thankfulness

Yesterday was a very successful day in our house! Which in turn led to not posting a Thankful Thursday. :( I'm sorry... I figured I would make up for it on this post and give an update as to how our multiples class went last night.

I'm thankful for my recent success on craigslist. We finally sold Monica's old car! WHOO-HOO!! It'll be nice to have that money to put towards our IVF debt. I think I mentioned before that I scoured the house and put anything and everything I could find to sell on craigslist. I've had some decent success. I've sold a bike, Monica's car and have several people coming by this weekend to buy 3 other items we have for sale. All proceeds will be going to pay off our IVF debt. I'm very pleased and hope to sell all 12 listings!

I'm thankful for an AMAZINGLY tough wife! In our class last night there were 5 other couples. There were 2 other ladies who were showing but were still 10 weeks or more behind Monica. They both had several complaints about back aches and other things. I know God has blessed us with a very smooth pregnancy, but I also give some credit to Monica for being a trooper! She's one tough cookie! She's had back aches and other things, and now has a TERRIBLE pregnancy rash called pupps, which she talked about in a previous post. She refuses to whine or complain though. I woke up one morning to find her asleep on the couch with bags of frozen corn on the bottoms of her feet because that's the only way she could sleep. She didn't whine, cry, complain or get angry. She just said that was the only way she could get comfortable and the cold helped make the rash not itch enough so that she could fall asleep. I see her wiggling her feet inside her shoes, walking through the house dragging her feet, or sitting sliding her feet back and forth across the carpet, all to scratch the bottoms of her feet. If she used her nails they would break open and blister. She's so awesome and I'm thankful for how tough she has been through it all!

Now about our multiples class! Like I said there were 5 other couples, all pregnant with twins. Two of the couples got pregnant with their twins spontaneously. The other 3 we're not sure about. We are the youngest couple and the farthest along. Two of the couples aren't even 20 weeks yet and the other 3 are 22 weeks or less. We are 32 weeks, lol! Monica's fear for this class was realized... she has the biggest belly. Haha! It's to be expected though since the other couples are not nearly as far along as we are. The class was very good! We learned several things already.

1) I believe I am slightly naive about how hard it is going to be. I have the mind set that if we keep a positive attitude and since we'll both be off for quite some time with nothing to do but take care of the babies, it'll be a piece of cake! I may be wrong... I also think a lot of that comes from telling myself I want to prove all the people who have told us how utterly horrific it's going to be wrong. It seems a lot of people have many negative things to say about us having twins. I know most of it is probably meant light-hearted and in a fun, joking manner. It still makes me want to prove everyone wrong and show them it's not going to be hard. I now have a better understanding of what to expect. We're going to do great though! I have an awesome wife, and these boys are an answer to an unthinkable amount of prayers!!

2) I think the class helped us both prepare a little more for the very real possibility of our boys ending up in the NICU for a little while. Hopefully they will come straight home, but I think it's good that we are prepared mentally and emotionally that they may not come straight home. I work with preemie babies all the time so I know what to expect. I hadn't realized that in my own mind I had already kind of convinced myself they wouldn't have to go to the NICU except for maybe a day or two. When in reality if they do go, it is usually for a week or more, depending on the circumstances.

3) It taught us a lot of little things I had never heard before. Babies spend their first 10 minutes or so crying. Then they spend an hour or 2 looking around peacefully. Then they go through a deep sleep phase for a few days where they only wake up to eat and then pass out again. Then they get to their normal baby phase. At normal baby phase is where they will cry and get upset.

3) I thought you fed a baby when it started crying which meant it is hungry. Wrong! You feed the baby when it starts to suck, chew on its hands or wiggle a lot. Crying is a late sign of hunger.

4) We learned that bumper pads are no longer recommended and that the FDA may be outlawing them soon. I always thought they were so baby wouldn't bump their head on the side of the crib. I never fully understood them as I don't think an infant can roll hard enough to do real damage by bumping their head on the crib rails. It turns out they were invented because early cribs had rails that were too far apart and babies heads were falling in between the rails and they were suffocating. Now cribs are made with the rails close together and they only remained being used for aesthetic purposes, a.k.a. they're cute.They are no longer recommended because they cause SIDS! It's common sense that you don't put blankets, pillows, etc in the crib because baby can suffocate. They now know that babies also are dying because of rebreathing their own CO2 from objects being too close to their face. Not smothering them, but being close enough that they rebreath their own CO2 and because they're respiratory system is so new and immature they stop breathing when they're CO2 levels elevate even slightly. That was news to us! We were planning on making bumper pads. Not any more.

That's all I can think of that really stuck our for now and this post has gotten pretttty long. Adios for now! Monica has a baby shower tomorrow! We'll try and share some pictures and give an update on how it went tomorrow!