Still alive…

Well, that didn’t quite go as planned.

I had intended to keep this blog up to date but somewhere between keeping two tiny humans alive it fell by the wayside along with housekeeping and regular showering. The showering had improved but let’s face it- I was never going to win any housekeeper-of-the-year awards even before kids!

The kids are going to be two this month and they are doing so great! They are right on target or ahead of all milestones and growth expectations. They are learning new things every day and they are equal parts hilarious and exhausting.

 

Things that have happened since the last post:

  • An impromptu trip to Atlanta to get expedited passports for the kids.
  • A 2 month work related trip to Helsinki, myself and the kids in tow.
  • Sitting, scooting, crawling, standing, walking, falling, running, climbing, etc.
  • LOTS of teeth. (They are both surprisingly good teethers. Minimal drool, moderate whining but no real sleep disruption.)
  • Lots of words.
  • Swimming, wagon rides, playing at the park.
  • A trip to Jacksonville for Grandma and Grandpa’s anniversary and Liam and Nora’s FIRST BIRTHDAY! (I was a mess the night before their birthday. I cried. And cried. And watched them sleep like a creepy mom.)
  • Gnomes for Halloween.
  • Photo with Santa. Neither one were thrilled. Santa was definitely not thrilled.
  • Our first trip away from them. We went to NYC with our wonderful friends right after Christmas for 4 days. Our favorite baby whisperer stayed at the house with the kids and they did great. (Or at least that’s what she told us. We did great too! ha)
  • Clapping, dancing. They are dancing MACHINES!
  • Talking on anything that could possibly resemble a phone.
  • Lots of food. These kids can put it away.
  • First scraped knees.
  • Coloring, drawing pictures.
  • More dancing.
  • IKEA trips.
  • Splash pad visits.
  • Throwing poppers for Fourth of July.
  • A visit from our friend Leslie, little did we know it would be the last time we’d get to see her beautiful smile.
  • An international move to Stockholm, Sweden.

Yep, that’s right! We are currently residing in Stockholm, Sweden and loving it. I’m going to attempt to start blogging again to give you a glimpse into our daily living. I can’t promise that the posts will be well written, factually correct, informative or even entertaining but I’ll certainly try my best to keep them coming!

 

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You can also follow us on Instagram @TheOliverSchmolivers to see even more pictures.

(and to catch up on months 7-23! ha)

Hugs

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5,6&7 Months Old

I remember reading blogs and when someone had kids and stopped posting I’d think, “Geez. Can’t they just post a couple pictures? How long does that take? Don’t they have just a minute to do that?!”. Let me answer myself. NO. They don’t. Really. The struggle is real. The free moments involve prioritizing between kid laundry, your laundry, food and sleep. Typically before you’ve had a chance to pick the winner, the kids are awake again. It’s a vicious cycle but I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

We had been blessed with amazing little babies. They slept through the night, met milestones, were easily consolable for the most part…. and then the “4 month sleep regression” hit like the plague. Keep in mind that these tiny ginger snaps were 10 weeks early which leaves a window of time open when such things will strike. It usually happens more towards their adjusted age (6 months old = 4 months adjusted, and so on). They are now waking up 1-2 times a night and it’s mostly just Liam. I know in the grand scheme of things that isn’t very much and there’s probably some of you that would beg for your kids to only wake up twice. We are dealing with it and I’m not upset about them getting some extra feeding in because they need to gain weight. They are definitely on the lower end for weights.

All in all though they are some pretty great babies. We’ve fallen into a pretty good routine for the most part and we have started figuring each other out. I broke out my TwinGo carrier and did a tandem front/back carry. They approved and it’s probably going to end up being one of my go to fussy time things. Love our babies so much! What more can I say?

And now for the backlog of pictures…

            

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    They are now in their own cribs! Poor Nora.

           

                      

    Easter

        

    Daddy trying the ring sling. “Are you sure you know how to do this, dad?”

                 

4 Months Old

Here’s another picture heavy, long overdue update. The babies are now 4 months old and I can’t believe how fast time goes by. Liam is up to 9lbs 7oz and Nora is 9lbs 5oz. They are both gaining adequately and we’ve completely done away with fortified breastmilk bottles and are just breastfeeding! For the most part they are very good babies. They have a fussy time for 1-2 hours right before bedtime and sometimes randomly throughout the day but nothing out of the norm. They are good nighttime sleepers already. Technically their adjusted age is 2 months since they were so early. They are both doing well holding their heads up and are precious with their smiles and babbling.  We are still just so in love with these two.

2 Months Old!

2 Months Old!

Baths! 2 Months Old.

Baths! 2 Months Old.

Thanksgiving 2014

Thanksgiving 2014

Thanksgiving 2014. Dad was overseas for work- boo!

Thanksgiving 2014. Dad was overseas for work- boo!

3 Months!

3 Months!

Picture with Santa.

Picture with Santa.

Christmas Card 2014

Christmas Card 2014

Nora

Nora

Liam

Liam

Nora and her pup, Sasha.

Nora and her pup, Sasha.

Christmas Nora

Christmas Nora

Christmas Liam

Christmas Liam

Christmas 2014

Christmas 2014

What Liam thinks about his feisty sister sometimes.

What Liam thinks about his feisty sister sometimes.

Nora's monkey hair!

Nora’s monkey hair!

Bath! 4 Months Old.

Bath! 4 Months Old.

4 Months!

4 Months!

2 Babies, 46 NICU Days and 1 Happy Family!

I know I’m horrible for not updating for such a long time! To say I’ve been busy is an incredible understatement! I had been updating family and friends on a Facebook page that I created for the babies. (If any of you are interested, let me know on here and I can privately email you a link.) I’ll try to make this long story short and post lots of cute baby pictures instead!

   We all came home together as a family on Sunday, 11/2/2014 after 46 days in the NICU. Liam and Nora were 37 weeks and 2 days at discharge. Both babies progressed very well in the NICU for their gestational age. Nora had a bit of a delay while she overcame some feeding intolerance issues but quickly caught up with her brother. We ended up being transferred to the facility that I work at which has private rooms. Liam was discharged before Nora but we were both able to stay (live in) the hospital for 6 days until we all went home together. 
   It has been quite an adventure being home with twins but I’ve had some great help and I can’t imagine it any other way. Will is such a great father. He does diaper duty and even wakes up for some night feedings so we can both get a tiny bit of sleep. He has had to travel off and on since we’ve been home and I’m so thankful to have my mom, sister and grandmother close by for help.
   Liam and Nora have been doing so well at home. We have mastered tandem breastfeeding and both are gaining weight with a couple feedings a day of fortified breast milk. My one shining achievement is that they’ve never had anything except my breast milk from birth. It’s been a lot of hard work! They had their 2 month immunizations today. Both are over the 6lb mark. My official due date would have been two days from now on 11/20/14. 
   Enough with the words. Here are some pictures from the remainder of our journey!
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Liam (L) and Nora (R).

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Nora and Liam during bath time.

Nora and Liam holding hands.

Nora and Liam holding hands.

Liam snuggling with daddy.

Liam snuggling with daddy.

Liam's long fingers.

Liam’s long fingers.

Mommy and Nora when she was sick.

Mommy and Nora when she was sick.

One Month! Nora was puffy from fluid retention when she was sick. Poor girl!

One Month! Nora was puffy from fluid retention when she was sick. Poor girl!

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Nora and mommy.

Nora and mommy

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Liam

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9 Days Old

Just a quick update!

Liam: He had a rough go in the beginning. He was briefly intubated on low settings with umbilical lines in place and then went to a lesser form of support called NIPPV then CPAP. After he was extubated and his umbilical line was removed they inserted a PICC line. He is currently on a high flow nasal cannula and his PICC line was pulled and fluids discontinued because he is tolerating full feedings via NG tube!

Nora: Was on NIPPV and then CPAP and is also currently on a high flow nasal cannula and her PICC line was pulled and fluids discontinued because she is tolerating full feedings via NG tube!

As many of you know, I’m actually a neonatal ICU nurse so this is what I do for a living. It was been a whole new experience seeing it from a mommy’s perspective. I know I’ll be able to take from this experience to give even better care when I return back to work. My husband says he doesn’t know how he would deal with this if I wasn’t a NICU nurse. He says he just looks at my face to gauge if he should be worried or not. All in all I am thrilled with the progress we’ve seen in our strong little babies!

They are 32 weeks today so we will be in the NICU for a minimum of another 3 weeks. And now the fun part.. Here’s a bunch of pictures!

My first time holding both of my loves together…

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Looking at my husband as I hold both of my babies together for the first time. Such an amazing moment…

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Best. Feeling. Ever.

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Daddy holding both babies…

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Nora and her gigantic (normal sized) paci…

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Nora and Liam in their first outfits and doing well!

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Introducing Nora and Liam!

After a weekend of lots of contractions, I was admitted late Monday night for contractions about 10 minutes apart. I had some major thinning of the cervix but never progressed past 1cm. Over the course of the next couple of days I had 2 doses of betamethasone to speed up fetal lung maturity. The contractions became excruciating and I was in pain even between contractions. My OB decided to start me on mag sulfate and transfer me to their other facility that had a higher acuity NICU just in case. My temp was in the 97’s upon transfer, 99’s upon arrival at the other facility an quickly shot up to 102. The contractions were about every 2-4 minutes and the babies and I were becoming tachycardic. It was decided that I had chorio and they recommended a stat c-section as baby B had turned breech and I was so sick. I had an excellent team of doctors, nurses and anesthesiologists and everything happened very quickly and went very well. I’m feeling so much better!
Nora was born 9/17/14 at 1653 weighing 3lbs 7oz and 15.3″ long. Liam was born 9/17/14 weighing 3lbs 14oz and 16.5″ long. They are both in the NICU on antibiotics and CPAP and have both received surfactant. They are tolerating it well and weaning O2.
I’ll share a more detailed story and updates in the next couple of days. Just wanted you all to know! (Nora is top picture and Liam is bottom)

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Weeks 21-27 Update

So much has happened during my last update that I’m not even sure where to start. I’ll try to make this post less words and more pictures with captions! Those are always more fun to look at, right?

Here we go!

Weeks 21 & 22 were fairly uneventful. I felt pretty good and continued working as usual after getting home from our camping trip. 

Week 23 started out good and then I started contracting regularly late on a Friday night. I kept track of them and they were becoming about 7 minutes apart. I tried warm baths, chugging water and laying on my left side. None of it helped. Of course, Murphy’s Law, Will was on a plane back from Tokyo at the time. I had talked to him when I started contracting but tried to put his mind at ease and told them that they would probably subside. I knew that there was nothing he could do and it would be better for him to rest on the flight and come in as soon as he got back if needed vs. staying awake worrying about something he couldn’t do anything about. (He wasn’t happy with my decision but I still stand by it! It makes sense in my head!!) The hospital (where I work and where I’ll deliver) is only about 4-5 minutes away so I drove myself (the doctor scolded me for that) because I knew I was just going to be placed on monitors and given meds. My mom lives 2 blocks away from me and I figured I would call her if needed instead of making her stay awake all night in a chair watching my contractions on a monitor. 

   My contractions started to get even closer together so they gave me an intramuscular dose of terbutaline followed by an oral dose. The babies looked great the entire time and there was no cervical change so I was sent home the next morning after the contractions stopped. (BTW, Terbutaline is no joke. It made my heart race and made me jittery!) When the doctor came in to see me prior to discharge I got the “you shouldn’t work any more” talk and we agreed to try just one shift per week.

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Week 24 Still had contractions off and on but never more than 5/hr which was acceptable.. Until I worked my 1 shift for the week. I starting contracting at work and they sent me home. I kept contracting frequently throughout the next day so I called the on-call doctor. She was busy in a delivery so we put the cribs together while waiting for her call! (nothing made the contractions better or worse, so why not?) As I thought, she told me to come in. This time Will went with me. Same routine. Monitors, terbutaline then home. Ultrasound showed no cervical change still and the babies looked great. The babies gained 1lb. 10oz. in the past month between them, I gained 1 pound in the last month- the doctor WAS happy with that! And.. I got told that my working days were over until after delivery. I was bummed about it but I’ll do what is best for these little ones!

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Baby Girl A: 1lb. 11oz at 24 weeks and 3 days

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Baby Boy B: 1lb. 14oz. at 24 weeks and 3 days (and folded like a pretzel in this picture)

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Weeks 25-26 were thankfully mostly uneventful. I found myself getting easily worn out and sore. Not contracting more than what’s acceptable. My mom helped me clean and get everything ready for my baby shower. The nursery had been painted so Will and I put most of the room together so it would be ready for the shower as well! We celebrated my grandmother’s 80th birthday and I got to swing with my cousin who is due about 5 weeks after me with a little boy! (Pictures at 26 weeks and 2 days)

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26 week 3D ultrasound that was AWFUL! Here are the only 2 somewhat distinguishable pictures..

Nora

Liam

Week 27 was baby(ies) shower week! I’m so thankful that we decided to do it a little early because I’m in a good amount of discomfort as I write this post almost a week later. We had a nice time celebrating these two little lives with friends and family. We feel very fortunate and blessed to have such a great support system. 

   We had a couple’s brunch with chicken and waffles, cinnamon rolls, egg/hash brown/bacon casserole, fruit, a bloody mary bar and a mimosa bar. We had a lot of fun and hope that everyone else did as well. Here are some pictures from the shower (27 weeks and 2 days) and some of the partially completed nursery.

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“We’re what happened in Vegas” black and pink twin onesies. (Our IVF doctor is in Las Vegas)

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Daddy and our fur girls worn out from the shower.

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Still waiting for daddy’s nursery must-have to arrive: a flat screen smart TV to put above the dresser so he can Skype with all of us a little easier when he’s traveling.

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Some friends invited us to a Chief’s game later that evening so here’s a picture from Nora and Liam’s first game!

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The day after the shower, I finally went swimming for the first time and it felt. so. good!

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Today I completed the dreaded 1hr glucose tolerance test. Results should be back for my appointment on Friday.

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How far along: 27 weeks and 6 days today!

Maternity clothes: Still some maternity and some non-maternity! (most of the pants/shorts are definitely maternity!)

Stretch marks: None yet. I’m just waiting.. eekkee!!

Sleep: HA! Still frequent bathroom trips. It’s becoming more and more uncomfortable. Even rolling over seems so difficult!

Best moment of this week: Celebrating Nora and Liam with friends and family at our shower.

Miss anything: Still the same food in addition to actually being able to eat a meal, paint my own toes and the ability to sit up straight. 

Movement: SO much movement. Will can feel them and see them move often. They are most active late at night. They are getting so big that some of the movement hurts, especially when there are 4 legs and feet lodged in my ribs!

Food cravings: Not particularly. It’s hard to eat more than a few bites at a time. 

Anything making you queasy or sick: nope!

Have you started to show yet: I’m pretty sure.

Gender: Girl and Boy!!!

Labor signs: Still contracting off and on but no more than 4-5 in an hour. 

Discomforts: Occasional heartburn, general feeling of no room left, awful rib/back pain beneath my shoulder blades. Nothing I can’t handle although I’m going to try to get in to see the chiropractor for the first time since I’ve been pregnant.

Belly button in or out: In-ish… In certain positions I can see it start to protrude a bit. It’s mostly flattened out more than anything. The skin around it feel so thin and soft.

Wedding rings on or off: On. They were a little snug a couple days when it was 95+ degrees here.

Happy or moody most of the time: Happy!!!

Looking forward to: Getting the rest of the house ready for these little ones to arrive and as always, our next ultrasound!

Week 20 Update

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I am officially ½ way through this pregnancy. Time has started speeding up and I’m finding myself feeling rushed to finish preparing. We are almost ready to paint the nursery so we can get the boxed cribs out of our entry! I haven’t been able to resist buying some gender specific items, mostly clothing. Will isn’t very fond of the selection for boys. He asked me why they couldn’t just make black onesies! He’s going to have a rude awakening because I can’t avoid the cute stuff for much longer!

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   Apparently I look like I’m well over ½ way. We were getting everything ready for our trip and we had a lock guy working on one of the trailer locks and he said, “Are you going to go camping before the baby gets here?” I replied, “Yes”. He said, “Well, you’d better hurry!!” OHH really? Can’t imagine what people will be saying to my face and behind my back 5, 10, and hopefully 15 weeks from now!

   We were trying to figure out some place fun to go on one of our last pre-baby trips. We were thinking about doing something in Finland or Singapore but my OB said absolutely not. We thought about a beach trip, but we have done so many of those. We decided that we would take our little trailer to South Dakota over the 4th to camp for a few days. This trip was dual purpose. Our little girls (our dogs) are both 11 years old and we wanted to do something that included them, as it could be one of their last trips as well. We all had such a fun, relaxing time. It was gorgeous and the weather was great! I did pretty well through the trip other than a little swelling. Will really is the best husband. He drove the entire way and took care of everything!

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IMG_4818    We had our second anatomy scan yesterday and it went very well. Both of the babies and my cervix look perfect. Both of the babies are measuring about a week larger but since my dates are undoubtedly correct, they said that just means that they are healthy babies and the placentas are doing their job well! Baby Girl A had flip flopped and is now breech. Baby Boy B was transverse but is now head down. Their heads are meeting in the middle because she is low and he is high. During the ultrasound, they were rubbing foreheads/faces. It was pretty cute!

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 Baby Girl A: Still a girl! She has her bottom pressed right against my cervix and was mooning us!   Weight: 15oz. and Heart Rate: 155

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Baby Boy B: Still definitely a boy!   Weight: 1 POUND and Heart Rate: 150

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Here’s the belly growing even more! This was last night at a friend’s birthday party. 

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How far along: 21 weeks and 3 days today.

Maternity clothes: Maternity pants, for sure. Still wearing non-maternity skirts, dresses, etc.

Stretch marks: Nope!

Sleep: Going better most nights.

Best moment of this week: Seeing our little girl and boy on ultrasound again and having a great trip with my husband!

Miss anything: Still the same. Exercise, being able to lift things, alcohol, **Jimmy Johns**, cold lunch meat in general, bleu cheese and caffeine. Also, not having to know where all bathrooms are and sleeping on my back and stomach.

Movement: Feeling movement pretty regularly with some defined kicks. I’ve felt kicks from the outside but Will has yet to feel one.

Food cravings: Just food in general. And ice cream!

Anything making you queasy or sick: Not really. I have a problem with still thinking I can eat a decent sized meal and then I get uncomfortable because there’s no room for it!

Have you started to show yet: Ohhh yes.

Genders: Baby A is a GIRL and Baby B is a BOY!!!

Happy or moody most of the time: Happy! Happy! Happy!

Looking forward to: Getting the nursery set up and daddy being able to feel some kicks!

Symptoms: Heartburn, getting sleepy again, round ligament and back pain. Swelling in feet and ankles. 

Week 16 Update and Gender Reveal

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   We received some pretty exciting news this week at our ultrasound! Baby A is a GIRL and Baby B is a BOY! At the last U/S the tech originally says B/G and then by the end was saying B/B. I was preparing myself for boys and life with no bows or ruffles but she was right with the first pass! We are thrilled! Best of both worlds. We truly feel blessed after this long journey. Praying for continued health for the little ones and myself, as the journey is not over yet!

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Image   Both babies looked great on ultrasound and everything measured perfectly and was in its place. Baby Girl A was wiggling all around and kicking her brother in the head. Baby Boy B was very active as well and working his legs out by kicking momma! Both babies measured one week ahead but since we know my dates are absolutely correct, the tech said it looks like they will just be long babies- tall like their daddy! Baby A weighed 186g and Baby B weighed 192g, which are both 7oz. The babies had exactly the same heart rates again at 147! Little girl was modest in her gender determination shot while little boy was letting it all hang out. Such a boy already!

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How far along: 16 weeks and 6 days today.

Maternity clothes: A mixture. Maternity pants, for sure. Still wearing non-maternity skirts, dresses, etc.

Stretch marks: Not yet. Itchy though!

Sleep: Dealing with nighttime insomnia and potty breaks.

Best moment of this week: Seeing our little girl and boy on ultrasound and having my husband home after an extended trip.

Miss anything: Still the same. Exercise, being able to lift things, alcohol, **Jimmy Johns**, cold lunch meat in general, bleu cheese and caffeine. 

Movement: Feeling movement pretty regularly but not completely defined yet to where I can determine who is who. 

Food cravings: Not really. 

Anything making you queasy or sick: Not really although meat generally doesn’t sound appealing.

Have you started to show yet: Ohhh yes.

Genders: Baby A is a GIRL and Baby B is a BOY!!!

Happy or moody most of the time: Happy! Happy! Happy!

Looking forward to: Getting the nursery set up, doing some shopping, feeling more defined movements and of course seeing them next time.

Symptoms: Horrible heartburn, insomnia and still a few headaches. I’ve started getting round ligament pain but nothing too bad. 

 

We had chosen to have a wonderfully talented lady named Beth create the art piece above for us to use as part of our gender reveal. We wanted to incorporate our house and our dogs, Sasha and Gigi. We love what she created. Check her out at http://penelopeinmypocket.com