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Nesting and Resting (A Pregnancy Update)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

On Sunday I hit 30 weeks, which is technically "any day now" territory for twins. And, much to my own surprise, I'm quite calm about it. A week ago my doctor told me that everything looks good and there is no reason to worry about preterm labor. The girls are big for their age and perfectly healthy. Cutting back my hours at work has allowed me to rest more and overall made my life much easier.

But what is really letting me rest easy, both literally and figuratively, is that I now feel prepared enough should the babies decide to surprise everybody and come early. The babies are over 3 pounds each which is well into viability, given the wonders of modern medicine. They would need to spend a good deal of time in the NICU but their chances of survival are very high and their chances of having normal lives are also very high. I have bought or ordered everything we need to welcome the babies home and the house is in good enough shape to receive them. That doesn't mean that the house is where I want it - there's still a lot of organizing and a little furniture moving left - but we have proper places to feed, bathe, change, and sleep them. I've reached out to postpartum doulas (we plan to hire part time help for at least 3-4 weeks since neither of our families live nearby) and started packing my hospital bag.

So I feel like I have successfully met at least the bare minimum of baby baking and preparedness and it's a great feeling. Everything from here on in is a bonus - I've done my job well and everything will be just fine.

Edit: Of course I don't want the babies to come yet - I'm still hoping to hold out for another 6-8 weeks - but I have a feeling of peace and faith that no matter what happens from here on out, everything will be fine.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KITHKINCAID 11/13/2012 9:06PM

    You're so good at baby baking I'm hedging my bets on 2 six plus pound kids. :)

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MERRIKATE 11/13/2012 7:17PM

    Absolutely smile-making, JJ, and I mean smiles from the depth of my heart. How great for you to feel peace, and thus to extend it to Himself (Irish for spouse, not God!) and -- above all -- to your daughters themselves. All those happy hormones may have awesome longterm benefits. A fine, fine milestone, this. And every day toward twin-term -- now only 6 -8 weeks away -- blesses all of you further. LOVE it. A lot.

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KT-NICHOLS-13 11/13/2012 6:52PM

    This is exciting news! Thanks so much for the update.
Hurray for being calm, relaxed and rested!!

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JBELICIOUS5 11/13/2012 6:30PM

    That's very exciting news!! Always a relief when they are in good shape for viability.

Look at you being so calm with the "any day now" possibility though!


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Survived the Storms and Had a Great Check Up Today

Friday, November 02, 2012

Hurricane Sandy was kind to DC; apparently she saved her wrath for places further north. A tree branch smacked the trunk of my husband's car and dented the trunk and smashed a tail light but that was the extent of the damage. The new roof repairs held and the basement stayed dry. We even kept power through the whole thing. So we got off very easily. And I'm grateful.

The other storm was *inside* my house. Last week's blogs mentioned some discord between DH and I over the state of our house and our general level of baby preparedness. As of Wednesday I thought we were through it but I was wrong. We had three more days of frustration. We finally cleared the air Saturday night - just before our friends' Halloween party, which was fortuitous. Sunday DH seriously swung into action and, with the help of some friends, reworked the bedroom to fit in a crib and changing table and empty a wardrobe for the babies' stuff. DH and his buddy started the big, involved, task of completely redoing the living room while my girlfriend and I shopped for organization stuff, then started putting the bedroom to rights. This weekend I'll post pics of our Halloween costumes and house progress pics. We know have places to sleep, change, and bathe babies. Next up is feeding and relaxing (thus the living room redo).

DH got a bad cold that morphed into a sinus infection in the midst of all this craziness. Inevitably, he passed it to me. The silver lining here is that we go to the same GP, who said he didn't need to see me to write a prescription since he was sure I had exactly what he'd seen DH for last week. I love practical doctors!

So the past 10 days or so have been a perfect storm and pretty nasty. But things are definitely looking up. This morning I saw the OB for a routine glucose test to check for diabetes, a sonogram, and a routine check up. The sugar rush has left me shaky and jittery most of the day, but I can deal with it. The sonogram went great! The girls are 2 pounds 15 ounces and 3 pounds 3 ounces each - big for 28 weeks! emoticon My check up went well, too - I am growing as I should be, weight gain is on track (203 - almost my start weight here at SP!), blood pressure looks good. The glucose test will let us know if we need to be worried about gestational diabetes, but right now there are no signs that I am prone to premature delivery. All excellent news!

The downside, which I discussed with the doctor, is that bigger babies make life harder for mama. Walking, standing, eating, breathing, and sleeping are getting harder. My doctor asked if I'm still working full time and I could tell by the look on her face that that wasn't going to last for long. Turns out I was quite correct: she wants me to cut back to half time effective Monday. Ironically, I'm so good at growing big, healthy babies that I have to slow down to make sure I bake them for long enough. Babies' size can trigger premature delivery, which we want to avoid. Honestly, the idea of half days is very appealing right now. I'm so tired all the time, traffic is beyond stressful, and I just can't keep up. Plus having more time at home will help me deal with my nesting crisis; I've been seriously stressing over our utter lack of preparedness since my baby shower 2 weeks ago, and it has got to stop. I figure having more time at home will make me feel like I'm making more progress - without wearing myself out.

So today has been a whirlwind of HR stuff but it is all done and I'm ready to cut back my hours. emoticon On that note, I'm going to go home and start my weekend. Have a great weekend, y'all!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MERRIKATE 11/5/2012 9:25PM

    What a wonderful blog update, Jennifer -- good outcomes all 'round, and BRAVO HOORAY and THANK GOODNESS for all of it! (If only my own having the horrid cold from chest to sinuses could've spared you yours, though!)

SO glad that you're now on reduced hours of work -- there is a primary task needing finishing, that's for sure.

Have my voice back, and can peer at a computer screen without too awful a price in eye-itchies! So, will take a peek at your photos to see if the new ones did get posted ...

hugs, as always!

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KATHIERAE 11/3/2012 11:12AM

    Oh my goodness--I remember the "storm" of getting ready for our first baby and truly can't imagine trying to figure out twins! Glad you are getting it done.

Also glad you are able to cut back on work hours. That will be healthier ALL the way around!

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KITHKINCAID 11/2/2012 7:04PM

    Yey for part time! MORE PICS :)

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TRAVELGRRL 11/2/2012 4:10PM

    So happy you get to go half time! I know you will enjoy the weeks coming up to get organized and REST!

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FAVORITEAUNT84 11/2/2012 3:58PM

    My goodness, sounds like there's a lot going on! I'm glad your Sandy damage was kept to a minimum!

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He's Finally Getting It!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Yesterday I complained about DH having a slight case of anal-cranal inversion regarding the arrival of our twins. Well, he's corrected the situation and is fully on board now. I am hugely relieved!

Last night we had a breakthrough over dinner. DH finally admitted that if the babies come at the beginning of my due range the upstairs will not be done but that it will be mostly done - except maybe the bathroom - if they come at the end of the range. Next he acknowledged a need for a plan B. He further admitted that I am not being rash or irrational - it is time to get the house ready for babies. I also told him that I've been bottling up the nesting instincts to give him time to finish the upstairs but now, with the clock winding down and the living stuffed literally floor to ceiling (see the third pic on my main page) the nesting instinct is in overdrive. And it's partially his fault for bottling it up. Ladies, he accepted that criticism! Whoa, I've married a good one!

As we all know, actions speak louder than words. DH has done the following things in the last 24 hours:

emoticon Organize the basement to make room both for baby stuff and things that will be supplanted by baby stuff.

emoticon Moved several large items that we won't need right away to the basement. The living room is A LOT less cluttered now than that crazy picture! I can even walk all the way through the house without bumping my belly on anything (not the case yesterday).

emoticon Installed both car seats in my car. Not only does this get them out of the house - a critical consideration - but it also means we're ready to transport babies home when the time comes. Eventually the car seats need to go into a yet-to-be-purchased minivan. But one thing at a time; at least Plan B is in place.

emoticon Finished prepping the hot tub, which I've been asking him to do for a month. Floating is a big relief for me and the babies like it. We keep the tub at a mere 1.3 degrees warmer than human body temperature, so a 20 minute soak is perfectly safe for me.

emoticon Discussed my plan for home babyification (I make my own words). He even had helpful, constructive ideas!

emoticon Researched pediatricians and sent me a link for a practice that looks perfect. It's close to home, highly rated on Angie's List, and the doctors have privileges at the hospital I'll be delivering at. The babies' pediatrician will check them out immediately after birth and again before releasing them, at a bare minimum. And their pediatrician will treat them in the NICU if that is necessary. The practice even offers welcome seminar for expectant parents!

This week has been going a bit better, in terms of how I'm feeling. My acid reflux and lower body pain are under control for the moment and I'm getting adjusted to waking up every hour or so to flip over. (This is a production these days: I have to flip my giant maternity pillow to my opposite side, mostly sit up, haul my belly over to the opposite side, and lay down again. Usually I pull all the covers over to my side in the process. I can't just pause on my back because it hurts and causes acid reflux. The whole thing is ridiculous and funny - and DH somehow manages to sleep through it all!) Both Monday and yesterday I went for a walk. Tonight we're going grocery shopping, which I currently find strenuous enough to count as exercise, lol. I've been alert enough to be productive at work and have enough energy to tend to small things when I get home, for the first time in a long time. I am sincerely hoping this lasts!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

1MANKNEY 10/24/2012 8:07PM

    Twins! How exciting! Glad Daddy is now on board. It can make a big difference! I have ten children and 2 stepchildren, 34 grandkids, and 7 great grand kids with one more due in November. I got all of them one at a time. Congratulations to you for getting the Daily Double! emoticon

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MERRIKATE 10/24/2012 7:20PM

    Aha -- Jen, how terrific a development for both of you, nay for all Four of you! Methinks this man may be the gentle-Papa Bear sort whose natural way is to wait to be called upon by Mama Bear! When she 'pulls him in," he KNOWS heart-deep that he is Needed and Adored for his contribution, thus very much a central part of the family. My spouse told me that pregnancy evolved to be nine months not so much for gestation as for the father to get used to being part of what he'd only helped start!! I can imagine your husband loving the sense (even if it's an illusion!) that he is the Sun-Dad with his beloved 'Girls' revolving around his warmth like happy planets!

Love it... even grocery chores will feel so much bettah tonight! BLESSINGS, you Dears!

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KITHKINCAID 10/24/2012 3:49PM

    Oh good! Breathing a sigh of relief for you!

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BLITZEN40 10/24/2012 3:42PM

    Fantastic that you have such a caring supportive hubby!

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OLIVIANIGHT 10/24/2012 3:38PM

    Aw bless, he sounds like a keeper for sure : )

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Disappearing Act

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Yesterday my lovely Sparkfriend MERRIKATE reminded me that it's been over a month (!) since I last blogged and asked me for an update - and she's not the only one who's asked how I've been lately. And I know that I owe you guys pictures. I've got some good recent ones of me but the babies' sonograms are getting more boring because they're too big to photograph at the same time.

The unvarnished truth: the last month has been HARD. And when things get hard, I pull back into myself and go incommunicado so I had no idea that it had been so long since I blogged or posted photos.

All is well. My 24 week appointment was excellent and all three of us are growing apace. The babies are big enough now that if the unthinkable happened there is a very good chance the doctors could save them. Yes, I think about these things. And no, it doesn't stress me out. To the contrary, it's a comfort. The trouble with a perfectly normal, textbook twin pregnancy - especially over the age of 30 - is that it gets downright uncomfortable for mama. And much earlier than you'd think. The past month has brought me difficulty in eating, sleeping, walking, and standing. My acid reflux is newly and barely under control, as is my back/hip/glute pain. But I'm taking the most powerful over-the-counter antacid and wearing the most intense maternity support belt I can find. If they begin to fail me over the next 3-11 weeks I have left I don't know what else I can try. Here's hoping I don't have to find out!

The state of my house is also making me crazy, particularly in the past few days. My husband started a massive renovation project 2.5 years ago that he only got serious about after I got pregnant. At 27 weeks we still don't have electricity, air conditioning, heat, or plumbing, let alone walls and floors, in the space intended for our bedroom, bathroom, and nursery. My due window is 30-38 weeks - a mere three weeks away! And I've had two baby showers at which friends and family were extremely generous (twins seem to bring that out in people). The living room looks like a Babies R Us exploded in there - we don't have a place for any of the things we received. So I started a long, slow meltdown on Saturday and have been hounding my husband since then. And he didn't seem to get it. I'm so stressed and sick of the situation that last night I couldn't sleep for thinking about it. So I got up and drew up a comprehensive plan. 2 or 3 girlfriends are coming by on Sunday to help me rearrange the existing space - one bedroom, an office, a small living room, and a tiny kitchen, so that we can house, feed, bathe, and generally care for two tiny humans, two big humans, and two cats. In 700 square feet. It's been done before and I know we can do it, too. I left my husband a list of things that need to go to a basement and a four-item honey do list. He worked on basement organization to make room for the stuff I want down there for now and started on the honey do list. He also said he wants to go over the plan I made last night. Having him finally on board and helping makes me feel, oh, a zillion times better.

The upside to all this is that the babies are getting noticeably bigger and stronger. DH can now feel them through his belly when we snuggle and people can see them moving from across the room. The bad news is that they have started to put serious pressure on me and Blueberry has gotten up under my rib cage. She also pushes against one particular spot when she thinks I've been standing or walking too long - to the point that it's tender to the touch. I'm pretty sure she's bruised me from the inside. Even the positive things come with a downside these days. [sigh]

I talked to my doctor and my HR department and we are going to cut my hours back to 30 hours a week; I simply can't keep up with a full time schedule anymore. I'm too tired and uncomfortable. Because I'm doing this at doctor's orders I can use the medical leave bank and still keep my full time benefits and pay, which is wonderful. We're hoping to gradually scale back my work tour and avoid bed rest altogether. DH has told me to stop thinking and talking about bed rest because I will cause it to come to pass. I retorted that 70% of moms of multiples end up on bed rest and that if the weather forecast called for a 70% chance of rain he'd bring an umbrella. Thusly I am preparing. That shut him up, lol.

Some days are better than others. Today was a pretty good day - I was productive at work and even went for a short walk. But even on good days everything is just harder than it used to be. Which is fine because this will all be worth it eventually. The process sucks, though, and I hate to complain. And since I don't have much else to talk about, I've been keeping it to myself (and DH and two mommy mentors). But as MERRIKATE pointed out, we're here to support each other. So I should pop by more often even if things are rough. At the very least you can try to make me feel better. :)

Drop by my page and let me know how all of you are doing!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JBEAUFORD 10/23/2012 10:42PM

    I just came across your blog and you are such a strong mama already! I have four kids, my last one came at a surprising 30 weeks. The things doctors can do are truly amazing and I shared the nicu with 23 week twins who left happy and healthy just tiny right after we left. Have faith and don't let stress of your house get to you. I lived in a renovation nightmare for nearly a year and it drove me crazy and I wasn't even pregnant so I can only imagine how you are coping. Just remember that babies have tons of stuff but they really just need diapers and mommy and daddy to snuggle them for the first bit. :) don't let the other stuff infringe on the joy of having them. You will make it! Just eat tums like candy and sit whenever you can! Looking forward to your upcoming blog posts!

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KT-NICHOLS-13 10/23/2012 10:36PM

    YA, love the update. Looking forward to seeing a few photo's!

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MERRIKATE 10/23/2012 9:57PM

    Wellllllllll worth the wait, this blog, JenJess, you Trooper you! Warms me all over to read of the details of this stage of your wait for the duo to be born. Doubled discomforts of body and emotions quite par for the course AND 'exhausticating'!

Admirable solutions to the space dilemma, too -- and that kind of adjustment will naturally be an ongoing thing as the new area becomes functional and the little girls grow. Newborns do not require much room at first, and watch this: when Daddikins falls in love with his tiny daughters at first sight and first embraces, that construction work may just go a whole lot faster!

I am going to be shameless and beg you to blog every week, or post a short bulletin twice a week, 'cause we DO want you to share the challenges. Even daily would be lovely, eh ... -- speaking for myself, I am hopelessly nosy about it all -- both so that I can send you unceasing & specifically-targeting support-vibes and so that I can imagine your feeling better for putting the facts out here.

And the long-awaited photos too -- MERCI BEAUCOUP for taking the trouble to get them up here. Love 'em, and You too.


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USMAWIFE 10/23/2012 9:20PM

    can't wait to see pictures of those twins. Two friends just had twins a week apart seems like more are happening these days

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KITHKINCAID 10/23/2012 6:18PM

    Pictures!!! I'm glad you seem to be coping and dealing with regular life stress on top of two baby stress. Almost there! I'm so excited to see these two beauties :)

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TRAVELGRRL 10/23/2012 5:04PM

    emoticon PS -- Keep "baking" those twins as long as possible! Blueberry sounds like a handful already. Until she knew it was a girl, my daugher called her fetus "Tad" short for Tadpole. You guys -- way to have fun and enjoy the experience! My daugher is 32 and I'm so excited for those of you who REALLY wait until you are ready and can enjoy.

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TRAVELGRRL 10/23/2012 4:57PM

    Thank you SO MUCH for your update! Keep your chin up, even in the worst of circumstances it's only 3/4 of a year; WELL WORTH the blessings that are coming your way!

My daughter is pregnant (as I keep telling you!) and you've given me a preview of what's to come. She only is pregnant with one, and we found out this week it's a girl!! They will name her Rebecca Joyce.

What great family and friends you have! TOYS R US in your living room isn't a bad thing with twins! emoticon

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Where I've Been

Friday, September 14, 2012

I've been pretty scarce for the last month or so, but all is well. In a nutshell, 3 weeks ago was a very rough week, 2 weeks ago was hectic, last week was blissful, and this week I've been catching up and getting back to normal.

The best news: my last check up, on Monday, went great and the anatomy scan went perfect. Both babies have all their parts, except for maybe Blueberry's right hand - she refused to move it from behind her head, so the sono tech couldn't count her fingers. The tech tapped on my belly to make her move and Blueberry kicked her legs but resolutely kept that hand tucked behind her head. Yeah, she's stubborn like Mommy, lol, and likes to sleep just like Daddy. DH and I are already kicking around names and we think we might name Blueberry after a very dear, departed family member who was known for her independence, sense of humor, and lust for life. We're aware that we may be asking for karmic trouble but I think we're going to risk it!

Yes, I said "her"! Both babies are girls! And no, we're not sharing the names until the babies are born. We reserve the right to change our minds! DH started talking about having a matching set of twin boys, preferably close in age to the girls, over lunch immediately after our appointment. I looked at him like he'd completely lost his mind, sighed, shook my head, and refused to respond. This is what I call a self-correcting problem: he will change his mind after he knows how much it takes to look after one set of twins! He also thinks we can move to a bigger house once the twins are about six months old...another self-correcting problem. I've always said my husband was wonderful, not sane, lol.

Three weeks ago I had the week from hell. Sunday night I barely slept and woke up with back pain and bad acid reflux. This lasted until Tuesday night and Wednesday I woke up with a mini-migraine, complete with light and sound sensitivity. Add in two doctor's appointments and I had to took a bunch of time off - time I don't have and wouldn't be willing to spend, anyway, because every day I'm away from work now is a day less I have to spend with my babies later. So I worked late all week to make up the time and planned to make up the balance on Saturday.

Notice I said "planned." A car incident Friday night short-circuited the plan. I am fine and both babies are fine! The airbags didn't deploy and the seatbelt didn't grab me, so I didn't even go to the hospital. At that point I didn't feel the babies move every day but come Monday I felt them strongly so I wasn't worried. The sonogram this past Monday confirmed my instincts.

So what happened? In short, a spare wheel flew off the back of a truck while we were traveling at 50 miles an hour on the interstate. Not a tire - an entire wheel. Thank goodness I've had extensive driving training and knew what to do: swerve to get the tire under my car, where it can do the least amount of damage. The truck - a big one used by construction and landscaping companies - didn't even stop or pull over. But I had to: I immediately saw smoke and smelled burned rubber.

To make things even better, my cell phone was almost out of battery and DH was on a business trip to the west coast. So I called him, told him what had happened, and asked him to call AAA (thank goodness we're members!). He told me where he'd squirreled away the charger for my iPhone - not in a place where I ever would have found it myself, lol. So I called AAA and then the insurance company. The AAA dispatcher was a sweet Southern woman. She asked me if I'd inspected the damage myself and I said no, I'm on the shoulder of the Interstate, cars are whipping past at 50 miles an hour, and I'm 5 months pregnant so I'm not comfortable getting out of the car. Bless her heart, she said, "Oh honey, don't worry about it! I'll put you at the top of the queue and tell the tow truck driver you're pregnant!" And she did - he was there in 20 minutes (!!!!!!) and stood between me and the traffic so I could get out and climb into his truck.

While waiting for the tow truck I called a local friend and asked if she or her hubby could rescue me. She said certainly - even though she has a baby of her own, her husband had just walked in the door, and she was putting dinner on the table. I held it together and calmly and efficiently dealt with AAA, the tow truck driver, the dealership we took my car to, and the insurance company. But I almost broke down when my friend showed up with leftovers from her dinner, utensils, cookies, and a gift of yarn she'd bought for me while visiting her brother in Oregon. She stayed with me until she was sure I was both calm and well, then went home to her own family around 9. I am so truly blessed to have friends like that!!!!

The next week was much better but hectic because DH was on his aforementioned business trip. Not only did I have to keep after the house and feed myself but prepare to fly to Seattle for our babymoon. It's amazing how much you can accomplish when you don't have another choice - a valuable lesson for parenthood!

That Thursday I flew out to Seattle and DH flew from San Francisco and joined me in our hotel room. Friday morning we sailed to Alaska on a 7 night cruise! The trip was absolutely amazing. I'll post a separate blog, complete with pictures, this weekend. I'll also post new pictures of me - I've gotten a lot bigger - and sonos of the babies. This week I've been busy with all the usual post-trip stuff but feeling really well. The second trimester is finally turning out to be what it's cracked up to be!

I hope you're all doing well! Stop by and let me know!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LOTUSFLOWER 9/23/2012 1:25PM

    I am so glad that you and those precious girls are OK! The cruise sounds wonderful and i loved hearing about what's going on with you!!! I started a new job and can't get on Spark during work, so that's why I've been scarce. Love ya!

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MERRIKATE 9/15/2012 4:14PM

    What a tremendously suspenseful update, Jenn -- yikes! Thank goodness your best news -- the health of both wee girls -- came near the top. Yes, you are kind and merciful to your fans.
When I think of what might have happened when that wheel broke off the truck, it's hard to breathe -- your skills and any attendant guardian angels certainly worked wonders.

It is beyond admirable how you handled every step of the crisis situation, and, as you rightly observe, all of that proves you're ready for the challenges ahead. Got such a kick out of your spouse's enthusiastic dreams of twin boys asap to balance the family books -- yes, he will come to appreciate a big breather before that step! Waiting eagerly for the cruise tales and photos -- blessings of the brightest sort to all four of you. Love you, Girl!


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KATHIERAE 9/14/2012 5:52PM

    Oh my, hectic for sure!! So very glad you weren't hurt, and bless AAA and all involved in your rescue, especially the friend! So glad you are feeling well and had an awesome time in Alaska! I'm jealous too, but will look forward to your pictures!

Stay rested and try not to have any more hectic weeks if you can! emoticon

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USMAWIFE 9/14/2012 4:00PM

    sounds like a crazy time. Glad it slowed down for you.

Enjoy Alaska.. we lived there for two years and it was incredible.

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KITHKINCAID 9/14/2012 2:44PM

    OMG - so sorry to hear about the accident. But glad you and the babies are ok. And that your vacation was AFTER that so that you could calm down and relax about it. Alaska - you're the third friend in a month who's gone to Alaska. I'm totally jealous. Can't wait for the pics though!

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