32 weeks with twins {the cowgirl, the diesel, being high-centered & a family update}

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Well here we are: finishing up 32 weeks!  Just over 2 weeks till the safety point (avoiding the nicu), anything after 4 would be fabulous…please, please, boys come before March…it seems ever so far away!

the fam:
Everyone is hanging in there!

■ My mom helped out last week which was marvelous.  The kiddos enjoyed having her to themselves during the last of their Winter break.

■ We’re getting things ready: “oh, you’re nesting,” the designer exclaims, after my expressed desire to spruce up the studio. (The studio is adjacent to our bedroom). “Thank you”, I told him, “it just makes me so happy”. Well there you go…nesting at it’s best, I could have cared less a week ago! ;)

The dancer got her 1st shot & 1st round of antibiotics (ever) last night to clear up a staph infection from a sledding crash…grateful to Tiffany for spotting it so quickly merely from photos I sent her.

The explorer came down with croup and then two days later broke his wrist jumping out of the apple tree by Grandma’s …again, just tying up loose ends getting ready for these boys to arrive. Let’s get it all out now right!?

The designer went to take the builder to school on Thursday…lol, school didn’t start until Monday. The dancer was so very happy. I think it was the first smile she shared today (she loves school & was absolutely devastated to stay home…of course I don’t think the boys mind a bit)!

The designer is holding up amazingly well, keeping everyone happy & moving. He started refereeing church ball this week. I’m relieved he’s just through the field should anything start while he is there!
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28 & 31 week check ups:
■ Everything looking good, boys growing & me gaining…at 28 weeks I measured 33 weeks & at 31 I measured 36. (But we all know if she measured side to side we’d find an even greater measurement lol).

■ I’d gained another 7 pounds at 28 weeks & 5 more at 31weeks for a grand total of 39 pounds. In previous pregnancies I just stopped keeping track the last month or so. This time I know how crucial it is to give them the best I can nutritionally…which brings me to…

holiday dangers:

■ No, I’m not talking about all the sweets & goodies that they usually warn pregnant gals about…I’m talking about Turkey. Yup, too much turkey. Between Thanksgiving & New Year’s I think we mostly ate turkey & chicken. I remember telling the designer that I just wasn’t getting enough from the turkey…I was nauseated again every day & even sent him for a burger a couple times. Sure enough, when I went to see Richelle for my 31 week check up, I was low in iron. Mom started cooking red meat every day…I think the turkey leftovers got thrown out, & Richelle gave me some Garden of Life Raw Iron…feeling better already!

the boys

■ I’ve been baby mapping (paying attention to where they are in my belly, their orientation, etc.) Happily, they are both still head-down. All 3 of our other kiddos arrived posterior, or “sunny-side-up.” They were difficult labors with back-labor from the get-go. The one beautiful moment was the explorer turning at the last minute thanks to a position Richelle suggested. It made the end a breeze. I’d love to try to deliver these twins anterior…maybe even without the back-labor…well a girl can dream right?! Victoria reminded me there’s always hope and I’m going with it!

■ Baby A is much deeper within & still moving quite a bit, swinging his legs from my center to my right side. He is very sweet about it though, never too rough. Victoria says he’s definitely the bigger one of the two. He’s definitely taking advantage of all the space he can find ;).

■ Baby B is squished between his brother and I. Sometimes I worry about laying on my left side because I feel like we are sandwiching the poor kid. A couple months ago he would protest when he got poked or squished. I would gently rub my belly & talk with him a bit. Now he seems to have settled in, no more protesting, he doesn’t even move around as big as before. I like to think he finds comfort in his brother being there.

■ I’ve seen a video of twins fighting in the womb…these are sweet boys…nothing like that…yet. (Though no guarantees when they are out). We’re getting excited to meet them!

awkwardness:

■ There is something about having two heads between the hips of this 5′ gal…I’ve been waddling since the beginning but lately it has become quite comical. I have to swing my legs around during the process or they get stuck. I think I should get me some chaps, a hat, & a cap gun…seems appropriate!

■ Over the months I’ve found various ways to get on & off the bed. Mostly for variety I think, but I realized yesterday that I’m all out of tricks & only one works now. ;). To climb on, I back myself up like a diesel truck, slow & steady, swing my one leg up, leeean back & somehow swing the other up there. I only missed it a couple times…dangerous business this backing up of a diesel…!

■ Getting off the bed is also a feat: pushing a bit with my arms behind me, swinging both legs around till they teeter a bit off the side of the bed…making sure not to slide off too fast, & making a steady landing. Then I carefully stand up straight, of course with my legs wide, wait a minute to check my balance & then git my cowgirl walk a goin’. The dancer watched me yesterday, we laughed together, and she noted, “it’s hard getting up when you have twins!”

■ The cake of awkwardness right now is my somehow getting high-centered when trying to roll from one side, or my back, to the other. It is really perplexing but there it is! It just started & I’m not sure what to do about it…lol!
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most painful

■ Even more than my hips spreading to make room, it’s definitely been my ribs expanding that has caused the most pain (14 inches). There have been 4 strong episodes that were very difficult. We tried massage, a warm bath, & lavendar oil this last time (a week ago), but mostly it just took time…meanwhile it was so hard to breathe!

■ The 2nd most painful part for a while now is the lack of space/skin between this belly & my chest. There is no room for a brazier, & after wearing one for a while, my belly simply falls asleep!

■ Yet with all these struggles, I know we’ll make it & it could always be worse right? While at my appointment last week, one pregnant gal was dealing with candida & yeast infections…and another…gosh can’t remember, but she was sick with some sort of infection & on antibiotics. I can barely walk, but I’ll take it!

random oddities

■ The other night, the designer & I were readying for bed…he went to grab our laundry & when he got back I moaned a bit. “You ok?” he asked. “Oh yeah, I think I just pulled something,” I replied. “Just laying there?” he asked with surprise. I laughed, “I sneezed!”

■ ☆★☆ stars, stars, & more stars…I’ve never seen so many! It’s like being in a tweety bird cartoon. They circle around my head like a halo & I can’t quite pin-point the cause as it seems to occur ever so randomly!

We’re getting so close it seems, looking forward to being up playing with the kiddos outside, inside…reading together on my bed is nice, but so much more to look forward to very soon! What are you looking forward to most in the near future? xo ~ katrina
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surrounded by beauty & strength {gratitude for god’s handiwork}

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The kiddos return to school tomorrow.  It has been a long break.  Nothing like those of past, where after a warm breakfast together, Carl went off to work & the rest of us geared up to hit the slopes.  We’d x-country ski all morning, sometimes take a sack lunch on the trails…but usually make it back in time for lunch with their Dad. Then we’d cozy the afternoon away napping, reading, playing with Legos or trains, painting, & cooking. 

It was really what saved this California girl…it was what made me fall in love with all four Seasons & living in the Rocky Mountains.  Special time shared together inside & outside. I could have never predicted it would be skiing at Soldier Hollow…but I’m forever grateful.

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This year, of course, has been different.  Instead of playing outside with them in the snow, I’ve watched the kiddos build their snow forts & sled from inside our warm home…almost always from my bed. Grateful to an architect who understood our love of these surroundings & the desire to bring in the outdoors at every turn. 

I have felt the great strength & majesty of mother nature sweetly cradle these boys & I in her love & grace. Instead of feeling like a prisoner, I have felt blessed to enjoy her beauty each day. How grateful I am to a loving & all knowing Heavenly Father who knew just what would bring me peace at this time.

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Papa took Carl & the kiddos to visit our friends Dave & Joanne in Oakley for a horse-pulled sled ride.  They had a blast.  So many adventures to be had in this Winter Wonderland! What are some of your favorites? Enjoy it for me please!  xo – katrina

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when & what to eat when pregnant & nauseated…especially with twins!

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No doubt about it: being pregnant & nauseated is the worst part of pregnancy, I’ve always thought. I’m happy to say that with this twin pregnancy I have received the most support & feel like I understand now more than ever how to eat through pregnancy & that the differences actually helped with the nausea. More than anything, I hope this will help other prego gals out there with eating (even if they’re not suffering from nausea) ;) As always, chime in below & tell us what has/is working for you!

eating tips

Dr. Brewer’s pregnancy diet

A fabulous simple program. The website has even more wonderful resources.

- protein
Eating small meals or snacks every 2 hours or whenever my body told me that included protein seriously saves me (nuts, cheese, beans/legumes, eggs, meat, dark leafy greens, whole grains, protein shake/smoothies). I learned to never just eat a piece of fruit alone…I always had to have nut butter, yogurt or cheese with it. Protein…can’t emphasize it enough (with twins I am to eat 100 grams a day).

- follow your cravings
I was simply ravenous in the beginning, would eat a slice of quiche from our local coffee shop & walk another home for a couple hours later. Imagine how happy I was to find out they were twins later & needed all the protein I could get.

- salty, sweet, & sour
One of my midwives told me about this perfect combination. I found great relief adding lemon juice or a small amount of lemonade to my water (our tap water even made me throw-up in the beginning). I learned toward the end of my 1st pregnancy to salt my food. I had started to retain water & my blood pressure was off. It worked immediately…there are so many orher benefits, but we need good salt. Since then I happily add sea salt to my food.

- eat raw veggies before 2 pm
I was craving big salads but would lose it unless I ate it earlier in the day, had enough protein & added some hot soup

- hot foods
Hot/warm foods are easier for our body to digest…again, made a huge difference for me. At night I would cook all my veggies. Now in my 3rd trimester I can eat raw veggies and fruit again but only in small amounts & with something warm to aide digestion. I still try for the big salad at lunch.

- avoid cold food
I had to give up muesli at breakfast unless I cooked it and had a fried egg on the side. I also didn’t add ice to smoothies anymore.

- iron
Black strap molasses (key) & cooking with cast iron pans will help a ton. I put the molasses in hot oatmeal, protein shakes & pancakes (recipes below).

- minerals, vitamins & prenatals
I’ve had a hard time with prenatals till this pregnancy…in fact I gave them up because I would throw them up. Not good, I know. So I was relieved when the raw prenatals from Garden of Life worked! I think the difference has been, instead a taking chemical versions of everything, this company uses raw veggies & sprouts them. I’ll definitely continue to take their products while nursing. I’m taking their Vitamin code raw prenatal, Vitamin code raw calcium, and Raw Protein (in a smoothie)

- good oils & fats
I’m pretty much eating everything Richelle suggests this time…no skimping because of cost…I’m going for it this time around…never too late right!? So I’ve been taking a tbs of Udo’s Oil each day along with Nordic Naturals prenatal DHA. There are some great products out there, find what you feel best about & gi for it. I think small conscious choices can really provide the support pregnant moms & their babies need. ;)

- ginger & whole grain crackers
This never worked for me till I added the nuts & cheese though I know it works for many by itself.

- sugars
I’ve had to be careful with sugar, processed foods etc. I do better without it. But I also don’t beat myself up about having a bit…especially good chocolate, a bite of cheesecake or buttermilk pie during the holidays. Guilt is not good. Instead, I have a taste & get some protein ;).

Support
Not related to food, but things that helped balance hormones & curb nausea:

- acupuncture/accupressure has helped me so much with balancing my hormones. I can add Chinese Herbs, essential herbs & naet here as Tiffany has used all 4 techniques throughout my pregnancy. If all goes well (weather & her family schedule) she’ll be assisting/attending the birth & I couldn’t be happier…fingers crossed!

- viceral massage
Richelle (my midwife) had recommended me seeing Victoria with our 3rd, but with a 2 & 1 year old I didn’t know how to make it work. I should have made it a priority. Not only has Victoria helped relieve the nausea by supporting/healing affected organs, but she has helped relieve so much pain from my knee surgeries, & helped my body widen to make room for the boys (my ribs have expanded over 10 inches. ..seriously amazing). It also helped with my breathing difficulties…good to have more oxygen!

- brushing my teeth
Even at 30 weeks, I’m still gagging every time I brush my teeth…no matter the toothpaste. I started oil pulling with coconut oil last week: no gagging! I’ll let you know how that goes with more time.

- stress
Emotional stress, too many good things (like teaching French and volunteering at school…being too busy, working, too many commitments) affected me most. I realize there are some truly amazing women who can do it all. I admire them but have to realize that simplicity is what works best for me…sometimes just realizing our limits & potential is so important. :) No need to feel guilty wherever we lie on the spectrum…do our best with what we’ve been given = peace, joy, contentment & an optimal pregnancy!

recipes

daily raw protein smoothie
8 oz. almond coconut milk
1 banana
1 scoop garden of life raw protein powder (plain)
2 tbs chia seeds
2-3 tbs hemp hearts
1 tbs Mt. Capra goats mineral whey
1 tbs Udo’s Oil
1 tbs raw cacao
a handful or two spinach/kale

Blend & enjoy. I usually eat this for my mid morning snack…about 1 1/2 – 2 hours before lunch.

buckwheat spelt pancakes
3/4 cup buckwheat berries (ground into flour)
1 1/2 cups spelt berries (ground also)
2 1/4 cups almond coconut milk
2 large eggs
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
4 tbs black strap molasses
3-4 tbs hemp hearts
3 tbs chia seeds
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 stick melted butter

Combine all in blender until mixed thoroughly. Even better would be to soak the flour & seeds in the milk over night and then add the remaining in the morning. ;)  This is a double batch at least…makes about 4 cups of batter. I like to save at least half of it in a mason jar for another day. I will eat a couple of these with butter, nuts, fruit & a fried egg on the side.

Our kiddos get a kick out of the buckwheat grain…it’s just like out of a Dr. Seuss book!

May you find relief & figure out just what your body & babies need…it’s never too late. I was pretty sick all day today…finally had to send the designer for a cheeseburger at 7 pm tonight lol! xo – katrina

season of love

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Happiest of holidays dear friends & family.  This is my simple attempt at this year’s Christmas card. ;-)…hope it finds you well, warm, cozy, & surrounded by those you love most!

Early in our marriage (when I was overwhelmed with the hustle & bustle of the Holiday Season), Carl & I decided to make a conscious effort each year to simplify around the holidays: less decorating, less gifts & shopping, not worrying if we didn’t make it to every wonderful activity or event…more quiet moments by the fire cuddling, reading with the children & playing games together…and making time to feel & take part in the joy & love of our Savior. 

This Season has been extra special.  Realizing the big changes on the horizon (sweet boys arriving within the next couple months…or so), and due to some early excitement: the reality of needing help has made it even more clear that we needed simplicity more than ever this year. 

The result has been a very warm and grateful Christmas Season.  I am simply overwhelmed with the love that I feel from those around our family…

…those truly seeking to show their love & devotion to Christ…to celebrate His birth by giving & serving those around them.

We have been recipients of this great love. As I reflect on each sweet act of kindness…for a brief moment…I get an inkling of the complete awe Mary & Joseph must have felt as the love poured in from those who came to worship & bestow gifts to our Beloved Savior. 

Thank you dear friends for sharing that pure love you have for our Redeemer with our little family.  Truly what a priceless gift!

May we all benefit and partake this beautiful Season from His Unconditional Love, His Neverending Forgiveness, His Limitless Atonement,and His Ever-offering Peace.

much love to all,
The Bergs

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humility & gratitude for help with twins

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{Sorry if you’ve read part of this post already…I realized later that instead of saving the draft, it was published…another pregnant brain moment…oh the humility! }

This afternoon, two sweet young priests from our lds ward brought me the Sacrament.  I haven’t been to church for a few weeks now & it meant so much to me, that my eyes welled with tears as they finished the ordinance.  It was my first time receiving the Sacrament at home & I’d recently read Carole M. Stephens talk, Do We Know What We Have? , where she reminds us that:

“We need the opportunity to renew our covenants each week as we partake of the sacrament. Latter-day prophets and apostles have taught that when we worthily partake of the sacrament, we can renew not only our baptismal covenant but ‘all covenants entered into with the Lord.’”

What an honor it is to be a woman and a mother! And yet, other than making & keeping sacred covenants, I believe with all my ♥ that carrying & bearing children is one of the most important things I will do in my lifetime. 

We all have sacred, special missions…this is one of mine & I’m so very grateful for friends, neighbors, & family, who are helping me fullfill this great work. Truly, safely bringing these twins into the world could not happen without the kind, loving hands of all those around us. 
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In the same talk that was mentioned above, Sister Stephens retells a story President Boyd K. Packer once shared where he watched an oxen-pull contest: “The big blues were larger and stronger and better matched for size than the other team. But the little oxen had better teamwork and coordination. They hit the yoke together. Both animals jerked forward at exactly the same time and the force moved the load”

Pregnancy has always been a bit of a feat for this body of mine. After my 3rd reconstructive surgery, my doctor warned me that I’d have a difficult time having children.  I told him my mom had borne 6 naturally.  He said it was carrying them that would be difficult for me.

10 years later, I began to realize he was right. It has never been easy…of course twins have complicated it further.  In my ♥ I know that Heavenly Father didn’t offer Carl & I this blessing & opportunity because we were qualified or the best for the job…let alone because I had the perfect frame for the task.
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No, our Heavenly Father offered Carl and I this great blessing/task, knowing that we were the little oxen…that our little family would be willing to undertake the challenge, learning teamwork & coordination…that we would humbly realize that this would only be possible as we shared this yoke alongside loving neighbors, friends & family. 

As I again thanked the sweet boys for giving me the opportunity to renew my covenants today (something I couldn’t do for myself), they kept thanking me…sweet boys…telling me they were so happy to do this for me…

…wonderful future missionnaries, fathers & husbands they will be!  Great mothers & parents who raised these amazing young men!

How grateful I am for:
…the meals
…the playdates
…a sweet friend, RS President, VT & compassionate service leader who have orchestrated all the help
…wisdom & experience of the mothers who’ve borne twins (7 just in our ward!)
…the thoughtful advice of intuitive friends
…the friend who brought us groceries from costco when she made the trip this week
…the music that another friend brought that lifted our spirits
…the neighbors & friends who’ve brought our kiddos from school & scouts
…my sweet neighbors for helping me tidy my home
…our older children who have already stepped up their game in so many ways, they will be a huge help
…a husband who is much more than a partner: kind, selfless, humble, patient & unconditionally loving
…the confidence our Heavenly Father has in us, in me, & my willingness to lean on the infinite atonement of His Son each day.
…the prayers of so many to lift us through our struggle with infertility & now with this great calling

Again, what an honor & blessing it is to be a mother…thanks so much to each of you for making it possible for this one little gal. (Just little in spirit…feeling rather large otherwise.) ;) You are loved! xo ~ katrina
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early visit from the unwanted visitor: braxton & his pesky hicks

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He showed up a couple weeks ago, consistantly each morning.  So after everyone was off to school & work, I went back to bed to rest & nap. It helped & I thought it was good routine practice for things to come.

But we had a busy week.  I was out at night twice (both seemingly important events I didn’t want to miss: a fav speaker Hi McNaughton at a Relief Society activity, & visiting my mother-in-law at the hospital after her surgery), the designer and i were gone all day for appointments with Richelle, our midwife, & Victoria,  my visceral prenatal massage therapist.  I’d taught French Tuesday and Thursday afternoon, & by Friday: i couldn’t remember ever being so tired.
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Saturday I stayed home to rest while the designer took the kiddos to the byu game, grocery shopping & errand running (he deserves his own post…promise to get there soon).  I had thoughts/intentions of organizing the art studio some more…but it never happened.  I did nothing but eat & rest all day.

Yet it wasn’t enough!  Sunday morning I woke, got ready & ate with the kiddos…I was in the kitchen whenthe Braxton Hicks hit me with a vengeance.  I immediately put myself back into bed & told the designer to come check on me after Sacrament meeting & the kiddos were all settled in their Primary classes.
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After a while, the pains subsided enough for me to drag out some lavender oil & smear it all over my belly (something Richelle had recommended when I went into early labor with the explorer at 30 weeks, that worked beautifully).  I was feeling more confident that I could go ahead & teach in Relief Society…but that it would have to be simple: nothing too exciting or that would involve flitting-about this time.  And in my ♥, I knew it would be the last lesson I taught/led for a while.

My girlfriend teased me later that it was like we were at General Conference, watching me sit up there with a mic, too weak to stand.  We had a good laugh over that. I was definitely uncomfortable up there, trying to breathe, & the pains ever present.  But for those 30+ minutes I felt great strength. I was in a zone & those “unpleasant affairs” could not reach me.
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Sweet Jane, a retired nurse & my Relief Society President, told me later that she prayed the entire lesson that my water would not break. Truly, I have sweet angels looking over my boys & I!

Afterwards, I went home and straight to my bed…and thats where I’ve been nearly since.
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Promise, I’d been slowly cutting back…I’ve been trying to listen to my body & say “no”.  But so much more is required, I’m learning.

In fact, Saturday, Jane & I had a great talk & made some future-just-in-case plans.  I just didn’t realize I needed them already.  But we both felt better when Sunday rolled around & it became apparent that it was time.
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15 more weeks.  As long as we make another 10…right!? Whatever it is you’re struggling with, hang in there with me all you beautiful ladies, we’ll get through it all together!  Luv to all, xo- katrina
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p.s. More lovely photos from the talented Katrina Anderson: http://www.katrinabanderson.com

24 week check up with twins

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Beyond beautiful photos all done at our home by the lovely Katrina Anderson.  These are some of my favs she made into black & white.  I’ll share the color favs soon…there are soo many good ones!  Thanks so much Katrina, what an absolute treasure! 

The designer and I met with our midwife Richelle last Wednesday for our 24 week check up.  It was the first check up since our ultra-sound, so there was much to talk about and plan.  One of the beauties of going to Richelle (or most midwives, for that matter), is that our appointments are scheduled for an hour.  Even when only pregnant with one, I felt the time filled quickly as I enjoyed the extra support and opportunity to ask a million questions.

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After the typical pee, weight (8 lbs this month), blood pressure & temperature check, we settled into some prepared handouts Richelle uses for her clients pregnant with multiples.   A friend with twins had told me recently that twins develop faster than singletons…I hadn’t got to that part in the twin book yet, so I wasn’t sure if her doctor had just told her that to help for assurance with an early delivery…or if it was true.  Well, there it was in my pamphlet: 60 percent of twins are born prematurely, before 37 weeks, which is considered full-term.  From the moment we knew we were having twins, all Richelle wanted me to focus on was nutrition (a whole other post with which I’m working).  So those first few weeks I simply focused on eating and eating healthy…”no room for anything else”, she explained.   Well I can attest to this as I am tight as can be and need to eat often and not over-eat.  How do ladies fit more than 2 within I ask you?!!!

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Back to early birthing…the pamphlet went on to explain that the average twin pregnancy lasts 35 weeks with a health care provider.   With the care of midwives, the average gestation is 37-38 weeks.  Richelle’s patients with twins have delivered between 35 and 40 weeks.  And she has another twin mom right now due about 3 weeks before ours…so cool, I hope she’s doing well!

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Richelle assured us that she’d try to stop the twins naturally from arriving early up until 35 weeks, which of course made us feel better.  Though, she is convinced that with our previous children arriving at 39 weeks (the dancer), on his due date (the explorer), and 10 days past the due date (the builder), if I eat healthy and take care of myself, that there is a good possibility that they’ll make it full term.   So we’re preparing for 16 more weeks!

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As I mentioned above, I’d gained 8 pounds this past month (grand total of 26 pounds so far).  I asked what a typical weight gain looks like for twins: 50 pounds…so we’re on track.  Though, I’m absolutely huge!  I keep telling people (shocked that I have so long to go) that this is me at close to full-term (with one baby of course).  Well what do you know, I measured at 37.5 weeks yesterday.  Again, no wonder!  (And yes friends, I do think we’ve passed the “cute” stage…it’s all going to get interesting and entertaining from here)!

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The doppler picked up both heartbeats this time around (though they were both moving a bit, so I wasn’t worried).  Everything looks good.  Baby “A” is still head-down and deeper within me I feel, and Baby “B” is moving twice as much, as usual, and head up.  His feet have been tickling my leg when I sit.  It’s fun to enjoy their differences from the beginning.  Baby “A” is much more peaceful and easy going (like his dad).  When getting a prenatal massage a couple weeks ago, Baby “B” was going crazy, poking right back at me and clearly frustrated with what was happening.  ;).  Our sweet boys.  So excited to meet them!

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I couldn’t be happier with these family photos…they were long over due.  Have you been family photo-shooting?  How was it?  We even had a blue tongue appear in some of ours…but you’d never know!  xo – katrina