She laughs without fear of the future.

Life sure can throw a lot of storms your way.  We’ve been thrown some crazy curve balls in our marriage (as everyone does in different ways), but God has never let us down.  I could list example after example after example where God has taken care of us in ways that we never could have imagined.  Stress about money?  Bonus comes through for work or re-enlistment covers our entire $10k+ IVF cycle for our babies.  Stressing about finally getting to apply to flight school?  Picked up first round go and one of the first classes to EVER have the availability number of his dream aircraft (the hardest helicopter to get in the Army).  Terrified of not being able to have kids after 3 failed rounds of infertility treatments?  First round success of IVF with strong, healthy miracle twins!

So why do I have moments where the fear seems to overwhelm and swallow me whole?  Why do I stress about things that are beyond my control, but are the deepest desires of my heart?

I try not to be terrified that I won’t get to bring my 4 waiting embabies home.  What if my Graves’ disease keeps me from being able to conceive again or carry to term?  What if I can’t get pregnant before we PCS and we are sent OCONUS and I can’t get back for another transfer?  Will we finally have a duty station of our dreams and get back up North or OCONUS?  This verse hung in my bathroom in Savannah and I prayed it and believed it every day of our fertility treatments.  I’m believing it once again!

“He gives the barren woman a home, He makes her the joyous mother of children.  Praise the Lord!” Psalm 113:9

We wrestle not against flesh and blood and the devil sure knows my weaknesses.  The most important thing in the world to me has always been family.  That’s no secret and I can’t even turn my back and pretend that it’s not true.  So where does he attack me?  Loneliness in waiting for my dream husband to come along.  Infertility, Secondary Infertility, distant family abandonment.

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.  Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.  Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5: 6-8

I refuse to let him win.  I’m still human, but I believe that my God is bigger than all of this.  I have to pray and have faith that He can turn situations around for His benefit.  If hearts will not allow that, then I pray He heals me, my husband, and my kids’ hearts and fills that void with His love.

“For my father and my mother have forsaken me, but the Lord will take me in.”  Psalm 27:10

“Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh; is there anything too hard for me?” Jeremiah 32:27

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Psalm 147:3

“When you’ve done everything you can do, that’s when God will step in and do what you can’t do.” 2 Corinthians 12:10

I know that I NEVER tire of my kids wanting me and needing me.  I want to give them all of the desires of their hearts, so how much more does God desire to help us through all that we’re up against?  He’s already performed so many miracles in our lives.  He has been so faithful to us in everything, so who am I to ever doubt Him?  My flesh is weak, but I know He’s in control!  Praying His words over our lives!

~Melissa G.

Grim Twins ~ 33 Weeks

How far along? 33 Weeks Pregnant (T-3 weeks until our minimum “goal week”!!!!)
Total weight gain: 37.3 lbs.
Stretch marks?  A few on the underside of my belly and a couple on my hips…Mama stripes!! 🙂 ❤
Symptoms: Contractions are getting stronger, and a little more frequent.  I’m trying to put myself on bed rest more and more since I get tired easily and can easily overdo it.  Morning nausea and a little bit of dizziness.  Swelling has been constant now…and no more rings or jewelry.  This week I also had some crazy numbness in my legs as though both of my legs went to sleep. They’ve “dropped” so they’re probably sitting on my nerves.  Yesterday I had a LOT of contractions, but nothing regular so we’re hoping it’s the not the start of anything to come.
Appointments: This week started our twice weekly visits: Maternal Fetal Medicine/Perinatology and my OB/GYN.  We found out that both babies have “dropped”, but Emma is now breech instead of transverse.  Come on, baby girl, flip around so that mommy can deliver you naturally! 😉
Sleep: I wake up/roll around a LOT (at least every 1.5 hours) and get up to use the bathroom a lot.  The pregnancy pillow helps, but there’s only so much it can do lol.  The babies are just sleep training me ❤️
Best moment this week: 1) 4th of July/Independence Day!!!  It’s my favorite holiday (tied with Christmas), but it’s not as much fun being outside of New England.  We still had fun and got to take the kayak out to finally get it in some water and lit off some of our own cheap fireworks (the kind that don’t leave the ground) just for the heck of it.  We  watched fireworks on post and they weren’t too bad 🙂 2) Ryan’s unit had the annual beach jump/flyover out at Tybee (FINALLY with a chinook) and it was so nice to be able to get in the water!  We only stayed for a couple of hours so Mommy didn’t get too overheated.  It’s crazy how quickly I feel like I’ve done enough and need to rest.
Worst moment this week: Not getting to be home for Independence Day with my family.  It’s so hard to miss our biggest holiday of the year and the one I used to always help my mom plan.  But we’re so excited that next year we’ll have our precious babies with us.  I can’t wait for them to fall in love with Maine and make some amazing memories back home!  Also, the HORRIBLE heat and humidity.
Miss Anything?  I still LOVE being pregnant and am so thankful that I get this amazing opportunity.
Movement:  LOTS!!!  We’re glad to feel them moving and turning because it definitely keeps me from stressing too much :). They love playing together at 1am and mommy thanks God for all of these little moments.  It’s all going to be over so soon 😦
Food cravings/aversions:  GETTING HUNGRY A LOT!!!!  Lobster, fried clams like CRAZY, fries, steamers from home in Maine. 😦  And sammiches again 🙂
Anything making you queasy or sick:  The usual: Mornings as well as Cigarette smoke and cologne/perfumes.
Labor Signs:  Had a couple good size contractions this past week so Daddy has been making sure mommy takes it extra easy, but thankfully they haven’t been “productive” 🙂
Wedding rings on or off? They’ve had to come off for good (during the pregnancy at least).
Happy or Moody most of the time: Mostly happy still:)  I am getting more emotional and cry really easily (over sad and happy things).  Hoping they stay safe and “baking” for at least 3 more weeks, but we’re getting more and more anxious/excited to hold them!
Looking forward to:  We  still need to get Daddy his new truck before the babies get here, but we’re waiting on NC to get off their butts and send us his title.  Waiting on a few little items for the nursery, then we just need to put the finishing touches on everything! 🙂 🙂  We’re getting so incredibly anxious to meet our perfect babies, but are still hoping and praying to make it to at least 36/37 weeks and for no NICU/Specialty Care Nursery!

Grim Twins ~ 32 Weeks

How far along? 32 Weeks Pregnant
Total weight gain: 36.9 lbs.
Stretch marks?  A few little on the underside of my belly and a couple on my hips (you’d think my hips were big enough already! lol)
Symptoms: Contractions are getting stronger, but no more frequent.  Morning nausea and a little bit of dizziness.  Swelling has been constant now…and no more rings or jewelry.  This week I also had some crazy numbness in my legs as though both of my legs went to sleep.  I’m pretty sure they’ve “dropped” so they’re probably sitting on my nerves.
Sleep: I wake up/roll around a LOT and get up to use the bathroom a lot.  The pregnancy pillow helps, but there’s only so much it can do lol. The usual: About 6-7 hours a night and I try to squeeze in a nap when I can.
Best moment this week: 1) Breastfeeding class at the hospital where our nurse actually had IVF triplets herself!  She was able to offer some good advice and information on feeding multiples and practical tools.  I’m excited because she is a lactation consultant with the hospital and her husband works with the pediatrician’s office that we’ve chosen. 🙂
Worst moment this week: A little stress with our house that we’re renting/normal drama of being stuck in Georgia
Miss Anything?  I still LOVE being pregnant and am so thankful that I get this amazing opportunity.
Movement:  LOTS!!!  Their movements are about the same, but definitely feel more exaggerated with their lack of room and increase in size.
Food cravings/aversions:  GETTING HUNGRY A LOT!!!!  Lobster, fried clams like CRAZY, fries, steamers from home in Maine. 😦  And sammiches again 🙂
Symptoms:  Feeling great but getting really sore off and on.  A little bit of back pain and quite a bit of stretching sensations and soreness.  Starting to stay swollen.
Anything making you queasy or sick:  The usual: Mornings as well as Cigarette smoke and cologne/perfumes.
Labor Signs:  Contractions haven’t been too bad this past week and not showing any signs of labor yet 🙂
Wedding rings on or off? They’ve had to come off for good (during the pregnancy at least).
Happy or Moody most of the time: Mostly happy still:)  I am getting more emotional and cry really easily (over sad and happy things).  Hoping they stay safe and “baking” for at least 4 more weeks, but we’re getting more and more anxious/excited to hold them!
Looking forward to:  We start seeing MFM every Tuesday until the birth starting this week!  That means we get to see our sweet babies every single week until they’re born!  We have to get the car seats installed and get Daddy his new truck before the babies get here.  Then we just need to put the finishing touches on everything! 🙂 🙂

Twins are a Blessing

It took us almost 2 years since we started on the journey to have children, 10 months of seeing our favorite RE (Reproductive Endocrinologist), 3 failed rounds of superovulation and our successful IVF treatment cycle, and now 29 weeks since all of our embryos were created and we brought home these two sweet babies in Mommy.  One heck of an incredible journey so far (and still nowhere near as long as some of our friends)!

As terrified as we both were to begin IVF and knew that it was our last hope that we had of our dreams ever coming true, we prayed endlessly that God would keep His hands on us and all of our babies.  The whole process ended up being the most beautiful journey and I look back on all of the good and the bad with such fondness, because it created our sweet miracles!

Before we ever began fertility treatments, we knew that twins were a possibility and that we would transfer both of our embryos to have the best chance of conception.  (Although, with super-ovulation or any other non-IVF treatment it should be much lower as a doctor should be monitoring VERY closely to prevent too many as it can be dangerous, hence why OB/GYN’s should not be handling infertility, but I digress).  We know that life begins at the moment of conception, so before we began IVF we prayed that God would allow us to keep both of our babies.  We knew we wouldn’t be able to handle losing one of them.

*On a side note, i’ve always wanted twins.  When I was a little girl I had twin dolls that I carried everywhere and told everyone that one day I was going to be a twin mommy.  Of course, my family and some of my little friends thought I was crazy even back then and everyone has always told me they’re “too much work”.  In typical Melissa fashion, i’ve always gone against the grain and proved everyone wrong. 🙂  I believe God was just preparing my heart for this role he had for me.*

After all of that, it saddens and literally hurts me to hear the negative comments that people make regarding parenting and pregnancies, and especially twins.  Since we’ve gotten pregnant, we’ve heard “I HATED being pregnant”, “Better you than me”, and “OMG, you guys are crazy for wanting more than one”, and the worst: “You’re having TWINS?!  Keep that away from me…I don’t want to catch it!”  And they REALLY get shocked to find out that we’re not done having kids (Lord willing).  “Oh, you’ll change your mind once they get here.”  I’ve even had a couple of friends get pregnant with twins after making some of those comments, and I hope that God turns their hearts.  If people only had a tiny clue as to what we went through to be here they would rejoice with us.  These babies of ours are the biggest miracle that we prayed for endlessly!  We spent thousands of dollars to have them and it took 20 negative cycles, 3 failed rounds of treatments, endless tests and one miraculous IVF/ICSI cycle to conceive them.  Babies are such an amazing blessing and twins are so magical!

Maybe people just don’t see unless you’ve suffered through miscarriages and/or years of infertility.  Struggles often make you respect things much more and see things more clearly.  We don’t take a single moment for granted and all of the little milestones in pregnancy we celebrate even more!  We never had the “freakout” moment that most do with twins, because they were an answer to our prayers!  Yes, I even prayed for the nausea, stretch marks, and pain so why wouldn’t I rejoice that i’m able to experience it all?!  It’s so difficult to know the struggles we endured and the many more that some of our friends have and to see people taking it all for granted after being handed miracles.

Don’t get me wrong, we have people who are truly happy for us and our growing family, but I really wish people would think before making comments.  Those are our babies, our precious miracles that we prayed for endlessly that you’re talking bad about.  Not a day goes by that we don’t continue to pray for their health and safety or thank God for giving them to us to raise.  It’s a responsibility and a privilege that we never take lightly.  Do we have rose colored glasses on and think that it’s going to be easy?  Absolutely not.  It’s going to be a lot of work and it’s surely going to teach us a lot more about ourselves and our marriage, but it’s a “job” that we are anxiously awaiting!

~PROUD TWIN MOMMY

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Grim Twins ~ 31 Weeks

How far along? 31 Weeks Pregnant
Total weight gain: 33.9 lbs.
Stretch marks? I’ve started to develop a few little ones on my belly.
Symptoms: LOTS of Heartburn.  Contractions are getting stronger, but no more frequent.  Morning nausea and a little bit of dizziness.  Swelling has been constant now…and no more rings or jewelry.
Sleep: I wake up/roll around a LOT and get up to use the bathroom a lot.  The pregnancy pillow helps, but there’s only so much it can do lol. The usual: About 6-7 hours a night and I try to squeeze in a nap when I can.
Best moment this week: 1) Maternity Pictures!!!!  On Monday we got to take our maternity pictures and got some great pictures!  We had a lot of fun with them and are excited that we were able to get these done before potential bed rest. 2) Final “weekend trip” down in Ponte Vedra Beach in Florida for a marriage retreat with Ryan’s unit.  We got some MUCH needed time in the pool and it was so great to be able to get in the water to take the weight off and cool off.  It’s always great to have a weekend to refresh with your spouse too!
Worst moment this week: Nothing…it was a pretty good week 🙂
Miss Anything?  I still LOVE being pregnant and am so thankful that I get this amazing opportunity.
Movement:  LOTS!!!  Their movements are about the same, but definitely feel more exaggerated with their lack of room and increase in size.
Food cravings/aversions:  GETTING HUNGRY A LOT!!!!  Lobster, fried clams like CRAZY, fries, steamers from home in Maine. 😦  And sammiches again 🙂
Symptoms:  Feeling great but getting really sore off and on.  A little bit of back pain and quite a bit of stretching sensations and soreness.  Starting to stay swollen.
Anything making you queasy or sick:  The usual: Mornings as well as Cigarette smoke and cologne/perfumes.
Labor Signs:  Contractions are coming off and on but nothing new or steady so hopefully they stay that way.  My body can get ready all it wants as long as they stay put for now!
Wedding rings on or off? They’ve had to come off for good (during the pregnancy at least).
Happy or Moody most of the time: Mostly happy still:)  I am getting more emotional and cry really easily (over sad and happy things.  Hoping they stay safe and “baking” for a bit longer, but we’re getting more and more anxious/excited to hold them!
Looking forward to:  Our next ultrasound.  We start seeing MFM every Tuesday until the birth starting next week!  That means we get to see our sweet babies every single week until they’re born!  We have to get the car seats installed and get Daddy his new truck before the babies get here.  Then we just need to put the finishing touches on everything! 🙂 🙂

Grim Twins ~ Week 30

How far along? 30 Weeks Pregnant
Total weight gain: 31.6 lbs.
Stretch marks? I’ve started to develop a few little ones on my belly.
Symptoms: LOTS of Heartburn.  Contractions are getting stronger, but no more frequent.  Morning nausea and a little bit of dizziness.  BP was high this week and now my feet and hands have been swelling like crazy over the last few days.
Sleep: I wake up/roll around a LOT and get up to use the bathroom a lot.  The pregnancy pillow helps, but there’s only so much it can do lol. The usual: About 6-7 hours a night and I try to squeeze in a nap when I can.
Best moment this week: 1) Daddy’s Day!  Sunday is Ryan’s first Daddy’s day and we were so happy to finally have a reason to celebrate.  I’m so thankful that I could finally make him a Daddy and am so excited for many more to come!  I bought him a mug and a shirt that say “Best Dad Evah” plus a sentimental gift that hasn’t come in yet 😦  2) We took our birthing class at the hospital this week.  We actually had a lot of fun with it and learned a few new things and were able to get a few more questions answered by the L&D nurse.  We also got to meet another IVF couple that is having b/g twins and is 4 weeks ahead of us!
Worst moment this week: Pretty good week again.  Monday we saw the MFM again and determined that Logan’s kidneys are still not measuring correctly (still has fluid on one).  We’ll start going in every week at 32 weeks to closely monitor the babies and to check his kidneys one last time.  If he’s still having issues they we’ll have him scanned soon after he’s born.
Miss Anything?  I still LOVE being pregnant and am so thankful that I get this amazing opportunity.
Movement:  LOTS!!!  Daddy has started playing with Logan & Emma and feeling them move in response to his touches and pushes on the belly.  It’s so neat to watch their bond developing already and i’m so blessed to be married to an amazing man that’s going to be the best Daddy ever!
Food cravings/aversions:  GETTING HUNGRY A LOT!!!!  Lobster, fried clams like CRAZY, fries, steamers from home in Maine. 😦  And sammiches again 🙂
Symptoms:  Feeling great but getting really sore off and on.  A little bit of back pain and quite a bit of stretching sensations and soreness.  Starting to swell up a bit more but not sure how much of that was from being on my feet this weekend with the class.
Anything making you queasy or sick:  The usual: Cigarette smoke and cologne/perfumes.
Labor Signs:  Contractions are coming off and on but nothing new or steady so hopefully they stay that way.  My body can get ready all it wants as long as they stay put for now!
Wedding rings on or off? They’ve had to come off for good (during the pregnancy at least).
Happy or Moody most of the time: Mostly happy still:)  I do get emotional, but i’ve been mostly happy.  I’m a little scared for the delivery that I won’t get the things that are important to us and I really DON’T want drugs or a C-section.  However, i’m trying to remember that healthy babies/momma are the priority.
Looking forward to:  Maternity pictures!!:)  Tomorrow (June 20th) we’re going to take them with my friend who happens to be our official family photographer! 🙂  So anxious!  This week we have a marriage retreat over the border in Florida at the beach!!  Still need to finish up the “go bags” and put the final touches on the nursery!  After that: it’s the countdown to the birth!

The “unnatural” in life…leaving it in God’s hands

One thing you may not know about me: I’m a control freak and a planner.  Okay, that’s two things…and i’m sure most people know those about me.  I know that God made me this way, but over the last few years it seems that He’s trying to train me out of it.

First, I waited for what felt like a LONG time to find and marry my soulmate.  I watched all of my friends get married and have babies while I was still focused on my career, traveling the country, and daydreaming of this perfect guy that I thought would never come into my life.  I prayed and begged and tried to hold out faith and not lower my standards (which was very difficult) for almost 30 years.  My Dad kept reminding me that God had a plan and His timing was perfect.  He was right!  Every LITTLE thing I asked God for in a husband he delivered in my Ryan.  Sometimes I just tear up and shake my head wondering how God loved me enough to create him just for me!

Second, that man that I love so much is a soldier and the Army life is EXTREMELY unpredictable!  Even though I grew up an Army BRAT and dreamed of marrying someone strong enough to be a solder somehow I still felt unprepared for the long hours, endless separations and the limited ability to plan (there’s that word again) for the future.  I’ve had to learn to go with the flow and embrace the journey.  It’s crazy, but it’s a beautiful life.

Third, infertility struck.  That word still makes me sick to my stomach with a thousand painful memories and emotions.  There’s no “planning” or “control” when it comes to infertility.  You have no idea if your story will have a happy ending, an alternate ending from what you planned, or just a horrible one.  The emotions, the roller coaster, the fear, the anxiety, the worry, the judgments, the insecurity, the financial burdens…they just aren’t something you picture of falling in love and growing your family.  In the end, I wouldn’t change a thing.  It brought us our beautiful babies, taught us to depend on God and each other, and it’s our perfect story of how much we loved these miracles before they were ever created.

Finally, my birth plan.  There’s no “planing” when it comes to birth!  Funny story: when I was a kid I had a set of twin dolls.  I was obsessed with twins and told everyone that I was going to have twins when I grew up.  So many told me I was crazy, but I always wanted to be a mommy and I wanted my twins.  When we started infertility treatments we knew that it would be a rare possibility, but when we went on to IVF we really started praying that God would allow us to keep both of our embabies (embryo babies).  Boy, did He!!!!  However, now one of my biggest fears is not having the perfect, “natural” birth that I have always wanted.  I know, I know, the most important thing is 2 healthy babies and a healthy mommy.  I get that…I promise I do.  As someone who worked and prayed so hard to even have the chance to carry life, someone who started bleeding at 7 weeks and was scared to death that I would lose them (while my husband was stuck 4 hours away from me while I was working at Ft. Bragg), and someone who started contractions at 26+2 weeks….trust me: all I truly want is healthy and to go home with me.  But, I still want the birth I always dreamed about.  I want no drugs when i’ve barely taken a tylenol my entire pregnancy.  I want to feel every pain and the intense joy of knowing my body could carry out something so miraculous.  I want immediate skin-to-skin contact with my babies, and for my husband to cut the umbilical cords and continue the skin-to-skin.  I don’t want to not even witness my children’s birth like it’s just a routine surgery.  I don’t want to never see my babies within the first few moments of coming into a scary new world after being ripped from Mommy’s belly.

I know I have to deal with these emotions and fears.  I have NO judgement for women who have C-sections and I know that it just might be the best thing from a health perspective for us…but that doesn’t mean it’s what I “want”.  I’m so proud of my body for doing what it’s done up until now.  I just know that I can do this!  Yet, even they’re not positioned perfectly or they come too early or a few other “ifs”…it’s a c-section.

I do know that we are in God’s hands and He’s NEVER led us astray.  I’m sure that there will be a lesson here…even if it’s just to turn it over to Him and trust His will, which i’m trying to do.  However, turning off this control freak/planner in me is easier said than done.  In the end, i’m so thankful that we have two beautiful, perfect, healthy babies that God is trusting to us and that’s all that matters!