A Story of Beginnings

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Jason here:  I have sort of hijacked this blog for the moment, as Chelsey is quite busy celebrating and grieving.  And even as I sit to write, thoughts spiral into so many places – painful, dark and hidden places that I never imagined exploring; but also into possibilities of the future.  Too much to make sense of just yet, and too overwhelming to sit with for too long, lest I get lost and cannot find my way back.  And getting lost in our grief is clearly not an option right now.  Magness Maxwell is only 5 days old, and quietly (most of the time) demanding our attention.  And his sweet brother Spirit B as been so patient and comforting when we need it most.  Appearing everywhere for us when we need it most.

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Magnus entering the world

We needed to take just a moment to reflect on the incredible support we have seen.  Although we’ve consciously stayed away from actually reading complete messages for the most part (neither of us can usually make it through a single one before the tears start), we do feel the immensity of love and sadness that people around the world are sharing with us.   There are also so many people to personally thank, people who literally saved us in moments where we doubted our ability to take the next breath.

Kindra – our amazing doula – was one of these people, and woven into the tapestry of Magnus’s and Spirit’s journey more deeply than they will likely ever know.  She has blessed us by writing the story of their beginnings from her perspective.  It is a task that I have started too many times in these last five days, and gotten nowhere.  She reminded me that Chelsey and I are still living that story every second with both the boys.

I know that she wrote it as much for her own healing process and to give us something to reflect on when the time is right.  I made it about halfway through this morning before I just needed to cry with Spirit and watch Magnus sleep.

So we leave it here.  Thank you Kindra.  Thank you to everyone that has grieved with us, and is holding space for us and our two boys in their heart.

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Meeting Mom
From Kindra

Magnus and Spirit B,

I want to tell you the story of your parents journey into parenthood. Like all stories, there are several different versions, perspectives, and viewpoints. I want you both to be able to see what I saw in the months, days, hours, and moments before you were born. I hope someday your parents can know in their bones what I witnessed.

When I first sat with your parents in their home, they had just learned they were pregnant and I witnessed the typical excitement, nervousness, and curiosity about how our medical system works for pregnant couples in America. I saw a devoted and caring husband who I knew would learn everything he could about this process. I saw a nervous and excited newly pregnant mother who was carefully considering all of her options. We chatted about resources, different providers, and insurance. Chelsey and Jason were both a little wide-eyed as they contemplated the reality of birthing a baby and taking on the responsibility of parenthood.

Not too long after our first meeting, Chelsey messaged me that the ultrasound exams revealed two babies! I called expecting to start the task of helping to equip these parents with contacts, resources, and support as they grappled with the reality of not just one baby to care for but two. I discovered that Jason and Chelsey were already pretty good at doing this for themselves. They knew several couples who had twins and Jason himself is a twin so they were already leaning into the support they had built in to their community. I would come to learn later that this quick processing and facing challenges head on was typical for this couple, these skills they had already developed in their lives would serve them well when they needed it most. 

For months after the discovery that you two were coming together, I witnessed your pregnancy from pictures and blogs on the internet. My facebook scrolling would capture your mom’s growing belly on the side of a snowy slope, standing on top of your dad’s shoulders during a class, walking on bridge railings, and skiing next to rushing rivers. The four of you enjoyed so many adventures together!!!

In the third trimester, after your parents returned from Europe I got the honor of sitting with them through childbirth classes. During the first few classes I realized that your parents had already done a lot of work and were transforming into the parents they would need to be for you two. Jason asked a lot of questions and made sure he understood all the concepts we were covering, challenging the ones that didn’t quite make sense to him and helping to educate the other couples in class with everything he had already researched. Chelsey worked diligently during that time to help both of you turn from breech to head down. Her adoration of you was so apparent as she would pat the places on her belly where each of you were living. Her wide smile radiated excitement and joy moving through pregnancy. They both grappled with the decisions that would lay ahead during your birth.

As things got closer, I visited your home again to discuss what your parents desires and decisions were about the birth process. Again, the transformation they had already made since the first time I visited in their home was glaringly obvious. This visit, I found not only a loving, devoted, and caring husband, but a well-researched, knowledgeable, and determined father. I found a grounded and calm mother – Chelsey carried very little fear about the birth process despite the complicated nature of the decisions she knew she faced. She admitted to some concern that maybe she wouldn’t have the maternal instinct she witnessed in others. I giggled a little on the inside knowing that the process of birth would build this instinct in ways that I couldn’t express to her at this moment. I was confident she would find it. What I knew about both of your parents after this meeting was that they would be strong advocates for themselves, they would find a way to make their own decisions, and they would be fun for me to witness in the hospital. I was so excited to work for them and witness their journey!

We were all sure you boys would come on the early side, but December turned into January, single digit days turned into double digits and your parents continued to wait. They were faced with decisions about inducing labor or waiting for their babies to initiate labor naturally. These weeks and days were challenging for them. What I saw in these moments were strong, confident parents who were willing to learn everything they could to make the best decisions for their babies. Jason was reading research papers and learning statistics about every procedure and test that was offered. Chelsey was taking the time to quietly reflect, sit with both of you boys and listen to what your spirits might be trying to tell her. The were both bearing witness and sitting in contemplation about how American maternity care functions. The days marched on and still you both were cozy inside of your mama.

In your 38th week, I got a call from Chelsey – we chatted about the decision your parents were faced with, to induce labor or continue waiting. I told her she had a hard decision to make and only her and your Dad could make it. Thursday night I got the call –  “I hope you can get some sleep tonight, we have decided to get these boys out tomorrow“. I knew that both of your parents had struggled with this decision and I was proud that they took the time to make it on their own. They were ready. The universe, or maybe you boys had different plans.

Your parents showed up Friday ready to meet you, instead the hospital told them that they were understaffed and unable to do the induction that morning. The emotion of that moment was palpable. The excitement and preparedness in their faces fell, their shoulders dropped, and then their curiosity rose. What did this mean? What were you trying to tell them? We stayed in the hospital for monitoring and began the work of trying to understand the bigger picture. In my perspective, this day is the first day of labor – the labor of deciding. Jason diligently learned more about maternity testing and researched the new tests you boys were subjected to that day. Chelsey discussed the higher messages, saying her boys were showing us all who was really in charge. She tuned in to both of you and interpreted the signs she was given, the hospital cancelling the induction, Baby B turning head down at 39 weeks. In the face of fear, both of your parents took as much time as they needed to learn, contemplate, feel, listen, ground, and do one of the hardest things that parents ever do – decide. They didn’t do it lightly, they didn’t do it carelessly, the didn’t do it without as much information as they could gather. They did it with clarity, with strength, with their boys health and safety at the center of their minds and hearts. They owned their decision and left the hospital to spend a few more days with the two of you in charge of when you would be born.

Monday morning your Dad called from the hospital where they’d gone for a routine screening. They had rescheduled the induction for Wednesday.  

“We have lost Baby B”.

I told him I was on my way. I sobbed all the way to the hospital. After composing myself and preparing to do the impossible task of helping your parents through the worst news anyone ever receives, I walked into the hospital room where your parents were. I expected to find hollow, broken, shocked parents. I didn’t find that. I found sadness, you could have painted the walls with it, like it had a color of it’s own for the walls of that room. I found grief, and sorrow, and pain. I found parents struggling to handle their own sense of guilt. Your mom repeatedly said “I keep going back to Friday“. Over shadowing the pain and sadness though was strength. I was astounded by the strength in your mom and dad’s eyes, by the love there.

This day, Monday, I see as the second day of labor – the labor of grief. The labor of losing Baby B. Inside of that room that day your parents danced through the emotional task of accepting the loss of Baby B and preparing to birth Baby A. It was beautiful to witness. The waves of sadness, loss, guilt, despair would wash over your mother and your father would hold her, council her, love her through every second. He talked about plans bigger than all of us, he told her stories of how Baby B would impact people across space and time as a Spirit. Your parents spent hours staring in each others eyes trying to make sense of this. The love, power, connection in that space between their eyes was tangible. Your dad whispered encouragement to your mother throughout the whole day. He stood in such strength for her and allowed her to move through all of the emotion without ever expecting her to coddle him. Your grandmothers diligently waited in the hallways of the hospital for every time your dad needed them for support. He would leave the room and return with red, glassy eyes – using his support team to feel the deepness of this loss on his own so Chelsey didn’t have to feel his pain too. Such a graceful and powerful gift. I sat in awe as this parenting team gracefully moved through this impossible task.

Towards the afternoon, Jason gently started guiding Chelsey’s focus back towards Baby A. He started talking to her about gratitude, love, joy, hope, family, and consciously creating memories of a happy labor and birth for Baby A. In these moments I witnessed the creation of two sets of parents – Parents A and Parents B. As contractions started to come, Parents A started to allow excitement into their space. Parents B would continue to get waves of grief in between the waves of contractions. I knew this task would challenging, to do both a grief labor and a physical labor at the same time seemed nearly impossible. I swelled with pride and awe as these parents chose to labor for Baby A.

Induction of labor took more time than was expected and your parents continued to labor through the grief and prepare for the physical labor to come. They rested as best they could but sleep was understandably illusive. It wasn’t until Tuesday evening that a good pattern of contractions was established. Chelsey took a deep breath and got ready for the night.

We would now enter into the third labor – the physical labor. We all hoped for fast progress. As contractions got stronger, Parents A became more focused, more grounded, and more excited. Parents B were still present, still mourning, but quietly watching from the background as Parents A worked. Chelsey needed constant eye contact during the contractions and the strength behind those eyes was deep, and powerful. Your dad continued to stand by her side and provide her with everything he could. Your grandmothers sat patiently waiting and ready to help in the hallway.

In the early morning hours, the work of the grief coupled with the intensity of the physical contractions and the slow progress weighed heavily on your mom. She made the difficult decision to accept an epidural. As all decisions your parents made throughout this process, this one wasn’t made without deep thought, consideration, and intention. We were all hopeful that the epidural would aide in progress and allow your parents some much needed rest. I went home too, expecting to get a call in a couple of hours that you both were ready to be born. Jason called me at 6:15 to say they had more difficult decisions to make. Baby A was no longer tolerating labor and had made it clear he needed surgical intervention.

Baby A was born via Cesarean at 7:02, Baby B followed at 7:06. The hard work your parents had done through all three of their labors would now pay off as they had transformed into grounded, wise, intelligent, informed, loving, and dedicated parents. They had accomplished the goal of creating loving and joyful memories of labor and welcoming Baby A with smiling faces. Parents A and Parents B were coexisting and clearly defined for each baby. They held Baby A with smiling, hopeful faces. Magnus – you saw joy, love, and excitement. They held Baby B with sadness, loss, grief, but also with gratitude for his life. Spirit – they held you with honor, respect, mourning, and a great love. 

Parents A and Parents B shifted quickly between babies, loving and honoring each of them separately and together. Chelsey started the task of breastfeeding with gentle and instinctual grace. She held her sweet Spirit baby and told him how grateful she was to have shared his life and how much she loved him. Jason dreamed of the adventures Spirit would go on now that he was free to travel without the confines of a human body. They both apologized to Spirit, and promised Magnuss to protect him in the years to come.

Magnus – as you grow and learn this story of your birth my hope for you is that you know how deeply you are loved. How your parents still kept their focus on you and what would be best for your short and long term health. How they set aside their own pain and grief with the desire that you be welcomed into happiness, joy, and love. How they felt the deep loss of your brother and how that would change who you grew to be. They love you so sweet boy and after witnessing their journey I know they will be strong enough to hold you through all of your adventures. They will be kind and generous with their love. They will continue to create intentional memories and make decisions for you with wisdom and intuition.

Spirit – I feel humbled to be telling you anything at all as I believe you are now the wisest among us. I thank you for your presence in the physical world, for watching over what was best even if the adults struggled to accept it. I know that you already know how much your parents love you, how they will always carry you with them, and they are learning already to trust your journey in this world. Thank you for the strength and wisdom you offered your parents, as it served them well and will continue to do so. Your physical body will be sorely missed but I second your mother’s voice as she distributed your ashes to your loved ones – “Thank you for making me believe”.

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The four of us spent 24 beautiful hours together before Spirit B started his journey.

We are working on ways to keep Spirit in our lives as we move forward and look forward to sharing those with you when we are ready.

Paradox

Fear and love seldom
stand, shoulder to shoulder;
It’s rare to laugh and lie in the same breath.
But strength and weakness, failure and success,
faith and desolation – they are different ends of a
single stick.
To pick one up is to receive both poles – stark contrasts
contribute to a knowledge of the whole.
What is life but growing wide and deep, so
open from weeping that opposites, ambiguity, and a thousand
shades of gray can co-exist with out despair.

This post is written by Jason Magness.

I am listening to the beautiful sounds of a crying newborn, less than 12 hours old.  I am watching him climb to his mother’s breast and fumble for her milk in spectacular fashion, failing again and again until he is either too worn out, or succeeds long enough for a single drop or two.

I am also listening to the deafening silence from another newborn swaddled an lying in my lap.  A child that was carried inside of my wife for over 39 weeks, but had no heartbeat when we showed up at the hospital to start the induction process.

It is not necessary to go into details, and it is still so raw and painful beyond words.  Today we had twins, and lost one of them.  Baby A lost his brother.

Blaming ourselves is easy.  And real.  It has led to an impossible place, with no going forward, and no going back – stuck in a limbo of self hate and despair.  But our twins will not accept that choice and force us to reconsider.

I re-read the poem above and it may be the only thread keeping me sane.  That belief in the co-existence of vibrant love and absolute loss.  I am not sure how three of the four of us survived the last 72 hours – laboring to deliver twin brothers that would never play together in this world.

We have so many stories that we want to share.  Possibilities that we are working to turn into our truths so that we can celebrate the future, and the path that led us to this impossible place.  And we have so many doubts and failures.  We’ve held them together and wept for the future we will never have.

Through it all, I discovered such love for Chelsey that I never imagined possible.  Love that only travels hand in hand with pain so deep it drowns all breath.  I’ve cried more tears in these last three days than in my first 41 years of life.  Chelsey even more.

But here we are, with a 12 hour old boy and the resolve to take things one tiny step at a time.  I have been staring at the slowly degrading face of our passed son, and find it even more beautiful and his brothers rich pink cheeks and big curious eyes.

We do not know what death brings.  But we know that for baby B, it simply freed his spirit. So that it could do some amazing and powerful things.  I’ll tell his brother and mother (and maybe this blog) these stories in the years to come – all of the ways in which our spirit baby is still around us helping us through this life.

Rest in Peace – Spirit B. Magness.

We miss you and know you are watching.

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Finding my power through fear

Jason (the Husband):  The last week has been rough. Emotional.  Raw.  And pretty scary.  We were asked to make some difficult decisions, made them, and then circumstances conspired to force us to weigh the same choices a second time.  The people in this story all have a similar goal – to have Chelsey deliver two healthy twins, but there are so many differences when it comes to the subtler additional desires that accompany the process.  And it gets messy there.   In my opinion the system itself sets first time mothers up to be in a very vulnerable position, feeling powerless.  They become passive (and scared) participants in the age old life altering (and life creating) drama that is increasingly forced to fit into a hospitals scheduling timetable.  I am very proud of Chelsey for stumbling through this process with our two twin boys, and fighting to make an uneasy truce between hospital protocol and motherly intuition.  I have encouraged her to take time to write this account out, mostly for her own process.  I also know that the many people who have been reading this blog and commenting are a source of strength for her.  Thank you all for that.  

39 weeks 3 days

On Friday morning Jason and I went to the hospital with the intention of getting induced. However, once we got there, they had canceled it. To me it was a sign that it was not time yet. To the doctors, they just needed more nurses on staff (the full moon was a busy night to have babies !) Below is an account of what happened with a little background. So please take a few minutes, grab a cup a tea if you need and settle in.

Jason and I consider ourselves very, very fortunate that Oregon Heath Plan put me on FULL coverage as soon as they found out we were having twins. There was only one catch.  In order for insurance to work, I had to forgo my wishes of a home birth with my midwife and instead have a hospital birth, because I was now considered a “high risk” pregnancy.

My midwife become my doula, which made me feel a bit more at ease as I knew she would help us navigate our way through the hospital scene. In a way, I was actually excited to get to see both sides.  Part of me was sad to see my home birth dream go down the drain, but once I met two of the potential delivering docs, I felt more at ease.  Every Dr. that I met seemed to listen to me and even if they didn’t agree with my birth plan, they told me that I was ultimately the one in charge and they couldn’t make me do anything. Through out my entire pregnancy they were extremely chill with everything that I was doing. Acrobatics? XC Skiing?  Biking?  Snowboarding? (ok, they didn’t like the snowboarding at 35 weeks much)   “Just don’t fall” “but if you do, come right in.”   No surprise, we do live in Bend, OR. where there are is a high population of active mamas.

As my “due date” became closer and closer, their tune started to change  little by little.  At 37 weeks, they recommended induction for the first time. But, they were not very pushy about it.  I was healthy, my placentas were looking great, and my fluid levels still passed the test. But my babies were measuring small. They had dropped from the 25th percentile to the 15th and 10th percentile in a two week period and this made doctors nervous.  I agreed to come in twice a week and get their heart rates monitored. If they passed the 20 min test where they had to show signs of a spiked heart rate three times, I was free to go. If they didn’t, I had to go pass an ultrasound test where they looked at their movements, breathing and motor skills. Luckily we never had to go into get the ultrasound test, because they passed the heart rate test every time.  Once I hit 38.5 weeks they brought me in for more testing and a chat.  My main dr. sat us down and told us some more reasons why he really recommended induction at 39 weeks. He started pulling out all of these statistics and that the national recommendation was to induce me at 38 weeks.  All of a sudden, rather than feeling like an individual to him, I just felt like another number.  I know that it is his job and a requirement of his to give me these facts and try and get these babies out, after all, he has been trained and educated to believe this.  In the western medical world babies are safer on the outside at 39 weeks where in the midwifery world they are seen as safer on the inside until baby wants to come out- as long as baby and mama are showing signs of being healthy.

So there we were, faced with this choice at 38.5 weeks.  I had 3 days to decide what I wanted to do, and the beautiful thing was that I had a choice. He was not forcing me to do anything, in fact the very last thing he said to me was that everything was negotiable. He was just highly recommending it. He had taken the liberty to put me on his schedule for my 39 week date, but that I could cancel it and instead come in for testing. We went home, and for the rest of the day I sat with it. I tried to connect with the babies and ask them what they wanted, I tried to sit with myself and really feel what was going on inside me. Were the babies ok? Could they make it through labor even if they were small? Could I really prevent a c-section by getting induced?

The day passed with lots of intermittent crying. Instead of being stoked and proud that I had made it so far, I felt like a freak of nature and scared. Why weren’t they coming out? What had I done wrong? Why couldn’t I come to a definitive answer?

Wednesday came and went. Still no sign of an answer. On Thursday, I was able to phone my Dr. again and talk to him. He was very nice and assured me that if I wanted a vaginal delivery for both babies, even if one was breech- he was my guy. He told me how he had just delivered twins the night before. The woman really wanted a vaginal delivery as well and even with complications he was able to get everyone what they wanted and make it safe.  After hearing her success story, I decided to go for it. We were going to have babies sometime in the next day.

That night I couldn’t sleep at all.  I tried to meditate and visualize the birth, but nothing was working. At 615 am our alarm went off and Jason and I laid in bed cuddling and talking. He asked me how I was feeling and I said I really didn’t know.  “We can’t play the what if game”  he said, “once we make this decision we have to go in there like it is ours and not theirs. We need to fully own our choice.”  He was right. I decided to not ignore my feelings of being still being on the fence, but to go in and see how I felt once I got there.  This feeling and pattern within myself is not foreign. Before every big race, I am always the one that is least excited about the start. In fact I despise it. I just want the gun to go off and for our team to be on our way.  But once we are started, I loved it. If this was just “pre-race” jitters, I knew that once we got going, I would be fine.

When we arrived, Kindra, our doula had beaten us there and came out saying that our induction had been canceled. “Ok then! I guess that answers it for me, obviously this is not the day.” I say.  They still wanted me to do the anti stress heart rate test so the nurse hooked me up to the monitors and we all talked.  My nerves started to calm down, and I started to settle in.  Baby Blt, who we call our chill baby or now our “boss baby” was not passing the test though, so I got up to move and started pulsing my belly as they both usually respond to that. Sure enough he started moving and spiking his heart rate but it was still not in the allotted 20 minutes of testing time. So we went onto the next test, the bio physical ultrasound test. The tech was also very nice and talked us through everything she was seeing.  The first thing she said was that baby B was now head down!!! Apparently it is super rare for a twin to flip at 39 weeks, so we were super ecstatic and took that as another good sign that they were getting ready to come on out!  The placenta, fluid, movement, and cords all looked good. Baby B was still not moving as much as his brother, so she gave him one less point but said we still passed the test. Whoo hoo! By this point, it had been 5 hours of waiting and testing so I was very “hangry”. I needed food and more specifically, I needed some bacon. So we went back to the birthing center expecting to have a quick chat with the Dr and then go get some food. The nurse said no dice, he would be there in an hour and he requested that I go back on the monitor to keep testing Baby B AND that the Dr still wanted to induce because of what he saw on the tests.  There was no way I would last another hour,  “I need to eat”  I said (probably in not the nicest tone)  and the nurse said that if I left I would have to sign a release form going against the medical recommendation.  I asked for for the piece of paper, signed it with my reason for leaving being “I need bacon” and then we left.

At lunch Kindra asked me how I was feeling about everything and what my thoughts were around the Dr still wanting to induce.  “I am not in the right mind set anymore, my babies are fine, I am fine. I want to wait.”  An hour later, we headed back to the center and they admitted me again, but this time into a birthing room. “I am not having an induction, I don’t think this is necessary.” I say. The nurse says, “Ok, well, the Dr still wants to just put you on the monitor while we wait for him just to see how they are doing.”

I comply, as  I love hearing my babies heart rate.  Baby B seemed to be doing well, he was just tucked behind his brother, so his heart rate was hard to catch when he moved.  I felt like he was playing with all of us.

After a bit of a wait, the Dr. came in and started talking to us about a new test, the doppler test. It is about their umbilical cord. He said the reason why they may be so small is because there may not be enough pressure coming through the cord to get them the nutrients they need. The nurse goes on to give me a visual of a hose that is getting kinked and squeezed. And that is it. My breath started to go, and all I could think of were my babies squeezed cords.  And that is where I stayed. I didn’t hear anything else. I knew him and Jason were talking statistics and numbers but I was not there. At one point they looked over at me and the Dr. asked what I wanted to do.  And I all I could get out was “I don’t feel like you are treating me like an individual” and then I started to cry. The Dr then said “yes I am, I have been looking at all of your tests for the past few weeks.”  This didn’t make me feel any better.  He then gave me an option of giving me a little bit of pitocin to see how the babies would react to some stronger contractions. If they reacted well, he said he would feel better about letting me go. But if they went into distress, he would make me stay and I would very likely have to go get an immediate c-section.  At that point, Jason asked if the two of us could have some time alone as he felt we had all the information we needed.

When we were all alone, Jason asked me how I was feeling.  “I am afraid and I don’t feel like this is right. I want to go home.”  

Kindra walked back in next and sat down with us. She asked me where the fear was coming from.  I told her about my vision about the cord and how I couldn’t get that out of my head and how scared that made me. I told her how I was afraid that I was being selfish because I really didn’t want to go through with the induction today, but what if that was really the best thing for the babies?  She then asked me to visualize staying there and going through with the contraction test and how that made me feel. “It makes me feel anxious, and that I would just be going further down their path. I am feeling way too unsettled and unprepared to go through with it today.” Ok, and how does it make you feel when you think about going home and being in your own space? “I really want to go home, but I still can’t get that cord image out of my head. If I know my babies will be ok for a few more days, then I will be ok. I feel like my babies are good and healthy.”  As I said that, on the monitor baby B started spiking his heart rate and moving with his brother.  “Thank you” I thought. That is just what I needed to feel at peace.  It was obvious what my decision was.

Jason called in the nurse and asked to speak with the doctor. A few minutes later the Dr. called us and Jason said that I had decided to go home and reset.  He didn’t try to convince us other wise or write us off. He was very kind and gave us a list of things to watch out for. If any of them happened or if I just didn’t feel right, he said to come right back in and we would go from there.  A few minutes later the nurse came in with a list of things to do at home, in addition to the drink water, lay on left side, and go on light walks she said “have as much sex as you can” “soften up that cervix” and lets get those babies out. We all just want what is best for you and your babies. “

“I know” I said “We just need a little more time.” Then I signed my second medical release form ever in my entire life and we left.

Now with a little more time under our belts and space away from the hospital we are happy about our decision and hope these boys come on their own soon.  I keep meditating and talking to them, assuring them that we are ready and that they are ready and strong enough to make the journey.

This morning we go in for our routine tests, hopefully Blt cooperates and we don’t have to go in for further tests. But if we do, I feel even more prepared to deal with what ever else comes our way.  To move through fear and go against a doctor with years of experience and knowledge is not an easy thing to do. But to go against my intuition seemed even harder and was not emotionally or physically possible for me to do.  I am so grateful for this experience, for Jason, for Kindra, for the doctors and the amazing nurses for this opportunity to come into my power. Thank you.

As I was getting ready for bed on Friday night after our long day, I opened up a book of poems I am reading by Danna Faulds and the first one I came to was this one entitled Paradox.  It was a perfect ending piece to our day as it solidified my belief that decisions are not all black and white.

“Paradox”

Fear and love seldom

stand, shoulder to shoulder;

It’s rare to laugh and lie in the same breath.

But strength and weakness, failure and success,

faith and desolation – they are different ends of a

single stick.

To pick one up is to receive both poles – stark contrasts

contribute to a knowledge of the whole.

What is life but growing wide and deep, so

open from weeping that opposites, ambiguity, and a thousand

shades of gray can co- exist with out despair.

You can take the girl out of the drive.. but you can’t take the drive out of the girl

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Over the past few months I have had a question come my way several times that I have wanted to address, but I never knew how to answer.  I was confused, since the question itself seemed to assume a reality that I was mostly at odds with.

The question being: “How is it possible that you are not not even slowing down and still charging it!?”  While it may seem like that from the outside (ahh don’t you just love social media??) in MY reality, I have been letting go of something on a weekly basis.  I have not felt like I’ve been “charging it” for a very very long time.

And it has been difficult.  Passing up on winter missions.  Doing my increasingly limited air squats in the gym while watching Jason drip sweat during his third paddle interval on the ergometer.  Sometimes it feels like torture.

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But it is what it is.

Five months ago, I was certain I was never going to need to stop running or biking. But eventually they were both out of the question. It just didn’t feel good, and I couldn’t convince myself to overcome that supremely uncomfortable sensation inside anymore. Instead of stopping completely, I just switched to hiking and swimming.  Once winter hit I was able to skin up the local little backcountry hill and snowboard down. But that stopped too when falling became “not allowed”.  Now it is XC skiing which has been feeling amazing.  Acrobatics and inversions stayed around for a lot longer (thankfully long enough for the European teaching tour!) but they too became to uncomfortable and cumbersome. So now it is gentle yoga and light weights.

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Even my sleeping routine changed. I used to thrive on my early mornings to myself. I’d rarely miss starting the day with meditation. Now, that has been replaced with sleeping in and cuddling until at least 9 am every day.  I NEVER thought I’d regularly sleep past 7:30!

Do I miss all of the things I have had to “let go of?” Of course! But I know that this is all part of the process and that everything is always changing.  

However, what I haven’t let go of is my drive. It is in my DNA to move my body. It is what makes me tick and my heart purr. Luckily I figured that out at a very young age and have always made that a big part of my daily life. Being outside, breaking a sweat, breathing hard and just being in the routine of working out has always made me content deep down.

Do I have physical goals for after I have these babies? YES. I believe working towards goals is crucial no matter if you “succeed” or “fail” because no matter what, you learn something in your journey.  Both Jason and I have made it known to each other and ourselves what is important to the core of us, and we will work hard to make these a priority as we navigate this new world that is unraveling before us.  This is the juicy part that we are most excited about!! It is like one big life long adventure race full of unknowns and lessons in adaptation and patience.

So, to circle back and finish answering the question “How are you still crushing it? ” –  I am not….  I am just listening to my body and doing things that feel good.  These days what feels the best is savoring this quiet time with my husband and this body that I have grown to love.

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Ticking Time bomb

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Holy shit!!! I can’t believe that any day now there will be two new humans in our lives, taking up residence in our home, and in our hearts.. forever.  Up until now it has not really hit me how insane this is.  One day it is just the two of us, and the next, there are suddenly four of us. Coexisting together, adapting and figuring out how to be a family.  I have been trying to wrap my head around this idea and all the changes it is going to bring us for the past week, but trying to predict the future is both overwhelming and useless. So, I usually just end up going outside, taking a nap or sometimes both.

These past few weeks have been the sweetest, weirdest and sometimes hardest parts of my pregnancy experience thus far.  In many ways I have never felt closer and more connected to Jason than I do now.  We have been having some amazing talks and cuddle sessions that leave me feeling so grateful and even more inlove with him than ever.  At the same time, it has been hard to have to slow down even more. The Friday before Christmas I got a call from my Dr. saying that the boys had actually dropped a little weight and may not be getting enough blood and suggested I chill out for a few days. “But I have been chilling out” I said in a confused tone.  She laughed out loud and said “act like you are growing two humans inside you. ” “ok…”  Since then I have still been getting out skiing, walking and doing yoga, but I am making sure I can hold a conversation the whole time and do not break a sweat.  I have also been trying to up my calorie intake, which is proving to be very challenging! I feel like it’s a full time job.  Jason has been amazing in making sure that there is always soup or something simple to heat up, which is very helpful.

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Last week the girls threw a beautiful baby blessing for me.  We brought in all four of the directions, burned sage and palo santo, called in the women before us who birthed us and the women who birthed them, and then they each gave me a bead and something from nature that inspired them and or brought them ease. It was such a powerful and intimate gathering that left me feeling grateful, loved, rooted and almost ready for the journey ahead.  I now have a beautiful string of beads and a little alter that will bring me strength and remind me to relax when the time comes.  I hope that all pregnant women get to have something like this, as it is so special and powerful for the new mama to be.

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So now, I guess I just continue being a ticking time bomb. Everyone has cast their bets of when these boys will arrive. And our phone is constantly going off with “how are you feeling” texts.  We have had some signs of pre labor lately, with the most recent ones being for a big part of last night.  I think they are coming in a day or so, others think they are coming on New Years.  No matter what, we know they are coming out on their birthday. Until then, I will continue trying to enjoy this calm before the storm!

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The boys: 

ART and BLT while apparently are not growing like the doctors want, are exactly the same size and are very active which is very good!  They also have enough fluid around them and both of my placentas are looking healthy and BIG. They are each at 5 pounds or just under (it is hard to get an accurate weight).

What I am loving: 

Bed! It is the first time in our relationship that I am the last one in bed and begging Jason for MORE cuddle time.

Soups: nourishing soups have been amazing and all that I crave

Smoothies: these have been an easy way for me to get my calories in and my protein with out so much chewing.

Getting outside: I have been loving xc skiing – I can take it easy while still being outside.

Feeling them move – even though it is getting more and more intense, there movements are so reassuring.

FIRE! Jason and his parents got me some biomass wood for Christmas, and it is amazing. It’s easy to start a fire with and burns for ever. The babes and I are going to be warm, cozy and naked for the first month:)

What I am not loving: 

I am ready to say goodbye to this belly. It’s been a fun and interesting experience, but it’s time to let it go.

The unknown – I have no idea how to tell the difference between pre labor and gas.. I am ready to be like “Oh, ok- THIS IS IT”

Having to get up every hour to two hours and pee. This is getting VERY old, but I guess it is getting me ready for every two hour feedings.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Approaching the Start Line

33 weeks 3 days

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Wow, time feels like it has been sprinting forward.  Between our amazing baby shower, a family and friend filled Thanksgiving, teaching acrobatics and days full of skiing, fires and friends, the days have been flying by.  It wasn’t until my Dr. asked if I had packed my bag and asked if I filled out paperwork about injections, vaccines and everything else that I was like.. oh yeah. Do I really only a have a few weeks left??!! A few months ago, I remember thinking that by the time 33 and 34 weeks rolled around I would be ready to be done with this whole pregnancy thing. I had visions of myself on the couch asking for more water and snacks, and going insane from not being able to move. I thought for sure that I would be ready to have “my body back”, ready to meet these boys, and ready to get on to the next phase of being a mother. But now that it is here, I am not quite there yet. I need more time.

More days to meditate, to breath, to appreciate this belly that has been home to these two beautiful beings for the last 8 months, to feel them wiggle around in my belly, and to prepare for their arrival.

The closer it gets, the more it feels like I am preparing for an adventure race. In adventure racing, often times you don’t know what you are in for until the night before the race and sometimes even the morning of the race. Some things are known, like what disciplines you will be doing and what gear to pack. But as far as where you will be going, how long certain legs will take and when or where you will sleep are all unknowns. Many times there are even surprise challenges in the middle the race. When we are mentoring people or trying to explain it, we often say that it is 95% mental and 5% physical. It is all about how you deal with suffering and exhaustion. Do you dig deep and find a way in? Or are you searching for the first exit the moment it gets hard?

Of what I have been learning about in our birthing class and reading about in my Mindful birthing book, much of this whole birthing thing sounds like an adventure race.  Packing and prepping are often my least favorite parts, and that is coming to be true for this process as well. Anticipating what we will need, packing my bag and prepping for their first week home has been stressful. I have actually been banned from reading anything on line, as there are sooooo many lists about what you absolutely must have.  But how do you really know when every pregnancy and birth is completely different?? Luckily I have a husband who talks me down from my cliffs of anxiety and reminds me what I do for a living.. “we deal with the unknowns all the time” “part of the fun is not knowing and figuring it out, you for one LOVE that part”

Then I think back to our many races, and he’s right. Once that gun goes off and the race starts, I get into my zone. My breath evens out, my body gets into it’s rhythm and I am in my happy place. There is only one goal, and that is to get to the next checkpoint, the rest melts away because there is nothing else we can do. Our bins are packed, what we need is on us, and the rest is pointless to worry about.

I thrive on that shit.

So yes. I am going into unknown territory, I have no idea how I will respond to what will come. But I do know some things – I have an amazing teammate who will be there by my side the entire time, I have a whole community who supports me and once it all begins, there is only one goal – to bring two beautiful boys into our loving arms. Everything else – how much soup is in the freezer, how much cut wood there is, and what happens afterwards will all fall away.

We are no strangers to dealing with life one check point at a time. So when the 100th person asks us if we are prepared for what is to come, we will just smile and nod. “as ready as we can be!”

The Boys:

GOOD NEWS! The presenting twin has flipped! He is now head down and enjoys hiccuping and pushing his head on my cervix. The trailing twin looks like he is on his way to becoming head down. They are quite the little movers and shakers!  We have many names for them but have decided not to pick them out until we hang out with them on the outside for a while. They respond to light, their dads voice, touching and music. So far we think they like Frank Sinatra and Waylon Jennings the best.

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What I am LOVING:

I am loving the fact that I can still move easefully! Cross Country skiing, skinning and snowboarding have all been feeling great.

Yogurt- The full fat icelandic is my favorite

Soups- We’ve been making alot of broth to prepare for the many soups we will be making and I have been loving our experiments with what I like best.

Feeling them move always puts a smile on my face

Cuddling- I have become the cuddling machine.

What I am not loving:

When people say things like: “You are in for it”, “say goodbye to your sleep”, or “life as you know it is over…”.

It makes me feel like smiling as I respond – “I know, I can’t believe that my amazing life is about to get EVEN BETTER?!?”

“Every morning is a new arrival” – Rumi

30 weeks:

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My 29 week picture

I recently came across this poem by Rumi that really hit me in all the right places, especially after the events of this past week.

The Guest House:

” This being human is a guest house.

Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,

some momentary awareness comes as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!

Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,

who violently sweep your house

empty of its furniture,

still, treat each guest honorably.

He may be clearing you out for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,

meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes, because each has been sent as a guide from beyond. ”

– Rumi

I have been reading this poem every morning for the last couple days and every time I read it a new line resonates with me, bringing me a new seed to ponder on.

After some days of thinking, reading, being fearful and questioning our future as a family and as new parents, I found this particular line of Rumi’s poem to be comforting and hopeful.  “Be Grateful for whoever comes, because each has been sent as a guide from beyond.”

As much as I don’t like how this election went down, I do believe it has ruffled some necessary feathers and gotten people (including us) to look outside of their perfect little snow globes.  The outcome has brought out some ugly actions and words in people and rather than turning a blind eye to these issues, they are now big enough and important enough that people are having to look at them (and eachother) in the eye and deal.  I do believe that out of this fear, this confusion and this depression, there will be change.  As already I am seeing people asking how they can take action and becoming more educated about how to be more involved and more aware about what is going on in this country.

On a lighter note, our baby shower is this weekend, and we are very excited! Family and friends are starting to come in and it feels so nice to be surrounded by such an amazing group of people. Our friends and mothers have out done themselves with planning and getting everyone together. With our house remodel done, and now the shower happening everything is starting to feel very real.. and close.  Next week we start our birthing classes with our doula, and we are actually very excited to learn about all of the possibilities and what actually happens. So far, I think both Jason and I are still a little awed by the whole thing and have no idea what we are in for.

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loving visits from friends!

Physically and emotionally I am feeling really good. While I do have my freak outs every once in a while, it is mostly about very small things like when we don’t have enough eggs in the house (seriously).  And while sometimes this does lead to crying, it very quickly turns to laughing over the absurdity of crying over only 3 eggs left in the fridge. It feels really good to be home and to be back into a bit of a routine. Every day I do my pt, belly exercises and yoga along with some type of movement like swimming, lifting, walking or riding my bike. So far my PT and Dr. both say that they are really impressed with how well I am carrying these boys! And while I do very much miss getting my heart rate up and really pushing myself, I am so grateful that I am not on bed rest and able to get outside and move everyday.

The Babes:

While my Dr was concerned about how little weight I have gained so far (12 pounds), she was very pleased to hear that the boys are both looking healthy and are each at almost 3 pounds (baby A:2 pounds 15 ounces and Baby B:  2 pounds 13 ounces)! Their fluid levels also look to be very good, and she says that they still have room to grow and move around. I don’t know how they do, as It feels like it’s already very tight in there! The not so good news is that both of them are breeched.  So while they do look very cute on the ultrasound, as they both seem to be scheming about their future adventures with their heads together right under my ribs, I really hope they flip in the next couple of weeks!

What I am loving:

  • Swimming: I have been swimming every other day since I got home from Europe – while somedays it is hard to motivate, once I am in the water I am so excited and grateful! I do have to use a buoy between my legs though, or I sink.. which I thought was really interesting.
  • Teaching: We are teaching every Wed night here in Bend and online as part of our Acro Mastermind program – it is fun to be out teaching, being social and even demoing!
  • baths and shower-  any little bouts of hot water feel soooo good! I have to talk myself out of having to many baths or showers in one day.
  • Our home! My home is finally DONE! Complete with new windows bathrooms- just in time for the winter months and the nursery is coming along as well. So far it is very simple:)
  • protein – I crave all of it – I find myself stopping and staring at the rotisserie chickens at the grocery story.
  • Morning cuddles: I LOVE feeling both my babies dance inside me and Jason spooning me with his hand over my belly- laughing at each movement.
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Missing teaching in Europe with Lux, but happy to be home:)

Not loving so much:

  • My lack of go go go energy – usually I am able to complete many tasks in one day, but these days I have to be ok with not getting EVERYTHING done and be happy for what I did get done.
  • Getting dressed. Pants are still ok, but shirts are becoming harder and harder to find.
  • Not being able to mountain bike, packraft, paddle, run or do a lot of acro is honestly getting old. I am getting excited to dive back in (SLOWLY).

Carrying around a tiny ocean

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27 weeks 5 days

Recently a friend brought this quote, from one of my all time favorite books, Shantaram to my attention:

“But in a way you can say that after leaving the sea, after all those millions of years of living inside of the sea, we took the ocean with us. When a woman makes a baby, she gives it water, inside her body, to grow in. That water inside her body is almost exactly the same as the water of the sea. It is salty, by just the same amount. She makes a little ocean, in her body. And not only this. Our blood and our sweating, they are both salty, almost exactly like the water from the sea is salty. We carry oceans inside of us, in our blood and our sweat. And we are crying the oceans, in our tears.” – Gregory Roberts

      It is such a beautiful description of what us pregnant ladies are walking (or waddling!) around with everyday.  The larger my ocean gets, the more in love and in awe with it I become. During my baths, after my meditation and right before bed are our favorite times to connect with the babies. It’s at this time that we can feel limbs, butts, elbows and even knees swimming around in my “little ocean” that I have been cultivating and growing for them.
      And like the ocean soothes me with it’s crashing waves and lapping water against the shore, my belly seems to have the same affect on me. I find myself constantly resting my hand on it, rubbing it, and enjoying how relaxing it is to simply sway my hips from side to side. In many ways, my whole body feels like it has taken on the characteristics of the sea.
     Along with feeling this shift in my relationship to my physical self, I have also felt an amazing new connection with Jason open up in these last few weeks. While we are excited that we in our last days of traveling and teaching, this time together has given us the space to connect with and voice our fears, our anxieties, our ideas, and our excitement for the future to each other.  In the book entitled Mindful Birthing, the author, Nancy Bardacke takes partners through a series of questions where each person takes turns asking questions to one another and then before they discuss anything they first sit with their feelings, emotions and any physical sensations that come up.  We have only done it once, but already it has been very powerful for the both of us as it has given us permission and the space to talk about things that we may have otherwise been too scared to share with one another. It has been especially eye opening and a good reminder for me to hear Jason’s fears and thoughts about the future.  As just because he is such a worry free, strong and happy guy, it doesn’t mean that he doesn’t have valid fears of his own that need listening and addressing.
     This exercise also reminded me to listen more in my everyday conversations.  I am very guilty of “checking things off my list” and unfortunately, talking to people sometimes falls on to this list. So,  just as I am starting to slow down physically, I am also excited to take this as a chance to slow down and to REALLY listen more to those around me.
     Teaching with the belly has been awesome. Every Friday before our first session Jason tapes my belly and I leave it on for the weekend. It has been serving as a great reminder to use my deeper abdominal muscles and to not strain. It has been super fun to fly our “dual balance” transitions and Lux’s spiny washing machines as every week my center shifts and lately the babies have been moving while I am flying which makes it very interesting for us! I am not able to fly everything of course, but I have been grateful and amazed at what I still feel good doing. However, by the end of the day, I am ready for food and then bed.  Luckily Jason and Lux have been supportive of this and don’t make me stay out too late!
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      One thing that I heard over and over again from mothers this past weekend in Basel was to “Enjoy this last trimester to the fullest – relish in the quiet time, read, write, visit, do what makes you happy.. as it is a beautiful time that you will never get again.”
       And this is one piece of advice I think I will take, infact I believe I am already on that path! As the bigger my ocean gets, the more content and easeful I feel.  I have no idea if I will still be saying that in a few weeks.. but one can only hope!
The babes: 
     Ever since I started startling Jason out of a deep sleep with me gasping and clutching my ribs, he has started asking the boys to stop kicking me before we go to bed.  And so far, they are listening! Other than getting up a few times a night, I have been having some very nice restful nights. They are still dancing around a lot, but I have become so used to it that I can sleep right through their wiggles.  Starting next week I will have to start going in every two weeks for a check up, but I am eager to see how they are doing and how much they have grown.
What I am loving: 
  • naps: I have never, ever been a napper but on this trip I have been taking mid afternoon naps during the week and they have been so nice.
  • All of my amazing gifts! In Basel I saw a bunch of our friends and mamas – they gave me some very sweet gifts including some very nice tea, some baby mama oil (which I love!), a beautiful ring, and the book I mentioned above.
  • Becoming more and more present: I feel this comes hand in hand with slowing down. Coming around to appreciate and love this bubble that we are in has been so easeful and comforting.
  • My daily yoga, meditation and belly exercises: Even though I am not able to do everything in my regular routine, it has been fun playing with different poses that do work. Also my belly exercises have been helping me with my posture and lower back which I am very grateful for.
What I am not loving: 
  •  The act of eating has become… Comical . I can no longer get right up to the table because my belly hits the table. So in order to get food into my mouth, it first has to make it over the belly, making me a very messy eater if I am not paying attention!
  •  Clothes: I am hoping to make it through this next the weekend with the clothes I brought to Europe, as I am already showing some belly with the tanks that I got right before I left. I am excited to get home where I can hang out in my underwear and let the belly breath most of the time!
 

For those of you who have been asking for our baby registry follow this link. And for you Mama’s out there.. especially the ones with twins. Please take a look and let me know if we are missing anything!

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Expanding and Splitting Open.. Literally.

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26 weeks

Last weekend was Divine Play, an acrobatic festival that we have attended and taught at for the past 7 years. Hundreds of friends come to learn, train and gather for 3-5 days of acrobatics and catching up. Last year we started the tradition of riding to Portland where it is held in one day from Bend. While about a month ago I was fully on board to make the trip, after my last mountain bike ride the week before, I knew that it was not a good idea. Especially since even riding across town and back sometimes causes me to stop and ride even slower because of cramps or contractions. Riding 185 miles was not happening. So instead, I drove and treated myself to my favorite breakfast sandwich, podcasts and a visit with a good friend.

Apart from teaching, the festival was more of a social event for me. I was prepared for this, as I am beginning to do less and less physically, but it was still a challenge and a constant practice of checking in with myself. I went through my daily battles of wanting to demo or try something but not being able to and had a constant reminder track of “ you are growing humans” and “three more months” repeating in my head which came in handy every time I started to get worked up. It also helped to see so many new inspiring mamas and babies, all happy, healthy and well on the path to rediscovering their new, strong bodies. It was fun to share notes and to feel included and supported in this new mama club. It was also super cool how many women came up to me and thanked me for my blog. Some were thinking about going down the path of motherhood and some had no intention of ever becoming a mother but were intrigued and fascinated about the process and life lessons all the same. For a moment I questioned if it was athletic enough, good enough, well written enough. Should I edit it more or think about my word choice more before pressing publish?  But then I remembered my intention behind beginning it. It was about my journey, my process, my thoughts. And no matter which direction I went on my path, I wanted a place to share my fears, accomplishments, and thoughts with out guard or censorship.

So while I would love to gloss over and forget about my latest break down, the very fact that I am even questioning it means I need to  pony up and write it out.

In the week leading up to the festival I found out that I was developing a diastasis.  I don’t know when it started to happened exactly, but one day I decided to test myself and there it was. This ugly, scary tented gap in the middle of my belly. I was mortified, disgusted, and ashamed. Mortified that It had happened even though I had diligently been doing my exercises to prevent exactly that everyday, disgusted, because it looked gross and scary and ashamed that I was even feeling anything besides what I assumed all pregnant women feel: calm, collected and blissful.  Why did I care so much? My babies were healthy, moving and growing. How egotistical and self centered I was to even feel these emotions over something superficial. Wasn’t I supposed to be past this? Shit, I am about to become a mother and here I am fretting over a split abdomen. However I couldn’t let it go.  I felt like a failed mama.  On top of all of this, it all happened at a dinner party. There I was in the corner of my friends house trying to keep it all together literally, pulling in my stomach and holding the flood gates back.  Until Jason and my friends came to sit with me and gave me the space to release everything – my fears, my frustrations, my shame.  Once again, I was shown that it was not just me holding it all together. I had all the support that I needed, I just needed to get past myself and ask for it. The next day I asked my physical therapist, some other mamas and did my own research on it. It turns out, almost every pregnant woman gets it and some don’t even know they have it – it just goes back naturally.  I am pretty sure I will have to keep working hard at it well after these two babes are born. However, luckily I am no stranger to a good physical challenge. So I am still doing my exercises, and if it gets bigger, that is OK (at least, that is what I am telling myself over and over again). I will just have more to work with!

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Now, two weeks later, I am in Europe on our acrobatic teaching tour expanding and dealing with different changes, challenges and joys everyday. And while the urge is definitely there to deal with my changing body and fluctuating emotions behind closed doors, luckily I have a supporting husband and my best friend in tow who can see right past my facade (I was never a good actress or lier).  I am learning that communicating and asking for help is key, even if it feels ridiculous and un important. Going through body and life changes is big. We don’t need to go at it alone, and often times speaking up about it brings about more light and more depth for all of those involved.  So thank you to all of you for giving me the courage and support to have this space to share and reflect on my feelings!

Art and BLT update:

The whole flight over here, they were kicking and moving around. It felt like they were having a party in there! Luckily it kept me up and walking up and down the halls- as that is what my Dr. prescribed.   I am still feeling them alot more through out the day then I used to. And at night I am trying to push them both down AWAY from my rib cage. Every once in a while I feel a kick to the ribs and it shoots this sharp pain up my sternum. That is not very pleasant at all and unfortunately is becoming more and more frequent..

What I am loving:

biking everywhere! I love that biking is the main form of transportation here

the fact that upright bicycles are in abundance here

drinkable yogurt – it is my go to midnight snack

single shot cappuccinos in small mugs – I get one a day.. and savor it

European beds – they are hard and comfy at the same time.

Seeing how the danish mamas do it- the baby stuff over here is so simple, functional, of good quality and cute! It is very hard to not fully indulge and go into ALL of the stores!

Being unplugged for much of the day – when we go out on a ride around town, to a class or even on a walk I am used to always having the phone around. It is so nice to get into the habit of leaving it at home and really enjoying being where we are.

Having the time away from home. I was nervous about this at first, but it is so nice to have this space to get away from the need to nest and “get ready” for everything.

What I am not loving so much:

The feeling of my ribs expanding: it hurts and makes sleeping and wearing bras not so nice.

I miss my snoogle pillow!!! The beds are nice, but I am needing more and more pillows to prop myself up.

Having to slow down even more..

I miss swimming. I may have to find a pool in Basel:)

Patience and Listening

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A few years ago I was walking with my friend who had a toddler.  Everyday they went on this same walk to the same park and played. I remember thinking ” How does she do this?”  “How does she have the patience to deal with the slow walking and the constant stopping??” “How can she handle doing the same routine every day?”

This memory came up yesterday on my walk, the same walk that I do every day that I am home. It has become a ritual, a check in of sorts with myself and with my surroundings.  The new sunflower that popped up on the trail the other day, the new crispness in the air, when the bushes started changing colors, the differing water levels in the canal…

I laughed out loud as I realized what was happening. I was walking the same path over and over again and arguably slower and slower each day. And was I bored of it? No way.  In fact I crave this walk. And that is when it hit me: I am going to be alright.  This whole pregnancy thing is WAY more than just growing a bump and then shooting out a baby (yes, that is how I used to think about it) instead, it is a right of passage into becoming a real, live mother.  As one of my teammates would say: “NOW this is the REAL deal”.   Every week I experience something new in my body, wether it is a movement I can no longer do the same as before, a new symptom or another shirt I was certain I would never grow out of.  And every time I go through a mixing bowl of emotions – frustration, fear, delight, worry, curiosity and wonder.  They all hit the wall at the same time and eventually drip down to a puddle of love and acceptance.

As I look back on my scared shitless former self, I now know what my friend meant when she said “You will grow along with them Chels, and be just as fascinated (if not more!) with this new world that they are experiencing.” “And” she went on “don’t worry, they don’t pop out as toddlers! You have all the time in the world to learn how to love and nurture them”

24 weeks: 

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As I write this post, I feel like I have a hive of dancers in my belly.  Over this past week they have become stronger and stronger. I now get woken up by their movements in the early morning. For the first few mornings, I couldn’t help but just lay there with a hand over my belly and be in constant awe of every movement. I feel so much more connected to them now. Rather than just me going on a bike ride or swim, I feel them there with me, apart of the experience. It is especially cool during my meditation, as I envision that my breath is lulling them to sleep because even though I am not moving they seem to quiet down.

Physically I am slowing way down. All through out AcroVersity (an 8 day acrobatic training) I was able to embody a lot  and felt really good with teaching but by evening time, it was hard to muster up any more energy to be social.  Most of all I loved being in that space: the laughter, the playful energy, and the music. It is a scene I am grateful for and so excited to bring our kids up in.

As far as mountain biking goes, I went on my last ride (for a few more weeks!) this past weekend. I can no longer keep the belly hugged in without it starting to contract, so I took that as a sign to stick to the roads. However, my belly is officially too big for any of my bikes, so I am now on the hunt for an old school up right towny bike. Something I never thought I would be into.. but I am dreaming about it and ask Jason about finding me one everyday.

Swimming, is the most amazing sport ever. It is the only time I feel weightless, where I don’t have to wear compression and where I can wear as little clothes as possible. If there wasn’t other people in my lane, I think I would just lie belly up for as long as possible. I still may do that, give me a couple more weeks.

New Symptoms:

I started getting this burning sensation right under my left breast, it felt like my skin was on fire, but when I checked it out there was no sign of a rash. After looking it up on the google, I found heeps of forums and information on it. And it turns out, it is a common symptom for people who are a) small and/or  b) having twins – HOORAY!  Apparently it is your tendons tearing (?? this still sounds crazy, so I am checking with my Dr. next week) because of the rapid growing that is taking place. And there is nothing you can do about it. Sweet. However, when it gets really bad, I find that ice works wonders!

I still have my varicose veins and a little clot that they want me to watch (but think it’s harmless) but luckily with the cooler weather, I can wear my compression stocking with out getting to hot.

This is not really a symptom, but worth noting.  I broke down and bought myself a few pairs of maternity pants. Another something I never thought would happen. But after busting out of all my tops and feeling restricted in some of my pants at AcroVersity, I went in to the local maternity shop to just “try” on a pair.  I literally walked out of there with them on, they are amazing and well worth it!

Other things I could never imagine happening, but are:

  • Getting the pregnant “waddle” – you know the walk and yes I have it and am constantly trying to fight it.
  • Not being able to see my own crotch. This is weird to me, and I never thought about not being able to see it. Shaving down there is becoming really hard, so all I can say is sorry babe and thank god I am not living in a bikini.
  • Not wanting to put on or take off my shoes.  So it’s slip ons, flip flops and a very long shoe horn (thanks Dawson!) for me!
  • Having to hold it all in down there when sneezing. My most embarrassing moment so far is sneezing and peeing myself in public. Lets hope it ends there.

Babes:

I went in for my 24 week ultrasound this am, and barely got to see them because they are moving SOOOO much. And it looks like they are constantly kicking and booting bumping each other.  I felt sorry for the tech as it took her twice as long to get the measurements she needed. But finally, after a full hour and a half I was let go with a few pics. They are now a little over a foot long, and are each weighing in at 1 pound 6 ounces, which is super exciting! AND they are viable! Not that I want them to come out, but if they did have to, they have a a very good chance of surviving.

What I am loving:

  • I am reading a great book that was recommended by a good friend – Mindful Birthing. It is the right amount of practice, information and good stories.
  • The house is starting to come together, and my nesting phase is finally starting to burn out a little.
  • My meditation practice: every morning I sit out on our deck, listen to the early morning birds and concentrate on my inhales and exhales.
  • The first hour before fully waking, Jason and I lay in bed with his hand on my belly feeling them dance inside me. We LOVE it.
  • Our friends, I feel so grateful for our local tribe here. Everyone is so talented, so supportive and so amazing to hang out with.
  • Fall! I love fall and all that it brings – changing leaves, crisp mornings, soups, potlucks and cider!