Twin Pregnancy: 23 Week Update

Happy 23 weeks to our sweet little girls! 

This past week was another good one - full of blessings and miracles. Our little girls continue to grow! They were both one pound and three ounces - still growing together. On a recent ultrasound, over the weekend, we saw Mary Elliott really moving around for the first time. In the past, we'd seen a slight movement, but recently she's really been wiggling everything. I think she's finally pushing back on her sister who is constantly moving about and kicking at her. Mary Elliott also had a full bladder and full stomach - indicating that internally, things are working. 

I mentioned in last week's update that I was really starting to feel Sadie Ann kick. Well, this week it's even more so! She will get going on these crazy episodes and go non-stop! That girl can throw a punch and kick her legs. Last week I even got to see my belly move from all the kicking. I had Chris put his hand on my belly during her playtime. It was the funniest and sweetest thing to see him react to feeling her. His eyes became as large as golfballs and he immediately pulled his hand away - I'm certain it shocked him. 

For me, my WBC count continues to jump back and forth between 13-14 - which appears to be my normal. I'm continuing to have the Braxton Hicks daily - some days they are more frequent than others. I'm also having lots of other different feelings going on, but my doctor continues to assure me that with two growing babies, I'm going to be feeling a hundred different things. So all is still going well. 

I prayed that the 22-24 week countdown would pass by quickly - and so far it has! Fran and I kept ourselves busy making crafts. This is her last week here with me for a few weeks - she returns in January. My parents, brother, and dogs come back to Alabama this Saturday and they'll be visiting through Christmas and the New Year. Again, I'm just so happy and thankful to have family that is willing to sit with me all day just to keep me company and have that added bit of support in the room. It's been a blessing. 

Here is our weekly countdown banner. One week down and one to go to our first goal!

And here is what Chris has set up in our room for our Netflix bingers. 

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:6-7


Letters for Our Twins // No. 001

I wrote this letter to our twins while laying in bed the night before our gender ultrasound. I planned to post it that morning, but didn't get around to it. Then, two days later we found ourselves in the hospital with a long road ahead of us. I recently found it as a draft and wanted to share it. As I mentioned below, I had plans of writing them multiple letters, and I may write them additional letters on here, but my weekly updates are covering most everything that's going on week to week.


9:16 p.m.

Dear babies,

I had intentions of writing you notes since the day we found out I was pregnant. I wanted to capture and document all the wonderful feelings going through my mind from the time we found out about you up until the point where we get to hold you, but one of the many lessons I have the privilege of teaching you in this lifetime is that it's better late than never. So here I am, finally starting to write to you.

You two are about 16w4d - give or take - and I'm a couple weeks into my second trimester. Baby A, in the beginning of the pregnancy, you were almost a week behind baby B - in fact, you didn't even have a heartbeat at our very first ultrasound, but our nurse practitioner ensured us that you were fine and would have one the following week. And you did! You've actually complete caught up with your sister! In our recent doctor's visits, you've both been within a day or two of each other and we couldn't be happier!

I'm writing to you tonight because tomorrow is a special day and I want you to know what I'm going to be thinking about all night while I try to fall asleep. If you two cooperate, we will hopefully find out if you are two little girls, two little boys, or a little girl and little boy. And we cannot wait! I'm thinking in the morning I may eat a sugary breakfast to get you two moving about. Well, mostly just you, baby A. Baby B, you are our little acrobat; we've had a lot of ultrasounds since receiving the good news and without fail, you are wiggling, twisting, and flipping. Always! Baby A, you're our docile, laid back child (like your mommy). Every now and then we see you wiggle those arms (I think we even have a picture of you waving at us), but you're usually comfy and cozy just laying on your back, all curled up. So hopefully some sugar will get you moving!

Since learning and sharing the good news that we are expecting twins, we've had countless people ask the same question… "What do you want the babies to be?" Our answer is always the same. We. Don't. Care. We are so thrilled and thankful to have you two growing in my belly - our only prayer and hope is that you two are healthy. And that's what we tell everyone. That's always our answer.

I've heard that mothers often just know what they are having - they have this maternal instinct that tells them. Well that may be true for singletons - or maybe it's true for most women and even those having multiples, but I don't know. Well, I do. But not the way that other mothers just know. I'll get to that in a minute.

I haven't paid too much attention to any Old Wives Tales because those are centered around singletons as well. I do know that at almost 17 weeks I'm still nauseous and that since finding out I was pregnant, my face has been breaking out like a teenager entering into puberty. I haven't had any cravings. It's  been quite the opposite - in the first trimester I wanted nothing to do with sweets (which, you will learn, is not like your mommy at all!). Don't worry though, my sweet tooth is back - I've actually been drinking a lot of sweet tea (which I haven't done in years) - I even made some not long ago. And it was delicious! I'm sure y'all enjoyed it too! So I've had pregnancy symptoms that are kind of all over the place. None indicating one thing or the other - only that I have a ton of extra hormones running though this body of mine!

I will say that about two years ago I started having a feeling that one day I would have twin girls. It was an out of the blue feeling. It seemed like every time I turned around, I saw twin girls. It felt as though God was bombarding me with the idea of twins girls so that it would become a normal thought of mine - one day I will have twin girls. And after a while, I believed knew it. At an earlier part of my life, I wasn't very keen on the idea of twins - and I usually pictured myself with boys. Lots of little boys. So if I feel anything at all… it would be twin girls. In fact, I know you are twin girls, but very few people know that - just your daddy and my best friend, Jessica. Your daddy and I talk about it quite a bit. I'll share with you in a separate letter a little more detail about all this.

No matter what that ultrasound shows tomorrow, our hearts will be full! We are overflowing with excitement! Not that this pregnancy doesnt seem real, because it is very real, but I feel like once we know what you are, things will become very real, very fast. I'll start registering, buying you little things here and here, and begin planning a nursery. Up until this point you've both been baby A and baby B - and I've loved it. After tomorrow you will have a more distinct identity. And soon after that you will have names. Names!

I'm so happy to finally sit down and write to you. Here's to many more letters!

Love you so much already,


Twin Pregnancy: 22 Week Update

Hello, 22 weeks!

As you can see in this picture, my little pink tee is getting tighter and tighter - which I love! I'm even starting to fill out in my upper abdomen area. These girls are growing!

This past week has been a good one, full of many blessings. As I've mentioned, the girls are receiving an ultrasound every other day. Last week, I ask my ultrasonographer what the babies were weighing. She told me ONE pound each! I could not believe it. They are a pound! Such a blessing.

Then this morning my doctor came in and told be they were both 1lb 2oz!!!

This past Friday morning the girls had an extra long anatomy scan - a typically anxiety-ridden exam. It was completed later in the morning, after my doctor had already stopped by for the day. It wasn't until the next morning that she pulled up the report in my room and read it to Chris and me… "No abnormalities seen in baby A; no abnormalities seen in baby B." There's nothing like getting that kind of news first thing in the morning. All praises to the Lord! What a beautiful report. She went on to tell us that Mary Elliott continues to grow and keep up with her sister. Despite her ruptured sac and lack of fluid, she continues to move about and grow. I'm such a thankful and proud mommy.

Friday morning also marked five weeks since the rupture. Five weeks! Unbelievable. And it marked five months pregnant.

Sunday the girls and I rolled over to 22 weeks - meaning we are now on the two week countdown to 24 weeks! I hope and pray these next two weeks we continue to remain stable, the girls continue to grow, no infections come about, and that the days don't all of a sudden start to slow down. Again, at 24 weeks, I get my steroid injections to help with the babies' lungs and they past the point of viability in which they have a chance of survival should they decide to come that early. I've advised them to stay put for several more weeks - let's hope they listen to their mommy.

My white blood cell count continues to remain stable, right at 13-14.

I've put on eight pounds since being admitted to the hospital. Which I attribute to three fully-loaded trays a day, snacks my doctor ordered me between all means, and the constant sweets and treats that friends and family bring me daily. 

This past week I spent the majority of my time taking online CEU classes. I needed to complete them anyway, but of course I received a letter in the mail not long ago that I was being audited by the state. So that just means I need to turn in some extra paperwork and turn it in earlier than what I would normally have to since it all has to be audited. Thankfully, I finished it all, my paperwork is completed, and was mailed out this morning. Shew!

Also in the last week, my sweet mother in law brought in some Christmas decorations to liven up my tiny room! I have a wreath on my door, garland on the mirror and bulletin board, and a precious Christmas tree. It's all just perfect!

Yesterday she brought in crafts for us to make a countdown to 24 weeks! It's in the shape of a banner with pom poms. We have it all made and set up - and each day, at the end of the day, we will cut off a pom pom until we get to 24 weeks. Then we'll make a new one that will count us down to 26 weeks… and so on. 

Another week has come and gone and it's all being overseen by the Lord. Every day it's increasingly obvious how He is right here with our little family. I thank Him daily for so many miracles, so many blessings, and so much love! 

"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Jeremiah 29:11


Twin Pregnancy: 21 Week Update

I have officially been in the hospital and on bed rest for over four weeks now - and on this past Sunday (November 30), I hit the 21 week mark! Which may not seem that monumental to most, but to have suffered a membrane rupture at 16w5d, it's a big deal. So Happy 21 Weeks to our precious little girls! 

I love seeing how much they grow in just one week!

I attribute all success in this situation to God and the non-stop prayer we have received since this happened. Medically speaking, there's really nothing that has or can be done until 24 weeks other than the antibiotics I received the first week and bed rest. I spend 90% of my day in the bed. I don't lay flat, but close to it. I am allowed to get up to use the bathroom and I can take a shower, sitting down, every other day. I've become extremely weak due to the lack of activity - so getting up to use the restroom and my shower days are all exhausting. But I wouldn't have it any other way. 

Enough about me. On to the babies. 

The girls get ultrasounds every other day and at each ultrasound I'm just amazed at the work God is doing. Despite our little Mary Elliott's (baby A) lack of fluid, she continues to grow, move around, thrive, and have a full bladder. All very positive things that are nothing less than daily blessings. She and her sister always measure within a day of each other and on this past Saturday, they both were 20w6d and weighed 12-13oz. This Monday morning they had their second anatomy scan and all looked great! One of my favorite things to see on the ultrasound is both of the girls moving, usually trying to cuddle - and we've seen both of them have the hiccups. So adorable. Fills my heart with joy! 

As far as my white blood cell count, it has remained stable at 13 for the past week - which is also an amazing blessing that infection is staying away. 

As we made our way into 18 and 19 weeks, I began feeling slight movements inside of me - they felt like bubbles and light flutters. As 20 weeks passed by, those flutters became more frequent and have recently turned into full-on karate kicks. The girls are tiny, but they can throw a punch. Sometimes it startles me and then makes me giggle. Since Sadie Ann has fluid, her movements are the ones I feel most often. Mary Elliot's movements aren't as frequent because of her limited space - and because of the lack of fluid around her, her movements feel more like pokes. No matter what I feel, I'm just so in love with both of their completely different feelings of movement and so thankful to feel them on a daily basis - even when they wake me up at 2a..m.. 

I've started having Braxton Hicks. I actually believe I've been having them for several weeks now - even a couple weeks before all this happened. When I first had them, I attributed it to the babies shifting around and just being anterior in the womb. However, my doctor mentioned last week that I may be feeling them soon. Since I'd never been this far along in a pregnancy, I had no clue what to expect and as I did my research on them, I began to realize that the tightness I'd occasionally feel maybe wasn't the babies moving about. In the past couple weeks they've definitely become noticeable and frequent. My doctor said that up to four an hour can be normal. Sometimes I have that many an hour and then sometimes I don't have any for several hours. She said that was normal too - easing my mommy brain.

I've also been so blessed to have my mom and mother in law stay with me every. single. day. since I was admitted. My mom took a month off from work and spent all of November here. She went home over the weekend and my mother in law traveled over to spend the next three (yeah, three!) weeks hanging out in room 205. Chris has spent every night since Halloween here with me without a single complaint. They've all been so selfless and generous with their time and I appreciate it more than what I could ever express. 

So that's some of our big updates as of 21 weeks. Our first big goal is still 24 weeks - which is the Sunday before Christmas. Once we make it to 24 weeks, I'll receive a set of steroid shots that will help with the development of Mary Elliott's lungs secondary to her lack of fluid which plays a crucial role in lung development. It will actually help with both of the girls' lungs in case they do come a lot earlier than planned. Lord willing, once we make it to 24 weeks and get the shots we can breathe a small tiny sigh of relief and then we will look on towards 26 weeks. Following a conversation about how much we both love Thanksgiving food, my doctor told me that if we can make it to 26 weeks she'll feel really good - turkey, gravy, and stuffing good.

We continue to pray and ask for prayers for our little girls.

The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.
Deuteronomy 31:8


Naming the Twins

Since finding out we were expecting and then finding out we were expecting twins, we vaguely talked about names. We'd occasionally flip through baby name books or randomly mentioned a name we liked, but never agreed on any names. However, prior to even being married, we did agreed on one name. The name of our first daughter, Mary Elliott. 

Mary Elliott was easy for us and we agreed on it right away. We both loved classic, double names - and Mary was about as classic as it gets and is typically used in southern, double names. For me, with a name like Linley, I had an appreciation and love for unique (but not crazy) names. I also personally love boy names for girls and names that were interchangeable between sexes. For some reason Elliott for a girl just jumped out at me. So I suggested Mary Elliott. We immediately loved it. We'd say it over and over. We'd question if it was too much of a mouth-full to say, but decided we didn't care. We eventually said it enough and decided once we were married and had a daughter, it would be her name. And that was that. 

Before getting pregnant, I'd mention to Chris several times that I really loved the name Sadie. It's an older, but classic name. It's making a come-back, but it's still fairly rare, and my grandmother's name was Sadie. So it already had a special place in my heart. Chris on the other hand wasn't crazy about it, but he also never said he hated it… so I took that as a maybe-possibility that could eventually be considered. Especially if I continued to mention it… and I did. I'd always come up with combinations with the name Sadie. He'd brush it off, and I'd keep brainstorming. 

So then we found out our twins were girls. I remember driving home and starting a conversation about names. Chris expressed that he really loved then name Ann. I could just tell in how he was talking about it, that he really did love the name. I wasn't opposed to the name Ann, but I wasn't crazy about it either. I also had an exceptionally long list of girl names on my phone that I wanted to throw out there before anything was set in stone. I knew naming a second girl was going to be difficult for us. 

Then my water for baby A broke two days after finding out our twins were girls. 

We'd been in the ER about an hour and had no clue what the future held for us or our precious girls. We were battling emotions we never thought we'd have to face. I vividly remember some rare quiet time in the ER with Chris. He was sitting beside the bed, holding my hand. We weren't saying much back and forth, our tears were doing most of the talking. Then Chris leaned down to me and fought some serious tears to express an incredible idea. He asked me if we could go ahead and name the babies. He said if anything happened to them, they should at least have names. I began to cry at the sheer gesture of giving the babies names in such a situation - and could not have agreed more that this was the time to name them. 

I went ahead and addressed that baby A should be Mary Elliot - in fact, she became Mary Elliott in my mind the day we found out she was a girl. He agreed. Now baby B… Since our conversation about Chris' love for the name Ann, I knew it needed to be part of her name. I then considered a compromise - putting together the name Chris loved and the name I loved. I knew his reservations about the name Sadie, so before belting it out, I prefaced the name with the fact that it would be a compromise. And then I said it. Sadie Ann. I looked up at Chris. I saw tears in his eyes as he quietly nodded his head yes. 

That was it. On October 31st, our twin girls, baby A and baby B, received names.
Mary Elliott and Sadie Ann.
They are strong names for two strong, little girls.