sneak peek: nursery, playroom + bathroom.

Who is ready for a sneak peek of our nursery, playroom, and babies bathroom!? We are so elated that we have been able to take an upstairs den, my old library/office, and guest bathroom and turn them into spaces for our babies to grow up in. And while we still have a few final details to finish, we just can’t wait any longer to show you! (And truthfully, the final details are low on my priority list as my belly grows and my eyes have a greater desire to be shut then opened, hehe!)

So without further ado …

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Here’s a peek from the doorway! We went with a mint, navy, pink, white, and gold theme … how’s that for a variety!? Haha! But we love the way it turned out. We feel like it’s complementary to both genders but also a serene, peaceful place to sleep.

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(Photo by Gina Zeidler)

Cali is ready for her brother and sister to arrive! Every morning we walk into the nursery and say hello and good morning to the babies. She now stops at the door before we head downstairs if I forget.

(And YES, when they start climbing and moving, we will rearrange the cribs so that there isn’t any risk factors with the in-between space between the two.)

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Our glider also is a recliner which is HEAVENLY and I am certain will be used and appreciated for the long nights ahead. It’s sooo comfy!

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The bins at the bottom are SO useful as we are realizing BABIES HAVE SO MUCH STUFF.

IMG_2082Our dear friend Janell blessed our family with these gorgeous hand crocheted blankets + matching elephants. Both of these bring us so much joy and we couldn’t love her more for loving our kids as much. How cute are they!? (You can follow her work on Instagram at @littlevernfieldcompany)

IMG_2080Our friend Ashley Dumler from Graced and Co custom gifted and designed this gorgeous piece of art for our family and we couldn’t love it more. For so long, we were on the journey towards parenthood and now we are ready for the ADVENTURE of parenthood. You can be encouraged by her heart on Instagram at @ashleydumler or check out her website and shop at www.gracedandco.com.

Josh spotted these mobiles and they are perfect! As a hunter, he noticed immediately that our daughters mobile has does on it, with bows in their hair, and our sons mobile has bucks, with antlers on top. It’s a detail I never would have noticed but one that we both love. Also, they play the song that my teddy bear as a child played, which is a fun thing to pass on.

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I love how the lighting turned out in here. We are able to add a little gold glimmer to the ceiling and it’s so pretty when it’s on. We have it on a dimmer as well so we can control the brightness.

IMG_2083This wall is kind of boring, as it’s just our dresser and changing table! This is one spot that still needs a lot of organizing TLC because I just don’t know how to best organize all of it! I have to nestle our wipes warmer in somehow and rearrange some of the not-every-day items … I wanted something simple above it like a mirror because every baby I know loves seeing a glimpse of themselves!

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We replaced the boring white knobs with gold glass knobs and love how it finishes off the dresser!

View More: http://ginazeidler.pass.us/ritchiematernityamenCali has definitely claimed this pouf as her own already haha. (Photo by Gina Zeidler) I really like having the pouf vs. a glider ottoman because with the chair gliding, it helps me control the amount of “swing” I have going on. It’s super light weight and can easily be moved to the side too when the recliner goes up.

A special thanks to my girl Lindsay over at frillsanddrills.com (Instagram @frills_and_drills) for helping us create a room mock up to try out different styles and colors … she made life so much easier!)

And now onto the playroom! This room is right off of our main living space and we are thankful we have a spot like this.

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When you walk into the play room, this storage space is to your right and houses everything from extra bankets to toys to books and other misc items! You can see the babies already have a few stuffed animals and trinkets to play with! :)

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A wall of storage … we love the natural light that comes in! I still want to find some art for the left hand side, as well as cover the top in foam with the fabric on top … on the list! :)

IMG_2069Josh and I put up these sticker wall decals to invite some friends to the party! :) We love how it turned out!

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As a book lover, having places to display their books was a must! We will routinely swap these out for new ones they have. Already I have read most of these out loud to Cali/Josh/the babies. They are all SO cute!

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We have a chair in the corner (that I need to recover) and this is the view from it.

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We found this changing area on clearance and have heard it’s super nice to have a changing station on the main floor as well. I need to finish organizing it and adding a spot for the wipes (a small shelf on the wall? Any other ideas?). The green basket next to it I plan to fill with some snacks for me to nibble on while breastfeeding/pumping.

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This is one special detail in our playroom that we love. Years ago I had seen a sign similar and sent it to my sister-in-law, who remembered and had one custom made for boy/girl twins. We LOVE it.

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This is another special item in our playroom. It’s a beautiful rocking bear made in Poland that my grandparents had set aside for many years for us. It’s incredibly unique. It’s sturdy and soft, made from a gorgeous wool, and we love the special touch it adds to the playroom!

And we are SO excited to share that our beautiful finished PRAYER PUZZLE that SO MANY OF YOU participated in, is now framed and ready to be hung above the changing table in the playroom. We absolutely love that you will all be a part of our daily life – your prayers have been instrumental in our miracle and we feel so incredibly blessed that each of these thousand pieces have had a sponsoring friend/family/stranger committing to praying for our babies. This is my favorite thing ever.

And last up, the kiddos bathroom!

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This room was pretty easy to transition as it was just adding some splashes of color.

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We know it will be a little while before bath toys are used, but we are ready! :) We just need to put their baby baths in this tub but know we have a little time!

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I am still trying to figure out what will be handy to have easy access too. Most of their bath items (washcloths, towels, etc) are organized under the sink.

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A few little fun details. This “For this Child…” sign comes from a gift I received. A friend, Jessica, nominated me to win this, and I won! A special thanks to @august.and.april for this beautiful gift! And the music box/snow globe was a special gift from my grandparents that we got the day we shared we were pregnant. So special!

Truly, every time we pass one of these rooms, we can’t help but pinch ourselves because our home FINALLY has rooms with real, live babies coming its way! It’s so surreal and we can’t say THANKS enough to everyone who has so generously helped us fill them with goodies, clothes, diapers, toys, and practical items for the kiddos. We are so grateful.


Nursery: Cribs, Dresser, and Recliner – Buy Buy Baby, Baby Bedding and Crib Skirts – Sweet Jo Jo Designs (available on Amazon), Pouf – The Land of Nod, Storage Unit – Ikea, Bins, Artwork and wall decor (other than custom sign), pillow, lamps and side table – Target, Chandelier – Cost Plus World Market, Dresser Knobs – Home Depot, Black out curtains – Pottery Barn Kids, Laundry basket and garbage can – Home Goods, Mirror – At Home.

Playroom: Changing table – Buy Buy Baby, Storage Unit and Book racks – Ikea, Bins and curtains – Target, Lamp shades – At Home, Playroom wall art – Home Goods, Wall Decals – Amazon.

Bathroom: Shower curtain and green rug – Ikea, Blue Rug – Target, 2 set of bathroom prints – Hobby Lobby. 

niaw: listen up.

 

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April 23-29 marks an important week in the infertility world, as it is National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW). I know there’s a lot of months and weeks out there for so many great causes, and this one is near and dear to my heart, as it’s a wonderful time for people to start talking, begin uniting, work towards educating others about what infertility is, all it entails, and who it effects. I am a blessed one – as our story has been public for many years and we have an amazing community around us following along, asking great questions, listening when we need it, and walking through the highs and lows with us.

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Let’s get real about infertility for a minute: Infertility affects 1 in 8 couples. Now, we throw numbers and stats out a lot in today’s society that they can begin to lose their power. But think about it. If you are sitting in a room with 16 of your girlfriends, there are 2 of them who are likely personally affected by infertility or secondary infertility. This reality doesn’t care what job you have, how much you want to be a parent, your income, race, or social status. It breaks the hearts of all parties involved and leaves many left wondering why me? Why can everyone else around me have 1, 2, 3, 4 kids and we can’t? Infertility may be woven into female diagnosis, male factors, or simply unknown reasons. It weaves in emotions like fear, shame, confusion, depression, heartache, physical and emotion ailments, jealously, brokenness, sorrow, anger, and immense grief.

When you are struggling with infertility, it isn’t a part-time battle. It wrecks your world, day in and day out. You are constantly caught off guard with triggers, whether it’s observing a mother and child at the store, watching tv and catching a precious, but heartbreaking Pampers commercial, passing a pregnant women in the parking lot, or receiving (yet another) baby shower invitation. Some couples choose to share their stories and other couples keep their battles private, suffering silently and feeling the immense need to constantly put on the “happy face”.

Now back to NIAW. RESOLVE is the association that manages this week ahead and the theme this year is “Listen Up”. (You can read all about their intentions for the theme in this link.) When I first heard the theme though, my mind didn’t jump to the need for legislature to listen up (although that is important). It didn’t jump to the idea that insurance companies or fertility specialists need to listen up, although again, important factors. My brain immediately recognized the importance of those around us – our intimate community – needing to listen up.

In a battle as tough as infertility, it is critical that we have the support of those around us – those who support us and those who are struggling themselves. Isolation will create only that, feelings of being alone. And with a statistic as staggering as 15% of couples struggling, you are anything but alone.

If you are reading this today as someone who has never been touched by the struggles of infertility personally, thank you for taking the time to increase your knowledge. As you go through life, it’s inevitable that you will cross paths with someone who is struggling with infertility and your desire to build your awareness is critical. Be willing to listen to them. Don’t force them to talk, but don’t minimize their emotions and feelings if they do choose to share. Do not use your time to offer advice. Telling someone that this is part of God’s plan, or that they need to relax and take a vacation, or that if they tried this herb/supplement/doctor/exercise/adoption agency, is NOT helpful. What this does is cause them to feel more blame, like they have caused their infertility, or are being punished for something, and despite your best intentions to offer them hope, will push them back into desiring to put up a wall and stop talking. JUST LISTEN.  Validate how hard this must be. Be interested, not uncomfortable, with what they have to say. Check in on them. Ask what you can do to help. Pray for them. Without your willingness to enter into the mess with us, we feel abandoned by those we care about.

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If you are reading this today and are newly diagnosed with infertility or are quietly struggling without sharing your story with anyone, know how truly sorry I am for you. Your heart is breaking and I wish there was something I could do to make it easier. Take the time you need to grieve. It’s okay to be scared and unsure of what’s ahead. Find a good doctor and be open with them. Sadly 91% of couples struggling with infertility wish they would have talked to a doctor sooner. Don’t be afraid to reach out – it’s your doctor’s job to listen and help. I encourage you to find someone to talk to – in real life or through social media (like instagram – it’s the best community out there!).  It’s a painful journey and without someone that can process with you and listen, the suffering will become unbearably heavy. I wish I could come wrap you in a blanket, offer you a cup of tea, sit across from you on a cozy couch and just listen. You deserve the right to share your emotions without judgment or opinions.

And lastly, to those of you who are public, who share your story loudly and ensure that others know about infertility, thank you. Thank you for advocating and being the voice of many. Thank you for bravely sharing your story. Thank you for putting yourself out there and opening yourself up to stupid comments, statements and stories. Don’t give up hope – keep up the good work! Because of people like you, there are others listening in who may not have otherwise. You matter and you are valuable no matter what your family looks like. Take care of yourself, offer yourself grace, and don’t allow yourself to become defined by your diagnosis. Try not to personalize the well intended “help” someone offers. Use it as a chance to help them hear what you are trying to say.

If you are reading this today, I challenge you to take a moment to pray for someone you know who is struggling. Perhaps there is no one that you know – in which case, can I offer up some of my friends to you to be prayed for? There are so many, but this week my heart is praying for C, E, J, C, C, K, S, J, K, C, N, G, A, and A. Pick a letter – God knows who they are, and pray for them. Each letter represents a couple still struggling, big time, with infertility and bringing a little one into their family. Your prayers matter. Pray for a healthy pregnancy to come their way, pray for healing of their bodies from diagnosis’s and illnesses, pray for wisdom for them as they navigate their treatment options, pray for peace to flood their hearts, pray for their spirits and their joy to be refilled, pray for their faith to be strengthened, pray for their marriage to withhold the stress of this struggle, pray for the medical team working with them and pray for those in their life that support them.

Ironically this year, Josh and I are celebrating NIAW with new lives coming into our family in the next 5-6 weeks, yet the reality remains that because of my diagnosis of PCOS, we will always be a part of the 1 in 8. My heart lies closely with those who are in this “club” with us and yet still, we know a number will never define us. We are not alone in the fight that we face, or the celebrations we have ahead. We are grateful for our Lord who stands with us in it all and fights for us, and for the most amazing community around us who have gone through so many ups and downs with us. You all make the difference, you matter, and you are a gift.

 

good friday and the hope of what’s to come.

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This morning as I sat on my porch listening to the birds chirp, I thought about how the morning of Good Friday started just like that. Everything felt normal. Routine. Jesus dined with His disciples the night before, washed their feet, and the whole world went to sleep, not knowing how much would change the next day. The sun rose. Families made their breakfasts, perhaps the birds were chirping much like they were outside of my house this morning. And yet, by the end of the day, life as we know it would never be the same again. God took a waiting season that spanned thousands of years and removed a veil between Him + His people in a single weekend. Jesus suffered today for us – willingly, out of love, trusting His Father completely, even though the hours to come would be horrific. He trusted that God’s plan was bigger than His suffering. And suddenly, a regular Friday became the foundation for life eternal.

You see, I know this image above (one from our maternity shoot) seems to not match up with the gravity of the words above, but in a way, I pray that it brings you hope that a day that starts normal, like every other, can hold in it a miracle that can change your life. In 7 weeks, we pray to welcome our son and daughter into this world after a long wait that’s lasted nearly a decade, and yet, that is NOTHING in comparison to the type of waiting and suffering Jesus went through for us. And while our waiting season has shifted now to waiting for these babies, my heart still beats deeply with those who are still in the wait and I just want to squeeze each of you still aching and wondering “when”. I know holidays are especially tough, especially when feeds are flooded with families + mall bunnies pics + always a pregnancy announcement or two. I am praying for each and every one of you this weekend – so many friends stick out in my mind as I type this – and hope that you all can KEEP THE FAITH. Trust your Father, the one who sees the BIG picture and knows all the answers to the “why’s” you keep asking.

Out of the hard days – the “good Friday’s” – come the Easters. The answered prayer. The blessing. The victory. As hard as it is to see past Friday, don’t let it cloud over the hope of what is to come. Sending you all so much love as you walk through another holiday and I pray that your hearts would not stay defeated but instead turn towards the one who holds your future in His hands.

With love,

Chelsea

ps – photo by Gina Zeidler who lovingly gifted us a maternity shoot to celebrate these babies … I will have to share more of our faves soon! These images are just so special to us. <3

FertilityIQ grant.

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You guys know I simply adore FertilityIQ and what they are doing in the infertility community, right? I connected with Jake and Deb, the founders of this website last year and my love for what they are doing has only snowballed. (Here’s a post talking a little more about the site.) Then, last September, I was invited with a few other bloggers, to a basecamp they put on, that solely focused on what we could do to better help and support the infertility community. And surprise! As of last March, yours truly actually joined their team in a work-from-home role and I LOVE IT. (More on that later!)

In an nutshell, the website is an online resource for fertility patients to get detailed information on doctors, clinics, treatments, costs and more. Fertility patients can anonymously assess their doctor, clinic, nurse, billing department, etc, and after a thorough review, these assessments become available for others to read. As a reader, you can sort by geography, and the patient’s treatment type, age, race, income, orientation and more. In the past year, 100,000 patients have used our data to find their doctor and 92% considered it “helpful or extremely helpful.” As someone who has seen 3 clinics in the Twin Cities alone, I cannot TELL you how incredibly helpful it is to have a website like this one available to help others still in the thicks of determining what their next steps will be and with who.

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And now, have you heard the big news?! FertilityIQ is providing one patient, who has written an assessment of their doctor, a free IVF cycle (up to $10,000) to use, or gift to a friend. And, there’s also another way to win $2,500 by simply acting as a referrer! If you share about this contest with your friends who may be able to provide an assessment too, and they win after citing you are their referrer, then you get $2,500 to spend at your discretion! SERIOUSLY. A free IVF cycle?! This will change a family’s LIFE!

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Seriously, all you have to do is pop over to this link here https://www.fertilityiq.com/survey-intro and spend 10-15 minutes sharing your experience with a former or current doctor or clinic. The assessment is completely anonymous and to maintain credibility, we will ask you to send in something that “proves” you were a patient there, like an image of a bill or an email from a nurse or some paperwork with your name on it on their letterhead. (Patients can submit more than one assessment, but only assessments that meet our basic criteria listed here will qualify.) If you do that by April 27th, you are eligible to win this grant! If you have already submitted an assessment with verification, you also are eligible! (If you want to double check everything is good, check the website to see your assessment and make sure there is a blue check mark next to it, which signifies it’s been verified.)

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One thing I love about this is it’s not a contest, it’s a grant. This isn’t about who is most popular or can make the most tear filled video, it’s simply sharing what you have experienced from the clinics and docs you’ve seen, and helping out the next member of our fertility community get closer to their dreams. The reason I love working for FertilityIQ is because I am able to help give back to a community that has been so good to me. Every person who shares their experience on FertilityIQ is making the experience less isolating, and just plain better for their fellow patients who are starting out. YOU make the difference! It truly is empowering knowing that you can help others!

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Winners will be chosen at random on April 28th and every qualifying assessment must be submitted by April 27th.  For more details, please go to FertilityIQ.com/IVF/Grant.

So what are you waiting for?! Stop scrolling and go assess your doctor!!! (And if you submit one, mention my name!!) I AM GIDDY ABOUT THIS!!!

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My new bosses … they are pretty freaking awesome. :)

baby shower #3.

Update on this morning’s appointment: Both kiddos rocked it! Our baby boy scored an 8/10 because he was stubborn and didn’t want to practice his breathing for a consistent 30 seconds straight, but baby girl nailed her tests and scored a 10/10! Yay! Next week is our big appointment when they will go in and remeasured the growth to see if she has had a growth spurt. Essentially we are praying that she is at least the same, but preferably much higher than her 5th percentile. We also are praying that baby boy is continuing to thrive as he has been! This test is Thursday afternoon. In the meantime, both babies are head down again (baby boy loves to flip flop) and they are both facing each other (belly buttons facing in towards my belly button). Little boy is using his sisters head as a pillow and I foresee this as the start of a lot of whispers and giggles between the two of them. :) So we are PRAISING GOD for another week of baby baking sans any issues! 30 weeks has always been our one big goal to make it too, and we are just 5 sleeps away from that! And our c-section is scheduled for 9 weeks from today … which seems crazy soon! Stay in there babies!!!

Alright, now I get to share about ANOTHER baby shower we had thrown for us last weekend! (Seriously, I can’t even tell you how grateful we have been for the outpouring of love! Each shower is so surreal to be a part of, and honestly, the generosity of others has been so incredible. We are learning that two babies need a LOT of stuff, haha!)

Last Saturday, my in-laws’s church were the ones celebrating with us! These women have been praying for us for years and investing in our family for so long. It was so incredibly sweet of them to not only want to celebrate with us, but also plan and throw us such a fun shower!

This shower was hosted by two family friends, Lori and Lisa. They did such a great job decorating everything, and also cooking a delicious brunch! YUM YUM! They had an adorable girl themed table set up, as well as a boy themed table. I have to be honest, I had a hard time deciding where to sit because I felt like I was picking a child as a favorite haha! In the end, I sat at the girls table because that’s where my nieces selected to sit.

Here’s a few pictures of the cute décor!!

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We started off the morning by eating a super yummy brunch. Egg bakes, fresh fruit, amazing pastries, juice, teas and coffee hit the spot!

Then we played a really fun game where we had to guess what the “baby” animal was called. For an example, a baby cow is a ____ (calf), a baby kangaroo is a (joey), a baby seal is a ____ (pup), etc. Some were easier than others and I can’t say I was competition, haha!

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The tables were deep in thought!

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Baby fish are not called caviar FYI.

Then Lori, one of the hosts, gave a beautiful devotional based on this sign (which she gifted us for our home):

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She shared thoughts from each point and I want to share them here, at least my recollection of them, so Lori, if I botch them, I apologize! (Pregnancy brain, which I know realize is a real thing.) I know I am forgetting one part, which I most definitely will remember at 2 am.

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Lori sharing her devotional

Live Well: In order to live well, I will need to (learn) how to ask and accept help. Having two babies is uniquely more difficult that having one baby and it will require me asking for help when help is needed, and accepting help when it’s offered. The people around me will want to help, I just need to be sure to let them in. (This will totally be a challenge for me! An important reminder!)

Laugh Often: Don’t take (myself) too seriously, enjoy the little moments that each day will bring and laugh often. The days may be hard, but they fly by, so don’t wish them away. Take time to enjoy the richness each day and challenge brings. Let Josh be a dad. Dad’s have a uniquely different set of skills than mom’s, and as a mom I will be tempted to want things to run according to how I plan/do them. Learn to appreciate the way Josh will try to help out and don’t scold or correct him. Laugh when outfits go on backwards or are mismatched or bath time ends up with more water on the floor then in the tub. Let him be a dad and invest the way he knows how and laugh throughout it.

Love Much: Always put God first. For so long, I have been able to live with the luxury of being able to really press into my quiet time with Jesus and prioritize that peacefully each day. As the babies come, it’s going to be more of a challenge to put that first each day, so I need to get creative. Listen to Christian radio, take advantage of podcasts and audio Bible reading, have handy short devotionals on my phone, etc. He has to be in the center of our lives and I have to focus on pursing Him. After God comes Josh. He is my life partner and our marriage needs to come first. A healthy, loving marriage will result in stability and our kids will be blessed as a result. It will be tempting to put the kids first, especially because they are needy, but take time to go on dates and connect with my spouse first and foremost.

Then, after the devotional, I was invited to share a little bit about how we have seen God working in our story over the years of infertility. After that, we got to celebrate by opening up baby presents and goodness, again, we were so blessed by the generosity of those around us! A GIGANTIC thank you to each woman who attended and loved on our family!

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My sis has been my right hand gift writing and tracker gal. So thankful for her! And also, how cute are the present groupies?! They were very eager to help clean up after each gift was opened, hehe!

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A special thanks to host Lisa for being my gift-bringer!

We truly are so grateful for the love and joy that has been showered upon us as we dive into this new chapter so very soon. To all who attended, THANK YOU! We felt so very loved!

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(surprise) baby shower #2.

I’m falling behind on my blogging! Eeeeek! Expect a few baby-related posts to come your way over the next few days as I play catch up. :) One exciting thing to celebrate – we are officially into our 29th week! YAHOO! Here’s a little pic of the baby bump from this afternoon.

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Side note – thank you all SO much for all of your prayers support, encouragement, and messages sent our way after sharing the news about our little girl’s IUGR. I am so pleased to share that our appointment last Thursday went awesome, and both her and her brother passed all of the tests with scores of 10/10. (Essentially they go through 5 different “tests”, each being a pass/fail worth 2 points. They each have to score 8/10 or above in order to go home as an “all good!”.)  Our next testing day is tomorrow (Friday) and we hope to have the same results!

Now, time to dig in and share about a SURPRISE Baby Shower we were thrown on March 12th by my sister! Josh and I always attend church at 2:00 pm on Sunday, and little did we know, while we were at church, my sister Courtney and her fiance Dave were over, turning our home into a celebration zone!

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Our sneaky decorators!

A surprise shower, you ask? Well, traveling hasn’t been possible for me this pregnancy, and Courtney wanted to give both my friends and family in Chicago (where I am from) and my online community throughout the US, a chance to celebrate with us, even though I couldn’t be with them all in person. She got a hold of my Christmas label list and sent my people this adorable, sweet card.

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So little did I know, so many of those we care about, were in cahoots with her, sending cards, books, and special presents to celebrate us. SO SPECIAL!

When we arrived home from church, our home was decorated, snacks were out, and both my parents and Courtney and Dave were ready and waiting to yell SURPRISE and jump into celebrating these twins. It was such a surprise and so incredibly special!

Here’s a few pictures!


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And both my mom and sister, in attempts to making it feel as shower-like as possible, took the time to WRAP all of the gifts in cute baby shower paper which just added such a personal and special element to the celebration.

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“is all this for me!?” -cali

 

It was so fun to open each card and read each note and see the names of those who really made a point to celebrating us. We read each note out loud and both Josh and I were just so blown away by the kindness and generosity of those who care about us and these babies. It also was SO fun to be able to have Josh there to go through each gift with me and have him help too, especially since most baby showers are mom-only. So he equally got to enjoy all of the special moments! We spent a lot of time giggling over the tiny little everything and passed gifts around, my parents and Courtney and Dave oooohing and ahhhhing over the softness of this swaddle, or that blanket, or laughing with us over a book title. It was so relaxed and laid back, really such a perfect way to spend an afternoon!

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We got such a kick out of this book “Fraturtles” that explains what fraternal twins are to a pair of twin turtles.

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Everything tiny, like these little robes….yes please!

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SO grateful to have gotten one of our car seats!

We were so blessed by each thoughtful item sent and knowing that so many are celebrating our miracles with us. THANK YOU to each of you who participated … we were so blessed by this beautiful display of love and generosity.

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Time to get out the selfie stick and capture this special day! Wish you all could have been here in person to celebrate! 

prayer request for little girl ritchie.

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Hi friends! I am coming to you this afternoon with a prayer request for our little girl twin. I believe so strongly in the power of prayer and know that even just one small prayer from each of you would make major ripples in heaven.

At our 20 week ultrasound, we learned that our little girl had a velamentous cord insertion, which happens in about 3-5% of pregnancies. What this means is that instead of her umbilical cord inserting into the middle of the placenta as it develops, it is inserted into the fetal membranes. Typically this is something they just monitor more closely, as it can result in a smaller baby, but rarely causes issues. She said we are more likely to run into an issue due to the fact that we are having twins versus a complication from this condition.

Well, on Friday we learned that our little girl is one of the few that is having a complication as a result of this misplaced cord insertion. She has always been on the smaller size and that has been something they have been closely monitoring. Her brother typically has been in the 40-50th percentile, while she started in the 20’s, then dropped to the teens, and then as of Friday, is now only at the 5th percentile. (The 5th percentile means that only 5% of the babies in this gestational age are smaller than her and 95% are larger.) She is measuring that closer of a 25 week baby than a 27 week baby, weighing only 1 lb. 14 oz. and desperately needs to start gaining weight. Right now her placenta isn’t providing her the nutrients and oxygen that she needs to keep up with growth and development and that obviously isn’t something we want to hear!

We need your prayers for our little girl. She simply just needs to have a growth spurt to bring her above the 5th percentile. As a result of being so small, she was diagnosed with “intrauterine growth restriction” (IUGR). (If she drops even a percentile, she then becomes diagnosed with “severe intrauterine growth restriction” aka SIUGR, which becomes pretty risky and compliated.) There are a handful of risks with IUGR that come with this, including  early delivery, underdevelopment of her internal organs, and increased risk for motor and neurological disabilities. I won’t go into many risks because we believe that our little girl is being created perfect in Her Father’s image. But there are so many unknowns that make this set of parents feel a bit out of control.

We are incredibly grateful we have been monitored so much, and that this was caught relatively early. We are going to begin weekly BPP/NST testing, likely moving to twice a week testing, and regular growth monitoring. They will be working to determine if her small size is causing stress to her. The BPP (biophysical profile) is a test that uses an ultrasound to evaluate her well-being for a set amount of time, and the NST (non-stress test) will be a second test that watched her heart rate for increases with fetal movements. I will start these two tests weekly beginning this Thursday and we have been told they take about 2 hours for twins.

We need your prayers that she passes both of these tests each week. If she passes, that signifies she is still remaining healthy and getting enough of what she needs to continue growth. If she fails, mama heads to the hospital. We will likely begin steroids soon to strength their lungs in case we need to deliver early. A goal with a baby with IUGR is to make it to 34 weeks, anything past that is wonderful.

Now for those wondering, there is nothing that I can do differently to help her – which is so hard! It really is just her placenta causing the problem, but we are able to pray to our God who is much bigger than a placenta or umbilical cord! We KNOW that He can provide her with the nourishment and oxygen that she needs to flourish!

If you are wondering about her brother, he is doing great! He is measuring accurately to his week gestation and weight. He dropped a bit in his percentile this last appointment to the 35th percentile too, so we are praying that he continues to develop well. They typically wouldn’t be monitoring him as closely as our little girl will be, but because they are twins and we are in for the tests each week anyways, they will run him through the same set. It will be nice to check in and make sure he is continuing to flourish.

Our next set of appointment dates are as follows, just in case you want to plug them in your calendar to be praying:

Thursday, March 23 – BBP and NST

Friday, March 31 – BBP and NST

Thursday, April 6 – Growth Scan, BBP and NST

(I will update more dates as we know more – right now we have weekly’s scheduled out through May, unsure when and if it will transition to bi-weekly’s.)

This means they are going to be making sure she isn’t under stress the next two weeks, but we won’t check in again on her percentile until April 6th. The high risk doctor wants to give her a chance for a growth spurt – which means more time for us to be praying for her!

I want to keep this all in perspective – we are expecting a beautiful little girl (and boy!). Her heart is beating, she is continuing to develop, even if it’s slowly, and there are no other health concerns with her. These are wonderful things to rejoice over! No, delivering her at 27, 28, 29 weeks wouldn’t be optimal, but we are being blessed with the family we have been praying for – this is a small road bump in this journey, and one that we know He is walking with us on.

Thank you in advance for your prayers. I would be lying if I didn’t say that there are moments when worrying starts to get the best of us, but as we keep repeating, there’s nothing we can do but trust God and continue to pray for her growth. Two verses that have been in my head and heart are Isaiah 26:3 “You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!” and Psalm 9:10 “Those who know your name trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.” We know that He is walking with us, and again, we are celebrating and rejoicing over 2 healthy 27 week + 5 day babies! Sure, they may be a little tiny, but after all we have been through, we can handle tiny with Him by our side!

Thank you friends for lifting up our babies in prayer – it means more than we could ever express.

With love,

Josh, Chelsea, and big sis Cali (bow-wow!)