Thursday, June 23, 2016

It's time to start writing about life with twins.

Tuesday was my first day home alone with the boys, who are now 3 weeks old.

And it was a long one.

And a lonely one.

No scrap that, it wasn't lonely, because I can happily noozle my little boys all day long and not feel lonely. But it was an isolated one, I don't think I've ever been so happy to see Kevin come through the door at the end of his work day.

So I guess for the time being, I'm a stay at home mom.

Which probably means I should take to the internet, and write about it. Share my experiences. And dive into the mommy blogging community so maybe I don't go completely stir crazy here at home all day.

Dominic and Alexander certainly think that's a good idea!

So here's to mommy blogging, and getting back to writing in general.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Mono-Di Twins.... or why I get to have ultrasounds and OB appointments every two weeks.

I wrote this post about a month ago... and then decided I wanted to make a video before I uploaded it. So that's where I've been. I'm up to 6 ultrasounds now, with many many more in our future. Twins are healthy and growing, and my baby bump is growing with them.

That's me at 20 weeks and I'm 21 and a half now! Anyways, on to the post!

This past week has been a whirl wind for sure. We drove across Canada last weekend.

No small feat for a girl 16 and a half weeks pregnant with twins. All I can say to that is thank goodness the second trimester has meant the end of all those pesky 1st T symptoms.

I got back to work full time (and then some) in the lab and with teaching.

And I had an appointment to see my GP on Tuesday, my OB on Wednesday, and for an Ultrasound on Thursday.

My 4th ultrasound to be exact.

That's right... I'm only 17 weeks along, and I've had 4 ultrasounds already. Keep in mind, the average pregnant woman (here in Canada at least) will usually get 2, maybe 3 ultrasounds. I'm referring to official ones, done at a radiology clinic, some OB's have portable ultrasound devices in their office and will take a peek at your babies at each visit.

So as for the 2-3 US you typically get booked in for

1) a dating ultrasound - if you have any reason to be uncertain about your dates, probably done between 6 and 11 weeks

2) a first trimester screening ultrasound - also called the Nuchal Translucency ultrasound - done between 12 and 14 weeks - optional, but combined with a blood test, its a non-invasive way to determine your baby's risk for Down Syndrome and a couple other chromosomal disorders

3) a detailed anatomy scan - usually done between 18 and 21 weeks, this is the one where most people will find out the sex of their baby, but more importantly, they will take detailed measurements of just about all parts of your baby's anatomy to make sure everything is developing ok

So why have I had 4 ultrasounds already? And why do I have them scheduled every two weeks until the babies arrive?

Because I am carrying Mono/Di twins.

And I wanted to take a moment to explain what that means. And the best way I could think to do that was to put together a little video. So please take a minute to watch and learn a little bit more about twins.

So yeah... I'm having medium risky, Mono-di twins... who have been practicing sharing since they embedded in my uterus and grew only one single placenta.

And as wonderful and exciting as it is to get to see my little peanuts so often, watching them grow, it's also a bit of a worrisome roller coaster for me. After each ultrasound I am so happy to see how far they've come, but as I approach the next one I begin to worry if this time they might not be growing on track, or if there may be signs that they aren't sharing as well as they should be. I won't go into specific risks, because google-ing while pregnant is a terrible idea, but Kevin and I are both involved in medicine enough to know more about those risks than we want to.

We are also both very appreciative to be living in a part of the world (Canada) where we are receiving this very frequent screening. And without having to worry about health insurance costs. It's comforting to know that I have a great OB, and a wonderful team at the Maternal Fetal Medicine EFW clinic all on my side. To be in a city with a children's hospital and incredible NICU that hopefully we wont need. And to have loving support systems to help with some of those worries.

So, my little Mono-Di, identical peanuts. Keep on growing, keep on sharing, and mommy and daddy can't wait to meet you guys.

Well we can wait.

We can wait until June.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

A big announcement! Finally!

So like I said, I've been keeping a secret.

Well really, Kevin and I have been keeping a secret.

Since November 6th to be exact.

Because that's the Friday we found out I was pregnant!

And although it was a big surprise for us, it was one we were thrilled about. Kevin immediately poured himself a glass of scotch, and I had a water and prenatal vitamin cocktail! We spent a beautiful weekend in Medicine Hat, enjoying each other's company, and probably the last real nice weather before winter. I laughed at the terrible names he promptly began suggesting, and I have to admit, I cried a little too (well because I am the kind of girl who cries at things). Then I headed back to my apartment in Calgary, feeling surreal about how much our lives were going to change.

And did they ever change quickly. By the next weekend, I had all kinds of great first trimester symptoms, which only worsened over the month (although certainly nothing horrible or unmanageable). I missed Kev terribly, but he was great, putting up with me through hour long phone calls every night, and driving in to Calgary every weekend. I watched every movie about pregnancy on Netflix, and binge watched a few pregnancy vlogs on YouTube too. And we celebrated the end of the month by flying down to the Dominican Republic, to celebrate a friend's wedding.

I'll take a moment to say, there is nothing worse than being on an all inclusive resort, surrounded by friends, all who are drinking amazing looking cocktails, and beers, and shots.... and not being able to drink any yourself.... and not being able to tell anyone why. I have never craved a beer or margarita so badly in my life!

But In all honesty, I had a great trip. Enjoyed some sun, the wedding was great, we shared our secret with Kevin's parents (who couldn't have been happier), and spent some really special moments together just the two of us.

We came back to Alberta, excitedly looking forward to our first ultrasound.... our first chance to take a look at our little peanut.

The ultrasound was scheduled for Tuesday, December 8th, in Medicine Hat, so Kevin could sneak away from the hospital to be there for it, and like a good pregnant lady, 2 hours before hand I started slugging waters. So with a quite uncomfortable bladder, I held Kevin's hand as the tech applied gel to my belly (no real baby bump yet). He was facing the monitor, which was turned so I couldn't see it.

And right away he must have seen the peanut on the display, because the look that came over his face was just amazing.

And then came the next surprise.

The ultrasound tech asked us:

"Do twins run in either of your families?"

And I sure am glad that I was still looking into Kevin's eyes at that moment, because I'm pretty sure I watched his brain explode.

So the first picture shows little Peanut A. And this second one shows little Peanut B.

There's a whole lot more to this story, and I just can't wait to finally share it with the world (I hate keeping secrets!)

But for now I'll just end this with, as of today, I'm nearly 16 weeks pregnant with twins. We had an ultrasound earlier today, and they are both healthy and growing well. We had the joy of sharing our news with our families and friends, in person, over our holidays together in Ontario. Most importantly I finally got to tell my mom, surprising her in person, because it just didn't seem right to do over the phone. And we both can't wait for all of the joys and adventures 2016 is going to bring us.

Things might get pretty crazy in the months (and years) ahead, but we couldn't be happier or more excited. Kevin and I know we have more than enough love to sustain us through it all, and we are glad to have the amazing support systems in the people who are dearest to us in our lives to give us the extra help we'll need.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

I've been keeping a secret...

I've been keeping a secret.

And I'm not ready to tell it yet.

But it's all I want to write and blog about, so it's just dying to come out.

And it's almost time to share it with you all.

But in the mean time, writing about anything else has just had no appeal for me.

So I'm just popping in to say a quick hello.

And let you know.

That this time next week, I'm going to let my secret out.

Hope the first 7 days of the new year have been treating you all well. I just know 2016 is going to be a wild and exciting year for me, and I just can't wait for all that's on its way!

Also I realize you might see this picture and think that the "I'm his" means we're engaged... that's not the secret, we aren't yet. But I am his, all the same!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

I'm bad at posting every day... I blame Kevin.

Crap! I was supposed to have been writing blog posts every day this month. Then I went to Medicine Hat on Thursday for the weekend to visit Kevin, and suddenly, no more posts.

Totally all his fault.

Or maybe it's because I usually write posts when I'm bored in the lab, and I tend not to be bored when I'm not in the lab.

Oh well, here I am again, back from the Hat, back in the Lab, and back on the blog.

Some random things.

I've had my lego Delorean and Marty McFly in the lab next to my microscope since Back to the Future Day last month. Today Marty decided to help out a little.

This weekend we had one day of plus 15 weather and one day of snow on my car. WTF. Get your act together Alberta. I feel like if you could just pick one and stay with it, I could get accustomed to the idea of winter. But you keep teasing me into believing I don't need a jacket when I leave the house in the morning.

Someone stole my mail I think...or just through it out. To be fair I probably only check it every 2 weeks, but yesterday morning I went to check it, and the box was unlocked and empty. Pretty sure only one bill and a pile of fliers are missing. But still.

For are my Calgary readers, have you seen any of 'COWTOWN' on YouTube yet?

COWTOWN is a sketch comedy YouTube show based in Calgary, and it's pretty funny. I really can't believe they only have 133 subscribers, really all of Calgary should be watching. The above video is 'the NDP buy a used car'. Here's another one about mayor Nenshi.

Not all of their sketches are Calgary specific tho, so really anyone would probably enjoy them.

That's all I've got for now. I'll be back posting for the days I missed over the weekend, since we did get a lot of stuff done.

Happy Tuesday!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

9 Reasons I got my flu shot today.

Now that we have frost on the ground in the morning, I'd say it's just about cold and flu season. And so this year I went and got my flu shot.

Here's 9 good reasons why I got my flu shot today.

1) It was free, and I could get it right outside the doors of my lab. The University of Calgary does a pretty good job trying to get all of their students and staff vaccinated. If you can't get your vaccine at work like me, you can get it from many pharmacies and clinics throughout Calgary. Check out this link for more info.

2) On average, 12,500 Canadians are hospitalized with influenza each year, and 3,500 of them will die from it. While I'm not in a particularly high risk group myself, by getting vaccinated I contribute to heard immunity and am doing my part to protect those people who at at risk.

3) Influenza is a virus, so if I did come down with it, no amount of antibiotics (which target bacterial infections) will help me.

4) You get a lot of bang for your buck, especially since I didn't pay for it. This year's vaccine is targeted against 3 flu strains, the mutated variant of last years H3N1, a new form of H1N1 and B/Phuket.

5) Side effects are minimal, and risk is low. Basically you can expect to have some soreness at the injection site and that's about it. Even flu-like symptoms and fever associated with the vaccine are very rare. Some (not all) studies found a risk for Guillain-Barre Syndrome, but this was literally 1-2 in a million. Also you're much more likely to get it from the flu itself.

6) Even if you hate needles, you can opt to get vaccinated with a nasal spray, although they usually reserve this for children.

7) Although last year's vaccine was a miss, that's no reason to skip out on this years, which is predicted to be particularly effective. And again with little to no side-effects, there's only gains to be had here. And those gains are coming through the flu season intact.

8) My lab is located in a building connected to Foothills Hospital in Calgary. Plus my boyfriend is a Doctor, I am literally surrounded by potential contamination with flu virus.

9) Since development of an influenza vaccine, deaths from the flu have dropped by 99%. Very few things in medicine are as effective as vaccinations at saving lives.

So go out and get your vaccine, the government of Canada has ordered 12 million doses, so you shouldn't have any problem getting your hands on one.

Oh and speaking of hands, just because you're vaccinated against a couple strains of Influenza, it's still definitely best to keep on washing your hands. Just saying!

You can read/learn more about the seasonal flu vaccine here (gov Canada resourse) and here (Center for Disease Control).

Still not convinced? Maybe BuzzFeed can convince you.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

10 life lessons I've learned from my mom, and 5 I want to teach her.

Today is my mom's birthday, so Happiest of Birthdays momma! And yeah, I've already wished you a happy birthday over the phone, and on Facebook, so now you get the blog treatment. And for that I thought I'd make a list of the 10 most important life lessons I've learned from you. And 5 things I'd like you to learn from me!

10 life lessons from the book of Eva.

1) Call your daughter every day. Although I think you may have learned this one from Nana, since she certainly calls you every day. Since I moved away from home at 18 to go away to University in Hamilton, there aren't many days that you haven't called me...or I haven't called you. Sure sometimes we don't even say anything (what's new with you? nothing since yesterday mom), it means the world to me to know that anything important in my life, and many, many unimportant things, will be discussed with you right away.

2) Always have gum. In you purse, in your car, in your kitchen. And never hesitate to offer it around. Luckily for me, you pretty much include multi-packs of gum in every care package and gift you've ever sent me, so I pretty much never have to buy my own.

3) You can never have too much food when you have guests. Like any good Italian woman, you embody generosity with feeding people. For instance, when having people over for breakfast, why would you make just bacon and eggs, when you could make Bacon, eggs, a breakfast strata, french toast and pancakes, and whatever dish you found on pinterest last night. ooh and monkey bread. Oh and you probably baked cookies too. Food is an expression of love, and you always give it freely and abundantly.

4) Friends are important, have more of them. I totally take after my dad on the social side of things, we'd both rather spend a weekend at home with our hobbies (him: airplanes, guitar, VW Beetles, me: wool, youtube, books, anything creative/DIY) then out socializing. But my mom has always pushed me out of my comfort zone to make more friendships. And I'm glad for this, because my group of friends are very important to me, but also, I see how much my mom's friends care for her, and I know I always want that in my own life.

5) No matter what your job is, have pride in it, and work hard at it. Somewhere in a bin in our basement, my mom has the "Fries and Shakes" person of the year award she earned working a McDonald's in high school. My mother has more work ethic in her little finger than most people can muster in a week, and has been the biggest asset to any of the companies she has worked for. This is one of the most important examples of teaching by example, and I know Mark and I will have success in life solely by emulating you on this. Your retirement is well earned Mom.

6) Read books, always. For as long as I have known my mom (and I've known her my whole life), she has always taken time for herself to sit on the couch upstairs by the window and read books. I am so happy to take after you in this. Because as my living room full of bookshelves can attest to, I am not me without books. You set a daily example of the importance of reading, by doing it and loving it.

7) Be involved in your children's education. Whether it was coming up with grand ideas for Mark and I's orals every year, always being the first to sign up as a volunteer parent at school functions, or pushing us to strive for top grades, you were all over it. Everything about my idealistic experience of elementary school was made better because of your involvement. And then you gave me the greatest gift of all, by backing off when I moved on to high school, but still caring and encouraging me all the same.

8) Always pack more then you think you will need, particularly things from Shoppers. Every time I pack for a vacation, I always call you to see what I am forgetting. And when you and dad moved me in to residence in first year, sure people where shocked at how many bins we managed to unpack into my tiny dorm, but people were grateful to swing by my room, the floor's pharmacy, anytime they needed band-aides, or Tylenol, or cold meds all year. And I certainly didn't have to go to Shopper's Drugmart even once all year. I still keep a fully stocked drawer of everything I could possibly need in a pinch, and when I go on trips, I pack meds and tampons, no matter what time of the month it is, just in case!

9) Worrying is good sometimes. A reasonable dose of worry can keep you safe. Worrying over your children, long after they've moved out of the house, lets them know how much you love them. And may sometimes prevent them from doing stupid things. Sure you can go a little bit overboard. But I find myself sounding just like you every time Kevin drives back to Medicine Hat from Calgary, and I insist not only that he drive safe (you know because if I hadn't said it, he'd probably drive reckless) but also that he call me as soon as he's home.

10) Family, first and always. Mom I hope you know how blessed you are to come from such an amazing group of people as the Bruni's are. The amount of love shared between the 7 of you siblings is matched only by the level of crazy, but I wouldn't trade my family in for anything else in the world. And if sometimes I wished you and dad would have taken after your parents and provided Mark and I with a few more siblings, I never really needed them because of how close we got to be with our cousins. It is the worst thing ever to be living out here in Calgary and miss out on all of the circus that goes on with our family back home in the Soo. and I know how much you miss me too. But I still feel all of the love that comes with such a great family, and cherish every second I get to spend with you all. From my earliest childhood, our family has been the example that has lead me to know, with certainty, I want my own one day. And I know, I know, I'm almost 28, and I'm still making you wait, but I promise you'll get your grand-babies soon. (just not too soon).

Now it's my turn, here are 5 things I'd love to teach you.

1) Hair is just hair. Mom, I dyed my hair this weekend, you won't like it. You'll say why can't you just please, please for my birthday, dye it a nice brown. I think I even did that for you last year on your birthday. But mom, seriously, it's only hair, and me dyeing my hair different colours should be a lesson for you. Firstly, that it doesn't matter what you look like if you're happy about it. So dress how you want, do your hair how you want, and don't give a crap about what other people might think. If you spend your whole life worrying about how you look to other people, you'll have a hard time loving how you look to yourself.

2) Sure black might be slimming, but don't look like a funeral at a wedding. This lesson is one I've been telling you and my aunts, at pretty much every wedding our family goes to. On my one day wedding invitations will be the line : "No black dresses permitted. Bright colours are preferred. Navy blue is pretty much black." Or something to that extent. I think wearing black to a wedding every now and then is fine, a little black dress can be beautiful, but when all the Bruni women show up wearing black, you start to wonder who died.

3) It's okay to do some things just for yourself. Mom, you've been a shining example of selflessness throughout my whole life. But giving too much of yourself can leave you with nothing left. So take more time to do things just for you and for noone else. Take more days in your pjs, with your coffee, a blanket and a good book, and zero guilt that you should be doing something else. Go out and learn something new that you've always wanted to. I mean I certainly don't sit and spin wool because anyone else thinks I should. It's ok to be selfish sometimes.

4) Get a puppy. I feel this lesson is pretty self explanatory. But just think of how empty the house has been without Flurry. Especially now that you guys have knocked down that wall to the kitchen. A dog would be so happy in the new kitchen. Plus think of how pumped Jovi and Sadie, and Sandy would be to have a new dog cousin in the family.

5) You can get on a plane and fly to Alberta literally any time you want. Mom, you were last here in 2013, I think it's time you come see your daughter again. Further more, I'll extend this lesson to include flying anywhere else. Also going for a fly with dad, you married a pilot for God's sake. My point is, we miss each other, and who knows where Kevin and I will live next, but you can always come visit. Multiple times a year if you want. Don't make flying somewhere out to be a big trip, next time you wish we could spend more time together, get online and look for a seat sale.

Happy Birthday Mom.