Pregnancy Q&As

I know there are so, so many questions surrounding our recent announcement, so I've tried to compile all the answers here!

How far along are you?

As of today, I am 11 weeks and 4 days.  I know that can be a bit early to share with the world, but after what we've been through the last three weeks, I needed to get it out there.

Are you going to find out the sex of the babies?

We already know. 😉  The babies were enough of a surprise...I don't need any further surprises!  We did genetic testing at 10 weeks, which also determines the sex.  The babies are identical so either boy/boy or girl/girl.  I promise to share soon!  

Are these babies destined to be boys?  Do you have a preference?

One would think, huh?  I put my money on boys!  

I can honestly see benefits of both.  I have loved every second of being a boy mom (x3) and concluded that I'm actually pretty good at it!  (Except I don't like injuries.)  I think there is something special about having all the same....even if it means five boys!  

At the same time, I grew up assuming I'd have girls.  I never really entertained the thought of having boys because, "I'm way too girly for boys."  I had given up on that dream and had accepted that it would never become my reality...and was/am perfectly content with that.  Obviously girls would be something special, but boys will be a-okay, too!  

Do twins run in your family?

Through my research over the past three weeks, I've learned that identical twins are not hereditary!  Fraternal twins can be (the mother's releasing of two eggs at a time), but identical twins are random and spontaneous!  My great-grandmother was an identical twin (I think) but again, that has no impact on these babies!

How do you know they're identical?

The ultrasound showed that these babies share a placenta, which confirms they are identical.  Identical twins could also have their own placenta, depending on when the embryo split.  The earlier the split, the more likely the babies are to have their own placenta.  But shared placenta always means identical, as fraternal twins will always each have their own.

Side note: Our babies are mo-di (monochorionic/diamniotic) twins.  Shared placenta but they each have their own amniotic sac.  This type of twin pregnancy is more risky than separate placentas (di-di twins), but less risky than twins who have a shared placenta and shared sac (mo-mo).  (Mo-mo twins result when the embryo splits later in pregnancy...conjoined twins happen when the split is even later.)

How are you coping?  How are you feeling?

I'm coping as well as you might expect...maybe even a little better?!  I still have an overwhelming amount of fear and anxiousness that an unplanned pregnancy brings, but I have decided to focus on the positives and try to be excited.  I'm feeling mostly good.  I have moments of nausea, but it could be worse and I've never thrown up at school!

Is this pregnancy similar or different from your others?

It's close to the same as my first two!  I was sick(ish) with both Brantley and Holden (nausea on occasion but able to cope with crackers and ginger ale, only a few instances of throwing up) but not one lick of morning sickness with Rhett.  It's so weird how pregnancies (especially those that are the same sex) can be so different!

Are you going to continue working after babies are born?

This has been the most asked question!  I plan to!  I love my job and enjoy having a purpose outside of being a mom.  I enjoy summers off with my kids ("seasonal SAHM" as I like to call it), but I have never wanted to stay home full time/year-round.  I also enjoy bringing in an income, albeit not much, but it makes me feel less guilty about shopping.  And I just love math way too much to quit!  That being said, who the heck knows what the future will bring.  Five kids is a lot and we will do what we have to do!

What are your biggest fears?  What are you most nervous about?

Oh gosh, everything from the weight gain (and weight loss) to the health of the babies to childbirth (my first three were born in 6, 4, and 2 hours, respectively...I've always been terrified of a fourth baby for fear that he/she might be born on the side of the road...I also neeeeeeeeed an epidural and I'm terrified of giving birth without) to the potential of getting put on bed rest to a possible c-section after three vaginal births to a baby being born with the Mirena stuck to its head (I don't even know if that's possible?) to breastfeeding x2 and sleepless nights x2 to life with five kids.  I'm sad about missing out on life experiences that simply won't happen with a family of seven.  (Big vacations, airfare, going to dinner, etc.)

How does it feel knowing there are two babies inside of you?

Very a dream!  Ask me again in 20 weeks when I can actually feel two babies inside of me!  I'm so curious to compare a twin pregnancy with my previous single pregnancies.  I'm terrified of what it could mean for my body!

How long were you in shock?

I think I'm still in shock!  (It may span the entire pregnancy🤣)  I cried every day for just over a week.  And then I decided there is nothing I can do so I might as well embrace it!  Don't get me wrong--I'm sure there will still be overwhelmingly emotional moments days, week, months, and years, but I am trying to be optimistic and grateful for these extra blessings.

What is the right thing to say to a friend having unexpected pregnancy/unplanned twins?

That is a great question!!!  It feels weird when people say "Congratulations!"  I usually respond with "Thanks?"  I don't dislike it (and absolutely don't blame anyone for that reaction, it's natural and babies are, in fact, blessings that should be congratulated), but it also doesn't feel justified.  If that makes any sense?  I actually appreciate when people say they are sorry, that they know this wasn't our plan, and that they will pray for peace and understanding.  By all means, say "Congrats" but make sure you let them know you are there for them if they need a shoulder to cry on because it's inevitable and very reasonable with such a life change.

Will you take weekly photos or do blog "bumpdates" like you did with your other three pregnancies?

I love a good baby bump, so I will absolutely document this pregnancy with photos!  Probably not weekly, as I've done before.  I don't know about the "bumpdates."  I quit blogging because I couldn't find the time, so I probably won't commit to anything.  Maybe just some updates via Instagram!

Will you have to move, or is your house big enough for a family of seven?

We live in a five bedroom house (fifth bedroom is currently a workout room in the basement).  Although I anticipate a kid moving down there someday, it won't be anytime soon.  The babies will share a room, as will two of our older boys.  They are already fighting over who gets bunk beds! 🤣  Our house, specifically the main level with a very open floor plan, isn't huge, but we are blessed to live where we do and have no plans to move!  (My neighbors are also my besties...I can't possibly leave such a solid support system!)

Will you do any genetic testing?

We have already done the non-invasive screening via blood work at 10 weeks.  It detects, with a 99% accuracy rate, some of the more common genetic abnormalities (Down Syndrome, Trisomy, etc.).  The results came back normal.  That is also how we already know the sex of the babies.

How does this happen with Mirena in place correctly?

There is zero explanation--other than no method of birth control is 100% effective!  My Mirena was in perfect position to prevent pregnancy.  Apparently God really wanted us to have these babies!  My doctor has seen a few few IUD pregnancies through her years of practice, but never twins.  She was quite shocked herself.

Did your doctor remove the IUD?

My doctor tried at my second appointment (9 weeks) but as my uterus has grown, it shifted upwards and she couldn't safely reach it.  

If it can be safely removed, that is ideal (mainly to give the baby/babies more room to grow).  However, if not, it isn't a huge deal, as the hormones released are the same hormones your body produces naturally while pregnant.  The biggest concern with an IUD pregnancy is that the pregnancy will be ectopic.  Once an ultrasound determines the pregnancy is safely implanted in the uterus, I don't think the IUD is a major concern.  In fact, it can be more risky to remove it (lead to miscarriage) than to just leave it in there.

Will you have a baby shower?

I wouldn't argue!  We have sold or donated everything so a shower would be a welcomed idea.  We are essentially starting over. 

Have you gone back and read what you wrote about being done having babies?

Yes!  I've said for four years now that I wouldn't mind a fourth baby, but it's also not something we would have ever planned for!  Two-thirds of our previous pregnancies were high risk (Brantley had hydrocephalus, Rhett was high risk for DS).  We were content with three healthy babies and the thought of trying for a fourth seemed similar to playing a game of Russian Roulette.  However, I've also said I would secretly love for God to make it happen.

In February, I did one of those question box things on Instagram.  Someone (a former student, also a mom x3) asked about any more potential Sides babies.  My response reflected what I just stated above.  Ironically, I would have been pregnant at the time, I just didn't know it yet!  I truly think God used that question as a way to mentally prepare me for what He knew was coming.

Has Craig booked his vasectomy?

Booked and done! ☑️✂️🤣  How often does the husband get a vasectomy the same day as the gender reveal?! 

What kind of mom-mobile will you get?

I already drive a Toyota Sienna that technically fits 6 kids.  It's a little harder with bulky carseats but I'm determined to keep that thing!  Craig has mentioned trading in his Highlander for a Tahoe or something similar.

What are you concerned about regarding your boys?  Space, time, feelings, etc.?

I wouldn't say I'm too concerned about our boys.  Kids are resilient and they will adapt quickly!  It will be a new normal for all of us, but I think they are going to be great big brothers and helpers to these babies!  When I was pregnant with my second, I remember seeing a quote that has always stuck with me.  "You love is not divided when adding more's multiplied."

How did you tell your kids?  Are they excited?

We bought some of those gold OH BABY BABY balloons and took them to Oklahoma, wrapped and deflated.  We gave the boys the gift on our first morning there and had them unwrap it.  It took us over 20 minutes to inflate the balloons and then we had to put the message together.  It didn't go super well. 🤣  The letters wouldn't stay upright and I was thinking each word was one piece instead of single letters.  So needless to say, it didn't go quite as planned......but neither will life with five kids!  Our oldest figured it out!  If you go to this IG post and scroll, there are some videos.

As expected, none of the boys showed a ton of emotion.  However, I think they are excited, despite what they might say.  Brantley sent his friends the sweetest message on Messenger Kids.

Do you have names?  Will you share when you decide?

We do not yet have names and haven't discussed it much, but I still have lists in my phone from 2012!  For whatever reason, I never deleted them!  

I don't know if we'll announce once we decide, or keep it secret until birth.  We kept it super top-secret the first time, mostly-secret the second time, and semi-secret (off social media but shared with a lot of friends) the third time.  I do enjoy keeping an element of surprise, but this is also our 4th and 5th go-around so all rules just kind of fly out the window!

What is the combined probability of all of this happening?

0.5% (0.005) of getting pregnant on Mirena x 0.4% (0.004) of that embryo splitting to result in identical twins = 0.002% (0.00002) combined probability or 1/50,000. ‼️‼️‼️

Will you get the Covid vaccine?

Already done with both doses!  I got the first before I knew I was pregnant.  My doctor told me to absolutely get the second.  Studies are showing that the antibodies can be passed onto baby/babies when a pregnant mom gets it!  Thank you, science!

How can people best support you through this time?

Prayers more than anything!  Prayers for a smooth pregnancy, for healthy babies, and for the sanity to raise five kids.

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