Saturday, October 3, 2009

Lordy, Lordy! Looks Who's in 4D!

I love getting ultrasounds. That's a good thing, because as the mommy-to-be of twins, I get lots of them. I think I've had five, so far, and we've got another one scheduled for Wednesday morning.

It gives me piece of mind to know that the Wonder Twins are healthy and progressing just as they should be.

It also gives me a good laugh when our parents try to decipher the pictures. It's like that generation's version of Where's Waldo.

Geof's Dad, Buzz, just throws his hands up in the air and says, "I can't see anything. I don't know what I'm looking at." Geof responds with "How can you not tell that is her head?" Buzz replies, "Doesn't look like it to me."

My mom's ultrasound interpretation skills aren't much better.

One night after I had just posted some new ultrasound photos to the blog, mom called with the sound of worry in her voice. She said, "I just looked at the pictures, and I'm concerned about Twin A. It looks like she only has one eye."

"Mom, Twin A does not have only one eye," I said. "She is not a cyclops."

"But, it looks like it," Mom replied. "Are you sure?"

"Mom, I'm pretty sure the doctor would've mentioned it to me, if my baby didn't have two eyes," I countered. "You're just seeing a shadow. Remember, the camera has to shoot through skin and fluid. It's not like your digital camera."

I guess our parents didn't have ultrasounds when we were born, so it's understandable that they confuse the dark blobs on the film with missing body parts.

In an attempt to help them and others see our darling baby girls more clearly, Geof and I decided to get a 4D ultrasound. It's the latest trend for our generation, and after taking part in our session today, I can understand why.

The traditional black and white ultrasound that you get at the OBGYN's office is considered 2D. The 4D ultrasound converts that image to 3D, adds color and includes a video component. Bottomline? It's like having a small window into the womb!

Because the twins are almost 34 weeks old, we knew we'd have a great chance to see their nearly developed features. That was evident as soon as the tech turned the camera on in 4D mode! We immediately saw Twin B's ear in crystal clarity. Apparently, she wanted to be close to me, so she buried her head in the placenta. Comfortable for her, yes. Not so good for picture day.

The tech moved the camera around on my belly, trying to get a better angle. After a few attempts, we soon discovered why she wasn't moving much. She and her sister were totally intertwined. It's like they were cuddling! In the photo below, you can see Twin A's arm is wrapped Twin B's face, and Twin B's little knee is right below it.

The tech told us what the stretch marks on my belly had already confirmed - there isn't much room for the babies to move in the womb. So, she tried manually to help them scoot their arms and legs away from their faces by massaging my tummy. Eventually, it worked, and we got some great shots of Twin B's face. Just look at her tiny lips! Her hand is propped up against her left cheek, and to prove she's got Olympic gymnastics potential, she's got her right leg fully extended next to her right ear. I give her a perfect 10!

She's obviously proud of her flexibility, because in this one she's smiling! :) You can also see her tiny eyelashes.

Getting Twin A's elusive face to appear for the camera was even more challenging. That's because she's facing head down, and her sister is lying across her. They're in their own separate sacks, so it's not like Twin A is getting squashed, but I can understand now why she kicks so often!

For a little while, all we could see was the back of her head, her ear and her arm stretched over face as if shielding her eyes from the sun. Or the flashbulbs of the paparrazi. Interestingly, the tech told us the bumpy looking spots on her head are actually hair! I guess she won't be born bald! Yay for pigtails and hair bows!

After much rolling from one side to the other, I finally got Twin A to shift enough, so we could see her face. She has her right arm up next to her head with her elbow sticking up. Her nose is also a little flattened, because she's right up next to the membrane of her little sack. But, she's still pretty darn cute.

Geof talked to my belly the whole time, encouraging the girls to turn and look at the camera. In this photo, it looks like Twin A heard him and was ready to respond. Her little lips are just starting to open.

We have the entire 50-minute session on DVD, as well, so we can see the girls opening their mouths and moving their arms and legs. We plan to pull out a few of the best clips and post them to YouTube. That way, anyone was wants to check out the Wonder Twins in motion can with just the click of a mouse!

Although the 4D ultrasound is a little pricy and not covered by insurance, it's totally worth it. We look forward to meeting the girls in person and seeing just how much they look like these images. I'm sure it'll be much easier for our parents to tell without their arms and legs in the way!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Twinkle Toes

Considering I haven't been able to reach my feet in months, I can't exactly give myself a proper (or pretty) pedicure.

Rather than ask Geof to try for me, I rely on the nice folks at a new nail salon that just opened near my house to pamper my peds. Or, at the very least, make sure I haven't sprouted an eleventh toe. Remember, I can't really see my feet, either.

I can't resist describing this place. When you walk in, the first things you see are two massive crystal chandeliers that look like they were stolen from the Las Vegas strip. The wallpaper is gold, and there are all kinds of random decorations hanging above the pedicure chairs. Some look like flowers. Others... more like colorful peas in a pod. None of it quite matches.

Clearly, the owner wants you to feel you're in a five-star salon. I'm pretty sure it's not threatening the client base at, let's say, Canyon Ranch. But, as long as they're not charging me what Canyon Ranch would to get my toes done, I don't really care. At least, they're trying.

My favorite part about going there is sitting in the massive massage chairs. Today, I got a Swedish massage on my shoulders and lower back, while sipping a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup milkshake from Cook Out.


The funny part about today's spur-of-the-moment salon visit was the reaction from the staff to my big belly. The last time I went in was maybe a month ago. My baby bump hadn't yet blossomed into the beautiful egg-shaped cone that it is today. Apparently, cones are the coolest at wannabe ritzy salons.

As soon as I sat down and pushed the massage button, four petite Asian nail techs gathered around me and started asking questions and making comments in rapid-fire succession.

"When you do?"

"You know girl or boy?"

"You big!"

For some, English was obviously not their native language. But, it didn't matter, because their cheerful expressions and smiles easily relayed their interest in my future family.

When I explained that I'm expecting twins, they started shouted in a foreign language I couldn't understand and waved everyone else who worked at the salon over, so they could look at my stomach. Some even wanted to touch my tummy, which is always a little uncomfortable.

I felt a bit like a pudgy celebrity sitting atop my throne (massage chair). My daughters were stars already!

I wanted so badly to take a cell phone picture of them gawking and pointing at me, but I figured that might be a little awkward. It was just so funny to be an object of such interest in a random nail salon that I thought only a picture could adequately express the hilarity of the situation.

Needless to say, if I don't deliver the Wonder Twins before my next appointment, I might need to bring a baby bodyguard along to control my newfound paparazzi. I'll be even bigger then. That should earn the Maternity Queen some extra time in the massage chair, don't you think?