Monday, June 29, 2009

I saw my precious boys today, and they are looking perfect! Sort of like the floating babies above. The twins are still sharing the placenta well (no signs of TTTS) and my cervix is 4 cm, 3.8 under pressure. Yes, they apply pressure while Wanda is doing her thing, and measure what your cervix does then. Not exactly comfortable, but a very accurate measurement. Looks like mine is holding long and strong for now! Thank you to EVERYONE for your comments, thoughts and positive thinking. I can truly feel all of it and appreciate it so much. I feel so lucky to have so many people thinking healthy baby thoughts for us.

I almost fell of the scale (literally, no balance) when it showed I have gained 20 pounds! This is very good news with multiples, so they were impressed. Dr. P kept saying, "I don't know where you put it... okay, maybe in your bra..." and I told her to look at my thighs! Growing, also!

I won't see her for a few weeks while she is out of the country, so I will see her partner, Dr. K. I made sure to ask her if Dr. K was as much of an expert in TTTS and all, and she said, not to worry (HA!). I met a woman at the park who happens to see Dr. K regularly and said she was quite warm and reassuring, which is good for me! I asked her if we would just discuss the aforementioned modified bed rest at 20 weeks, or if that was for sure, and she said it was already decided.

Three more weeks of walking around, running errands, having my daughter's third birthday party, then I will be on the couch/bed/chaise lounge with my feet up. I am glad they do this preemptively, as it reduces pressure on the cervix, increases blood flow to the uterus and helps the babies to grow, grow, grow! Since it is "modified" I will be able to sit for meals, use the bathroom and do a bit of walking around the house. I am working out the details of childcare (in a panicked moment today I may have begged my nanny to leave the family she works with on Tuesday and Thursday, to no avail) but needless to say, one cannot prepare meals or take a child to the potty while on bed rest.

That leads me to my question for you, my faithful readers. I am trying to plan some entertainment (that sounds like a mean a stripper, but I don't) to keep me occupied. I am thinking TV series on DVD, learning to knit, writing boring blog posts and spending LOTS of money online. I might have to re-read the Harry Potter Series or finally get to Anna Karenina. Any suggestions for activities, shows, movies, novels that are your favorites? I would love to hear them!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

17 weeks and a Growth Spurt

Those babies, they are a-growing! My talented husband made this to show the triplets' progress over the last four weeks:

Some other highlights:

- I can feel Baby B moving around! Sometimes I can feel A and C, but B is low, and protests with a little jab when I bend forward. I love feeling them.

- I am worried (no sh*t!). More nightmares- and I have some mental block about these upcoming weeks. In some tragic cases, the cervix cannot handle the next weeks, so I am on super high alert. Can't we invent some home cervical monitoring device? Anybody?

- My daughter said to me, "The babies are going to be okay Mommy! Worry, worry!" which tells me I need to stop it already (easier said than done) or at least spare my darling daughter Mommy's neuroses. You all get to read about them instead!

- It is "True Blood" night, and a new series called "Hung", about a gentleman in the oldest profession in the world premieres tonight on HBO ... looks quite entertaining.

Hopefully all will be well with the twins and all three tomorrow. Update then!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Show and Tell: Hope. Courage. Always.

(Pregnancy mentioned)

I am a sentimental person who tears up at greeting cards and commercials, occasionally. Throughout the battle with infertility and miscarriage, I have sought to find a "mantra" or affirmation that would guide me through. Some words I may repeat to myself as we waited on each test, dealt with unimaginable news or tried again. I had a wonderful CD of affirmations as I went through my IVF cycle. It relaxed me and reminded me that no amount of stress will actually impregnate me. I listened to it at acupuncture and after giving myself injections.

Now, I am a lucky person whose cycle was successful. VERY successful. After transferring two lovely embryos, we find ourselves 16 weeks pregnant with TRIPLETS. Yep, one split. This pregnancy has truly been fraught with wonder, excitement, terror and worry, all wrapped into one hormonal ball of emotion, and again, I find myself in need of an affirmation, some words to soothe my heart.

I purchased these stones when I was on Clomid, after two miscarriages, and held them in my hand frequently. I especially stared at the stone reading "Hope". Such a simple word, with so many emotions tied to it. Hope became my mantra, and my three- year- old even carries her own hope stone in her pocket sometimes. We talk about what hope is, how it is the thing that keeps you going, helps you keep trying to get something you need or want. I haven't looked at it lately, and recently I glanced over at the dish in my kitchen where my stones are, and found immediately what my mantra is: Hope. Courage. Always.

As the pregnancy progresses, I am finding that the worrying and risk of a triplet pregnancy are wearing on me, but I never stop hoping. So far, everything is going extremely well, and the baby boys are looking perfect. Still, I worry about babies born too soon, pre-term labor, twin to twin transfusion. I think what I am looking for right now is the courage. I need the courage to be brave, to smile and be happy in my pregnancy despite the risks and unknowns. My daughter needs a courageous mommy, and so do my boys. I need to be quietly courageous, and face whatever comes to us. The "Always" stone reminds me that these are things I will never give up on. I will Always have Hope and Courage, for myself and for my family, present and future.

Go see what the other courageous women are showing at the Stirrup Queen's Show and Tell. :)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

16 Week Appointment

We had our 16 week appointment yesterday which was almost three hours! The scan alone was about 90 minutes. I had an early anatomy scan to check brains, hearts, limbs and organs, as well as a growth estimate. Everyone has two arms, two legs and all the organs in place! They also checked my cervix, which is long and strong, despite my more frequent contractions.

Here are the highlights (list form will have to suffice today):

- The boys are growing right on schedule. Everyone is around 6 ounces, so there is more than a pound of baby in there already! It is so obvious how quickly they are growing. I truly think I added two inches to my expanding waist in the last 36 hours.

- I have gained 17 pounds. WOO HOO!!!! They'd like me to gain 25 by 20 weeks so I have eight to gain in four weeks. They made sure to tell me my protein intake is not good enough. Protein has amino acids, the building blocks of tissue and muscle, and those babies need more. Protein shakes it is. I am actually amazed at how much I've gained already. With my daughter, I gained 18 the whole time, so this is wonderful. Dr. P says more weight gain for multiples = bigger babies.

- I am continuing to have Braxton-Hicks (practice) contractions. Before, they were a few a day, now I have about one an hour, sometimes more. Dr. P said that that does not worry her too much, but that since it is likely they will increase each week, I will be on modified bed rest at 20 weeks. IN FOUR WEEKS. Modified means to "be a couch potato" but do no lifting, extensive walking or standing for periods. This is causing a mad dash to find enough child care as well as housekeeping. I am glad I have some notice, though. Of course, I will do absolutely whatever they tell me to do to avoid preterm labor.

- We had planned to fly to Dallas to visit relatives, but the doctor decided she is revoking her blessing of it. She said since it is a long-ish flight, and I would be almost 20 weeks when we go, it is better to stay here for the summer. I am so sad to miss our relatives and for A to see her cousins, but I am going to be a good patient. Dr. P is traveling out of the country for three weeks in July (how dare she?) so I will be seeing her partners, none of whom I have met. I've spoken with two on the phone (I like to call at night...) and they were exceptionally kind and responsive. I am sure I will be in good hands, but I. don't. like. change.

- I signed my husband and I up for classes that our hospital offers: "Multiple Pregnancy" as well as "Life with Multiples" about how to adjust to caring for multiples, nursing them and transitioning from the hospital. There is also a NICU tour which I am sure will terrify me and comfort me at the same time.

- I did not great pictures this week, but I did get three "male anatomy" pictures since I kept asking if they are SURE about three boys. The proof is in the ultrasound, I suppose!

- Many nightmares abound. I dream of babies born far too soon, too small for the world... and wake up sobbing. My subconscious reminds me of what I fear the most at night. I am hoping our great medical care and monitoring will be able to spot any trouble a mile away, and those babies will grow for another 20 weeks!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

16 Weeks (!) Belly

Wow, have I grown! My entire family and my friends are sort of shocked each time they see me. I feel like I am growing inches every day! Someone recently said, "This is starting to seem like a horror movie" (in a nice way) and I do feel like my abdomen is on the fast track with three in there!

The stretching thing has been much better this week. I attribute it to having wonderful family around to help with A so I could lay and nap, and drinking obscene amounts of liquid every day. That nurse was right about the irritable uterus!

Long ultrasound day tomorrow! Have I mentioned how much I love going to my MFM every week? Well, I LOVE IT! I cannot wait to see them again, and feel reassured that the cervix is holding strong and the twins are sharing their placenta well.

Happy Father's Day to my most amazing husband. The way he speaks to our daughter with such kindness and love and the enthusiasm with which he discovers the world with her are more than I hoped for. For all the hand-holding during pregnancy loss, the injections, the appointments, the many times he has answered the question, "Do you think the babies are going to make it?", and his unfailing belief that all will be okay, I thank him for being an amazing father to these boys before they are born.

Pictures and updates tomorrow. Off to watch "True Blood"-- the only show for which I could stay awake.

Monday, June 15, 2009

15 Week Check Up and Gender Reveal

Today's appointment was surprising. I didn't know they were going to scan the babies (I thought just my cervix) so when they lifted up my shirt I was so excited!

Everyone is still looking wonderful. No signs of TTTS, fluid levels even, all good heart rates and still ADORABLE. I was alone as this appointment was impromptu, so my husband didn't get to see their cuteness this time. I will be seen weekly from now on, which makes me feel so much better. I feel like a lot can change in the cervix or with the babies in a two week period, but weekly check ups make me feel much better.

As expected, the doctor told me to rest as much as possible, hire a housekeeper and prepare for bed rest in the next couple months. I shared with her some of my more irrational fears and she was very comforting, reminding me that almost all the time, a problem is seen coming and they can take steps to correct or slow it down. I said, "I am kind of a worrier" and she said, "Yeah, I can tell." I should bring her a copy of "Wemberly".

The best surprise was the sonographer was able to determine all of the babies' genders with certainty! Allow me to introduce:

Baby A, our SON!

Which means Baby B, must also be our SON!

And... last but not least, Baby C, our SON!

We are overjoyed to be having three boys! I will be dispersing all of my many totes full of darling girl clothes to my deserving friend with a baby girl.... and rapidly learning everything I can about Thomas the Train and Bob the Builder. :)

Sunday, June 14, 2009

15 Week Belly and Vampires

Thanks to everyone who was so encouraging about my last post. I got so many calls and emails from friends and family wanting to help, and the comments were very appreciated. One of my friends reminded me that just because I experienced infertility and losses does not mean I cannot complain when I am feeling tired or in pain, because pregnancy is wonderful and AMAZING but sometimes tough.

Here is the large-and-in-charge belly picture for 15 weeks! I cannot believe we are already here! Now we need the babies to stay inside for another 20 or so, and they will be great. The strangest thing happened with my pregnancy with A, and is already happening now. From right under my bra line to my mid-abdomen, I am completely numb. It sometimes tingles like a foot that is asleep, but mostly I cannot feel anything! Apparently it is the uterus pushing on nerves, but feels so strange. Amazing how much earlier everything is happening. Last night I dreamed that I had sextuplets, and they just missed three of them this whole time. I must be feeling big for a crazy dream like that!

I have literally been counting the days (and today, the hours) until the BEST show on television, aside from "Mad Men" comes back on. Tonight, my friends, is the premiere of "True Blood," a sexy, bloody, funny and intelligent show about a culture where vampires are "out of the closet" and living among us humans. If you haven't seen it and get HBO, I highly recommend it. You can download the first season on iTunes, too.

Doctor's appointment tomorrow... will report!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Whine, whine, whine

Yesterday was not a good day. Nothing catastrophic happened, the babies are all fine in there, but their mommy is getting a bit worn out. From about 6 am yesterday until I went to bed at 10 pm last night, I was in pain. I am not talking about screaming and unbearable pain, bur a constant aching and tightness in the pelvis and back. This is the same feeling I had about 10 days ago that sent me freaking out to my MFM to have my cervix measured (which was a nice long 4 cm). At that time she reminded me that this pregnancy would hurt more, and to try to remember how much further my uterus is than in a singleton pregnancy. So I knew that nothing terrible was happening, most likely, and that I had to deal with it.

*Insert whining and self-pity*

It is really hard to be an energetic food-fixing, park-going, nap-giving mommy to an almost three year old with this level of energy. Quite emotionally difficult is it to have to change your parenting, tell your daughter you are too tired to do something or feel less than patient. I was so worried all day, even thought I know things were fine on Monday, that I was nervous every time I carried our little girl up and down the stairs in our three-story home. As soon as she napped, I did too for 2 1/2 hours! I called my husband and he came home earlier at five to help, but the day was exhausting. I laid on the couch or in the bath for the rest of the evening, feeling sorry for myself.

This triplet- growing business is serious stuff, ladies and gentlemen. I know, I know. We chose to transfer TWO EMBRYOS. Yes, that is right, TWO! We were hoping for a healthy singleton or fraternal twins, but instead, we ended up with identical twins and their fraternal triplet. Do not get me wrong, I am so in love with them, all three of them, and cannot wait to meet them. I don't think I truly understood "hard pregnancy" until I lived it. And this is only the beginning. I think the hardest is the worry. Will I go into labor at 20 weeks or 35? Will my cervix continue to hold up? What if something else goes wrong? Will the twins get TTTS? Parenthood and pregnancy are both fraught with worry, and honestly, I do think I am three times as worried as I was with our daughter. I laid on our bed last night, crying, wishing I knew the babies will be healthy, that they will live.

*End of wallowing*

I called my MFM this morning to make an appointment for next week. At this point, she usually sees people every other week, but at my last visit she said she was happy to see me each week if it was more reassuring. I was trying to be tough, and said I was fine with every other week. I WAS LYING. I spoke with L, an amazing nurse who said a few things:

1. I should cut my activity down. Have a nanny or family member come so I can lay down more often.

2. She is switching me to weekly visits so that we can monitor the rapid growth and ensure my cervix is holding strong.

3. Most of the triplet mommies they see, she said, they see every week, so I should do that too. It made me feel better to know that I am not the only one! :)

I am going on Monday afternoon and arranged for an extra morning a week of help (right now I have an awesome nanny 4 hours/week) so that I can rest enough. I never imagined at almost 15 weeks, I'd be slowed down this much. I am naturally energetic, on-the-go, and like to have a hundred things going. It looks like those days are coming to a screeching halt, and it is going to be a long summer of me, my laptop and some good books. Of course, I will do anything to have three healthy babies in the fall, and am a good patient, I just wanted to still be the same Mommy I have always been to my daughter.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Great Appointment, Happy Pregnant Lady

Yesterday's appointment was wonderful! My mom also got to go with me and see her grandchildren. They never did locate the source of the obnoxious and minor spotting, but Dr. P said, "I don't get gray hairs over brown spotting." Words to live by, Ladies!

The ultrasound went really well. I thought it was a long one (45 minutes) but they said it was a short one, and in two weeks I'd have a long one. They are so very thorough there, and I feel in excellent care. Next appointment they will measure the babies' exact sizes, look at their organs, try to determine gender and do the Doppler studies again.

Some take-away's:

- Cervix grew to at 4 cm. Dr. P said it would as the bottom of the uterus developed.

- No signs of TTTS! They did a very LONG Doppler flow study on the twins' cords, insertion to the placenta, brain and stomach. Size of babies and fluid levels are equal, and both babies have similar activity levels. WOOT WOOT!

- My weight gain is good: 11 lbs at 14 weeks! They really want me to have gained 25 or so by 20 weeks, but I am not sure I will make it. Considering I gained less than 20 the whole time with my daughter, this is good.

- The sonographer is quite sure that the identical pair are BOYS (a change from before) but we couldn't tell what Baby C was as he/she kept snuggled tight in a ball. A and B are always rocking out in their respective sacs and C is generally sleeping.

- I asked about the average time for bed rest in triplet pregnancies, and they said usually people are on at some form by 22 weeks, and definitely in the weeks after. 22 weeks for me will be the beginning of August, so we shall see how my body is doing then. I certainly am more tired, rather than less, as the weeks progress... but my body is BUSY.

I only got one good picture since they were mostly focusing on Doppler studies, but I will post it later. A darling little hand waving at me. :)

Sunday, June 7, 2009

14 Week Belly and Nerves

Today, after an exhausting morning (actually, all we did was go to a coffee shop and a three-year old's party, but that wears me out) I came home and laid on the couch. My wonderful husband and daughter brought me a sandwich and I took a nice, long nap!

When I woke up and headed for the bathroom, I discovered some brown spotting. Which is the most terrifying thing that can happen to me. It was a relatively small amount, but more than I had at 9 weeks. I (very calmly) paged the doctor on call and she got back to me in a few minutes. She asked about the color (brown is better than red) and if I had cramps or contractions (no). Because the spotting was the only "symptom" and I am going to see my Dr. P tomorrow anyway, she said to just try to relax, and that she wasn't worried. I asked if it could be my cervix changing, and she said VERY unlikely since that is usually bright red blood and accompanied by other "feelings" around the cervix or uterus. Since my cervix will get measured tomorrow, she felt fine about it.

I am nervous too, but you know what you saved my sanity today? You guessed it: my Doppler! If I was a cartoonist, I would draw my Doppler in a cape that saved the day. Maybe my talented friend Brenna will do it for me? ;) It truly makes my heart slow down and allow me to feel calm when I hear their beating hearts, and know that for this moment they are all right. I have a list of questions as usual for my MFM tomorrow:

1. Are the random contractions normal? I felt them much later in my first pregnancy.

2. When will I go to weekly ultrasounds to measure my cervix and check for signs of TTTS?

3. When do you anticipate I will be on partial/full/hospital bed rest? What is the average for this kind of pregnancy?

4. What is up with the spotting?

Here is the 14 week belly, in all its glory. I compared it to my pictures with my daughter, and I look about 6 months with her! I know it was my first pregnancy, but the rate at which my uterus is growing is CRAZY. It is so fun to be changing so quickly, but there are some growing pains in my back, pelvis and hips.

I will report tomorrow after my ultrasound. Thanks for all the good wishes and please keep thinking good thoughts for our check up tomorrow!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

'Twas the Night Before the Second Trimester

...and over on the couch lay Carrie, she was starting to slouch.

We have almost made it to the second trimester, which begins at the stroke of midnight (I will probably be up to pee around then...) a feat I was unable to accomplish in any of my three most recent pregnancies. WOO HOO! We are celebrating over here with a protein shake, old episodes of "True Blood" and hopefully, a foot rub. I am so very grateful to be in the lower-risk time of pregnancy, and while I acknowledge the risk of preterm labor/birth with multiples, I am so happy we have made it this far! It has been a long, tiring, nerve-wracking first trimester, and I expect the same from the second. Nonetheless, it feels great to be moving into a new stage of pregnancy! I hope that we are as blessed in the next 14 weeks as we've been in the first. Each comment and cheer from you all have been such an important web of support for me. Thank you. And please don't go anywhere.

The. belly. is. huge. I truly cannot believe the growth spurt the babies and my uterus have had in the last few days. Everyone who sees me is sort of in awe at how quickly I have grown. I had to take off some usually comfortable maternity jeans today because they were too tight in the lower pelvis. The babies must be really growing in there! I haven't seen them in a couple weeks but I get to see them on Monday. Dr. P will be checking, as always, to ensure my cervix is remaining long, that the babies are not developing twin to twin transfusion and that everyone is growing appropriately. Hopefully, we'll get another opinion on gender, too.

Belly picture to come tomorrow, Monday I will have ultrasound pictures, too. This is how big the babies are now. 3 1/2 inches, crown to rump and 1 1/2 ounces at 14 weeks. You know what they say; "When life gives you three lemons..."

Bon Voyage, First Trimester! While I did not enjoy the nausea, smell-sensitivity and utter exhaustion, I certainly do appreciate all the organ-forming and healthy baby growing. Here's to two more great trimesters!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

The Crazies

As promised, here is the post quoting some of the most outrageous and offensive things I've been asked or told when people find out we are carrying triplets. *Important disclaimer: Even if I had to hear this hogwash every minute until our babies are born, it would be totally worth it. Just annoying.*

My favorite conversation came when my mom and I were at Gap Maternity buying some much needed warm-weather clothes that fit me. It has been in the 80's and 90's in our suburb of Seattle and pregnant lady is hot. After trying on lots of darling tops, my mom and I stood in the long line and finally were able to check out. The girl (I do mean girl) helping us was somewhere around twenty, and VERY chatty. Normally, I like chatty.

Chatty Cathy (CC): Look at all these clothes. You must have a baby in your tummy!

Me: (Answer stupidly) Actually there are three!

CC: Really? Wow! You are going to be huge! Was that a surprise or did you DO something to get them?

Me: Um, well, it was sort of a surprise...

CC: WOW! You are going to have your hands full. (To my mom) You are going to have to help out a lot!

Me: Anyway...

CC: Okay, well have a good day. I just have to say this is so amazing. Your babies are so much more special than someone like Octomom because they are NATURAL! KTHANKSBYE!

Me: Grrrr. (Mom leads me out of the store while I try not to cry.)

Clearly, an ignorant young'n, but still, hurtful words. Are IVF triplets unnatural? I think they are 100% baby, actually, you crazy wench. However, I completely asked for it by telling her about the triplets, and lesson learned. Don't share with strangers unless I am willing to answer questions and listen to sometimes-ridiculous comments.

Some other choice reactions:

-What are you going to do with all of them?? I get this one almost every day.

-Did you do fertility treatments? IT IS NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS.

-Hey, Octomom! I don't have to explain why this is obnoxious, do I?

-I love "Jon & Kate Plus 8!" So did I.

These comments are always strange, but again, I will take them for three healthy babies! Basically, I only tell people whose reactions I can predict, who know about my many miscarriages or our struggle with infertility. I am so grateful to have had so many people literally burst into tears with joy for us. It is amazing how much others have wanted this for us, and I didn't even know.

I am accepting any witty answers my faithful readers have for me! My triplet-mommmy-blogger friends all tell me it will only get worse when they are born, so I have got to prepare now!

Monday, June 1, 2009

13 Week Picture

Well folks, not a lot to report around here. I suppose the three main things: I am tired; I am hot; I am growing (and so are the babies)!

I am happy to be almost officially out of the first trimester and that everything seems to be moving along as it should. I am continuing to get really tight and sore in the pelvis and uterus, and I called the sweet nurses at my MFM clinic and was told it is most likely dehydration. They were right! When I keep up with an insane, nauseating amount of water, I feel much better. The heat makes it even harder, but we had some air conditioning guys come today and it will be installed next week. WOO HOO! Hot pregnant lady needs her air conditioning.

Quite like most of my pregnant bloggy friends, I am so very tired, and not being a good blogger. I promise my post about all the WACKY things people say to me tomorrow or ... soon. :)