Sunday, September 13, 2009

28 Weeks! And Carrie Answers.

Today marks a day I have been looking forward to for months: we are 28 weeks pregnant today, meaning the boys have over a 90% chance of survival if born now, and a low risk of long term disabilities. WOOT!

My inspiring friend Michele, who has endured much loss, gave birth to her twins, Bobby and Maya a few days ago at 27 weeks and 5 days. They are doing remarkably well, and are beautiful to boot. Congratulations Michele and Peter!

You asked, I answer.

Q: Jill asks:

Will your house will be large enough to accommodate the increase in children from one to four?

A: We moved into a larger house last August, thank goodness! Had we lived in our old house, which was about half the size, we'd have been looking for a new one. Our current house has four bedrooms: One for my husband and I, one for Gramma, one for A, leaving one for the boys. Luckily, the bedroom is quite large and will be able to eventually hold three cribs. For now, two cribs are in the nursery and one is next to our bed, since I am sure I will be up with them at night for many months. Had the triplets been of both genders, it would be harder to imagine them sharing a room for a long time to come. As far as living space, I am sure that once they are home and the swings, bouncy seats, and other baby gear begin to multiply it will seem crowded, but it a good way!

Q: Nishkanu asks:

How you will handle the care of three newborns?

A: Copious amounts of coffee. Because we've parented a newborn before, we are aware of the crushing exhaustion and zombie-like state we will be in for many months. We can only imagine that times three! We realized quickly that we'd need a live in nanny or someone here most of the day at least. While we were not crazy about this idea, I have only two hands and two breasts, and an older child to care for, so we prepared for it. Then my awesome mother offered to quit working, sell her home and move it with us! To have "Gramma" helping raise the kids is a huge blessing. So the short answer is: Gramma (and copious amounts of coffee).

Q: Kendra, who is fifteen weeks pregnant with triplets (congratulations!) asks:

Is there was anything you have done to get this far in a triplet pregnancy?

A: Paranoia! In all honesty, and as all of my readers know, I spend most of the time in a state of mild to severe panic, sure that something is about to go wrong. If I could counsel you to do just one thing, it would be to educate yourself. Read as much about triplet pregnancies as you can. Learn the warning signs of preterm labor and whenever you are concerned, call your doctor, even if it is 4 in the morning.

You are the only advocate your babies have, so if there is something happening that feels wrong, or if your doctors are not completely answering your questions and concerns, persist. The nurses at my MFM clinic surely think I am a complete whack job and the doctors call me "The Worrier" but truly, I never want to regret not asking for another test or further explanation about what was happening. I would tell you to try to relax, but who the heck would I be kidding?

Q: Not the Path I Chose asks:

Did you do anything to help make your IVF cycle successful and how did you stay sane?

A: Well, I wouldn't really say I stayed sane. Infertility alone is stressful, and when expensive treatments and injectable hormones are thrown in, you have a recipe for insanity. As far as the chance-upping, the only thing I did that was not literally printed out for me on the protocol calendar was acupuncture. I do not know if it worked, though studies suggest it does, but it did me good in the sanity department. I tried to take it one step at a time: First, get through suppression, then get through stims to retrieval, then to transfer and finally to beta. It helped me to break it up into chunks so I could focus my anxiety and not melt down (as often).

I also listened to a wonderful series called "Health Journeys: Guided Meditations Help with Infertility" and loved it. I brought it with me to acupuncture, loaded it on my iPod and even played it while I did laundry. The visualization was very soothing for me.

Q: What If? asks:

What does a contraction feel like to you? How long do they last?

A: Interesting question, and one I am asked often! I would describe my contractions as a tightening around my abdomen that is forceful enough for me to notice. It could also be described as a squeezing sensation, and my uterus feels as hard as bone. Their length varies, but I would say they average about 45 seconds. I get more if I have a full bladder, if I have just stood up or am walking around or if I am dehydrated.

Q: Anonymous asks:

Was anything "special" done for your IVF cycle since you've had multiple miscarriages tubal issues?

A: After my HSG showed damaged and possibly blocked tubes, my doctor suggested we remove the fallopian tubes altogether to increase our chance of success. To this suggestion, I burst into tears and asked if it was the only way, knowing once the tubes were gone, I would be unable to have children without IVF. He felt very strongly that our chances of successful pregnancy would be increased exponentially if we proceeded with the surgery and delayed our IVF cycle. After he consulted with his other partners who agreed, we decided to schedule the surgery. The tubes were badly scarred and had pockets of fluid adhering to them. I would have been able to start stims 30 days later if not for the giant cyst that took up residence on my ovary.

We decided not to do PGD even thought we'd had miscarriages because the current method can decrease pregnancy rates and lower the number of embryos to choose from. After our cycle, they were especially conscientious to do extra HCG tests and ultrasounds knowing that we'd experienced pregnancy losses. Being vocal about my worry was a good thing- it revealed the triplets early on!

Hopefully you enjoyed the first edition of Ask Carrie! I go back to the doctor tomorrow afternoon and am hoping I have not jinxed myself with all of the cervical bragging.


  1. WOOT! WOOT! fFN test tomorrow? You will be into October before you know it! Keep up the amazing job! You are such a good Mommy! :)

    Hugs! Tosh & Co XOXOX

  2. I'm Sooo happy your made it to and past the "safer" mark in this pregnancy. I've been silently reading holding my breath knowing that It's possible I will be going through something similer in the next several weeks.
    I have alot of questions, but I've been reading alot so most of the questions about pregnancy for triplets is being answered. I just want to keep reading that everything is going ok for you and the family. That will help ease MY mind :)

  3. Wishing you a very happy 28 weeks! I'm so happy that you've made it to this major milestone :)

    Thanks for answering my question. It sounds like you guys have a great plan!

  4. happy happy day! 28 weeks is awesome!

    hoping for many more for you... :)

  5. Congratulations on making it to 28 weeks! I know these days can be really uncomfortable but you can do it!

  6. Hooray for this milestone!

    I'd like to pipe in with my own answer to What If's question, since that has been a big issue for me lately. Contractions didn't feel at all like what I thought they might, based on the description of them as cramping and the dramatic depictions on TV. When I do feel them, it's usually a slight tightening (never painful). I don't feel most of my contractions at all. The day I was hospitalized I was having regular contractions 4 minutes apart and I didn't feel a thing. Now that I've been in the hospital for almost 3 weeks and am hooked up to a monitor several times a day, I can see the contractions happening according to the machine and have learned to notice the sensation a little more, but even so I feel far less than half of them -- but if I put my hand on my abdomen I can tell that it's tighter than usual. There are so many weird feelings going on with my uterus stretching at random times and two babies kicking me all over that I do feel lots of things, but few of them are contractions.

    I don't want to scare anyone with this, but it was certainly news to me that it was possible to have lots of contractions and have no idea. The doctors tell me that it's common for preterm labor contractions (unlike full-blown labor) not to be painful and to sometimes be "silent." All the more reason for close monitoring, especially for multiples -- if the MFM hadn't been checking me that day as part of my weekly cervical check (it had started shortening two weeks earlier), I don't even want to think of what might have happened.

  7. Congratulations!! What a remarkably exciting milestone to achieve!

  8. Hooray!!!!!!!!!!!!! Big celebration for 28 weeks! I am so happy for you and your boys. I know there's a long way to go, but I hope you are letting out a sigh of relief. :)

    Love the answers to the questions, I learned a lot!

  9. That's wonderful!! Seems as if everything has gone without a hitch.. or with many hitches but hey, you're moving right along!

    That's just amazing.

    I can't wait to see pictures of the three boys.

  10. Happy 28 weeks! Brilliant news! every day is a bonus now, congratulations!!

  11. Three cheers for 28 weeks! I'm hoping that your fFn tomorrow has a good result, because I'm hoping you don't deliver those precious boys until I get home from my vacation (so I can read all about it)... not to mention the fact that would put you at just over 30 weeks and that would be OUTSTANDING!

    Loved the Q&A!

  12. So happy to hear you've made it to 28 weeks, I knew you would, after you went on more strict rest periods. I'm so happy your mom is there with you, and can't wait to hear the stories she'll have. BTW, is coffee-shop still on the short list for names? You're all in my prayers.

  13. Yea!!! If I wasn't so huge and on bedrest, I would do a happy dance for you!! I am looking forward to joining the 28 week club with you tomorrow, and then hopefully we'll both be continuing on much further. According to your answers, I suppose I am going to have to start drinking coffee-typically I don't drink caffeine! I am thinking good thoughts for your appointment today!

  14. Congratulations Carrie & the boys!!! I'm checking in from the road and so, so happy to see that you're still going strong. AMAZING news! Keep it up, cervix.

  15. YAY for 28 weeks! I am so happy for you all! And great answers there! :)

  16. WHOO HOO 28 weeks!!! So glad you and the boys have come safely this far.

  17. Congratulations, 28 weeks, thats great!!

  18. Congrats on 28 weeks -- what a fantastic milestone!!!!

  19. Wow 28 weeks! That's a great accomplishment. I'm trying to play catch up on your posts!

  20. YES!!! 28 weeks!!!!

    And thank you for the prayers!