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.