Monday, December 31, 2012


So I've been pretty bad- more like majorly bad!- about posting anything about what life's been like since the delivery and since the boys have come home.  And I do have a couple of good reasons why (at least in my opinion).

A great part of it has been because I've been way too busy living and not really choosing to spend the time writing about it!  Over the past eight weeks, if the choice has been between cuddling with my boys or blogging, I don't think you could fault me if I chose cuddling almost every single time.  I'm not going to lie- these boys could keep anyone wanting to cuddle 24/7...

And I'm loving it, despite the challenges.  I'm exhausted, I'm pretty sure that I only know what day it is about half the time, and sometimes I forget when I last washed my hair (for the record- it was yesterday).  But I wouldn't change this.  I love our boys so much and I love the way that my life has been completely turned on its end and completely changed over the last two months.  The boys are almost two months old already- where did the time go?!?

The other reason that I haven't wanted to post too much?  I blame the media circus.  It was absolutely wonderful to get the media exposure for the Sutter Mothers of Multiples and to get to share our story with people.  But I never, in my wildest dreams, ever dreamed that there would be the level of fascination with our story as there was.  I never dreamed that the story of our boys would literally be heard around the world (even in North Korea!!).  I don't want to be the fox in the sour grapes, but I didn't anticipate how excited people would be to learn about how much I could eat while I was pregnant and about potential new Guinness records.  Jason and I are still amazed that people are as fascinated about the triplet thing as they are.

Jason and I are just living our lives everyday and that happens to now include these stinking adorable munchkins.  While we celebrate their presence everyday, we didn't understand before they were born how much others would want to celebrate with us!

And while the celebration has been for the most part wonderful, I wasn't as appreciative of the inherent inaccuracies in the media in regards to our story (see my November post entitled "Misinformation") and the impact it could have had on others.  I felt the need to pull back a bit and just focus on the boys.  So now that our 15 minutes of fame are done and we're settling into a routine here at the house, I'm back in the blogging mood again!  After all, there are so many exciting things to share about our boys!!!

Sidney, Jenson, and Elliott in their duckie outfits

There is so much that I want to write about, but right now I just want to share one thing.  Sunday, January 30th, 2012 was a very special day in the Deen family.  Why?  All three boys smiled at us!  This is not the first time we've seen their smiles, but this was the first day that they actually were intentionally smiling at something (and not just because of gas)!  Elliott started the trend by waking up for the early morning feeding and giving me two big grins.  Jenson and Sidney both decided this was a good thing to do, so they both smiled at either Jason or me after their 1 pm bottles.  I tell you this with all sincerity- there is nothing that will melt your heart faster than your child smiling at you.  I wish I could have had my camera there to record the moment, but I'm sure there will be plenty of smiles in the future that will be just as sweet...

Thursday, December 27, 2012

The Recovery Room

So a lot of the delivery day continues to be a blur for me...  I don't think I realized just how blurry things had gotten until I've been sitting down and writing these entries, trying to recall.  I've come to the realization that while I have very good recollection of particular details, a good amount has actually either left me, been repressed, or just never registered in the first place!  I keep asking Jason for particular details of that day.  Luckily he's been pretty patient with me in this regard.

To continue our story...    :)

Jenson and I were wheeled into the recovery room on our gurney.  They must use that room at times for overflow patients because I distinctly remember seeing another pregnant woman in there, surrounded by family and hooked up to monitors but still in her street clothes.  Until the nurses closed my curtains, she kept looking at the little peanut in my arms and smiling.  I'm hoping that she was soon able to hold her own healthy little babe...

Whenever I talked with women about their Caesarean sections, more often than not they would mention how cold it was in the operating and recovery rooms and how uncomfortable that made them.  Well, I loved it!!  After having what I can only describe as massive hot flashes for months (thanks to the healthy overdose of hormones coursing through my body and the three little furnaces hanging out in my tummy) the cooler temps in the OR and the recovery room were an absolute blessing.  The irony in all of this is that I moved away from Minnesota to get away from cold temps... and yet that was really something that I'd been craving throughout most of the pregnancy!

Once we were in the blessedly cool recovery room, the nurses went to town on me.  Checking my vital signs, checking for bleeding, etc.  And they went to town on Jenson too.  Checking his vital signs, checking his blood sugar, giving him the usual medications that all newborns get (antibiotic ointment for his eyes and a Vitamin K injection).  And they did this all while he was in my arms!

But what I am so excited about is that he and I were actually able to go "skin to skin" less than an hour after his delivery.  And thanks to my friend Pat and the nurses, we were able to put Jenson to the breast as well.  There is a lot of research that talks about how beneficial these things are for the baby (and for Momma too!), and I was so glad that I was able to do this with at least one of our babies.  Because I had basically thought that I wouldn't get to do this with ANY of the babies (thinking of how likely it would be that they'd all be going to the NICU) leading up to the delivery, getting to do it with Jenson was such a gift.  I kept looking down at this magical little creature on my chest and it seemed so strange that someone would actually entrust me with him!  Really?!?  I get to keep this little guy?!?  He's ours?!?  Babies are absolute magic.  Absolute magic.

The nurses kept checking on my pain level, and I don't really remember having any pain at that point.  When we first got into the room, I still couldn't feel my legs, but the feeling started to come back pretty quickly.  Pain wasn't really an issue at that point for me, but the shaking was.

Aahhhh.... the shaking.  I almost felt like I was having convulsions.  I couldn't get my arms and shoulders to stop shaking, which is a common thing to happen after delivery.  It's caused by the hormonal and fluid shifts that occur after delivering the baby (or babies!), and as you can imagine, I'm sure my hormonal and fluid shifts at that point were pretty significant as I'd just had three big placentas taken out.  The nurse was on it, and I got some great medication to help bring the shaking down to a dull roar (God bless Demerol).  I wasn't cold at all, so I don't think it was actually shivering.

The shaking probably wouldn't have bothered me so much except for the fact that I was holding Jenson.  I remember asking people if I was going to give him "shaken baby syndrome" before he was even an hour old because of my shaking arms!  They continued to reassure me that he was fine and that I wasn't hurting him.  And so the worrying that I had during the pregnancy about how I might be damaging my children?  Destined to continue after delivery...

And then they finally let me have some ice chips.  I don't think anything has ever tasted so amazingly wonderful and delicious as those first spoonfuls of ice chips!  At that point, it'd been almost 16 hours since I'd gotten to eat or drink anything.  Because of the shaking, Pat took over the task of rationing ice chips into my mouth.  I probably would have launched ice chips across the room if I'd tried to handle the spoon on my own for too long.  Plus my hands were a little full with a certain adorable baby!

Jason and I were so lucky to have Jen, Janelle, and Pat at the hospital with us that day- someone had to keep our respective families up to date with news!  I have no clue how they managed to do it because it seemed like they were always surrounding us (which was exactly what Jason and I needed!), but they were sending text messages, making phone calls to each of our families, and sending pictures too.  Amazing! They even made phone calls to our coworkers so that they knew that everything was okay with us as well.  In the months leading up to the delivery, I'd put a family phone tree down on paper and had arranged for certain family members to be ready to disseminate information on down the line.  Since I knew that Jason and I would probably be a little too preoccupied on the delivery day to make all of the phone calls that would need to be made, my close friends got copies of the phone tree too.  We were so blessed that our friends not only used the phone tree that day, but they also hadn't laughed too much at my ridiculousness when I'd previously emailed it out to them!  Once again, I have been blessed with some pretty amazing people in my life...

Everyone (Jason, Jen, Janelle, and Pat) continued to keep me up to date with what was going on with Elliott and Sidney in the NICU.  It may sound odd, but I was not worried about them- I knew in my heart that they were going to be okay.  I also felt that they were truly in good hands with the nurses and staff in the NICU.  The Sutter Memorial Hospital may be an older facility (they're actually in the process of building a brand new hospital that they'll be moving to!), but their NICU staff has one of the best reputations around.  And I guess that I'd encountered so many other high caliber staff throughout my time with the Sutter health system that I just trusted that the NICU staff was going to follow suit.

Perhaps I was slightly delusional at this point (need I remind you that I had just given birth to three munchkins!), but I was actually more concerned about Jenson than I was about Elliott and Sidney.  Whoever the heck determined that it was okay to let me keep him was obviously as delusional as I was!

To look down and see this gorgeous creature in my arms who had only taken his first breath in this world less than an hour previous... you just can't look at that and not believe in a higher power.  To know that Jason and I had created three of those gorgeous creatures... you can't help but see the hand of God in it.  To feel such love for someone that I had only just met... it takes my breath away just thinking about it.

I wish I had the words to do justice to how I felt at that moment, to help describe exactly what it feels like to have three new little munchkins alive and breathing their first breaths in this world... for once, I am at a loss for words.  I've been sitting at this computer for a while trying to come up with something good/witty/appropriate/heartfelt (after weeks and weeks of trying to come up with something in my head) and I am just at a loss for words.  To say that it's indescribable, while totally true, doesn't seem to cover it either.  I felt...  I don't know.  I just felt.   Maybe I could say that I felt full.  Maybe.  Or maybe I could say...  I got nothing.  I'm still, almost seven weeks later, totally at a loss as to how to describe it.

Maybe I could tell you that you should take every positive feeling you've ever known... and wrap them together... and just drench yourself in them.  Perhaps that will serve to give both of us- you and me- a starting point...

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Merry Christmas!!

Merry Christmas from Jenson, Elliott, and Sidney!!

L to R:  Elliott, Jenson, and Sidney

Sunday, December 23, 2012

In The Actual Delivery Room

Jason and I got to walk down the hall (holding hands) to the operating room (OR) together.  So surreal... so very surreal, but I guess that was one of the key words for the day.  Unfortunately, they don't let your support people in the OR with you until after your spinal anesthesia has been administered.  I would have preferred to have Jason in the room with me for that part, but I wasn't going to argue with the system on this point.

Jason and Jen had to sit on chairs outside the OR while I continued on into the room with my nurse.  My first thought when I walked into that room?  "Who the heck are all of these people??"  There seemed to be about a million people in there, although there were probably only a handful at that point. The operating table looked so stinking tiny- I was pretty sure that my tummy and I were not both going to fit on it.  Surprisingly, I climbed up on it and it held me!  The anesthesia resident (who had almost made a mistake earlier with my IV) was there and ready to get my spinal anesthesia going.  Perhaps I should have been more nervous at that point- needle about to go into a place where it normally doesn't!- but I was actually pretty calm.  And wouldn't you know it... she got it in and started faster (and on her first try) than I would have ever thought possible.  The girl had skills!  Shortly thereafter a few people helped get me into the correct position on my back for the surgery.  I was still sure that I was going to fall off of the table because it was so small, but they all reassured me that they wouldn't let me!

At that point, things kind of seem to run together... I began to feel totally separated from the bottom two thirds of my body.  The spinal anesthesia was definitely taking effect.  I wasn't exactly sure what to expect to feel, but that was not it.  All I could think about was that I just wanted to scratch my feet together, but I knew in my brain that I wouldn't be able to.  It actually felt a little like when your foot falls asleep and then slowly starts to come back with feeling- you feel the tingling before you can actually move anything.

Everyone in the room seemed to have multiple jobs to do, and while they were very good about telling me what they were doing, it was strange to see so much activity buzzing around me and yet not be doing anything myself.  One of the of the weirdest things that happened during this prep time was the taping of my tummy.  Because my tummy was so large, they actually used some kind of tape (if you ask me, it had to have been pretty heavy duty if they were using it for this purpose!) to pull the weight of my tummy up towards my chest and secure it prior to the actual incision was made.  And how do they do that?  Picture a BIG "X" of tape running from my hips to over my shoulders that also secured me to the table.  It's hard to not feel like a side of beef when they do that part!  :)

Once Jason and Jen came in, I felt much better.  The anesthesiologist (who was supervising the resident) we had was absolutely wonderful.  She explained to all of us what was going on as it was happening as well as what was going to be happening.  I think her presence really contributed to keeping both Jason and me calm and collected.  I really appreciated her injecting humor into the situation too- never hurts to have a laugh!

Even though I knew things were happening around me and people were talking, I couldn't really follow what was going on or see what was going on for a few reasons:

1.  I was flat on my back with my arms secured at my side- not exactly the ideal position for looking around

2.  They hung a sheet that obscured our vision of anything below my chest.

I remember asking the anesthesiologist if they had cut into my belly yet.  I'll never forget her playful response.  "Oh honey... we rent this room by the hour!  They've already started!"  This was music to my ears for one very important reason- I hadn't felt the cut.

Allow me to explain why this was a big deal for me.  Throughout the pregnancy, I learned that I actually have a pretty high tolerance for pain, so I wasn't really worried about feeling the pain of the cut.  But I worried that I would have the same experience that my mom did decades ago when she delivered my siblings and me via Caesarean section.  With all three of us kids, she wanted to be awake for the delivery- receiving spinal anesthesia without having to be "put under" using general anesthesia.  Because of her unique anatomy (she has a spinal cord that splits into two spinal cord sections with functioning nerves coming off of both sections), the spinal anesthesia never worked for her- she'd feel the doctor making the incision and would have to be put to sleep for the rest of the delivery.  I didn't tell anyone this, but I was so worried that I'd experience the same thing, and I was petrified of not getting to be awake for the birth of our munchkins.  Thank God for answering my prayers in regards to this irrational fear of mine.

At that point, we were just waiting.  Waiting to hear the doctor tell us something, waiting to hear a baby's cry... just waiting.  It sounds so cliche, but all of the activity and sound in the room seemed to fall away as I waited to hear the cries of my first child.

And then it happened.

I'm pretty sure I'll never be able to think of that moment for the rest of my life without tears coming to my eyes...

Baby A entered our lives with his sweet but strong cry at 12:42 pm.  I'm pretty sure my heart stopped.  Jenson Joseph Deen, our firstborn.  He was beautifully perfect, and I fell in love from the moment I saw this beautiful little being.

Baby B, our perfect middle child, arrived at 12:43 pm.  I know my heart stopped again.  Elliott Jackson Deen, crying the most beautiful music ever.

Baby C, our youngest little peanut, arrived at 12:44 pm.  I wasn't sure if my heart would ever start beating again.  Sidney Miller Deen, our sweet little man.

Life will never ever be the same.

And here's where I can tell you that I got my second selfish wish- all of them came out with hair on their heads!  It's such a goofy thing to think of, but I kind of wanted them to come out with some hair.  :)  Laugh if you must.

Their Apgar scores were blessedly high- eights and nines for all of them.  I think Jenson's and Elliot's were both 8's at one minute and 9's at five minutes (the highest they can be is a ten, so eights and nines are about as perfect as can be!).  Sidney's were both nines!

Everything became a bit of a blur at this point.  Each of our boys was whisked out into the hallway at one point or another for assessments and to make sure that their respiratory status was stable.  Unfortunately, Elliott and Sidney both needed some extra help with their breathing.  They ended up being put on CPAP, which is a noninvasive form of respiratory support, which also meant that they would have to go to the NICU.

I was still strapped to the operating table and they were still finishing up my surgery, so both staff members and Jason and Jen kept bringing me the updates on the boys in the minutes after their delivery.  I think everyone thought that I would freak out when I heard about the need for respiratory interventions... but I was grateful.  Only CPAP?  In my mind, that's practically nothing!  All three of our boys came out breathing and looking relatively healthy.  At that point, all I could do was thank God for such blessings.  There were so many things that could have gone wrong, so many things that could have been wrong with the boys.  In the grand scheme of things, their needing some extra help from the nurses and doctors was something to be grateful for in light of what could have been...

As Sidney and Elliott were stabilized by the staff members and readied for their short journey from OR to NICU, they brought them one at a time to my side in the operating room.  One of the nurses (I think she was a nurse and was in charge of the other baby nurses, but she might have just been an angel too!) came with each of them and explained to me what was going on with them and what had already been done for them.  She was very kind with her words and very gentle with me- if I could have hugged her, I would have!  And even with the wires and tubes already attached to the boys, they looked perfectly beautiful to me.

Jason went with Elliott and Sidney to the NICU, and I stayed in the OR.  Apparently they frown on you leaving your own surgery while your own tummy is still open from your surgery!  Jason and I had talked about this numerous times in the months leading up to the delivery and were prepared for this moment- if any of the boys had to go to the NICU- so we knew what our roles were.  I heard later that Jason was wonderful in the NICU with the staff and with the boys in those first few hours after the boys arrived, which came as no surprise to me.  For a man that has little medical experience and claims to get grossed out by the sight of blood and anything even slightly medical, he sure has a way of rising to the occasion!

Janelle, my dear friend who is a NICU nurse, went with Jason and the boys to the NICU, which was another thing that we had planned for.  I had wanted to make sure that someone was there to help take care of Jason so that he could be there for the boys.  Jen, who had been taking video and pictures of the delivery in the OR, stayed with me.  I had always thought that I would not want to have a video of my Caesarean section- major gross out factor.  But I was wrong- Jen took video of the delivery and it is actually one of the most wonderful reminders of that special day.  Our boys' first cries... the first time we ever laid eyes on them...  I have yet to watch it without tears springing to my eyes.

Soon enough, my surgery was finished and they were lifting me onto a gurney.  My sweet Jenson was placed in my arms, and he and I made the short journey to the recovery room together...

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Delivery Day (Part 2 of ??)

So I got to walk into the hospital on the day of delivery... goal met!  A few months prior, Dr. McElvy had told us that one of the longest triplet pregnancies that she'd seen was somewhere around 36-37 weeks and the mom had walked into the hospital for her delivery day without ever having been admitted during her pregnancy.  I guess I may have a little competitive streak in me because that little comment put the idea in my mind that we had to try to do the same... challenge accepted.

Having already gotten most of my paperwork completed previously, I just had to sign a few forms in the registration office upon arrival before the registrar lady walked me (just me- Jason and Jen had to wait 5-10 minutes before they could follow me back to my triage room) to the labor & delivery front desk.  As most of you know, I can cry at the drop of a hat.  Sad movies, Olympics commercials (I swear they put the most inspiring music in those things just to get me!), you name it... it'll bring tears to my eyes.  Jason and I have had a running joke for years that I cry because I'm "bloated" and it's my body's way of getting rid of excess water.  :)  I knew I was bound to have some tears on our delivery day, but I wasn't expecting them to start on the short walk to the front desk!  I didn't actually cry then, but I definitely had to steel myself a little- no time to cry at that point as we had stuff to accomplish.

They took me to a private triage room and I met my nurse, Angelique.  We had been hoping that Jason's longtime friend, Susan, would be our nurse that day, but she was already assigned to another patient.  Any disappointment I felt at that moment was quickly gone once Angelique started doing her thing.  She immediately put me at ease and was so calm and friendly.  Since I'm a nurse myself, I'm probably a little more inclined than the average bear to be judgmental of my nurses (it's hard to turn off your "I know how certain things should be done" mentality at times!).  And yet I feel that at times since I know how tough it can be sometimes to be a nurse, I might be more inclined to cut my nurses some slack.  I was so grateful that I didn't have to do either- judge or excuse- with my delivery day nurse.  She was obviously skilled and knowledgeable about what she was doing and what needed to happen- thank God.

She quickly got me on the monitors to start checking on how the munchkins were doing in my belly.  I made her laugh when I brought out my own blood pressure cuff from earlier in the week, and she probably thought I was a little mental when I pulled out a typed list of my current medications with the times listed of when I last took them (let's just say that might have been a little bit of overkill on my part).  

Another nurse came in and started an IV on me, and I was pleased that she got it started on the first try. I'm not exactly an "easy stick" as my veins love to hide under a nice layer of insulation (e.g. fat).  I feel badly at work sometimes because I'm totally fine letting nursing students practice starting IVs on me, but my veins aren't easy to get (student nurses gotta learn on someone, and I'd much rather it be on me with my high pain threshold and not necessarily on my patients who are probably already dealing with enough pain and drama).

Jason and Jen eventually got to come join me in the room, which was good for my peace of mind.  I really didn't want to be separated from Jason that day.  What can I say- he can keep me calm better than anything or anyone else in this world.  The three of us proceeded to fill out some general information forms, which I feel very badly about now.  We may not have taken them as seriously as we should have, but they definitely helped us keep the mood light.  For example, we chose to answer the question about "what information do you need to help reduce your anxiety today?" with "help us figure out how to pay for three college educations".  I'm sure whoever read those forms got a good laugh at our expense.  

When I reflect back on that morning and those hours leading up to the delivery, I remember feeling very excited, positive, and laughing a lot.  Jason seemed a little "different", but he quickly admitted that he just wanted to be doing something to help me but there wasn't much that needed to be done at that time.  Jason's a "doing" kind of person- not a "let's just sit and wait" type of person.  And since there wasn't much to do except follow directions (and there weren't many of those for him until delivery time), my sweet pumpkin was probably having a harder time than I was.  He was nervous for me, nervous for our babies, and there was very little that he could do to make things easier on me at that point.  But I have a little secret for you- had it not been for his presence and his smile that day, I would have lost it.  I would have been a hot mess of tears, fears, and anxiety.  So even though it may have appeared that he wasn't "doing" much for me, he did more for me that morning than he'll ever know...

Two of my other dear friends, Pat and Janelle, got to come into the triage room with us.  Technically I think I was only supposed to have one or two people in there with me, but I guess they give you a little extra leeway when you have already have three people in your belly.  :)  More laughing and joking, more smiles as we waited patiently (and somewhat impatiently too!) for our turn to go to the operating room.  Seriously- when I try to remember what exactly we all talked about that morning, all I can remember is that I laughed and smiled a lot.  My life was about to get oh so much more complicated and delicate and crazy... and all I could do was be happy.  I guess when your heart is full, there's no room to do anything but be happy.

Finally Jen, Jason, and I got dressed to go into the operating room.  The two of them got some awesome disposable scrubs to wear, and I got to don the dreaded hospital gown.  Because I have a firm policy against patients showing their "business" to people except for when it's medically necessary, I threw another gown over my shoulders as a makeshift cape.  My belly was so ginormous that I could barely get the first gown tied.

The anesthesia resident came in and introduced herself and asked a bunch of questions.  She seemed very nice and obviously knew her stuff, but unfortunately she did the only thing that day that I could find any sort of fault with.  She went to give me some antinausea medication (I wasn't nauseous- they just do it as a precaution) through my IV, but she didn't clean the IV connection first.  Stop right there!!  I politely- at least everyone told me I was polite enough- asked her to clean the IV connection first.  She obliged, of course, and I felt kind of bad for calling her on it because it seems like such a minor thing, but I didn't feel like increasing my risk for infection at that point.  In hindsight, the poor thing had a roomful of witnesses and I'm sure she had a bajillion other things on her mind- like how to keep me alive in the OR- and almost made a teensy mistake that I'm sure a bajillion of nurses have made before.  After that, however, she was totally on her game (more on that later).

Soon enough, we were being told the operating room was ready for us and Jason and I stepped into the hallway to take our last walk together as a "without child" couple...

Monday, December 3, 2012

Delivery Day!! (part 1 of ??)

Our delivery day was amazing from start to finish...  We were scheduled for our Cesarean section at noon, which meant that we needed to be checking in at the hospital by 10 AM.  I would have preferred an earlier time (we were told that the earlier your time in the morning, the more likely you were to get a private room!), but that was the earliest that we could get.

It was totally surreal, to be getting ready that morning knowing that this morning was going to totally change my life- never again was it going to be just Brittany, or just Brittany and Jason.  Soon it would forever be "Brittany and Jason plus...".  It was so strange to think that the day that we'd been waiting for and planning on for months was FINALLY here!

Both Jason and I had gotten our bags packed prior to that morning, so it was more about last minute things that needed to be done around the house- filling the dog bowls, making sure there were guest towels in the bathroom, shaving my legs, etc.  Apparently everyone who knew that I'd shaved my legs that morning thought the idea of it was hilarious- apparently if I did anything that required any physicality at all, people were shocked.  To be sure, I had to sit on the shower chair that we'd set up the previous night in our bathtub (the first and only time I used it!).

I'd actually had my bag packed for months, just waiting for that moment (that never actually came) when I'd be admitted to the hospital before our planned delivery day.  I figured I'd be at a doctor's appointment, my blood pressure would be high, and they'd admit me for monitoring- but that never happened.  The social worker with the Mothers of Multiple program had encouraged me at one point to consider keeping my bag in the car- but I could never bring myself to actually move my bag from its resting spot in the guest room into the car.  The logical side of me knew that if I was admitted early, the last thing I'd be worried about at that moment would be if I had my bag with me or not (someone would be able to bring it to me within a few hours anyway, so it's not like I couldn't last without my shower sandals for that time!).

I knew that she was just giving me great advice, but I literally could not follow it and here's why- I was too superstitious.  I just felt that if I put the bag in the car, it meant two things.  First, it would be my way of subconsciously admitting that I was okay with going into the hospital early.  Second, it might jinx me and cause the universe to conspire to get me into the hospital early.  Neither of those things were something that I wanted, so hence my bag stayed firmly planted in the guest room until delivery day.

Jason had to make a last minute run to the eye doctor's office a few minutes away to pick up his brand new reading glasses that were finally ready.  As he'd told me the previous evening, he wanted them at the hospital so that he could see his boys clearly when they arrived (Seriously?!?  I don't know if it's possible to love that man anymore than I already do... and then he goes and says adorable things like this).

While he was picking up his glasses, I thought I'd try to walk the dogs so we'd be able to leave that much faster for the hospital upon his return.  BAD idea.  I hadn't been able to really walk the dogs on my own in months, so I don't know what possessed me to think that I'd be able to that day.  Luckily enough I got the dogs to the end of the driveway and then they couldn't really decide which way to go- left or right.  At some point, I just got frustrated with them and threw the leash on the ground, at which point they just looked at each other and made a beeline back up the driveway and sat by the car door (apparently they thought they would get to go to the hospital to get our babies too!).  My conscience cleared in regards to the dogs' welfare, I took them inside and waited.

Jason soon came home and Jen arrived as well.  Jen was going to be "our #2" in the delivery room- she'd already been given instructions on what kinds of pictures we wanted to have taken in there (and which we didn't!).  She arrived smiling with snacks for us for later.  I hadn't had any food or water since 10pm the previous night, but I was doing alright.  I tried to get my friend Brandi, an operating room nurse, to tell me over the phone that morning that it would be safe for me to have a small glass of orange juice, but she decided to be obstinate... hence no intake since the previous night (I may have swallowed a little bit of toothpaste water out of desperation...).

I'm not going to lie: dealing with Jason was a teensy bit frustrating that morning.  My sweet pumpkin is definitely not a morning person and has the tendency to be a little on the slower side in the AM hours when he's at home- NOT what I needed that morning.  But what I figured out later, in reflecting on his behavior from that morning, was that he appeared to be silently freaking out inside and doing a good job of hiding it by just being his normal self.  :)

So we piled into my car and headed off to Sutter Memorial.  I'm so proud to say that I got to WALK into the hospital ON our delivery day WITHOUT having ever been previously admitted as a patient...  I'd so wanted to be able to say this!

Monday, November 26, 2012

The last few days before the delivery...

So my last weekend of pregnancy was not exactly the best ever, but the last few days before we delivered the boys were actually pretty good!  On that Monday morning, I went to my last non-stress test.  As always, the boys rocked it!  It never ceased to amaze me at how well the munchkins were doing in my tummy when I had those tests.  I guess I just expected to have complications at some point during the pregnancy and since I seemed to be doing alright physically, I frequently worried that something was going on with the boys in my tummy that I couldn't feel but that would show up on the non-stress tests.  Kind of like always waiting for the other shoe to drop, but it never did...  thank God!  And since they had done so well on the other tests, I worried that the last one would be bad because it was karma's last opportunity to mess with my babies and me.  Neurotic of me, I realize, but it just felt too good to be true that things were still going well!  Before I left the testing area, I had to give a big hug to my nurse, Linda, who'd conducted most of my non-stress tests.  She promised to come up and visit the boys after we delivered- I was hoping that she would!

After the non-stress test, I walked over to the labor & delivery area to get the first of a series of two steroid shots.  Betamethasone, a steroid, is given as an intramuscular injection in some pregnancies to stimulate the maturation of the baby's lungs and decrease the risk of intracranial hemorrhage (bleeding in the head) for the baby when premature delivery is a possibility.  Now, our babes were pretty much past the point of being so premature that they'd be at major risk for those things (always a possibility for them, but the risk really decreased after 32-34 weeks of gestational age).  But as both Dr. McElvy and Dr. Pat had explained to me, there has been some research (not quite sure how much, but it was fascinating to me that both of them mentioned this) that has shown a connection with babies being more ready to eat after delivery if the mother received the steroid shots.  For that reason, I elected to the get the shots.

I'm not scared of needles, so the shots were not that big of a deal for me (I'm in the wrong profession if needles scare me!).  As I've thought all along throughout this pregnancy, getting the shots helped me to better understand what it's like to be a patient so that I'll be (hopefully!) more empathetic with my patients in the future.  I don't think I've been completely insensitive with them in the past, but I just feel like having gone through some of the same experiences as they have helps to forge a connection between nurse and patient.  I was excited to see one of Jason's friends working that day in the L&D unit.  She had actually put a note in my chart already saying that "Brittany and J-Bird" are her friends and to be nice to us.  It cracked me up when one of my nurses came in and asked who J-Bird was (unfortunately I don't remember the story of how Jason got that nickname).

I went back on Tuesday for the second steroid shot, and the nurses got a kick out of the fact that I had saved my blood pressure cuff from the previous day and brought it with me to reuse.  Before they could give me the injection, they had to check my blood pressure and other vital signs- it seemed like a total waste to me to have them have to rip open a new cuff each day, so I saved it.  Apparently patients don't do that too often!

On Tuesday and Wednesday, I actually spent my days cleaning and tidying up around the house and running last minute errands.  People thought this was pretty unbelievable- shouldn't I have been resting?  I have to confess that even though I was exhausted, I was restless.  Even though in my head I knew that soon I was going to be getting even less sleep than "my normal" (which had been totally NOT normal for most of this pregnancy) and should have made a better try to lay down, I just couldn't.  My mind was going a mile a minute and I kept thinking about how many things I still hadn't accomplished over my maternity leave.  Arrggghhh!

So I ran to the library, the eye doctor's, and the grocery store (last minute free blood pressure check!).  I made sure Jason packed his bag for the hospital.  I completely organized my desk and got finished up packing my own bag for the hospital.  I dusted, cleaned bathrooms, and did laundry.  As a small concession, I didn't do any big vacuuming or floor cleaning- too much for me to handle physically.

I basically put myself on a self-imposed "contact black out" during those last few days.  I wanted things to be as peaceful as possible (or as much as my neurosis would allow it to be!), so I tried not to really answer the phone or email.  It may sound silly, but I think I was just in a total thinking phase and not as much in a communicating phase during those days.

And the last two nights were just strange for Jason and me.  I think a part of me wanted to live it up, to go out to dinner and totally have a last "married couple without children" night out on the town... but we were much too looking forward to our delivery day to do that.  Instead, we got take out from my favorite restaurant, Paesano's, on Tuesday night and relaxed at home with the puppies.  On Wednesday night, my friend Jen came over and sat down with Jason and me to discuss our wishes and plans for Thursday's delivery.

Months ago, I asked a group of my close friends (Jen included!) if they would be willing to be part of our support group at the hospital on the day of the delivery.  Because of the private hospital tour that Jason and I had gone on, we knew that I'd get to have two people in the operating room with me during the delivery.  Obviously one of those was going to be Jason- it was a tough call though!  :)  Because we weren't sure exactly when we'd deliver (delivering early was a much higher possibility with this pregnancy than I would have preferred), I wanted to make sure that we'd always be able to have someone to support both Jason and me during delivery.  Well, we totally lucked out- on the day of delivery, we had multiple support people with us all day!  But more on that next time...

Friday, November 23, 2012

That last weekend before the delivery...

The last five to six days leading up to the delivery were challenging to say the least.  Over that last weekend, I don't know if I could have been any more uncomfortable.  I really started to get congested and became a total mouth-breather.  Here I was already frequently getting short of breath whenever I did something that required simple physical movements, and now it felt like I was losing one of my airways!  :)  My ears were plugged, my nose was plugged, and I just couldn't seem to find any relief.  The congestion was due to (of course!!!) the hormones and the fact that I was retaining some serious water.

I was retaining so much water, in fact, that on Sunday evening I sprung a leak.  An actual leak I tell you!  Not everyone may be aware of this, but I was most comfortable throughout the pregnancy in as few clothes as possible when I was resting around the house, thanks to the hormones giving me hot flashes and it was purely just uncomfortable at times to have anything touching my skin.  Well, the only real challenge with that (other than the whole having to remember not to answer the doorbell as is!) was that the poor stretched & sensitive skin on my tummy would scratch and get little wounds on it so darn easily if I even happened to glance at a countertop or the edge of a table.  Anything touching my tummy skin was guaranteed to leave a mark.  On that Sunday evening, a tiny scratch on my tummy (probably the size of the tip of a pencil) actually opened up and started slowly weeping fluid.

I didn't put two and two together right away- I thought the drops of water on my tummy were just condensation dropping off of my water glass whenever I'd take a drink.  But as the time went by and I realized that it had been many minutes since I'd finished off the water and I was still having drips of water running down my tummy... it occurred to me that I needed a different explanation for why my belly was wet!  I panicked a little at first, thinking that my water had "broken" and I was going to be delivering babies out of my belly button... but then I remembered that the doctors had reassured me that no babies had ever actually done this a la the movie "Alien".  A quick call to my dad (an ER physician who just so happens to have 17 years of obstetrics experience) confirmed my second thought- that my tummy skin was so fragile and retaining so much water that it was literally just weeping retained water. Phew!

So an hour later with a compression dressing and some antibiotic ointment and the weeping had stopped... at least the weeping from my tummy.  The weeping from my eyes, however, took a little bit longer.  I'm not going to lie- that Sunday night was probably the lowest emotional point of the pregnancy for me.  The pain (my back, my hips, etc) combined with these little things were just getting to be too much for my emotional stamina.  On that Sunday night, for the first time ever, I'm ashamed to admit that I contemplated what would happen if I actually called the doctors and told them I wanted to get the babies out.  If ever I came close to wanting to deliver the babies before our scheduled time, that Sunday night was it.  So after some good crying and consoling by my husband and a stern talking to from myself, I think I finally just passed out from pure exhaustion and slept for a few hours.

I woke up frequently throughout the night, though, and continued to check to make sure that babies were still not coming out via my belly button.  And at some point, my resolve returned.  After all, the babes had been working their tiny little butts off for all of those months to grow and get big and be ready for their big day- how dare I be so weak as to contemplate giving up when we were so close?  I know it sounds stupid- that a little leak and some congestion could do me in after all that we'd been able to accomplish over the previous months, but it's the truth.

I awoke the next morning (Monday) and got ready like usual to drive to my non-stress test appointment, and I felt as if the previous night's emotional breakdown had never happened.  It's truly amazing what a few hours of sleep and giving yourself a mental pep talk can do for your psyche.  And I'm proud of myself for not totally giving in to my weakness and calling the doctors.  I came close, but a favorite quote of mine comes to mind...

In the midst of Winter, I learned there was in me an Invincible Summer.
-Albert Camus

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Misinformation... or why it is good to take a nap before you get in front of a camera.

Whew!  Another whirlwind of a week and I still have not been able to sit down and blog about the happenings of the last two weeks.  I so want to share (and to get everything down "on paper" before I forget it) with our family and friends about where the journey has taken us in that time.  But before I can feel comfortable doing that, I want to correct/add to the news reports about us of the past week.

First of all, we are doing the media "thing" for two reasons.  The first reason is that it was to serve as a platform to give credit where credit is due and to offer up our thanks and gratitude to the different people and organizations that have supported, educated, and loved our growing family since we announced that we were expecting triplets.  Because there's a lot of you!!

We absolutely could NOT have made it to this point without our loving (and lovingly chaotic) and involved families, without our supportive friends (who really helped us find the humor in the craziness of it all), or without our coworkers' patience/understanding/excitement.  There is NO way we would have been able to nurture these munchkins without the concerted efforts and attention of my doctors at the Perinatologists Group of Sacramento, the entire staff at the Sutter Moms of Multiples program, and the absolutely amazing doctors & nurses at Sutter Memorial Hospital.  I'm getting teary (and not just because of hormones anymore!) thinking of how much everyone has given of themselves to get these babies here.

And even though I firmly believe that is where the true story is in all of this-

that it not only takes a village to raise a child, but that it also takes a village to go through a multiples pregnancy prior to the birthing of the children

-it seems that not everyone agrees with me.  Sigh.  So I'll continue to talk about how thankful we are for  all of these people when I'm doing interviews, and I'll continue to know in my heart what the real story is.

The second reason for doing the interviews is to have something neat to share with the boys when they get older.  We're collecting copies of the papers, news stories online, and videos to someday share them with the munchkins.  I envision that my boys will someday have a pretty easy time finding something to take to school for "show n' tell" time...  :)

These little munchkins mean the world to Jason and me, so if someone else wants to share in the sheer joy that surrounds these little boys... I want to share our personal joy with others.

One of the biggest things, though, that is eating away at me (pun totally intended here!) are the different interpretations of my comments in regards to the meal plan I chose to follow for this pregnancy.  I have been very distressed to see some of the spinning of my words that have come out in the media (to be sure- I can understand how and why it happens.  Humans are humans, and my anxiety/exhaustion/ridiculousness have definitely been a contributing factor).  It worries me because I don't want to give false information or ideas to other moms of multiples.  I also worry about any negative feedback for the talented dietician that the Sutter MOMs program has if people were to attribute the info in the news reports as her exact words and ideas.

For the record, let me clear up a few things as best as I can.

-The "6,000 calories a day" thing...
I happened to randomly do a calorie count for myself one day during the pregnancy, and it came up to just over 6,000 calories.  I wasn't consistently hitting that number everyday (sometimes far more, sometimes less).  And to my recollection, the dietician NEVER gave me a true calorie goal to meet- mainly because to my understanding, there isn't enough research to be able to definitively say how much a pregnant mother of higher order multiples (three babies or more) should eat.  So the 6,000 calories thing?  Just a number that I had for one particular day... and people ran with that.  Totally understandable as to why they did.

What I was truly told was that it is almost physically impossible to consume the calories that a higher order multiples pregnancy requires for a few reasons (slowed digestion related to hormones, the physical challenges of a belly full of munchkins that leaves little room for gastric expansion, etc).  THAT statement was one of the biggest take-away messages that I got from my meeting with the dietician.  As for what transpired after that (how I chose to take that message and put it into action), good or bad, right or wrong... the responsibility for that rests solely with me and my grocery bill.

And the dietician worked with me to find healthy ways of slamming the calories into my body- she wasn't telling me to hit up the fast food drive-thru everyday (this would have been an easy way to get the calories in and I do love me some french fries... but without the solid nutrition that the munchkins needed).  In fact, she helped me to find great alternatives to the "easier" ways of packing in the calories- foods that still got calories into me without sacrificing nutrition (think whole fat dairy products and healthy nuts, whole grains and oatmeal, etc.).

-The "12 eggs a day" thing...
Now, this one is totally my fault.  The dietician never told me I had to eat a dozen eggs everyday.  What I was told during my meeting with her was that I needed to really increase my protein intake.  The growing munchkins needed all the protein they could get to be able to grow and develop.  What I thought I said in the interviews is what I've been saying all along- that I've been trying to eat THE EQUIVALENT of a dozen eggs a day.  But as Jason and my mom informed me- I actually said that I eat a dozen eggs a day...  oops.  Major oops.  So I have no one to blame except for myself on this.  The news reports have actually been reporting my incorrect words correctly, and for any misconceptions that this has caused, I take sole responsibility for that.

While I did eat just a ridiculous amount of eggs (quick, easy, tasty, great protein), I also got my protein in lots of other ways- meats, dairy, nuts, edamame (it was not unheard of for me to polish off an entire bag of edamame myself!).  I also ate a lot of protein bars as well- for whatever reason, I never really took to the protein shakes.

I'm sure not everyone agrees with the safety, efficacy, or tastiness of my pregnancy meals and snack plan and I definitely wouldn't recommend what I did to everybody.  But it was MY interpretation of the excellent information and education that was provided to me by the Sutter MOMs program.  Anything that is good about the plan came from them.  Anything that was not so good- I take full responsibility for.  I feel so badly about these things, and I have been losing a little bit of sleep over how my words and actions have contributed to any misinformation out there...

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

They made it!!

The boys have made it!  They were delivered last Thursday, November 8th, by C-section at Sutter Memorial Hospital.

Jenson Joseph Deen, formally known as Baby A, made his arrival first at 12:42pm.  He weighed 5 pounds 5.6 ounces, and he was 16.9 ounces.

Elliott Jackson Deen, formally known as Baby B, arrived next at 12:43pm.  He weighed 7 pounds 3.1 ounces, and he was 18.9 inches long.

Sidney Miller Deen, formally known as Baby C, arrived last at 12:44pm.  He weighed 7 pounds 8.3 ounces, and he was 20.1 inches long.

Where to start?!?  I've been trying since Saturday to sit down at the computer/IPhone/IPad to write about the experiences of our last week, and needless to say, I've been completely unsuccessful.  Although, in my defense, I've had a few things to be preoccupied with.  :)  So my guess is that the next few blog posts are just going to be "stream of consciousness" blogs that will run from one into the other.  I started this blog entry almost eight hours ago and this is as far as I've gotten.  I guess we'll try again tomorrow...

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Lovely 36...

We've made it!  Happy, happy, happy 36 weeks to all!  I'm pretty sure that there aren't any doctors around that would argue with us having full term triplets in my tummy now!  It's so strange to think that  less than six months ago, Jason and I still thought we were having one sweet little baby.  How wrong we were.  And now... here we are less than FIVE DAYS from our scheduled C-section where we will get to meet our three sweet little boys!  And apparently the boys wanted to celebrate this fact by giving me an early gift- they actually let me sleep for 4 HOURS in a row last night!!  I'm pretty sure that hasn't happened more than once or twice since April...

The last few days have been a little bit tough for me physically.  The pain and discomfort in my back, hips, and pelvis has really started to increase, so no body position is comfortable for very long.  I can't be up on my feet for any real length of time.  A week or two ago, I could go for a slow walk around the block with Jason at night, but now even that seems to be too much without careful planning of how long I'll rest before and after!

I pretty much can only leave the house for short periods of time each day, if that.  On days where I don't have medical appointments, I try to plan for a quick errand or a meal out with a friend, just so I can get a change of scenery.  I basically only go to Target, the grocery store, or Costco now because they have the riding carts for me to use to get around the store!  I feel bad using the riding carts because I'm not a sick or disabled person normally (and if I'm using one, that means someone who is disabled may have to wait for a riding cart.  I feel very badly about this fact...), but I literally cannot make it around the grocery store without one anymore.  My only concession to not being totally feeble is to walk from my car into the stores.  One of the cashiers let me know that I could call the store from the parking lot and they'd actually drive a riding cart out to me- thanks, but no thanks!  How sad is it that my daily exercise right now is walking into the store... and this is after I drive around the lot for a while to make sure that I get a parking spot close to the door (before the pregnancy, I didn't care where I parked- I actually used to prefer to park farther back in the lot so I could force some exercise on myself!).

And I have yet to knock over any displays or
run into anything!

I think one of the things that I'm grateful for is the size of my ginormous belly.  Once people see how huge it is, they don't generally question my use of the riding carts.  They don't generally question my moving slowly and are usually very quick to help me.  Here's the usual behavior right now for the strangers that I come across- lots of smiles, lots of offers of help, and lots of offers to send positive thoughts our way.  I feel like I'm back in Minnesota again- everybody smiles at everybody back there!

So even though I struggle with feeling like a feeble burden to those around me, my doctors and nurses are pretty impressed that I've made it this far.  Dr. McElvey told me yesterday that she was fascinated by how well I'm still moving.  And the nurses that do my non-stress tests get so excited when I walk into my appointments ("Oh my goodness- you're still walking around!").  And I guess when I try to cut myself some slack, it does seem kind of neat (and makes me a little bit proud) that I'm still able to get this Humpty Dumpty-like body up and moving.

And that feeling of pride in my body is something that I haven't truly experienced in almost ten years.  In my early 20s, I worked for a couple of summers at a high adventure outdoor camp for teens and adults.  My first year there, I served as a wilderness guide, taking groups for a week at a time into the wilderness with no contact with civilization.  We'd canoe and camp, and I was responsible for everyone's well-being and creating "the best experience" possible for these people.  Prior to this pregnancy, it was the most intensely demanding physical/mental/emotional/spiritual thing that I had ever done.  I lost 30 pounds in less than a month and truly pushed my body to its limits because that is what the job required.  You try carrying an 80 pound canoe on your shoulders through the woods to get from one lake to the next- not exactly easy!!  But I did it.  Not only did I survive that first summer, I thrived there.

And one of the most important lessons that I learned that summer was to be proud of what my body could DO versus what it looked like.  There aren't many mirrors in the wilderness (thank goodness- if I looked anywhere close to what I smelled like after a week in the woods with no shower... yikes!), so my physical appearance became pretty insignificant compared with what my body could physically handle.

And carrying these munchkins has brought me back to that same feeling.  Obviously I'm not carrying 80 pounds of canoe right now (try 80 pounds of pregnancy weight instead!), but I'm pretty amazed that my body hasn't tried to run away from all of this yet...

Jason and I are trying to relish every last minute of this week.  Soon our lives are going to be totally and completely changed for forever more.  No longer will it be just "Jason and Brittany" (I know, I know, technically it hasn't been just the two of us since March, but it's different when the babes are still in the belly!).  No longer will we be able to get up on a weekend morning and spontaneously decide to go out for breakfast.  No longer will we be able to make last-minute decisions to go out without planning for whether the boys are coming with us or not.  No more picking up new hobbies without weighing the priority of time with our family vs. time alone.

We've been going out to the movies together, going out to dinners together, playing board games together at night... it's almost like we're dating again!  But it's slightly different now compared with when we first started our relationship over six years ago (and not just because I can no longer fit in booths at restaurants).  Now our conversations center around the days, months, and years to come and how they will be filled up with our boys.  How excited we are to finally meet them and hold them for the first time.  How scared we are to mess up as parents.  How worried we are about how we'll handle everything without losing our minds.  How cool it's going to be to watch our munchkins play with us and each other.  How going from two to five will be such an amazing journey.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

So, these babies just need to stay in my belly for another 4 hours and then we'll have guaranteed that they have November birthdays!!  For the last 3-4 months, I've just been telling the boys to "Stay in my belly because I want your birth stone to be a topaz!"  Now, I don't even know what a topaz looks like and frankly I have no real preference for any stones in particular (except amethyst- love me some purple).  But I did not really want the boys to be delivered until November rolled around.  Apparently they were listening and obeying, which kind of proves that they will probably take after their daddy!  And I probably shouldn't count my chickens before they're hatched- I've still got four hours to go- but I'm so excited that they've made it this far.

Happy Halloween!  It has been so sweet to see parents and kids all over dressing up together for the holiday and to see the excitement that the kids have for trick or treating.  Next year, Jason and I will get to get in on the fun too!  I've never been a huge fan of Halloween- I've never had anything against it, but it just never grabbed me like some of the other holidays.  But the last few days have really made me realize that kids have a way of changing your perspective on things!

Happy Halloween from Coltrane and Hana!

Jason and I are just trying to stay as peaceful and calm as we can right now.  We are down to a single-digit countdown until the scheduled C-section!!!!!  I'm spending most of the days laying on my side and resting in bed at home, and Jason is spending most of his time keeping the house running and taking care of me.  But we are ready for these babes to come home- the nursery has been cleaned and polished one last time, my bag is packed for the hospital, the diaper bag is totally packed with outfits to bring our boys home in (thanks Pat!), dozens and dozens of bottles have been freshly cleaned and are drying as I type this, and I only have one more load of baby clothes and blankets to fold and put away.  Bring on the munchkins!

People are no longer just asking, "When are you due?".  
More frequently I hear, "How many are in there?!?"

Yep, I'm big  :)

One of Jason's childhood friends sent me this pic.
How sweet he looked in grade school- here's
hoping the boys look just like him!

The pumpkin that my carpal tunnel issues
wouldn't allow me to carve...  boo.

This is officially Friday's favorite
perch to hang out on these days

I've really had to modify how I do household chores-
I sit in a chair and bring the ironing board down
to my level.  Or I try to just get the cat to do the ironing.

Monday, October 29, 2012

All systems go...

I had my last official doctor's appointment at the perinatologist's office today.  A little bittersweet... my last ultrasound with Athena, the ultrasound goddess.  The last time I'll have to waddle in there with my ginormous belly.  The last time I'll get the eye-popping looks from other patients in the waiting room because of my ginormous belly (you just know they're praying they don't get this large!).  After I deliver the boys, I'll actually still be followed by the same group of doctors for the next six weeks, so it's not like I'll never see that office again.  I just will hopefully be able to see my own feet by that time (please let the tummy go down quickly after delivery!).  :)

The appointment went very well overall.  The ultrasound showed that the boys are all doing just fine.  They didn't measure their estimated weights, so it will be a nice little surprise to see how big they are when they come out.  But the boys do have plenty of amniotic fluid in each of their sacs- thank you God!  It's very normal for the amniotic fluid levels to be decreasing by this point, but it could be a problem if they decreased too much too quickly.  But that is not the case with my sweet pumpkins- they've got enough.

My blood pressure continues to stay in the normal range, which is just amazing.  Any elevation of my blood pressure could signal that something is going wrong with either the babies or with me, so I get so thrilled every time the results come back as "steady".  I've probably had my blood pressure taken more in the last few months than I have the entire rest of my life combined.  But part of that is actually my own doing- our grocery store has a free blood pressure machine in its pharmacy, so I make frequent trips over there mainly to check my BP (and I guess to pick up a daily snack or treat!).  

I've officially gained almost 75 pounds so far.  Wow.  Just wow.  Of course at this point, I'm probably carrying somewhere around 20 pounds of pure baby (not including placentas, amniotic fluid, etc.).  I can't wait to measure my "waist" circumference and weight right before I go into the operating room and again as soon as they let me get out of bed after the delivery.  They'll be pumping me full of fluids during the delivery, so that will probably skew the measurements a little, but I can probably plan on losing somewhere around 30-35 pounds during delivery- hooray!

Which I think my body will really, really appreciate.  I feel so very proud of what my body has been able to accomplish so far.  Nourishing three little munchkins for as long as it has is nothing short of a miracle, and the majority of the credit has to go to genetics and divine intervention.  Not every body could physically handle the rigors of carrying triplets, and we just lucked out that my body has been able to.  But it hasn't always been easy.  My back is now pretty much sore/painful most of the time, and I'm feeling discomfort in my hips/pelvis that defies reality.  I'm so congested, due to the hormones and edema, that I have to wear a nasal strip on my nose at night to make my snoring tolerable (prior to my third trimester, I rarely ever snored.  According to Jason, my snoring now could wake the dead... in another state...).  My carpal tunnel issues just get worse and worse by the day, to the point where I'm hardly able to open jars at times (I almost went over to the neighbor's the other day while Jason was at work to ask them to open the caramel jar!) and it was physically impossible for me to carve my Halloween pumpkin this weekend.  My toes are officially the size of sausages, at least when I get a quick glimpse of them from around my belly, which now rests heavily on my legs when I'm sitting upright.  And don't even get me started on how easily I get fatigued by the simplest of physical tasks...

But it's all worth it.  I know it sounds like I'm complaining, but I'm not actually looking for sympathy.  I share these things with you so that you can get a better sense of what it's like to carry triplets.  I'm sure a lot of singleton pregnancy moms have the same issues too.  

It's all worth it.  All of these physical issues signal to me that something amazing is happening in my tummy.  All of these physical issues help to remind me of how blessed I am to not have to live with them on a permanent basis when I'm not pregnant.  After all, I feel like one can do anything when they know there's a goal, an endpoint that they have to work towards.

Plus I like to think of it all in this way...  I used to get so mad when I'd have to stop at red lights, especially when I was on my way to work.  I didn't like having to stop and I always thought they were slowing me down!  But it occurred to me one day that perhaps what I saw as a negative (having to stop) was actually God's way of saving me from something much worse (a potential accident, etc).  Since then, it's been much easier to just accept the red lights and slow down.  

So yeah, all of these physical "maladies" are slowing me down and are super frustrating at times.  As a general rule, I don't like them.  But they've been saving us from potentially much worse things (premature labor, etc) and for that I am grateful.  

Friday, October 26, 2012

35 weeks

Happy 35 Weeks to everyone!  

It's official- we've made it to 35 weeks with triplets.  Wow.  What a journey we've been on and it's totally surreal to think that sometime within the next two weeks, Jason and I are going to have three little munchkins to hold in our arms!!  There's not complete consensus on this in the medical field, but a triplet pregnancy is most often considered full-term somewhere between 34-35 weeks.  Dr. Gilbert even told us that because the average triplet pregnancy lasts 33 weeks, some even consider triplets delivered at 33 weeks to be full-term.  Either way, most doctors would say that we are now carrying full-term triplets!!!!!!!

I didn't have any appointments outside of the house today, so I've spent most of the day in bed just laying on my side, which is how I spend most of my time these days.  I don't have the energy to do much of anything physically speaking, plus it's best for the boys at this point for me to just be peaceful and rest.  I feel a little bit like a chicken on a rotisserie because I try to rotate from my left side to my right side every so often so that I don't get too sore.  It gets a little monotonous, but I try to keep my mind occupied with books and movies, talking on the phone, planning things for the babes, etc.

As I was laying in bed today, my mind flashed back to my trip home to Minnesota last June.  Our nephew, Quinn, was only a few weeks old at that point.  On one of my mornings there, he and I got to snuggle in bed while everyone else in the house was still sleeping.  I remember being so at peace just cuddling with that beautiful little boy (seriously- my sister makes beautiful babies!) and being in awe of this tiny little person in my arms.  Even now thinking back to that morning, I'm smiling.  And today, I had the surreal thought that soon Jason and I are going to have THREE of those tiny little people to snuggle in bed with.  The thought just makes my heart smile- 

Jason and I are so excited that we will soon get to share these three little peanuts with everyone.  We've had lots of offers of help from friends and family and we will definitely be taking you all up on them!  I do, however, want to respectfully address some of our wishes for those coming to the house to visit and help with the peanuts after they're born.

As newborns, they'll have pretty weak immune systems to begin with, further complicated by the fact that they'll be born earlier than normal.  Because of those weaker immune systems, we really want to protect them from being exposed to germs and cooties in general.  Based on suggestions (and in some cases, stern warnings!) from our doctors, we would like to gently ask that people be mindful of the following...

-We will be asking all visitors to wash their hands frequently!  One of the best ways of preventing illness is hand washing, so we promise to be stocked up on some sassy hand soap for everyone to use, plus we now have hand sanitizer all over the house (I may have gone a little crazy with the hand sanitizer... sorry in advance!)

-Please, please, please: no visitors under the age of 14.  It's not that Jason and I don't adore our friends' children, but there is no way of getting around the fact that kids have cooties that we can't afford to have the munchkins exposed to.  Our doctors were pretty stern about wanting us to implement this rule.       As an oncology nurse, I personally work with cancer patients where pretty much everyone has a compromised immune system, and the policy on that unit is for no visitors under the age of 14.  I feel badly about having to turn away kids from our house, but I do promise that eventually this ban will be lifted.  Plus with three boys, I don't know if it's a good idea anyway to expose other peoples' kids to the chaos that will be the Deen household!  :)

-If you are feeling any signs of a cold or the flu, please let us know in advance so that we can set up a better time/day for you to visit.  Sniffles, coughs, stuffy nose, headache, fatigue, sore throat, any general aches or pains, or just not feeling good... we'll keep you in our thoughts and prayers until you're feeling better!

-We encourage everyone to be up to date on their seasonal flu shots and whooping cough vaccinations.  While we will be pretty big sticklers on the previous three safety requests, this last one is more of a "it would be nice, but we won't necessarily be requiring it" type of guideline.  :)

Thank you all in advance for being gracious about these requests.  My intention is not to insult by addressing them, but I feel like it is always better to put your expectations out there early so that we can avoid any issues later.  And I don't want to limit anyone's ability to be around the munchkins, but we do have to be mindful of what's best for everyone involved.  So I thank you for your patience, and I can't wait to welcome you to our home after the babes come home!!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

BIG babies!

So I've been in a little bit of a state of shock and put off writing this entry...  please forgive me!

On Monday, Jason and I went to our last growth ultrasound.  We were so relieved to hear that everything is still progressing well/safely with the pregnancy.  My cervix is staying long and strong, my blood pressure is staying in its usual range, and I'm feeling okay.

The babies are still all taking a bath in big enough amounts of amniotic fluid.  While the amounts are slowly going down, this is a totally normal thing to be happening at this time in the pregnancy- nothing to be afraid of there!  The babies all passed their non-stress test Monday like the little champs that they are, so they just continue to be happy as little clams in my tummy.

The reason why I've been in a state of shock has to do with their weights... suffice it to say that as of Monday, I was carrying almost 18 pounds of pure baby!!!! 

Baby A, who has consistently been the smallest guy throughout the pregnancy, is now weighing in at 4 pounds 8 ounces, which puts him at the 9th percentile on the growth chart.  That may seem like a low percentile, but the important thing to focus on is that his rate of growth is steady- he keeps gaining weight like a champ!  Both the doctors and Jason and I have been worried about his growth over the past few months- worried that his growth would either slow down or stop.  But nope!  This little guy is a fighter and continues to astound us with his weight gains.

Baby B's estimated weight is now 5 pounds 15 ounces, which puts him at the 75th percentile on the growth chart.  He's almost 6 pounds!!!  My little man just keeps hanging out in the middle of my tummy (remember he's the peacemaker of the bunch, keeping his two brothers connected!) and gaining good weight.  Way to go little one!

And then we get to Baby C.

Baby C's estimated weight is now 7 pounds 6 ounces.  Let me write that again so that we all know that is not a typo.  Baby C is estimated to weigh 7 pounds 6 ounces.  Wow.  Yikes.  Wow.  Dr. Gilbert laughed when I asked if we needed to be worried about Baby C trying to eat one of his brothers- obviously the kid is getting some calories in!

If I have learned anything during this pregnancy to pass on to others, here are two things that you all should know:

1.  It is probably not a good sign when your OB starts "numbering" your babies at your first ultrasound.  (i.e.  you are not having just one baby like you had planned on).

2.  It is probably not a usual thing to have your normally "calm as a cucumber" ultrasound maven blurt out "oh wow!" during your growth ultrasound.  This probably means that she is seeing something that she normally doesn't see everyday.  :)

Athena's "oh wow" moment came right before she told us what the babes' weights were.  And once we heard the weights, we were just as shocked as she was!  We've got some big, big babies hanging out in my tummy.  And while we are totally shocked, we are so thankful that they are growing and developing as well as they are.  I'm so proud of all of our boys!

And of course knowing how darn big these munchkins are helps me to be more forgiving of my body's need for sleep and rest and general level of discomfort.  I guess nurturing 18 pounds of baby is a pretty valid excuse...

So with those weights, there is a very real possibility that some or all of them may not even need to go to the NICU after they're born!  If we can keep them in for at least another week, even Baby A will probably be above the five pound mark, making all of the boys bigger than five pounds, which is absolutely astounding for triplets.  The doctors have warned us that there is a very real possibility that the babes might actually get to be discharged from the hospital at the same time that I am!!  Holy Cow!

Now of course there are still a lot of unknowns.  Just because they are all growing nice and big doesn't mean that they won't have any health issues or medical conditions that might keep them in the hospital longer after delivery.  And unfortunately we won't know about those, for the most part, until after the babies are born.  But things are looking very positive right now for everyone involved!  So we'll continue to keep our fingers crossed, prayers said, and hope for the best.

I actually had another non-stress test this morning (I have them every Monday and Thursday) and the boys all did amazing.  They all passed in less than 15 minutes and were very well-behaved for Fran, my  nurse.

So thank you everyone for being so loving and supportive of our three little munchkins- keep those prayers coming.  Keep your fingers crossed.  Keep sending positive vibes our way.  They're all working and we are so appreciative of everything!!  It just warms my heart so much whenever I hear that someone's keeping us in their thoughts or prayers...  :)

Monday, October 22, 2012


This just might be the worst part of being pregnant- the waiting game.  Waiting for the next appointment, waiting for the test result to come back, waiting a seeming eternity for the doctor to come into the room at the end of an ultrasound to see if there's going to be any change to the plan, waiting for the babies to come...  sometimes it seems like all I do is wait.

Wait for my next trip to the bathroom, wait to fall back to sleep after each nighttime bathroom trip, wait for the next carb- and protein-laden meal, wait for the next "funny/weird physical thing due to being pregnant" to manifest itself, wait for my hips/joints/belly to "settle" whenever I change positions, wait to find a comfortable position when the previous one proves to not be comfortable anymore...

Wait for the next kick from each baby to reassure myself that they're okay, wait whenever I feel a contraction to see if it's still just Braxton-Hicks or is it something more, wait for a few seconds whenever I stand up to see if this will be the time that my water breaks...

On the one hand, I hate waiting.  I hate the not knowing, the having to be patient while things that are out of my control continue to be out of my control.  When they were handing out patience, I was apparently too impatient to wait in line to get my fair share.

But on the other hand, I'm oddly at peace with the waiting.  Each day that passes seems to flash right on by- it seems like just a few minutes ago I was waiting for the results on Baby A's weight at our 32 week ultrasound and that was well over two weeks ago...  which means that while I've been waiting, the munchkins have been growing.  They've been getting bigger and stronger and more ready to survive and thrive outside the womb.  And that makes the waiting seem like a small price to pay if it means that the peanuts are benefitting from it all...

34 week belly
(sometimes I forget just how big it is
until someone who hasn't seen it in a while
reacts to its size.  Halloween seems like an
appropriate time to have this big of a belly
because I keep scaring friends and family
with it)

Friday, October 19, 2012

34 weeks!!!

We've made it- 34 weeks today everyone!!  I woke up with the biggest smile on my face today, just knowing that we've made it through so many hurdles with this pregnancy, and we're still going!  Each time I've set a goal to get to (20 weeks, then 28 weeks, then 32 weeks, and NOW we made it to 34!), I've gotten anxious as the goal approached- I would worry that we were going to get so close to the goal and then just miss it... and I'm so grateful that didn't happen.  Jason and I have been working so hard to just take care of these little peanuts in my tummy.  And it appears that they take after their daddy, as opposed to their rebellious momma, so far- they're following directions (stay in my belly!) like they should be!

So the next goal- always gotta have a goal- is to make it safely to our scheduled C-section on November 8th.  It's so strange to think that in just under three weeks, we'll finally get to hold our sweet little boys in our arms and snuggle them!  I can't wait to see their little faces and see what features they got from me and what features they got from Jason.  I can't wait to hear their cries (I'm guessing that will probably get a teensy bit old after a while!) and little baby noises.  I can't wait to smell their little baby smells.  And I can't wait to get to start learning about their personalities- separate from the kicks and movements that I feel in my belly...

All three munchkins passed their non-stress test yesterday.  At each test, at least one of the boys decides to be a little obtuse- taking a nap when they should be moving, moving too much, continuously moving away from the monitor, etc.  And it's almost like they play "Rock, Paper, Scissors" to decide who is going to be the stinker of the day as it's never the same babe!

On the drive to Sutter Memorial Hospital yesterday (where the non-stress tests are conducted and where the boys will be born), both Baby A and Baby C were kicking and moving around like fiends.  It was almost like they were holding a soccer match in there.  But once we got to the hospital, ALL three decided to be little stinkers.  Baby A had decided to move deeper into my pelvis, and the nurse actually had the monitor almost right on my hip- usually he is the easiest to find.  Apparently he thought that was a good way to make the nurse jump through some hoops- I thought babies didn't play hide 'n seek until AFTER they were born!

Baby B passed the test yesterday the quickest (each of the babes has done this at least once!), but then decided it was a great idea to get the hiccups.  For a couple of minutes, the only sound you could hear was the "blip, blip" every few seconds from him hiccuping!  We were all laughing at the regularity of it.

Baby C must have tired himself out from the earlier soccer match with his brother because he basically slept through the first half of the test.  And of course we can't just leave him alone to sleep it off.  Poor little babe was getting poked and prodded by the nurse and myself, just trying to get him to participate!  Once he actually woke up, though, he performed like a champ.

The only slightly disconcerting thing from the test was that Baby A had some greater variability in his heart rate than he usually does.  At the end of the test, the nurse was quick to tell me that she wasn't overly concerned about it, but she did want to let the doctor know and see if they wanted to do anything about it (send me to triage? send me over to the office for an ultrasound?).  Interestingly enough, Dr. McElvey had actually come in to the room during my non-stress test (she was called in to assess a different momma, not me!) and had taken a glance at the heart rate strips at that point.  So I ended up having to wait around another 10-20 minutes for Dr. McElvey to show up and take a look at the entire test strip.  The nurse apologized to me for the additional wait as she didn't think it was going to change the plan of care at all (my next ultrasound is on Monday), but I was actually grateful that she made the call to the doctor.  I am not going to argue with getting additional expertise thrown in my direction!  I had actually noticed the greater variability myself earlier when I was looking at the strips (I'm not an expert by any means, but you start reading multiple strips twice a week and you start to pick stuff up, plus I may possibly have been reviewing my notes on fetal heart rate monitoring from nursing school!). So it put my mind at ease to have the true experts- the perinatologist and multiple nurses who look at these strips all the time- assess the strip and deem it to be just fine.  Whew!!

The nurses at the Antepartum Testing Unit (where the non-stress tests are done) are really starting to just grow on me.  They seem to enjoy working together and helping each other out.  They all get super excited whenever I show up ("I can't believe you've still got those babies in there!") and I just adore them.  They all seem shocked that I am still able to drive myself around- maybe it's because you can see my belly enter a room about five minutes before the rest of me.  I'm very blessed to be slightly taller than the average girl, so it helps me to be able to push the driver's seat back a little bit and still be a safe driver.

And I'm physically doing okay still.  My blood pressure was normal during the test yesterday, and my uterus wasn't contracting.  But it hurts more and more each day to move around and reposition myself.  Finding a comfortable position gets tougher as time goes by.  And the boys' movements can be kind of painful sometimes.  But all of these things tell me that the munchkins are growing and getting bigger and stronger, which can't be a bad thing. :)

I say a little prayer of thanks each night for whatever human discovered Protonix, my anti-heartburn medication.  I no longer wake up at night with massive heartburn- it's a miracle!  Now I just need to keep working on making my newly developing carpal tunnel pain issues better.  Due to hormones and the water retention of third trimester, it's not unusual to have pain and discomfort in the wrists, hands, and fingers.  It's getting to the point where I have a hard time even bending my fingers just a little without grimacing when I wake up, but the problem gets better during the day before it worsens at night.  I'm having to ask Jason to open almost all twist off tops on containers for me as I can't get my fingers to wrap around them like normal- it cracks me up to realize how much of an impact this pregnancy has on my daily activities.  Unlike non-pregnant people with carpal tunnel issues, I've found that typing actually helps the discomfort- weird!  Small price to pay for still being pregnant with these munchkins!

On a lighter note...
Jason told me last night that he has the perfect solution for resolving disputes between the boys when they get older.  He wants to build an octagon, a la the Ultimate Fighting Championship, in the backyard and will have the boys work out their differences there.  As he says, the "outcome will be decided in the octagon!"  I'm not a follower of mixed martial arts and I'm pretty sure Jason's just joking with me about an octagon, but if he brings it up with anyone, please try to discourage him.  :)