Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Another check up

Another ultrasound yesterday!  I took my good friend, Brandi, along for the visit with me.  On the weekly check-up ultrasounds, I'm inviting some of my girlfriends along to keep me company when Jason has to be at work.  I think I love seeing my friends' reactions to the munchkins onscreen almost as much as I love seeing the munchkins!  (plus I need good notetakers there!)

It was just a general check-up to make sure everything's okay with Huey, Duey, and Louie.  And so far, so good.  The boys are moving around in the uterus a little bit- now Baby B is hanging out in the middle of the uterus instead of the right side.  We got to hear each of their heartbeats too.  In fact, Babies B and C were moving around so much that it took Athena (our ultrasound maven) a couple of tries to capture them.

Athena also checked on the levels of amniotic fluid in each of the munchkins' sacs.  The level of amniotic fluid is an important measurement because the amniotic fluid does so many things to protect and aid in the triplets' development.  All of them measured above 4, which she was very pleased about. We'll be keeping an eye on this number, which they want to be between 2 and 8.  And I'll keep drinking lots of water to help out the babes in this respect- it looks like the jury's out on whether or not this will actually help with amniotic fluid levels, but it can't hurt and every doctor likes to remind me to drink lots of water!  :)

I'm pretty sure I saw a hand wave from Baby B during the ultrasound!  It's been fun over the past few weeks to start to feel the peanuts moving around.  Nothing too dramatic yet- I can't really distinguish which baby or which body part at all, but I can tell you which side of my tummy it's happening on.  And last Sunday, I was actually able to feel TWO moving at the same time (one on the left and one on the right).  A slightly surreal feeling!

Work is progressing on the nursery (I'm working on no longer calling it the office).  I'm trying to decide if we keep the current wall color (Jason's preference) or paint it (what I had been leaning towards but now I'm not so sure).  Decisions, decisions!

Jason and I have also started a list of potential baby names, and we're definitely accepting submissions. We've had a very specific plan in mind for how to name these babes to incorporate both of our families.  They'll have the last name "Deen", an obvious connection with Jason's family.  Their middle names will come from a name on the Miller side, so that they have a connection to my family.  And each of their first names will be something that Jason and I come up with (or that is suggested to us!!!), to represent the family that Jason and I are creating.  That being said, we're not keen on rhyming names nor on all of them starting with the same letter.  Other than that, suggest away.  Help us out here people!

Baby C's still hanging out on the left side of my tummy- I was a little worried before that he was being ostracized by his brothers (they had previously both been on the right side!)

Baby B- He's now in the middle of my uterus, probably the peacekeeper of the bunch by 'reaching out' to Baby B, although I feel like he's going to wake up with a severe neck cramp if he stays in that position!

Baby A- Still chilling out in right field!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Boys or girls????

Well, we did find out this past week what the munchkins' genders are.  So to present it in a pictorial monologue...

Boys or Girls?  Or a mix?
With three little peanuts, it could be anything!!

They're all boys!!!

We found out this past week that we are going to be blessed with 3 boys.  Both Jason and I are so excited about this latest news.  I have to admit that I was a little scared that we'd be having 3 girls and I just pictured what it would be like around our house in approximately 11-14 years when hormones really kicked in... yikes.  Major yikes!

And once again, this pregnancy is not following the rules.  Apparently the odds were much higher that we'd have a mixed gender bunch, but consider the odds beaten once again.  

We were actually thinking we'd get to find out the genders of the babes in two weeks at the big Level II ultrasound on July 2nd.  So for this past week's ultrasound, I played it safe and asked Jason what he wanted me to do if the doctor was able to see gender (since he wasn't coming for this basic ultrasound). Did he want me to tell the doctor to wait til he was there, should I find out, etc...  I'm not quite sure what prompted me to ask Jason that, but I'm glad I did!  Jason said it was okay to find out without him there, but I had to tell him right away if I did.

Athena (the ultrasound lady from heaven) asked me during the ultrasound if I wanted to know the genders.  Um, yes please!  Now, I do have pictures confirming the boys' genders, but I will err on the side of propriety and just ask you to trust me on this (I'm comfortable sharing just about everything in regards to this pregnancy, but not those!).  

Jen (my date for the ultrasound) came up with the idea of surprising Jason at work with blue balloons to break the news, so we set off on a little adventure...
Sneaking up to J's office

Congrats Daddy- three boys!

Checking out the confirmation ultrasound pics

I think he's happy!

His coworkers are happy too!

His boss is shocked!

This is what the parents of triplet boys looks like!
How blessed are we...

Since Jason's coworkers got to find out the day that we did, I felt it was only fair to let my coworkers know too (they've been asking for weeks!)...

I took in Rice Krispie Treats labeled "3 boys!!" and asked everyone
to share the "sweet" news with us!

So another exciting week in the Deen household!  Knowing that there are 3 little boys growing in my tummy has really made this all seem so much more real.  Of course, some people are still living in a little state of non-reality.  Upon hearing the news, my dad jokingly apologized and told me that we were just going to have to have another baby someday because he and my mom need a granddaughter...  :)  

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Maternity scrubs!

Just worked the last three days in a row and had a great time.  I'm not going to lie- I was definitely tired at the end of my shifts, but I think I held it together alright!  I'm noticing that I am actually feeling better overall now that I'm in the 2nd trimester.  We've been very lucky in that the pregnancy has been pretty gentle so far.  I haven't had tons of nausea and morning sickness (just enough to make me better appreciate how lucky I normally am to not have chronic illness!) like a lot of other women have to struggle with.  And the morning sickness that I had been having ("morning"- what a cruel word to use when it actually stayed with me all day!) has actually tapered off.  The biggest thing that I'm having to deal with is fatigue.  I'm always tired, regardless of how much sleep I've gotten...

We wear mandatory scrubs at the hospital where I work, and a very sweet nurse gave me her set of maternity scrubs.  It's official- my belly's getting bigger!  Jason insists that my belly gets bigger by the day, but I find that it changes shape/girth more based off of when I last ate.  :)  

After my 1st day at the hospital wearing maternity scrubs!
(Vanity note: this is how haggard I look after a 12 hour shift)
17 weeks gestation

I'm finding that when you wear maternity clothes, people want to touch your belly more.  I originally thought that this would bother me (almost like an invasion of privacy), but now it's actually kind of sweet.  It feels like they are giving a little bit of love and a blessing to the babies!  And besides- I spend half of my time resting my hand on my tummy, so why shouldn't everybody else?  :)  

Jason and I are starting to the process of converting the office into a nursery.  So many decisions- to paint or not to paint?  Which cribs will fit?  How will we get rid of stuff that's no longer essential to this next step in our journey?  It feels like a little daunting of a task, but rest assured that my latent OCD has come out.  I made a VERY detailed poster outlining all of the areas in the house that Jason and I need to purge through and organize in order to properly prepare for the munchkins' arrival.  

Try to guess how excited Jason is about this project I've created.

For the nursery, we've decided to go with a simple forest theme.  Nothing too crazy- I'm not wanting forest animals on the walls and over-the-top decorations.  In such a small space, less is probably more!  And since Jason and I are planning on this being the only nursery we ever get to decorate, we've already got our ideas pretty set on how we'll be doing things in there.  In fact, we've already got the wall decor taken care of!  It's adorable to see how much Jason wants to weigh in on the style/look of the nursery.  I'm glad that my husband and I are tackling this as a team effort all the way...

Jason has a picture that he wanted to add to the blog... 

As Jason states, "Pregnancy tires her out.  The puppies have no excuse."

Monday, June 18, 2012

Big Day!

Another ultrasound this morning.  I've been lucky enough to get 4 ultrasounds in the last 4 weeks!  My partner in crime, Jen Cox, came with me today to the doctor's visit.  We had a blast and laughed/cried through the whole thing.  The babies are doing VERY well- they are growing just like they should be and their little hearts are beating just as fast as they should be... huge relief each time I hear them (Baby B was moving around so much that at first we had a hard time getting to hear his/her heartbeat!).  It seriously brings tears to my eyes when the ultrasound room fills with the sound of each munchkin's heartbeat in turn.  It's like they are saying "Hey Mama!  Over here!  Look at me!".  

Our ultrasound tech/nurse was named Athena, and she was on top of things.  Very skilled at what she was doing!  Dr. Gilbert came in towards the end of the ultrasound as well and took a look at my cervix- so far, so good.  I was worried that I might have overdone it a little on my workouts while I was in Minnesota (5 times during the week I was there!) and all of the walking/hiking over the weekend in San Francisco, which could have had a slight chance of affecting my cervix.  But since there was no real change at all in my cervical length, we're good to go!  I'm currently only allowed to do low-intensity workouts (e.g. walking, elliptical, swimming) and so I'm glad to see that I can continue doing those.  Dr. Gilbert was actually more surprised by the fact that I actually had any energy to work out at all!

I think the munchkins appreciate when I go swimming the most.  After all, they are swimming, so why shouldn't Mama?!?

Jason and I would love to share some of the latest pics of the munchkins with you.  Aren't they adorable??

Baby A
(head is at the top left, check out that spinal column!)

Baby B
(head at the middle right, showing us his/her back)

Baby C
(head right in the middle)

Even though everything is progressing just fine, I'll have another weekly ultrasound on June 26 just to check up on things.  I'm really loving these frequent ultrasounds- who wouldn't love getting to see their little peanuts growing & developing every week?

Dr. Gilbert also shared with us that the average stay in the hospital for triplets after delivery is approximately 2-4 weeks.  This was about what we were expecting to hear, so it wasn't too earth-shattering for us.  So our apologies to all if you are a potential babysitter/helper- you'll have to wait a while after they're born before you get to love on the babes at our house!  

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Back to California

I flew home from Minnesota late Wednesday night.  The flight went just fine, but I was a little bit of a mess personally.  This was basically my last trip home to see family that I'll get to do for a long time, and that was weighing heavily on my heart.  Who can fly with young triplets?  And I certainly don't want to leave them at home with Jason for that long of a period of time until they are much older.  I think I've taken it for granted how portable I could be over the last few years- basically flying to Minnesota every 3-5 months.  So I cried in the airport... a lot.  A stewardess took one look at me as I was boarding the plane and told me that I was to try to not go into labor while we were in the air.  That makes her sound insensitive, but she actually made me laugh a little and gave me a bunch of bottled waters (just what a pregnant lady needs- fluids to fill her bladder on a 4 hour flight).

After my educational class for work on Thursday, Jason picked me up and we drove straight to San Francisco for a little baby-moon!  We've actually had this trip planned for a while, and it was definitely needed after being away from each other for a week.  We checked into the hotel and then ended up walking over to Chinatown for dinner.  May I just say that hilly cities are not exactly a walking paradise for pregnant women!

We got up early Friday morning and spent the day at the U.S. OPEN golf tournament!!!  As you may be aware, Jason kind of likes golf a little bit.  It was the first professional golf tourney that either of us have ever been to, so we really enjoyed ourselves watching all of the best players in the world (Tiger Woods is tall, Bubba Watson is good-looking, Rory McIlroy is short) competing 20 feet from us.

Leading up to the tourney, Jason had been worried about all the walking we might be doing and how available seating would be for me.  I kept telling him that I'd be fine, but he insisted on bringing a little collapsible camping stool for me to sit on if the need arose.  Believe me- the need arose!  The golf course was insanely hilly terrain, and while we did pace ourselves, it was tough hiking at times.  But rest assured- I took a nap at the side of the 4th hole while we were waiting for Tiger Woods to arrive.  And Jason was very patient with my slower pace up the hills- at one point I made him run ahead so that he could see some guys tee'ing off.  "Don't worry honey.  I'll make it up there in my sweet little ol' time!"  After all, I have to confess that I didn't care as much about the players' scores as much as I did in critiquing their outfits.  Seriously- who thinks pink plaid pants are appropriate? :)

The U.S. Open will also go down in history as the location of my first weird food craving.  I was eating an apple, and all of a sudden all I wanted was to throw some ketchup on it.  People have been asking me throughout the pregnancy about my food cravings, and my answer has usually been whatever food is around.  I just want to eat everything in sight!  But for the most part, I've craved avocados, hard-boiled eggs, fresh melon, and the occasional hot dog.  Nothing too dramatic there.  But the ketchup desire that day was something else.  I'm telling you- if I hadn't been so tired and so far from the concessions at that point, I would have marched right over and dolloped the ketchup on.

The 1st picture of the three musketeers together
(hard to tell what body parts we're looking at though!)

I also used our pregnancy as an excuse that day trying to walk through a crowd.  It was a little bit of a tight fit, so I just lightly called out "pregnant lady coming through" and while the guys around me giggled a little, they also moved to let me through.  Gotta remember that trick!

On Saturday, we did some shopping in San Francisco before picking up a picnic lunch and heading to Golden Gate Park.  It was beautiful weather, so we had a wonderfully relaxing time there.  Once again, I took a little cat nap on the blanket in front of the Flower Conservatory before we walked around the park.  And when I woke up, I'm pretty sure I felt movement on the left side of my belly which might have been a munchkin moving!!!  In my research, I've learned that moms of multiples usually feel fetal movement much earlier than moms of singletons.  BUT I have anterior placentas (meaning they're located on the front of my belly) and this is my first pregnancy, which might make it harder to distinguish fetal movement.  It didn't feel like anything I've ever felt before, so I'm chalking it up to baby movement.  I told Jason right away and he got so excited!!  He put his hand on my belly like he expected to be able to feel it.  I felt bad that I mentioned it and got his hopes up, but Jason was still excited that I was feeling something.  Big beaming smile on his face that I captured in my mind as a personal snapshot... my husband is adorable.

All of the walking over the past few days gave Jason and I lots of time to talk about the babies.  I think we're officially past the shock phase and firmly entrenched in the "this is definitely our new reality so let's get to planning" phase.  We're also back to our normal way of operating by cracking a lot of jokes about it.  Laughter is good for growing babies, right?

My pregnancy is definitely showing now.  As Jason points out, I've moved out of the "she might be pregnant or she might just be a little tubby" and am definitely in the "oh yeah, she's pregnant" phase.  Some random guy came up to me in the park out of nowhere and asked, "Do you know what they are?"  We laughed and told him not yet.  I'm noticing now that strangers will look at my belly and usually get a little smile on their faces.  I like to think that Huey, Duey, and Louie are already bringing a little bit of joy in other peoples' lives...

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

So I've finally broken down and started maternity clothes shopping. It was inevitable that I was going to have to at some point, but I didn't realize that the moment would come so soon. I started being unable to suck my tummy in around week 10, and here I am on the precipice of week 16 (tomorrow!). I definitely have a nice little bump started, and it's only going to get bigger from here!

One of the things that I vowed I would not do is buy a maternity swimsuit. But after a few quick stops looking for bikinis that would be suitable for the inevitable whale shape that I will be embracing and coming up with nada, I headed on over to the mall's maternity shop. Imagine my surprise to find that I actually kind of liked the tent that they've fashioned out of swimsuit material for me! It's slightly loose right now in the belly area, but I'm sure the munchkins will fill it up quickly.

My mom and sister took me shopping for clothes a few days ago as well. It was fun to hang out with them and get their opinions on things. Laughable moment- at one point Mom made the comment that a particular shirt wasn't very figure-flattering. Um, sorry to disappoint you lady, but at some point figure-flattery is going to go by the wayside and trying not to get arrested for indecent exposure of my massive girth will be of greater importance. :)

All kidding aside, I am kind of enjoying the growth my body is going through. Seeing the tummy bump is like a little constant reminder that the three amigos are growing and developing. And I love rubbing my belly and walking around with my hands on the bump- almost like I'm giving my babies an early hug!

And this may seem weird, but I like to talk to my bump too. I imagine that the babes are learning their mama's voice. It may make things uncomfortable for the strangers around me seeing this lady leaning her head down and whispering to her belly, but I'm sure it won't be the only call to mental health services on my behalf for this pregnancy.

I just watched a video from National Geographic on Multiples in the Womb which I had borrowed from the library. If you get a chance to find a copy to watch, I'd recommend it. It has actual footage of multiple babies in the womb and explains a lot about what is going on in utero with multiples vs. single pregnancies. What was fascinating to me was that scientists have seen that multiples actually 'play games' and interact with each other in the womb. I get this mental image of my three babies playing patty cake with each other as they sit on my bladder, and it just makes me giggle.

What scientists have seen is that multiples will actually physically interact with each other in utero- touching, kicking in the confined space, etc. They've even been known to hold hands! The idea of my three amigos being rough with each other kind of makes me a little sick to my stomach, but I guess I'll just have to start telling them to be nice to each other when I'm whispering to the belly bump. Hopefully they're listening...

Monday, June 11, 2012

It's been awhile since I last posted, but things have been a little busy! Since our first perinatologist's appointment, it's been nonstop action. I worked my first stint of three days straight since getting the triplet news, and that actually went pretty well. I have the best coworkers and they really look out for me, making sure that I don't overdo it.

Because I am trying to be able to work as long as possible (if you had my job and loved your coworkers as much as I do, you'd want to too!), I am trying to pace myself during my shifts. I try to be more organized and efficient so that I can find more frequent short "rest periods" during the day. Spreading out some of my charting, spacing out my bed baths, etc. Plus my fellow nurses are constantly checking in to make sure that I'm taking breaks- I keep reminding them that I'm pregnant, not feeble! :)

I did fine during my shifts, but I was pretty darn tired afterwards! Most days that I work, it's pretty much a given that I'm going to crash about 90 minutes after I get home from work. Jason is so good about making dinner on the days that I work. He's also making sure that I put my feet up and rest too after changing out of my uniform. I feel so guilty sometimes that he's having to take on more responsibilities around the house, but he keeps reminding me that this is a team effort. My job is to "brew up some babies", and his job is to do what he can to help me do that. We've always tried to be very egalitarian in our relationship- sharing cooking/cleaning/laundry responsibilities, working together on house projects, planning out big decisions together. I guess it shouldn't be coming as a shock to me that Jason wants to tackle this pregnancy as a team effort as well. But I am pretty cognizant of the fact at few husbands would be as much of a team player as Jason's being.

After my three days as work, I had another routine ultrasound with Dr. Gilbert, our perinatologist. I'm trying to ration out Jason's time away from work, so my dear friend Laura came with me. Everything is checking out just fine so far. One of the big things that they are checking on with these ultrasounds is my cervix. In basic terms, they want it to be long and thick. If it is short and thin, I'm at a greater risk for preterm labor. Hence, the ultrasound cervical checks! If the ultrasounds do start to show that my cervix is thinning, then we'll start discussing the possibility of having a cerclage placed. A cerclage is just when the doctor places some stitches in the actual cervix to keep it closed (and prevent the babies from falling out!).

I don't know if the doctor is used to having other medical professionals as patients. I keep asking for specific numbers (and ranges) for things that he's seeing on the ultrasounds. For example, I had him better define at what cervical length that a cerclage becomes necessary. He seemed a little surprised that I was asking for that kind of detail, but that's just how I operate sometimes. I don't think my patient's doctors would appreciate me telling them that my patient's potassium levels were "just okay" or that they had just vomited up "some" stuff. I'm used to being specific in my line of work, and so I just want the same when I'm the patient. After all, Ive observed that my patients do much worse emotionally/mentally when they feel like things are vaguely told to them. Even if the news that they are getting is bad, the finite is almost always better than the vague... Hence all my drilling down with Dr. Gilbert to get the details. And he must have remembered that I appreciate that because on this last appointment, he put all his stuff down after the ultrasound and asked me what I needed to know. I really feel like my care is in some good hands!

My next ultrasound will be in one week (the day after Father's Day). As long as everything is okay at that appointment, I won't have another one for 2 whole weeks (July 1)!! But the exciting news is that that second ultrasound will be a doozy- the doctor will be doing extensive looks at each of the munchkins' anatomies... Which means that we might be finding out the GENDERS then!!!!! Keep your fingers crossed! Once we know gender, we can start to figure out names and all that other fun stuff. I really don't care either way, boys or girls, but I'm just praying for healthy peanuts. And if that doesn't happen, then I'll be praying for the resources and strength for Jason and I to be able to love and cherish whatever medical needs the babies will have...

Friday, June 1, 2012

The Perinatologist...

We had our 1st appointment with the perinatologist today.  I was super nervous going in- ask Jason how hard it was to get me to just focus on getting ready so we could leave the house!  I was very worried that the doctor would be telling me one or the other of the following...

-"I'm sorry to have to tell you that one of the babies is not viable" OR
-"What was Dr. Cueto thinking?  There's not three babies in there.  There's seven!"

Either of those options would have been devastating, but in much different ways.  Luckily enough, everything turned out just fine.  This appointment differed from our last one in two very big ways- I managed to not cry until we walked out of the doctor's office, AND they were tears of joy, not tears of shock and fear!

We arrived and had to sign a bunch of forms to start with.  May I just say that to anyone who worked on getting legislation enacting HIPAA privacy policies into place- you did a great job.  It's probably tougher to get into my health records than Fort Knox if you judge difficulty based solely on how many privacy forms I signed.

Then it was on to the ultrasound with Dr. Gilbert, our perinatologist.  Jason and I were able to see each of the babes in turn and find out how/where they are laying in relation to each other.  They are definitely all in their own sacs and looking good/healthy so far.  Dr. Gilbert referred to them as Baby A, Baby B, and Baby C.  Baby A and Baby B both appear to be at 14 weeks and 3 days along.  Baby C appears to be at 14 weeks and 1 day along.  That doesn't necessarily mean that Baby C is younger or implanted later than his/her siblings, just that he/she is just a teeny bit smaller than the other two (which is normal), but only by a very, very small little bit- nothing to worry about.  That was all good to hear because according to our records, I am 14 weeks pregnant so the babies are growing as they should be so far!

We also got to hear each of their heartbeats- so loud and strong!!!  It just really reassured us to hear them- I've been really praying for weeks for the opportunity to hear them.  I think my heart may have stopped a little bit listening to theirs.  It was just a little miracle to hear my little peanuts talking to us for the first time!

Jason and I went in with a long list of questions (three pages worth!) and got a lot of them answered.  First of all, the biggest piece of news is that we will be followed exclusively by Dr. Gilbert for the pregnancy.  As a result, no more Dr. Cueto, which is a little sad but we have to do what's best for the babies.  Second of all, we'll no longer be delivering at Sutter Roseville.  Instead, we'll be delivering at Sutter Memorial, which is actually a little closer to our house.  I'm a little bummed because it would have been a neat connection to deliver the munchkins at the same hospital that two of their cousins were born at, but it's a decision that's pretty much out of our hands.

And Sutter Memorial has one really big thing going for it- one of my best friends from nursing school actually works in the high risk maternity unit there and she could very well end up being my nurse!  We've joked around for years that she would deliver my child, and now it seems like that might not actually be too far out of the realm of possibilities.  :)

Dr. Gilbert gave me the go-ahead to fly to Minnesota next week, so I'm thrilled about that.  And as of right now, I get to keep working my 12 hour shifts at the hospital!  Dr. Gilbert was very pleased with how healthy our pregnancy is and how it is progressing so far, so there aren't too many changes to the plan yet.  I'll be seeing him almost weekly from here on out, so they weren't kidding when they said this would be a highly-monitored pregnancy.

The only really eye-opening bit of news deals with potential bed rest in the future.  Dr. Gilbert did tell us that on average, moms of multiples usually spend 2-3 weeks in the hospital pre-delivery.  Not exactly what we wanted to hear, but I guess this goes along with our new reality.  Jason was probably a little more shocked than me to hear that as he figured that bed rest would only mean me being at home and not working.  None of this is a given or "for sure" by any means, but it does serve to help us better plan for the possibility and discuss how we'll handle it if it becomes a definite (Jason has already been put on alert that he'll have to go to the library a lot for me!).

All in all, a reassuring visit overall!  I'll post the pictures from today once Jason brings them home from work- he wanted to brag a little bit today...