Monday, July 30, 2012

22 weeks!

And this is what a triplets mama belly looks like at only 22 weeks.  Yikes.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


A busy day ahead of me here!  My sister, Adina, and four of her high school friends are flying into town for a few days for wine tasting and fun.  Adina's friends are great- they've all been buddies for decades so it kind of feels like I have 5 sisters flying here.

The star of the show, however, will be my nephew Quinn!  He's coming with too and since I can't really partake in the actual wine-tasting, I plan to be on full Quinnie detail.  Jason was teasing me this morning and asking if I was more excited to see Quinn or my sister.  As I remarked to Adina on the phone just a few minutes ago, I've been seeing her for 32 years- it's Quinn's turn to get all my attention!  She took that news rather well...  :)

Meet Quinlan!  Born May 25th...

But I do have a plan for participating in the wine tasting.  I'm bringing my 'kid wine', aka Martinelli's Sparking Apple Cider, in a few different flavors.  While the other ladies are comparing Cabernets and Pinots, I'll be comparing Apple-Peach versus Apple-Grape juice (I wonder if the people pouring at the wineries know what they're in for).

While people around me (except the medical professionals of course!) have been saying that a sip or two of alcohol isn't going to hurt the babies, I haven't felt comfortable taking the risk.  There's no safely established amount of alcohol that a pregnant women can ingest, so out of love and concern for the munchkins, I'm staying away from it.  After all, there are so many other risks and challenges with this pregnancy that we have no control over- why add more into the mix?  Instead, what I do is a little unorthodox- I just take a quick sniff of whatever Jason's drinking.  Human's sense of taste is actually something like 80% smell anyway, so laugh if you want but it's been working for me.

The babies are continuing to move around like crazy.  I'm starting to be able to pinpoint exact spots that they're kicking/punching and can tell at times when they're making big position changes.  They seem to be most active in the 30-90 minutes after I eat something.  I love feeling their little taps and dancing.  It's like they have this special little language right now that really only I get to be privy to.  Soon enough, others should be able to start feeling their movements when touching my belly.  Part of what's keeping that from happening right now is that all of my placentas are attached on the front of my belly, so the kicks will have to be strong enough to be felt through them too.  Soon!

Two car seats ready to go, one still on its way!
We're pretty confident that we'll be able to fit the entire 
brood in the back seat, which means my original plan
of duct-taping one to the roof of the car won't need
to be implemented...

Yesterday, one of them decided it was a good idea to move up into the upper right section of my belly.  This was significant for me for a few reasons:

1.  No one's really ventured up there yet.  Uncharted territory!
2.  I could feel a firm large mass there- definitely a baby's body.
3.  Most importantly, it made me breathe a little bit differently than normal.  It wasn't hard to breathe, but it was definitely a different sensation.

Last Saturday, one of them got in a really well-placed kick to my diaphragm, which was a bit of a shock.  Luckily I was sitting in the car at the time, so I was able to grab on to something and "brace" myself.  I think I was mid-breath, so it threw me for a little loop.  Jason and I were able to laugh about it, and I don't think I'll be as shocked next time it happens.  

I'm not going to lie- sometimes the munchkins' movements are a tad bit uncomfortable for me.  They don't hurt (yet!) at all, but it makes certain positions a little more challenging than others.  Usually I can just roll to my other side, sit/stand a little differently, or have Jason gently rub my belly.  I envision that this is going to become a bigger challenge as the pregnancy progresses and the peanuts get bigger.  Luckily I have an ultrasound today (for those of you keeping track, I got a week off from the doctor visits last week because everything has been going so well!), so I can chat with the doctor about how to best handle this.

Camping went very well last weekend.  People were a little shocked that I was able to even go camping, but I keep reminding them that I'm pregnant- not feeble!  The only real challenge for me was the bathroom situation at night.  Most pregnant women get a little bit of a break from the urinary frequency during their second trimester, but not me.  I've got the equivalent of three summer squash sitting on my bladder, so no luck there.  It's not very convenient to get out of the tent every 2-3 hours in the wee hours of the night when it's 40-50 degrees out and trot to the bathroom, but I got it done.
We're camping!!!

Laughing around the campfire.  I look like a big grape in
the only sweatshirt that I currently fit into.  Every other one
makes me look like I'm wearing a sausage casing  :)

The whole camping gang (minus a few people) on the last day

Jason and I had a lot of fun hanging out with friends and were surprised that one of his buddies is actually a labor/delivery nurse at the hospital where we'll be delivering!  I took to liking her instantly (even before I knew about the nursing part), so that's another exciting thing to keep in our back pocket.  It is very reassuring to be going into this knowing that we will be surrounded by competent, caring people that we trust.
Belly bump pic taken almost 2 weeks ago

And I guess it's another sign that this pregnancy is being taken care of by something greater than us.  We keep randomly running into people that are wanting and willing to help.  People have been so very generous in donating things like gently used but absolutely safe car seats (thank you Helena and Lara!) and portable cribs (thank you Tessa!!).  I've got a coworker that's starting to funnel diaper coupons my way and neighbors checking in on us.  Anytime I get panicky or scared about what's going to happen once the peanuts arrive, I just have to keep repeating what's become my personal mantra:

"This was not your original plan, but this was God's plan.  And part of God's plan is to provide for these little peanuts."

Repeating this to myself really helps me to be able to take some deep breaths and calm down, because I am definitely seeing this being played out as the weeks progress.  Of course, sometimes the mantra takes on a little bit more of a neurotic bent (forgive me- I've got lots of hormones) and becomes more of a command like "and God BETTER darn help us take care of these kids", but I do try to keep that kind of thinking to a minimum!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Going camping!

We're taking the peanuts on their first ever camping trip!  We're meeting a bunch of our friends (Jason's known them for decades) for a weekend of coastal camping.  Granted, the munchkins won't be able to really experience the joy of it, other than potentially feeling like their mama is more at peace for a few days.  I grew up camping with my family and spent many summers at a wilderness camp in Northern Minnesota during my college years.  I LOVE CAMPING!!

And I think Jason is coming around to it too.  He did some camping growing up, but I'm not sure it was to the extent that I did.  And I can vouch for the fact that he is not the one in our relationship to suggest a camping outing.  But he is always supportive of whenever I want to take him camping!  When we first started dating, he warned me that he wasn't really that much of an outdoorsman.  But if you could see Jason around a campsite and watch him cooking over an open flame, you might just have to disagree with him.  I have to give him some major credit in this regard- he is a better camp cook than I am!

Jason got all of our camping gear down from the garage last night and dutifully did all the grocery shopping for the trip while I was at work yesterday.  I just finished loading up the car with our gear (minus the coolers of food- those are too heavy for me right now!) while he's sleeping in.  Can you tell I'm excited?!?  The babies have been moving around like crazy the last 24 hours.  I think they are feeding off of my excitement!

I have to admit that this was the first camping trip where Jason expressed some real hesitation in going.  He's a little worried that we'll be three hours away from our doctor and didn't know if that would be okay.  It is very sweet to see how protective of the munchkins and me that Jason can be.  I reassured him that it would be okay.  :)

Over the last few Christmases, Jason's been steadily replacing some of my "single-person camping gear" with "family camping gear".  This was never more evident than last Christmas when he got us a 6-person tent to replace my little 2-3-person hiking tent.  I was chuckling this morning as I loaded it into the car because I'm thinking back to last winter when I set up the new tent in our living room to see just how big it is.

You could literally fit a small army in it.

I had sent a text message that day to Jason asking him just how big he was planning on our family getting (this was before we had started trying to get pregnant).  So now we can establish blame for whose fault it is that we're having triplets- obviously Jason's.  If he hadn't gotten us such a big tent, we might only have one little munchkin right now.  And just think how much we would be missing out on if I'd made him exchange that tent...  :)

So bon voyage to us and our big tent.

Here's a picture that I took of the tent set up in our living room last winter.
It's ridiculous how large it is.  I mean- it's literally got separate rooms in it.
Someday Jason and I'll sleep on one side and the boys will sleep on the other!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Busy weeks!

Lots to update everyone on!  Between family being in town, my email being hacked into, and our internet going down, I've had some challenges in being able to sit down with the blog!

Jason's mom, Susan, and her husband, Jim, were in town visiting for nine days. If I wasn't at work, we were hanging out with them.  It was helpful to have them help us start the process of sorting through donated baby clothes (huge thanks to my sister-in-law Lara and friend Stephanie for sharing these adorable things with us!!). Jim was a big help in moving office furniture out of the nursery. I never realized before how much work it is to prepare for a baby! It would probably help if I wasn't working full time still and so exhausted all the time, but at least we're making progress!

Here's the belly so far- 20 weeks!

Susan was my date for last week's ultrasound and we had a good time as always.  The babies are still growing like weeds, so that was good to see.  Plus they were waving at us!  Heartbeats are good, amniotic fluid amounts are great, and the peanuts are moving their little arms and legs all over.  We met a third doctor in my perinatology group-  Dr. Veille.  He's a lovely French gentleman and I instantly adored him.  He was very positive and very affirming about how our pregnancy is progressing so far.

A shot of all three munchkins in the same frame!  From left to right, 
those "ball shapes" are a belly, another belly, and a head!

He was a little shocked to hear that I'm still working my full time 12 hour shifts at the hospital, but was glad to hear that I'm wearing my compression stockings (to prevent fluids from building up in my legs), an abdominal binder (to help support the weight of my belly while I'm on my feet all day), and taking my full complement of dietary supplements.  I reassured him that my coworkers are making sure that I am taking frequent breaks during my shifts as well!  Of course, after taking a look at my cervix during the ultrasound, he declared that I have "a titanium cervix".  Both Susan and I got a good laugh out of that.  And I also said a little prayer of thanks- he meant that my cervix is staying good and closed so that the babies are staying safe in my tummy and not falling out!

Baby A and Baby B seem to like to hang out together a lot on the
right side of my tummy, which helps to explain why the
shape of my tummy is actually a little lopsided!

Dr. Veille also shared the results of my glucose tolerance test.  The great news is that I don't currently have gestational diabetes!!!  I was relieved to hear that as it would have meant even more risk for the babies and this pregnancy.  Since I am carrying triplets and have three placentas, however, I will need to repeat the glucose tolerance test when I hit the 28-week mark.  My risk for developing gestational diabetes will continue to be high because of the multiple placentas, so I'll continue to make as healthy of food choices as I can.  While I would prefer to eat cookie dough ice cream all day, I guess I'll sacrifice for the sake of the munchkins and snack on veggies instead!

Sweet baby!

Sweet Dr. Veille did start me on an iron supplement as a precautionary measure as well.  Many pregnant women have to deal with anemia.  I am not currently showing any signs of anemia, nor did my lab work show it either.  But it never hurts to be cautious and proactive.  So I am now a regular pill popper.  I sit down at some point during the day and take my 8-10 pills!

Lots of supplements to take to grow our healthy babies!

We've been putting a lot of effort lately into getting the nursery ready for the munchkins.  I'll be ordering three cribs in the next week or so now that we've gotten the room cleared out of everything else.  This is a huge milestone for us- I was starting to get super anxious last week looking at the nursery (aka "old office with lots of the office crap still in it") and all of the half-finished/half-started projects in the house.  All I could see was messes and work that needed to be done and it was sending me over the emotional edge.

It may not seem like much to you, but it took hours to get the clothes
sorted into their respective sizes.  My mom will get the lovely
task of washing them all when she's here in August!

So I did what any logical/hormonal girl would do-- I called one of my most organized, Type A buddies to come over and help me dig my way out of the madness.  She must have sensed the panic in my voice and was at the house in a blink.  Brandi was an absolute blessing for me that day.  We got all of the donated baby clothes and goodies sorted and organized into bins by size.  Brandi organized all of the stuff from my desk and helped get the last things emptied out of the office, now to be known officially as the nursery!  AND she even decided that I had worked hard enough to merit a Dairy Queen blizzard...
Brandi at work sorting and organizing baby clothes- it's amazing to
think that we'll soon have 3 little peanuts to put into all those outfits!

I went to bed that night thoroughly exhausted, but I felt more at peace than I've felt in a couple of weeks.  There's still so much to be done to prepare for these munchkins.  I've started selecting our baby registries, which I've found to not be quite as much fun as I'd hoped.  Apparently I thought it would be as much fun as a weeklong trip to Disneyland with Jason, but it's more like the equivalent of a fun weekend in town with Jason.  :)

I keep looking at the thousands of choices and worry that I'm not picking the right things for our peanuts.  I worry that I'll somehow make the wrong choice and it will result in my babes not being adequately cared for or provided for.  I think I'm being a little overdramatic with a splash of neurosis thrown in for good measure.  I'm going to chalk a lot of this up to hormones- raging, unexplainable, irritating hormones.

But I guess this is also a glimpse into what it's like to be a parent.  You worry about the choices that you make for your children and the impact that they will have.  Right now, it's relatively simple choices like what kind of sheets to use in their cribs and which brand of butt cream we'll put on their sensitive skin.  But someday it will be far more important, potentially life-changing things such as which elementary school to send them to and how we will pass on our values and manners to them.  I better start getting more comfortable making these simple decisions so that I'm ready for the big ones...

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Babies are moving!

I went this morning and had my glucose tolerance test done at the lab.  This test is done to see if I am developing gestational diabetes.  Apparently the urine sample that I provided on Monday before the ultrasound showed that I had some glucose in my urine- perhaps I shouldn't have had all that licorice the night before and that big bowl of Fruit Loops for breakfast that morning??  :)  I would have had to have this test within the next week or two regardless of my urine sample, but it just made it that much more important to get it done.

Anyway, because of my weight and the fact that I am carrying triplets, I am at an increased risk for developing gestational diabetes.  Not a huge deal, although if I am, it will require changes on my part.  After talking with Dr. Gilbert on Monday, treatment could require dietary changes, oral pills, or possibly insulin shots.  It would also include poking my finger with a needle four times a day to check my blood sugar levels.  Perhaps this seems like a big deal to some, but in the grand scheme of things, I am up for the challenge.  I'm refusing to get worked up about it or worry too much-  anything that I can do to grow healthy babies doesn't seem like a hardship to me!

I don't want to downplay the seriousness of the situation, but I'm also not going to make a mountain out of a molehill unless I need to.  I take care of diabetics all the time at work, so it will provide me with the opportunity to have a little more empathy for their plight.  And if the medical professionals tell me I need to do something for the babies, I plan to follow their instructions to a "t" and limit my complaining!

The test itself was pretty easy.  I had to fast for 8-10 hours and then went to the lab.  My dear friend Janelle came with to keep me company.  They drew blood right away, and then I had to swallow a big glass of this super sweet liquid (not too disgusting, but definitely not what I would want to have stocked in my fridge!).  Then comes the waiting part.  They drew my blood again one hour later and then once again an hour after that.  All in all, three blood draws.  The lab technician was great and commented on my nice veins (thanks- I've worked really hard on them...).

Janelle kept me occupied with stories about her experiences as a NICU nurse (NICU= neonatal intensive care unit) and I regaled her with stories about my overweight incontinent patients.  All in all, we had a pleasant time and laughed a lot.  I really appreciate Janelle's insight into working with preemie babies as that's inevitably what our munchkins will be.  She's very patient with all of my dumb questions, and her sharing of her knowledge & expertise serves to keep me calmer about what we might be facing down the road.  Plus I've asked her to start compiling a list for me of do's and don'ts for parents who have babies in the NICU.  When it comes time for our little peanuts to be in the NICU, I don't want to be the annoying momma who upsets the nurses (I've heard the saying before that doctors and nurses make the worst patients and I don't want to be the one that makes it true!).

We should be finding out my test results within the next week, so I'll keep you posted.

On a much more fun note, I have been feeling the babies moving around A BUNCH over the last few days!  On the days that I work, I don't feel as much yet (probably because all of my moving around helps put them to sleep).  But on my days off, they are starting to really make their presence known.  I still can't tell who's doing what down there, but I can tell you which side of my tummy the action's on.  It makes me giggle whenever I feel their movements because it is just so stinking cute.

I can't wait for their movements to be strong enough for Jason to feel.  I kind of feel a little selfish that I'm getting all the baby action right now!  He's so excited to get to feel them, but in the meantime, Jason  spends a lot of time rubbing my belly and talking to the peanuts.  Mostly about how they better be behaving, how they're going to have to get a job, etc.  It just cracks me up!  And nothing sounds sweeter than hearing Jason refer to them as "his boys" or "his sons".  I am so excited for when we have the babes at home with us and I get to observe my amazing husband interacting with his boys- he's going to be such a good daddy!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

The awesome Level II ultrasound

Jason and I went to our Level II ultrasound together on Monday.  It was AMAZING!!  

Jason excitedly waiting for our name to be called at the doctor's office  :)
(in his defense, it was a very early appointment after a busy weekend)

A Level II ultrasound, compared with the standard ultrasounds that I've been having, is a far more extensive one.  They measure everything that could possibly be measured on a baby, and when I say everything, I do seriously mean everything!  Athena (I'm really going to have to give that lady a huge present!) kept pointing out exactly what she was seeing and looking at for us.  "Here's where the umbilical cord inserts.  The red and blue show the blood flow through the cord.  Here's a femur.  Those are his kidneys.  Here's the amniotic fluid.  We're now looking at his arm."  

It's a leg!

Is it appropriate that I just want to hug and kiss that woman?  While J and I were in the waiting room, Athena came and called another couple back before us and I found myself getting upset that she wouldn't be doing my ultrasound.  I may have even mumbled something to Jason along the lines of "If Athena's not doing my ultrasound, I'm out of here".  In reflection, I may have been a little hormonal.  And a little worried.  AND a little overly attached to this woman who was the first person in the world to know that we're having three boys.

A hand with five fingers.  Good thing that's not his middle finger up!

We got to see internal organs, the four chambers of their hearts, feet, fingers... it's absolutely breathtaking to realize these little munchkins are actually growing and developing in my tummy like they are supposed to be!  And it was especially fun to see them moving their little arms and legs around like crazy.  I am definitely feeling movement now, but nothing akin to what I was seeing on the screen. The peanuts are transitioning from these little aliens in my belly to actual little boys growing in my womb.

Baby A's body on the left, head on the right, and flexed arm

Dr. Gilbert came in during the ultrasound and asked a bunch of questions about my health history and so on as I am a "new OB".  All of this was done at our previous OB's office by Dr. Cueto, and they did send over all of my medical records, but it had to be repeated again.  I'm really liking Dr. Gilbert's style.  He's pretty laid back and seems to be very nonchalant in his mannerisms- on meeting him for the first time, you probably wouldn't consider him to be a Type A person.  But once you ask him a serious question or the situation seems to call for it, he shifts into his serious mode and is all business.  This is exactly what I need- let's keep it light and funny until we shouldn't anymore.  

If you look hard, you can see Baby C's flexed legs in the very bottom right of the pic!

The results from the Level II ultrasound showed that everything is going well and the babes are growing just like they should be!  They all weigh somewhere between 7-9 ounces, which is exactly what a single pregnancy baby would weigh at this gestational point (18 1/2 weeks).  Baby A is a few ounces smaller than B and C, but we were reassured that it is absolutely normal in a multiple pregnancy to have some difference in sizes.  

1st baby clothes hanging in the nursery closet!
(Thank you Uncle Larry and Aunt Sue!)

It seems almost ridiculous that this pregnancy has gone this smoothly thus far, and for that we are so eternally grateful.  Almost 19 weeks along and Jason and I are blessed to have three little dudes being held in by my steel trap of a cervix.  Just thinking about how lucky we are is bringing tears to my eyes as I type this.  And I think that exact thought, though, is probably one of my biggest emotional challenges right now.

I consider myself to be a pretty ordinary girl.  I'm not exactly bringing about world peace or making bajillions of dollars or curing cancer.  And yet, these amazing things keep happening to me.  I'm married to my best friend who also happens to be the most intensely beautiful person I've ever met.  I have a dream job that I could never have known would be so awesome and fulfilling.  I have a wonderfully kooky family that has put up with me for decades and still claims me as theirs.  I have a roof over my head, food in my belly, and still possess a relatively intact sense of humor.

Any one of those things would be enough to make a person fall to their knees with gratitude.  But now this- triplets?  Three little beautiful baby boys are going to be calling me Momma someday?  And legally, no one can stop them?  This can't be happening to me.  Absolutely ridiculous.  I feel like I already have more than my fair share of blessings...

Don't get me wrong- I'm not going to turn them down!  Good luck trying to pry them away from me, and I do intend to spend the rest of my life earning the right to each of them.  But when discussing this prenatal journey with others, I have such a hard time feeling comfortable letting my true excitement show.  (And let's be honest with each other here- sometimes it is just not appropriate to sing boisterously and dance on tables, especially when your belly is so large you can't see your feet half of the time).   I almost feel like if I let others know how amazing this feels and how happy I am and how much my life is growing for the better, they'll think I'm bragging.  I feel the urge to downplay the awesomeness of it all and utilize my self-denigrating humor to temper my excitement so others don't get mad at me.  

I'm not quite sure how to solve this mental/emotional/neurotic dilemma, other than to just keep thanking God in prayer and keep smiling.  And keep saving the urges for Irish jig dancing for times when my only audience consists of the puppies at home...