Friday, September 28, 2012

"Non-" stress test?

HAPPY 31 WEEKS to everyone!!!!!!

Another busy few days for us!  I went to see my coworkers on Tuesday for a little bit- I miss them so much.  It was great to chat and joke around with them.  I got caught up on events happening on the floor, and even though I halfheartedly offered to hold peoples' pagers for them so they could have a break, no one actually took me up on my offer...  :)

Afterwards, I went on a little trip to the Costco to pick up some things for the house.  It never ceases to amaze me at how oblivious some people can be when there are free samples in their vicinity.  Totally blocking aisles with their carts, refusing to move out of the way when I try to ask them politely, etc.  At one point, I was forced to bring out the "pregnant lady coming through!"

Yep, my maternity swimsuit is pretty
much stretched to the max...

But I have found that most people are at the opposite end of the spectrum.  They offer to help me lift things, open doors, and other helpful things like that.  On Tuesday, there was a very elderly gentleman in the Costco checkout lane that started emptying my cart contents onto the belt because, as he told me, he "didn't want me stretching any more than I had to."  Now forget the fact that given his age and infirmity, I should have probably been helping him with his own cart!  Once they see my tummy, most people go out of their way to be gracious and considerate.  Sometimes I just want to show people that I can open my own door, but I remind myself that they aren't doing this for me- they're doing it for the babes- and that makes it much easier for me to accept their help.

Jason hung the birch trees on the wall-
our nursery's forest theme is really
starting to come together!

On Wednesday, it was all about getting things accomplished at home.  I completed a ton of organizational paperwork in anticipation of our eventual munchkin delivery.  I'm not going to lie- I'm a bit of a nerd at times when it comes to organizing things.  I even typed up a list of my current medications along with space to write when I last took the meds prior to hospitalization (one of my pet peeves when I admit patients myself at the hospital- it's so hard for them to remember this info!).  Janelle was over at the house, and she declared me to be a little bit of an overachiever with that move.  Is it so wrong that I want to make things easier on my nurses?  :)

Closet curtains hung!

A little bit of a sobering note- I finally completed my advanced directive forms Wednesday.  For those of you unfamiliar with this document, it's a form that EVERYONE should take the time to complete (you can find the forms for free online!).  An advanced directive basically lets your doctor, family and friends know your health care preferences that you want, or don't want, at the end of your life.  I've been meaning to do this since my first semester of nursing school and always put it off.  The form itself actually took a very short amount of time to complete, but I feel so much more comfortable heading into a surgical delivery now.  Granted, women have C-sections all the time with few complications.  And most likely the biggest complication I'll have to deal with is a severely stretched out tummy after our munchkins vacate the premises.  But having worked in healthcare (and being a new mommy), it would be so irresponsible of me to go into this surgery without having accounted for any potential drama and complications.

Janelle and I went through our latest shipment
of newborn clothes courtesy of my mom's book
club friends.  They are so sweet!  (both
the clothes and the book club ladies!!)
Absolutely love them-

Janelle and I hung curtains in the nursery, did some more laundry for the babes, stocked the drawers with more newborn clothes... it's becoming a real nursery!!  We also packed my bag for the hospital, and because you can't be too prepared, we even stocked the newly arrived diaper bag with essentials too.  I'm waiting to see what size the peanuts are when they pop out before I throw diapers and outfits in there though...

Hospital bag packed and ready to go...

I found out Wednesday that the doctors want me to start doing twice weekly "non-stress tests".  Dr. Gilbert had originally mentioned that I'd start them doing week 32, but Dr. McElvey decided to have me start them during week 31.  No big deal- bring on the tests!  During a non-stress test, I get hooked up to monitors that can track each babe's heartbeat.  During the 30ish minutes of the test, their heartbeats are monitored to see if they accelerate after fetal movement.  If they do that at least twice for a certain length of time during the test, they pass.

A proper indication of how big my belly is now-
Jason has to tie my shoes for me.  I can't reach
too well!

I was a little nervous going into the test because it was a new experience for me.  It took the nurses a while to be able to get each of the babes on the monitors-- and it actually took three of us to hold down the devices on my belly (and track the babies) because the babies were moving around so much!  All three of the babies passed with flying colors.  In fact, Baby A (the one whose lower weight gain is most concerning to the doctors) was actually the most active and passed the test before his brothers.  He was a little motor boat throughout the entire test!  But the important thing is that all three of them did really well and passed.  I'm so proud of our little munchkins- they're little superstars and they haven't even been born yet!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Baby shower

Just over a week ago, Jason's coworkers threw a baby shower in our honor.  It was so incredibly sweet of them to do so, and it was a fun time had by all (I didn't know before that you could fit almost 200 jelly beans in an 8 oz baby bottle!).  What made me the happiest about that day, however, was seeing how supportive Jason's coworkers are of him.  Since we announced our pregnancy to the world at large, I have personally been surrounded by coworkers that have been nothing short of amazing in supporting me.

But I think (luckily so!) that is perhaps a more natural extension of the caliber of coworkers I am blessed with and the nature of my profession.  Nurses by their very calling are caretakers of others, and my coworkers have continued to exemplify that in their actions (seriously- how blessed am I to get to work with my idea of what dream coworkers should be at the tender age of 32?).  The next statement may be naive or shortsighted of me, but I wouldn't necessarily expect a host of accountants and commercial real estate developers to conduct themselves in the same way.

Jason's coworkers did a little
creative decorating for the shower

So it made my heart smile to watch Jason's coworkers that day and observe the way that they have pulled together to follow our story and take care of Jason.  If I'm remembering correctly, Jason has worked for that company for around 12 years, and they have really grown to be another family for him.    My coworkers have become a sort of newish California family for me, and I'm so grateful that my beautiful husband has the same...

A close up of their version of our "future baby"

Jason and I did some shopping this past weekend for the babies, running to a few stores to pick up some needed things for the nursery.  I have some curtains to hang once they arrive from Minnesota.  My mother, who is quite talented at sewing, has been working on them for the munchkins' room.  It almost wouldn't seem right to call it a nursery without some of her sewing handiwork in there!  After that, Mom will be making bedskirts for all three cribs as well.  I don't think that many new mommas can brag about having their own personal sewing craftswoman on retainer!  After that, I want to switch out the framed picture that I currently have hanging in there (a large poster print of one of my favorite places in the Boundary Waters- although I love the print, I think the room needs something different).

The latest version of the sign hanging
outside of Jason's office- they just keep
adding to it!

I've been slowly going through the nursery and prepping smaller things for the babies' arrival...
-setting out possible "coming home" outfits for the munchkins
-washing/folding blankets and swaddlers
-putting garbage bags in the diaper caddy
-making up the cribs with sheets so they are ready for sleeping babies!
-prepping new bottles for the dishwasher so they are ready when the babes come home
-gathering together the supplies we'll use to give the munchkins their baths

It still continues to fascinate me that preparing for their arrival takes so much work.  Each time I go into the nursery, I just sit in the rocker and look around the room for possible things that I can prepare now versus waiting until later.  Yesterday, I even practiced putting one of the stuffed animals into a swaddler garment- just to make sure that I remembered how to do it correctly!  It was a little bit of a surreal moment for me.  I felt as if I was playing with my dolly like I did when I was a child (pretty accurate assessment actually!), but it made me so excited to think that soon I'll get to do that with my own three sons.

The babes have continued to be very, very active.  You can literally sit across the room from me and see my belly move!  I love watching their little feet and arms trace across my tummy.  They are all getting strong enough that sometimes their movements actually hurt a little.  And when two or more of them decide to do some big body movements at the same time, I almost can't move my own body because it can be that uncomfortable.  But I don't usually mind too much- I keep thinking about how lucky we are to have three babies in my tummy that are big enough and strong enough to do that to me!  Keep marinating in there, my munchkins...

Friday, September 21, 2012

Yesterday's ultrasound

We had our 30 week growth ultrasound yesterday!  So here's the update...

Momma's doing pretty well.  They didn't check my blood pressure, but I have had absolutely no signs or symptoms of high blood pressure and my daily urine dipstick is not showing anything alarming, so everything seems okay on that front.  And my cervix has not changed at all over the last week- hooray!

I've gained another couple of pounds over the last week (with no increase in ankle swelling!), so that is awesome.  Who knew that I'd be rejoicing over my own weight gain?  The morning after we found out we were carrying triplets, I read that the average weight gain for  a triplet mommy is 50-70 pounds, which had originally led me to bawl like a baby thinking of the toll that would take on my body to gain that much (I've always joked with Jason that we might need to widen the doorways if I ever got pregnant, and that much of a weight gain made it seem like that would be a significant possibility!).  

For those keeping track, I've officially gained 55 pounds so far, and I am still trying to gain a lot more.  The dietician that works with the Mommies of Multiples program has told us that with higher order multiples, increased maternal weight gain is associated with a DECREASED risk of premature labor.  So bring on the food, and bring on the weight gain!  This usually means that I start my day with a lovely breakfast around... 3:30 am.  I'm basically like a hobbit- first breakfast, second breakfast, midmorning snack, first lunch, etc...

The babies seem to be doing pretty well too, so keep those prayers coming.  All of their heartbeats are right where they should be and it still thrills me to hear them on the monitors.  Our boys are so strong!!  I seriously think my heart skips a beat when I get to hear theirs.  

They are all sitting in ample amounts of amniotic fluid, which is amazing as well.  The amount is very, very slowly going down (totally to be expected with any pregnancy) due to a couple of factors.  First of all, the little peanuts actually swallow amniotic fluid while they are in the womb, which helps them develop their lungs and digestive systems.  Second of all, as the triplets themselves grow, there is just less physical room for amniotic fluid.  

Each of the babes was measured in multiple ways (head circumference, femur length, etc.) which is how they determine an estimated baby weight.  Baby A, the one positioned lowest in my pelvis, is weighing in at 2 pounds 12 ounces, which puts him at the 7th percentile on the growth chart.  The doctors have been concerned about his low weight for weeks now, BUT they keep reminding me of a few things.  Firstly, it's actually quite common for either the baby lowest in the pelvis or highest in the uterus to gain weight the slowest.  Secondly, he IS gaining weight.  Since the last time he was measured, he increased his weight by almost 50%!  Way to go peanut!  

They also checked the blood flow through his umbilical cord to make sure that there weren't any problems with cord insufficiency or blood flow to account for his slower weight gain.  We were so grateful to learn that there is nothing wrong in that area.  Basically, our little peanut just has the misfortune of being on the bottom and having two little piglets sitting on his head.  :)  He still has his head resting on my cervix, which makes me think of him as the "gatekeeper".  Whereas his brothers might think, "Hey, let's get out of here and see what's out there", he's just patiently protecting their exit point!  :)

Baby B continues to hang out in the middle of my uterus and is weighing in at 3 pounds 14 ounces, which puts him at the 87th percentile on the growth chart.  He's my little performer, always putting on a good show for us during the ultrasounds.

Baby C is at the top of the uterus and is topping the charts at 4 pounds 5 ounces.  He's comfortably sitting at the 98th percentile on the growth chart.  Apparently I'm growing some really big, healthy babies!!

All three of the babies were moving around and kicking during the ultrasound, which made capturing some of their measurements a little more challenging than normal for Athena, the ultrasound queen (I love her.  I seriously love her).  I didn't have the courage to tell her that it may have been my fault that they were moving so much- I'd decided to treat myself to a decaf caramel frappachino from Starbucks about 30 minutes before the ultrasound.  The babes were on a sugar high!

While we (Janelle came with me- she's been so amazingly supportive!) waited for the doctor to come in and talk with us about Baby A's weight gain and any changes to the plan of care, I was a hot mess.  I was so worried about Baby A and whether or not his weight gain was enough to justify them letting me continue the pregnancy (versus inducing labor).  They should have checked my blood pressure then- I'm sure it would have been off the charts!  Janelle was so patient with me as I was trying not to freak out (too much)- a nice hand massage came in quite "handy".  Because Jason wasn't there, I was so scared that I'd have to call him and tell him to hightail it over to the hospital...

Dr. McElvey (one of four doctors in the office- I've been seen by all four at one point or another) came in and while matter of fact with me, she was actually pretty positive as well.  Yes, Baby A's slower weight gain is nothing to be ignored, but it doesn't warrant any additional interventions at this point (thank you, thank you, thank you).  And she felt that the next scheduled ultrasound, which is in two weeks, was just fine.  We talked about bedrest and if I need to add in any additional restrictions, but Dr. McElvey thought that my self-imposed bedrest and activity restrictions were just fine!  

So we've officially hit the 30 week mark (Happy 30 Weeks everybody!), and things are just cruising along pretty nicely.  Even though I've shed more than a few tears of worry for Baby A over the last 24 hours, I'm feeling so blessed that things are going as well as they are.  All things considered, we are just so lucky that they boys are doing as well as they are and that my body is tolerating everything as well as it is.  I will continue to deal with all of the not-so-pleasant physical issues associated with the pregnancy (and celebrate them too!) if it means that it will give the munchkins more time to marinate in my tummy.  Everyday that they spend in there is a gift.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Being goofy

So many people have been telling me that I don't look pregnant from behind, which I find pretty hard to believe.  I guess I could kind of see what they're talking about after looking at my silhouette this evening.  I'm the one on the right...

I think I just look like I've got some hips on me
in this picture when I face the camera.  Not too
pregnant- just "hippy"

But when I turn to the side... it's a different story.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Wonderful wedding

On Saturday, Jason and I travelled into the Bay Area for the wedding of one of my dear nursing friends, Ashley.  Jason was pretty worried at first about being two hours away from our doctor, but I got the okay from Dr. Gilbert to make the trip.

Cue me needing to go shopping for an outfit!  I went to the mall expecting to have some difficulties finding something to fit the belly, and I wasn't disappointed.  First stop was to Motherhood Maternity, where I've had some luck in the past.  Unfortunately when it comes to clothes shopping, my belly is just not in any way proportional to the rest of my body!  If it was a short dress, I ran the risk of showing my business in the front because my tummy raised the hemline so high.  If it was a long dress, I looked like I was trying to erect a six-man tent with all of that fabric.  I finally found something suitable there, but I decided to stop at the Pea in The Pod store just to see if there was anything there that I liked.

The sign says "expectant mother parking"
(finally got to park in one of these spots
at the mall!)

And that's where I really just had a reality check.  Apparently they hate pregnant ladies there because the largest size they carry there is a LARGE.  Ummm.... probably not going to work for me!  But the saleslady was very kind and so I decided to try on some of the dresses she thought would fit me.  I actually got one of them over my head, but I got one of the biggest kicks out of her expression when I said it looked like I was wearing a sausage casing (it was TIGHT and the seams just went all over because of the tummy!).  She tried to reassure me that I wasn't fat and that I looked lovely, but I just had to laugh.  I personally think I've never felt more beautiful than I am right now (something about being able to sustain three lives in your belly will do that to you), so I wasn't at all put out by the fact that nothing fit me there.  I just think it's perfectly ridiculous to not carry big girl sizes in a maternity store!

Didn't have to execute my original
plan, which was to wear a toga made
from a bed sheet to the wedding

Enough complaining.  The wedding on Saturday was absolutely lovely.  The bride looked absolutely stunning, the ceremony was wonderful, and Jason looked amazing in his black suit (I love my husband).  And apparently the babies LOVE Catholic wedding ceremonies because they started moving and grooving during the wedding like crazy.  I actually had a hard time paying attention to the readings and music because I was fascinated by the munchkins' visible movements across my tummy!  We had a great time visiting with one of my other nursing school buddies, Cynthia, and her husband who are 15 1/2 weeks pregnant.  Jason was quite the gentleman, making numerous trips to the bar to get us the heavy stuff- Shirley Temples...  :)

Brittany and Cynthia-
made it through nursing school together
and now we're making it through pregnancy
together too!

I wanted to dance to one slow dance before we left, and my wish was fulfilled.  Jason and I were laughing so much on the dance floor because with the size of the tummy, either he has to really lean over to get to me or I have to turn sideways to him.  I'm sure we looked goofy out there, but we definitely enjoyed ourselves!

I'm pretty sure I had the best looking date there!

So the babies have not really stopped moving since Saturday.  They've been super active the last 48 hours (to the point of keeping me awake at night), which means that I haven't gotten much accomplished because either I'm totally engrossed by watching them or it's too uncomfortable to be moving around myself when they're moving.  I'm pretty sure either Baby A or Baby B did a full flip right after Jason and I got into bed last night (my belly literally looked like it was a conehead for a few minutes).

I'm getting so excited for these babies to come.  Seeing those movements across my belly just reinforces to me that the peanuts are growing and will be here with us in no time.  I have to keep reminding myself that I don't want to see them out of my tummy for another six weeks!  I can't wait to see their little faces and hold their little bodies close to mine.  I can't wait to see Jason cuddle with them and see our friends and family fawn over them.  I can't wait to give them each their first ever kiss on the cheek.  I can't wait to hear their little cries for the first time and smell their little baby smells.

Sigh... six more weeks.  Stay in for six more weeks munchkins!!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Great news!

Happy 29 weeks to us!

Every week that these babies marinate in my tummy is just a gift... 29 weeks is so amazing to me and brings tears to my eyes (slightly hormonal here!).  Our next "big goal" is to get to 32 weeks (which would equate with better lung development for the munchkins), but I celebrate every week as a total gift.

Another ultrasound and doctor's visit.  Pat and Janelle came with for moral support- I'm sure not many ladies can say they show up for ultrasounds with their own doctor (Pat will be the munchkins' pediatrician) and NICU nurse (Janelle) in tow.  But hooray for positive news!!!  My blood pressure was actually a little better (meaning lower) than on my previous visit, so that is excellent.  Elevated blood pressure can mean complications for both the babies and me, and of course I get super nervous whenever they throw a blood pressure cuff on me (which can elevate my BP!), so I was positively thrilled to know that my BP is staying in check.

29 weeks tummy shot
I'm literally outgrowing my maternity
shirts and dresses at this point...

I've officially gained 50 pounds (after losing an initial 10 pounds during first trimester), which people keep telling me has all gone to my belly.  I'm not sure I totally believe them when I see my double chin in the mirror, but I'll go with it.  That extra 50 pounds helps me to understand why it is hard for me to move around, why I get short of breath doing simple things, and why my sense of balance is totally different now (although it's still pretty darn good- I attribute that to 15 years of dance lessons sticking with me!).

And most excitedly, my cervix hasn't really changed too much at all over the past week!!!!  In a little change from the routine, the doctor wanted to check my cervical length at the beginning of the ultrasound.  Janelle told me that as soon as the doctor mentioned checking my cervix, she could see me totally tense up.  Well, you would too if yours had shown that it was shortening at your last visit!  But it appears that all of the resting and laying on my side, which serves the purpose of taking the weight of the babies and uterus off of my cervix, have not been in vain.

So that's the update on Momma.  Now let's talk about the stars of the show- the babes!

Baby A resting his forehead on my cervix
(head on the right just above the words
"Fetus A")

They're doing great!  This wasn't a growth ultrasound, so we don't have updated estimated baby weights (next Thursday will be a growth ultrasound, so stay tuned!) yet.  Athena, the ultrasound goddess, did take a measurement of Baby A's abdomen.  This measurement gives the doctor a "quick and dirty" guess as to how Baby A's doing in relation to expected growth.  Keep in mind that Baby A, sitting lowest in my pelvis, had not been gaining weight as quickly or reliably as his brothers.  But based on his abdominal measurement, his weight gain is probably keeping pace with his previous measurements.  At the very least, he's doing no worse.  While a part of me wants him to just be gaining weight like crazy and be as big as his brothers, the likelihood of that happening is practically nil.  So I will choose to celebrate that he's not doing any worse than before.  That's my little man- so proud!

Baby C was a little shy today and kept turning his head
away from the camera

All of the peanuts' hearts are beating like the doctor wants them to be.  Each of the babes is sitting in a nice full bag of amniotic fluid like we want them to be.  Baby A continues to lay in my uterus with his head covering my cervix.  Although I keep telling him to "get off my cervix dude!", I'd much rather have his head on my cervix versus his foot or hand- much less risk of him kicking through it!  :)

Baby B was shy at first like his brother...

Baby B continues to hang out in the middle of my tummy- I think he's the peacemaker of the group, the one trying to bring his brothers together...

Baby C did a 180 over the past week and now has his head on the right side of my belly as opposed to the left side.  Definitely a future gymnast...

I'm so proud of my boys.  They're fighting every day to grow big and strong and I just can't believe that things are going as well as they are.  It makes all of Jason's and my sacrifices just seem so paltry in comparison with what our boys have to do to survive and thrive.

but then Baby B decided to give us a strong
profile shot (along with a quick glimpse of his
umbilical cord in the upper right hand corner)
before he...

I was nervous for this ultrasound.  SUPER nervous.  I had a hard time over the previous few days waiting for the appointment.  Last Saturday, I wasn't watching where I was walking as well as I should have been and almost fell over a sprinkler head in the yard (those things are hard to see in the dark when you haven't been able to see your own feet/legs for months in the daylight!).  I didn't actually fall to the ground, but I had to do some quick maneuvers to keep my balance and I was worried that I might have done some damage to the babes in the process.  I only worried more over the next few days because the peanuts decided that Monday and Tuesday were really good days to be less active than usual.  My hormones kicked in, and I basically made myself sick with worry.  Luckily I have a doppler ultrasound here at home (thanks to my sister-in-law), so I was able to check the babes' heartbeats everyday (they were normal!) to keep from sending myself completely over the edge.  Had I not, I'm sure Dr. Gilbert would have been getting some panicky phone calls from his neurotic patient!!

Started sucking his thumb!!
(Baby B was quite the performer today)

Jason and I continue to prepare for the munchkins- spent time over the last few days doing more laundry loads of baby clothes and blankets, cleaning/sanitizing baby swings and car seats, assembling our new rocker, etc.  I like to sit in the rocker everyday now and talk to the babes, telling them how excited I'll be to hold them in my arms someday and rock them to sleep.

Rock A Bye Baby- I have the
feeling we'll be spending many
hours in this spot...

Funny moment #1037:  I went to get into my car yesterday after a late lunch with Janelle and had a reality check on how big my belly is.  Unfortunately, the car next to me had parked close enough that I couldn't maneuver my belly through the door opening of my car!  I knew there was no way I'd be able to crawl across the passenger seat to rectify the situation.  Cue me having to chase down Janelle and ask if she'd back my car up for me!

Janelle laughing at my inability
to even get into my own car (maybe it's
because I had just wolfed down a foot long sub!)

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Late nights, early mornings

Lots of thoughts on my mind, but no coherent thread running through them.  Perhaps we can attribute that to the major insomnia I've been having the last few nights.  Last night, I woke up around 2:30 am and couldn't get back to sleep until after 5 am...

The clock on my bedside table this morning.
I see this particular sight/time frequently...

Insomnia is a common occurrence in pregnancy, especially in the third trimester, which I'm in now.  Usually I wake up for a bathroom run multiple times a night (we'll probably have to replace the carpet in our bedroom when all is said and done because I feel like I'm wearing down a permanent pathway between my side of the bed and the bathroom!).  Whereas before I could usually fall back to sleep after that first bathroom run of the night, that doesn't appear to be the situation anymore.  

I do a lot of reading.  I've gotten pretty good at the Solitaire and Freecell apps on my phone, and I've also gotten some good thinking in.  I'm getting very familiar with the nighttime sounds in our neighborhood- never knew before that one of my neighbors gets up and goes to work at 4 am.  I'm now used to hearing our sprinklers and our neighbor's sprinklers go on.  I've gotten to do what most pet owners can only dream about- observe their dogs sleeping in different places every night.  There's a whole different world that exists in and around your home between midnight and dawn, and I'm getting to be very intimately knowledgeable about it, which I'm sure will come in handy once the munchkins come home from the hospital after delivery.

And I'm sure Jason appreciates it when I treat this late night/early morning period as a good time for breakfast in bed.  Here's a list of things he's caught me eating between 3-4 AM in our bed (it's the most comfortable place to eat at that time as I can curl up nicely with a bowl perched on my belly)...

-cold cereal (this is my most favorite)
-bagels and a tub of cream cheese and/or peanut butter
-ice cream
-meatballs from Ikea (just meatballs- nothing else with them!)
-protein bars
-cold leftover pizza
-hard boiled eggs
-Runts candy
-half a watermelon (I literally took a spoon to half a watermelon- it was way easier than cutting it up into pieces)

I'm sure there's more culinary delights that I've forgotten to mention, but that gives you a pretty good idea.  Jason's back to work today after taking a little "stay-cation".  I miss him already even though he left the house less than an hour ago.  Of course, I'm probably also missing the almost daily omelets and bacon he'd make me for my second breakfast too...

Jason and I had a lovely dinner out with my in-laws, Ken and Lois, last night.  It was fun to sit and laugh together as a group at some of the funny things that come along with having triplets.  They've been very helpful while they've been visiting- Ken's been instrumental in helping Jason get the new storage shed assembled, and as I type this, he's out in the garage installing some newfangled storage contraption to hang from the rafters.  Lois accompanied me to a consignment sale for babies/kids stuff last week and helped me pick up some good things for the munchkins (as well as another stroller!).  It's been wonderful to have the different family members visiting and pitching in this summer to help prepare for the munchkins' arrival.  We're very blessed!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Too cute

Jason and I went over to his sister's house on Friday night for dinner.  Our nephew, Caleb, is 4 1/2 years old and pretty curious about my belly...

Caleb:  You have three babies in there? (as he's rubbing my belly)
Me:  Yes I do.  That's why it's so big!
Caleb:  Okay. (pausing to think)  Can you take them out now?
Me:  Not yet.  They're not ready to come out yet.
Caleb:  Do you have babies in there too? (as he tries to pat my chest)

Later in the evening, he and I were looking at pictures on my phone while I was laying on the couch.  He stood at my side and at one point, leaned over slightly to get a better look at the picture.  All of a sudden he jumped back.

Caleb:  Uh oh!  I'm sorry!  I squished your babies!

He had apparently felt himself lean into my tummy (I didn't feel him at all so it couldn't have been anything significant!) and was very worried and concerned that he had done something to hurt the babies.  For the next 5-10 minutes, he apologized a good handful of times to me for "squishing" my babies.  Too cute!

A few days ago, a fellow triplet mommy sent out a link to a website specializing in comical attire/gifts for multiples.  I got a pretty good laugh going through the site and thought I'd share some of my favorites.  After all, humor is probably the only way we're going to survive the first year with three baby boys in this house.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Lots of news!

Maybe all of this won't be as exciting for everyone else, but it's been an exciting couple of days in the Deen household.  First thing to celebrate- we've officially made it past the 28 week mark!  Our new goal is to make it to 32 weeks- lots of prayers and positive thoughts please!

And this is how Coltrane and Hana choose to celebrate
our making it to 28 weeks- they've literally been busting at
the seams with joy and excitement for us...

On Thursday, Jason and I got to go on a personal tour of the hospital where we'll be delivering, Sutter Memorial Hospital in Sacramento.  The social worker for the Sutter Mothers of Multiples program took us around and showed us all of the different floors that we'll probably be using- the OR where we'll deliver, high risk maternity (where my dear friend works!), the NICU, and postpartum unit.

Baby A's profile.  This little guy continues to rest his
sweet little head on my cervix.

I'm not going to lie- I got a little emotional when we got to the OR.  It's a little overwhelming to realize that is the place where I am going to get to lay eyes on my sweet munchkins for the first time ever.  It's a strange feeling to know that soon enough, we'll be walking out of that hospital with three little peanuts that are going to totally change our life...  Maybe you think I should have had that realization a little sooner than this point (!), but it's actually a feeling that has resurfaced throughout the pregnancy.  But when you're standing there looking at tiny babies in the NICU- any of which could have been ours!- it's shocking and a little surreal to say the least.

Baby B's profile.  Jason and I make
apparently make adorable babies!

They actually took us to the bedside of a two pound preemie in the NICU.  This was a breathtaking moment for both Jason and me- all three of our munchkins are at least that size (Baby A!) or larger (B & C!) at this point, so it was amazing to just know that we'll get to have three of those.  Jason will be the first to tell you that he is not exactly the most comfortable guy around all of the medical stuff, but I was so impressed that he neither wet himself nor ran screaming from the tour.  He did great and asked some thoughtful questions that even I hadn't previously considered.

Here's a facial shot of Baby C.  Top of the head on the left,
eyes in the center, chin on the right...

Overall, the tour was a success and I am so grateful for the exposure it gave BOTH Jason and me to what's coming up in our near future.  I felt a little bit like a celebrity- the staff was so excited whenever they heard that we were expecting triplet boys.  I'm sure they were playing it up a bit, but I'll take it!

I had another ultrasound on Friday, so Janelle and my mother-in-law, Lois, came with to watch the babies' performances.  This wasn't a growth ultrasound, so I don't have actual updated weights for the babes, but everything's looking good with them so far.  Their little heartbeats continue to be strong and each of them are moving and kicking like they should be (if anything had looked less than stellar with the babes, they would have done a more extensive job measuring, etc).

My cervix has started to shorten a bit, which I am not happy about.  My "titanium cervix" is apparently no longer totally titanium.  Dr. Gilbert tried to reassure me that it is normal for that to be happening at this point with triplets, and my current cervical length is actually quite normal for a triplet mommy at this stage of pregnancy.  And while a big part of me just wants to start panicking and freaking out... I'm surprisingly calm about this.  Dr. Gilbert didn't seem too bothered at all about this change and since he is an expert in his field, I'm going to try not to be too bothered either.  Okay, okay- confession time.  Perhaps I've been doing some reading since then on expected cervical lengths in triplet mothers in medical research journals...  :)

Dr. Gilbert didn't feel that there's any reason for me to be put on bed rest yet, so that was actually reassuring as well.  If this change in my cervix was a big deal, I'd be typing this blog entry from my doctor-ordered hospital bed, but since I'm still at home... :)  I'm going to be increasing my time spent laying on my side, which will help to take pressure off of my cervix, so we'll see how things go over the next week until my ultrasound next Thursday.  I don't know if I've ever asked for something so potentially awkward, but please include my cervix in your prayers!  :)

My husband has been a busy, busy man the last few days.  He and my father-in-law, Ken, assembled a storage shed in our backyard, and Jason has spent the entire day today organizing our garage and ferrying stuff between the garage and the shed.  With the influx of baby supplies- mainly strollers (I have a fetish for them!)- our garage has been full to busting.  We've only been able to park one car in the garage for the past few months, and we knew we needed more storage space.  Needless to say, Jason is hereby awarded the "husband of the week" award!!  Apparently preparing for babies is not just about assembling cribs and folding baby clothes in the dresser- who knew?!?

Jason and his dad demonstrating
some major craftsman skills while
assembling the shed

Building fodder all over the yard- thanks to my
mom-in-law Lois for getting this all picked up
after "Hurricane Jason and Ken" came through

Ta-dah!!  When I saw the finished shed for the first time,
I immediately burst into tears of joy (stupid hormones)

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

So excited!!

Last Friday, I had to take my second glucose tolerance test.  This test is designed to check if I've got gestational diabetes.  For those of you keeping track, I first had to take the test around my 18th week.  I passed that one with flying colors, which was a huge relief.  Gestational diabetes can be a huge challenge to treat and could set both the munchkins and myself up for complications.  And as I've learned, mothers of multiples (especially higher-order multiples) run a huge risk for developing gestational diabetes (hereafter referred to as the "dreaded GD").

So after that first glucose tolerance test, I figured I was off the hook.  But like most things with this pregnancy- not so much.  The doctor wanted me to repeat the test at 27-28 weeks because I am carrying triplets and have three separate placentas.  Apparently (and forgive me if I'm not explaining this clearly- I'm trying to remember the doctor's explanation from two months ago), the multiple placentas can release hormones into the body that will discourage it from releasing insulin (which decreases blood glucose) and encourage it to release even more glucose into the blood (glucose= food for the babies).  Basically a double whammy, which could equal the dreaded GD.

So I went in for the two hour test expecting a different result this time.  I guess I just figured that I'd been too lucky so far and was going to get some bad news.  Well, forget that nonsense!!!!

I PASSED AGAIN WITH FLYING COLORS!!  If you can't tell, I'm ecstatic!  I'm so glad that our little munchkins won't have to deal with my body being sugar-happy.  I had already prepared myself for the (what I thought would be) inevitable multiple finger pokes every day to check my blood sugar and giving myself insulin shots.  But I guess I don't have to worry about any of that- thank God for little gifts!

Every little piece of good news about this pregnancy that we get is just so encouraging and helps to keep me calm.  I'm going to sleep tonight with a big smile on my face...

Tuesday, September 4, 2012


Jason and I just returned this afternoon from a short trip to Lake Tahoe, where we had ourselves a little "baby-moon".  I've been feeling the need to get out of town for awhile, so we planned a sweet little getaway to South Lake Tahoe.  We spent most of our time just being peaceful and relaxing.  We laid on the beach in the sun playing Scrabble together.  We went out for relaxed dinners (one was a buffet at a casino- nothing is more exciting to a pregnant lady than a buffet with a dessert station!!).  We went for gentle walks everyday- to Starbucks, to breakfast, along the pier, shopping.  We played more board games in the evening in front of the fireplace.  We even went for a ride one afternoon on a sailing cruise!  Getting to bask in time being spent with just my husband was the best gift ever.  

Jason and Brittany in front of our sailboat.
Not sure which is bigger- the boat or the belly...

All of it was lovely, and I enjoyed ALMOST every single second of it.  I had one of the roughest nights on our first night at the hotel- having to wake up almost EVERY hour on the hour to get to the bathroom (I blame the buffet) left me pretty darn exhausted.  Luckily Jason was able to take one for the team and snore his way through the drama...  :)

Relaxing in the sun at the back of the boat together

And on the second evening in Tahoe after we got back to the hotel, I had probably the most uncomfortable few hours of this entire pregnancy.  It didn't matter how many pillows or positions I tried- nothing was working.  Jason was so good- massaging my belly and my back, helping with pillows, bringing me water, working on the room temperature... Not sure why I was so uncomfortable.  I was not having contractions and the babies were moving and grooving like normal, but I just could not find a comfortable position to rest in.  Jason helped me finally find a comfortable position, and apparently the universe conspired to let me sleep for almost 4 1/2 hours straight!!  I haven't slept that long in an uninterrupted time period in 3-4 months.  So I guess you have to take the great with the not-so-great when it comes to pregnancy.  :)

I love this man!

Even with the not-so-great stuff, I feel like I am so lucky to have had this gentle of a pregnancy.  Apparently my body handles pregnancy very well for the most part!  It makes me a little sad to realize this, because Jason and I are definitely planning on being done with family additions after this pregnancy (you can understand, can't you?), so I'll only be pregnant once.  And I.  Love.  Being.  Pregnant.

Playing Scrabble on the beach

I love carrying these little munchkins around.  I love that my body has been able to provide for them and nurture them.  I love waking up and feeling their little kicks and movements in the middle of the night.  I love seeing other peoples' joy when they learn about the peanuts.  I love hearing the way my husband talks to his unborn sons before we fall asleep at night.

And in a silly way, I love the challenges that this pregnancy has brought.  Trying to find a comfortable position, being unable to do things at my normal speed or ability, trying to catch my breath in the thinner mountain air when climbing up steps, dealing with the back pain that I'm now beginning to have, frequent bathroom trips, being unable to bend over fully... they may not be quite as exciting as feeling a baby move or seeing their heartbeats on an ultrasound, but they are serving to remind me of how precious the cargo is that I'm carrying around.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Maternity leave so far...

Five days since my last day of work.  Not too shabby- I haven't hurt my husband yet or lost my mind... I knew that it would be emotionally tough for me as I was adjusting to being on early maternity leave, so I made sure that I had a daily activity outside of the house everyday this week.  I'm not on official bed rest (yet), so it's okay for me to be up and about as long as I really pace myself.  And to be honest, my physical state kind of self-limits how much I can do right now anyway!

On Tuesday, I went to see a musical here in town with friends.  While the performance by the actors wasn't too impressive, the munchkins' performance in my belly sure was.  They were moving around like CRAZY (I think they really respond to music) and I spent at least half of the performance just watching their little arms/legs poking out all over my belly.  I'm pretty convinced at some point one of them will just burst on through a la the movie "Alien"... but until then, I LOVE watching them.  So if you see the pregnant lady around town looking at her belly and just giggling, that's me.  Please don't think I'm off my meds.  :)  I play a lot of music for the boys and sing to them all the time.  Jason's concerned that I'm not providing them with a wide enough variety of musical genres and has declared that we will have jazz and classical music playing at all times in the nursery (apparently, the steady musical diet I've been providing so far of pop, folk, reggae, oldies, alternative, and show tunes isn't good enough for them!).
Jason onstage playing with the band-
these munchkins have been surrounded
by music since conception...

On Wednesday, I had my ultrasound.  Janelle came with, so we had a great time together fawning over the munchkins onscreen.  With each ultrasound now, I'm kind of half-expecting them to announce that it's time for bed rest.  But that didn't happen this week!

Everything is going well with Momma.  My blood pressure is still hanging out in a healthy range.  They're watching this very closely because of the huge risk for hypertension/preeclampsia (VERY bad for the babies and me).  I've also gained healthy weight thanks to my steady diet of carbs, whole milk dairy, and frequent snacks.  For those curious, I've gained almost 45 pounds since my first trimester (when I actually lost 10 pounds at first).  While that sounds like a ridiculous number to me, everyone keeps telling me that it appears that I'm only gaining in my tummy.  I'm not sure if I believe them, but I keep hearing people say that I don't look pregnant from behind.  :)

Good ultrasound pics are getting harder to capture because
the babes are getting so big and so close to each other, but
this is a pic of Baby A's perfect spinal column

GROSS update (but you've been forewarned): they're checking to see if I'm "spilling" sugar or protein into my pee.  Both would be bad, but I'm not doing either!  Sugar might mean gestational diabetes, and protein might mean preeclampsia- both would be bad for both babies and momma, so thank goodness that I'm not showing signs of either yet.  My cervix is still apparently made of titanium (a good thing) and I'm just so thankful that this is our first pregnancy and that my cervix and uterus have never had to be worked before like they are being worked now!  (never dreamed that I would be typing a sentence like that)
Baby C's spinal column and head (on the right side of
the pic).  We were lucky to get a pic of him because he
was literally FLIPPING between being face up and face
down during the ultrasound- future gymnast?

NON-GROSS update:  And the babies are doing pretty well overall too!  All of their heartbeats are good and steady where they should be.  The levels of amniotic fluid in their sacs are all perfect.  They're moving like crazy and gaining weight.  The only real concern at this point is Baby A's weight.  Remember that Baby A is the munchkin situated lowest in my pelvis (when my bladder gets tapped on, it's him!).  He weighs approximately 1 pound 15 ounces, which puts him in the teens (14-17%) on the growth chart.  While he is still gaining weight (12 ounces since our last visit!), he isn't gaining as fast as his brothers.  Baby B is weighing in around 2 pounds 8 ounces, which now puts him at the 90th percentile on the growth chart, and Baby C is still our little piglet, weighing in at 2 pounds 12 ounces (well above the 90th percentile!).  Keep in mind that the growth chart I'm referencing is the same one used for single pregnancies!
What's this?!?  Baby B's left ear and shoulder!  His ear is the
white backwards 'C' shape at the top right of the screen and his
shoulder is the white blob in the center of the pic (and that's
his arm with a flexed elbow to the left of the shoulder!)

So we're very concerned about Baby A.  Athena, the ultrasound tech from heaven, mentioned that they usually see the baby that's lowest in the pelvis gain weight the slowest due to space restrictions and having their siblings on top of them.  And it's also not unusual for multiples to be different weights in the womb.  Dr. Gilbert was very calm when he was reviewing the results of the ultrasound with me, but  he did say that this would mean that they'd be keeping a very close eye on Baby A's weight gain.

As of right now, there's no reason to panic, so of course I'm panicking because this is the first real development in the pregnancy that hasn't been absolutely stellar.  I came home and had to let myself have a good cry because I'm so worried about my munchkins.  A good introduction to parenthood for me- making yourself worried sick over your little ones...
Well, hello there Baby B!  Such a cute nose you have!

This news actually doesn't change any of the doctor's plans for me.  He didn't add any additional monitoring or bed rest to the regimen, although I just guaranteed a continued weekly ultrasound schedule for myself.  Dr. Gilbert did say that we're in a "watching and monitoring" phase with this news, not in an "action needs to be taken" phase.  My plan is to spend even more time everyday (thank goodness for maternity leave!) laying on my side to take the pressure off of Baby A and to hopefully allow better blood flow to him.  My next ultrasound is on Friday, so we'll keep asking you all to offer up prayers for Baby A's continued weight gain (and Baby B's and C's too!) and keep our fingers crossed.

Jason rubs my belly multiple times every day and talks to the boys- they're developed enough to hear us!  It's so sweet to hear him telling Babies B and C to share the food with their brother.  I love watching Jason's face when he's doing this.  He's going to be an amazing father (of course I'm biased here!) and I'm so excited to see him hold his sons for the first time.

But we've got a lot of work before then.  I'm currently 27 weeks and 2 days pregnant, so here are the upcoming goals that we want to make it to:

28 WEEKS: At 28 weeks, we're talking about quality of life.  The risk for developmental delays and major health issues drops slightly.  Almost there!

32 WEEKS: At 32 weeks, we're talking about their little lungs being much more developed and much more ready to survive outside of the womb without the need for major medical interventions (they'll still need help probably even at this stage, but it will be of a much less invasive, dramatic nature).  This is the doctor's goal for us to get to.

34 WEEKS: At 34 weeks, we're talking about much bigger babies who will have to spend less time in the NICU, which means they can be home with us sooner!!

37 WEEKS: My actual goal for when I want the babies to come out.  It's a pretty tough goal to meet, but I figure you might as well aim high, right?!?