Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Check out this belly!

Many of you have asked me to post some new pictures, and now you have them. They are scary! The first one is of me in bed with Winnie monitoring my contractions. The thing hooked up around my belly is my contraction belt. The second picture is of my massive belly when I'm standing. We took the picture last week, and I'm probably already bigger. I also noticed that I'm getting "fat face" after I looked at the picture. When I wake up in the morning, I usually have "hot dog" fingers from the swelling, and it's only a matter of time before the cankles go into full force. The days of having just a cute little belly are over...the ugly part of pregnancy is setting in.

I went to the ob yesterday and my total weight gain to date is 36 lbs. I'm supposed to gain another 14 lbs in the next 5 weeks. That is going to be rough. I feel like I'm about to burst already. Where will I put another 14 lbs? It better not be on my face.

I think Abby may have flipped over again to be head down because I feel pressure in my nether-regions again that I wasn't feeling when she was breech. I'm amazed that she has enough space to be able to flip around in there at this point.

I could tell she was trying to flip a few nights ago by all of her movements. She was really pissing Will (her closest neighbor) off, and he was fighting back whenever she would try to move around. I would also shake my belly to try to keep her from doing it, but I don't think our efforts paid off. We'll know for sure how she's positioned next Tuesday when I go for an ultrasound.

We spent some time by the pool over the Memorial Day weekend. No, I didn't wear a bikini...I didn't even wear a bathing suit. I just sat out by the pool fully clothed in some of the few maternity clothes that still actually fit me on Sunday and watched Winnie go for a swim. On Monday, we enjoyed a cookout with some of the sisters and steps, along with nieces and nephews. It was fun to get out for a while, even if all I did was sit around. At least I got some more human interaction.

Billy and I also spent a lot of time watching the Jon and Kate Plus 8 marathon that was on TLC this weekend. It helps us prepare ourselves for the life we have ahead of us, but it also calms us since they have 5 more children than we will have!

My contractions remain under control, and my cervix is still closed. Things are looking good!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Get my butt kicked at Penny's

Here is an e-mail that Kibby sent me yesterday:

"A friend of Graeme's (Kibby's sister) was 8 months pregnant and started mouthing off to a girl that worked at the counter at JC Pennny's. The girl jumped the counter, tackled her, and started punching her. She sued Pennys and got 200k which she bought a house with. I figure if you got your ass beat at a Penny's with triplets you could get 600k and fix your house issues.

So my advice for your new family is to go and start some shit at Penny's. Do it for the kids."

I thought it was hilarious so I had to post it. I told Kibby that I like his "out of the box" thinking.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

28 weeks ob visit

I went to see my ob yesterday, and everything continues to look the same. Her check of my cervix revealed no changes. The babies hearts were all beating at the rates where they should be. I had gained 4 lbs since last week. We're moving right along.

I asked my doctor about having the babies at 34 versus 35 weeks, because the last time I was there, she had said she thought I would make it to 34 weeks, but I've heard of some triplet moms making it all the way to 35 or 36. I wanted to know if this was a possibility for me.

My ob explained that at 34 weeks, they will probably be pretty well cooked. However, they may still have some problems with sucking, which means they may not be good eaters. Therefore, they would probably stay in the hospital for a couple of weeks to learn how to be good little suckers and once they got to a certain weight, they would come home to us. My ob said that this is usually good for the parents because the nurses at the hospital get the babies on a good eating and sleeping schedule. It also gives parents a couple of weeks to get some sleep and do last minute preparations for the babies' arrival. I like the sound of that.

If I hold them in until 35 or 36 weeks, chances are, they will leave the hospital with us. Then, it's up to us to figure out how to get them on the same schedule. That sounds scary to me.

I've been reading Baby Wise and The Happiest Baby on the Block over the last couple of weeks, but I don't think any amount of reading will prepare me for coming home from the hospital after having a c-section, and dealing with 3 screaming babies around the clock. I think I can let the nurses at Piedmont deal with that for a little while. Is it bad that I'm already thinking of ways I can pawn off the babies on someone? Oh well, I'm over it.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The Name Game

As many of you know, we've had names picked out for a while now. Leslie has been gently reminding me for some time to post them and "officially" announce them. (By the way, this is Billy writing - my first post). Not that I'm ever one to drag my feet. Things have just been so busy that I've either forgotten or figured Leslie was doing such a good job with the blog, and I didn't want to taint it. Or both. Or me just dragging my feet.

So, first I'll take this opportunity to give Leslie kudos for the job she's done writing this as a means of keeping everyone simultaneously updated and entertained. I know a lot of people have been enjoying it, myself included.

Second, she has been and continues to be amazing through this pregnancy. I realize you know that already, but it bears repeating. I like to think I have a unique perspective, and I'm constantly amazed. As Leslie likes to say, she's really good at "cookin' these babies."

Finally...the point of this whole post. Names. I think we were both surprised how easily these came to us. We had a few "boxes to check," which made things a little easier, but even still, there didn't seem to be much deliberation or argument. So here they are:

Abigail Eileen (previously known as "Baby A"): We'll be calling her Abby. Wish I could tell you where this name came from, but we have no idea. We just went through a list one day, and we both really like it. That's it. Eileen, however, was my mother's name.

Marie Liane (baby B): Marie is Leslie's middle name, and we both like it. Liane comes from Leslie's wonderful and sometimes untidy younger sister.

William Roland (baby C): We'll be calling him Will. We were able to give props to both of the grandpas here. My dad is William, Sr. and Roland is a derivative of Leslie's dad, Rolando.

So there you have it. Abby, Marie, and Will. Coming soon to terrorize a household near you!

Monday, May 19, 2008

A whole lot of the same

These days, my life is pretty monotonous. I spend most of my nights tossing and turning, trying to get some sleep. The babies try to prevent me from sleeping by kicking and punching excessively when I'm in bed. Abby is the most feisty one. She doesn't like any pressure on her so if you put your hand on my belly in her general area, she will punch and kick like nobody's business. My belly is like a 3 ring circus!

This past Sunday I was at my dad's house for lunch, and Paul wanted to feel one of the babies moving. Sure enough, he touched Abby's general neighborhood, and she started fighting back. Then, Marie got cranking, and Vivian put her hand to feel her. Before long, Will was also going strong. It was general belly craziness!

Most of my days are spent sending and replying to e-mails, keeping up with my part-time job, reading, watching tv, eating, and petting Winnie. It's not exciting, but it keeps the babies cooking.

I also have lots of visitors, and I really appreciate the company. Today's thank yous go out to Kate, Laura, Alice, and Maureen. Kate has visited me twice in the last couple of weeks, and each time, she has brought lunch and taken Winnie for a walk. Today, she even brought turkey meatballs for some dinners this week. Laura, my step-sister, cooked us a feast last week. Maureen made us dinner 2 nights last week and made extra jambalaya on Sunday so that we would have leftovers. Alice did our laundry for last week. She sent me an e-mail before picking it up that she would not tolerate any skid marks so we shouldn't include any excessively dirty underwear in the laundry pile. I assured her that unlike Drew, we were efficient wipers, and she wouldn't have skid marks to deal with.

Although most of our major household duties are farmed out, as you can see from the paragraph above, poor Billy's load has picked up immensely. He was used to coming home from work and sitting on the couch for the rest of the evening. He would watch tv and/or play XBOX games. Now, he has to do some of my old responsibilities, and I sit on the couch all evening. I think that cleaning up the kitchen after we have dinner is his least favorite. I feel like I'm always nagging him about it, but he doesn't think about it because that's not part of his regular routine.

On top of all of the stuff he has to do, he is also our designated house hunter. He saw about 20 houses on Saturday alone! I know it's all overwhelming and incredibly frustrating because we just can't seem to find something that we want. He took me to see one that he liked on Sunday, and it was a very cute house. However, the house has no backyard-it's a steep, downhill slope that is heavily wooded. I need to have some space for Winnie to run around in a confined area. I know she'll never be an outdoor dog-she is entirely too needy for that. When she has to do her business, though, I won't be able to run out the door with her and leave behind 3 babies. There will need to be a space where I can let her go for a while.

My babies update is that I saw my perinatologist on Friday, and she said that my cervix is still long and closed. I don't have to go back to see her for another 2 weeks. Let's hope that keeps up!

My contraction monitoring directions have changed since last week. I had a few days where I was having excessive contractions, but I didn't feel any of them. My ob decided that I should only monitor when/if I actually felt contractions because those are the more important ones. Otherwise, I do not have to hook up to the monitor. That's been a relief. I've felt contractions a couple of times and hooked up to find out I was having 7 or 8 an hour, but with more terb, they quickly get under control.

Things aren't terribly exciting, but that is a good thing for now!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Out of control contractions

My little pump had been controlling my contractions well until today. When I monitored first thing this morning, I had 6 contractions in an hour. My upper limit is 4/hour. I had to get jacked up on more terb and monitor again. The next hour, I had 12 contractions! Again, more terb got pumped into my system, and after another period of monitoring, I was at 9 contractions.

My nurse called me and told me to report to the hospital. I was thinking that I didn't want to deal with another night there. Luckily, I already was scheduled to go to the ob today at 2 so I asked if it was okay for me just to go to my regular appointment. The nurse gave me clearance for that.

My ob checked my cervix, and it was still closed. I wasn't feeling any of my contractions so she figured I was safe to go back home on an increased rate of the terb. I hate that stuff, but if it keeps me out of the hospital, I can deal with it.

The ob said that she would be very impressed with me if I was pregnant with twins and holding up this well at this point, but the fact that I'm having triples amazes her. She called me a "rock star" and said she was optimistic that I would make it 34 weeks. I can't make babies, but I sure can cook them!

By the way, my weight was up to nearly 155 lbs, which brings my total gain to about 31 lbs. I'm supposed to be gaining about 2 lbs per week now. My belly measurement indicated that I would be past due with one baby in there. You can imagine how uncomfortable the next few weeks are going to be for me.

My thank you shout out this week goes to Lori. She came by yesterday and brought me lunch, some good company, and walked Winnie for me. Lori actually said that Winnie was good on the leash, but I had to put this in perspective because Lori has a yellow lab, Jim, that is actually bigger than Winnie. She is used to dealing with gigantic, half-crazy animals.

Another shout out to Mems and Bill for doing our laundry this week and delivering it back to us. They also treated me to a cleaning lady for Mother's Day. This lady worked her butt off at our place yesterday. Who knew you could clean a 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom condo for 5 1/2 hours?

Update on our housing situation: We still have nothing! The contract that we thought was going to fall through at the house we liked didn't fall through. They ended up working everything out at 10 last night. Their deadline was 12. Can you believe our terrible luck?

Vivian is freaking out and wants us to move into her house. She is talking about setting up a nursery upstairs and converting her guest room into our room. We aren't homeless! If we don't find a place, we'll have to build a crib in the condo and put those babies in it. We'll find a way. I just don't want to rush into a house and end up not liking it in a few months. It's going to be hard enough having 3 newborns, and I don't want to be living in a house I hate on top of that.

Alice said she would take a couple of the babies and Vivian could take Winnie to alleviate the stress. Then, Vivian said she would rather have all 3 babies than just taking one Winnie. Poor Winnie! Why is she not loved? She loves everyone...she just tends to overdo it with all the love. I put a picture of her little face on this entry so everyone could see how cute she is.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

The babies are growing and we still need a house

I was supposed to have my regular appointment with my perinatalogist on Friday, but since I was in the hospital, and her office is there, my ob wanted me to see her on Thursday before I was released. They wanted to make sure there were no cervical changes before sending me home.

They took all of the usual baby measurements. Babies A & B were 2 lbs 2 ounces, and Baby C was 2 lbs 3 ounces. They showed us their growth on a growth chart, and we were able to see that they were right on track. The perinatologist told us that if they were any bigger, it might send me into labor too soon, but if they were any smaller, we would have to play catch up to get them where they need to be by the finish line. They were just right!

Unfortunately, Will's brain fluid levels were elevated again, but just back to the high end of normal. I'm not going to worry about it too much. It just keeps going back and forth, and the amnio said that nothing was wrong. He's just trying to get attention.

Billy's house hunt this past week was again fruitless. He saw a bunch of houses that he did not like or that would not work for our circumstances. However, the agent from the first house we liked and put an offer on called our agent to see if we had found a house yet. Apparently, the owners are now starting to get a little more desperate. Therefore, Billy and I decided we would go for that one again. We upped our final offer a little and submitted it to them. They have until tonight at 6 to let us know. I hope this works!

If that house does not work out, we have a backup plan. There was another house we saw that went under contract quickly, but the contract has now fallen through so there is an opportunity for us to swoop in and steal it away. The house itself and yard are perfect for us. Billy and I are not crazy about the neighborhood, though. It's not that it's bad, but it's just very cookie-cutter, and neither one of us is really into that style.

We talked about it and decided that we have to be willing to compromise on certain things we want in a house versus what it is we really need at this point. We know we need a good backyard for Winnie and the kids eventually. We need a location that is close to my family, since they will be helping with the babies. We also know we need a floor plan that will accommodate a live-in nanny. We would prefer a finished basement with a bedroom and bathroom down there for her. We need a good sized master bedroom with closet space. We need a good elementary school because we don't think that we'll be able to foot the bill for the trips to go to a private school. I want a kitchen that is open to the family room and preferably updated. He wants a garage. The house meets all the needs and wants on our list, even though the hood isn't ideal for us. We have figured out that you really can't have it all, unless you have a ton of money. Maybe one day we'll strike it rich!

I think you are up to speed on everything now. I just want to send out some thanks to Kristi for delivering dinner to us last night! We enjoyed it. I finally ate some chicken for the first time in months. Billy was very proud of me.

Friday, May 9, 2008

My new little purse

Because my contractions kept coming, my ob decided I needed to be started on a terbutaline pump. This is a little device that delivers a constant supply of terb to my system. A nurse came by the hospital yesterday afternoon to give me a lesson on how to use it.

I have to shoot a needle into my leg (upper, outer thigh area), which is no big deal for me after all of the ivf shots I gave myself. This inserts a little catheter right under my skin, and some tubing comes out of the site on my leg. The first picture above shows the connection site. Make sure you zoom in close to see my hot, stubbly legs. Listen people, I can barely see my legs anymore. Do you think I can actually maneuver well enough in the tub to shave well? I try, but I always miss spots. I'm sure this will get worse. It's not like it's that big of a deal, since I'm not going to be sporting a swimsuit this season, unless they make them for whales.

Okay, back to the terb pump. The tubing that you see connects to a little device that looks like an old cell phone, and it contains a program indicating how often to release the medication. This device goes into the little blue bag pictured above. This is my little purse that I have to carry around everywhere. I usually just clip it to my pants, which continues to increase my sexiness because it looks like a fanny pack. There is nothing hotter than a fat chick with a fanny pack.

The tubing has to be changed every 5 days and alternated between my left and right legs. The meds that go into the device have to be replenished daily, and I got a reminder of that this morning, when the alarm on the little machine went off at 7 a.m. I had no idea what was going on with it, and I had to read the instruction manual. I was able to figure out how to get the new medicine cartridge in. The nurse had taught me the day before, but my pregnancy retardedness made me forget exactly what I was doing.

As if that's not all enough, I also have to check my blood pressure and pulse and wear a contraction monitor twice a day (at least). I'm supposed to do it all at 8:30 a.m. and 8:30 p.m. To monitor contractions, I hook up the monitor to my belly and sit around for one hour. Then, I connect the monitor to my phone line and transmit the info to a nurse. She reviews the data and calls to tell me how to proceed. They don't want me to have any more than 4 contractions per hour. The first time I transmitted last night, I only had 3 during the hour. However, this morning, I had 5. Therefore, the nurse called me and told me to drink 4 glasses of water, do a demand dose of the medicine, and monitor again for an hour. A demand dose is when I have to manually push some buttons on the device so that it will give me more terb.

I followed all of her instructions and transmitted again. Unfortunately, I had 6 contractions the next time. I am all jacked up on these crazy meds, and my contractions won't stop. This is killing me!

Now, I have to check my pulse at 1 p.m. If it's not over 120, I have to give myself another demand dose of terb and monitor for another hour at 1:30. Good grief, this is all driving me crazy. Now, I have to be my own full-time nurse!

I have to go tend to my issues, but there's still more to write. I have updates on the babies. We had another ultrasound yesterday. I also have updates on our house hunt. I'll try to get it all posted today or tomorrow.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Another night at Piedmont

I've started to make weekly visits to Piedmont now. I started having some cramps on Tuesday night again, and I wrote them off. I fell asleep and thought everything was fine. When I woke up on Wednesday, the cramps were back intermittently. I called my doctor around 11 a.m. to let her know what was going on. I left a message with the nurse explaining my symptoms and hoped that she would just have me come in to her office to be monitored. I was sadly mistaken.

My friend, Becky, came over to have lunch me with me around 1. She brought me a yummy tofu burrito. She also had her adorable daughter, Rowan, with her. While we ate lunch and chatted, she put Rowan on a blanket on the floor. I was amazed that Winnie didn't pay her more attention. Sure, she gave her some serious licks at first, but she got over it. I think she was more intrigued by our burritos-her appetite always wins over anything else.

Becky took Winnie out for a walk for me, and I got to hold Rowan. She was all smiles and giggles-too cute! While Becky was outside, my doctor called me back and told me to report to Piedmont Hospital again. When Becky came in, I had to ask for another favor...a ride to the hospital.

Becky was amazing, she not only took me to the hospital, but she also came in and spent more than an hour with me there. Thanks, Becky! Billy had an appointment with our realtor that afternoon, and I wanted him looking at houses more than I wanted him looking at me or watching tv next to me at the hospital. It's crunch time! These babies are now reminding us weekly that they want to come out. Billy came later that night to be with me.

When they hooked me up to the contraction monitor, they saw that I was indeed contracting again and so they started up the awful Trebutaline. The nurse explained that the contractions were how my uterus prepares to push the babies out. She said that the more practice it was getting, the more likely it was to think it was "go time" and try to signal to the babies that they were getting their eviction notices. Their rent is all paid up through June so they might as well stick around. After all, they have a fully furnished womb, not to mention all meals are being provided. They would be stupid to give it all up.

The contractions continued through the night so I had to get the Terbutaline shots twice more. They had also given me an Ambien so I slept through most of the side effects. However, in the morning, they started the oral Terbutaline, and that was a killer. I had terrible hot flashes, my heart was racing out of my chest, felt queasy, and I was incredibly restless. When you are on bedrest, restless is the last thing you want to feel. Since I only had bathroom privileges, I just kept drinking water so that I could go back and forth to the bathroom. It made me feel less antsy.

I'll continue my entry tomorrow. There's more to tell, but it's after 10 p.m., and I want to get to sleep. I'm wiped out from all of the time I've spent in a hospital bed and wheelchair today. All of this resting is exhausting!

Monday, May 5, 2008

Serving my time

I don't know why I haven't posted anything in a while. I have nothing better to do now that I'm a prisoner in my own home. I guess I haven't felt very inspired to write, since nothing eventful is happening.

I now spend my days on the computer for a couple of hours each morning. Then, I have to get on the couch so I can put my feet up for a while. During that time, I usually fall asleep or I watch mindless television shows. My brain cells are slowing wasting away.

At the end of my couch time, typically someone shows up to walk Winnie. Vivian came last Thursday and my dad was here on Friday. Poor Viv was shocked by the power of Winnie. She showed up in flip flops, and I made her change into sneakers because Winnie would pull her right out of the flip flops. I sent her walking with a bag of treats for Winnie because bribing Winnie is really the only way to get what you want from her. Winnie quickly caught on that Vivian had treats and didn't know how to use them, so she would just nudge Vivian's hand every so often, and Vivian figured that was the sign to indicate it was treat time. They ran out of treats pretty quickly that way.

After my mid-afternoon visitor goes, I usually resume my post at the computer for a few more hours. Then, at around 4, I hit the couch again until Billy comes home. When he arrives, I get up and make a quick dinner of some sort so that I'm on my feet no more than about 30 minutes. I actually look forward to making dinner because I feel like I'm doing something, but by the time I'm done, I'm exhausted. Therefore, the rest of my evening is spent on the couch until I go to bed. It all sounds so exciting, doesn't it?

I think it must be working because I haven't felt any contractions since I returned from the hospital and that's the goal. After one night there, I really didn't want to stick around for another 9-10 weeks! I have to say, though, that the Ambien they gave me to sleep while I was there rocked my world! I have found it extremely difficult to get good rest during this pregnancy, and the Ambien totally knocked me out, which felt good. However, it wasn't worth staying at the hospital for.

I ventured out of our condo for the first time yesterday. I went to my dad's house for lunch, and there was an open house around the corner from him that I walked through also. The house was fine, but overpriced and needed a total kitchen remodel. When I got back from my outing, I had to take a one hour nap to recover.

It's a good thing I don't go many places any more because I really don't have much to wear. I remember that my sisters and friends who have had babies always have said that towards the end of their pregnancies, they only had 3 or 4 things that fit them. I'm already at this point, and I have another 9 weeks to go. Pretty soon, I'll only fit into Billy's XL t-shirts and huge maternity panties.

I think I'm going to order a bunch of reading material this week from Amazon. Everyone talks about the books "Babywise" and "The Happiest Baby on the Block." I figured I should read them before the babies come and start trying to perfect my techniques.

As for the home search, it continues. Billy went looking this weekend, and he didn't see anything he liked. Our agent is doing more searches for us, and she is going to start previewing properties so we don't waste our time seeing stuff that is terrible. She knows what we like by now.

I guess that's all I have to report. Did I already post the results of my gestational diabetes screening? It was negative-I'm gestational diabetes free! My next doctor's appointment is on Friday. The hope is that I have not experienced any cervical changes because once my cervix starts changing, it means serious bed rest and possibly hospital time.