Saturday, December 27, 2014

34 Weeks or Merry Christmas and a Happy New Preeclampsia!

Well, it has been a month since my last update. Sorry. You would think with school ending I would have more time to update, but it has really meant more time to sleep and go to the doctor with a little time for holiday celebration sprinkled in of course.  A lot has happened since my last post, so I will try to highlight it week-by-week as best I can.

Belly: It has grown a LOT since my 30 week post, but the scariest part is that it has grown a lot between 33 and 34 weeks. At 32 weeks, I had Jay take a side shot of belly during which he responded that it looked as though I was pretending to be pregnant by putting a basketball in my shirt - see below, which is why I proceed to crack up in the series of pictures :-) Eventhough I am slathering my belly like crazy the stretch marks have come. They are not nearly as bad as some of the pictures I have seen online it is scary how they have come all at once and all of a sudden. I hope they stop.
 31 Weeks
32 Weeks

33 Weeks

Cravings: Meat and junk food.  I think the gender of the babies may be influencing these choices or my body is rebelling from 30+ weeks of trying so hard to eat healthy.

Symptoms: Let’s start with the old/continuing symptoms – nosebleeds, backaches and spasms (Epsom salt is a miracle cure), shortness of breath.

And now for the new - At 32w6d (December 18) after perfect blood pressure and no protein in my urine suddenly my blood pressure spiked and there was the dreaded protein.  These are both signs of preeclampsia, for which first time moms and moms of multiples are both at increased risk.  Before you panic Downton Abbey fans Lady Sybil died of eclampsia not preeclampsia. I feel confident it won’t come to that :-)  Anyhow, because of this I have had to be very careful about checking my blood pressure each day and I had to collect all my urine for 24 hours (so fun) to get a true read on the protein.  After all this they did in fact determine that I have preeclampsia, but it appears to very mild.  I am so blessed they didn’t hospitalize me for the holidays.  Also, I have been diligently implementing lots of home remedies thanks to mom and Dr. Jessica (lemon oil on my liver, apple cider vinegar, Himalayan salt, increased Livaplex a supplement that detoxes your liver) and my blood pressure seems to be lowering. All of this is good news for me, but also for the boys.  Preeclampsia could force us to deliver early to protect me, but also because it can put them in distress.

Activities: I’ll try to do this week by week since so much has happened and I am so far behind.

31 Weeks - This marked the end of my semester.  I think my body shut down a little after having taught my last class and administering finals, and I almost immediately started having contractions.  This was a little scary, but then the doctors explained that it was just my body reacting to the size of itself (gee, thanks) and that to expect them from now on.  Since I was having contractions and since I am past the 28 week mark, Dr. MacClenahan decided to go ahead and give me the steroid shots that trigger lung development. This is important because to be effective you have to have two shots, one 24 hours following the initial shot.  If I had been in labor, they would have needed to try to hold me off for at least 24 hours to get both shots in.  Now that I’ve had the shots, there is less urgency (read: fear) if and when I do go into labor naturally since we won’t necessarily have to put things on hold for 24 hours.  During this they also checked my cervix, which is still going strong and even though babies A and B were head down at 31 weeks they do not appear to be putting pressure on my cervix.

32 Weeks: Besides being a huge milestone for viability for the boys, 32 weeks marked the beginning of our Christmas celebrations. This is a very nontraditional Christmas for our family. In addition to my not being able to travel, my brother is in his first year of residency and had to work both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, so we celebrated early. Mom, Steve, Morgan, and David joined Jay and I in Greenville for the weekend. We had lots of good food and they explored Greenville while I rested. On Saturday night, we had Christmas dinner and presents at our house. Below are some pics of the celebration.

Me wearing the bow mom made for our mailbox as a hat :-) This matches the awesome wreath we (mostly she) made.

As I mentioned previously, we had a bit of scare with the preeclampsia symptoms at 32w6d. All of this was discovered at my appointment with the specialist (maternal fetal medicine) where they did a growth measurement of the boys.  One thing that triggered them to check my blood pressure and urine at the specialist (they usually only do this at the OB’s office) is because they boy’s growth has slowed down slightly.  While this is to be expected as we near the end, it was a little surprising given what a great trajectory they had been on up until this time.  The bad news, they boys’ size is now in like the 20th percentile when it had been in the 60th. The good news is they are all at or near 4 pounds:

Baby A 3lbs 14oz – head down, torso and legs on right side of my body (babies A and B are kind of keeping each other company with their heads together. I can’t help thinking about how weird that is that they have been upside down for over a month now).

Baby B 3lbs 12oz – head down on my left side, torso and legs sandwiched in between Babies A and C (because of his weird position it was very hard to measure him. I think he could be a little bigger than the estimates, but that’s why they’re called estimates I guess).

Baby C 4lbs 4oz – transverse, head on my right side body to the left (he has clearly carved out the best spot for himself and has the most room to grow. When we first found out we were having triplets, Jay and I always expected baby C to be our little runt since the third embryo was a slightly lower grade than the other two. We know that baby C is not necessarily the third embryo and that embryo quality does not necessarily impact later development, but this was just a thought we had that was clearly wrong :-) Mom pointed out that baby C gets most of my attention since his head is literally on top of the pile and where I tend to touch the most, so maybe that is also why he is bigger. Jay says Baby C is already a momma’s baby since biggest or not he will the youngest).

The other bad news is we have no good pictures at this point. They are just too smushed, but we can see from the scans that they are developing rapidly. The funniest news of all is that both Babies A and C (and maybe B, again it was hard to get accurate measurement) have heads in the 90th percentile.  If you’ve met Jay you are aware he has a huge head and my nephews also have large heads that are always in the 90th percentile even when their height weight is on the lower end of the scale.  My poor sister-in-law even broke her tailbone giving birth to my eldest nephew. I had to text her immediately with the news. These are definitely Ennis boys on the way.

33 Weeks: After our first semi-bad news, we were thrilled to have family coming into town to celebrate again. Dad, Tracy, Rachel and Dakota came to visit us to celebrate Christmas in Greenville on Saturday before heading to Knoxville to celebrate with David on Sunday.  It was great to see everyone and meet Rachel’s boyfriend Dakota. We had a great little visit, and again it was kind of fun to do Christmas at our house.   

The next day, Kip and Bobby stopped in to visit and celebrate Christmas with us.  The Gardennismiths did their Christmas celebration on Thanksgiving in Florida, but we were on travel restriction and had to miss out, so it was great that they were able to come through Greenville before heading up to see Christy, Bryan, and Waylon who also had a to miss the Thanksmas celebration.

The next day (December 22), we went back to the specialist to check on the boys again. The great news was that even though my blood pressure had been spiking all weekend, the boys looked even better than they had the previous Thursday.  The blood flow from their cords to their bodies looked better and they were all practicing breathing.  Mom came into town that day to help drive me to all my doctor’s appointments and so I won’t be alone while Jay is at work, especially with these newfound complications. On Tuesday the OB called with my urine results (and as I mentioned previously a diagnosis of preeclampsia). We went in to see them (I was fully prepared to be admitted since they were seconds away from admitting me on Friday after the initial urine results came in), but since my blood pressure was normal they said to come back Friday (the day after Christmas) to monitor the babies.  The doctor I saw that day (not my favorite so I won’t mention her name) said you may be having these babies this weekend.  Obviously, I did not like hearing this. Even though we are out of the extreme danger zone, I want these boys to cook as long as possible as I know every day inside decreases time in the NICU and long term complications.

We had a lovely, low-key Christmas. On Christmas Eve we went to candlelight service at Christ Church Episcopal. It was a beautiful service and I was glad I got to show mom the church (very cool old church in downtown Greenville in the middle of an awesome old cemetery). I was also glad Jay suggested I remain seated during hymns or else it might have been too much for me. It was a very special night and the priest gave me and the boys a special blessing during communion. Afterwards, we went to PF Chang’s, which is always special to me :-)  On Christmas Day, we had a lovely meal of ham (thanks Dad), hash brown casserole (thanks Amanda) and leftovers I had frozen from our earlier celebrations. We also half watched Die Hard and half decorated a gingerbread house before I needed a nap. That night, Jay and I kept with tradition and went to see The Hobbit (we usually go to a movie every year on Christmas with my dad).  This may be the last movie we see for the next 8-10 years, so I’m glad we went.

34 Weeks: The next day we went to OB triage to check on the boys. Since the specialist was closed for the holidays they had us go to OB triage and see their doctor on call.  I reluctantly packed a bag just to be safe (remember the babies this weekend comment).  However, it was absolutely not necessary because while we were there my blood pressure was normal and the boys all scored an 8/8 on their tests (fingers moving, arms moving, practicing breathing, and plenty of fluid/room in their sacs). It’s a Christmas miracle! Now we are home waiting and resting and just ecstatic to be at 34 weeks.  We go back to the 
specialist on Tuesday.

Initially, the doctor said the goal was to get to 34 weeks (we’re here!) and that they wouldn’t let me go past 36 weeks (January 9). My goal has been 35 weeks and 5lbs all along. My goal date has been January 5. Jay’s guess is January 6.  I have asked the boys not to come on January 1 for obvious, football-related reasons, so far they have been pretty well behaved, so we’ll see…

Sunday, November 30, 2014

30 Weeks

Belly: At my appointment with the OB at 29 weeks, 5 days, she measured my belly. Actually I asked her to measure me and she said, “do you really want to be measured?” knowing that the number will be much higher than I actually am since the measurement is for moms having singletons. I really did want to know for two reasons. 1) at 23 weeks I measured 35 weeks and I was curious to see how things have progressed. Once you’re this big it is hard to tell if you are really getting bigger and 2) people have really started to look at me like a ticking time bomb, so I thought I must be measuring at least full term. Turns out, I am measuring 46 weeks. Whoa momma! After I left the doctor, I went to the drug store and a lady pointed at me and said, “twins?” to which I just nodded. See, I knew I wanted to know the truth!
Me on Thanksgiving (what 46 weeks pregnant looks like)

Cravings: Still drinking a ton of milk. Loving all of the Thanksgiving leftovers.

Symptoms: Honestly, I can barely think about pregnancy-specific symptoms right now as I am in the throws of a cold/sinus infection from hell and a delightful Chron’s flare.  I am not sure if those two things are pregnancy related or even worsened by the hormones and such, but either way I just feel bleh.

The only other symptoms I am having are just associated with my large size. I wake up a lot in the night, but am still able to get pretty comfortable with my pregnancy pillow. I am only able to sit at the computer or anywhere for that matter for two hours max and then I have to lay down or stretch or something because it kills my back. 

Activities: At 28 weeks and 6 days, the boys had another ultrasound to check their growth. Once again, they look amazing. After the doctor reviewed everything she came in and said she had accused the ultrasound technician of measuring the same baby three times. That is how close in size they are, which is great news!  As they continue to develop and stay cooking as long as possible, we want them to be close in size so that they are growing together and the doctors don’t have to make difficult decisions about inducing me early/letting me go too long so one can grow, etc. The difference in size from the largest to the smallest is 16 grams, that’s about 16 paperclips. Amazing! The boys are all still ahead of schedule – 6-8 days ahead, which is also amazing for triplets. The other amazing part (and no, I don’t think I’m overusing that word) is that they don’t need to see us back at the specialist for a month! A month! Here I was terrified they were going to put me on all these restrictions or tell us our luck had run out and they said to come back in a month. Hallelujah!

 Baby A's Nose and Lips
Baby A's Profile

Baby B's Face (with his arm over the right side of his mouth)
Baby C's Face (with his arm over the left side of his face)

Baby C's Profile

In the midst of this amazing news, we were in full swing putting the finishing touches on the nursery (see next post). Mom came up again to finalize things for us. We also put together a wreath for the hospital door/our front door when the boys come home with a place for all three boys names.  

The following week was Thanksgiving. Jay and I elected to celebrate on our own, so I could be sure I got plenty of rest throughout the weekend. It was a good thing too since I got an awful cold/sinus infection and took 3-4 hour naps each day. We cooked some yummy gluten free food – turkey, dressing, mac and cheese, squash casserole, caramel pie. We put up the Christmas tree (or I directed Jay and unwrapped ornaments while he put up the Christmas tree).  We even went to the mall on Black Friday night. Jay pushed me around in the wheelchair we bought for his Halloween costume.  We only bought one thing, but it was fun to get out in the chaos for a minute, especially with no real agenda.

On Saturday, we of course, watched the Iron Bowl! It was an exciting game. I don’t think I can take too many more of these close ones in my current state though.  Since this marked the end of the regular season, I decided to chronicle my 13 week progression (from 17 weeks on the left to 30 weeks on the right).

Other than that, I spent my time trying to wrap up the semester. Just teaching class and getting my papers graded takes the life out of me. Plus, Ashley and I have been doing a lot of work to get the CCBD conference off the ground. It is crazy to think that 9 months from now I’ll be carting around 3 little babes with me at the conference center in Atlanta, but I digress. The other good news is I only have two more days of classes to teach, so we are really in the home stretch now.