Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Tanning beds and bottle feeds...

Wow has life become busy. I had no idea how difficult it would be to recover from a major-league c-section and months of limited activity and bedrest. It has been A LOT harder than I ever expected. Funny enough, I never really considered the recovery process, I just figured I would bounce back no problem... Think again! But, one week down and I'm definitely feeling better. One thing is for certain...can't keep me away from those beautiful babies! I spend about 3 hours in the morning with them, come home to eat and sleep, and go back with Brian for a few hours in the evening. And it still isn't enough time with them. And it still isn't enough sleep... Not to mention a rigorous "pumping" schedule every three hours...Who knew my life would ever be so crazy?

The babies are doing GREAT! Their little personalities are really coming out. So crazy, you wouldn't think something so small could be so expressive, but they are. The boys are still working through jaundice issues. They've been in and out of phototherapy. They are not so fond of it. Babies loved to be cuddled up and swaddled and the phototherapy requires that their bodies be uncovered so the light will hit as much skin as possible and that their little eyes be covered. The discomfort is evident by their squirming, whining, and wiggling. It's pretty sad to see... Here's baby Ben kickin' it in the lights...

Here's big Jack pondering life under the sun....

Our other big goal is bottle feeding, and it's going pretty well. All of the babies feeding amounts have been increased to 25 ml for 8 feeds a day. They get to bottle feed for 2 of those meals. I usually do one feed in the morning and we then do another in the evening. You will notice they have small feeding tubes down their noses and they are given the rest of their feeds through those tubes. We've had good feeds and not so good. They almost always finish their bottles, but sometimes it takes quite a while or they sleep through it! Today Lily finished her bottle in less than 15 minutes! She was definitely the big winner this morning. As you can see below...our little guys have the FUNNIEST expressions on their faces while feeding. They don't look so thrilled, that's for sure...

Little Ben one-eyeing is morning bottle followed by Jack and his look of enthusiasm... Followed by sweet little Lily!

I do have one funny story to share. Yesterday morning I was so excited that I got to give Ben a bath. I was really looking forward to this. UNTIL I started and he began screaming and looking at me like I was the devil. It broke my heart! I mean he REALLY looked at me like I was the worst person in the whole world. My little Ben. It was HORRIBLE! I almost cried. If I wasn't in such a hurry to get it over with I probably would have. So, I wanted to leave you with a pic of how happy he was after his bath and the look he continued to give me even after we were through...

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Home, Sweet Home...

So sorry for the lack of posting... Apparently a c-section with triplets is a rather violent procedure and I've been recovering. I was discharged from the hospital yesterday afternoon and spent my first night home in almost a month. It was spectacular.

The babies are doing WONDERFUL! I'll give a full update soon, but here's the quick version. All of the babies are on room air and are breathing great on their own. They are all working on temperature regulation so are still in isolettes, but there is talk of moving both Lily and Jack to an open crib soon. They have lost a little weight since delivery, but that is to be expected. All are really working on feeding and growing. They have had tubes in either their mouths or noses that go down to their stomachs to give them feeds. The suck-swallow-breathe reflex doesn't fully develop until about 34 weeks so they hadn't been given any bottle feeds until TODAY! I fed Lily a bottle this morning and she ate 17 out of 20 milliliters and Jack ate all 15 milliliters this afternoon. Ben hasn't been given a bottle yet, but we are hoping soon. Lily is still ahead of the game. Both Jack and Ben have had Jaundice issues and have been stuck in the "tanning bed" a couple of times.

The Neonatologist that is working with our little guys feels they will be home in 2 or 3 weeks, which is very exciting news.

Here is a link to some pictures...I've had a lot of requests!


Monday, November 19, 2007

Positive Thoughts...

A lot of stuff sucks right now so I'd like to dedicate this post to the power of positive thinking... Rhonda, this should be dedicated to you as you are my inspiration and I still have never finished "The Secret".

I really do believe that people's lives are affected by their thinking. In some way each of us are responsible for determining our own futures simply by how we view the world. It's all about our perspective. If you choose to think the world is out to get you, everything is unfair, or you live your life constantly afraid that you are getting screwed, then guess what...you predict your own destiny. We all know people like this and sometimes it does seem like all the world is out to get them. At the same time, you can sit back and pinpoint how their reactions to life's events predict their outcomes....

Then we know those people that have good lives. They always have good things to say, take life in stride, have a positive outlook on life's events, and think the world is a pretty good place. They find humor in adversity. They laugh instead of crying. They grow with each challenge they overcome. As the saying goes, when life gives them lemons they make lemonade...

These are the kind of people I like to surround myself with. I'm so lucky to have an amazing group of friends and family that have this perspective. There is no better gift that a loved one can give you than positive thoughts when yours have started heading south. My biggest gift has been to share my life with someone who repeatedly tells me that it's all about how you look at things...(no matter how annoying it can be at times).

So this post is in dedication to all of the people that have been so supportive and have shared kind and encouraging words with us. This road has not been an easy one. The past few days have been hard, and each day seems to get a little harder. But that's o.k., what doesn't kill you makes you stronger, right? My favorite saying is "This Too Shall Pass". Because it will. It always does.

So...When I get down and out over the next few days I will turn my thoughts in the positive direction.

Instead of: Holy cow, how can I get any more swollen...
I will say: Wow, how neat...it's like my legs are made of big pretty balloons and keep expanding! (Said with enthusiasm and vigor)

Instead of: How can I take any more leg pain...it feels like someone has beat me...
I will say: YEAH! I love my legs and am so glad they are letting me know they are there.

Instead of: I am so tired of lying in bed...AHHHH!
I will say: It's like I'm a princess! Everyone waits on me hand and foot and I don't have to lift a hand! I don't even have to get out of bed and I can wear pyjamas all day long.

Instead of: I am going to scream if I gain one more pound...It's getting too hard to move.
I will say: WooHoo! If this were a game show I sure would be winning. Let's see how high I can go!

In my opinion, positive thinking could change the world. I only need a few more days and I KNOW I can hang in there. This is a team effort and I will not let my team down. I'm pretty sure we're making it to 34 weeks. Call it a hunch, a feeling, a premonition...who knows. This would be amazing. I just need to put in a few more hours of meditation each day. Of course, at that point I will feel free to throw in the towel, cry and scream, and beg for Dr. Tabor to relieve me of these little parasites that have invaded my body!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

You know it's going to be a bad day when your first loving gaze toward your husband in the morning is met by "Wow, your face is really swollen."

Then, you step on the scale only to find you've gained a whopping 6 pounds overnight. How is that even possible? I don't think I even ate or drank 6 pounds of ANYTHING yesterday. Am I actually absorbing weight from the air?????

I don't think I'm having fun anymore.

I am swollen. I've gained around 14 lbs in the past few days. Strangely enough, a lot of it is in my right leg. No one seems to have an answer for that one! I mean it is REALLY swollen. Forget having a cankle. It's more like my thigh has run into my toes....

I have had an increase of protein in my urine. The scale they use goes up to 4+ and I am now at 3+. My liver enzymes and platelets are still good. My blood pressure is also still good. When one of those decides to take a turn for the worse...we will be welcoming 3 new members into our family! Dr. Tabor said it will not be long now...probably just days. Tomorrow will be 33 weeks! I would like to make it to 34 weeks, but not at a rate of gaining 6 pounds a day...

Not going to lie, I feel pretty awful. Hard to breathe, uncomfortable, nauseous at times, and a slight but annoying headache. But still hanging in there! I can do this, it is so worth it. Plus, there is definitely a light at the end of the tunnel. Not much longer now....Just think, pretty soon we will have to commit to names! I can't wait to meet the little guys, I think they are going to be fantastic, beautiful, and amazing....

Not feeling much like visitors or like talking on the phone today. Please bear with us. I just don't feel good and would prefer to sleep or stare at the wall! Not to mention I don't want to scare people with my swollen body parts. It is not pretty and I don't want you to remember me this way. I am hideous....

The new chant has to be...just one more day. That is all I can ask for at this time. Just help me to have the sanity and strength to make it one more day. We're almost there!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Almost 12 Pounds of Baby...WHAT???

That's right... I should now be considered for superhero status. Dr. Tabor measured the babies yesterday morning. Drumroll please................. 3 lbs 11 oz; 3 lbs 12 oz; and 3 lbs 13 oz. They are so big! Almost 4 lbs a piece, and so close together. What a miracle... When we started on this journey I could never have imagined how it would feel to be here and now. It feels pretty good knowing they are healthy and doing so well. And, I'm starting to get ready for them to make their appearance. We're at 32 weeks and 4 days. Getting so close. Dr. Tabor still tells me that we're taking it day by day...seems like he's avoiding answering my questions of WHEN??? He gives me the impression that things could fall apart at any moment, but without telling me in so many words. We are all hanging in there, though.

It's getting harder, not going to lie. At least I made it to 32 weeks before I got so uncomfortable. Oh well, I just keep telling myself it's not much longer and it's so worth it. It's kind of like knowing you're on mile 20 of a marathon. So close, but the hardest part is yet to come! Sorry it's been a while since I've written. I'm taking it day by day as well. I just don't feel as well. Headache one day, stomach ache the next, sleep all day some days, etc. Also, thanks for all of the calls and well-wishes. It means so much to me to hear the encouraging words and messages. Sorry if I don't call you right back, sometimes I'm just too wiped out. Everyone has been so supportive of us and that support gives us peace of mind.

I can't say thanks to our families enough, who have given time, money, and effort to make this hospital stay as easy as it can be for both Brian and I. My Mom has been staying at our house keeping things running smoothly. Her BIG job has been working on the nursery (pics to come), but she's been a big support for Brian and I as well. She does our laundry, cooks for Brian when he's there, and runs errands for both of us. Brian's parents are keeping Kita, bringing us food, helping us with house stuff, and helping us run errands as well. Nana and Grandmother have also kept us well stocked in snacks, food, and necessities. Each and every person has made this so much easier. I can't believe that I've been in the hospital 3 weeks. It feels like our lives have just been suspended.

The biggest thanks of all goes to Brian. He has been running himself ragged between spending the night here with me EVERY night, driving home, and then driving to north Dallas to work. Then he gets up and does it all over again. He has sacrificed fishing and his deer season to stay with me every day. I don't know how he is pulling all of it off, but he hasn't complained at all. I look forward to seeing him every day when he walks through that door! I have to be here, I have no choice...but he chooses to be here with me every day to make it easier for me. It's nice to have a buddy to share my evenings with.

Oh the joys of pregnancy continue to abound! Now is the part where I get to whine...

Bed rest officially sucks. I'm REALLY tired of bed. The good thing is that I don't have many options as sitting, walking, and moving in any way have all become pretty darn difficult. So, I guess bed it is. Thank God for the egg crate. My hips and sides ache from lying on them, but that's nothing compared to my butt. I think it has flattened out. Pity. Also, I had to get a shot on Tuesday and it left a bruise the size of Montana with a lump the size of a golf ball underneath. That's really fun to lie on, right? Boy am I a weenie, huh? 3 weeks of bedrest and I'm ready to throw in the towel. Could you imagine if it had been longer? I'd REALLY be annoying. It's pretty easy to keep me in bed when it's so hard to get out!

Pitting edema. I no longer have ankles. They are a thing of the past. It's hideous. My feet and legs look my Grandma's did at 92. Good times. The eggcrate actually makes patterns on the backs of my legs and sometimes it takes an hour for it to disappear. GROSS. I also have big swollen man hands. Yes, man hands. Not to mention a grossly swollen neck and face. I am a shadow of my former self. Oh yes, and I now snore. I mean really snore. I wake myself up in the morning....

Can you say weight gain? I didn't gain any weight for the first 2 weeks of being here. During the past 5 days I've gained almost 10 pounds. All in water. All in my hands and feet, I'm sure. I'm like a human water balloon. Hopefully I won't pop, that would be really messy. I can no longer tell anyone how much I weigh. I believe it is called self-preservation. If I don't admit it then it isn't real!

So as I start week 4 of being here, I wonder what the next week will bring? Babies??? I wonder each and every day when I wake up if today is the day. Crazy, huh? They could come at any time and I am starting to be ready. I hope they come before my body REALLY turns on me!

Monday, November 12, 2007

32 WEEKS!!!

Can you believe it? We made it...all of us. Sorry I haven't posted in a few days, but there really hasn't been much to report. Every test they have given me has been the same...nothing getting worse. I've felt more contractions, but at this point I just will because my uterus has stretched to epic proportions. They won't do anything to stop them anyway.

I'm definitely getting more uncomfortable. Harder to eat, A LOT more tired, etc. But that's o.k., not much longer. Plus, I would rather feel uncomfortable now than the babies have any complications when they decide to make their appearance...I'm sure that would be much harder. So, we wait. We will be taking each day as it comes.

So why was I so anxious for week 32 to get here? Week 31 was a big week for fetal lung development. Before last week the air sacs and branches in the babies' lungs were present but not functioning. Last week Dr. Tabor checked the babies twice to see if they were breathing in there and they were. So exciting. Now they are just getting bigger. If they were born this week they would be small, and they would be considered "feeders and growers". Chances are they wouldn't need that much help breathing. It's funny, the bigger they get the more I feel like I need help breathing!

Apparently their movements will get to an all-time high this week and their growth will slow down after this week. Dr. Tabor said he will be measuring the babies again this week-either that or weighing them when they come out! I'm really looking forward to seeing how much they've grown. I've had a bit of a problem gaining weight and eating as you can imagine...just no more room for food these days, so I hope they have continued their good weight-gain. That was one reason I was supposed to gain so much weight early-on. They sure do feel bigger and their movements are quite a bit stronger. As I'm sitting here writing, someone keeps repeatedly whacking at the computer which is resting on my big belly!

One of the boys has the hiccups A LOT. So much so that I feel a little bad for him. He's had them up to 4 times a day and they shake my whole belly so I know they have to be uncomfortable, right? The other boy has them occasionally-maybe once every 2 days or so, but the little girl NEVER has them....too squished? I hope not.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

All is well...

31 weeks, 2 days! Whew....

Well, it's been a good week so far. I've felt really good which has to be a sign that things are holding steady. Still have some atrocious heartburn, but I've been pretty comfortable and not too bored. Brian brought be the softest and fuzziest blanket last night so I'm cuddled up with it right now! I've got my mp3 player, my laptop, and a good supply of books. If I could only have my sweet Kita to cuddle with me I'd have it made. I've had a pretty good case of missing her the last few days.... She's getting the royal treatment at Brian's parents, so I know she's got it made. Dr. Tabor won't let me have wheelchair privileges yet so there's no chance of sneaking outside to see her. She's MUCH to wiggly and big to sneak in here. I had to include a pic because she's just so pretty! Of course, this didn't help me stop missing her....

Blood work was done this morning and my liver enzymes are the same..Yeah!!! The protein in my urine was actually a little better yesterday...which I didn't even know was possible, but I'll take it. Contractions are still at bay, thank goodness. Headaches have been gone for the most part as well. I sure would like to make it through this week without any of last week's dramas. I just don't know if my heart can take another emergency!

Dr. Tabor said he'll be doing another sono either this afternoon or in the morning. Unfortunately pre eclampsia doesn't just affect me. It can cause problems with the placentas, which can affect blood flow to the babies. So he's going to check them out and keep an eye on them. One thing is for sure, they have been incredibly active and rambunctious the past few days. Baby boy on the right has had the hiccups 3 times in the past two days! It's so fun to feel them move. Sometimes they really get going and it's like a wrestling match in my belly.

Monday, November 5, 2007

31 Weeks!

One more week down!

31 Weeks. Day 11 in the hospital. 7 days until week 32. Time may have actually slowed to a crawl. You know it's sad when I was disappointed about "falling back" because that meant an extra hour to endure! It wasn't that big of a deal, though, because I slept right through it. Someone magically came in and changed my clock in the middle of the night so I didn't even notice. Genius.

I had a good weekend with lots of visitors. I really appreciate everyone that stopped by to hang out for a little while. Mom and Dad, Rhonda, Allison, and Nana and Bob came by. Last week Mom, Rhonda, Mary Jo, and Grandmother came by as well. Today Mary, Kris, and Heather from work made the LONG haul to come see me. It was great to gossip and just hang out with the girls. Thanks so much for taking time to come see me and give me a much-needed break from the boredom! Also, thanks to everyone who has called to talk, it means so much to me to know ya'll are thinking about our family.

No big news to report, which is a GREAT thing! As of yesterday my liver enzymes had actually improved a little bit-yeah! I continue to have mild pre eclampsia, very inconsistent and high blood pressure, protein in my urine, and now am apparently developing a little fluid in my lungs...but I actually feel pretty good so I am not complaining. I was a little uncomfortable yesterday, I do have 3 babies in there after all, but it's just not that bad. I'm getting a cough which is annoying because my abdominal muscles are so stretched out they are practically non-existent. Ever tried to cough without using your abs...fairly difficult. BUT I'm still not ready to give up the fight! Those babies aren't ready yet and neither am I. I told Dr. Tabor this morning they needed AT LEAST one more week and he said we would be taking it day by day. The great news is that I have had absolutely no problems with contractions in several days.

So life is good in room 382! I thought I would leave ya'll with a list of the BEST things about being in the hospital on bed rest. It's not a bad life....

  • People send you flowers! I LOVE flowers...not going to lie. Thank you so much to Rhonda and Terry- Debbie, Eddie, Ross, and Rachel- and Keith for the beautiful arrangements you sent. They really make a difference! They are pretty to look at, they smell good, and the nurses come to visit me more to see them! I'm pretty lucky to get flowers just for lying around in bed, right? Have I mentioned how much I love flowers.
  • Adjustable, egg-crated, side-railed bed (aka my Cadillac bed). I didn't realize exactly how difficult maneuvering both in bed and off the couch had become until I got here. This bed is fantastic! The side rails help me turn and sit up. The egg crate keeps my butt from going numb as well as my hips and back from hurting. It does, however, leave funny imprints all over me...which slows down my daily stretch-mark hunting sessions. AND it adjusts. Not comfy in one position? You can change it with the simple push of a button... This is the sweet life.
  • Friendlier toilet. No more painful knee cracking! I can now get up off of the toilet without fear of permanent damage. AND...if I do happen to get stuck, help is just a push of a button away. I'm assuming they bring in a team of highly trained people to help you off...but hopefully I won't have to go there.
  • Excellent room service. While at home by myself during the day I would often get stuck on the couch thinking...."Man, I really wish I could have some _____, but it's just too hard to get up and get it." Problem solved. I have this magic little button that I push and then this magic little voice lights up my room and says "How can I help you". Wow, this must be what it's like to be rich. Ice, water, drinks, food, towels, you name it...it is just a button-push away. I also get fresh linens and my room cleaned daily. This is greatness.
  • Hospital food. That's right, I'm one of the bizarre people in the world that loves hospital food. It's pretty good here. I've had things like barbecued chicken, vegetable lasagna, turkey tetrazzini, great sandwiches, etc. Plus all the Shasta, saltines, juice, milk, and ice cream you could possibly need. AND the best snow cone ice ever, even better than Sonic.
  • My very own tub of Grandmother's spinach dip and Nana's chocolate pie. I left this for last because it is by far the best fringe benefit I have found so far. I am a princess. I get to sit around and eat yummy spinach dip and the very best chocolate pie EVER....I know all of you are jealous!

I also got to see the babies today. Dr. Tabor did a sono to check them out. They are so big and beautiful. They look even more cramped, but so am I. They will just have to deal with it, as will I. I can put up with it for as long as they will let me!

Saturday, November 3, 2007

One day at a time.

I'm beginning to think the goal of being in the hospital is to give me a heart attack. Yesterday was crazy and scary and gave me a good dose of how quickly things can change. But...good news...no babies just yet!

They ran my labs again this morning and there had been no significant changes. My liver is still acting crazy, but no more crazy than yesterday. It looks like they will just continue to check it. If it stays the same then they won't take the babies right now.

Alright, this is a super embarrassing subject but I'm going to tackle it anyway. Apparently my urine is a major topic of interest and concern around here. One indicator of pre eclampsia, which is where your body begins to become toxic, is protein in your urine. They test this by having you collect your urine for 24 hours...and they like to let everyone in the entire hospital know by writing "24 hour urine collection" right outside your door. That's not embarrassing. The levels are higher than last weeks, but not at dangerous levels.

So that's where we are. In some kind of weird limbo. I could last several days like this or they could decide to do a c-section tomorrow. I'm serious, this is enough to drive someone crazy. I think the statistics at this point are that each day they spend in me that is 2 days less they will spend in the neonatal intensive care unit. And of course all I can do is lay here and rest...and collect my urine. Good times.

So let's all start a silent chant...9 more days, 9 more days, 9 more days! That gets us to 32 weeks. I can live with 32 weeks. But until then it is just one day at a time. And each day seems to be slower than the next. Each day depends on how those tests come back. I have faith in my body. It has never failed me yet and I don't think it will now. It can hold strong for just a few more days, right?

Friday, November 2, 2007

30 weeks 4 days and counting

I haven't felt well with a headache and nausea the past day. Come to find out it's the ugly monster pre eclampsia. We are now walking a tight rope.

Dr. Tabor ran multiple tests this morning after he came to see me and my liver enzymes were high. He called me in my room about an hour later and told me we would most likely be delivering the babies today, pending the results of a few more tests. This was REALLY rough to hear. He re-ran my blood work 3 hours later and called to tell me that the levels stayed the same so they are closely monitoring me and taking it 12 hours at a time. So we have at least until tomorrow morning.

This is crazy. I can't even begin to tell ya'll the roller coaster that we've been on. I've been pretty doped up all day because of the medicine they're giving me for the headache/nausea. It makes things a little harder to process, as you can imagine.

Please pray that there are no changes for the worse. I'm just not ready to give them up yet. We made it through today, and will be facing the same thing tomorrow. I just want a few more days...