Oh, This Is Us, You Get Me Every Time…

I didn’t want to watch.  I’ve had 3 episodes on my DVR since November: Number One, Number Two and Number Three.  I went from a person who couldn’t wait to have a night alone to watch and cry along with the Pearson’s, to a person who was scared to watch because I was afraid I’d cry too much.  I saw in the previews that Kate was going to suffer a miscarriage.  I couldn’t do it.  I couldn’t watch someone else go through that.  I’ve been there.  And this show just has a way of portraying emotions in such a real, raw, honest way, that it’s impossible not to feel all the feels along with the characters.

Yet, here I am.  10:50am, sitting on my bed trying to make a Christmas music playlist, fighting back tears.  I fully prepared for the event.  I have a venti caffe latte by my side.  That was my defense against the feelings.  I thought I could watch the show without becoming upset.  I thought that a latte and Christmas music would negate the sensitive subject matter.  Wrong!  This show breaks down any defenses!

However, I have to leave to pick up my kids from school soon, and I find myself anxious to get to them and hug all of them.  I find myself sad for loss, but thankful for what I was given.  I can’t wait to see those smiling faces and listen to them tell me about their school day.  And hug them super tightly.

So thanks, This is Us, for making me feel all the feels.

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24 Week Routine Doctor Appointment, or So I Thought

Well, it had to be going too well to be true. We went yesterday (Wednesday) for our biweekly appointment at the doctor, and I never left! First of all, the tech scanned the babies and measured their growth. They are all still measuring ahead, and weigh over a pound and a half each! Good news! Then she did the usual cervix check. Unfortunately it had shortened by roughly a centimeter. Bad news! She called the doctor in and he said we had to go upstairs for monitoring. To me, that meant lets go upstairs to put you on a monitor for contractions for like an hour and then you can go home. I haven’t been having any contractions, and felt fine! Little did I know that I was getting admitted and I’d at least be staying overnight.

I was so bummed! Today we were supposed to celebrate viability, when the quads had a chance of survival if born, and where they would give me meds to stop labor Nd steroid shots for the babies. We had a great plan of bringing home dinner, along with an ice cream cake decorated with a big 24 on it. That plan went out the window!

Once I was in my room upstairs, I got all dolled up in a beautiful, ill-fitting hospital gown and hooked up to a monitor. Turns out I was having contractions every three minutes! I didn’t even feel some of them, and didn’t realize that what I did feel was a contraction! I’d been having them here and there over the last month or so, and just thought it was pressure from having four babies crammed in there. So two different doctors came in and did two separate checks of my cervix. I was 1cm dilated, but he said that could be from already having a baby. What he didn’t tell me until later was that my cervix was now soft and that with the shortening and the contractions was a cause for concern.

He had me drink a couple pitchers of water but that didn’t help. All it did was make me have to disconnect the monitor every 20 minutes to go pee! So then I got an IV for fluids and a catheter so I wouldn’t have to get up constantly! I also got a 10mg pill of Procardia, a medication to stop contractions. That pill sucked – it gave me such heartburn! Then I got a lovely, excruciating steroid shot in my rear to help the babies’ lungs develop. I so despise getting stuck everywhere! But we did have some good movies to watch – The Sweetest Thing, She’s All That,

By this time it was 730pm and I was starving but not allowed to eat until the contractions spaced out more. I’d had only a protein bar at 330pm and just a small lunch at noon before that! You can’t deprive a pregnant lady of food for so long! Brian left around nine, and finally at 930pm I got another Procardia because the first one wasn’t working, and they told me I could eat. The nurse said she would try to hunt me down a dinner tray. In the meantime I had a snack I had in my bag and finally got dinner at 1040pm. It was actually pretty good! Baked chicken, roasted red potatoes and green beans.

Luckily after that second pill the contractions slowed and stopped eventually. At 145am I got another Procardia pill and they took me off the monitor and told me they were going to move me out of the triage L&D department to the antepartum area. At 330am I got to move to a postpartum room because the other section is being renovated. It’s a nice room! Not huge but decorated like a hotel and a great view of the park across the street. I put in my order for meals for the next day, which was so much fun. I went nuts! The nurse told me I could pick anything and everything I want. So I ordered two meals and two desserts for each meal. I’d rather have too much! I also had to order tv, which is ridiculous! Six bucks to activate and and $6.50 a day, but there was no way I was going to be without tv, even for a day. That sounds sad, but I was glad I got it, because I slept a half an hour from that point on.

At 615am I got another Procardia, and the attending doctor came in. He was happy my contractions had stopped, and said I would get a second steroid shot at 730 tonight, then he would ask my doctor if I could go home after that. I was so relieved, and had my hopes up until my doctor came in at 8am and told me since my cervix was soft I’d have to stay here for at least a week. I’d get the Procardia every six hours, more steroid shots and monitoring for contractions twice a day. The only good thing was that I could be taken off the IV and have the catheter removed. I was so deflated, and felt ready to lose it. A whole week? One day away from my son was too much. That was the worst part for me, being away from my son. For some reason I wasn’t worried about the quads, just my son.

I was so happy when my husband brought him to visit at 10 this morning. t first he was weirded out by the machines and stuff, but soon we were cuddling on the couch sugaring a snack and some Bubble Guppies. I am so thankful that my husband went into work last night until 2am so he could be home today with our son.

So today I’ve been monitoring my urination (fun) because my doctor thinks I’m peeing too much too often. Not sure what that means, other than I’m drinking a ton! I didn’t have contractions during monitoring this morning, but before lunch I had some. Luckily they were mild and spaced out where there wasn’t too many. It’s 330pm and I just keep thinking about that dreaded steroid shot tonight and watching my beloved tv. No good movies like yesterday, but it passes the time!

I’ll try to update every day so the posts don’t get as long as this one. Please just keep my family in your thoughts and hopefully I’ll be home soon!

In the Beginning Part III: Making the Choice to Keep All Four

Obviously we had two major options:  reduce to two, or try for all four.  We decided to talk to a high risk OB about both choices.  We had googled it of course, and read some birth statistics on quadruplets, but we wanted to hear it from a doctor.  I knew I wanted to have them at St. Peter’s.  It’s the best and closest place in the area for multiples.  So  I called them to make an appointment, and they said I could either continue seeing my OB and have them consult (I didn’t like this option because of course my regular OB just closed his practice), or if we could prove we are high risk, we could be seen as a direct patient of the hospital.  My response was, “well, I’m carrying four babies.  Does that qualify me?”  The lady on the phone laughed and said, “oh wow, I’m sure that does!” She took some information and I had my ultrasound report from the infertility doctor sent over to prove I had quadruplets.  I got a call the very next morning with an appointment already scheduled! 

We went for our appointment, and it seemed most of the ladies in the Maternal Fetal Medicine department were excited to meet us!!  Apparently quadruplets aren’t that common around there.  Triplets, they said, are pretty commonplace for them, but quads are more rare!  We learned that in the last 12 years or so they’ve seen two sets of quadruplets.  Our doctor said what usually happens is couples who start out with four usually lose one.  At that point I hoped that would happen to us too! 

We had our ultrasound and sure enough, still four healthy babies measuring ahead and all with strong heartbeats.  We then went in to meet the doctor who would be our main doctor throughout the pregnancy.  He was very nice, but didn’t really have a lot of information to give us about both of our options.  Given that it’s a Catholic affiliated hospital, I guess we should have known he wouldn’t want to talk much about reducing.  He acknowledged it as an option and referred us to a couple of doctors who specialize in reduction.  So pretty much, we left there in the same state as we went in: unable to make a decision.

I talked to my best friend about our dilemma and her opinion was basically, no way you can have four babies!  She voiced my deepest concerns: having one or more babies with disabilities, and having four babies would literally put me under house arrest for years.  She referred me to some research done by a pioneer doctor in reduction, and I did my own searching on the topic.  I learned that reducing does give the remaining babies a better chance at survival, and interestingly, that we could possibly pick which babies are reduced based on any health issues, and even gender.  That part intrigued me.  To be able to reduce a baby with issues, or one that wasn’t growing as fast would be a good thing.  To reduce based on gender was tempting because we wanted more boys!  Deep down it felt a little wrong to be able to do that, but if the option was there, I think I would take it.  Still, I didn’t know what we were going to do.

We thought it would be best to get a second opinion from another doctor in the area, not religiously affiliated.  After scouring the internet once more, I found a doctor in the area who was highly recommended.  A week or two later we met with him.  In a nutshell, he told us to reduce.  He said it would give the two remaining babies better odds for survival without issues.  At the same time, he also told us that based on the fact that all the babies were the same size, measuring on or ahead of schedule and had similar strong heartbeats, that they did not have any chromosomal abnormalities.  They were all typical little babies growing at this point.

Walking out of there, I thought about how I went in there.  I was so sure that meeting with this doctor would convince my husband that reduction was the best path.  Brian and I talked on the way home, going back and forth about what we should do.  More and more doubt was growing in my head about whether reduction really was the best option for us.  For the first time, it really made me sad and teary-eyed to think of reducing two of these perfectly healthy babies. How do you choose?  How could you terminate a baby that has nothing wrong with it? 

          We arrived home and went next door to the in-law’s.  We talked it out with them.  They basically said they would not give us an opinion either way in the matter, but they did help us to think it out.  We wanted to make sure we were thinking of everything related to this decision.  I also called my parents and spoke to them about our decision because they always help me to get a grip on a tough choice and give me good things to think about. 

          Ultimately, after talking to my parents, and talking it through with Brian’s parents, a decision became clear.  As we were winding down the discussion, I realized that it sounded like we had already made our decision.  We could not bear to reduce any of these babies.  We thought about going to meet with a doctor in the city who specializes in reduction, but when it came down to it, we could not go through with it.  For better or worse, we were going to have these four babies!

          Instantly I felt a weight lifted off my shoulders.  My mother-in-law even said she could see the change in me.  My frame of mind shifted from depression and agonizing, to acceptance and peace.  Our family and close friend were all in support of our decision.  No one wanted to say it, but they all wanted us to keep the babies.  Not that their opinions would have affected our choice, but it sure did make it easier to have their full support.  Then I knew there was no turning back.  We didn’t want to deal with the decision making anymore.  We just wanted to now move forward to the next phase of this journey:  preparation!!!!!

5 1/2 month Belly Picture

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By request, here is a new belly pic! I’m 22 weeks now, and hoping to go at least ten more. Can’t imagine how big I’ll get! At this point, I’ve put about the same amount of weight that I put on when I was pregnant with my son. I’ll have my work cut out for me to take it off! But aside from the sciatica pain and being easily tired, I’m feeling good and ready to make a run at 32 weeks! Keep your fingers crossed for me and these babies!

22 Week Doctor Appointment

Today we had our latest doctor appointment. We are 22 weeks, and doing great still! No change with my cervix which is awesome, and all the babies have good heartbeats and are doing well. They didn’t do growth today, just finished measuring the things they couldn’t see at the anatomy scan. Apparently my girl B is stubborn and they had to look at her heart and feet. But it wasn’t entirely her fault; one of her brothers was smooshing her. Luckily the doctor was able to see both today. Unfortunately I don’t know how big they are or what they weigh, which I was really looking forward to finding out, but we will see that in two weeks at our next appointment.
All in all the doctor is happy with how things are going, and we are all just hoping it continues on this way! I keep telling the babies I want them to stay in there for at least ten more weeks. We will see how well they cooperate!

Another hurdle we made it over!

I got the results for my glucose test.  I was so nervous to find out about this because Brian’s been on my case about my sugar intake.  I can’t help it – I love my Dunkin Donuts, my gummi bears and my desserts!  So I was completely relieved when the nurse said my level was 111, well within normal range.  She said it should be between 65 and 139 so we’re doing good!  It turns out being pregnant with multiples makes me more susceptible to getting gestational diabetes though, so I will have to test again a little further on in pregnancy.  When she said that, I asked her if I would be ok if I just kept eating what I’m eating, and she said absolutely…thank goodness!  It seemed like basically, if I was going to get it, I’d get it.  So unless I make a drastic change to my diet and live solely on donuts and candy, there’s nothing I can do to make myself diabetic.  What a relief!  Especially since Brian promised me that if I passed, he’d stay off my back about my diet 🙂

More Organization: Insurance Binder

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I’m so proud! Check something else off the list! I had a file folder of EOBs, doctor bills and receipts that was just overflowing. It was driving me crazy! I had no idea what we really owed, and it took me forever to find the claims I needed for our insurance dispute. I searched around on the Internet for a system, but found nothing I really liked.
I finally came up with this idea, and the motivation to put it into place. I got a huge 3″ binder and a pack of 8 dividers that were wide. I also picked up a set of 8 dividers that were a little narrower than those. Each member of the family gets one section, which I neatly labeled with my handy dandy labeler (best birthday present ever!) In each section I used two more dividers for Unresolved Claims and Resolved Claims. I hole-punched the whole stack of papers and sorted them out into the proper sections. Multiple papers for the same claim/issue were paper clipped or binder clipped together so I could keep them together. It’s all in chronological order, which makes me happy 🙂
I feel so good and relieved getting that done! I know I’ll have tons more papers throughout this pregnancy, and the quads will when they arrive. Now that I have a system in place, I can just sort and file, and hopefully keep some sanity (as long as I don’t look at the amount of the hospital bills!)