Changes Every Day : Contractions Begin

Many friends and family are aware that I had some contractions yesterday. At almost 17 weeks this is not something I expected. I’d been sick on Tuesday and although I did my best to keep food and fluids going, I just felt nauseated all morning. By the time the evening came around I was hungrier than I’ve ever been it seemed. I would eat and within 15 minutes I’d be starving again. I did my best to catch up on calories and rehydrate but I’m wondering if it had some effect on yesterday anyway. Nora was with friends both Tuesday and Wednesday (thank you!) so I could rest and yet as I left the house at 3pm to get her and head in for our flu shots, the contractions started. I called ahead and asked that the clinic have a wheel chair waiting for me but after 5 minutes of waiting and still no chair, I headed up to both of our appointments late. Taking it slow with a 2 year old is a difficult task! That said, Nora did great getting her flu shot and I was able to get a recommendation from the nurse practitioner. I was told to go home, rest and rehydrate as much as possible.

I was able to mostly rest again today. Nora had lots of new Christmas toys to keep her busy. I was swamped with work anyway so I spent most of the day on my laptop doing ad campaigns and product packaging.

That said I’ve had a few contractions again tonight. Now it’s nothing painful – just a tightness that I haven’t had before now. I don’t recall when Braxton Hicks are considered normal but considering nothing about this pregnancy is normal it still causes some alarm in my little brain.

We’d appreciate some prayers for things to continue to be ok as this evolves. I’m sure it will be the first of many specific requests from my direction and we thank you in advance for your support.

Triplets: First Trimester FOOD

As I said at the start of this blog journey, part of the reason I wanted to write was to help others who might be facing this challenge. I call it that because I think each trimester is going to have it’s own little list of joys and hardships. I personally had a hard time finding much information out on the web about what to expect and landed on a lot of blogs (some uplifting and some heartbreaking).

For the first trimester I found myself mostly looking for answers to the challenge of eating. FOOOD. What to eat, how much, how often and how to balance all of that when I’m experiencing no appetite, a queasy stomach, and no energy. I was told to expect being 2-3 times more tired, sick and big with triplets. So far that’s been true. Even so, I didn’t puke once during the first trimester. I didn’t get sick with my first pregnancy so I was prepared for the worst. Even without puking, I felt horrid. I remember feeling “hungry-sick” with my first pregnancy. That’s the only way I can describe it. But this time around it was magnified to a point that I never expected. The further along I got the worse it got – to the point where I was literally blacking out on the kitchen floor as I was going to grab food.

SO : I asked for help! I went to a health professional at the clinic to get some food/diet/calorie suggestions and talked to a great friend for advice as well. Both had some wonderful suggestions. I was told that my average calorie intake should increase by 300 calories PER baby. That put me at 2900 calories!!! I started taking notes and counting calories and felt as if it was one of the only things I could actually control to help these babies and myself. Yet it seemed impossible. I know – it’s odd to hear that eating MORE calories was a challenge, but when you feel like crud and don’t have the energy to actually make anything for yourself it was really hard. High calorie sweets weren’t top of my list of choices because I wasn’t craving them at all and I didn’t feel it was a healthy choice. They actually made me feel worse if I did eat them. It’s still a challenge today at 17 weeks and I imagine it will continue. My only advantage today is I have a bit more energy to make things and respond to that hungry feeling.

Things I did to increase my calories while still attempting to eat healthy food: Whole milk (although I was warned it could slow down digestion – which was already a problem), real butter, oatmeal (made with milk instead of water), protein before bed and first thing in the morning (I was SO tired of string cheese and peanut butter but it works), carnation instant breakfast (I still have this along with toast every morning BEFORE I get out of bed and found if I didn’t do this I’d pass out), greek yogurt (I had a really hard time finding one that I liked but I kept searching til I did [love yoplait and chobani] and put granola on it when I had a hard time gagging on food), bananas, spinach with egg and cheese on a bagel, “protein pancakes” (you’ll have to ask my sis-in-law for this recipe – she made them for me and froze them for a quick meal/snack), protein powder or powdered milk added to shakes or oatmeal, shakes shakes shakes (these helped pound down a ton of calories while soothing my tummy at the same time), ice cream, granola/breakfast bars, trail mix, pasta with chicken and white sauce (hamburger and red sauce made me sick), cold chicken as a snack, Fiber One cereal, granola. Anything that you can have on hand for an instant snack or carry along with you is a good thing to stock up on. I gave up on the calorie counting after a very short time because it was nearly impossible to keep track of and I just couldn’t balance it. I needed to focus more on the protein and constant small meals instead of the calories and knew that whenever I had a chance to add calories I did. I focused on at least 3 full glasses of milk a day.

I went to my first OB appointment feeling like I had an ok handle on things but she surprised me when she commented on my weight gain. I was right within the goal of the health professional from the clinic but my OB said that the recommendations from her perspective were different. She’d rather see me gain 1-2 pounds a week. This especially rotated around the fact that I gained a massive amount of fluid with my first pregnancy (I gained a total of 70+ pounds and lost 35 pounds of water weight in 6 days! I was back to my pre-pregnancy weight within 4-6 months). I immediately changed to 2% milk and felt like my digestion was better as a result. I focused less on adding calories and more on eating a well-rounded, high-protein diet that kept me full and feeling ok. By my next appointment a few weeks later my weight goals were back on track.

More quick advice: Ask for help! If family and friends are willing to make some small portioned freezer meals or a batch of soup for you – accept it graciously! If people ask how they can help in those early weeks – this is a great place to start. Having something quick that you can grab and eat immediately makes all the difference. Next: Listen to your body immediately. If you feel that you are getting hungry act immediately. I got into trouble several times with this. Typically people can either ignore that feeling until a meal time comes around or can hold off til dinner by having a small snack. Well this wasn’t the case for me. Having a toddler in the house made this especially challenging for me as I was used to eating mini meals with her and functioning fine on that. Now I had to strategically plan a second lunch after she went to take a nap so my daughter wasn’t eating all day along with me. Same applied for bedtime. I’d eat again immediately after she went to bed. Have food with you at ALL times.

Letrozole and “multiple gestations”

I was digging through piles of papers today and decided to trash the folder from the reproductive endocrinologist (hoooray!). I flipped to the page titled “Possible Complications of Treatment” where the subhead “Multiple Gestations” is listed. (this was after I tossed the book from March of Dimes that also listed multiples as a “the most serious problem that fertility treatment can cause.”

I was curious what the specialist had to say about this in his info packet. Our OB told me that I was the first multiple Letrozole pregnancy in the clinic that I go to (this is the medication I took to create multiple, healthy follicles).

His papers say this: “The multiple gestation rates with Letrozole are approximately 6-8%. This usually results in twins. It is extremely rare for triplets or quadruplets as a result of Letrozole induction.” If I remember correctly they told us that the general public has a 3-5% chance of multiples and he stressed that it wasn’t increased by that much.

I guess my mind sort of flips around a lot of these terms. I certainly don’t take the seriousness of any of this lightly. I’m likely more aware of the fears than most because I’m living this and it’s my body and my children/family at risk here. Yet if I’m going to get through all of this with some hope I need to see the positive as well and it sure is hard when the medical world lists multiples as a “complication” or “serious problem.” It’s hard to digest. The perinatologist made these risks as clear as she could without going into the post-delivery risks to the babies (I’m sure we’ll have that conversation another day).

That said I’m very blessed to have an OB who is supportive and optimistic and is treating this as a joyful pregnancy and children which we’ve hoped and prayed about for years. We’ve invested countless dollars (b/c let’s face it those numbers are too scary to count at this point, it’s easier to just send the checks every month and keep plowing ahead). I’ve endured painful tests and procedures and pumped my body full of medications that have paperwork and signatures that include pages of complications and risks. And yet here we are with the possibility of a family of six when we were so close to giving up that hope and accepting a family of three.

We’re thankful in the midst of fears of these “risks” and continue to thank you for your prayers as we continue this journey.

Wiggles

Status

I can feel baby B and C move quite often. In fact this weekend baby B did a total flip and it felt SO strange. Baby C must have had a bit more room b/c suddenly I didn’t have pressure on my left rib/lung any longer. Thank you baby B. I rarely feel baby A though. I tell myself it’s because he/she is so low near my cervix. Maybe he/she just isn’t as active as the others. But I’ll be honest that there are moments of fear that maybe something is wrong. I imagine this is a very real and normal fear with any mother who doesn’t feel her baby move at one point or another. So many parts of this journey have been, and will continue to be this way. Focus on the positive. Enjoy the little things and cling to them in hope and trust that all is ok. But in reality there are indeed very real moments of pure fear that overwhelm my heart for the future of these three miracles. I pray that you’re all ok, strong, healthy, growing … with hope for an amazing future with you all. Oh please be ok baby A.

Thankful

Today I’m thankful for so many things. Here are a few of the odd ones that I’m trying so hard to think about and keep in perspective with the months ahead.

  • I can roll over in bed.
  • I’m not peeing nearly as often at night.
  • There are actually days this week that I’ve forgotten that I’m pregnant which is really something to say considering how I’ve felt for the last few months. Also something to say considering the size of my belly but these stretchy top pants are doing the job.
  • I had the amazing opportunity to see my babies a TON thanks to Lake Superior College’s volunteer program for the ultrasound class.
  • I don’t think of my cervix daily yet.
  • I can eat again for the most part.
  • I have energy for a good portion of the day!
  • My back is starting to ache a little but it’s not slowing me down yet.
  • Nora converted to a big girl bed very easily making it possible to put her to bed myself still.
  • The bleeding was nothing to worry about.
  • I can feel them move – but it doesn’t hurt or keep me awake.
  • I can tie my shoes and put on socks.
  • I don’t have room for a full meal but I can mostly enjoy food again. (when I do I don’t have to stress about too many calories!)
  • I sleep in my own bed at night – next to the man I love.
  • I have an amazing circle of family and friends who have shown support through every step of this journey (before and after pregnancy).
  • They’re safe and sound where they need to be right now.
  • God is in control.