24 Weeks 2 Days

I keep trying to remind myself that this is a marathon and not a sprint, but I honest think at this point, most pregnant with triplets would be willing the time to go faster (and without complications). I had two bouts of heavy contractions over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. Thursday (of course I had to bother the doctor on the holiday itself) and then on Saturday. I was so grateful that the Procardia kicked in and I didn't have to go to the hospital for poking and prodding!

At this morning's doctor visit all three babies had great heartbeats and I was measuring at about 8 months pregnant. We have reached viability which is crucial though I still want my girls to continue baking for a while longer. I also had my steroid shots over the weekend so their lungs will start to develop more rapidly, just in case they decide to come early. Fingers crossed that they don't!

In the beginning, maybe my second MFM visit, the doctor said the first goal would be 20 weeks, then 24 weeks, then 28 weeks. It feels great to be onto the third goal already. I felt that time had been going  by so slowly, but now I feel that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. After some praying and soul-searching, it seems I have come to a point where I feel strong enough to do this and am trying not to give into the fears and worries that creep into my mind daily.

This experience has prepared me for the idea that parenting will never be worry free (not that I ever believed that it could be). That each day will bring new and different worries and it is our choice as parents to decide what to really worry about and what to let go. I am doing my best to let go of some of the worries I have about the girls for right now. There is nothing I can do to control things. I just have to be strong for them, take care of myself and stay on bed rest (as difficult as it is sometimes to literally sit on the computer all day and not move from the couch).

I think of all the women who had to be on hospital bed rest and I feel for them. I think it must be so much more difficult to be in a hospital bed 24/7 than able to move from couch to bed and see my husband and dogs daily. Just to not even be able to be in your own environment must be difficult. I am glad (and lucky) that I am not that point yet. My doctors have reminded me that it could still be a possibility, but for now, I am quite content here at home on bed rest (at least today).


23 Weeks

I barely made it into 23 weeks before I was back in the hospital. It started Friday with contractions and I would say that I have probably been having contractions for awhile. Nothing changing my cervix, but still contractions none the less. After the first L&D stay, it was pretty clear that I had an irritable uterus, but yesterday's contractions were much stronger than I had previously felt.

Saturday was my baby shower. My mom thought she would do it earlier since we didn't know where I would be at later in the pregnancy. I am superstitious, but have been trying not to be. My big thing since starting treatments and finally being blessed with three baby girls, is to not be too cocky. God is in control. Well, I refuse to open anything from the shower (not unwrap, but actually open), because I really don't want to jinx anything or get too cocky. I don't want to open and assemble any cribs or anything else. I'm too nervous that it means I'm getting too cocky.

The shower was beautiful and it was so nice to see so many people come out for my girls, my family, for me. We received so many beautiful, wonderful gifts and our girls are spoiled already. We are truly blessed.

After the shower, I was exhausted, but I couldn't sleep at all. I stayed up tossing and turning until 2:45 am and then finally fell asleep, only to wake up at 7:00 am. I took it easy on Sunday and literally did nothing, but lay on the couch and watch TV. By 5:00 pm my contractions were getting stronger and there were more of them. I called the doctor, but he just said to call the office in the morning and set up an appointment to come in, unless that is, you have 6 contractions in an hour or less. By 5:44 pm I had had my sixth and I was calling the doctor again. Within minutes we were driving to the hospital and I was nervous. My husband was even more so and even though we are best friends, we do so badly when both of us are freaked out about the same thing.

Hospitals are scary, but labor and delivery nurses (in my very limited experience) are very pleasant and helpful people. They do a good job of calming your nerves, while also being honest and informative. I don't like being a pain, but they always say that it's better to come in and nothing be wrong then not to come in at all. I believe them (halfway), but still end up feeling like such a pain when I leave.

Last night I was glad that I called and went to the hospital. They were able to stop the contractions with some type of asthma medicine (it began with a "B", but for the life of me, I can't remember). I only needed one dose to get rid of the very strong ones. My FFN test came back negative and my cervix was closed and still over 4 cm, so all of that was positive. I was sent home.

I woke up ready to follow-up with the OB as told, but ended up having some spotting first thing. I was so freaked out by that and panicked immediately. After seeing the OB this morning, they determined that the spotting was most likely due to the pelvic exam I had at the hospital last night.

I hate bleeding. It's just one of the worst things that can happen while you are pregnant. I know it is so common, but I just cannot stand it. It freaks me out more than anything else. If you have ever had a miscarriage, bleeding can always feel like the beginning of the end. It was hard to just have a regular period after. I think from now on, it will always make me feel like something is wrong.

My OB also put me on Procardia to help minimize my contractions, which they said were just because I was pregnant with triplets and measuring at 36 weeks, even though I am only 23. It is "normal" for a triplet pregnancy to experience contractions and the Procardia will just keep them at bay, hopefully.

We are also having two days of steroid shots this week, once we are 24 weeks. Saturday and Sunday we will go to the hospital to receive them. They will hopefully jump start the girls' lung development and hopefully make them stronger, just in case we have to deliver earlier than we would like to.

The ultimate goal is to make it to 30+ weeks, but my short term goals are to make it to 24 weeks and then from there make it to 28 weeks. It sounds and feels so far away, but I am hoping that I will be able to pass the time quickly with work and non-stressful things like TV and reading.

I pray for my girls to continue growing and for the strength my body needs to continue to hold them in there. I still don't understand how anyone could say they "loved" being pregnant. It just seems crazy to me at this point.


22 Weeks

I am coming to the end of my 22nd week of being pregnant with triplet girls. Our lives have changed so much since finding out we were pregnant, to finding out it was triplets, to finding out it was three girls and I am grateful and happy for the opportunity to continue to have our lives change over and over again. My husband and I have this inside joke where we say (very dramatically I might add) "I never thought it would happen". It did not arise from our struggles getting pregnant at all, but we have used it time and time again. Just in this instance when we say it, it's true. We never thought we would be here, never thought we would have made it these far, or have this wonderful opportunity. For us it is an opportunity. A true blessing (or three) from God. And not for one second do we take it for granted. We are two of the lucky ones.

At this point in the pregnancy, the goal is 24 weeks. After 24 weeks the goal is 28 weeks. After 28 weeks the goal is 32 weeks. And it keeps going. Throughout a pregnancy, especially of a person who has had trouble getting pregnant or has had losses, there are these goals or milestones as the doctors call them. You are trying to reach 12 weeks for so long to be in the safe zone. The safe zone is actually so much farther away with triplets. I guess, I never took the time to realize that until this week. Time has slowed in these past two weeks trying to get to the 24 week goal. Perhaps it is because I am now on bed rest (precautionary) and have far too much time on hands (work gets done much faster from home because there are so many less distractions!). Or perhaps it is because during week 21, I spent a few hours in Labor and Delivery because I felt "weird".

At this week's OB visit the doctor prescribed "Positive Thinking" so that is what I am going to do. Try to remain positive for these next several weeks (it better be several), even though it goes against all the "What ifs" in my blood. I understand the importance of it. It's just so difficult to do.

I ask God for the peace and strength to remain positive. And when all else fails I sing the song that plays on the Billy Big Mouth Bass in our garage..."Don't worry, be happy."


how did i get here?

Have you ever asked yourself, "How did I get here?"?

I actually never thought I would be in this situation. I had resigned myself to the fact that something would go horribly wrong. I haven't posted because I was using all of my strength to ensure that I stayed positive. It's sometimes more difficult to stay positive when you can write anything you want.

I stayed positive. I prayed and went to church, something I wasn't inclined to do before this whole journey began.

And now I have wonderful and exciting and terrible and scary news. All my fighting and praying and OCD obsession with the number 3 and here I am pregnant with triplets. 6w4d. All three had heartbeats. All three up on that screen and the doctor was not happy.

The risks are great. The risks are so great that I had to make a specialist appointment immediately following the ultrasound. I ruined that moment for my husband. That moment where he could scream at the top of his lungs that this had finally worked and we were having babies!!! I was absolutely distraught and scared and angry at myself. I was all that before I was happy.

I do not know what the future holds for us at this point in time, but I chose to be elated. The rest of this will all work itself out...right? I change my mind minute to minute as to how we will proceed.

The Talking Heads said, "You may ask yourself, am I right, am I wrong? You may say to yourself, my god, what have I done?"


it all comes down to nothing

Maybe you have heard the saying that science can only go so far and then it is up to God. I have been reawakened spiritually lately and feel that that statement is rather important to my matters at hand.

Science is up against me. It is not my friend. Never has been, never will be.

When the doctor said you don't have a fertility problem, it's your husband, I was shocked. It had to be me. I mean in my life there has never been a time when it wasn't me. It seemed too good to be true, but I was elated. Our chances were much better because the problem didn't have to do with me.

I spoke too soon. I should have known better. Science is not my friend. I was first a miscarrier, then a poor responder, then a pre-menopausal 29 year old. Our odds went from 65% to less than 15% in a matter of months.

I started to become a health nut in between IVF cycles. I am doing a ton of nutritional things, but also walking. I walk a lot. It's a great stress relief and some quiet time just to me.

So I was walking the afternoon after hearing about our "odds" from the doctor. I was contemplating so many things. Donor eggs and adoption, but none of the options seem right for me right now. I just didn't feel ready to give up and at the same time didn't feel ready to keep going either. It was difficult. All of this and the cycle wasn't even over yet...I hadn't even had my retrieval.

So I'm walking and that saying, "Science can only go so far. After that it's God." popped into my head. How apropos? I told my husband the saying, leaving out the God because God doesn't sit so easy with him, I forget what I replaced it with, but I implied some greater being. He said you're right. They don't know everything.

Science isn't my friend. But odds, odds I can work with...especially if I got God on my side.

So I have hope and I dream. I name my children (there are potentially three inside right now, but I have only gotten around to dreaming about one...afterall I don't want to be greedy). I paint their bedroom and pick out clothes in my mind. It's a nice dream.

Dave Matthews sings, "It all comes down to nothing...we can't do a thing." I have my beta on Monday, but I've made it that far already. Still, I can hope and pray and dream some more. I have God on my side whichever way it goes. There is a reason for the journey.

It all comes down to nothing and there are miles to go before we sleep.


in between dreams

The period of time between growing as many follicles as possible and having as many beautiful embryos as allowed placed back inside is very much akin to banging one's head against the wall several times. What are you doing?

When you are growing your follicles, you have doctor visits nearly every morning, blood is drawn, ultrasounds are completed, judging of the fellow waiting room inhabitants commences. For me this time around was much more relaxing. The nurses and office staff knew me by name, not because I am a pain (at least I don't think), but because, honestly, I think they have the toughest jobs in the world and I am extra sugary sweet nice to them. Think about it, they have to deal with women all day everyday, on top of that, the women are hormonally-crazed...it cannot be easy. But I digress...

You are there nearly everyday with something to do. A purpose. For me it always made the day go faster because by the time I got to work I had so much catching up to do. It was a routine.

After the trigger shot things change. Instead of having blood work and an ultrasound you just have the blood work. There are no more medicines to take at night because you aren't supposed to take anything yet. The shots for that period of time are done. It's strange and odd and you feel like you are forgetting something.

After the egg retrieval (ER for those not so "in the know") you begin new shots. This time in the morning, with a MUCH larger needle. These shots need to be administered by Mike (my husband) because I would probably break the needle off in my ass if I had to do it myself (I am a bit of klutz, you see). These shots interrupt (at least for me) the only time I have that I am not consciously thinking about IVF, babies, pregnancy, or the like. Even if it is Saturday, you have to wake up at the same time you did all week to administer the shot.

The two week wait that everyone talks about is hellish. You are constantly analyzing your body, every twinge, bout of nausea, breast pain, etc. It is the kind of torturous hell I would not wish on a soul. You waiver between "This worked" and "This didn't work". And honestly, it doesn't really matter if it did at that point because there are many more weeks before you are "in the clear", if ever. But at that moment in time, you do not know of those days. You can only think of finding out you are pregnant.

Hellish as it is, the two week wait is not why I wrote this post. I wrote this post about the time in between ER and ET (egg transfer for you laymen). The time in between the dreams of growing follicles and becoming pregnant. The space where there are no doctors visits, no mixing of medications, no distractions.

During this time you worry about your embryos. Are they growing? Are they growing at the right speed? When the embryologist says 3, 8-cell embryos that are ideal does she mean that this is going to work? When the embryologist says we should have 1 hopefully 2 to transfer on Thursday does she mean that she is not expecting there to be 2? It is the time where you really are completely disconnected from your prospective child(ren), as well as the entire process of getting pregnant. You are not housing your eggs, or your embryos. You are as far away from them as is possible. There are no visitation rights.

This time for me has always been the worst.

Jack Johnson sings, "We're just human, amusing, but confusing. But the truth is, all we got is questions. We'll never know."

Infertility is full of questions, and not so many answers. It full of amazement, but no truth. What works for one may not work for another. We put faith in our doctors and nurses, in God, in ourselves (at least some of the time), but we don't really know anything for sure.

Life is funny that way. The moments of uncertainty, for me, seem to always remain in between dreams...that's why those damn progesterone shots suck.


what would you ask if you had just one question?

Is part of being on this Earth to question and understand all the things around you? I have never particularly believed in one religion over another. I was raised Catholic and completed my sacraments to date, but I would not say that I aligned myself with the Church.

As a child, in CCD, they taught that you should love God above all others. It confused me terribly. How could I love God, whom I had never met, over my parents who I loved so deeply and truly? I asked my mother who tried to explain, and stated matter-of-factly, that I couldn't do that. It just wasn't possible for me to love anything more than I loved them. I had made a choice.

As an adult, I still love my parents truly and deeply. They are cornerstones to my life and without them, I really do not know who or what I would be today. However, meeting my husband, I found a love that could not compete with the love that I feel for them. The way that I feel about Mike is not even something that I can describe in words, only to say that I have never been as good a person as he makes me want to be. I sometimes feel as though my entire body will explode if I let it. The love I feel for my husband is powerful and can knock down walls. It is strong and can overcome obstacles that I didn't think were surmountable. It is and will always be my barometer for life. Without him, I think I would fade into nothingness. It is impossible to imagine a life that does not include him in it.

When I got pregnant the first time, I felt the love for a child. Something that I could not describe to you in words, only to say that I felt a peaceful, unconditional love that nothing could destroy. It was tranquil and untouched by the world. It was new and completely different from any other love I have felt. It was pure.

Doctors and nurses have said many things this week. It has been difficult. I have cried. I have cried in front of people. I have felt defeated. Most of all, I have been angry at God. I have asked myself a ton of questions, but have not prayed to Him directly or asked Him anything. I don't know if it is that I cannot bring myself to do it or if it is not something I am capable of doing. The relationship I have with Him is strained. And in a way, it always has been. We have differing opinions on things and sometimes it feels as though that isn't OK.

I am an incredibly spiritual person. I have a ton of ideas about how I should believe in God, and powers greater than myself. I am waiting for some kind of sign to show me how I should move forward, what my attitude should be, and I just can't seem to find it. There are so many variables.

I am looking for the right words to say to Him. I can't seem to find them. I can't seem to get to a place where I know how to approach this. Where I know exactly the right words to say. Exactly the right decision to make.

Joan Osbourne sang, "If God had a name, what would it be and would you call it to his face, if you were faced with him in all his glory? What would you ask if you had just one question?"

I think my question is why, but I am not sure I am supposed to know.


all aboard! ha ha ha ha ha ha haaaa!

On Tuesday, I started my second IVF cycle. Up until Tuesday, I felt pretty calm. I had been focusing my time and energy on getting healthy and exercising. I had stopped obsessing with infertility and the like, I haven't even blogged about it because there just didn't seem a point in drawing attention to the fact that I couldn't get pregnant. I felt calm and reserved. I felt ready to start a new cycle without feeling overwhelming dread, fear, unwittingly trying to not get my hopes up, but actually getting my hopes up (let's face it...if it doesn't work, it hurts, there is no way around it, no way to protect yourself). All that changed today.

I went in for my second round of bloodwork and ultrasounds. I had taken meds for three days. I really didn't feel overwhelmed or nervous, I just felt like me. Then I got the call that my numbers didn't really increase and the nurse then said, "Don't worry, it's still very early." It's nearly impossible to tell a woman who is going through infertility treatments not to worry. Isn't that what this process is supposed to teach you, how to worry? And if you already know how, you are supposed to hone your skills. I'm working on my Ph.D.

So now I'm worried. Now I'm checking BabyCenter.com. I am posting and obsessively checking my email to see if someone has responded. (No one has.) It sounds crazy...it is crazy, but how do you control it? I don't think I will ever know.

I'm going off the rails on a crazy train...


the beta tango

When trying to become pregnant when you are a normal girl, there is a certain amount of anxiety each month. A wondering and hoping feeling. When trying to become pregnant while having some sort of fertility issue, it is as though you are walking on hot coals that are at the same time spitting hot fire on your face...and oh yeah you have to do the tango...backwards.

The problem really isn't that you have problems getting pregnant and therefore are more anxious. No the problem is that you are so attune with what is going on in your body that you actually are aware of things far too early and then have to tango longer than a person who is "normal".

I just went through the beta tango. First beta 35...low, but not as low as it could be. Should be 50. Closer to 50 than 0. I am hoping for the good. Just need it to double. Second beta 39. Looks bad...move on.

Only you don't move on right away. You are hurt and sad. You were close but lost. It just stinks. Then you want to move on but can't. You have to get to 0. So third beta will be tomorrow. Unnecessary blood work if you ask me, but nurse says it is for my own safety. It will be interesting to see what the number is. I hope it's low...I actually hope it's 8,000 and all is OK, just a bit of a beginner scare, but I know that will not be the case. Thus the beta tango. "It's a sharp dizzy merry-go-round."

beta foxtrot tango charlie...out


inside the clinic

Sitting inside the IVF clinic is not unlike sitting inside the jungle (or any other territorial land the Discovery channel would do a special on). A bunch of women (sometimes dudes who look so uncomfortable, poor guys) sitting around sizing one another up. It's really strange actually. While they are sizing you up, they are also sympathizing, empathizing and really care about what happens to you...they just hope their outcome is not affected by it. I am 100% guilty of doing this and know that I cannot be the only one. I will admit that maybe I am part of the sick and twisted minority, but still I am not standing here alone, thank you very much.

So here it goes...

When doing IVF you roughly spend about 98 mornings (it's probably more like 15) at the clinic. They herd in a bunch of you...in my case 22 and you sit and wait for blood work and then an ultrasound. You check ages, weights, and some other various body-language psychological factors that you make up in your head and make decisions about your chances vs. hers. It's not unlike some sort of jungle ritual. Still, at the same time, I made friends. There was Julie...an older woman who had given up on love, marriage and kids only to find it later in life...well the kids part she was working on. She was awesome and I really hope she has a successful cycle. But I still think I was sizing her up the entire time. She however looked like she could get pregnant so I think, in some weird way, her chances were good.

No one at that clinic was any more deserving than anyone else, but still you try to come up with reasons why it should work for you and not them.

Because I'm neurotic I used the doctor's success statistics to come up with a rough estimate of how many of us would get pregnant. Out of 22, the number was roughly 7. It doesn't feel very promising when you look at it, but I am hoping and praying I fall into that lucky 7, but if I know I won't be sad that one of those other girls did...even if they are older, wiser, skinnier, fatter, insert your insane reason here.

Inside the clinic...it's a waiting game.


sitting, waiting, wishing

Finding out you are pregnant is a bittersweet experience. It is, especially for someone like me who has been trying with little success, an amazing, giddy, highly exciting experience. You also start worrying. First you start reading about everything, will I miscarry, will I have a blood clot, could it be ectopic....and the list goes on. After a few days of this you realize that you will worry about this tiny little creature from now until the end of time. It doesn't stop. After you pass certain phases and get beyond certain risks, there will be new risks and new phases. It is an endless cycle that does not cease.

IVF is a different boat. You begin your worrying prior to even being told that you are expecting. There are the needles...are you doing them right? There are appointments...all girls sitting in the waiting room for the same thing...where do you rank up among them? You are sitting, waiting, wishing for someone to tell you, you are indeed pregnant so that you can begin to worry like all the other girls who didn't have to sit, and wait, and wish.

I am currently waiting to hear how my eggs are doing. Have they fertilized, when will I have my egg transfer, how many are left. It's slightly unbearable to see the clock count down and not know what is happening with them. I'm on edge.

When the nurse left me to wait for the anesthesiologist on Monday before my egg retrieval, I sat in a thin gown, with the back open and wished. I prayed to God that all of this would go well and result in a beautiful, healthy pregnancy and baby, or babies as the case may be. I then began to think how many girls sat in this very same spot and prayed for the same things. Were sitting and waiting and wishing for a baby. I wasn't the only one. I also thought that I tend to pray only when I need or want something and God probably frowns upon that. I apologized to God.

The egg retrieval yielded 10 eggs, but my estrogen levels were still low. Too low to be close to normal and the doctor told Mike he just didn't know how it was going to go. He told him he was very happy with the number of eggs.

Those words don't leave you with a good feeling. They leave you with the same feeling you always have when going through IVF...I hope I beat the odds, I hope it all works out, I hope we get pregnant this time. IVF is all about hope, and sitting, waiting, wishing.

Jack Johnson sang, "Cause waiting on love ain't so easy to do." Sitting, waiting, wishing, hoping...it ain't so easy to do.


infertility, miscarriages, and the kitchen sink

There's a song by Sublime, which I believe is a cover, but either way the lyrics are...I was always taught that boy meets girl, fall in love get married and forget the world. Nine months later, the sweet baby's on the way. Kiss 'em on the check and life's ok. I get these lyrics...they are exactly how I envisioned life to be. But hindsight is 20/20 and life isn't always what it seems and sometimes life isn't ok.

In November 2009, one year and one month after we had gotten married, Mike said, "So when do you want to start having kids?" This from man who had always said he didn't think he wanted any. I was flabbergasted. "Now," I said.

For days after I wondered and wondered if we should be having kids, if we would be good parents, if our lives would change. Basically, I scared the crap out of myself. I told him that he had said exactly what I wanted him to and it began to terrify me. It's that old adage, be careful what you wish for.

I moved on though. I got over the scared feeling and we began trying. Month after month after month after month and nothing. Since I am fraught with medical problems, I figured it has to be me and went to the doctor. It wasn't me, which in it of itself is something to celebrate, however, it meant that it was most likely Mike. It was Mike...

After being told by numerous doctors that we would never be able to conceive naturally, one told us we had a 1% chance, and with no funding for IVF, we just went back to living our lives.

That August I got pregnant. It came out of no where. I was so sure it was a joke, I took 7 pregnancy tests. The first test that I took, I Googled the image to see if it was indeed positive. We were sublimely happy.

Weeks passed and then I started bleeding. And just as quickly as it all happened, it was gone and there were no answers and nothing we could do about it.

Miscarriages suck. There is no getting around it. They are awful and horrible and not something I would wish on my worst enemy.

After our miscarriage, more doctors visits ensued. I was poked and prodded all over again.

We took some time off after this. We sold our house, bought a new one, lived with my parents for three months, then moved into our new house. And even though we were "taking off", I was hopefully. After all, it was when we took off, that I had gotten pregnant in the first place.

One day after we moved into our beautiful new home, we began the journey of IVF. 

The week that I started my injections we decided to redo the kitchen.

I had a cyst aspirated and looked at Lowe's for a back splash. I had a hormone induced meltdown and removed wallpaper (it was pink...blah!).

Besides the back splash, which I haven't be able to decide on, the kitchen is done and my egg retrieval isn't scheduled yet. Truthfully, I thought the kitchen would take longer.

Unless you have been through the rollercoaster of infertility you have absolutely no idea. Just like unless you have had a miscarriage you have no idea of the pain. It just isn't something that a person can empathize with unless they've been there.

So Mike and I are riding the coaster. It definitely has its ups and downs. I haven't thrown my arms up in the air and screamed yet...I'm saving it for the end.