On June 25, 2008, at 30 weeks gestation, we welcomed our three Lees in a pod to our family. Piper was born at 12:36 p.m. weighing 3 pounds 2 ounces, Henry followed at 12:37 p.m. weighing 3 pounds 15 ounces, and Rosemary showed up last at 12:37 p.m. weighing 1 pound 14 ounces. On August 2, 2008, Piper came home from the NICU at what would have been 35 weeks and 3 days of gestation weighing 4 pounds 15 ounces. On August 7, 2008, Henry followed and came home at what would have been 36 weeks and 1 day of gestation weighing 6 pounds. Finally, on August 16, 2008, at what would have been 37 weeks and 3 days gestation, Rosemary came home weighing 4 pounds 4 ounces. On August 10, 2010, at 39 weeks and 4 days gestation, we welcomed Penelope to our family. She was born at 12:35 p.m. weighing 7 pounds 14.8 ounces. On August 13, 2010, she and her mama came home from the hospital on the same day, with Penelope weighing in at 7 pounds 4 ounces.
If I haven't sent you an update until now, I apologize. I seem to have left off several people I intended to e-mail. I blame it on demerol (which I'm now not taking, unfortunately). For whoever I still have left off and will remember later, I blame it on the percocet.
I'm 25 weeks and 5 days pregnant today, which means I've been here for three weeks and have only 2 weeks and 2 days until my revised goal delivery date. I am thrilled to have made it this far and I hope to make it much farther. I spoke with the neonatologist again yesterday who reminded me that at this point every day counts and that making it to 28 weeks would be a huge accomplishment as far as the babies' development.
This past Saturday the attending doctor said that they want to keep a close eye on me for now, but that if I didn't have any more "episodes" that they would consider sending me home at 27 weeks, or possibly 26 weeks. Just as I started getting used to that idea of going home (and sort of looking forward to it), I had an "episode" on Monday night. I was having some pretty stubborn contractions that were 5 minutes apart and lasted from about 8:00 at night until around 3:00 or so in the morning. They started talking about sending me to Labor & Delivery to be more closely watched, when the contractions finally responded to the meds I had been given up until that point and tapered off. There was little change to my cervix. The doctor said that I'm close to 2cm dilated now, but that she's still calling it 1cm because I'm not quite there. I'm still 50% effaced. I'm not sure how much of an "episode" this was and how that will affect my going home schedule, but I know it made me want to stay here. There is no substitute for the quick care I get when I'm here.
Last week I started getting "non-stress tests" -- which will be every Monday and Thursday. Basically, they strap little discs on my belly to monitor the babies' heartbeats and to monitor contractions. It's supposed to make sure that the babies all are active, have healthy heartbeats, and that the heartbeats do well during contractions. So far, the babies are passing these tests with flying colors. At one, Rosemary, Piper, and Henry were so active and kicking that it took two nurses to hold the discs on them (when usually they are just strapped on and ignored until the test is over). Anyway, the babies did so great that one nurse commented that they acted more like 28-weekers during the test. We are so proud of the babies for being so strong and healthy! That really makes this process so much easier. I hope that you are all doing well!
As you may or may not know, once a pregnant woman has dilated or effaced, the only outcomes going forward are "no change" or progression because someone cannot un-dilate or un-efface. So, I'm pleased to report that I was checked today and that there has been no change since Monday. So far it looks like we're going to keep these babies in for a while longer. I'm told that I can stay where I am for many weeks, potentially, so I'm hoping we're on our way to that goal. Only time will tell. Today is 24 weeks exactly for me, so my new goal date is 4 weeks from today, though a neonatologist told me today that every day is a major accomplishment at this stage in the game.
Gary and I are both doing better now, and the babies are still doing good and all have strong heartbeats. They seem to be feeling better as well, and have been playing (and probably fighting) with each other almost constantly since yesterday morning. It would probably be pretty annoying if I wasn't so happy to feel them being so active in there.
As of now, I'm staying in the hospital and we will re-evaluate next week. I moved up on the "room waiting list" and we got moved to a larger room today, which has a couch instead of a chair for a visitor. Gary is thrilled and much more comfortable.
Some of this may be new news, some of this may be old news. I have been very lucky in having many many wonderful friends and loved ones call and e-mail to check on me, so this is my attempt to compile one list to give regular and full updates to everyone all at one time. I'm sure that I've left some people off this list, so feel free to tell me if I have and I'll add them for the next update.
Last Wednesday afternoon I was having contractions and was admitted to the hospital when they discovered that I was dilated to 1cm (which was a change from my appointment Monday morning). I was discharged Sunday morning when it was determined that my contractions were "under control" (with the repeated warning that being pregnant with triplets just meant I'd be having lots of contractions), there was no change to my cervix, and we were sent home. Then I had an appointment yesterday morning, and the doctor saw that I was still at 1cm, but also now 50% effaced, which apparently happened in less than 24 hours. I was sent directly back to the hospital and I'm here now. There seems to be different opinions among the doctors as to when I'll go home. Some think I'll be here until the babies are born, others think I'll go home in a week or so. As of now, I have no plans to leave and really feel as though this is the safest place for all of us. I hope to be here for quite a while.
I have received steroid shots to help mature the babies' lungs in the event of a delivery in the next week or so. I am 23 weeks and 4 days pregnant as of today. Our "goal" delivery has been moved from 36 weeks to 28 weeks. Of course, there is a chance that I will go much longer -- or yes even shorter -- than that, but we are having to be more realistic now based on the change in circumstances. A 28-weeker has a much stronger chance of survival without long-term effects of prematurity than a baby born earlier, though a 28-weeker can expect to spend around 2 months in the NICU and remain developmentally behind for a while. The 28-weeker usually catches up developmentally with full-term babies by age 2. Some earlier than 28-week babies do just fine, but many more do not.
The good news is that everyone keeps on talking about my big babies. They were measured yesterday. Rosemary weighs 1 pound 5 ounces, which is the average for a singleton at my gestation. Piper weighs 1 pound 6 ounces, which is a day ahead for the average singleton at my gestation. Henry remains my big boy, weighing in at 1 pound 9 ounces, which is 6 days ahead for the average singleton at my gestation (his legs and fingers and toes are all still much longer than even for where he is measuring, which tells me that he's taking after my side of the family on that end -- since Gary insists that "my side" all have disturbingly strange fingers for toes). Higher birthweights can only help, so we are working on keeping up my weight gain.
For some reason, I am looking forward to "working" again -- which means moving the Hoover branch of Burr & Forman to the UAB location. I am spending today getting caught up and seeing that needs to be done. I am mostly off demerol, and I promise that I will not work while on demerol. I seem to think that I am completely lucid on demerol, but I have been repeatedly assured by Gary that I am anything but (and I've seen proof of e-mails to him that I'm definitely not lucid on demerol). It's going to take a couple of days for me to get back in the groove, as I have lots of catching up to do.
I am sorry for the lack of response to e-mails, etc., but for now it's just too hard for me to repeatedly explain the risky situation in which I am now. This is a high-risk pregnancy, and it is proving to be very trying -- more mentally so than physically. Simply for emotional reasons, I'm asking for no hospital visits or phone calls or such about my wellbeing. I know this sounds quite silly and perhaps ungrateful, but I know that each and every one of you are thinking of me and will do whatever you can to help me, but for now, the constant repeating of our prognosis and constantly responding to questions of how I'm feeling and how many contractions I'm having and what everything "really means" has a tendency to stress me out. I think I'm holding it together quite well under the circumstances, but I of course am battling grave concerns about these babies and trying to remain as absolutely positive as possible. I'm honestly trying to forget that I'm in a hospital, if you can believe that. Right now I am remaining positive that at some point in 3 months I'm going to have to beg the doctor to take these babies out of me. Constantly explaining realities of where we are now tends to dampen my mood, which I'm trying to avoid as much as possible. I know that people in a worse situation than me at this point have had their babies in the mid to late 30 weeks, and I'm just reminding myself of their success and telling myself, Rosemary, Piper, and Henry that we're going to do the same. I do apologize if I seem ungrateful because I'm truly not, but I'm sure that you all understand and know that I appreciate all of the prayers and best wishes and that you all understand that I'm simply in self-preservation mode at this time.
As always, any sort of office gossip or such should be immediately conveyed to me via e-mail or my cellphone. :)
Please continue the prayers and thoughts of well-being. I'll send updates when anything happens or changes.
When I was just over 22 weeks pregnant, my work friends hosted a wonderful baby shower for me. It was held at the clubhouse in our neighborhood so I only had to go down the street, and they even delivered my recliner to the clubhouse!!
And here are the adorable diaper cakes that were centerpieces at the shower. . . .
And here I am with (most) of the shower hostesses!