Thursday, May 27, 2010


Penelope and I are at home. We finally made it home this afternoon, and we are happy to be here! I have eaten, I have showered, and Penelope is kicking and happy -- things are going great!

I was going to be discharged from the hospital yesterday -- and was even in street clothes and my IV out, but I was having a lot of small contractions. I asked to be hooked up to the monitor to be sure that they were as small as I thought they were. They were just little ones, but the doctor wanted me to take some percocet to knock them out to just be sure. I took the percocet, took a nap, and an hour later they hooked me back up the monitors. I was still having the small contractions (every 3 minutes or so), but this time Penelope was having "variable decelerations" where her heartrate would dip during the contractions. The doctor and nurse came in and had to roll to my side. The variable decelerations stopped when I changed positions. Between the contractions and the variable decelerations the decision was made for me to stay one more night, just in case.

I stayed on the monitor for an additional hour yesterday and Penelope was fine, and then had a non-stress test this morning and she was still fine. More than likely, Penelope was just laying on the umbilical cord which caused the heartrate drops. I am told that is very normal at this gestation and an acceptable cause of the decelerations. The concern was that they were indicative of a problem with Penelope, which could have led to delivery. Luckily, Penelope was just being a little picky about how I lay around. I have taken notes and am laying only in positions that Penelope likes.

Speaking of which, I am now on bedrest. I cannot drive, and can only leave the house for doctor's appointments and hospital trips (and we do expect more of those). I can use the bathroom, shower, work from home, and do basic things. I am not supposed to life the kids, etc., but luckily they can now climb up to sit next to me. I am more than fine with these restrictions -- which are much like those I had when I was on bedrest at home with the kids.

The kids did visit me in the hospital the last two mornings, which was awesome. I was surprised at how willing they were to snuggle with me, and I simply just enjoyed watching them be there. The nurses and doctors who took care of them two years ago were also happy to see them! Hopefully they will be fine with visiting me in the mornings if (when) I end up back in the hospital.

Anyway, before I was discharged the doctor checked my cervix one last time, and I am still the same (about 1/2 centimeter dilated and 50% effaced). I hope to stay that way for quite a while. Right now my delivery goal is 32 weeks, but we are all really hoping to make it to 35 weeks (or later). . . . If my technologically challenged brain can handle it, I am going to put up a ticker of how far along I am somewhere at the top of the blog, so keep an eye out for that.

We are not sure why this is happening again. We all assumed that the reason that I had preterm labor before was because I was carrying triplets. So, now we are not sure if I am just prone to preterm labor, or if perhaps carrying the triplets distended my uterus so much that it is a little worn out now, for lack of a better phrase. Regardless, at least things are under control for now and I have some more time at home.

Thanks to everyone for the thoughts and prayers.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Penelope and Me

At first I was hesitant to post very much about all my goings on with Penelope because it may be TMI or "not fit the purpose of the blog" or something like that. But considering that this blog began as chronicling my problems with preterm labor with my last pregnancy, I don't know what my hesitation is all about. I almost feel like this blog should be just about my kids and not me -- but then I am pretty involved in this whole process of carrying the Little Sprout, so. . . . But I'm rambling, and I've decided to at least post regular updates about Penelope and me just to keep everyone updated.

So, my blog readers know that I've had a couple of trips to the MEU the past few weeks, and I had another a week ago Monday. Unfortunately that trip led to my being admitted for "preterm contractions." Basically, I was contracting every 5 minutes, and Tylenol, Benedryl, and 2 shots of terbutaline didn't stop them. So, the doctors decided to admit me for IV sedation -- in other words, they gave me demerol via IV which knocked me out cold, which thankfully also knocked the contractions out cold. I was able to come home on Tuesday morning, with a closed cervix. I did okay with it -- not great, but okay. See, one thing about having kids is that Gary isn't going to just sit up at the hospital with me. I mean, he wanted to and my friend Amanda was more than happy to go be at home with my kids while Gary stayed with me, but our kids have always had ONE of us with them at night since they came home from the hospital. So, even though I wanted Gary with me, more than that I wanted him at home with the kids. Poor Gary was torn and couldn't make a decision so I made it for him. Luckily, Auntie Ann had been working that night, so after her shift was over she came to stay with me until they knocked me out with demerol. It was really nice having her there. Unfortunately, I don't remember her leaving and don't think I said goodbye, but demerol is funny that way. Nothing about that bothered me until later when Gary informed me that I've been snoring -- LOUDLY -- in my sleep for two or three months. I had no idea. I hope I didn't scare Ann too badly.

For today's medical lesson, here is the difference between "preterm contractions" and "preterm labor" -- preterm contractions (a/k/a Braxton Hicks) are what you have when you are contracting but your cervix is not changing, and preterm labor is when the contractions are changing your cervix. They are the same contractions -- the only difference is whether your cervix is changing. Now, as a note, when I say I'm having contractions, I mean I'm having about 10 an hour. There is not an hour that goes by in the day that I don't have around 3 an hour. So, if you happen to be pregnant and having a few contractions a day, don't be alarmed by reading my story -- unless you're having more than 4 contractions an hour, and then you need to call your doctor.

So moving on, this past Sunday night, I had several contractions, but I managed to stop them with Tylenol and Benedryl. I had a doctor's appointment yesterday morning, and started having contractions again while waiting for the doctor to come in. My regular doctor was not at the clinic on Monday, so another doctor checked me. Unfortunately, my cervix was a fingertip (half centimeter) dilated and I was 50% effaced, which ever so slightly changes my diagnosis from preterm contractions to preterm labor. So, I went to the MEU to be monitored, and was eventually admitted to the hospital. First, I went to L&D, where I was given IV fluids, antibiotics, the first steroid shot to help develop Penelope's lungs just in case she is born early, and some demerol to help stop the contractions. After we got everything under control, I was transferred to HRO (High Risk Obstetrics, which used to be called 5 North in the old building) and am still here today. In HRO, I was started on procardia therapy, which is something I can take at home that will hopefully keep the contractions at bay. Unfortunately, I still had some contractions this afternoon, and was given some percocet to get those stopped. They have stopped for now, but I am going to have to stay at least another night in the hospital. The doctors, rightly so, don't want to send me home until they are sure the contractions are under control and that I won't have to come right back. Tonight I also got my second steroid shot, so I've had a full round to help develop Penelope's lungs, just in case she is born early.

The kids add a whole new dimension to the concept of hospital stays while pregnant. With the kids, I was in the hospital on bedrest for 7 weeks, after being on bedrest at home for 7 weeks. I actually WANTED to be in the hospital, because I felt it was safest for all of us. Now, if I need to be in the hospital then I'm going to be in the hospital, but I really miss my kids. Tomorrow, hopefully, our nanny will bring the kids up here to visit in the morning, so I can get my fix. Honestly, I'm having a rough time tonight. I know I need to be here, and that's fine and I'm certainly not going to argue with the doctors on that because they're right, but I am really really missing my husband and kids. At least I have Penelope here to keep me company!

When I was pregnant with the kids, I was in a state of perpetual fear until I hit 28 weeks. Granted, later is better, but 28 weeks is a big deal. So, this time I turned 28 weeks this past Friday and I know that's pretty good. I'm still afraid of having a baby earlier than term, but at least I don't have the overwhelming fear that I suffered through before, though I understand that it's all relative. When I was when I was 28 weeks with the kids, I was 3cm dilated, 75% effaced, and had been in the hospital for 5 weeks. And I somehow made it another 2 weeks with them. . . . At least now I'm over 28 weeks and have a decent cervix still. I am still in the running to have her at term.

So, that was the first of the "Penelope and Me" updates -- and hopefully you will have many more over the next many weeks until she is born a big, term baby.

I do have some pics from the kids' new room, and will get those up soon. . . .

Edited to Add -- Not long after I published this post, I had the best visitors ever! I think I'll make it through the night now. Thank you so much, Gary!!! I love you all so much!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Portraits in the Backyard

Two weekends ago, the light in the backyard was great and I did my best to get some "portraits" of the kids. Here are my three favorites in birth order, Piper, then Henry, then Rosemary. . . .

Monday, May 17, 2010

Visiting Auntie Ann

Auntie Ann bought a new house a few months ago, and we've been meaning to visit her for quite a while. We finally went to visit her, and her sweet dog Colby, this past Saturday. Ann has a great fenced-in backyard, and I think that both Ann and I had visions of the kids running around in the backyard playing and laughing with Colby. Here are the kids' actual reactions to Colby:

So, that didn't go exactly as planned. But, the kids got a little more used to Colby before we left, and we still had a great time visiting Auntie Ann! Here are more pictures from our visit. . . .

Saturday, May 15, 2010

The Botanical Gardens with Grandma and Grandpa

Grandma and Grandpa (Gary's parents) came up for a visit last weekend. On Saturday we went to the Botanical Gardens, and I took a lot of great pictures. I had great intentions to get the pictures uploaded and ready to post on Sunday, after some editing with the Photoshop Elements that I got for Mother's Day. On the weekends, I usually get the week's blog posts ready to go. Instead of getting this post ready, however, I spent my posting time trying to learn how to edit one picture with Photoshop Elements. . . . Then this week I've had very little time to play on the computer, between a very heavy construction week at our house, another trip to the MEU for contractions this past Wednesday (at which point I was the lucky recipient of a terbutaline shot -- still minor drugs compared to what I was on last pregnancy), the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Man & Woman of the Year Grand Finale on Thursday night (I didn't win, but did far better than I had expected), and just life. So, I finally decided to just get this post up today and learn how to use Photoshop Elements another day when I have fewer pictures to edit. Enjoy!

P.S. I'm told that it is getting harder and harder to tell the girls apart, so for reference, Piper is wearing the mostly yellow dress and Rosemary the mostly green dress.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mother's Day

Today has been wonderful. I woke up to wonderful gifts from all the kids, including something from Penelope. Gary only bought me a card, but it's the thought that counts. I think he was a little upset that the kids outdid him on the gifts, but I told him not to worry about it.

Everyone got me flowers. . . .

And here's the loot:

Gary explained why everyone got me the kids they did. Piper bought me a new iPod because she likes listening to The White Stripes -- my 5 or 6-year-old iPod very recently died after a long sickness, so I was thrilled to see a new iPod. Henry bought me an external harddrive because my recent freakouts have been related the possibility of losing our photos despite our current backup plan, so this will help me sleep better. Rosemary bought me Photoshop Elements because she wants to look even prettier in my pictures of her. And Penelope bought me a 4 leaf clover necklace because we have so many things in "threes" and she wants to remind me that soon we're going to be dealing in "fours"!

I had a great Mother's Day, but then every day with our family is great, so that wasn't much of a surprise!