Tuesday, April 28, 2009

It's Time to Pump Up & Take Some Steroids

Day 5 of bed rest is quickly coming to a close and has brought some new changes into our little world in room 213. This morning around 2:30 am, I felt a weird cramp during one of my many nighttime jaunts to the restroom. It didn't really hurt, so I went right back to sleep. When the nurse came in to give me my 6 am pill, I told her and she put me on the Toco (the contractions monitor) and I was having lots of contractions. This sparked a flurry of activity including two shots of Turbulyene (I have no idea how to spell this medicine so this is my best shot). The turb made my heart race and got me out of breath, but it did slow down the contractions. Luckily, Bob was on his way to the hospital for our Tuesday scan, so he was able to come in and make everything better just by being here. At our scan, they measured my cervix and things aren't changing, so that's really great. On Friday, they are supposed to measure the boys again, & hopefully we can find out how big they are getting.

Bob and I are sure that Baylor is the right place for me and the boys to be, especially since I don't seem to feel contractions and something like this morning's incident would have gone unchecked for too long if I were at home. Being in the hospital has led to some interesting developments. First, I have become a steroid user. Bob is very concerned about me having lost my home run record, but I told him I made the sacrifice in honor of Barry Bonds. The steroids are to help the boys lungs in case they are born early, so that makes us feel better. The other big change is in the type of medicine I am getting to control contractions. Since this morning's little incident, I have been put on a turb pump. It's a little band-aid with a clear tube that sticks into your leg then hooks on to this tubing which is connected to a pump which delivers some medicine directly into my leg every four hours. The most positive thing I can think of to say about this is that at least they don't have to wake me up during the night to take procardia.

It's no secret that I don't really like needles. In fact, I am completely unable to watch a shot of any type without going faint. No see, no problem. See, slump over in the chair. So, now I've got this thing stuck in my leg all the time, and Bob and I have to manage it because it's administered through a home health agency rather than the hospital (this fact makes Bob pretty nuts - I have to change the sticker and medicine on my own). Thankfully, we only have to move the part that goes into my leg every five days, and that is officially the job of the father of my children. One strange side effect of the drug (besides the fact that my heart almost bursts from my chest) is that it has turned my normally peaceful boys into crack addicts looking for a fix. They are kicking around all over the place. The nurse said that they'll get used to the medicine & calm down, but I don't think it's going to be anytime soon as it appears to be flight club 2009 in my belly. Now it's time to try sleeping through this hurricane inside me, hopefully the soothing tones of Law & Order will send me straight to sleep.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Observations on Hospital Bed Rest

Today is the end of my third day in the hospital. I'm 25 and 1/2 weeks along, so we are hoping for 34 weeks for the boys to be born - which is 8 weeks away. On Friday, Bob brought me some snacks and clean underpants as well as other essentials like DVDs, books, thank you notes that I need to write, etc. We settled in to the room pretty quickly and the routine has started to fall in to place.

Most importantly, I have been given shower privileges. This might not sound like something momentous, but it truly is. I can't imagine going 8 weeks without being able to shower. That would literally stink. They also are allowing me to wear my own clothes which makes me feel much more human than that horrible hospital gown I had to sport the first day and a half. On Thursday, Bob, Amy, and I measured my belly since I told them that I thought I was 5 feet around - I'm currently 58" around the middle (I'm 70" tall, so give it a couple more weeks and I might be bigger around than tall - CRAZY!) Here's a photo of me sporting real clothes and a really big belly.

A typical day here (so far), consists of me waking up around 6 am for my first pill of the day, going back to sleep until 7 when I get up and shower and dress (to kill some time while I'm starving for food - these babies and their mommy are HUNGRY!). At 8, breakfast arrives and I try to eat slowly so as to savor the experience and fill up the time. Around 9 or 10, the nurse comes in to put me on the contractions monitor and to try and find the babies heartbeats. This seems to be the most difficult part of the day. Since the boys are still so small, they have lots of room to roam around in and finding all three of their heartbeats at once is quite a challenge. Today it took around an hour of having my belly out and covered in that blue gel before everyone registered at once. Bob said it was quite a sight to behold. At noon, it's time to take another pill and eat lunch. At some point in the afternoon, the doctor shows up for rounds, then things are relatively calm until dinner around 5 pm (today, I got the menu for the "grill" downstairs so now I have TONS of choices). I'm very excited about leaving behind the vegetable frittata in favor of the bacon cheeseburger. For the past couple of days we've had company, so it's been really nice that the hours have gone quickly. At six, it's time for another pill and some more monitor time. Around 8, I usually make Bob scrounge me up some kind of snack. It makes Bob a little nuts that my panties share the same bag as our treats. It makes me laugh. At 9 it's time for more monitoring, and then nothing until my next pill at midnight. Throughout the day, I am supposed to wear these little shoe bootie things to keep me from having blood clots. They squeeze my feet and puff air simultaneously. It's kind of strange and feels like my feet are being strangled in an oven. The after effects of the booties are that my feet have been turned into something gross and veiny looking like I'm the Hulk. Note the attractiveness of said booties.

Since it was the weekend, I got to spend lots of quality time with Bob. He was here most of the weekend, and I really enjoyed having him around (as always, of course). He took up residence in the rocking chair next to my bed. We've watched lots of TV and such while we lounge about our new abode. As is to be expected, Bob has been wonderful at fetching me things from the house - we might have to rent a Uhaul to get home, but he's definitely keeping me well stocked. He even brought up drinks to put in our mini-fridge for guests. He's such a thoughtful guy! Tomorrow starts the work week, and I'm sure things will be a little different. I know that I'm going to miss Bob, but at the same time, email is a wonderful thing and we can chat all day. He's planning on spending the evenings with me and bringing DVDs of the shows we TIVO and watch together. I think this whole set up will get old pretty quick, but so far the experience has not been totally unpleasant.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Surprises Galore at the Shower

On Saturday, April 18, my wonderful mother, GloGlo, and Lainie threw a fantastic shower for Bob, the Boys, and me. When we picked the date, we decided it would be best to hold the shower at our house since we weren't sure about my status in regards to bed rest (hereafter referred to as BR). Thankfully, it was a good plan as the doctor put me on BR on Tuesday afternoon and was hesitant to let me participate in a shower. Our Friday appointment went well and the shower was approved. Yippee. (Especially since I wasn't keen on canceling the day before).

It ended up being a busy weekend. My buddy Anne flew in from Oregon as a complete surprise. I couldn't believe it when she showed up at our door. It was so great to see her, since usually her trips this direction revolve around holidays where it's rough to see everyone. She and Lainie came over on Thursday afternoon prepared a ton of meals for us to freeze for when after the babies show up. It was so much fun. I had to sit at the table and keep my feet up, but it was just like old times making spaghetti in college. Thursday night, Zach and Mandy came in from Houston for their Celtic Women concert and the shower. I was so happy to see them as well since the last time we saw them was at Christmas. I think they were kind of shocked at how much I've grown since Christmas (when I wasn't even really showing much less the giant bellied woman that I am now). Friday, my grandparents drove in from Louisiana. I love seeing them and was so happy that they felt up to the trip. Saturday morning, my aunts on my dad's side drove in from Louisiana as well. It was great to see them, too. I felt so blessed to have all those family members come from so far away for the shower.

(The out of town crew)

We had over 20 people show up, and there were tons of generous gifts (lots of matching clothes which I can't wait to put the boys in - I'd better get it in quick before they get too old and Bob puts the kabosh on matching triplets). We played a few games and ate some pretty fantastic cake. :) A girl (especially a pregnant one) can NEVER have too much cake.

(Grandma and I putting our heads together to try and get the word scramble done)

The whole day was a great success. When Bob and Zach returned from Buffalo Wild Wings, Bob checked out all the gifts which he later sorted by size and style so we could get a count of all of the things we have and still need. I could hardly believe we have over 2,000 wipes and around 1,000 diapers of various sizes to get us started. We are so blessed to have such great friends and family.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Time to Move this Party to the Hospital

Apparently regular bedrest at home couldn't contain Angela and the triplets. A week and a day after assigning her to our couch, the doc said it's time to move everybody to the hospital.

They assure us everything is ok, they just want to monitor Angela and the babies up close and personal. So, here we sit in Angela's new home, her hospital room watching a very small tv. We are still hoping this is an 8 1/2 week party as we want the boys to cook until we hit week 34. For now, we just take it one day at a time and hope everyone continues to feel good and this precautionary move doesn't turn into something much more exciting.

I told the nurse I hope for the next couple months we are very boring patients.

So, here is to be boring!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

High Anxiety

We are about to start week 25 of this triplet pregnancy journey. The babies will be here before we know it. On one hand that can be kinda scary. We know that our new trio will bring all kinds of joy but will also bring a whole new kinda work and stress into our lives.

We were both more than ready nine months ago for a baby. Or at least as ready as you can be. I have labeled myself a professional worrier on more than one occasion. If only. It sure would be nice to be paid for something I'm so good at. Anyway, we weren't ready for the doctor to tell us we were having triplets.

The thing is, I'm not worried, I know we'll be ok. I'm anxious as hell though. I'm anxious to know when they will be here, will they be able to come home quickly, how will we manage holidays and grandparents and trips to the stores, first bikes, first crushes, proms, cars and graduations. I'm anxious to see how we will do without Angela's paycheck until the kids go to school and Angela can go back to work.

I really do think that is different than fear. I know all that will work out, I'm just anxious to see how it will work out. Being afraid of running 3 two year old boys through a Chili's knowing they will wreak havoc on everyone in the joint is different than wondering how we'll make it an enjoyable experience for all. Isn't it?

I had to laugh at myself the other day, now that Angela has been put on bed rest and is no longer working, I've had to step up a bit around the house. I was already doing just about everything but now I just do it all day instead of just after work. The other night I sat down after a long day of keeping the house running and wondered how I did it. Wow that was a lot of work I told myself. What made it funny to me is that what I just did was nothing compared to what we'll be doing in just a few months.

Working all week, including driving Angela to and from work, to and from the doctor, fixing dinners, cleaning the house, doing yard work, doing laundry and dishes, sorting through shower gifts and putting them away seemed like a real busy week to me.

Who am I kidding, once the boys are home things will be much different. Sure Angela and I will split up most of what I listed but now we'll have to keep the boys fed, changed and happy which will be a chore we know will be overwhelming at times.

I haven't seen anything yet.

Oh did I mention that now twice a day we put Angela on a fetal monitor that measures contractions. I set it up, strap her in and an hour later unstrap her and hook the monitor to the phone line where it sends the data to a nurse. Several tense minutes later a nurse calls to tell us if everything is ok.

Our 2nd full day on the monitor was also the last time we went to the multiples specialist who performed a cervix check. We came home and put her on the monitor and when the nurse called she said Angela had too many contractions and to run the monitor again. Same thing, run it a 3rd time but before you do, run to the pharmacy (take Angela with you because she needs the pill right away, it can't wait for you to make the 15 minute drive home). We run it a 3rd time and they say, oh, did you have a cervix check today? You shouldn't have run the monitor today, that skews the results.

Thanks for telling us that now.

The thing is, once again I wasn't afraid that this was it and it was time to head to the hospital, the boys were coming. I was anxious to see if this was it but I wasn't afraid. Had they been born on Friday I know it would have been a tough road but I also know everybody would be fine.

I do think it's fair to say that I'm glad they aren't here yet only because I still have some painting to do. I'm anxious to see how I'll pull that off as well. I may actually be afraid of screwing that up though only because at some point Angela will be able to go up the stairs again and she is very particular about those things.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Leaving Is Never Easy....

After several weeks of wondering whether or not I would be able to return to work after every doctor's appointment, the hammer finally fell. On Tuesday, Bob and I went to the multiples doctor again. Neither of us expected to "get benched" as Bob calls it. I was feeling great, work was going well with me doing as much sitting as humanly possible in order to keep teaching, and after getting such a good report following opening day, it came as a complete shock to me that my days at Sam Houston were over.

Even now as I write about it, I'm getting a little weepy. I loved my time at Sam. I've been there for nine years, and I've made some of the best friends I've ever had. I even enjoy all the little personality quirks of my many wonderful students. After the doctor dropped the equivalent of a nuclear bomb on me, Bob and I left the office as quickly as possible. It took a while before I could make those traditional post-appointment phone calls. In fact, I made Bob call his parents first because I couldn't seem to stop crying. We decided to go ahead and let me work on Wednesday so that I was able to get things ready for Tommy (who is going to be subbing for me for the rest of the year).

As Bob drove me to work, I focused on not crying, but as soon as I walked in the door and saw all my friends, I started to bawl, and I think I didn't stop until Bob picked me up and took me to the doctor. It was great to spend my last day with everybody. Laughing and talking like usual really helped me get things together. So many people stopped by to say goodbye, and I really appreciated everyone's kind words. Even now, as I sit on the couch and ponder the rest of the school year along with the next 9 and 1/2 weeks left of our pregnancy, I don't know what I'm going to do without my daily dose of the "gang."

I'm going to miss all of Patrick's great stories of illicit and hunting adventures, Mike's toilet humor (especially in regards to crumbly toilet paper and fresh finishes), Eric's entertaining observations on life in general and in the lounge (and his love of the Rangers), Bryan's stories of the pursuit of love and concert tickets, Tawnay's love of harassing the students with me and all our hallway conversations, Courtney's willingness to bring coupons and to go out to eat and her stories about the funny things Miles is up to, Chris's quiet observations about life and his ability to handle the crazy requests his 8th period girls always throw out (no matter how much they beg, I hope he never gives in and goes to the Hannah Montana Movie), Scotty too Hottie's Colorado dreaming, Mercedes' struggles with her under performing AP students and the love she has for Buddy Jones, Teri's Economic's nerds and making fun of them with her, Poppy's secret love of WWF and Keno, and all of the other characters who pop in and out of our lunchtime fun zone. We definitely have the best department in Arlington if not the universe. :)

I guess now that I'm officially on bedrest, I'm going to miss the prom with Juan Perez that I'd been looking forward to for the last few years. I'm going to have to leave it up to Tawnya to be enough of a date for both him and Jo-El. Bust a move for me, Saracay!

Showers of Sam Houston Love

On Wednesday, April 8th, my wonderful friends and colleagues at Sam Houston High School gave Bob and I the traditional lunch time shower. It was so much fun. There were new decorations to add to the staple I kept in my cabinet for such occasions, and Courtney, Bryan, Tawnya, and Judy did a great job creating the festive atmosphere. It seemed like the whole department showed up for the shindig, and it was really nice to see everyone and the vast quantity of gifts was truly amazing. Bob had to go out of town for a business meeting, but my mom was able to come and participate in the festivities. There were tons of great laughs and good friends and considering it was lunch time, the conversation was surprisingly school appropriate.

After looking at the pictures, Bob said his favorite part of the shower was seeing all those teachers sitting in student desks. I love that part too because it looks like lunch time in my room with the gang - especially since most people sat in their usual spots.

Bob and I were shocked at how much wonderful stuff we received. I was really excited about the car seat and the alphabet bedding set. There were so many cute clothes and other fun stuff as well.

The department even purchased us three premie outfits with cars that Bob and I are planning on bringing the boys home in - Bob decided to model it for me when he got home - hopefully, the outfits will fit the boys better.

Everything was so fantastic and reminded me why it was worth the forty miles I drive every morning to go to work. I do love my Sam Houston peeps.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Opening Day, Opening Legs, and Viability

After our last appointment at the multiples doctor, we got a yellow light to go to Rangers opening day. I had already recruited my friend Teri to cover my fourth period class, and in light of the fact that it would probably be the only Ranger game we made it to all year, I was very, very still over the weekend so that Bob would let me go. Bob, Stephen, and I met up in Arlington and had planned to park in the valet parking so that I didn't have to walk. Unfortunately, when we got to the valet, they were full, so Bob dropped us off. Stephen and I went in and were able to see all of the opening day festivities. It was great. We saw all the old Rangers players, the fly over was really neat, and George Bush throwing out the first pitch was totally awesome. Bob missed the whole thing as he was trying to find a parking spot. Poor Bob got the raw end of the opening day festivities. I sent him for food in the 2nd inning, and he and Stephen couldn't find a stand that was selling hot dogs - they were all out - and the Rangers had the most exciting inning of the game. I, on the other hand, had a great time. During the middle of the game, someone behind us spotted Laura Bush above us to the left eating peanuts. It was quite exciting. I have to say that for his first public appearance after the inauguration, Bush got a pretty great welcome. I was very excited to see him so close. He came out of the dugout right in front of us, and returned the same way. Stephen got some great pictures of the former prez, and we both cheered our lungs out. (Bob, who had been threatening to boo the former owner of the Rangers - not the president - was stuck in traffic for the big event). After the game, the big question was how to get me to the car. It was a pretty long walk, which I was pretty sure I could make, but it would have taken me forever and Bob was not keen on that idea at all. Stephen procured for us a ride from the grounds crew. Thanks to the Big Man, DT, and of course Dennis, the gator ride to our car was a savior. I don't know what we would have done if Bob had to struggle through the traffic to come an pick me up at Home Base. It was a fantastic time. The weather was great, the game was wonderful since the Rangers won, and it was everything I hoped it would be, but I have to admit, that was certainly my last outing as a woman pregnant with triplets. I am slowly coming to terms with the fact that life is changing and that we can't do as much as I'm used to doing. I think this is somewhat of a relief for Bob as I don't fight him on every single thing like I was doing. I've taken up my post on the couch and am firmly entrenched.

On Tuesday, we returned to Dr. Graham for another cervix check. At this point, I think I've given up on personal grooming. I really need to shave my legs - they gross me out, but I just didn't feel like all the bending and stretching was worth it, so poor Dr. Graham is getting Angela au natural. Anyway, the cervix check went pretty well. It hadn't grown nor had it shrunk which has given me another week of reprieve from bed rest. We go back on Tuesday for another cervix check. Dr. Graham gave us the game plan for the rest of the pregnancy, which is nice to know. From now on, we will go to the multiples doctor every week where they will check my cervix & the health of the babies. Every other week at the multiples doctor, they'll measure the boys and do a fibernectin test which indicates if I'm having any kind of pre-term labor. We will also see our regular doctor every other week. Dr. Snead will check for my sugar level - which was a little too high this last time, so I need to cut back on some sugar (very difficult for a generally big girl who loves anything that is the opposite of healthy) - and my general health. Dr. Graham also told us that at this point we are 23 weeks along and the babies are VIABLE!!! This is a huge hurdle. We've made it this far with all of the boys doing well and if anything happens, they will probably all make it. Bob and I are so relieved to get to this point. We have several more weeks to go, but the average for triplets is 32 weeks. We are hoping to make it to at least 34 weeks. At the beginning of the pregnancy, I was hoping to make it all the way to 36 weeks, but as things get more and more difficult, I don't know how long this body will hold out. I'm starting to get so huge and uncomfortable that I'm having trouble doing every day things like taking off my pants - who knew it could cause such pain and anguish to change your clothes.

Another exciting thing that has happened this week with the triplets, is that I am starting to be able to feel them kicking and moving around on the outside of my belly. Every time they do a few little kicks, I'll grab Bob's hand and try to help him find the active child, but of course the little stinkers go all still every time Daddy tries to feel them. They don't even respond to his poking and prodding. I'm sure it's only a matter of time before we are both hoping that they'll stop kicking so much, but at this point in the pregnancy, we're very excited about every little movement. Especially since it means that I know they're all still doing okay in there.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Heads and Tails

This past week has been a very doctor friendly week for us. For the first time in our pregnancy, I am starting to realize exactly what being pregnant with multiples means. Right now, several of my friends are also taking the pregnancy journey, and I've noticed that I go to the doctor A LOT more than they do. Last Friday, we had an appointment with the multiples doctor who found a "dimple" in my cervix that he wanted to check again on Tuesday. Bob and I were a little worried that I might be put on bed rest, but we made it through that appointment okay. On Wednesday, we were scheduled for an appointment with my regular doctor, Dr. Snead (whom we hadn't seen in about a month). Dr. Snead checked in on the boys and verified for us that they are all indeed young men with the equipment to prove it, hence the crotch shots below. (Daddy is pretty proud).

Baby A's man bits.

Baby B showing his goods.

Baby C's head and tail.

Thursday, we didn't have a doctor's appointment, which was a relief, but on Friday, it was time to go back to the multiples doctor. At Friday's appointment, we met with Dr. Graham (up to this point we'd been seeing Dr. Payne, and thanks to my good buddy Deeann, every time he touched my girl parts, I'd think "Payne in the Cain"). Dr. Graham seems to be a little more aggressive on the whole idea of bed rest. My cervix had shrunk by about .3 centimeters since Tuesday, and Dr. Graham appeared to be about to drop the hammer of bed rest. I think the pleading look on my face and my desperation to attend opening day saved me from sitting indefinitely, for a few more days at least. Dr. Graham and I struck a deal (and Bob and I did too) - if I sat all weekend and didn't try to do anything, the game would be okay as long as I returned to the doctor on Tuesday. This girl has a powerful need to see W throw out the first pitch, so I've been sitting and trying not to give Bob too hard a time.

Before the resting negotiations, Dr. Graham gave us a tour of my uterus and a peek at our babies. Bob and I forgot our video tape, so of course Baby A gave us a huge yawn and waved his hands around. Bob swears that Baby A is throwing out some rock fingers in this shot, but I say the jury is still out. You definitely can see his little face - kinda cute, if you ask me.

Baby B showed us his profile, and I think I spy a Campbell nose (i.e. very prominent) on that profile. Bob says it looks like a regular nose, but I think there might be a definite length on that nose that neither of us have. My mom is pretty excited about a Campbell nose, having one herself.

Our little C-monkey, was standing on his head for most of the appointment. We got a shot of him as well, but I have no idea which end is which. I'm sure that someone more skilled than Bob and I can see a baby in this picture, but I can't for the life of me find him. If you figure it out, let us know. Either way, Baby C likes to hang out above my belly button and away from the other two who are seemingly fighting for the best position - I guess this might be our laid back kid.