Friday, February 29, 2008

No Leaplings

Yup, no baby leaplings to be born today. I know Paul is disappointed (ha! :P ). So it definitely looks like we're having March babies.

And talking to Dr. Elliot today, he said PPA is actually shooting for a delivery goal of 34 weeks. Ufff! 32 is great but it's more of a milestone. At 32 weeks the blood vessels in the babies (I think in their brains) develop the muscle sheathing they need. Otherwise, babies could be at risk for brain bleeding due to not having this sheathing developed.

So, I pray and pray and pray that God will continue to give me His strength in carrying these babies. I've now gained my 80lb goal (ufff!) and with that my joints, feet, legs and muscles are so sore. I can barely walk around my room. My preeclampsia is also on the rise, although a very slow rise. I think some of my weight gain the last few days is water retention, which is a symptom of preeclampsia. And with water retention comes edema, or for me pitted edema in my calves and ankles. So again with all of these limitations, I pray that God would continue to help my body and help give me patience in all this. I still know that all of this, all that I can endure, is better for the girls. They'd like to spend more time with Mom versus the NICU incubators :)

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Latest Baby Weights

Okay, here are the latest weights (today at 31w5d)...

Baby A (identical, on the right side) - 3 lbs 8oz
Baby B (other identical, on the right side) - 3lbs 11oz
Baby C (fraternal, squished at the bottom) - 4lbs 3oz
Baby D (other fraternal, on the very top, off to the left side) - 4lbs 1 oz

I'm not too confident in these measurements because I know the ultrasound tech had the hardest time getting a good view of the heads, abdomens and femurs. Now why would she have trouble seeing everyone? Ha! :P I know she didn't get a measurement on Baby C's head, Baby B was lying weird so the head might be off and then Baby D's femur was hiding on the tech. Plus, the identicals have consistently been measuring the biggest. So how can they all of a sudden be measuring the smallest? In any case, even if they are all close to 4lbs then that's a LOT of babies!

Someone asked me when I'd have another growth ultrasound. Well, they only do them every 3 weeks. So unless God can miraculously keep my body steady for 3 more weeks then that means the next weight measurements will be on the NICU scales :)

The end is nearing, I know it. I figure delivery will be in the next week or two. So those of you that voted for a February delivery, sorry. Not going to happen :) I'm guessing we'll have all, five, March babies.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Feeling Good

Yes, I am feeling good. It just dawned on me how close I am to 32 weeks. Today marks 31w4d. Yay! So I am very close to 32, which my docs say is "full term" for quads. And I know if I make it to 32 weeks with no issues that they will push me for one more day, then another, and another, and so on, and so on. Oh, I pray that God will hold my body together for another week or so. It's all Him doing the work!

Today I get another growth ultrasound. It will be fun to see how big these ladies are ;) They run the growth u/s only every 3 weeks. Three weeks ago the girls weighed between 2lbs 8oz and 2lbs 13oz. I figure they are in the 3lb range now...but it would be so cool to find out they are in the upper 3lb range. Ufff, 3lbs+ would mean 12lbs+ of babies. And Jared was a 10lb baby. Yup, God must've known my body could handle this multiple pregnancy :)

Also, it just dawned on me how much non-NICU time we've received for the babies. I've heard that starting at 30 weeks, each day the babies stay in utero means 3 days they don't have to be in the NICU. So going on today, that would mean we've received 30 days of non-NICU time (10 days past 30 weeks X 3 days = 30 days they don't have to be in the NICU). That's a whole month! Woo hoo! How cool is that?! And if I can make it one, or even two, more weeks until delivery, that would mean 21 to 42 extra days. Very cool!

So we still wait. I'm really hoping and praying I can make it to at least 32 weeks. That would be awesome! I know "nothing is impossible with God." He can do it!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

8 = 8 Blessed Years and 8 = 8 Sweet Hands, 8 Little Feet and 8 Big Eyes Waiting to Greet Us

Today, we celebrated our 8th wedding anniversary. Yes, this year's anniversary was spent, um, different than previous years. But it was still a blessing to spend time together, even if it was at the hospital. We know there will be many, many more years to spend our anniversaries in special ways.

And this year (or very soon! :) ) we look forward to greeting eight sweet hands, eight little feet and eight big eyes.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Some cute things for the girls

We've been so blessed by so many friends and family giving us/sending us things for the girls. I don't know what we'd do without everyone's generosity.

Here are a few pics of some items we recently received for the girls. We received four quilts made by a friend of my Aunt Candy. How sweet of this woman to do this for us! Each quilt is its own color, e.g. pink, green, purple, yellow, and each one has nine patches that has a ballet girl embroidered on the patch. They are too cute! There are more pictures of the quilts at our website, under "The Quads" and "Third Trimester."

An overview of the purple quilt


And a closeup of one of the patches on the pink quilt

Then we received preemie hats for the girls. We're going to try to "color code" each girl, e.g. one wears the pink hat, another the sage, etc., etc. The hats seem so tiny.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

This morning makes the 6th

So far I've had 6 IVs popped into my arms. Yuck! Unfortunately this morning's 6th took 3 tries and was put in at 6AM :P Why so many IVs? Well, I guess an IV is only "good" for 3 or 4 days. Then, the nurses have to change the site to somewhere else. Good thing I have plump veins so they don't have to keep poking around to get a good one. Blech! Then there's all of the pokes I've had for the blood tests; some have been taken at 5 or 5:30AM and one the other day at 3:30AM. Man, that's a rude awakening at 3:30AM - ha! Ah, what a Mom will go through for her babies ;)

Saturday, February 23, 2008

I finally met the Quad god!

Okay, I know that sounds funny but Dr. Elliot, one of PPA's docs, came by to see me during his rounds this morning. I had to say "aren't you Dr. Elliot?" He said "yes I am." Hee hee ;) He is one of the founding partners of PPA, is always in the news delivering some high order multiple pregnancy here and is a well-known medical researcher and author in regards to treating and caring for high-risk pregnancy patients, especially high order multiples. Folks call him the "quad god." So it was a bit fun to finally me the man. I joked with Paul saying "hey, maybe we should deliver today? Dr. Elliot is here!" Ha!

All of PPA's doctors have been great. So far I've also met...Dr. Bowen, Dr. Clewell, Dr. Edwards, Dr. Gandhi, Dr. Lam, Dr. Lin, Dr. Manogura, Dr. Oh, Dr. Sawai, Dr. Strong and Dr. Wolfson (he's the ultrasound doc at the office).

Visits from my boys!

It's been so good that Paul and Jared have been able to come to the hospital and visit with me. They try to come every day, usually in the afternoon. It brightens my day when I get visits, especially when it's from my husband and sweet little boy :)

Here is Jared visiting me. This is usually what he does when he comes into my room...marches right in, says "hello," plops himself in the big easy chair, pulls the TV over to him and watches something. He's too funny :P

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Can the babies still move?

A lot of folks ask me "can the babies still move? because it just looks like they don't have much room to move around in." My answer, "oh yes, they are still moving around." Just last evening I think two or three of them repositioned themselves a lot, like to the point that I was hurting with their new positions. I, too, find it crazy that they can still move around, especially when I think/feel how big and uncomfortable my belly is. But they can...like move from feet first (breech) to head first, from vertical to horizontal or even transverse (crossways), from facing upwards to inwards. And like I said, I can definitely feel it AND see it. I hope they are enjoying their little acrobatic moves here :P

No more Mag

My doctors think I am doing so well, e.g. my daily blood work comes back normal every time, that they've decided to take me off of my IV of Magnesium Sulfate. I think in the beginning they thought my preeclampsia was going to take off like a rocket and so that's why the Mag and the daily blood work. Well, now it looks like the preeclampsia is holding steady and not getting worse overnight. With that, no more Mag; although I do have an IV site in my arm just in case they need to hook me back up to it. They've also decreased the frequency of my blood work from daily to 2x a week and changed my biophysical profile ultrasounds from every 3 days to once a week.

It's crazy that last week we thought the preeclampsia was going to take off and I was going to delivery within days. Now, I think God is holding back the preeclampsia and giving us some extra time for the babies. My docs did say that preeclampsia can go two ways - either very fast or progress slow. Guess I got the slow kind ;) And that's good for the babies...more time spent with Mama versus a NICU incubator.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

It's a real tummy alright

My friend, Karen, came over yesterday for a visit and she took a picture of me and my big belly. So, here it is ;) Me at 30w2d...



She was funny. She said "your tummy just doesn't look real." I said "oh no, it's real alright. I can tell you that!" Ha!

Yeah, I guess I'm all belly. You wonder how big these four little ladies are going to be? We're hoping that God will make them be huge at delivery, like almost 4 lbs each. But just think, if each one is 4lbs then that means I am carrying 16lbs of babies. Ufff! And that doesn't take into consideration the weight of the placentas, the amniotic fluids, my blood volume, my water volume, etc., etc. Yikes!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Still Here

Yup, I'm still here in antepartum at Good Sam. I've been two weeks here already. My daily blood work and tests still show that everything is good, which is good and means extra days for the babies in utero. My biophysical profile ultrasounds show the girls doing well...breathing on their own, good heart tones, plenty of amniotic fluids and lots and lots of baby movement ;)

My PUPPP itchiness is still here, even though I've taken oral steroids and topical creams. It's all over my body now too; not just limited to my belly. Oh well. I just pray that God gives me the self-control to not itch myself to death.

The other thing I have developed is an ear infection. What? Aren't little ones the only ones who get these? So, I am on antibiotics for that. I think I also developed a sore throat with the ear infection.

And poor Paul and Jared aren't feeling well either. Jared has a runny nose and Paul has a cold and a toe infection. Man oh man! I haven't seen them lately because they're sick.

Please continue to pray for us, especially with the recent health issues/colds/bugs that have popped up. Continue to pray for God's endurance and strength on me as we wait to see when these ladies will be born. Pray for rest for Paul and Jared.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Itchy and scratchy

Okay, some itchiness and scratchiness is normal with pregnancy. The skin stretches to accommodate the baby(ies) and as a result, gets a little itchy. Unfortunately for me, I have developed PUPPP on my gynormous belly. And Oooooo does it itch!! We've tried topical creams, e.g. Benadryl, cocoa butter, and oral Benadryl pills but they didn't help. Now, my docs are giving me a steroid to help with the itch. I'm hoping it works soon because it's really difficult to maintain my self-control and not scratch my belly all day long ;)

So far, so good

Tonight is my 10th night staying here in the hospital. So far, so good. My daily blood work keeps coming back normal so that has been good. We've been able to gain several days for the babies with everything looking normal. I still have hyperreflexia and my blood pressure has been okay, sometimes in the 130s/70 and others where it's 140s or 150s/70. I'm still on Magnesium Sulfate, e.g. a low dose (2g/hr) for preeclamptic moms, and still no adverse side effects from the drug. Yay! Still no visual spots or blurriness. No severe headaches. No epigastric, or liver, pain. No pre-term labor. So again, so far, so good!

The babies are still doing well, kicking and playing around with each other. Ha! It's fun to see them on the ultrasounds. Although, I can't lie down on my back for the ultrasounds for very long. My poor body is now carrying ~70lbs of pregnancy weight. Uff! Just getting up or rolling around in the hospital bed hurts. Thank goodness the nurses were kind enough to generously pad my bed and install a trapeze overhead. The trapeze helps me use my arms/hands to pull myself up and out of bed. Otherwise, I'd probably roll off the bed and right onto the floor. Oooo, that would hurt ;)

My PPA docs say their target for me is to make it to 32 weeks, or around 3/5/08. I don't know why they wouldn't let me go past that, even if the daily bloodwork/etc. looks good. It's probably just because of the extreme amounts of protein and the severity of the preeclampsia. And who knows, we might not make it to 32 weeks anyways. Something could pop up tomorrow or the next and we'd have to deliver that day. In any case, we just take it one day at a time and I say to myself "well, we got an extra day for the babies today."

That's today's update. We will try to continue to keep everyone up to date with the latest :)

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

One week down

Well, it's been one week in the hospital. So far, things have gone well. Yes, there have been some sleepless nights (thanks to the continuous contraction monitoring, the Terb, the unexpected news of severe preeclampsia and having to put a Mag IV in at 4AM) but the nurses and PPA docs here are taking great care of me. And thanks to the Lord and answers to prayers, I am doing much better adjusting to being in the hospital. The Lord is my strength and my refuge!

My docs check me daily. I have daily blood work, to check on my liver, kidneys, platelets, etc. I have daily ultrasounds, to check on the babies' heart tones. I have 2x/week biophysical ultrasounds on the babies. So for now, we take it day by day. Yesterday, my labs came back great so that was good. But I'm sure once something changes my docs will say "okay, time to schedule your c-section for delivery." We've heard delivery could be "this week," "in the next couple of days," etc. So we see what each day the Lord brings.

We'll try to keep everyone posted on what's happening here!

Names

Yes, we finally have names (8 total :P ) for our quad girls. Paul and I came up with the first names and then we asked some close friends and family for help with the middle names. Thanks Amy K for the middles!

Here they are:

Brielle Grace (Baby A, one of the identicals)
Suzan Faith (Baby B, the other identical)
Bethany Hope (Baby C, one of the fraternals - she's the one that's VERY low)
Anna Joy (Baby D, the other fraternal - she's at the top and has been the "runt")

It will be fun meeting these ladies :)

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Now it's severe preeclampsia

Well, it's unfortunate to say this but I am now considered a "severely preeclamptic" patient. The docs here in the hospital ran another 24-hour urine test and the results came back very, very high. Just to compare, my first 24-hour test, a week ago, showed protein levels of 695mg. Now, the most recent 24-hour test showed protein levels of 5000mg+, or 5g+. Yikes! That's why the nurses woke me up at 3:00AM today and said "your labs came back extremely high. now, you are considered severe and we'll have to put you on Magnesium Sulfate." Great - blech!

So currently, I have an IV pump of Mag at 2g/hour. Usually they give Mag to pregnant women for pre-term labor. However, they also have found that it's good to give it to patients to treat the symptoms of preeclampsia. So no, the Mag won't "cure" the preeclampsia. The only "cure" for preeclampsia is delivery :( My severe preeclampsia will still continue to progress (I'm praying it won't progress as fast though!). The Mag is used so that I won't have any seizures or convulsions, which can occur.

My docs are also running blood work on my liver, platletes and kidneys, as they too are affected by preeclampsia. So far, the results have been good or just a bit over the upper limit. High blood pressure is another symptom of preeclampsia but mine has been just a tad high. So that is good. No visual spots or blurry vision. No severe headaches. No epigastric pain (or pain where my liver is). My reflexes are very over responsive, which is another sign of preeclampsia. It is called hyperreflexia. The docs can just barely flick their fingers at my knees and my legs twitch in response.

I will tell you that this is scary. But I am trusting in the Lord and that my Protector is taking care of me and the babies! The babies are still doing well. I had another ultrasound today, to check 1) their breathing, 2) their heart tones, 3) their amniotic fluid levels and 4) their movement. They all passed with flying colors!

So now we wait. The PPA on-call doc today said he doesn't figure I will make it to 32 weeks (or ~ 3/1/08), with this preeclampsia. Delivery might happen sooner than we expected, e.g. possibly in the next few days or one or two weeks - it depends. But Paul is optimistic and thinks I can make it longer :)

Please pray for my health, as this severe preeclampsia is very, very serious. No one likes to talk or hear about seizures! Pray that God would continue to hold my body together and protect it. I know He can do it! Pray for the babies, that they continue to be protected from this and grow big, big, big. Pray for Paul as I know hearing this stuff probably makes him nervous. Pray for Jared in coming to and from the hospital daily and seeing Mom hooked up to an IV and a bit drowsy from the Mag.

We praise God for the blessings he has given to us with these four girls! We praise Him that He loves and knows us (and the babies, even before they were ever formed) and that we love and know Him. We praise Him that he listens to all of our prayers and that He has a good and perfect plan for us.

Thanks for reading and praying for us!

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Pray for us!

I am currently typing this at Good Sam, our hospital. Apparently, my 24-hour test for pre-eclampsia came back high :( So, my docs said "go to the hospital and be admitted for observation." That was yesterday (Tuesday) at 4:00PM. Good news is they ran some blood work here at the hospital and my liver enzymes and platelet levels came back normal. The bad news is my blood pressure is going up, e.g. 142 or 144/65 :( That with my abnormal 24-hour pre-e test means I have to stay here. They are giving me two steroid shots to help the babies' and their lungs develop. Thank goodness I'm not on any pre-term labor meds or continuous contraction monitoring, as it stinks to be hooked up to all those things.

Please pray for us, especially for me in dealing with being admitted to the hospital. We knew this was a possibility but I am resisting it. We thought I could be here for a few days but talking to the doc today, he said "you're here from here on out. we want to watch you and the babies." Blech! Pray for our quad girls, that they would continue to develop and be in utero for as long as possible, e.g. 4 to 6 weeks more weeks. I had an ultrasound today and they all look great - good heart rates and weights between 2lbs 13 oz and 2lbs 8oz. Pray for Paul and Jared in being away from me (and me away from them!) and them traveling to and from the hospital to see me.

We appreciate your prayers!!!!
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