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Archive for the ‘life’ Category

Suckitude Continueth

Now, honestly, there's a lot of good going on in my life, so don't think I'm not aware of that.   But just in case someone's keeping score…

  • Sam had a 104 (F) degree fever all day Sunday and was screaming like a banshee most of the night that night.  I know a fever isn't really that big a deal, but I took him to the doctor this morning anyway.  Ear infection and a perforated ear drum.  Poor kiddo. 
  • I hurt my shoulder last Thursday, but I didn't think much of it.  But it's not getting any better, and my range of motion may actually be getting worse, so I went to the doc's office this afternoon.  My nurse practitioner thinks there's a good possibility that I tore my rotator cuff.  She's sending me to the orthopedist.  Fortunately, they can see me tomorrow and can even take the xrays IN the office.  
  • I fell asleep pretty early tonight, thanks to the wonders of pain medicine (see aforementioned shoulder pain).  But then woke up rather abruptly in an extraordinary amount of pain in the lower left quadrant of my back.  I also really felt like I needed to pee.  But… I really couldn't much, and it REALLY hurt to try.  I'm fairly certain that I have either a raging bladder infection or a kidney stone.
  • Seth gave me percocet and I fell asleep (bless him!).  I woke up itching all over (side effect of the opiates – this often happens to me.  Now I can't sleep.  But at least I'm in less pain?

That being said, I will say, I have the world's most wondermous husband, and gosh darned cute kids.  I have so much to be grateful for.  I have a nice (though small) home.  I have an amazing support structure when I need it.  I have a terrific community.  I have flexibility, for the most part.    Though things have been harder these last six or so months than I ever really expected to have to handle, I do have to admit, I pretty much have all of the things I ever really wanted – a wonderful loving family, a community (both IRL and in the blogosphere) who supports us when we need them, and stripey socks.

It would be greedy to ask for much more than that, wouldn't it?

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GYN Appointment
I had an OB/GYN appointment on Wednesday back with my regular doctor (no more perinatologist for me!). It was the first time I’ve seen him since a few days before I delivered when he came to visit me in the hospital, so it was good to see him, though I could have done without the exam! I was surprised at how many of my old feelings were still with me sitting in the waiting room amongst all the pregnant women there. You’d think having been through a pregnancy (one that lasted, even) and having three babies to show for it, that I wouldn’t still feel like a completely inadequate in a roomful of pregnant women. But I was never one of those women…I never had the luxury of taking my pregnancy for granted. I didn’t get to ever assume everything was fine because I had a pregnancy that was nearly guaranteed to result in a premature delivery and one in which things seemed to be going wrong every week (and I didn’t have as bad a time as I could have). Anyway, I don’t mind pregnant women…some of my best friends are pregnant women..I just find it overwhelming to be around that many at once.

The doctor asked whether my husband and I were doing anything about birth control. I missed my opportunity to answer with, “Well abstinence is the preferred method of Congress…” because I burst out laughing. Instead of lecturing me about the fact that there are lots of women who end up with an “oops baby” after years of fertility treatment, he just asked whether I’d be depressed if I ended up surprised by a pregnancy. After I stopped laughing, I told him I would die of shock because it would be the immaculate conception, but that we’d be thrilled to pieces. That satisfied him, so he was okay with me not doing anything to prevent it. I was actually a little surprised not to get a lecture about not wanting to be pregnant so soon after a triplet pregnancy and c-section (I got that lecture from the perinatologist while I was pregnant), but I’m cool with that. I’m very certain I’m not going to find myself surprised with a pregnancy anytime soon, or, like, ever.

I told him I was still bitter about the c-section and he said, “what do you mean?” He was shocked that I’d ever thought I could have a vaginal triplet delivery, and was surprised to learn that two of the perinatologists in the practice I went to have done (and were willing to do) vaginal triplet deliveries. I always knew that the odds were against me avoiding the c-section, but had Abby not been so little, they would have let me try it. Anyway, I told him that I’m all ready for my VBAC because I’m definitely going for a normal singleton pregnancy some day, darnit! I told him that HE was going to deliver my next baby because it was going to be JUST ONE. I’m not sure that I really have that much confidence that I’ll manage to get pregnant again, but I’m certainly going to try (while praying that the Big Guy Upstairs doesn’t have a sick enough sense of humor to send me quadruplets next time).

Pediatrician
I took Ellie to the pediatrician on Friday for a weight check. Well, I mean, all three babies went, but only Ellie got weighed and seen. I’ve known our pediatrician for about ten years (we used to attend the same synagogue, long before I had any kids), and I adore him. There are several other doctors in the practice, but I’ve made nearly all of our appointments with him because of Ellie’s weight issues. I prefer seeing him because he’s got a better appreciation of the trends we’ve been seeing with Ellie’s progress (or lack thereof) and because I just like him in general. One time when I saw another doctor for one of Ellie’s weight checks, she sort of shrugged me off as if I was overreacting. I admit that I was beginning to wonder if perhaps I was overreacting to Ellie’s lack of weight gain – she’s just so little compared to Abby and Sam. But she remains an enigma. She was 7 pounds, 7 ounces this week… which was only a 7 ounce gain in 17 days. Not terrible, but not quite what we would have liked to have seen, either. Even Dr. B said it would just be nice if she would go one way or another… slightly less gain and we would have known we needed to explore options, or slightly more and we’d know there was no problem whatsoever. She consistently gains less than he’d like to see her doing, but not so much so that it points to an obvious problem. He, like me, is somewhat worried, but not inclined to intervene too much at this point. She’s not showing any other signs of reflux (she rarely spits up, she’s not fussy when she goes on her all-too-frequent hunger strikes, she doesn’t quit in the middle of feedings, she doesn’t seem uncomfortable during or after feedings…), so trying reflux medication probably wouldn’t do anything other than giving us one more thing to have to keep track of on a daily basis. He doesn’t want to torture her with a huge blood draw for a metabolic screen, but he did do a small blood draw to check her thyroid hormone (T4, TSH), so we’ll see if that illuminates us at all.

The triplets are scheduled to return for their four month visit in two weeks, and he said we’ll just keep an eye on her until then and if I feel that things are taking a turn for the worse in the interim, I’m more than welcome to bring her in for another weight check. I doubt that I’ll feel the need, but you never know. It’s nice to know that they don’t think I’m just an overreacting new mom, but I do wish she would just gain a little more weight a little faster so we could stop worrying all together. Poor baby. The doc WAS impressed that Ellie is pretty consistently sucking her thumb. Thumb sucking is apparently a developmental milestone you expect of a full term baby at 3 or 4 months, so she’s about 2 months ahead of schedule. Go Ellie! Anywho, we’re back to our wait-and-see strategy with her, and that’s fine. I just wish she didn’t have hunger strikes!

Your Questions Answered
Allie posted this question in a comment recently:

Is it really going to be cost effective to pay for childcare for 3 kids?? I hear that childcare for 1 is bad enougth…but I can’t imagine paying for childcare for 3 newborns!!!! Won’t you just be working to pay for childcare costs??

I get this question (or similar questions) a lot and I don’t really understand it. No one knows how much I make or how much we’ll be paying a nanny, so why do people assume that it’s not cost effective? And why does no one ask my husband whether it’s cost effective for him to work?? We make the same amount of money! The truth is, it IS cost effective, not only in the short run, but definitely in the long run. I make more money than we’ll be paying the nanny. Does that mean we can afford a nanny? No. We still have more bills than we know what to do with. But we can’t pay much more than the mortgage and a few utilities with my husband’s salary alone and we’ve eaten through what little reserves we had with me out of work for the last seven months (bed rest for three months and almost four months since… time flies when you’re sleep deprived). Anyway, in the short run, yes, it is cost effective for me to work. It would not be if I made less money.

More importantly, however, it is cost effective in the long run. If I were to pull myself out of the job market until the kids went to kindergarten or 1st grade, I would no longer be marketable in my field because the standards and technology are changing too rapidly for me to keep up on my own. So even if we were losing money on a nanny at this point, it would be worth it in the long run because there is no other field that I’m qualified for in which I could maintain my current salary years down the road.

And while it’s true that I have little desire to return to work, I find it odd that no one seems to consider the possibility that maybe I like what I do. (I do like what I do, though I’d gladly give it up for the opportunity to stay home with my sweet babies if we could swing it financially). Anyway, enough of that…

Tinker asked:
How do you add calories to breastmilk? Feed it from a bottle and add a supplement of sorts? What kind of supplement?

You can fortify breastmilk by adding a higher calorie supplement to expressed breastmilk in a bottle. Breastmilk and standard formulas have 20 calories per ounce. Preemie formulas have 22 or 24 calories per ounce (I think there is also 27 calorie, but I’m not certain). So Abby used to get fortified breastmilk by adding 1/2 a teaspoon of preemie formula to 3 ounces of breastmilk, which raised it to 22 calories per ounce. She’s not getting extra calories anymore, though, because she’s done sufficient catch up growth.

Several people have asked whether I will continue breastfeeding when I go back to work and the answer is, of course, yes. I’ll be pumping during breaks and overnight (and obviously breastfeeding whenever I’m home with them). I’m very pleased that I’ve made it this far without needing any formula (who can afford formula for three babies??), and my hope is to make it until they are at least 6 months adjusted before adding anything else to their diets.

Any other questions?

Read Full Post »

GYN Appointment
I had an OB/GYN appointment on Wednesday back with my regular doctor (no more perinatologist for me!). It was the first time I've seen him since a few days before I delivered when he came to visit me in the hospital, so it was good to see him, though I could have done without the exam! I was surprised at how many of my old feelings were still with me sitting in the waiting room amongst all the pregnant women there. You'd think having been through a pregnancy (one that lasted, even) and having three babies to show for it, that I wouldn't still feel like a completely inadequate in a roomful of pregnant women. But I was never one of those women…I never had the luxury of taking my pregnancy for granted. I didn't get to ever assume everything was fine because I had a pregnancy that was nearly guaranteed to result in a premature delivery and one in which things seemed to be going wrong every week (and I didn't have as bad a time as I could have). Anyway, I don't mind pregnant women…some of my best friends are pregnant women..I just find it overwhelming to be around that many at once.

The doctor asked whether my husband and I were doing anything about birth control. I missed my opportunity to answer with, "Well abstinence is the preferred method of Congress…" because I burst out laughing. Instead of lecturing me about the fact that there are lots of women who end up with an "oops baby" after years of fertility treatment, he just asked whether I'd be depressed if I ended up surprised by a pregnancy. After I stopped laughing, I told him I would die of shock because it would be the immaculate conception, but that we'd be thrilled to pieces. That satisfied him, so he was okay with me not doing anything to prevent it. I was actually a little surprised not to get a lecture about not wanting to be pregnant so soon after a triplet pregnancy and c-section (I got that lecture from the perinatologist while I was pregnant), but I'm cool with that. I'm very certain I'm not going to find myself surprised with a pregnancy anytime soon, or, like, ever.

I told him I was still bitter about the c-section and he said, "what do you mean?" He was shocked that I'd ever thought I could have a vaginal triplet delivery, and was surprised to learn that two of the perinatologists in the practice I went to have done (and were willing to do) vaginal triplet deliveries. I always knew that the odds were against me avoiding the c-section, but had Abby not been so little, they would have let me try it. Anyway, I told him that I'm all ready for my VBAC because I'm definitely going for a normal singleton pregnancy some day, darnit! I told him that HE was going to deliver my next baby because it was going to be JUST ONE. I'm not sure that I really have that much confidence that I'll manage to get pregnant again, but I'm certainly going to try (while praying that the Big Guy Upstairs doesn't have a sick enough sense of humor to send me quadruplets next time).

Pediatrician
I took Ellie to the pediatrician on Friday for a weight check. Well, I mean, all three babies went, but only Ellie got weighed and seen. I've known our pediatrician for about ten years (we used to attend the same synagogue, long before I had any kids), and I adore him. There are several other doctors in the practice, but I've made nearly all of our appointments with him because of Ellie's weight issues. I prefer seeing him because he's got a better appreciation of the trends we've been seeing with Ellie's progress (or lack thereof) and because I just like him in general. One time when I saw another doctor for one of Ellie's weight checks, she sort of shrugged me off as if I was overreacting. I admit that I was beginning to wonder if perhaps I was overreacting to Ellie's lack of weight gain – she's just so little compared to Abby and Sam. But she remains an enigma. She was 7 pounds, 7 ounces this week… which was only a 7 ounce gain in 17 days. Not terrible, but not quite what we would have liked to have seen, either. Even Dr. B said it would just be nice if she would go one way or another… slightly less gain and we would have known we needed to explore options, or slightly more and we'd know there was no problem whatsoever. She consistently gains less than he'd like to see her doing, but not so much so that it points to an obvious problem. He, like me, is somewhat worried, but not inclined to intervene too much at this point. She's not showing any other signs of reflux (she rarely spits up, she's not fussy when she goes on her all-too-frequent hunger strikes, she doesn't quit in the middle of feedings, she doesn't seem uncomfortable during or after feedings…), so trying reflux medication probably wouldn't do anything other than giving us one more thing to have to keep track of on a daily basis. He doesn't want to torture her with a huge blood draw for a metabolic screen, but he did do a small blood draw to check her thyroid hormone (T4, TSH), so we'll see if that illuminates us at all.

The triplets are scheduled to return for their four month visit in two weeks, and he said we'll just keep an eye on her until then and if I feel that things are taking a turn for the worse in the interim, I'm more than welcome to bring her in for another weight check. I doubt that I'll feel the need, but you never know. It's nice to know that they don't think I'm just an overreacting new mom, but I do wish she would just gain a little more weight a little faster so we could stop worrying all together. Poor baby. The doc WAS impressed that Ellie is pretty consistently sucking her thumb. Thumb sucking is apparently a developmental milestone you expect of a full term baby at 3 or 4 months, so she's about 2 months ahead of schedule. Go Ellie! Anywho, we're back to our wait-and-see strategy with her, and that's fine. I just wish she didn't have hunger strikes!

Your Questions Answered
Allie posted this question in a comment recently:

Is it really going to be cost effective to pay for childcare for 3 kids?? I hear that childcare for 1 is bad enougth…but I can't imagine paying for childcare for 3 newborns!!!! Won't you just be working to pay for childcare costs??

I get this question (or similar questions) a lot and I don't really understand it. No one knows how much I make or how much we'll be paying a nanny, so why do people assume that it's not cost effective? And why does no one ask my husband whether it's cost effective for him to work?? We make the same amount of money! The truth is, it IS cost effective, not only in the short run, but definitely in the long run. I make more money than we'll be paying the nanny. Does that mean we can afford a nanny? No. We still have more bills than we know what to do with. But we can't pay much more than the mortgage and a few utilities with my husband's salary alone and we've eaten through what little reserves we had with me out of work for the last seven months (bed rest for three months and almost four months since… time flies when you're sleep deprived). Anyway, in the short run, yes, it is cost effective for me to work. It would not be if I made less money.

More importantly, however, it is cost effective in the long run. If I were to pull myself out of the job market until the kids went to kindergarten or 1st grade, I would no longer be marketable in my field because the standards and technology are changing too rapidly for me to keep up on my own. So even if we were losing money on a nanny at this point, it would be worth it in the long run because there is no other field that I'm qualified for in which I could maintain my current salary years down the road.

And while it's true that I have little desire to return to work, I find it odd that no one seems to consider the possibility that maybe I like what I do. (I do like what I do, though I'd gladly give it up for the opportunity to stay home with my sweet babies if we could swing it financially). Anyway, enough of that…

Tinker asked:
How do you add calories to breastmilk? Feed it from a bottle and add a supplement of sorts? What kind of supplement?

You can fortify breastmilk by adding a higher calorie supplement to expressed breastmilk in a bottle. Breastmilk and standard formulas have 20 calories per ounce. Preemie formulas have 22 or 24 calories per ounce (I think there is also 27 calorie, but I'm not certain). So Abby used to get fortified breastmilk by adding 1/2 a teaspoon of preemie formula to 3 ounces of breastmilk, which raised it to 22 calories per ounce. She's not getting extra calories anymore, though, because she's done sufficient catch up growth.

Several people have asked whether I will continue breastfeeding when I go back to work and the answer is, of course, yes. I'll be pumping during breaks and overnight (and obviously breastfeeding whenever I'm home with them). I'm very pleased that I've made it this far without needing any formula (who can afford formula for three babies??), and my hope is to make it until they are at least 6 months adjusted before adding anything else to their diets.

Any other questions?

Read Full Post »

Perspective

I still owe the tale of how I came to have a c-section at 33 weeks, and how all that went and all, and I’m still a bit upset about how it all came to be, and the fact that it happened when it happened, but here’s a bit of perspective about it…

The night before I delivered my three healthy babies, my doctor’s other hospitalized triplet patient went into labor at 24 1/2 weeks. She had been hospitalized after an emergency cerclage earlier in the week and it didn’t do enough. One of my worst nightmares throughout my pregnancy… a nightmare that almost came true for me several times. Worse, one of her triplets became septic and didn’t survive. The other two, so far as I know, are still in the NICU, but doing well, considering.

Maybe 12-13 days after they were born, I was in the NICU fairly late at night and I ran into the other triplet mama in the elevator on my way home. I know it was her because my husband had described her to me, having seen her around the NICU, but also because she had those three NICU bracelets on her wrist. Those three bracelets just like me. The three bracelets that meant everyone in the hospital seemed to know who we were just with a glance at our wrists. “Oh you’re the triplet mother!” “Oh, you must be Mrs. C!” “Hey, you don’t know me, but I peeked in on your triplets this morning and they’re adorable!” She had her three bracelets on, but more importantly, she had her eyes glued to the three bracelets on my wrist. She didn’t say a single word to me, not one, but she never took her eyes off my wrist. I wanted to pull my sleeve down over the bracelets, but I knew that would just draw even more attention to the awkwardness of the situation. I couldn’t say anything to her, because anything I said would have been wrong. I shouldn’t know her situation. I shouldn’t have known that she lost one, but NICU nurses talk, you know? I shouldn’t have known anything about her, but I did. I couldn’t tell her I was sorry for her loss, because we both knew that upstairs I had three healthy babies.

And so, we said nothing to each other, and I still regret that. All I could wonder was whether I would have taken off that third bracelet or not. I doubt that I would have had the courage to do so. I heard a week or so later that she had taken the third one off, and though I don’t know what to make of that, I hope it means that some small piece of her had started down the next step of the grief process towards healing.

My doctor was absolutely devastated. He never loses triplets. It just doesn’t happen in his practice. The earliest he’s had triplets deliver before was 26 weeks and that was with a totally non-compliant 18 year old patient. You could see the pain of the loss in his eyes, his body language, hear it in his tone… I cried for her, but I also cried for him, because it was so obvious how attached to his patients he becomes. He told me three days after I delivered exactly how worried he’d been about me at different points in my pregnancy… points that I’d already forgotten about. I’d forgotten about that weekend when he thought he might be delivering me at 27 weeks. I’d blocked out of my head exactly how scary things got when my cervix went down to under 1.5cm and the contractions wouldn’t stop. I hadn’t REALIZED how worried he had become when my blood pressure started to creep up. I never knew that he’d wondered whether he’d be delivering me soon when I saw him at 30 weeks. I never knew how concerned he’d been as my terbutaline dose crept up and up and up. He had provided excellent medical care, impressed upon me the need to follow all doctor’s orders. But he had NEVER allowed me to see his worry until after-the-fact. So I know that the sadness he felt over the loss of that triplet was real. I know he visited my triplets and her remaining two triplets in the NICU, which is apparently ridiculously uncommon in the NICU… OBs/Perinatologists apparently never make an appearance in the NICU.

When I found out I was pregnant with triplets, I wasn’t thrilled; I was terrified, I was angry, I was sad, I was self-pitying, I was worried. It didn’t take me long to figure out that I loved them fiercely, even as they were forming, and that nothing would convince me that I didn’t want them. But I wasn’t graceful. I blogged about it, knowing I would get a lot of crap for it, and I did get some pretty irate emails, but I’m not sorry that I wrote the truth. I tried to write the truth throughout my pregnancy experience. It wasn’t always a very pleasant pregnancy, though the truth is, now I miss being pregnant so much I can taste it, oddly enough. One of the best by-products of my honesty was the number of people who contacted me when they found themselves pregnant with triplets. They either left comments or emailed me privately to either commiserate or ask advice or just to connect with someone else who was living through the same thing. I feel a very, very special connection to each one of you who looked to me for advice or support, though I felt (and feel) unworthy of giving any such advice when I received such amazing advice from incredible triplet veterans like Jody and Jessica among others.

A week or so ago, I heard from one of my friends who was pregnant with triplets. A woman I had never met, who is far across the country from me, but a woman whom I respect and admire more than she knows. The last I had heard from her, her water had broken around 17 or 18 weeks into her pregnancy, and she was on strict-flat-on-her-back bed rest in hopes of holding on to those babies until viability at least. A terrible, horrible position to be in, for sure. But then I delivered my triplets and I’d been out of the loop for a bit, until she emailed me to let me know that she delivered the first of her three triplets at 19 weeks, on the day I was admitted to the hospital. He lived for about an hour and she got to hold him and love him and say hello and good bye to him. She miraculously held on to his sister and brother for another two weeks before delivering them at 21 weeks. They, too, lived about an hour, before she lost them. I cannot begin to describe how devastated I was when I read her email and watched the beautiful memorial video she sent me. I would share it, but I haven’t asked permission to do so, and it’s not my story to tell, except as it pertains to this post.

I’ve never met my friend. She was, as Julie would say, a “friend inside the computer”, but that makes her no less my friend, and makes me no less attached to her story. That is one of the beauties of the blogosphere. We are all spread across the world, we’d probably never meet under normal circumstances, and if we did, who knows if we’d ever realize we had enough in common to be friends. But here inside the computer, look how much we find in common with one another! Look how attached to each other’s stories we become! This is a strange little universe we float around in, but I wouldn’t change it for anything. I found love and support and humour and grace in the blogosphere when I thought I couldn’t have any of those things in this ridiculous journey, and I continue to find all of that and tremendous friendship. I grieve for my friends’ losses whether I’ve met them or not, and I take all of your stories very personally, even if I haven’t had a lot of time recently to peek in and comment. I will resurface at some point, and I vow to leave at least three comments per week from here on out, because isolation is not any fun and I miss all of you and I would hate to think that any of you think I don’t care anymore.

But mostly, to my friend who lost her triplets so tragically last month, know that my heart breaks for you and that it is not lost on me that no matter how much I would have liked SOME things to have gone differently, God gave me three precious gifts five weeks ago today. I will never lose sight of the fact that they could just as easily have been taken from me. I am so, so sorry for your loss and for the many losses I’ve seen in my time in the blogosphere. I rejoice with my friends when miracles happen, but my grief sinks just as low when tragedy strikes. I love all of you so much. Thank you for your support.

Read Full Post »

Perspective

I still owe the tale of how I came to have a c-section at 33 weeks, and how all that went and all, and I'm still a bit upset about how it all came to be, and the fact that it happened when it happened, but here's a bit of perspective about it…

The night before I delivered my three healthy babies, my doctor's other hospitalized triplet patient went into labor at 24 1/2 weeks. She had been hospitalized after an emergency cerclage earlier in the week and it didn't do enough. One of my worst nightmares throughout my pregnancy… a nightmare that almost came true for me several times. Worse, one of her triplets became septic and didn't survive. The other two, so far as I know, are still in the NICU, but doing well, considering.

Maybe 12-13 days after they were born, I was in the NICU fairly late at night and I ran into the other triplet mama in the elevator on my way home. I know it was her because my husband had described her to me, having seen her around the NICU, but also because she had those three NICU bracelets on her wrist. Those three bracelets just like me. The three bracelets that meant everyone in the hospital seemed to know who we were just with a glance at our wrists. "Oh you're the triplet mother!" "Oh, you must be Mrs. C!" "Hey, you don't know me, but I peeked in on your triplets this morning and they're adorable!" She had her three bracelets on, but more importantly, she had her eyes glued to the three bracelets on my wrist. She didn't say a single word to me, not one, but she never took her eyes off my wrist. I wanted to pull my sleeve down over the bracelets, but I knew that would just draw even more attention to the awkwardness of the situation. I couldn't say anything to her, because anything I said would have been wrong. I shouldn't know her situation. I shouldn't have known that she lost one, but NICU nurses talk, you know? I shouldn't have known anything about her, but I did. I couldn't tell her I was sorry for her loss, because we both knew that upstairs I had three healthy babies.

And so, we said nothing to each other, and I still regret that. All I could wonder was whether I would have taken off that third bracelet or not. I doubt that I would have had the courage to do so. I heard a week or so later that she had taken the third one off, and though I don't know what to make of that, I hope it means that some small piece of her had started down the next step of the grief process towards healing.

My doctor was absolutely devastated. He never loses triplets. It just doesn't happen in his practice. The earliest he's had triplets deliver before was 26 weeks and that was with a totally non-compliant 18 year old patient. You could see the pain of the loss in his eyes, his body language, hear it in his tone… I cried for her, but I also cried for him, because it was so obvious how attached to his patients he becomes. He told me three days after I delivered exactly how worried he'd been about me at different points in my pregnancy… points that I'd already forgotten about. I'd forgotten about that weekend when he thought he might be delivering me at 27 weeks. I'd blocked out of my head exactly how scary things got when my cervix went down to under 1.5cm and the contractions wouldn't stop. I hadn't REALIZED how worried he had become when my blood pressure started to creep up. I never knew that he'd wondered whether he'd be delivering me soon when I saw him at 30 weeks. I never knew how concerned he'd been as my terbutaline dose crept up and up and up. He had provided excellent medical care, impressed upon me the need to follow all doctor's orders. But he had NEVER allowed me to see his worry until after-the-fact. So I know that the sadness he felt over the loss of that triplet was real. I know he visited my triplets and her remaining two triplets in the NICU, which is apparently ridiculously uncommon in the NICU… OBs/Perinatologists apparently never make an appearance in the NICU.

When I found out I was pregnant with triplets, I wasn't thrilled; I was terrified, I was angry, I was sad, I was self-pitying, I was worried. It didn't take me long to figure out that I loved them fiercely, even as they were forming, and that nothing would convince me that I didn't want them. But I wasn't graceful. I blogged about it, knowing I would get a lot of crap for it, and I did get some pretty irate emails, but I'm not sorry that I wrote the truth. I tried to write the truth throughout my pregnancy experience. It wasn't always a very pleasant pregnancy, though the truth is, now I miss being pregnant so much I can taste it, oddly enough. One of the best by-products of my honesty was the number of people who contacted me when they found themselves pregnant with triplets. They either left comments or emailed me privately to either commiserate or ask advice or just to connect with someone else who was living through the same thing. I feel a very, very special connection to each one of you who looked to me for advice or support, though I felt (and feel) unworthy of giving any such advice when I received such amazing advice from incredible triplet veterans like Jody and Jessica among others.

A week or so ago, I heard from one of my friends who was pregnant with triplets. A woman I had never met, who is far across the country from me, but a woman whom I respect and admire more than she knows. The last I had heard from her, her water had broken around 17 or 18 weeks into her pregnancy, and she was on strict-flat-on-her-back bed rest in hopes of holding on to those babies until viability at least. A terrible, horrible position to be in, for sure. But then I delivered my triplets and I'd been out of the loop for a bit, until she emailed me to let me know that she delivered the first of her three triplets at 19 weeks, on the day I was admitted to the hospital. He lived for about an hour and she got to hold him and love him and say hello and good bye to him. She miraculously held on to his sister and brother for another two weeks before delivering them at 21 weeks. They, too, lived about an hour, before she lost them. I cannot begin to describe how devastated I was when I read her email and watched the beautiful memorial video she sent me. I would share it, but I haven't asked permission to do so, and it's not my story to tell, except as it pertains to this post.

I've never met my friend. She was, as Julie would say, a "friend inside the computer", but that makes her no less my friend, and makes me no less attached to her story. That is one of the beauties of the blogosphere. We are all spread across the world, we'd probably never meet under normal circumstances, and if we did, who knows if we'd ever realize we had enough in common to be friends. But here inside the computer, look how much we find in common with one another! Look how attached to each other's stories we become! This is a strange little universe we float around in, but I wouldn't change it for anything. I found love and support and humour and grace in the blogosphere when I thought I couldn't have any of those things in this ridiculous journey, and I continue to find all of that and tremendous friendship. I grieve for my friends' losses whether I've met them or not, and I take all of your stories very personally, even if I haven't had a lot of time recently to peek in and comment. I will resurface at some point, and I vow to leave at least three comments per week from here on out, because isolation is not any fun and I miss all of you and I would hate to think that any of you think I don't care anymore.

But mostly, to my friend who lost her triplets so tragically last month, know that my heart breaks for you and that it is not lost on me that no matter how much I would have liked SOME things to have gone differently, God gave me three precious gifts five weeks ago today. I will never lose sight of the fact that they could just as easily have been taken from me. I am so, so sorry for your loss and for the many losses I've seen in my time in the blogosphere. I rejoice with my friends when miracles happen, but my grief sinks just as low when tragedy strikes. I love all of you so much. Thank you for your support.

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I know you were all worried that I was sitting around being bored. You were all concerned that what with the Procardia and the renewed sense of cervical stability from Tuesday’s visit, I’d be sitting around complacent and just pulling my hair out for lack of anything more interesting to do. So if that was your greatest concern, fear not. There is no boredom to be had in the perky household today. I mean that bed rest thing? God it sucks. But it’s anything but boring. Let’s back up.

First, my husband was out of town Wednesday through Friday afternoon. That was fun, really. I mean, fun like nailing my hand to the wall would be fun. I had some help with our four year old, but not enough, because certain people who were supposed to give more help than they did, well, didn’t. The monitor equipment I had gotten Wednesday night broke Thursday morning and had to be replaced (they got me a replacement by mid-day). The good news was that the two monitoring sessions I had on Thursday had no contractions. I did have some contractions between monitoring sessions, but I took the immediate-release nifedipine and whipped them right into shape. Friday, same thing, no problem.

Friday night I couldn’t sleep. I had cramps all night. Everything felt funny. I just didn’t feel right. I got up around 7ish Saturday and strapped on the monitor shortly thereafter and curled up with Harry Potter which a friend had lovingly picked up from Borders at midnight and left on my table for me. She rocks. But I was so uncomfortable and weird feeling that it was a lost cause. So I just put the book down and tried hard not to think. When the nurse called back she said that I’d had three contractions which wouldn’t have been alarming except that it was a change. My BP was fine, but high for me (110/74… not high by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s a 10 point diastolic jump), but I was still having pretty significant cramping. The nurse suggested taking the immediate-relaease nifedipine and calling back in 30-60 minutes. So an hour later, I called back and wasn’t feeling any better, so the nurse said I could either call the doctor or monitor for another hour first, but she didn’t recommend just ignoring it. I opted to monitor for another hour, figuring that the nifedipine surely would leave me contraction-free. Right? RIGHT? Wrong. Three contractions, and I still felt weird. And the cramping wasn’t any better. So the nurse thought the best thing to do would be to call the doctor even though I wasn’t over my threshold for contractions. So that’s what I did.

I’ll pause here to note that, as I’ve mentioned before but rarely emphasize because that’s not what this blog is about, I’m an Orthodox Jew. A few of you know what that entails, and many of you probably have some idea, but the greatest impact to THIS particular tale of woe is that it was Saturday, which is the Sabbath (which you’ll often hear me refer to as “Shabbos”). Now, normally all this futzing around with phone calls and electrical devices on Shabbos would not be permissible, but obviously, in this case Judaism is very prctical and I am permitted to monitor and to make and receive the necessary phone calls to ensure the health and well being of myself and the babies. But it was about to become even more complicated, because when the doctor called back he asked if I would mind coming in to the hospital to be checked out. He wanted to make sure my cervix hadn’t shortened more, essentially, and honestly, the last time I felt this weird, my cervix HAD shortened significantly. So I said we’d go in if that’s what he wanted.

However, we actually didn’t entirely know where our four year old was. That sounds worse than it is. My husband had dropped him off at the children’s program during regular services (he had gone to super-early morning services himself) and a friend was to walk him back to us. But she had misunderstood and had thought we wanted her to bring him a different friend’s house (which is often the plan, so not unusual), so it took a while to track him down. This would not normally be disturbing, except that we needed to make this happen so that we could find a permanent location for him for the afternoon. Plus, we needed to find a way to get me to the hospital, which in this case meant my husband COULD drive me, but it would be preferably to have a non-Jew drive us, which meant finding someone or calling for a taxi. So that got taken care of too. But by the time all that happened, it was quite late and I was quite ticked off that it had taken this long, and now we have some lessons learned. Hopefully there won’t be a next time, but if there is, we now have a neighbor who knows how to track down our four year old if necessary (he knows and loves her and won’t be freaked out by suddenly going to her house as he does so often). She’ll simply be told to find him and we’ll go.

And so, three hours after talking to the doctor, I finally made it to the hospital. And, thankfully, my cervix had not significantly shortened. Slightly shorter than Tuesday, but still in the 2.x range. Still having contractions, though, so Dr. P’s feeling was that the nifedipine wasn’t doing a particularly good job. He felt that in his experience a terbutaline pump does a better job and is fairly well tolerated even though oral terbutaline tends not to be. He gave me a shot of terbutaline to see if that calmed the cramping, which it did, but boy did it make me feel crappy. Shaky and jittery, oh my! He said the pump is better tolerated because you’re getting a constant dose over time and even the automatic doses which are bigger are given over a period of 12 minutes, so that seemed reasonable. He told me if I felt more comfortable being admitted, he would absolutely do so, but we all agreed I would more likely be comfortable at home. I frankly didn’t care WHERE I was at that point, I was just so damn uncomfortable and tired at that point I wanted to have SOME sort of plan. So they set up getting me discharged and getting me a terb pump set up at home that evening. This was made easier by the fact that I was already receiving home monitoring from the company that would set up the pump and do 24/7 support for that. So the nurse called someone to come get us, and off we were.

When we got home, I asked the friend who had driven us home to please check the voicemail for me in case I’d missed a call about getting the pump set up while en route home. Long story short we had not missed any calls about the pump, but my husband’s father passed away yesterday. And that’s when the fun began. My husband was off trying to pick up the four year old monster, so I sent my friend out to get him to come home. He was, in fact, at a Rabbi’s house, so I asked her to send home both my husband and the Rabbi. She had the good sense to suggest that J still stay put, which was brilliant and I’m sorry I didn’t think of it, but by this point I wasn’t thinking. My heart was still racing from the terbutaline shot and from everything else that had been happening. So my husband came home wondering what the hell could have happened to me in the fifteen minutes that he’d been gone, let alone anything that would require the Rabbi’s presence (this is a friend of ours who IS a Rabbi, not the Rabbi of our community). And I stupidly didn’t have him sit down next to me when I told him so he took a stop back in shock and just said, “How could you KNOW that?” It was, after all, still Shabbos, and his father lived in New Hampshire. How COULD I know that? Yeah. Lucy had some ‘splainin’ to do.

Now, you may think the rules about what I can and cannot do on Shabbos are weird and restritive (no phone, no affecting electricity, no cooking, no driving, no writing…), but when a close relative (parent, sibling, spouse or child) dies, the rules are quite limiting. In my husband’s case, they are less so until after the funeral for a variety of complicated reasons, but we needed to clear this up PRONTO. So off he went to talk to the Rabbi of the community. Neither of us, thankfully, is personally well-versed in the mourning rituals of Judaism. But after the funeral, my husband will sit shiva (google it, for more information, I’m so exhausted I can’t get into it right now). For Orthodox Jews, this is a complex and regimented process. And worse, I really can’t help AT ALL. So it’s going to be fun, let me tell you.

So my husband went off to talk to the Rabbi, and while he was gone my mother-in-law (LONG divorced from my father-in-law) and brother-in-law came to the house knowing that we wouldn’t have otherwise heard the news under normal circumstances. Except, of course, we had, and S wasn’t around and meanwhile I was expecting a nurse to show up at any time to deal with the pump and it was nearly time for me to monitor again and would this day NEVER END? An hour later, S got home with J in tow, the supplies for the pump and all the drugs showed up via courier, and shortly thereafter the nurse came at which point I begged my husband to get his brother to disappear because I really didn’t want to do this in front of him. The nurse had a billion forms and a bunch of things to go over, which was fine and then she started to go over how to deal with the pump, but we ran into a snag. What, you expected this to go smoothly?

See, as I’ve mentioned before, my husband is a pharmacist and he was pretty burnt out, but fortunately the nurse noticed and asked for his professional opinion… but none of the syringes filled with terbutaline were labeled properly. They had my name on them, and then said Dr. Tincture which is incorrect. My doctor’s name is Dr. P. and I’m allergic to Tincture of Benzoine. And nowhere on the label did it say the drug inside the syringe is terbutaline. My husband is in charge of the IV Lab at a major hospital. This is one area of protocol with which is he is intimately familiar and he said, “I’m really sorry, but this is a clear liquid in a poorly labeled syringe which gives me no indication that it was checked by a pharmacist. It could be anything. I can’t let you take it.” He was right, of course, but for crying out loud! Could one thing PLEASE go right? The nurse called back to the center and got them working on calling the drug company that they subcontract to that had made the mistake in the first place to get them working on replacing the drug ASAP. Meanwhile, she showed us how to deal with getting the pump primed and ready to go, and she showed me how to get the catheter in place in my leg. And she took away the bad drug and told me that once the new one showed up I could call Matria to have them walk me through getting the cartridge refilled if I couldn’t remember how to do it. It was then about 9:30pm. I had received my last dose of terbutaline at about 3:15. I didn’t want to take the oral terbutaline that I had on hadn because I didn’t want the sudden jittery-ness again if I could help it and I didn’t know how long it would be. At 10:20, the center called me to tell me that the pharmacist was going back in to remake the drug and would courier it over to me as soon as it was ready. Stat orders have a maximum 4 hour turnaround time. Yeah, I should have taken that oral dose. Sigh. Finally, it arrived at about 12:30am.

Too tired to figure it out myself, I called to have them walk me through it, which the nurse happily did, and I got it all set up, gave myself a demand dose and the jittery-ness began. Also, even more unpleaseant, I discovered that the side effect I thought I’d been imagining in the hospital was not imagined, it was real… the terbutaline makes me REALLY HOT. UGH. I have managed to avoid that symptom of pregnancy thus far. And now it is drug induced and MISERABLE.n I was able to fall asleep despite the jitters, but I woke up about 4:15 feeling panicky, but quickly realized it was the jitters from the automatic 4am dose that had just finished pumping into me. Gosh this is going to be fun!

It’s now almost 6am, and I would really like for today to be less eventful, please. My husband is going in to work, and my mother is taking J for most of the day (the rest of the day I’ll have several extra pairs of hands in the house to help. I will not be left alone with J… not to worry!). So I’m really, really, really hoping for a quiet, somewhat restful day. Is it so much to ask for?

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I know you were all worried that I was sitting around being bored. You were all concerned that what with the Procardia and the renewed sense of cervical stability from Tuesday's visit, I'd be sitting around complacent and just pulling my hair out for lack of anything more interesting to do. So if that was your greatest concern, fear not. There is no boredom to be had in the perky household today. I mean that bed rest thing? God it sucks. But it's anything but boring. Let's back up.

First, my husband was out of town Wednesday through Friday afternoon. That was fun, really. I mean, fun like nailing my hand to the wall would be fun. I had some help with our four year old, but not enough, because certain people who were supposed to give more help than they did, well, didn't. The monitor equipment I had gotten Wednesday night broke Thursday morning and had to be replaced (they got me a replacement by mid-day). The good news was that the two monitoring sessions I had on Thursday had no contractions. I did have some contractions between monitoring sessions, but I took the immediate-release nifedipine and whipped them right into shape. Friday, same thing, no problem.

Friday night I couldn't sleep. I had cramps all night. Everything felt funny. I just didn't feel right. I got up around 7ish Saturday and strapped on the monitor shortly thereafter and curled up with Harry Potter which a friend had lovingly picked up from Borders at midnight and left on my table for me. She rocks. But I was so uncomfortable and weird feeling that it was a lost cause. So I just put the book down and tried hard not to think. When the nurse called back she said that I'd had three contractions which wouldn't have been alarming except that it was a change. My BP was fine, but high for me (110/74… not high by any stretch of the imagination, but it's a 10 point diastolic jump), but I was still having pretty significant cramping. The nurse suggested taking the immediate-relaease nifedipine and calling back in 30-60 minutes. So an hour later, I called back and wasn't feeling any better, so the nurse said I could either call the doctor or monitor for another hour first, but she didn't recommend just ignoring it. I opted to monitor for another hour, figuring that the nifedipine surely would leave me contraction-free. Right? RIGHT? Wrong. Three contractions, and I still felt weird. And the cramping wasn't any better. So the nurse thought the best thing to do would be to call the doctor even though I wasn't over my threshold for contractions. So that's what I did.

I'll pause here to note that, as I've mentioned before but rarely emphasize because that's not what this blog is about, I'm an Orthodox Jew. A few of you know what that entails, and many of you probably have some idea, but the greatest impact to THIS particular tale of woe is that it was Saturday, which is the Sabbath (which you'll often hear me refer to as "Shabbos"). Now, normally all this futzing around with phone calls and electrical devices on Shabbos would not be permissible, but obviously, in this case Judaism is very prctical and I am permitted to monitor and to make and receive the necessary phone calls to ensure the health and well being of myself and the babies. But it was about to become even more complicated, because when the doctor called back he asked if I would mind coming in to the hospital to be checked out. He wanted to make sure my cervix hadn't shortened more, essentially, and honestly, the last time I felt this weird, my cervix HAD shortened significantly. So I said we'd go in if that's what he wanted.

However, we actually didn't entirely know where our four year old was. That sounds worse than it is. My husband had dropped him off at the children's program during regular services (he had gone to super-early morning services himself) and a friend was to walk him back to us. But she had misunderstood and had thought we wanted her to bring him a different friend's house (which is often the plan, so not unusual), so it took a while to track him down. This would not normally be disturbing, except that we needed to make this happen so that we could find a permanent location for him for the afternoon. Plus, we needed to find a way to get me to the hospital, which in this case meant my husband COULD drive me, but it would be preferably to have a non-Jew drive us, which meant finding someone or calling for a taxi. So that got taken care of too. But by the time all that happened, it was quite late and I was quite ticked off that it had taken this long, and now we have some lessons learned. Hopefully there won't be a next time, but if there is, we now have a neighbor who knows how to track down our four year old if necessary (he knows and loves her and won't be freaked out by suddenly going to her house as he does so often). She'll simply be told to find him and we'll go.

And so, three hours after talking to the doctor, I finally made it to the hospital. And, thankfully, my cervix had not significantly shortened. Slightly shorter than Tuesday, but still in the 2.x range. Still having contractions, though, so Dr. P's feeling was that the nifedipine wasn't doing a particularly good job. He felt that in his experience a terbutaline pump does a better job and is fairly well tolerated even though oral terbutaline tends not to be. He gave me a shot of terbutaline to see if that calmed the cramping, which it did, but boy did it make me feel crappy. Shaky and jittery, oh my! He said the pump is better tolerated because you're getting a constant dose over time and even the automatic doses which are bigger are given over a period of 12 minutes, so that seemed reasonable. He told me if I felt more comfortable being admitted, he would absolutely do so, but we all agreed I would more likely be comfortable at home. I frankly didn't care WHERE I was at that point, I was just so damn uncomfortable and tired at that point I wanted to have SOME sort of plan. So they set up getting me discharged and getting me a terb pump set up at home that evening. This was made easier by the fact that I was already receiving home monitoring from the company that would set up the pump and do 24/7 support for that. So the nurse called someone to come get us, and off we were.

When we got home, I asked the friend who had driven us home to please check the voicemail for me in case I'd missed a call about getting the pump set up while en route home. Long story short we had not missed any calls about the pump, but my husband's father passed away yesterday. And that's when the fun began. My husband was off trying to pick up the four year old monster, so I sent my friend out to get him to come home. He was, in fact, at a Rabbi's house, so I asked her to send home both my husband and the Rabbi. She had the good sense to suggest that J still stay put, which was brilliant and I'm sorry I didn't think of it, but by this point I wasn't thinking. My heart was still racing from the terbutaline shot and from everything else that had been happening. So my husband came home wondering what the hell could have happened to me in the fifteen minutes that he'd been gone, let alone anything that would require the Rabbi's presence (this is a friend of ours who IS a Rabbi, not the Rabbi of our community). And I stupidly didn't have him sit down next to me when I told him so he took a stop back in shock and just said, "How could you KNOW that?" It was, after all, still Shabbos, and his father lived in New Hampshire. How COULD I know that? Yeah. Lucy had some 'splainin' to do.

Now, you may think the rules about what I can and cannot do on Shabbos are weird and restritive (no phone, no affecting electricity, no cooking, no driving, no writing…), but when a close relative (parent, sibling, spouse or child) dies, the rules are quite limiting. In my husband's case, they are less so until after the funeral for a variety of complicated reasons, but we needed to clear this up PRONTO. So off he went to talk to the Rabbi of the community. Neither of us, thankfully, is personally well-versed in the mourning rituals of Judaism. But after the funeral, my husband will sit shiva (google it, for more information, I'm so exhausted I can't get into it right now). For Orthodox Jews, this is a complex and regimented process. And worse, I really can't help AT ALL. So it's going to be fun, let me tell you.

So my husband went off to talk to the Rabbi, and while he was gone my mother-in-law (LONG divorced from my father-in-law) and brother-in-law came to the house knowing that we wouldn't have otherwise heard the news under normal circumstances. Except, of course, we had, and S wasn't around and meanwhile I was expecting a nurse to show up at any time to deal with the pump and it was nearly time for me to monitor again and would this day NEVER END? An hour later, S got home with J in tow, the supplies for the pump and all the drugs showed up via courier, and shortly thereafter the nurse came at which point I begged my husband to get his brother to disappear because I really didn't want to do this in front of him. The nurse had a billion forms and a bunch of things to go over, which was fine and then she started to go over how to deal with the pump, but we ran into a snag. What, you expected this to go smoothly?

See, as I've mentioned before, my husband is a pharmacist and he was pretty burnt out, but fortunately the nurse noticed and asked for his professional opinion… but none of the syringes filled with terbutaline were labeled properly. They had my name on them, and then said Dr. Tincture which is incorrect. My doctor's name is Dr. P. and I'm allergic to Tincture of Benzoine. And nowhere on the label did it say the drug inside the syringe is terbutaline. My husband is in charge of the IV Lab at a major hospital. This is one area of protocol with which is he is intimately familiar and he said, "I'm really sorry, but this is a clear liquid in a poorly labeled syringe which gives me no indication that it was checked by a pharmacist. It could be anything. I can't let you take it." He was right, of course, but for crying out loud! Could one thing PLEASE go right? The nurse called back to the center and got them working on calling the drug company that they subcontract to that had made the mistake in the first place to get them working on replacing the drug ASAP. Meanwhile, she showed us how to deal with getting the pump primed and ready to go, and she showed me how to get the catheter in place in my leg. And she took away the bad drug and told me that once the new one showed up I could call Matria to have them walk me through getting the cartridge refilled if I couldn't remember how to do it. It was then about 9:30pm. I had received my last dose of terbutaline at about 3:15. I didn't want to take the oral terbutaline that I had on hadn because I didn't want the sudden jittery-ness again if I could help it and I didn't know how long it would be. At 10:20, the center called me to tell me that the pharmacist was going back in to remake the drug and would courier it over to me as soon as it was ready. Stat orders have a maximum 4 hour turnaround time. Yeah, I should have taken that oral dose. Sigh. Finally, it arrived at about 12:30am.

Too tired to figure it out myself, I called to have them walk me through it, which the nurse happily did, and I got it all set up, gave myself a demand dose and the jittery-ness began. Also, even more unpleaseant, I discovered that the side effect I thought I'd been imagining in the hospital was not imagined, it was real… the terbutaline makes me REALLY HOT. UGH. I have managed to avoid that symptom of pregnancy thus far. And now it is drug induced and MISERABLE.n I was able to fall asleep despite the jitters, but I woke up about 4:15 feeling panicky, but quickly realized it was the jitters from the automatic 4am dose that had just finished pumping into me. Gosh this is going to be fun!

It's now almost 6am, and I would really like for today to be less eventful, please. My husband is going in to work, and my mother is taking J for most of the day (the rest of the day I'll have several extra pairs of hands in the house to help. I will not be left alone with J… not to worry!). So I'm really, really, really hoping for a quiet, somewhat restful day. Is it so much to ask for?

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