Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Today's Big Outing

This afternoon I actually left my room! I had an appointment to go to my doctor’s office for my next routine ultrasound. (For those of you who don’t know, the doctor’s office is part of the parking structure that is attached to the hospital.) This was quite a big deal. The only times I have left my room since being here was when I have had to go to the labor & delivery floor, and when they switched my rooms. I wasn’t quite sure about all of the movement, plus this meant that I actually had to put on ‘real clothes’ and somewhat do my hair. (I am loving the fact that I don’t have to wear make-up, do my hair and can wear the roomy hospital gowns!) Jason pushed me over. He is slowly getting the hang of steering the wheelchair.

During the ultrasound they were looking at the fluid in each baby’s sacks, what body parts/organs were visible to check, and trying to approximate each baby’s weight. The amount of fluid in each sack is normal. All of the body parts/organs that were visible were also normal. Thank goodness! Baby A (girl) is very, very low – she is at ‘station zero’ for those of you who know labor terms. It is very difficult for them to get all of her measurements, without a more ‘invasive’ ultrasound. Unfortunately, this means we also are not able to see as many of her parts/organs. Using all of the measurements that they were able to get, they estimate her weight at 1 pound and 9 ounces. Baby B (girl) was curled up, but we were able to get most of her information. She weighed in at an approximate 1 pound 13 ounces. Baby C (boy) has the most room. The tech was able to get all of the measurements needed for him, and he also weighed in at an approximate 1 pound and 13 ounces. We were pleased with these weights – not too far from 2 pounds! Hopefully I will continue to lay and incubate all three for at least a few more weeks, helping them gain even more weight.

My next short goal is New Year’s Day. This will make the babies 26 weeks. I never thought I would look forward to Thursdays as much as I do now - although I have to admit that I did look forward to Thursdays in college, but that's a different story! :)

I know I repeat myself often, but we really do appreciate all of your thoughts and prayers. Thank you!


Sunday, December 28, 2008

I've Made it Two Weeks

What a blessing! I would have never guessed two weeks ago that I would have been able to maintain my dilation/cervix shortening for this long. I can only hope to get another two weeks (or more). I look forward to New Years Day, if only for the simple fact that I will have made it to 26 weeks.

I must have impressed somebody. A corner room opened up, and they asked if I would like to make a switch. It has twice the windows (not that I will get a ton of extra sunlight with the weather we have had) and an extra room attached to it (even more dance space for Quin). It is a nice change of scenery. Jason and Quin were here for dinner when we switched. I didn’t realize how much ‘stuff’ I had accumulated since my arrival. It was nice that he was able to help with the move!

The move has put the pressure on – it is a lot to live up to. The corner rooms are usually reserved for the patients who are here long term. I like a challenge – I hope to meet their expectations! :)

Have a great week! Joelee

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to you from Spectrum! I couldn’t be happier to report that I have spent Christmas Day on bedrest. Today marked my 25th week of pregnancy, on the 25th of December. Although I am not even close to where I would like/should/need to be when the triplets are born, I feel great about making it to 25 weeks – what a blessing! Dr. Jelsema is amazed that I have maintained the pregnancy for the past eleven days, while dilated to 5 cm. My new mantra is: Every day counts.

Jason and Quin came to visit me this morning. Jason did a great job taking pictures and video while Quin opened presents at home. He brought the video camera to the hospital so that I could watch. It was the second best thing to being there with them. She also opened one of her ‘bigger ticket’ presents here. I figure she won’t remember my absence this Christmas and we will definitely have an exciting day next year! My family came to visit me this afternoon, with food to share :)

I hope all of you, and your families, had a very Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 22, 2008

8 Days and Counting

I am happy to say that I have been here at Spectrum for a week now. We have gained 8 days. I know this sounds like a small amount of time, but in reality for the triplets it is huge! We are happy for every day – and hope to have many more!

The best gift that I could receive for Christmas is to spend the day lying in bed! Honestly! That would make the babies 25 weeks. I count each day that they grow inside of me as a blessing, but each week added to their age is a huge milestone!

At this point, when I go into labor they will not give me any more medicine to stop it. Because I am dilated to a 5 they don’t believe that could stop the contractions fast enough once they truly start, especially given my fast delivery with Quin. They will try to prep me for a c-section as fast as possible instead.

I know many of you think that I am bored out of my mind – but that is the farthest from the truth. I am sure that if I continue on bed rest for many weeks, I won’t be able to say this. I knew that I would eventually be on bedrest, so I had started a pile of things that I could do while lying down. This has kept me very busy. I also know that this is exactly where I am supposed to be. The last few days I was home, Jason and I finished wrapping and organizing all our Christmas presents, I did some meal planning and Jason did the grocery shopping, I was able to organize about half of the drawers from the bathroom (that I have heard is completely gutted at this point – agh! I know they are working hard on it though). If I was home, I am sure that I would attempt to finish more.

The doctors, nurses and support staff here are amazing. I haven’t had one interaction that was negative. Now that I have been here for a week, I have started to see the same nurses. I love this. I feel like I am getting to know them and they are getting to know us – they really are cheerleaders. It is wonderful to have their support and experience.

By far - the hardest part about being here is being away from Quin! I miss my every day interactions with her. It was hard when I was home because I wasn’t able to take care of her the way that I was used to, but at the least I was able to read books with her, help feed her, laugh at her antics… I know she is being taken care of, but I do miss her! She is a hoot when she comes to visit, but it is not the same as being at home.

Jason has been fabulous! He has definitely found his niche as Mr. Mom! He called me this afternoon to let me know that he had finished all of the laundry, including putting it all away. He was in the process of picking out Quin’s clothes for the rest of the week. He has grocery shopped and cleaned the house. He also does a fabulous job with Quin – giving her baths, doing her hair, making sure she stays on her sleep schedule (most of you know me and my schedules!). I’m not sure that they even need me :) I’m not sure how I got so lucky – but I thank God every day for him!

Sorry for any typos! I am able to easily see the computer, but find it difficult to type in a reclined position!

If I am unable to post in the next few days, I wish you all a very Merry Christmas! I count each of you as blessings, and am so appreciative of your prayers!

Friday, December 19, 2008

24 Weeks and Counting!

We have made it another week! Some scary and tense moments this past week, but here we are.

As I mentioned before, Tuesday was a much better day for Joelee. Things seemed to be very stable throughout the day and evening. I left late in the afternoon to pick Quin up from daycare and make dinner at home. We are trying to limit the amount of time Quinners spends at the hospital as we want to keep this as seamless as possible to her. Later in the evening, Joelee called me and was having a few more contractions. The doctor’s evaluated her and believed she was dilated to about 5cm. Based on how quickly things can progress with this pregnancy, they moved her back down to the Labor & Delivery floor for further monitoring. They still do not want to give her more Mag Sulfate, so they only put her back on fluids. This helps with hydration, especially of the uterus.

In the morning they determined that she indeed was de-hydrated and that this, in combination with having a full bladder, is causing many of the small contractions. Also, the dilation number can vary depending on the doctor that is evaluating….this can be subjective. They then moved Joelee back to her room for what we hope is “a long time”.

Wednesday and Thursday brought some better days for all of us. Joelee was feeling much better, eating well and was able to catch up on Quin’s baby book. I was able to tour the NICU unit and get answers to all my questions. Quin also made another visit to see “mommy and the babies” on Thursday. It was great that all three of us were able to eat dinner together…..not quite like home, but some great family time!

Did I mention that during all of this….I have had my brother in town remodeling our main floor bathroom? For those of you that don’t know me well, I like to see how much change one person can endure all at once. I feel it’s best to have a mess at home while Joelee is not here to see it. She will come home to a historical home that finally has been completely remodeled!

The holiday’s are now upon us and will bring some additional challenges. Fortunately, I am on vacation the remainder of 2008 and will be able to spend much more time with Quin and Joelee.
More updates to come soon!

Thanks again for all your thoughts and prayers!


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

New Address for Christmas and Beyond?!?!

As of Sunday evening, Joelee now resides at Spectrum Butterworth hospital.

Joelee was feeling pressure and back pain most of the day on Sunday, which we figured was a side effect of the steroid shots from Thursday and Friday. Around 6:00pm on Sunday we called Dr. Jelsema to find out what we should do. He instructed us to go to the ER for an evaluation.

During the evaluation, they did another ultrasound to see how the babies were doing. Immediately, Joelee and I noticed that the babies were much lower than all previous exams. Everything looked fine for the babies and they continue to have strong heart rates. However, they looked to measure Joelee’s cervix and realized it was open. She was dilated (about 3-4 cm’s) so they admitted us to the Labor and Delivery unit.

They started Joelee on Magnesium Sulfate to relax her muscles and reduce any contractions she was having. This basically was an attempt to buy as much time as possible….as everyday counts!

As of Monday morning, the contractions stabilized and they moved Joelee to the maternity floor for further monitoring. They continued to keep her on the Magnesium Sulfate as a pre-caution. Dr. J made a visit in the morning to discuss what’s going on with the pregnancy and what the next steps are. He wants Joelee to remain in the hospital for the remainder of this pregnancy, which we all hope is for a long time. He explained what we could expect if things continue to progress and need to deliver the babies much sooner than we would like.

In the afternoon, a doctor from the NICU visited Joelee. He explained what we could expect with a pre-term delivery between 23 and 25 weeks. During this time period; the babies typically do not have fully developed eyes, brain, lungs, and the ability to eat. Everyday counts to assist this development!

Quin made her first visit to the hospital in the evening to see Joelee. She was so excited to see “mommy” and was talking about her all day. In typical Quin fashion, she found the hospital room to be a perfect dance floor. After some dinner and fun with mommy it was time to go, but not without a few kisses for “mommy and the babies”.

When I arrived this morning to see Joelee, they had just taken her off the Magnesium Sulfate and are no longer continuously monitoring her for contractions. This is HUGE news….as things have once again stabilized for her and the babies. Dr J does not want to keep her on the MS if it not necessary, as it does have some side effects.

We remain positive and realize how blessed we are. We appreciate all your thoughts and prayers - as this, along with our faith, gets us through each day!

I will do my best to keep this blog updated daily or weekly depending on how things are going.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

One Shot Down, One to Go

I went in for the first steroid shot this morning, and go for the second shot tomorrow morning. We are hoping that the steroids go straight to the babies! I have been experiencing Braxton Hicks for a few months now (my stomach muscles tighten at random times, simulating contractions – I had them often with Quin as well). My dr. doesn’t think anything of them, and says that I will continue to have them more often as I grow bigger (my uterus thinks it’s already full term because of the weight). Anyways… a few of the side effects of the shots are more tightening, cramping, and slower/less movement of the babies. I have experienced a lot of tightening this afternoon – making it very hard to even stand up. No cramping as of yet, let’s cross our fingers that the tightening is all I experience. I have felt some movement since the shots, so that is always reassuring to me.

We have also found out that we will have another appointment with our doctor next Thursday morning. I think they will be doing another ultrasound and then looking to see if anything has changed. After that we will go over and meet with the NICU doctors, and take a tour. Jason and I are looking forward to the visit (how many parents can honestly say that!)

We hope nothing changes between now and then. We will update you if things change, or after our appointment next Thursday.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Almost 23 Weeks

The good news is that the funneling and shortening of my cervix continues to be stable! We are very thankful for that. While doing the ultrasound they did not spend a lot of time looking at the babies, but from what we all saw they are still doing fabulous!

According to Dr. Jelsema’s records and measurements, I will be 23 weeks on Thursday. We will be doing steroid shots on Thursday and Friday. This will hopefully help give the lung development of each baby an extra push. Once we hit 25/26 weeks (with the steroids), there is a higher rate of success to keep the babies alive – so that is our big goal at this point!

He did suggest putting me in the hospital for ‘observation’ on Thursday. YIKES! I was not ready for that suggestion. When I said that I would do whatever was best for the babies, his response was ‘being in the hospital might not be what is best’. Basically, he is willing to admit me whenever I feel like the hospital is the best place for me and where I will be the most comfortable. At this point, he is okay with me staying home – especially since my cervix/funneling has stabilized the last few weeks. If anything changes though, he wants to admit me ASAP. I do have to make sure that I continue to rest as much as possible. My mind set is that I will be the least stressed at home for at least another week. Even though I am not able to do a ton to help around the house, I still feel like I am an extra set of eyes to watch Quin when Jason is busy making dinner, or an extra pair of hands (as long as I am sitting).

Dr. J is going to try and set up a visit for Jason and I next week to meet with the team of doctors at the NICU. His office is connected to the hospital, so we will set up our next visit with him on the same day as our NICU visit. At that time (crossing our fingers that nothing changes between now and then) we will revisit the topic of hospitalization - EEK! We will let you know when the visit and appointment are scheduled.

We cannot thank all of you enough for your thoughts and prayers. We know that without the support of our friends and family, we couldn’t have made it this far. THANK YOU!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Ultrasound Update

Our appointment this morning went as well as can be expected. Jason and I were actually expecting the worst because the ultrasound tech announced that she couldn’t find my cervix (I know that sounds strange). Well, after that, she never actually mentioned that she had found it. So for the next 20 minutes Jason and I sat in a room, waiting for Dr. J, stressed out about what he was going to tell us. To our surprise, he said that my cervix was measuring slightly less than last time, but overall it is staying stable. I never thought I would have so much emotion about my own cervix :) (Or that I would be sharing that type of information with people who read my blog!) I am supposed to continue to do what I have been doing, and go back next Tuesday morning for another ultrasound.

Enough about my cervix… She also spent quite a bit of time looking at and measuring each baby. They are right on schedule – at least something is going our way! Baby A (girl) is 14 oz., Baby B (girl) and Baby C (boy) are both 15 oz. Just shy of a pound each. The doctor told us that he delivered 31 week triplets this morning. He said that the babies were all just over 3 and a half pounds, and expects ours to be around the same. That is a lot of growing in a short amount of time (I am 21 weeks now), but I am up for it!

Thanks again for all of your thoughts and prayers! I will post an update next Tuesday, after our appointment. Have a wonderful week!


Monday, December 1, 2008

Welcome To Our Blog

First of all, we would like to thank EVERYONE for your kind words and prayers as we continue to go through the ups and downs of this pregnancy! It has been wonderful knowing that so many people are thinking about and praying for the triplets!

All of your generous offers to help us out at home have not gone unnoticed either. At this point I think we are doing okay. I am able to sit and lie down, and walk when needed (usually to get something to eat – and use the bathroom). I usually try to consolidate my trips. I have a ton of things that I am able to do. For those of you who know me well, you know I don’t sit for long. I couldn’t tell you the last time that I updated Quin’s baby book, I have a huge stack of magazines, a fully loaded DVR, Christmas cards… In a way, it is somewhat nice to be forced to ‘lay low’. I am sure my tune will change after the holidays, but I am good for now. Jason was home last week on vacation, so he kept a close eye on me. Quin is still going to daycare also, which she loves! Jason drops her off and picks her up. We hope to continue this for awhile – for now we feel that the less change for her, the better.

Although I initially started this blog to keep everyone up to date on the pregnancy, I have a feeling that some our daily life will creep in. If you could care less – please, skip over all of that information! I will try to do my best in keeping this blog current. I am very ‘un-techy’, and also somewhat of a perfectionist! I have tried several backgrounds, been extremely frustrated with how to make a header, been on every imaginable website there is about how to start and maintain a blog (most of the info is way over my head!). So… bear with me if it seems a little unkempt! I promise, I am trying!

We have another ultrasound/doctor appointment tomorrow morning (Tuesday). It has been four weeks since they have done some detailed measurements on the babies, so I am assuming that they will be doing that. The past two ultrasounds have been basically to check my cervix and funneling (although they do a few basic checks on the babies). In addition to the thorough check of each baby, they will also re-measure my cervix and the funneling. As of last week, it had stayed the same – so, we are hoping for the same. I will try to post an update as soon as I can!

Thanks again to everyone! It is so much easier knowing that we are not alone!

Have a wonderful week! Joelee and Jason

Our Baby Basics

For those of you who are just joining us… We are pregnant with TRIPLETS!

Our original due date was/is April 9. Dr. Jelsema would love for me to make it until the end of February, which would make me about 34 weeks. That will make Quin just under 2 years old. Four children under 2 years old - are we crazy, or what! I read on line that having children less than two years apart is called ‘baby bunching’. There has to be a better name for what we are doing :)

At my 17 week ultrasound they found that we are having two girls and a boy. They also found that my cervix was measuring at 29 mm, and anything less than 30 is something that needs to be watched. At my 19 week ultrasound, they found that my cervix had decreased to 23 mm, but even more worrisome was that my uterus was starting to funnel down into my cervix. Dr. Jelsema told me that he has some moms with this who labor early and lose all of the babies, and other moms who carry until 34 weeks. I wasn’t sure if I found that comforting or not! He ordered me off of work earlier than I had expected and told me to sit and lie down as much as possible. At the 20 week ultrasound they found that everything was measuring the same as the week before. Jason and I are hoping that this continues!

We go tomorrow for the 21 week check-up. I will let you know what we find out!