Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Thank You's

Brooke and I have had some time today to spend thinking about just how many people have helped us out lately. So I wanted to take a few minutes to write some personal “Thank You’s” to people who have gone above and beyond:

Jill, Brooke’s sister: Jill has been staying at our house and taking care of our animals for us. It’s been a huge relief not having to worry about things at home and being able to focus on Brooke and the babies. We owe Jill a lot!

John, my brother: today we found out that the babies are going to need some extra blood, and the doctors prefer to get it from family. Since Brooke and I are both ineligible donors, we both immediately thought of John. We called him to ask and he immediately left work, drove all the way here, and then rushed to the blood center. How great a guy is that? (Not to worry: most premature babies need blood transfusions. Annaleigh is just going to need it sooner than we thought because she's so small, hence the rush. John's blood is more than enough to help all three babies for a long time.) EDIT: Thank you for all the offers to donate blood! Just to make things clear, there is no emergency at all. It's just good to have a little blood stored for when the babies need it. John acted quickly because the babies will most likely need some blood in the next few days and it takes a few days from the time of donation for the blood to be ready. Since we'd prefer to use blood from someone we know rather than the blood bank, John made sure to donate today. His blood will last them a long, long time, but again, thank you so much for all your offers!

Kara and Audrey: Tucker first started going to doggie daycare when he was just a little pup, and we were blessed to meet Kara and Audrey from Ain’t Misbehavin’s Canine Sleepover. He has a second home at their house, and they have been great about taking care of him with little-to-no notice and keeping him from going crazy. More importantly, they have become like family to me and I can’t thank them enough for their friendship. If you’re anywhere close to Jackson, NJ and in need of a place to board your dog, there is no better place in the world.

Tommy and Jerry, Kara’s parents: since this whole insane pregnancy began, Tommy and Jerry have had their whole small-town Texas church praying every day for us. Their pastor even calls to check up on Brooke and the babies! We’re so grateful!

Ryan and Stacy, our friends from college: We’ve been pretty surprised that nobody has yet questioned us about Lily’s middle name (Kevynn). She’s named for our dear friend Kevin Paulson, who died suddenly almost six years ago. Ryan and Kevin and Broke and I were great friends in and after college, and we still think of him nearly every day. Our babies were born at 9:00 pm on Saturday night, and by Sunday morning Ryan and Stacy had used the internet to track down Kevin’s parents, who have since relocated to Florida. We wanted them to know about Lily’s middle name that we still miss and love Kevin very much.

All the people from the Triplet Connection, SAIF, L & L, WC, and the private multiples boards: we have gotten so much feedback from you all on this blog, on facebook, via email, and on the different message boards. There are only a small handful of you whom Brooke has met personally but she feels such a connection to these boards and you all. It has meant so much to us to have all of your support through this insane time in our lives. When I posted my facebook name in a post a couple days back, I was inundated over the next 24 hours with friend requests—I was overwhelmed with how many of you care about our babies and about my beautiful wife.

Lauren & Pat, Cox, Colleen, Jenn, and Christina & Doug: we honestly didn’t realize until just recently how many friends we have living in the New Brunswick area! And all have offered to open their homes to us in the months ahead since we will be here every day to visit our babies. I’m sure it’s going to be a long, long road and we will probably need all the local help we can get, so thank you!

Genmab Inc, Brooke’s work: the people at Genmab, especially Pam and Vikki, have shown an uncommon level of compassion over the past few months. Brooke has had so many issues since first getting pregnant and they have not only never given her a problem but they have supported her in every way. Most people I know have never heard of a company that is so much a family as Genmab, and Brooke is truly lucky to work with such wonderful people.

Walter, our next-door neighbor: Walter cut my grass last weekend. That’s a nice thing to do for someone going through all this, but that’s not the whole story. He cut the front lawn (unbeknownst to me) on Friday night. I came home Saturday morning planning to cut the grass before going up to the hospital (and before Brooke went into labor). But he insisted on finishing what he started with the back lawn before it rained, which meant that I got to leave for the hospital much earlier. Well, Brooke went in to labor so quickly and the babies were born so fast that if I weren’t already with her I would not have made it to the hospital in time to be with Brooke during the delivery. Granted, I had been at the hospital for hours that day before the contractions started, but the time I would have spent cutting the grass could easily have made all the difference in the world. Thank you Walter!

Our Parents: yeah, there’s too much. Just… thank you.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Day 2

Lots to report today.

Brooke woke up with a fever of 100.9, which meant that she couldn’t see the babies. That was not a good way to start the day at all. So while they were testing her for infections, I went to check on everyone:

Annaleigh still hasn’t needed the help of the respirator, though she has needed some extra oxygen. She’s also not quite as active has her siblings. The doctors say that it’s probably just that she’s tired from breathing on her own for all this time, and it’s nothing extra to worry about. We also learned that all babies born so early will most likely go on and off the respirators, just because their lungs aren’t strong enough to breathe on their own with any consistency yet.

Charlie is off the respirator! And when I saw him first thing in the morning, he was laying on his stomach! The nurse said that they try to rotate the babies as much as possible to keep the head from “denting,” and he seemed to enjoy being on his little belly. When I visited this afternoon, I got to see him being flipped from his left side onto his back—the nurse was both gentle and supportive at the same time, and is just another amazing person I’ve met working here at St. Peters.

Lily is the big news of the day—she ate some food! Okay, it was actually only one cc of formula, but it was a huge, huge step. She’s the first of the babies to eat something and yet she’s the only one still on the respirator. So it seems that she’s the most advanced and the least advanced at the same time.

My parents came up to visit and saw their grandkids, and my brother John and his better half Rebecca got to meet them for the first time. Then they visited Brooke, who was feeling much, much better by that point in the day. Her fever disappeared and she was able to get out of bed with minimal help. Walking is much easier for her than getting in and out of the bed, though she only has the energy to be on her feet for a few minutes at a time.

And since her fever turned out to be the result of an infection in her uterus (resulting from the c-section), the doctors okayed a trip to the NICU to see the babies. So, around 8:30 pm, we walked (well, I walked and she wheeled) down to the third floor and spent about an hour with everyone. It was the first time Brooke was able to do more than glance at her children and it was a beautiful sight to see. It was hard for her to see just how fragile they are, but they’re all doing very well by the doctors’ standards so that made her feel a little better.

In all, it’s been a busy day but a good day. Dr. Hiatt, the man who is in charge of the NICU, said that we needed to hope for another span of 24 hours that was as positive as the first 24 hours, and it looks like we got it. Now, we just need to string together about 90 more spans of 24 hours, and the babies will be home safe and sound at the end of September!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Day 1

Day 1:
Annaleigh is breathing on her own. She’s on CPAP, which basically means she’s getting extra oxygen (just like her brother and sister). She does, however, have apnea, but the doctor (a great guy named Mark Hiatt) says that 95% of all premature babies have apnea… so not a huge worry there. But it’s somewhat impossible to not worry when I’ve actually seen my day-old daughter stop breathing three different times. But each time, all it takes is a very simple nudge on the foot or knee from a nurse and she starts breathing again.

Both Lily and Charlie have been on respirators all day. The Nurse Practitioner in charge of the NICU says that Charlie may be able to come off later tonight, and Lily can come off tomorrow—this is, of course, assuming that they both stay strong and on the same path as they are now.

All three babies have been given caffeine, which stimulates the breathing reflex. All three are under extra special lighting to help fight off jaundice, and they’re all getting “misted” to provide extra moisture for their very sensitive skin. They’re each being kept on soft bedding and surrounded by what looks like plastic wrap. The purpose of the wrap is to keep their heat in to help regulate their temperatures. To that end, they’re also being baked under some pretty serious lighting. A monitor attached to their skin tells the lights how hot it needs to get.

The doctor made it clear that our babies look good for their gestation, but we are by no means out of the woods. He said that it’s a complete myth that the first 24/48/72 hours are the hardest. He said that there is no “safe point” but if there were it isn’t for at least three weeks to a month from now. And he also made it clear that things could change for the worse at any minute. All the organs of the body are too small, but the babies are 15 weeks early so it’s to be expected. We just need to hope that the following days are all as positive as today, and they’ll pull through.

Brooke is doing well post c-section. She stayed in bed all and she’s been on fluids. Around 7:00 or so, she decided she was ready to try sitting up, but that experiment didn’t go so well. She got very light-headed and started to pass out. With the help of two nurses, we got her back into bed, where she’s currently soundly sleeping. She wanted to sit up because sitting up means she’d be strong enough to get into a wheelchair and go see the babies, but that hasn’t been in the cards just yet. Thankfully, the NICU welcomes the parents any time of day, so if she wakes up and feels stronger, maybe we can get her into a wheelchair to go for a visit. Right now, she’s projecting to go home sometime on Wednesday.

On the subject of going home, we expect it to be a long, long time before the babies can come home. The doctors say they have to be around five pounds and breathing and eating on their own before they’ll be discharged, and that will most likely be around the time of their actual due date, which is early October. That seems like a decade from now, but if it means that they’re healthy, we will gladly wait.
It’s going to be a long road (hopefully), and we’ve got a lot of battles ahead of us, but these babies are getting the best possible care at the best possible place, so we’re confident that we’ll have a big party in the fall for everyone to come and meet them when they get home!

PS: Sorry for only posting a few pictures but the internet connection is extremely slow here; it literally takes 20 minutes to upload each photo. I’ve got a few more on my facebook page for anyone that wants to see but isn’t already my friend (I’m “Joe A Dig”).

Introducing... Our Anniversary Presents

Baby A- Charles (Charlie) Ferdinand, 1 lb, 13 oz.

Baby B- Annaleigh Lucy, 1 lb, 8 oz.

Baby C- Lily Kevynn, 1 lb, 8 oz.

Born on Saturday, June 27, 2009 at 9:00 pm, 9:00 pm, and 9:02 pm at St. Peters University Hospital at 25 weeks, 5 days.

Around 5:00 pm, Brooke started having pains that we later learned were contractions. After a couple of uncomfortable hours, she asked to be put on the contraction monitor, which showed nothing at first. But when the pain continued, a doctor came in and almost immediately discovered that Brooke was fully dilated and there was no option other than to deliver the babies immediately.

From then on, it was a whirlwind. As soon as the doctor said, “we have to take them now,” there was a gathering of nurses in the room, and within minutes Brooke was being rushed through the hospital like a scene from a movie. I frantically called our parents and they got in their cars and headed up. By the time I was able to change into scrubs and Brooke was being given the epidural, the babies were ready.

It felt instant to me but like hours to Brooke. We left the room around 8:15 pm, and at 9:00 pm the doctor said “baby A is out. It’s a boy.” Charlie was immediately put under the heat lamp and surrounded by three doctors. That was almost immediately followed by “Baby B is out. It’s a girl.” And Annaleigh announced her presence to the world by surprising everyone with some loud crying (we had been told they were too small to cry, so that was an awesome surprise). And then, just two minutes later, Lily was the last to arrive.

I followed them down to the NICU (with my just arrived mother-in-law in frantic tow) while they stitched up Brooke. Charlie and Lily both need to be on respirators, but Annaleigh’s cries seem to have been an early indication that her lungs are a bit stronger, so she’s just receiving some extra oxygen so far. All the babies have fluids being pumped into them and all are under heat lamps, but all are bigger than expected and so far holding their own.

After an hour or so of recovery, Brooke got to go down to the NICU to meet our beautiful babies. First was Lily, stretching out her arms and legs as Brooke gently touched her foot and hands. Then Charlie, whom we were unable to touch because he’s wrapped up like a sushi roll in his blankets. Finally Annaleigh, who grabbed Brooke’s finger in her tiny hand and I swear she smiled too. It was the most wonderful thing I’ve ever seen in my life.

I made five trips to the NICU and every time there were at least two nurses/doctors tending to each baby, so we couldn’t possibly ask for better care. We are extremely grateful to all the doctors and nurses (15 of them in the delivery room that I counted) who took such good care of Brooke and the babies (and me too) during this whole crazy night. We are more grateful than we can say.

Thank you to everyone for all the well wishes and prayers—please keep them coming, as I’m sure the days and weeks ahead will not be easy. We will update again soon.

Friday, June 26, 2009

My Wife, the Fighter

Brooke and I got engaged back in August of 2001. I’m sure it was just a coincidence that it was around that time that she started to get into exercising.

She was in her last year of college and I was working at my first teaching job, so our life in dorm rooms was over. I guess it was only natural that she’d want to start getting into shape when our weekends of wasting away in front of the tv with take-out, Ben and Jerry’s, and no exercise was over.

At first, she bought some Billy Blanks tai bo VHS tapes and worked out a few times each week in front of the tv in our apartment. Then a few more tapes and a couple DVDs found their way into the collection, and she started the daily workout routines. I even did a few of the workouts with her every now and again—I saw how hard she was working and didn’t want to feel like a slacker.

And after a thankfully brief stint commuting to a job in NYC, Brooke found herself with more time on her hands and so she joined a local gym. Since she didn’t have to spend the extra hours on the train every day, she refocused her energies on working out. And sometime around the middle of 2003, I realized just how buff my wife was becoming.

When we got married on June 27, 2003, Brooke couldn’t have looked more beautiful. She had dropped all the extra college weight (I did too but I put all of it back on very quickly after the wedding, plus some extra for good measure) and walked down the isle like a model straight out of one of her bridal magazines.

Silly me, I assumed that she would ease up on the exercising after the wedding—I couldn’t have been more wrong. She started working out multiple times every day, getting more and more into kickboxing and toning her arms. Remember the scene from Terminator when Linda Hamilton was doing pull-ups in her prison cell? Well, she had nothing on Brooke.

When we bought our house in September of 2007, Brooke’s favorite part wasn’t the yard for Tucker or the extra bedrooms or the nice neighborhood; it was the basement workout room. She has a virtual library of workout videos, and full-sized punching bag, and more weights than I can count. She’s got her exercise balls and her steps and framed posters of herself with Billy Blanks and Cathe Friedrich. In short, she has her own gym.

Should could probably bench press more than any woman I’ve ever met. My wife is tough. She is strong. But I didn’t know how strong Brooke really was until she got pregnant.

Let me list for you all the things that my beautiful wife has had to fight through:
• A year of failed pregnancy attempts
• Three failed IUIs
• Two failed IVFs
• A chemical pregnancy
• Two ER trips for bleeding
• Emergency surgery to remove an ovary and a fallopian tube
• A shortened cervix and a doctor who would do nothing about it
• Implantation of a cerclage
• Bedrest for the past two months
• C-Diff
• Water breaking at only 24 weeks

And let me take it one step further. Because of all the complications early in the pregnancy, she was hesitant to let her sister and mother throw her a baby shower. And then, in the weeks leading up to it, she started to get excited. It was the first and only thing that would be “normal” about this pregnancy—everything has been so hard and such an ordeal, and now finally here was something that would make her feel like she was just like every other pregnant mother. Despite the fact that she was on bedrest and would have to lay down on a couch the entire time, she was really looking forward to it. But then, 36 hours before the shower, her water broke and she’s been confined to the hospital ever since. No shower, and no sense of normalcy that accompanies it.

But Brooke is strong. Every day, she fights. She fights for our babies in a way that amazes me every time I see her. Every day, she has ultrasounds and monitors and tests, and every day she keeps going, never letting the unfairness of it all get to her. She gets sad, but she doesn’t give up. She gets frustrated, but she keeps fighting.

I go up to the hospital and we talk for a few minutes about what the doctors said that day, what the babies looked like on the last round of scans, and what to expect tomorrow. And then we move on. She tells me about the nurses and their gossip, she talks about what she’s reading or watching on her dvd player, and she makes sure that I’m taking care of myself and our animals and the house. And sometimes she has a quick cry about how hard things are, about how worried she is about the babies. But it passes quickly and then she goes right back to fighting.

Because that’s what she is: a fighter.

Happy Anniversary, Baby. I love you more than words. And I couldn’t be more proud of you every single day.

Yesterday and Today

Yesterday marked exactly one week since my water broke. I am thrilled to still be hanging in here! My first goal is to make it to Monday, which will be 26 weeks, then to make it to Thursday when I can get another round of steroids. My day yesterday started with me being forced to drink a bottle of sugary orange drink at 6:00 AM for my 1-hour glucose tolerance test. After that I had all my usual doctor visits and scans and everything looked great. I was excited to receive an awesome Edible Arrangement from my L&L girls - look at all that gorgeous fruit! It was a nice surprise. I also had a nice visit from my friend Kim and her mom. Joe was busy at home yesterday so he came to the hospital around dinner time and hung out all evening. That was a nice change of pace. He brought us yummy tortellini that his mom made for dinner and rented us Confessions of a Shopaholic which we watched while snacking on our fruit. Since neither of us like honeydew we gave those skewers to my technician and made her evening. When she came in to take my temperature at 2:00 AM last night she was still crowing about the delicious fruit.

So far so good today. After seeing me this morning my doctor wrote orders stating that on Sunday I am allowed to go down to the hospital coffee shop in a wheelchair for a change of scenery. I think I made him feel bad when I told him that my shower was one of the highlights of my day ;) Oh - and I passed the 1-hour glucose test!! Hooray!!! The resident woke me up to tell me at 6:00 AM this morning, announcing "You FINALLY caught a break on something!" About time!! This afternoon Lauren, Colleen and Jenn are coming for lunch so I'm looking forward to some girl time! I also have my favorite nurse and favorite tech assigned to me today, which is nice. In fact, I gave poor Joe a minor heart attack by ignoring his call on my cell phone because the three of us were busy looking at the tech's engagement party pictures. Whoops.

So another weekend is approaching and I hope to spent it (and many more) right here in this hospital bed with the babies safe and sound.

Oh, and thanks to Carlos, my friend Kristin's fiance, for the awesome job he did installing a door in our upstairs bedroom yesterday. Joe brought me a video of his work and it's great!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Did you send a swing?

Yesterday Joe arrived home to find the Fisher Price Ocean Wonders swing from our registry sitting on our front porch. It had no card or name on it, so we have no idea who sent it to us. If it was you, please let us know!! And thank you! :)

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Joe's done school!

Today was Joe's last day of school for the summer - yay! I'm happy that he now has one less thing to worry about! He came up right after school today and we spent the afternoon watching a movie he'd rented for us - Paul Blart, Mall Cop. Yup, that was his pick. The highlight of that movie was realizing that Paul Blart resembled my dad. That's all I can really say about that. This evening John and Rebecca came to hang out. They brought pizza for dinner and gave me a great little gift bag full of treats like gourmet mint M&Ms, playdough, a puzzle book and a fun looking computer game that pits cows against pandas. Thanks, guys!

The babies are still doing well. On this morning's ultrasound Baby A had himself a little pocket of fluid, so that made me happy. The doctor told me that there would be days where he had no fluid and days where he had a little, but naturally I feel better on days when he has some. All three were wiggling around and doing their thing. I love starting my day with a peek at them. Tomorrow I take my last doses of antibiotics and C-Diff medication. Let's just hope I stay healthy and infection free. I also have to take my 1 hour glucose test tomorrow. Blech. I better pass that - I need my cookies and chocolate!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

An afternoon pick-me-up

After lunch today I logged into my email and found a message from my friend Lori, who also happens to be an awesome artist. She had seen the bedding sets I registered for online and went ahead and painted and framed some pictures for the nursery walls to match the sets. I had no idea she was doing this and she sent me the pictures to cheer me up. I love them so much (I'm particularly fond of the fat little bear sitting on the hill)! Thank you, Lori!!! You really brightened my day and I can't wait until we're able to hang them up for our babies.

Monday, June 22, 2009

25 Weeks

Today was the start of week 25. I'm happy to be into a new week, but of course still praying that the babies stay put for many weeks to come. Still, Joe and I celebrated the new week with afternoon sundaes from Carvel.

It was a pretty quiet afternoon today. All my doctor visits and monitoring happened early in the morning so I was pretty much done by 9:00 AM. The babies looked good on the ultrasound and there are still no contractions happening, which is a wonderful thing. My doctor ordered the food service people to bring me 3 bottles of water per meal, so I've been trying to drink a lot.

Dinnertime was fun because Jamie and Dave came to visit us. They brought Chinese food and we hung out and chatted for a few hours. Jamie also brought me a great bag of treats - yummy smelling soap and foot cream, lip balm, Newman-Os and a few awesome looking microwave desserts. I know officially have the most stocked room in the hospital. If anyone needs a snack, come on by.

So another day almost down, and I'm grateful for each and every one.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day

I had to start of today's update by wishing Joe a happy Father's Day. Joe, you are already a wonderful daddy and the best husband in the world. We'll have a much better Father's Day next year, I swear.

Otherwise, today was another good day, considering. The babies are still doing very well. My ultrasound this morning showed all three doing their breathing and wiggling all over. Their heart rates were nice and strong and Baby A's heart rate was perfectly consistent the entire time he was on the monitor. Good work, guys!

I was excited this morning when they took my IV out. I'm getting my antibiotics orally now and they said I don't need the fluids as long as I'm eating and drinking normally. I was thrilled with my freedom for all of 5 minutes, until the doctor came in and started pushing those damn leg compressors again. This time I cried, but gave in. I've had them on most of the day, give or take a few breaks I've given myself. I really hate them. I feel like I've been very good at dealing with everything so far and I deserve to be a big old baby about SOMETHING, so I choose the leg compressors to turn my frustrations on. Hmph.

I also need to thank all our friends and family who are supplying us with treats and food. Lauren brought me Funfetti cupcakes yesterday which Joe, my nurse and I all enjoyed. Today my mom showed up with a care package from Colleen of all my favorite Amish treats from Lebanon - whoopie pies and fresh hard pretzels. Mmmmmm. Those I'm not sharing. And Joe's mom made us stromboli so Joe and I got to enjoy a dinner that wasn't from the hospital cafeteria. I'm eating as much as I can to try to fatten up the babies (I'm trying to be healthy at the moment and am eating a yogurt), so all the food is greatly appreciated.

That's it for today. I'm exhausted today - a lot of night time interruptions last night so I'm ready for bed.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Another day

Today was my second full day here in the hospital after Baby A's water breaking. So far so good - I'm still here and the babies are still in. This afternoon I had a fairly long ultrasound with the MFM on duty. The babies were all looking good and were all "breathing" in the womb. Well, A and C were breathing nicely, right on command. B had to be difficult and make the doctor wait forever before she showed off her breathing skills, but she can do it too! After that the MFM wanted Baby A on a monitor to watch his heart rate for awhile. Because of how low he is the monitor wasn't working with the belts so Joe was recruited to hold the monitor in place for 30 minutes. Like a good, dedicated Daddy he held that thing until his arms fell asleep. Baby A did great though and had a nice consistent heart rate of 130-140 the entire time.

I received my second and final (for now) steroid shot last night (the MFM said if I go two more weeks I'll get another round) and took my last Idocin for contractions this evening. This makes me nervous to stop but my fingers are crossed that I won't have any contractions even without the meds. I also managed to avoid the evil leg compressor things for now. The MFM tried to get me to wear them but I pled my case (I move my legs a lot! I get up to pee! I shower daily!) against them. He still would prefer I have them on but for now I'm avoiding them. The situation is kind of sucky enough without being chained to my bed with hot, plastic wraps on my legs squeezing them every minute.

So that's it for now. I just hope to keep chugging along.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Update and thank you

First of all, thank you for all your kind comments to Joe's last post. We really appreciate all the thoughts, prayers and well wishes. And thank you to all our friends and family for your support. This has been the most surreal and terrifying 24 hours of our lives. I don't know why this keeps happening to us. I can't get over the unfairness of it all. We are just hoping with all our hearts that these babies can stay in for a few more weeks.

I'm still on the Indocin for contractions until tomorrow night. Hopefully once they stop that the contractions will stay away. My cervix was closed last night and the cerclage was in place so I'm hoping it stays that way. I got one steroid shot for the babies lungs last night and I'll get another tonight. I'm also on antibiotics and fluids. I know everything possible is being done, I just wish there was something more I could do. Joe and I took a tour of the NICU this afternoon. I'm glad we got to see it, but it was so, so hard. I cried the entire time we were in there and Joe and I both sobbed together when we got back to my room. Babies 4 weeks older than ours were just so tiny and fragile and sick - I just can't even imagine our sweet babies going through that. But it was a wonderful facility with an awesome, caring staff so I know everything will be done for them when the time comes. I just hope that time isn't for a few more weeks. I had another ultrasound this morning and the babies heart rates were all good and they were moving all around. They estimated Baby A to be 1 lb 3 oz, Baby B to be 1 lb 5 oz and Baby C to be 1 lb 6 oz. I would love to get them to 2 lbs...

So anyway, now we just keep waiting and hoping for the best. Please, please stay in there babies...

Broken Water

At 6:30 pm, Brooke's water broke. She is only 24 weeks and three days, so it's not ideal. We rushed to the hospital, and after lots of testing and waiting, they determined that she isn't going into labor just yet. However, the babies are coming sooner rather than later. Whether that means tomorrow or next week or next month, we don't know. But they're coming.

The doctors gave her a drug to stop the contractions and steroids to help the babies lungs grow faster. She's at St. Peter's Hospital again and she'll be there until after the babies come.

Baby A, our son, is the baby whose sack ruptured. The doctor did two ultrasounds and seems confident that Brooke will be able to produce enough fluids to keep him healthy for a while longer yet. Baby A is the lowest, up against Brooke's cervix, and she comments all the time about how she feels him "cervix dancing." Our son is a little trouble-maker already.

If they have to come soon, they can survive. But there will be many complications-- too many for me to worry about and still be expected to sleep. So we need to just hope that Brooke's body can hold out for a while longer, another few weeks yet. It's possible. The doctor said 50% of all women deliver within a week after their water breaking. We just need to hope that Brooke falls into the other half that holds out longer.

And to anyone who was planning on coming to Brooke's shower on Saturday, that is obviously being canceled. It probably wouldn't be too logical to have it while Brooke is in the hospital and everything is so up in the air. Thank you to all of you who were planning on coming-- we hope to see you all after the three healthy babies are born.

Monday, June 15, 2009

24 Weeks and I'm Home!

Today we hit our first big milestone - I'm 24 weeks today!! Not that I want the babies getting any ideas - they need to stay in there for at least 6 (put preferably 10!) more weeks! But it's great to have finally reached 24 weeks. Sometimes it felt like we'd never get here. Keep growing, babies!

Today is also good because I'm home!! Thanks to everyone for your prayers and good thoughts. I was released from the hospital this afternoon. It is SO nice to be out of there and I feel so much better. I need to take medication every 6 hours, which will require me to set my alarm each night for 12:00 AM and 6:00 AM but I'm not complaining. It is wonderful to be back home on my couch with Joe. Oh, and should I mention that Roy is happy to have me back home too? Reunited and it feels sooooo goooood.........

Friday, June 12, 2009

Hospital Day 5

Have I mentioned that I hate C-Diff? Because I do. This stupid virus/infection/spawn of hell just will NOT go away. I am better than I was when I was admitted on Monday, but I am not BETTER. They are upping my medication today so hopefully that will help. I'll probably be here until Sunday or Monday. Hopefully not longer than that! I've been passing the time on the Internet and reading, mostly. One of Joe's students was kind enough to pass along her step-father's Netflix info for me, so I can watch movies online too. I watched one yesterday and that was a nice time killer. I also really need to learn to nap during the day here, since I never get any sleep at night. Why do they need my temperature at 2:00 AM?!?!? The good news is that the babies are doing just fine! I saw them this morning on an ultrasound and they were flipping all around and being goofy. That makes me happy - I'd much rather be here because something is wrong with me than because something is wrong with the babies! So I'm just hanging in here and waiting to miraculously get better so I can go back home. Joe keeps promising to smuggle Roy in for me, but so far my room is kittenless....

Oh, and I have to give a shout-out to the Freehold Township High School yearbook staff! Joe is the advisor of the yearbook and their awesome book won 8 out of the 10 awards given at the district-wide awards ceremony last night. No real surprise since their yearbook rocked, but praise-worthy nonetheless. :)

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Still in the hospital

Curse you, C-Diff! You are a horrible, horrible infection and I can not wait for you to be gone!! I am still in the hospital, fighting the C-Diff. I do think it's getting a bit better, so that's good. At least I can eat now. I'm taking probiotics and a very strong drug called Vancomyicin to fight the infection, plus I am on an IV of fluids to treat my dehydration and now to treat my low potassium levels. I have also been getting Zofran for nausea but am trying to go without now. So far, so good. I'll be here at least until tomorrow, but that's really okay I guess. I don't want to go home when I'm still all sick and gross. I like being monitored here. The good news is that none of this seems to be affecting the babies. I saw them on an ultrasound this morning and they look good with nice strong heartbeats.

Everyone at the hospital is very nice at least, and this time I have Internet access so that's a big plus! Some bad things about being in the hospital:

1) The hospital gowns. Why oh why do they make these things so that you need to be a rocket scientist to figure out how to put them on?? I need to change my gown but can't figure out how to get a new one on. I would love to wear my own clothes but I can't because of the IV.

2) The food. Now it could be worse, but why can't they ever get my order right?? Last night I almost cried when I got a PB&J instead of the turkey sandwich I wanted and Joe had to run to all the cafeterias to get me something else. This morning I was all excited to eat my yogurt but they brought me fat free instead of regular and I don't eat the artificial sweeteners so I couldn't have it.

3) The early mornings. Today by 8:00 AM I had had my blood pressure and temperature taken, my blood drawn, been given my meds, had my IV changed, had an ultrasound, talked to two doctors and gotten breakfast. Whew!

Anyhow, I hope to be better and home by the weekend. Fingers crossed!

Monday, June 8, 2009

St. Peters 2: Return to the Hospital

It has become my official responsibility to update the blog when Brooke is in the hospital. I feel like the guy at the party that nobody wants to talk to!

Anyway, Brooke is back at St. Peters. The cerclage surgery last month went well and seems to have done what it was meant to do, but the medicine she was on apparently caused some adverse reactions. Brooke has an infection in her intestines called C-Diff. I just looked it up online to get a better understanding, and basically it happens when all the “bad” bacteria in the in GI tract grow out of control (usually as a result of an anti-biotic). And since it causes nausea and an inability to keep food in the stomach, Brooke has gotten very, very dehydrated. The on-call doctor gave her some drugs over the weekend, but it just didn’t get any better at all.

But the good news is that she was put on a much better (and much stronger) antibiotic that should wipe it out of her system in a matter of a day. She’s also on some drugs to help with the nausea and on an IV to get her some fluids. I just came from the hospital and she already looks a lot better than she did last night after only a few short hours on the drugs. Hopefully, if all goes well, she can come home 24 hours after starting the medicine, which would be later in the day tomorrow.

Luckily, nobody seemed at all worried that this would hurt the babies at all. I have no idea how something that could totally ravage Brooke could have no effect on those three tiny babies, but I guess that’s for smarted people to understand.

Also, I wanted to take a second to thank our parents for all their help today (and every day, really, but today especially). Pam (Brooke’s mom) took off from work at the last minute to drive Brooke up to St. Peters and she stayed there all day so Brooke didn’t have to be alone. And my parents were nice enough to drive all the way up to Jackson to pick Tucker up from doggie day care (Hi Kara and Audrey!) so I could go directly to the hospital after work. Not having to worry about taking another day off from work or getting Tucker home made my day a lot less stressful than it otherwise would have been. So thanks a lot!

***One more week until 24 weeks!***

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Some good news (and big fat babies!)

Today we had our first post-cerclage doctor's appointment and it actually went well. Finally! I had a cervical check and so far the cerclage is doing its job. Everything is where it should be, above the stitch, and I actually gained some cervical length since before the procedure. Right before the cerclage I was measuring 1.1 - 1.3 cm and today I measured 1.7 cm. So that's good news. The other piece of good news was our babies. They are rock stars!! They all looked absolutely perfect and were super active during the ultrasound. Plus they are big and fat!! Each baby weighed in at 1 lb 2 oz even. The tech said she'd never had three babies all weigh the same at the same time. She also said that they were a great size for their gestation. I'm so proud of them! They are doing a good job (although I like to think I'm helping by giving them lots of ice cream to grow on). Of course, the ice cream is making ME grow too - I've gained 55 lbs so far - but it's totally worth it if it helps the babies. So after being out of the house for 7 hours (big day!) I'm back on the couch. Joe and I are happy right now - I hope this trend continues. We go back in a another 2 weeks to check the cervix again. Fingers crossed!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Plugging Along

I've been told by many people recently that I need to update this blog (hi, John!), so here you go! I haven't updated because I really have nothing to say. But I consider that a good thing! I'm still hanging here on bedrest. We have our first post-cerclage doctor's appointment tomorrow, so we're hoping for some good news from that. They will also do an anatomy scan of the babies so we'll get to see how they are growing. I'm looking forward to that, and also to getting out of the house!

My typical day is spent (where else?) on the couch. I work during the day and wait for Joe to come home from school. Once he gets home we chat and sometimes play against each other in Bejeweled Blitz (I suck). Then Joe gets us dinner, we eat, watch TV (well, I watch TV, Joe grades or folds laundry or something else productive) and Joe usually goes out and gets me ice cream. On weekends it's the same for me, except working is replaced with bad TV and mindless Internet surfing. Joe's weekends are much busier - umpiring, volunteering at Challenger, cleaning, laundry, working in the yard. He's an awesome husband for handling it all.

I'm pretty excited that we've gotten into June! Our first goal for this pregnancy is to make it to 24 weeks, at which point the babies would have a chance at survival if they arrived. I'll hit 24 weeks in 11 more days. I hope they are an uneventful 11 days! Of course, we want them to stay in much, much longer than 24 weeks, but it will be a slight releif to know that they could be okay if they arrived at that point. But I get happy each time a new month arrives and we are one step closer to a safe and healthy delivery of our babies.

Speaking of the babies, they are moving a lot more now and Joe can actually feel them. We can't tell exactly which ones we're feeling, although we can usually make a pretty good guess. It's nice to feel them and be reassured that they are doing well in there.

So there's an update! We'll post again tomorrow after our appointment. And thank you again to all our wonderful friends and family for checking in on us, bringing us food, etc. We would be lost without you!