Friday, June 25, 2010

The Countdown Begins...

Today I am 22 weeks!!!

I was really excited about reaching this week, because I can now start a countdown.  Most triplets are born between 30-34 weeks, averaging an expected delivery at 32 weeks.

10 more weeks to go...

For those of you who think that's a LONG time, don't participate in my countdown!  Thinking back, the first 10 weeks went by sooo fast.  I was still visiting the fertility clinic and had yet to pick a peri doctor.  So, before we know it, 10 weeks will come and go.  I'm sure I am a little more anxious than my IP's though.  They have a lot to prepare for and could use all the time they can get.  Going from no kids to 3 babies over night is going to be the most challenging thing in the world... I can't even imagine.  But, I'm cooking strong, healthy babies for them so hopefully there will be minimal problems when they arrive.

I had another ultrasound yesterday (every 2 weeks now) and the girls look AWESOME!!  The ultrasound techs get quite the challenge when they scan me, because they all are constantly moving and are never in the same position.  Finding out who is who takes a lot of patience, especially as they get bigger.

Here are the measurements of each baby, all weighing at least 1 pound!!

 This image is so cool... all 3 of their heads together. 

So, the babies couldn't look better and the doctors are pleasantly surprised.  I also had my cervix measured (every 2 weeks) and that was perfect... 4.8cm.  For those of you not familiar with a multiple pregnancy, cervical length is very important during the pregnancy.  Because there is so much weight and pressure going on, the cervix can really shorten, causing preterm labor.  Anything over 3cm is great, but the length can change so fast.  Mine has always been between 4-6, so I'm looking pretty good!!

So, how am I feeling?
Well, I was doing pretty good up until last week.  One day I just woke up and felt completely different.  I have never been more uncomfortable in my life!!  

The pressure of the babies is really starting to take effect and now walking the slightest makes my pelvis and inner thighs really cramp up.  

My feet are constantly sore and getting to look like huge marshmallows at the end of each day.  

Breathing is quite the challenge.  Even when I am laying down, I still feel as if I just ran a marathon!!  

I am ALWAYS hot!!!  My electricity bill is going to be out of this world this summer!! 

Shaving anything from the belly button down is almost impossible already... sorry husband and doctors!!

The girls decide to be most active when it's my only time to rest or sleep.

The list goes on, but I have to be thankful that I am free of any sort of bed rest and can continue being the best mommy I can.  

I am posting pics of me and my belly... this may be the only time you see a bare belly due to the expecting stretch marks that is ahead of me.  My big boys did a little bit of damage, so I'm not perfect!!

 As of today, only have gained 17 pounds!!

Here it is... my big, stretched, pale, basketball belly!!

 Be nice to me girls, or I'll have to limit your cupcake intake!!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Triplets Are Unpredictable

After 5 weeks of hospital bed rest, my friend made it to 28 weeks and 1 day.  She delivered her triplet boys this morning 3 hours after her water broke.  I had just spoke to her yesterday and everything was going well.  Her cervix was improving and no signs of contractions.  She was hoping for another 4-5 weeks of baking, but I guess the boys were ready to see the world!!  As of right now, the new mommy is doing great and sounds so happy.  All 3 boys are doing well, but, of course, are in the NICU.  Two of them weigh over 1 pound and the other weighs over 2 pounds, all about 12 inches long.  We are all thrilled that she made it this far, due to the situation she was in.  She managed to cook those babies as long as possible, and 28 weeks was where the doctors wanted her to go.

Triplets can really come at any time.  There are so many milestones for triplet parents to count down to.  At 24 weeks, babies are considered viable.  They have a chance to live outside of the womb and live healthy lives.  However, this is still really early and many babies can experience lots of difficulty breathing and eating, so NICU time is extremely long.  At 28 weeks, triplet babies are safe to be delivered and most likely survive.  Doctors say that the main goal is to make it past 28 weeks for the best outcome.  At 32 weeks, most triplets are born.  It is difficult getting a woman past this point because the fact is, the uterus just stops growing at some point.  The belly can only stretch so much and the babies need room to grow.  At 34-35 weeks, most women cannot carry past this point and doctors will not allow a triplet pregnancy to continue.  It is far too dangerous for both the mother and babies, so delivery usually takes place by then.

But, the fact is, triplets really can come at any time.  One day we can all be completely healthy and stable, and the next day we could be in labor.  There is never a guarantee to when a triplet mom will deliver.  Every day the babies stay in the oven is another day closer to healthy lives!!

We have so many weeks to look forward to.  We are just about 20 weeks now and are really almost done!!  I think I have been doing surprisingly well compared to most triplet pregnancies, so we are all hoping that this luck will continue.

Congrats to the new momma of triplets!!!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Bye-Bye Belly!!

The reality of it is, my body will NEVER be the same!!

Yes, with every pregnancy comes stretch marks, loose skin, saggy boobs, and/or wide hips.  While new daddies get to sit back and enjoy their "perfect" bodies, women have no choice but to sacrifice their entire image in order to have a child/children.  I really despise those women who pop out a baby one day, and have no signs of pregnancy the following week.  Oh, what some of us would do to become so lucky.

I happened to walk away from a vaginal and a cesarean birth with manageable damage.  Yes, my hips widened with each pregnancy and I have small stretch marks on my belly and sides.  Even after all those months of breast feeding, my boobs remained larger than before my first pregnancy, which, in a way, is nice!!  I gained quite a bit of weight throughout both of the pregnancies, but was able to lose all but 10 pounds after I delivered.  Although I never got the courage to wear a bikini following the birth of Jack and then Max, I happily accepted my new body and tankinis!

Now that the shock of carrying triplets has settled (although, some days I still can't imagine how 3 are going to fit in there), I can't help but think about the long term effects on my body.  Being a surrogate isn't just going to end at delivery; for me, it's going to stay forever!  I can't help but research the internet about the effects multiples have after delivery.  Some of the photos people post are horrifying. 

I am nowhere near a vain person, but what people see on the outside really affects my inner beauty.

No one can tell me that I will look great after and have nothing to worry about.  My belly is going to stretch beyond it's maximum and there is no possible way it will be able to go back to normal.  Even the most fit person on earth can't improve the unwanted change, no matter how much they exercise.  Yes, I have the ability to lose all of the weight I will gain, but I will not be able to get rid of that extra loose skin that will remain...

I hate to think so negative, but I'd rather face the reality now than after the babies are born.  My future battle wounds are on my mind every single day and as I rub all of those expensive creams and lotions morning and night, I can't help but pray that I will be one of those rare lucky ones.

For some of you, this whole body change is not the end of the world, but I am only 26 years old and have years and years of bathing suit seasons ahead of me!!  Besides, my husband had nothing to do with the conception of these triplets, so why does he have to be punished?  Although he has told me time and time again that his love is unconditional, I think he deserves more than I can ever give him. 

Future tummy tuck?

Well, that will probably be the only solution.  I continuously read on other triplet mother's blogs about how much they avoided this medical procedure, but after years of dealing with the inevitable, they opted for the surgery.  Although left with a scar from hip to hip, it ultimately left them satisfied.  I guess all I can do is wait for the damage.  Until then, I'm going to let this belly grow to it's max and give these little girls all the room I can give them... just be nice to me in there ;)    

Oh, and if there are any overly generous plastic surgeons out there that are feeling charitable, I'm a great patient!!! 



Tuesday, June 1, 2010

What NOT to Say!!

So, we are about 19 weeks pregnant with 3 very lucky girls.  The IP's have yet to pick out any names, but I've given them all little nicknames.  "A", "B", and "C" is just not fun enough for me!!  I've gotten pretty big, as you can tell, and I'm measuring the size of a 7 month singleton pregnancy! So, in a couple months I will definitely have reached my max!!

I've been doing my best to adjust to this HUGE life-changing event and I think I am getting the hang of it.  But, knowing my luck, once things start going well, I will be thrown a curve-ball and stuck with some sort of challenge.  However, our perinatologist gave me a little bit of hope and said the next few weeks should be my best weeks.  Although the uncomfortability may increase, I should be feeling most like myself these days.  My oldest son, Jackson, started his first year of tee-ball and I volunteered to be team mom!!  I have been looking forward to this for so long and so far I have been successfully fulfilling my duties... YAY!!  And today, we started parent and me swim class with both Jack and Max and nothing stopped me from participating... another YAY!!  I have slowly realized to put the most important things first and let the smaller events just be put on hold.  Yes, it does take most of the days energy to take my boys out for a small event and I'm usually exhausted when I miss those hours resting, but some things are just worth it.  However, I'm not going to push myself to doing something that just isn't worth that extra effort.  I know others around me have to adjust to this as well and accept the fact that my family and I are MIA a lot, but hopefully they will soon understand. 

This whole experience really has made me stronger (and I probably will say that a million more times).  But, in a way, it has also made me look at others differently.  Believe me, I get my fair share of comments and opinions and I would just like to share to you what NOT to say to me if we ever cross paths.  Some people just don't know how to think before they speak, especially when my hormones are raging and I would no doubt punch them in the face if they caught me at the wrong time... only kidding ;)

"I hope this is all worth it..."
Yes, thanks for reassuring me.  This IS all worth it.  Although those long weeks of vomiting, constant nausea, and fatigue was not the ideal experience, it still got me to my goal.  I haven't had the easiest pregnancy, but people, I'm pregnant with 3 babies!!!  I have had a few bumps along the way, but I have gotten through them and am no where close to my death bed.  These 7 little words bother me more than many people think.  When someone says this to me, I always want to respond with this: "Would you ever say this to me if these babies were mine?  If Cameron and I were experiencing this much hardship with our own pregnancy with our own child/children would all-of-a-sudden this all be more worth it?!?"  I just don't get it.  Are people really that selfish to ask me if giving someone the gift of life is worth this temporary pain I have been enduring?  In my opinion, children are worth any sort of sacrifice whether they are biologically mine or not.  But in all honesty, I think it takes a good mother to realize this.      

"I bet you will never do this again..."
Yes, you are right (for once).  I will never do this again.  But, don't let me give you the satisfaction of feeling correct for once!!  My choice to not wanting to do this again has NOTHING to do with my current situation like you are out to prove.  When I originally set out to become a surrogate, I dedicated myself to one pregnancy and one pregnancy only.  Yes, there are many women out there who strive to be a surrogate for multiple families, but that is not what I set out to do.  I wanted to help a family in need and end my journey there.  I would just like to tell these people, who assume the decision to stop here is a result of the difficult last few months, that they are wrong.  So please put all of that negative thinking behind you.  Do you really think that a comment like this is helping any? 

"I'm sure you are regretting your decision..." 
Regretting my decision?!?  People, you act like I set out on this journey planning on getting pregnant with triplets!!  I don't think that when we went in to transfer these embryos that I sat down and told the doctor to transfer as many as he could so I could be the next Octo-mom!!  For the 12th time, we only transferred 2 embryos.  The chance of one splitting is so rare and highly unlikely.  For some reason, God had a plan for my IP's, and 3 babies it was!!  I'm really sorry if any of you have felt any sort of burden because of my current situation, but there is no way I would change any of it.  I would hope that no one would ever say that to me regarding my own children, so what makes it right to say it to these 3 innocent girls?

Well, all I can really say is that people never know the right thing to say to me or this situation.  Yes, I do understand that most of the people I am associated with has never experienced triplets, let alone surrogacy, but their little comments make me question a lot about them.  I guess that's why I am the surrogate and they're not.  I think people would be more accepting of my situation and maybe a bit more supportive if they got to know my IP's.  My husband and I have gotten really close to them, and as a result, have never questioned our decision to carry their 3 children.  Throughout the past several months, all 4 of us have become great friends and I want nothing more than for them to become parents.  I would endure so much more pain and exhaustion for them to be able to fulfill their dreams.  Throughout this journey, one of my biggest hopes is that these outsiders could gain more of a respect for those like myself and my IP's.  I don't think there is more of a disappointment in life than not being able to conceive naturally.  Without women like myself, some families would be left childless.  I can never imagine that feeling and I wish we all could be more supportive of those less fortunate.