Sunday, June 26, 2011

Big Birthday Celebration!

We had our big birthday celebration June 26th. It was Dr. Seuss style! Thanks to everyone that came! This party was as much of a celebration as it was a time to thank our friends and family that helped us through the year... and it allowed everyone to see the kids, and for us to see them. It was a wonderful day! A big thanks to Brooke for taking these pics, and capturing the memories for us! This is Brooke's blog. She does some photography as well, and this is her photo blog Again, thanks everyone!

This is pre-mess!

These are the Holy Cow Cupcakes from Carmel.

Lillian didn't really like her tutu.... but she was a trooper!

Nor did she really think her bloomers were as cute as everyone else did.

This is my sister Tyann and Lillian. Lilly likes to visit with Tyann, she usually has some nice jewelry to pull!

She loved her cupcake! A girl after my own heart!

This is Grey and his NICU nurse Becca. He loves Auntie Becca.

He did humor us, and eat some cupcake.

Perhaps he likes Becca because she is so patient with him. That child lights up when she comes on Wednesdays.

But a big party can sure wear a little man out.

This Erin (aka, one of the most beautiful pregnant women I've seen) who was Owen's NICU nurse. Owen spent the whole day trying to get down again, and again....

and again with Uncle Troy....

shewww.... can't a boy just crawl all over the floor?? It's his party after all!

He too enjoyed his cupcake!

He and Grey enjoyed a moment together.

It would not be a triplet party unless you have multiple sets there! The Myers triplets came! Todd and I met Heather and Neil in the NICU. I talk to Heather almost daily. Sometimes she is the only person I can vent too, since Todd is likely sick of hearing me. lol Thanks Heather for being such a great friend! They will turn 1 on July 4th!

L-R Mackenzie, Lillian, Leila, Owen, Grey, and Charlie.

This is Noah and his dad... he has gotten so big and handsome!

The boys enjoyed watching some movies in between running around. I think they had a good time! Evan, Noah, and Max enjoyed playing together.

And, this is us! Very happy to have survived the year, and very happy to have many more to come!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Birthday cupcakes

Grey enjoyed a little cupcake tonight. After the initial coaxing... he felt like dipping his fingers in and putting some on his tongue. He still managed to get filthy!!!

Lillian thought the cupcakes were the bomb! She kept saying "MMMMMMMMM" as she put her bites in her mouth. I was most surprised by her eating the cupcake. She can be picky at times... but not tonight. Her birthday cupcake hit the spot!

Owen ate THE WHOLE cupcake. He absolutely loved it. He had cupcake from head to toe, and I mean literally!

This makes me wonder how the heck we will keep them decent at their party next weekend.... perhaps the cupcake eating will be saved for almost the end.... and in their diaper only?? Wow, they were messy!

It makes me happy I ordered cupcakes for their big party on the 26th! I ordered them from HOLY COW CUPCAKES. You can see them at . I'll try to post more pics tomorrow. One year down, and many more happy years to celebrate!

One year ago

This is where we have come from. Babies ranging from 2lbs-3lbs 3 oz. They've come a long way.

This is Todd and Grey.

This is Todd touching Grey's foot.

A triplet pregnancy. Using those 3 words together is a very powerful statement. We found out we were having 3 little ones right before the first of the year. I really hadn’t been sick yet. At 7 weeks pregnant I went to see our high risk OB doctor, Dr. James Sumners. That is where the fun really began. During that appointment, he told me that there was “Good news! I don’t see another one hiding in there…”. I think I could have fainted them. After that he continued to tell me that I would need to eat 4000-5000 calories each day to gain the weight that I would need to gain for the babies. Also, we were left with some options of a abdominal cerclage. Not a traditional cervical cerclage, (where the cervix is stitched close)… but the uterus would be closed. The bottom of the uterus is gathered like a potato chip bag, and is sutured that way permanently.

I traveled for work from early January to mid February. We were in the midst of a medicare audit that was all-consuming. It did help me get off the pregnancy… and nonetheless, eating out every night helped me get my calorie load in for a while. One Wednesday early February I wasn’t feeling well, while in Columbus OH at work. Later that night the back pain continued to get worse… and I asked one of my fellow nurses to take me to the hospital. Realizing that we would never find it, we called the ambulance. They took me to the hospital in Columbus, and after many hours of pain and radiology tests, it was found I had my first and hopefully last ever kidney stone. I had managed to call my infertility doctor on his cell phone to talk to him at 1am, and he was able to talk to the ER doctor, as they didn’t really want to touch me. I stayed there 2 nights, passed the stone… and although didn’t have to come back to work in OH the next week, I knew my days of traveling were limited.

Surgery was done on Feb 18th. This surgery was done at 13 weeks. When we went to the hospital to have that procedure completed, I knew I would be there a couple of days, I knew I would be asleep during the operation, and I knew that I would have a scar. A few things that were not clear. 1. I was awake during the surgery, 2. I was there for 7 days, 3. I have a vertical incision extended to my belly button. It hurt, it hurt bad. Interestingly enough… I was a little uninformed, and I didn’t stop to think that the surgery would hurt worse pregnant because my uterus and stomach was continuing to grow.

At 18 weeks I felt almost recovered from the cerclage. I then was placed on precautionary bedrest, which is what is done by the high risk OB I saw that day. I spent the rest of the pregnancy trying to lay on my left side the majority of time. At that time, I was getting pretty significant carpal tunnel. I used to shrug off people that complained of carpal tunnel…. But let be the first to say, wow,… that was painful. I had it in both hands, and it can be pretty common in women that are carrying multiples. My hips really hurt from laying down, and all the weight shifting. At this time, I really had a hard time eating and drinking. I had to force myself to do both.

At 20 weeks, I started to monitor my contractions with a home health belt that I had to place on myself twice daily. That yielded a few nights here and there in the hospital for contractions some I could feel, some I could not. Many times it was because I was not drinking my 4 liters of water daily that was needed. I quickly started drinking a lot of water. I was started on some oral medication for contractions at about 24 weeks. It just made me more tired.

At 26 weeks I had a routine doctor visit (I had ultrasounds weekly from 13 weeks on). At that time there was noted to have a little protein in my urine per the urine dipstick. I then had to do a 24 hour urine test, and was found to have significant protein in my urine at that time… and was admitted into high risk at St. Vincent Women’s hospital. I knew I would be there the duration. I had contractions off and on for a few days, and was given IV hydration, which cut down on my drinking necessity. Off and on there were concerns regarding my urine protein, which was continuing to climb. Also, Lillian’s umbilical cord had some restricted flow, which was worrisome. I can honestly say I was in complete denial of having to deliver premature triplets at this time. Even though the NICU doctor had come and talked to me about the general NICU lowdown, and I had the NICU tour, I was not going to deliver these kids less than 34 weeks. Oh, how wrong I was.

On June 15th, Dr. Sumners came to my room, and sat down in the chair. I knew then, I was in for a talking. He said that my urine protein was quite high, and enough that he wanted to tentatively put me on the schedule for the second c-section of the day if necessary. At that time, I tried talking him out of it, and tried to tell him my reasons for not going…. But it fell upon deaf ears. I knew this time, he was serious, and we’d wait to see how the urine was, but likely the day was coming quickly. After our hour discussion, and reaffirmation… I knew in the back of my mind that it was looming. About 2 hours after that a nurse came in, asking me if I felt ok. I told her, no, was anxious, and had a back ache. Turns out I was contracting every 3 minutes. I was placed on a mag drip that night, and knew that was the nails in the coffin. I would be having the babies on June 16th.

Todd arrived early that morning, and planned on working from the hospital, thinking that I would likely not deliver that day. Turns out, I was going to. Family came in to town, I was taken to the Or at about 1030.. I really don’t remember that ride. Todd was prepped, and I was to get my epidural. Long story short, after about 8 epidural and spinal block tries, they were unsuccessful. I continued to contract. I continued to be uncomfortable. After refusing to be poked one more time, they gave me general anesthetic. There were heated conversations between the anesthesiologist and myself. He was mad that he couldn’t get it in, I was mad that he was acting like a baboon…. So indeed, I was better off with a tube between my vocal cords to silence me.

I was wheeled to the NICU to see the children, and I honestly just remember thinking that I was in the twilight zone. The epidural had actually kicked in, even though it hadn’t took before I went to sleep. The kids looked so small…. I felt like I had failed them. I felt as if I had left them to survive on their own…. In their little clear boxes.

I cannot really describe what I felt during the pregnancy. The best description was anxiety. I was anxious about how we would take care of them, how we would handle this as a couple, how our dogs would handle the kids etc. I felt anxious about everything. However, I must say… it was all worth it. The first few weeks of Lilly and Owen home were rough, and the when Grey came home in November; but we made it. I feel like after doing that, we can do nearly anything.

These are pictures that Brooke brought down to me when I was still on a Mag drip in high risk 2 days after delivery. I was really out of my mind when she brought these, and had a few choice words for Dr. Sumners that was rounding at the time. Thank goodness she kept an open mind about perhaps that wasn't my shining moment! These are only pictures a parent could love.

This was Grey.

This was Owen. He had just been taken off of the breathing tube, and ventilator.

This was Lillian. Can you tell she was Brooke's favorite??

Now when I look at the kids as they sleep (cause that is when they are the most angelic!)... I know that these 3 kids were meant to be ours. I know that I was selected to be their mom, and Todd their dad. I know that for some reason, (some sick joke) I was given the challenge to put my body back together again. We will rise to all the challenges... because we can, and we always have.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Progress and the Octagon!

This week is a significant week. Lillian, Owen, and Grey will celebrate their 1st Bday.

Owen is the most active of the 3. He really is pretty close to walking. He comfortably pushes his toys around our living room... crying when he runs into something. (backing up is a bit more advanced!) He walks around the octagon that we have set up in our living room! He is very skillful at tackeling Lillian, and stepping on Grey while they are playing. For some reason, he feels that they are his step stools. Tackling is an issue we need to address with Owen. He SEEMS to know "OWEN, NO!"... however he responds only a percentage of the time. We had to get something to contain them, and this is what we have taking up our living room.

Please be gentle when judging the mess. Remember I have 3 one yr olds!

Owen has about 6 teeth, and getting his molars. He is sleeping much better, and continues to love his blue blanket in bed. His favorite TV show has to be the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. That hot diggity dog song really is catchy. He can be seen dancing and smiling to it when it comes on. Mickey brings smiles to him every morning. We are starting to introduce table food to he and Lilly. They like the Eggo french toast sticks. Cherrios continue to solve all of his problems. He says MaMaMa, and is working on DaDaDa.. but is not purposeful with them yet. He likes to cluck his tongue, and giggles a whole lot! This child is a big boy. I cannot wait to get his stats next week at their 1 year check up.

Lillian is quite the character. She is our circus seal. She does a number of tricks. She likes pat-y-cake, she loves peak-a-boo... and she LOVES her Aden and Anais swaddle blankets. We have 12, and its a good thing, because whenever they are visible, she feels she must have one. She gets one for naps and bedtime. She will kiss, she sticks her tongue out, she shakes her head "no" which is quite annoying when it feels like she knows what you are asking her. She too likes to cluck her tongue. She REALLY wants to be able to stand up on her own. She is hit or miss in the octagon, but in her bed, she is very skillful! She sits up from a laying position, and even though her arms are not strong, I saw her crawl about 10 feet today. When she is motivated, there is no stopping her. She also loves to take bathes, and get the whole bathroom soaked!

Grey is Mr. Personality. He poses for the camera like no other! He knows a few things for sure.... He does not like his glasses, he'd rather not eat, he likes to roll to his destination, and if Lillian isn't careful, he will be crawling before her, he likes his pacifier, he loves his Baby Einstein entertainer that is in his pack n play, and he really enjoys going for car rides and being held! He has his preferences, that is for sure. All of that being said, he has a great little personality.He too likes the swaddle blankets. He can be seen at any given moment pulling on the tubing to his feeding bag, and always seems to be amazed that the pole continues to fall over on him each and every time. He is the only one that STILL likes the ceiling fans, and prefers to touch them if you lift him up. Grey has made the most progress, and has certainly come a long way!

Tomorrow they will turn 1. I cannot believe that it has been 1 year, but in some aspects it seems like an eternity since they were born. Every day is a blessing. I will post tomorrow some pictures that were taken of them at 2 days old... you will see then definite evidence of just how far they have come!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

How we went from 2, to 5 (Plus the huskies!)

I started this blog entry on June 1st. This is the same week last year that I entered the hospital to have our trio. Let me start from the beginning… and you will better understand our journey. I wanted to break this down so I remember; and if anyone else is struggling with these things that reads the blog, there is hope!

Todd and I were married in 2002, knew we wanted to have kids some time… but not any time soon. Once both of us finished grad school… we enjoyed our freedom a bit. We spent a lot of time with our dogs, which were our children, traveled a bit, focused on our careers… and then at some point in time, we decided we should likely start trying soon as we weren’t getting any younger.

Trying to get pregnant wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. I think as a newlywed, you look at trying to get pregnant as throwing caution to the wind, and it “just happens”. Well it didn’t. Now that it has been a little while, dates are a bit blurry to me. One thing I do know is, it was an adventure. I think we started in 2008, after a few months we went to Clomid. Clomid yielded us a miscarriage. After picking ourselves up off the ground from that… We went to a Reproductive Endocrinologist here in Indianapolis. This doctor was formerly with Jarrett Fertility, but has since started his own practice in Austin Texas. Dr. Kenneth Moghadam was a God send to us. I think he told me later in our conversations, that in our first consultation together he knew that he had met his match with me, and that he would have his hands full. I had done my research, I had a plan in mind, and I just wanted someone’s stamp of approval, and for us to get moving on it. We finished our 3rd Clomid round… and were just done with that. One of my friends nicely put it, and I concur… “Clomid makes me want to EAT my husband”. How true. I wanted to absolutely make everyone else’s life as miserable as I felt.

On to the next. We then went on to IUI (Intrauterine insemination). Still really without a firm diagnosis. I have some ovulation dysfunction, or simply put it, irregular cycles. I had a procedure to make sure my fallopian tubes were clear. They were. I had a surgery to make sure I didn’t have any issues with my uterus. I didn’t. The 2 IUI’s with injectable medication to stimulate my ovaries yielded nothing.

On to the last. After many discussions; I mean many discussions… we decided to do IVF or invitro-fertilization. Not only is this a financial commitment, but it is a huge emotional commitment. Huge. March of 2009 we did our first IVF cycle. For those of you that have not done IVF, it’s definitely taxing on your body. It boils down to about 4 shots a day, 4-5 ultrasounds, same amount of lab work, and a lot of emotional investment. There is a surgery to retrieve the eggs from the female, which left me uncomfortable for a few days. The eggs are then fertilized by the sperm that was collected and incubated. Then, there is the everyday call from the embryologists to see how many of our little critters survived, and how they are growing. After that, there is a decision that needs to be made by the doctor as to how long you need to wait for the transfer. 3-5 days is the norm. We did 5 day transfers on them. 10 days and about 5 boxes of pregnancy tests I got my lab work back, that showed my labs were low… and I would likely miscarry again. 3 days later another lab showed, I indeed… had miscarried.
After that miscarriage, I really had to evaluate what I wanted. Todd and I talked a lot about options. He had always leaned more toward adoption. He did want our own biological children, but being the incredibly down to earth person he is, he knew there were many children out there that needed homes. He knew we could offer a wonderful home to one of them. I had a hard time with that. I think I had a hard time with the fact that I was giving up on us. Giving up, and giving in to infertility… I didn’t want it to win. We took the summer of 2009 off. We enjoyed our summer. I think we went to Cabo. We definitely tried NOT to think about having kids. I did some blood work for recurrent miscarriages, and found that I had a copy of a clotting disorder called MTHFR, and I was borderline hypothyroid. I was put on a blood thinner, and low dose thyroid meds….

Long story short with the frozen embryo cycles. (We had some embryos that we had frozen left over from the first cycle). The first cycle we tried my uterus wouldn’t get thick enough with the hormones. I then came down with H1N1. God knew better than I did. I had high fevers, and an ugly pneumonia. The next month we transferred 3 embryos, and didn’t get pregnant.

We were really at a crossroads then. Do we spend $20k more on another cycle, or spend that money toward adoption? I leaned one way, Todd leaned the other. He told me that he would do another cycle because it is what I wanted to do, and he respected that. But, I also knew that is not what he would have chosen if I hadn’t wanted it so bad. I also had to rationalize with myself that if this didn’t work, that I may have to give in. I may have to realize that it isn’t going to happen for us. I may have to revamp the way I always thought my life would be, and I’d just have to deal with this curveball. All of this sounds so dramatic typing this out… but these emotions and feelings were heart wrenching for us. Many discussions, and many of my tears, and much support from Todd…. We decided to do one more fresh cycle, and see what happens.

Let me also say that my thoughts on adoption were very strong. I knew there were children in need of adoption, but could not ignore my drive to beat infertility. I had always wanted to make sure that Todd had a little piece of his brother Travis back. They only way to perhaps have a little bit of him is born again, were to have a biological child of our own. I really felt strongly that if we would have gotten pregnant and had a singleton, our next child, we would have adopted.

November 2009 we did our final IVF cycle. I had basically the same response that I had had previously. I produced a lot of eggs. Our embryos were good quality. We came to a decision when it was time to transfer the embryos… do we do 2, or do we transfer 3? Dr. Moghadam, Todd and I had talked about this. We transferred 3 before in the frozen cycle, and didn’t get pregnant. 2 in the first fresh cycle, only to have a miscarriage. Dr. M told us he would support us if we decided to transfer 3. When we arrived to our room before the transfer, the embryologist came in with a picture of the 2 leading embryos.. and said, “Here they are.” I said, “Well, I think we are going to transfer 3, so go pick out the best one!” So, 3 it was.

I promised Todd that I would not take a pregnancy test before we were to get the lab work done. I had obsessively peed on sticks every flippin cycle, only to cry the rest of the day, and be in a complete fog for weeks. I was convinced the day of my lab work that I was not pregnant. In fact, Todd worked at home that day, so we could get the call of the labs together. I knew that I was cramping, like I was getting ready to start my cycle. We got the call, and the nurse said, “Tiffany, your numbers are good… they are really good.” I think my knees about buckled. My beta 9 days after my 5 day transfer was about 500. I knew that was high… I knew we were likely looking at multiples. Neither Todd nor I cared. We were ecstatic.

Dec 30th, we went in for our first ultrasound. 2 heartbeats were seen immediately. Then, the nurse said that I had a cyst on my ovary… and I quickly noticed that that cyst had a heartbeat… There were 3 little flickers in my uterus. 3 fast flickers. Todd was absolutely elated. I, was cautious. I was scared, I was happy, I was shocked, I was…. I really can’t explain that emotion. It’s like no other. The first words that came to my mind were expletives. But, one thing was for sure, I knew we had an uphill road with the pregnancy. I knew that it wasn’t like a twin pregnancy, or a singleton for that matter…. But, I knew that this is what God had in mind for us, and we needed to jump in feet first!