Mid-July: We officially confirm the pregnancy that I have been suspicious of for the past week or so. Surprise! And I literally mean "SURPRISE"! This was not exactly planned, but we all know how this happens, right? However, we take it in stride. What's one more, right? Haha...
August 25th: (11 weeks 2 days) We make our first trip to the OB. Since the doctor who delivered my other two children recently moved, we were meeting a new doctor for the first time. In the past, I had never had an ultrasound before the standard mid-pregnancy one. This dr. automatically schedules one for the first appointment. Thank God she did! The instant the ultrasound wand made contact with my skin, I immediately saw two babies. In a very nonchalant voice, the ultrasound tech says, "So, you're expecting twins?" Wade starts laughing, while I comment "not that we were aware of...", to which the ultrasound tech states, "well, you are now!" As the shock of this starts to set in, she frowns and says that she is going to go get the dr. Of course I ask what is wrong, to which she holds up 3 fingers and states "I think there are three babies, but I want the dr. to take a look." Wade automatically shoots up out of his chair, put his hands on top of his head and starts pacing the room. In the meantime, my panic attack sets in. I am in a nearly hysterical state somewhere between laughing and crying. At this point, Wade notices that I am about to lose it and comes over attempt to calm me down and tell me that it will be all right...I don't think I was convinced.
While waiting for the doctor, the ultrasound tech comes back in and takes a closer look. She measures all the babies and states that they are all exactly on target for their gestational age. The doctor arrives and I meet her for the first (and apparently last) time during this pregnancy. She takes a look and confirms that there are triplets. She seems very nice and very excited. She then informs me that they are going to move me to a room while they make me an appointment with a specialist in Columbia. As it turns out, our hospitals here in town are not equipped with neo-natal intensive care units (NICU), which is almost certainly needed for triplet births. As a result, they refer any multiple births bigger than twins to Columbia. The doctor we will be seeing is at the University of Missouri, so this is where our babies will be born. Our first appointment is in a week.
September 1st: (12 weeks, 2 days) Today is our first appointment in Columbia with the specialist. We have spent the past week digesting the news and shocking the hell out of everyone who knows us. While Wade had told quite a few people about the pregnancy prior to our first visit (he had trouble containing the good news), I am more superstitious and nervous by nature, so I had told a couple of coworkers, but no one else. It was kind of fun telling people that I was pregnant, oh, and by the way, I'm having triplets. I have really gotten a kick out of watching people's reactions.
Oh, and since this has been the most frequent question, let me get the answer out of the way. NO, we were not taking any kind of fertility drugs, nor were we having any kind of fertility treatments. These babies were completely spontaneous, although the many hours I have already dedicated to triplet research has taught me that 85% of triplet births are in some way a result of infertility treatments while only 15% occur spontaneously. Only 1 in 8,000 births result in spontaneous triplets, so I guess that the question is a valid one.
Anyway, on to the dr. appointment. We started off with a full ultrasound which confirmed that they were all on target for their gestational age. In addition, all three had strong heartbeats in the 150s. At 35, I am considered to be borderline "advanced maternal age" (not my favorite term). So they explained to me the increased risk for down syndrome at my age, multiplied by 3, of course. So they did some ultrasound measuring of their necks, which is somehow a marker for down syndrome, and the measurements came back as normal. We do not plan on having any further genetic testing or amnios or anything done. We just decided that the results wouldn't matter to us anyway, plus the risk of false positives would make a stressful situation even worse.
So, the ultrasound went well. The babies appear to be fraternal, all having their own placentas and their own amniotic fluid and so forth. This is a good thing, I am told, because it reduces a lot of the risks that can be associated with identical multiple pregnancies where not all babies share nutrients equally.
We meet our new dr. and both agree that we really like him. We have a full exam and blood work. Of course, my blood pressure is a problem. My blood pressure is ALWAYS a problem, so this is no surprise to me. The doc starts me on labetalol for my blood pressure and orders extensive blood work, including a 1 hour glucose test which is normally not done until about 6 months, but he ordered it early because of the increased risk with multiples. In addition, he wants me to come back next week to check the blood pressure and to bring back the 24 hour urinalysis sample. Yes, I have to pee in a jug for 24 hours and bring it back in with me.
September 2nd: Received a call from the dr. office that my 1 hour glucose results were too high, so I need to also schedule a three hour glucose screening for the following week. Great.
September 8th: (13 weeks 2 days) We head back to the dr. office with my jug of urine in hand. I spend the first 3 hours having my blood drawn 4 times for the glucose test. Then we have our dr. appointment. The ultrasound showed that everyone looked good. My blood pressure, however, was again not cooperating, so we doubled the medicine. Otherwise, all was well.
September 9th: Another call from the dr. office. You know this can't be good. While the 24 hour urinalysis looked fine, the glucose tolerance test was not good. The doc wants me back on Monday to discuss our course of treatment.
September 13th: (14 weeks) Because our dr. appointment is not until the afternoon, we decide to take a road trip to St. Louis in search of a triple stroller we found on Craigslist for an extremely reasonable price. We love the stroller, the price is right and it is in good shape. We were pretty proud of ourselves until we got it to the truck and realized just how big it really was. We managed to get it in the truck, but lost over half of our seating in the process. Hmmm, triple stroller "check"...room for triplets, not so much. Oh well, we have a few months to figure it out.
So, we went to the dr. appointment and the ultrasound again showed that everyone looked fine. My glucose test showed that 3 of the 4 blood draws were high, including my fasting glucose. The official diagnosis is gestational diabetes. As a result, not only will my carb/sugar intake have to be closely monitored, but I will have to monitor my glucose levels 5 times a day and give myself insulin shots twice a day. This is what I was afraid of, but I surprise myself. After the first injection, which was really nerve-racking, I learn that it really isn't so bad. It's kind of fun in a twisted kind of way. We are scheduled to come back in a week to check my glucose readings. Oh, and of course the blood pressure was still stupidly high, so the labetalol was doubled again and I was told to start monitoring that at home as well
October 5th: (17 weeks) This is the first time we have gone 2 weeks between appointments and I am anxious to not only see that the babies are doing well but to check again to try to determine gender so that I can really get the planning under way. I just don't know how these people that wait until the baby is born to find out gender do it. I am definitely not that patient of a person. It is just as much of a surprise to me at the ultrasound as it would be in the birth room....yet we have plenty of time to prepare!
Anyway....the verdict is in and we have 3 GIRLS!!! We couldn't believe it. I really thought that the odds were we would have some combination of boys and girls. Of course, we haven't really been going with the odds these days, have we? Everything is looking good! I am now being subjected to cervical checks every visit as well. This involves a different type of ultrasound (I will spare you the details), during which they measure the length of the cervix and check for funneling. I was told that average length is 3-4 cm., and that the doctor is not concerned until the length reduces to 2.5 cm, because this is a sign of early labor. When measured, mine was 4.1 cm which they were extremely pleased with, and showed no signs of funneling. It looks like things are holding strong!
The doctor was still pleased with the glucose readings I had been taking, as well as my at home blood pressures, but my office blood pressure was still ridiculously high so we increased the labetalol again. Now we are at 400 mg 3 times daily and there is discussion of adding another drug if needed. The doctor schedules me for another two week appointment with instructions to call if my blood pressure is ever over 140/90 regularly.
As a side note, I am officially considering this the mid-point of this pregnancy (WOO HOO). I can't believe it is here already. The doc says to plan on C-section at 32-34 weeks. I am determined to do all I can to make it to 34 weeks, so here we are at the middle. I'm sure time will slow down when bed rest starts which the doctor has told me will be mandatory by 24 weeks at the latest. The fact that this birth is sneaking up on me so quickly both excites and terrifies me at the same time.
October 19th: (19 weeks, 1 day) We had a full ultrasound today which took about an hour to get measurements on 3 very wiggly babies. First of all, it has again been confirmed that we are having all three little girls, so I feel confident in continuing the onslaught of pink. In addition, all organs are accounted for and functioning, and everyone is measuring perfectly. Babies A and B are both weighing in at 9 oz. and my big bully Baby C is weighing in at 10 oz. She is just stretched out on top, loving life, all while kicking her poor sisters in the head. The cervix is measuring in at 4.6 cm....even better than last time which is awesome.
Believe it or not, my blood pressure was almost considered acceptable at the dr. office. 143/80. I know, it's still not fantastic, but if you had seen my previous office visit readings, you would now why they were so excited about this. It was a pretty short and sweet visit after the ultrasound because everything looked so good. For the first time, my blood pressure med was not increased. There was brief talk of me not coming back in for 4 weeks, but the doc and I both decided that we would be much more comfortable with another quick check in 2 weeks, so we are currently scheduled to go back on November 1st for a 21 week visit.