Over the hill

I’m nearly 19 weeks. I’m over half way. OMG!! We have been advised to have everything fairly well organised by week 24 (that’s 5 weeks away). This is for 2 reasons. I’m doubling in size weekly and we don’t know when these little ones will come out to meet us. So to get us started we attended 2 information evenings, hosted by the Brisbane North Multiple Birth Association. They were great – although both the facilitators and all other expecting parents were there for twins. Apparently it’s a bit different for triplets. They were lovely enough to ring around and find a triplet mother and father willing to give up their Thursday night to come and have a chat to us in the break. Funnily enough, we knew the triplet parents. She was my boarding supervisor when I was at school. I couldn’t believe how small this world actually was.
Whilst we learnt about preparing for giving birth, premmie babies, equipment, and routine in the information sessions, the triplet parents were worth their weight in GOLD. Honestly amazing. They actually took the concepts and told us how it actually happens in real life. From what prams and car seat (and cars) we need to get, their real routine, help, breast feeding and even the benefits. It was incredibly helpful and if there are any triplet parents expecting out there….find someone who has had triplets.
In the past few weeks we have started sorting ourselves for our quick countdown. We have had my amazing parents come down to install a dishwasher, pantry and linen cupboard. And let me tell you, the dishwasher has changed our lives! We have had my gorgeous father in law and Patty pick up a chest of draws, 3 cots and a change table (all for $90). So now we just have to organise it all. It’s hard to believe the babies aren’t likely to come home until Christmas and we’re doing this now.
Where has that time gone?! Since the 12 week scan my whole mind set seems to have changed and I’m feeling amazing. I’m enjoying my walking with Patty and Louie our puppy dog. Looking back, I can only really see now how terrible I felt (hung-over feeling/ tired etc.) and that it took me the first trimester to be ok with ‘the triple threat’. Now I’m ok…and actually excited. I wonder what their personalities will be like, what they will look like and of course the sexes, which we are keeping a surprise.
This photo is of me (in black) at 19 weeks and friend of mine who is 28 weeks. I hope you’re enjoying these updates…I’m enjoying writing them x

It’s no longer about me!

The 12 week scan changed everything. At this point it became so much more than a concept or an idea. It’s no longer about me. It’s about these little humans growing inside of me.

We had been continually told to prepare ourselves for losing 1, 2 or all 3 of the babies in the first trimester. But we didn’t. The 12 week scan was so much more than identifying if any of the babies had down syndrome, it was about seeing if this  pregnancy was actually real. And it is, they were all there and doing so incredibly well. We  saw so much more than the black hole and hearing the heart beats which we had previously seen and heard in the 4 and 8 week scans. We saw whole humans in there…and 3 of them.  They were all stacked neatly on top of each other with the bottom two sucking their thumbs and the top triplet sucking his/her fingers. We saw legs, arms, hearts, kidney’s, heads…everything you expect to see at 12 weeks. It was truly incredible.

We were told that if I was to carry triplets, we’ve given them the perfect combination. This meaning that the triplets were all fraternal, living in their own sacks with their own food supply. Our risk of various things going wrong had dramatically reduced. Although our risk hadn’t disappeared completely, it was considerably lowered. These words out of the doctors mouth was exactly what we needed to hear. The weight which we had been carrying around for the first 3 months had been lifted.

From this point it didn’t matter if I couldn’t go on my runs. It didn’t matter if I couldn’t drink alcohol at the numerous weddings, hen parties, engagement parties and birthday parties we had (including Pat’s 30th). It didn’t even matter if I wanted that coffee (or 2) a day. All that mattered was that these 3 little darlings could grow, develop and were given the best chance at life.

On reflection, I was completely selfish in the first trimester. I was sort of in denial that no matter what I did, they wouldn’t be able to survive, so I thought I may as well just carry on with my life. The stats scared me. So if I wanted a wine I had one. If I wanted to go for a 10km run, I did. If I wanted to coffee, I most definitely didn’t deprive myself of it. Now everything has changed. I wouldn’t dream of doing anything that could possibly damage or hurt these babies. They were real and ours and we are completely responsible for them. So if they want a chocolate chip cookie…they get one 🙂

THe triplets in at our 12 week scan. The last time we will get them all in the one scan.
THe triplets in at our 12 week scan. The last time we will get them all in the one scan.

Now it’s great. Whilst I’m growing quickly, I feel great. I’m not always hungry or wanting to vomit or even that tired. I’m now at 17 weeks and things are most definitely looking up…I’ll fill you in on the last 5 week in the next blog.

Everything is changing

Sorry I’ve been a snowed under and haven’t had a chance to write my next post…until now.
Here is a photo from week 14…

At the beginning it wasn’t so bad. It was actually good. When I put my ‘morning sickness’ aside and soreness, it was actually great. Finally my A cup had upgraded to a C cup (which is big for me) in a matter of weeks…and without any surgery. Happy days!! Unfortunately it didn’t last too long. I now look down (week 16) and my belly has overtaken my boobs. But that’s just the beginning of all the changes.
I honestly have to take my hat off to every mother/ pregnant lady out there. I am not made for this stuff. I’m also a glass half full kinda girl, but this stuff is hard. My boobs are bigger, but that’s about the only positive I’ve come across so far. I’m tired, hungry, sore, sick, getting fat, can’t exercise and just over really talking about it all the time (ironic really while I’m writing this blog). I didn’t expect it to be. I actually thought I would love being pregnant.
One of the hardest changes I had to take on board was the exercise…or lack thereof. Everyone who knows me probably considers me a little obsessed with my exercise. I love all the high impact/ vigorous exercise such as boxing and running and with a bit of yoga or walking on the side. I guess I just loved moving my body and pushing it to its limits. I have now had 3 professional opinions telling me I can only walk and do other low impact exercises (excluding yoga). So not only am I getting fatter and wanting to eat more, I can’t really counter balance that with much exercise. If I was pregnant with one, would it be the same? Probably not, I hear of loads of people running right up until their final trimester if they were previously a runner. But because I’m high risk and carrying 3…I am almost bed bound.
I often wonder that the only reason I’m tired is because I’m not exercising. Apparently not as it comes with the pregnancy territory. I guess I do have three sucking the life out of me. I wasn’t one of these ‘tired’ type of people. I woke early and went to bed early, but didn’t often feel too tired. Now I’m that rude lady in the corner yarning all the time. It’s uncontrollable. And when people ask how you are…I respond ‘tired’. Ekk who have I become.
It doesn’t stop there. Where did that saying “You’re glowing” come from?? How can I be glowing when I’m tired and breaking out in pimples/ red rash? I never use to wear make up to work, now it’s added into my daily routine of applying makeup. The only time I don’t really wear it is when I’m with my friends and family and I’m needing to ‘air’ out my skin for a few hours.
So I’m frustrated with not exercising, I’m tired and I have to wear makeup every day to cover up my horrible skin. But I also know this is temporary and for something much greater than selfish little me. Mums not only give up their body for 9 months, but they are completely dedicated to ensuing these little ones have the best start to life. For those considering getting pregnant, make sure you’re aware of what is really going to happen (obviously everyone is different so this may not apply to all). I am now…so ready for this. I often stop to rub my belly and have a little chat to the triple threat to see how they are going. Although this is all not what I expected, I know it’s going to be the greatest thing Pat and I ever do.

Public vs. Private

It’s one of the first decisions we have had to make, yet it has been one of the toughest so far. With this decision comes which hospital, what level of care, which doctor or do we just put our trust in the public system and roll with it?! We always imagined we would go privately as we hadn’t really known anything else and had organised health insurance well over 12 months ago.

Unfortunately for us, organising the health insurance doesn’t necessarily mean the decision is made. A high risk pregnancy is sort of like a can of worms which we needed to open and explore.

First mistake we made was that we googled private vs. public. Of course you only ever read the horror stories. With the public system we read everything from a horrible delivery, a stitch which had to be re done resulting in a long and slow recovery, terrible care for the baby and beyond. We did have to stop ourselves and really think about the validity of these stories, the perspective of those writing them and their situation. Although so many women have babies every year, every birth is unique and everyone has a story…unfortunately with giving birth, most are tough.

A friend of ours who is also pregnant and a GP really helped us understand the public system. I guess that was one of the biggest parts of it, we just didn’t understand how the public system worked, especially for a high risk pregnancy. She believed the public system would give us the level of care we needed for our situation. The only sacrifice we would have to make is potentially sharing a room and not having the continuity of care the private system can offer. So that was that, we could save our dollars and go public.

If only it was as easy as that. We then told our families that we were going public and they thought it was about the money, so automatically their reaction was to help us. That was the last thing Pat and I wanted. Not for one minute would we pick money over our health. It wasn’t about the money, although it would help if we could save over $6,000 in out of pocket expenses…but it was about the level of care. It was that if we went public, we would have got the same result as if we went private. So to put our families mind at ease, we promised we would speak to our fertility specialist and go with what he would say.

We had our 8 week appointment with our specialist and he checked the 3 strong heart beats, the sizes of the triple threat and made sure they were all doing well. They were. So we went back into his office after the scan and we asked him what he thought…public vs private. As he was a private and public doctor we felt he would help us come to some sort of conclusion. He told us the facts and everything we already knew or had learnt through this whole process. It was when he said, “The doctors who specialise in multiple births aren’t really looking for business, so ask them.” He than went to explain that with a high risk pregnancy we would be closely monitored, have potential long stays in hospital and consistent communication needed. So he felt it would be best to go private. So private it was.

It’s easy to obsess over it. The bottom line is, public or private the babies and mother would get the best level of care. The only difference would be the cost of going private and the comfort (or lack of) by going public. The end result would be the same ,public or private. So we’re having the babies at the Mater Mothers towards the end of this year (due date 28th December).

This was me (on the right) when I was just 2 weeks pregnant with one of my gorgeous friends.
This was me (on the right) when I was just 2 weeks pregnant with one of my gorgeous friends.

And than there was 3

We were up to week 4 in the pregnancy and I woke up on Thursday morning feeling horrible. It was either a bad case of morning sickness or a vomiting bug (you don’t want to know the details). I feared the worst…was this going to be my pregnancy for the next 8 weeks or had something happened.

My doctors wanted to monitor my ovaries and make sure they were recovering from all the stimulation, so I was due to see him on the Friday. After telling him about the vomiting etc, he did another scan. He initially commented, “That’s looking really good” and showed me a little heart beat. It was an amazing feeling, hearing the heart beat. I was so relieved. That feeling soon disappeared and so did my fear of morning sickness for 8 weeks, when he said, “Ohhhhh”. My instant reaction was, “Are there twins?” He replied, “No, triplets”. My heart sunk. The doctor than went onto showing me all 3 heart beats and spoke about some of the logistics with having triplets (premature birth, higher risks etc). There was no programmed social norm for this reaction, so I was just silent. I didn’t know what to say or do, what questions to ask, I was just blank.

As soon as I walked out of the doctors survey I called Pat. He was out working and couldn’t really speak, although there wasn’t much to be said. We needed time to process this information. We had both dreamed about having a baby, just didn’t expect there would be 3. This wasn’t anything like what our dream looked like.

I couldn’t keep this secret to myself. I needed to tell someone, especially while Pat was away working. So we decided to call the family members via a conference call and tell them the news. There were 9 calls made. Everyone seemed pretty clued on as soon as we called together. They just weren’t expecting the bomb to drop. They all started out similar, “So we’ve got some news….and there’s more…”. The immediate support we got from our family reassured both of us. Not only did it start to become real, it was ok as we weren’t alone. In the weeks to come, the reality of having triplets sunk in.

Triple threat at 29

I don’t consider myself a writer or a blogger. Well until now. So this is me coming to terms with our triple threat at 29. I have reached week 15 with the 3 little bundles and I am aiming for this blog to help me embrace this next phase of our lives, as it’s been a steady start. Actually, this blog is serving a few purposes, I also want to offer a way for my family to follow the journey and a perspective for new mums out there, in a similar situation. When I found out I was pregnant with triplets at 4 weeks, I googled triplets and all that came up was American stories, scary situations and photographs of very large women. I know they are unavoidable but hopefully this blog will offer a different perspective. I’m not saying I won’t be large or promising happy endings….maybe just the journey.  

So how did I get myself into this situation…when I was 23 I was diagnosed with PCOS after a stint off the pill. It’s nothing unusual, with 10% of females of child bearing age with PCOS in Australia and often don’t even know about it. So I was one of the lucky ones, in that I found out early and always knew that it might be a little harder for me to fall pregnant.

The better part of me, Pat, proposed to me in 2012 in Western Australian and we got married in 2013 on my family property in Queensland. The thought of children always excited us, although we weren’t quite ready, wanting to travel carelessly a few more times and settle back in our home state Queensland (we were than living in Western Australia). In 2014 everything was beginning to line up. We had a month long holiday in USA, we both landed jobs back in Queensland, bought a house in Brisbane and finally got a dog (something Pat had wanted to do since we got together in 2008). So next in line were children.

So we had some fun and started trying. As time went by, nothing happened. I got a packet of ovulation sticks from my sister-in-law and was able to see I never actually ovulated. Of course I hoped for the best, so often took a pregnancy test when I felt a bit off or different. They obviously came back negative each time. Throughout this period I would often day dream about the thought of having a baby. I imagined his/her room, how they might look, the cuddles and everything wonderful that comes along with a baby…what a dream.

After 4 months of trying we took ourselves off to the GP who referred us onto a fertility specialist. We tried the drug Clomid for a while. It was relatively painless, other then the effort of getting blood tests every 3 days to see if it was working. Again nothing happened, my body didn’t even flinch with the drug (this happens for less than 5% who try Clomid).

So we amped up the anty to hormone replacement therapy and I used a drug called gonal-f. It took a bit more of a toll on me emotionally as I had to build up the courage to inject myself daily. I would often think of my sister in law who has type 1 diabetes and has to do this numerous times a day. I would often tell myself to ‘man up’…never did I really think of the bigger picture and the whole reason I was doing this. All this time that little dream of having a baby was a little lost as it was so easy to get caught up in the moment and the small milestones of just wanting to ovulate or have a period. Pat on the other hand would remind me of it and was so supportive towards me, even while he was working away at the mines for some of it.

We were reassured the hormone replacement therapy drug was dynamite, although at the beginning there was little hope. As time went by, my doctor increased the dosage and before I knew it I was on a fairly high dose. After a final scan (oh and there were several vaginal scans) before Easter, my doctor was confident 2 eggs had dropped and all I needed now was a ‘finishing off’ injection called a trigger shot. There was hope. 

I’m pregnant….or not. After our timed intercourse I immediately felt different. It was almost like a hangover, craving salty foods and always tired. I had a blood test scheduled soon after our timed intercourse and it came back positive. I could barely believe it. It had worked. All this was for something and soon that dream became real again. To be sure, they ordered another blood test. Unfortunately the 2nd test came back negative. They put the first blood test results down to the high level of the hormones still in my body, from the injection. I still felt different, just not myself. So back to the specialist we went.

It was 2 weeks after our timed intercourse and I caught up with the doctor. He did a vaginal scan and ordered another blood test. He said, “Do you want to the good or the bad news first?”, I replied “whichever”. He then went on to inform me that I have hyper stimulated ovary syndrome which can be very painful and often result in hospitalisation. This explained the pain and dicomfort I was in. That was the bad news….the good news was that I was pregnant. I didn’t know with what or how many…just that I was pregnant and we were step closer to having a baby.

 What a roller coaster so far. But I know we aren’t alone on this. Several women experience this daily. The rollercoaster hasn’t stopped since…it just keeps on going. In the past 15 weeks we have had to make big decisions and learn a whole lot. So in the coming blogs I’ll write about how I discovered it was with more than 1, how the body changes, peoples reaction, the private vs public debate, the expense and how you eventually have to start letting go of everything you knew before to prepare for 3.