Monday, 31 October 2011

WK11: Day 7

I am feeling terrible again today and my nausea is really bad! I just about managed to go to Tesco to do the weekly shop. I carried the shopping home in a rucksack, carrying the remainder of the bags. That probably wasn't the best thing to do, but just not sure how much or how little is ok. I`m going to have to trust my body and if anything feels too much then it probably is. I developed the worst headache, which turned to being pretty much unbearable by 3pm so I went back to bed and was asleep instantly. Mart woke me up at about 6:30pm to say that some friends were popping over. I really didn`t want to get up but was so pleased I did. It’s funny how sometimes you can be feeling so bad, but in the company of people with good happy energy you are able to lift yourself from it all. We chatted for ages about the babies and different ways I could generate some income. This was the first time that I had really spoken to anyone else about the babies other than with Mart and it feels great. It all feels a lot more real all of a sudden and as soon as they left I went straight back to bed.

So here’s my 11 week belly...

11 weeks pregnant 

Sunday, 30 October 2011

WK11: Day 6 - Can't Get Enough Sleep

I spent the day in bed sleeping just as I’d hoped and desperately needed. What a long week. I surfaced for an hour or two here and there for something to eat and drink and then back to bed. It feels like such a waste of a day, but I just can’t physically bring myself to do anything else.

Saturday, 29 October 2011

WK11: Day 5 - Work is Really Hard

Works has been a real struggle the last couple of days. I can’t even begin to tell you how tired I am! I honestly sit for most of the day with my head propped up in my hands on the verge of nodding off! Bring on the weekend; I am in need of my bed… I’m also still eating tons. Not large portions, but I’m definitely craving carbs of any kind, so my draw is filled with breadsticks, crackers, nuts, and ginger biscuits. I’m still not exactly sure what I am supposed to be eating, or how much, so I’m trying to eat as much healthy food as possible. I’ve been reading more about the dietary requirements in the US and although they at least give you some indication of what food groups and portions you should be concentrating on, the advice of eating 6000 calories a day and putting on 4st seems quite a lot. Who knows! I felt ready to tell a few more close friends today. Again they were all completely shocked, but very supportive.

Friday, 28 October 2011

WK11: Day 4 - Reality Time

I find some time to sit down and talk to Mart, it was not an easy conversation! I talked through all my thoughts and feelings about the pregnancy and our options at the end. I think he is relived I’ve made a choice about carrying the babies. I can tell that he’s really not into the idea of adoption, but after explaining that I don’t think I can go through with a selective reduction or termination and that I would rather let nature take its course I think he understands. I will never really know how he feels about this, but as far as I can tell and feel, this is also a path that he is ready to take. We both feel that things happen for a reason and whatever the reason may be, something tells us that we need to continue this journey. He is really worried about the info he has been reading in the press lately about the high number of babies in adoption homes for so long. I fully understand what he is saying! The thought of the babies alone in a home for so long before being adopted also scares me to death, but we have to be open to what is realistically to come.

I just keep thinking that if we don’t let this journey continue organically we will never get the chance to potentially make this happen and be given the most beautiful family as a result! Deep down I know and that there is a chance that this could work out the way we want it to. I have done some more research into companies that I can get in contact with about sponsorship or endorsement. I need to wait until my 12 week scan before I can start contacting anyone as it is still early days.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

WK11: Day 3 - The Journey Starts Here!

I woke up feeling absolutely terrible yesterday! My body was aching from the horrible cold I’ve caught as well as my usual morning sickness. There is no way I could have gone to work, I definitely needed some time off. I’ve literally spent the last two days in bed sleeping eating and thinking! I am finally starting to have clear thoughts about what we can do. I have decided that I would like to carry the babies through the pregnancy no matter what happens at the end… PHEW, it feels good to finally say that and know that it’s what I want. This really is too much of a special gift to bring myself to terminate or selectively reduce the pregnancy. Anyone who knows me will know my personality. I live for the moment and thrive on new experiences in my life. How would I possibly forgive myself for not taking the opportunity which has presented itself to me like this? It’s a crazy and difficult one but it has been placed in my hands and so I am going to let nature do what it did to get me into this situation! I trust that what is meant to be will be and I know that I have the strength of my husband, family and friends to help me along the way. I’ve been told by Tamba that the hospital will strongly advise me to selectively reduce, but this is something that I can’t consider. How can you possibly choose between one baby and another? My mind boggles at the thought. I have also finally received a letter from the specialist today. I have been given an appointment for 8th Nov (13 weeks) I wish it was sooner! There are so many questions in my head. I also spent some time looking into adoption today. This is another very difficult path which I don’t necessarily want to consider but I need to consider and understand all options. If over the next 5 months we are not able to work out a plan for generating an income to support our new family of 7 then we need to be open to other options. It’s not very well documented or I just don’t really understand how it works but as far as I can see you would make the adoption agency aware of your situation as soon as possible and then you would receive advice and counselling. I think it is saying that you would have up to 3 months after the baby is born to make a decision. 

Wow, this is such a difficult decision, but it really makes me appreciate the very hard decision my biological mother would have made and the mental struggle she must have gone through after carrying me for 9 months to then have to give me up. I have a lot of respect for the concept of adoption and my decision to rather carry the babies and give someone else the gift of children rather the terminating really makes me feel a lot better. I just need to understand how Mart feels about this as I think I’m finally finding the strength it takes to continue with this pregnancy! I am so relieved that I now have a clear path and solution in my head, this has been such a difficult 10 days.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

WK11: Day 1 - This is So Hard

I went to work feeling dreadful today and I seem to have picked up the worst cold, the morning sickness is also at its worst today! Monday at work is client reporting day, so there is no getting off. I’ve spent most of the day dosed up on paracetamol and fluids and by the end of the day I was feeling drained and really sad. I really don’t know if I can go through with this! my body is feeling weak and feeble and I can only imagine how am I going feel near the end… I was in tears as soon as I got home. I’m so scared and there is nothing anyone but me can do about it. Mart is great and reassures me that the right path will soon present itself and in the meantime I can’t make any decisions feeling the way I am. I am sent off to bed for another early night without being able to play with Luke or spend time with Mart! I am feeling so lonely at the moment….

Monday, 24 October 2011

WK10: Day 7 - Rollercoaster Ride

We've had such a difficult weekend with a continued rollercoaster of emotions. From doing some research I now know that there is something called selective reduction which was mentioned to me at the scan. It reduces one or more of the foetuses but carries a high risk of miscarriage (is that really an option!) I don’t know… I suppose we have to consider everything at this stage, but thoughts like that feel so wrong! Realistically we know that we probably won’t be able to afford 4 babies but I’m actually already coming round to the idea. The number 4 doesn’t sound as daunting as it did on Monday and I can almost imagine it. I’m starting to feel like I might have the strength in me to do this if I really want to. The only major factor we can see is money so we decided to do a budgeting exercise to work out exactly how much more in consumables we would need each month and what we would need to buy at the start to get us going. There are so many factors I need to consider like my maternity pay, whether there is any additional support available and other ways that we can generate some income. I’ve seen quite a few American posts which make reference to companies with Multiple Birth Programs in the USA who assist families with multiples. There seems to be a number of companies who happily sponsor families of quads. This is definitely another avenue that I need to do some research into. By no means do we want to exploit the babies, but if we can organise an endorsement or sponsorship with a company, it will go a long way in assisting us.

Wow, what an eye opening experience that was! We both couldn’t stop laughing at the quantity and cost of everything we need. I think it was more nervous laughter, as if we take into consideration my SMP (statutory maternity pay) and new monthly outgoings, unless we can get some help and generate some additional income there is no way we are going to be able to manage. It’s hard not to feel completely defeated, but being the character I am I’m not defeated until someone has kicked me down and is stamping on my head, so we starting looking into companies in the UK who may be interested in sponsoring us. There really doesn’t seem to be the same kind of offering in the UK. I suppose it’s not surprising when there’s on average 145 sets of quads born every year in the USA, where in the UK there are 3-4 sets. I need to just take the initiative and write some direct letters to companies to see if they would be interested. It also becomes clear from further research that there's is no additional support from the government for parents with multiplies. It almost feels as though parents of multiplies are penalised as you receive half the standard benefit every subsequent child born. It is certainly not my aim to claim government benefits, but I am looking for assistance in the form of childcare or support. These unoptimistic findings have lead my mind onto adoption. If I can't consider termination or selective reduction would I be able to consider adoption? 

My body has also been struggling this weekend, spending most of the time sleeping. The morning sickness has eased up a little, but I’m finding it hard to eat a full meal so I’m nibbling away at things trying to get all the nutrients but also trying to increase my daily calorie intake. It’s not easy! It’s also harder to know when to stop eating as you are hungry all the time, but when you end up cramming in too much food you feel real uncomfortable for the next few hours. I kept thinking and worrying about all the health risks I could potentially face; miscarriage and premature birth that could lead to severe mental and physical disabilities for the babies. Other risks include cerebral palsy and Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome. I can't get my head around the idea of complete best rest from 20 weeks (as recommended in the USA). These are all things I will need to discuss with the specialist when I see them. I'm getting frustrated that they haven't been in touch yet…

I’ve decided to take week by week pics of my belly. Here’s pic number 1:

10 weeks pregnant

Saturday, 22 October 2011

WK10: Day 5 - Tamba

I decided to call Tamba today, the multiple birth charity who the sonographer gave me the number for. I wasn`t sure what I was going to say but needed to speak to someone. I was transferred to Twinline (their phone support service) and spent a good 45 mins talking to the counsellor about my thoughts around continuing with the pregnancy and the fears that I have about caring for and carrying the babies as well as getting the right care for myself. She was so calming and gave me some very solid advice about taking a step back and slowing down. From our discussion she made me realise that it is still very early days and anything could happen in such a high risk pregnancy. I decide I need to wait until my next scan which will be at 12 weeks as well as seeing the specialist for their advice and take it from there. I won’t lie I was getting quite frustrated that it had been four days and no one had yet called me until finally (4 and a half days later) I received a call late this afternoon from the hospital confirming an appointment for the 2nd Nov (10 days’ time).  We decided to tell a few more friends and family today as we need the input of a few more people to hear their thoughts. We got some very mixed reactions, but mainly sheer amazement. I just keep thinking if only money wasn’t a factor this would be a far easier path to take. This week has been filled with lots of tears and laughter. I have started reading some of the other quad blogs on the net. How inspiring! The pics and videos make me smile and fill my heart with warmth of what could be. I can’t stop myself from imagining life with the quads and a family of 7!

I feel like I am getting bigger by the day, still feeling incredibly ill and sleeping every minute I can. I can’t stop thinking about the changes my body is going to go through and I’m quite scared about it all to be honest. I managed to get off quite lightly with Luke. No stretch marks and my body seemed to regain its shape on its own without any problem at all. Looking at pictures of other quad mums and their bellies, it’s quite obvious that I’m not going to have it so easy this time. I wonder if I will ever fully recover. It’s hard to take this all in and I feel really sad about the reality. 

I’ve been trying lots of things to cure my morning sickness this week, the best have been;
  • Ginger beer – the proper burn stuff
  • Ginger shots – from the amazing food market near my work. They knock your head off but keep the nausea at bay for a good hour
  • Jacobs Cream Crackers – boring I know but they really help.
  • Fizzy water with fresh lemon
  • Tic taks – but I just end up eating them one after another which I’m sure can’t be good.
  • Dried mango and apricots

Thursday, 20 October 2011

WK10: Day 3 - I'm So Confused

I'm back at work and I really want to tell everyone but know I can`t until I fully come to terms with it and decide on what we are going to do. Im not sure what`s going to help me decide and just hope time will tell. All I know is that I can`t wait to long as my belly is growing by the day and I don`t know how I would face losing it. I’m definitely getting attached. My mind is completely consumed, I’m trying to work but when I can I am looking on the internet for any information I can on the subject. I keep thinking why me! How have I managed to be that 1 in 750 000!!!! My life seems to be some kind of crazy fairground ride, at least I can say there’s never a dull moment, but I really wish that sometimes I didn’t have to face some of these life changing challenges. It would be nice to have some daily norm for once.

These feelings aren’t really helped by all the conflicting things I read and with so many risks for the babies and I, this really isn't going to be an easy pregnancy. The babies are likely to be born anything from 28 weeks onwards, which makes the risk of birth defects and prematurity problems really high! The information I found on neo-natal care also makes me sad, the thought of the babies being in incubators for such a long time and not being able to touch or feed them is heart breaking. Honestly, I’m scared! I’m trying to be strong and carry on with work, but at the same time trying to make one of the hardest life changing decisions I will ever have to make.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

WK10: Day 1 - Oh My QUAD!

So here we start, and what a week this has been! Never in my wildest dreams had I thought I would walk away from my dating scan with the news that I was pregnant with quads. I don’t think I will ever forget the moment the sonographer went completely silent, and asked whether we had twins in the family. Then looking up at us both proceeded to tell us that she actually didn’t think there were twins but that she could see quads. She then slowly moved the scanner across my belly showing us the three sacs and counting the babies one by one. She explained she could see one baby in two of the sacs, and two babies in the third. I was honestly cold, and I couldn’t stop squeezing Martins hand really tightly! We both kept laughing really silly nervous laughs as the idea that I was pregnant with four babies was almost too hard to comprehend.

I had been scared before the scan that everything was going to be ok for the one baby I thought I was carrying...but now I was scared in a whole new way! Before we even had a chance to ask any more questions she had left the room and we were left staring at each other in complete silence. We had been joking before we went for the scan that I was pregnant with twins, (thinking if we were, how would we cope?), our joke didn’t seem that funny anymore. She came back with three other members of staff, all there to check whether this was right. It was, and was asked a number of questions including whether I had had an ‘assisted’ pregnancy or taken any fertility medicine. NO to all! They said from the measurements that my dates must have been out a little as I was only 10 weeks and not 12 weeks as I had thought. They weren`t able to do a proper due date scan as I was too early and I would also need to see a specialist as they couldn’t perform the scan on anything more than two.

We were sent off in a complete daze with our scan pics and the telephone number for Tamba (Twins and Multiple Births Association). We now need to wait for a telephone call from the specialist at the hospital. Our initial feelings were of complete shock, bewilderment and fear, but also unbelievable excitement. It’s absolutely incredible that I’m pregnant with FOUR babies. We wanted to ring the whole world and tell them but I kept having to bring us back to earth by reminding us of the fact that if we weren`t realistically going to be able to continue with the pregnancy then we should rather keep it to ourselves. After some discussion we decided we would tell our close family, Dad, work (as I couldn’t go back this afternoon) and Mart’s Mum. Their responses were of complete and utter shock, which made us realise even more just what this actually meant. This is the first view we had of the quads.
Here you can see the 3 sacs. The first sac at the top left with one baby, the large sac below with two babies and finally the small sac to the right which the fourth baby is in.

Here you can see the top of the fourth babies head in the right sac.

This is a really clear pic of the identical twins n the bottom sac and the fraternal quad in the top sac.

Thinking about it now everything seems to make sense. My belly is very large for 10 weeks and I'm having continuous dreadful morning sickness. When I say continuous I mean from the minute I wake up, throughout the day as well as in the middle of the night! The only thing that is helping with the symptoms for any length of time is constant grazing on food. I was sure that work (before they knew) thought there was something wrong with me as all I seemed to do was eat. This at least confirms that I haven’t turned into the Munchie Monster and there is a reason behind it all. I have also been feeling so tried to the point that I've been going to bed as soon as I've got home from work most nights.