Sunday, 29 January 2012

WK24: Day 7 - Bumpalicious

I'm struggling to sit up long enough to write a post (bump, ribs and lungs are all fighting each other) so I’m going to do a picture show and tell instead.

All is as well as can be expected with me and the boys. I have been having about 1-2 tightenings an hour with cramps today, so I am keeping an eye on things. Strangely enough for the last three weeks it’s been on a Sunday and Monday that I have had the most, and fairly regular tightenings which is really weird. They then seem to settle down over the course of the week. My only thought on why this could be is that the boys are having a little weekly growth spurt which would mean my womb is stretching that little bit more causing this reaction.

This afternoon I spent some special one on one time with Mart which has topped up my endurance and happy meter for the week. We decided on the boys names which is very exciting and makes it even more real for us both! I’m dying to share them with you but I think we’re going to keep it as a surprise until they arrive.

So here’s my hospital slide show; 

Luke visiting mummy yesterday watching TV 

The view from my window - I can’t complain about that!

24 weeks pregnant bump - I cant believe how huge I look from the front!

My sexy leggings that I now have to wear all the time to keep my blood flowing. They pump up and then deflate on a constant loop and feel like a blood pressure arm band. It was either these or the Clexane injection in my stomach, but because of the need to wait 24 hours after an injection before surgery It was decided it should be these.

 Pics of my little stars, baby 4 and twin 2 from my scan nearly two weeks ago


Friday, 27 January 2012

WK24: Day 5 - Happy Friday!

I have been meaning to post an update from my scan on Wednesday but just haven’t had much energy to do anything!

My specialist decided to leave the full anomaly scan for weight and measurements until next Wednesday so just did a very quick scan to check babies heartbeats and placental blood flow, they all looked fine!

Otherwise the rest of the week has been rather slow for me. My hemoglobin levels have dropped considerably over the last few days so I have been feeling incredibly tired, dizzy and breathless. I now have an increased dose of Pregaday iron supplement so hopefully my energy will pick up. The only other physical difference I can feel is my bump being much heavier and lower. I know this as an indication that labour is on the way so when I felt the change happening over yesterday and today I was quite worried. Luckily my specialist was around today to do a quick check of my cervix which is still looking ok. She did show me on the screen the sheer amount of blood flow which is moving around the womb and babies and thinks this could account for the heavy throbbing feeling I'm getting. It’s really quite uncomfortable.

There’s not much else to share in my world for today...

Thanks to all my friends and family for keeping me company this week! Another week down :)

night night xxx

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

WK24: Day 2 - Viability For The Boys!

We’ve reached our first major goal for the boys, but by no means do we want to stop here! It is such a relief to know that there is some kind of viability of them surviving outside the womb however slim and dangerous that may be! Their survival rate goes from 25% in week 24 to 95% in week 28 so I'm still holding tight for the latter!

I was admitted back into hospital yesterday so they can keep a close eye on me, bearing in mind the above. It’s sad to have left home again, but I do feel safe here. I have also been lucky enough to get a single room this time, so no more sleepless nights, YEY! The staff on this ward are lovely!! thanks to all of you for making me feel at home and looking after me so well. And thanks to my wonderful friend Nic for helping me move in, house plants and all :) It’s feeling a little more normal now.

I started my steroid injections yesterday and had another one this morning. They last for two weeks, so at least I wont be jabbed with any more needles for a while. They have also stopped the Clexane stomach injection as you would need 24 hours after the injection to be able to perform a c-section, so they don’t want to risk it in case I go into labour. My cervix was measured today and although it’s shortened a bit they assure me that it is still looking ok, which hopefully means the chances of going into labour now are not to high. I’m anxiously looking forward to ultrasound scan tomorrow to check  babies are happy and growing, my belly certainly looks as though they are!

General niggles and pain remain the same; I have lots of pain in my back, pelvis, legs, and tummy (stretching pain) as well as the old heart burn and shortness of breath. Oh what fun :) I’ve been offered stronger pain killers as the Paracetamol isn’t working, but my theory is to try and hold off on those until I can’t take it anymore!

Mart’s on his way up to see me now, WOO HOO! I cant wait to see a human from the outside world. I was lucky enough to have a visit from my dear friend and my gorgeous son this morning which was amazing! Thanks Lau for bring him to visit xxx

Sunday, 22 January 2012

WK23: Day 7 - A Weekend with the Family

I’ve been lucky enough to be allowed home for the weekend and how lovely it’s been! I had a terrible night on the ward on Thursday as one women was in the early stages of labour and the other was snoring so loudly. I’m not a heavy sleeper so I spent the entire night awake until I couldn't bear it any more and at about 3:30am I went to see the midwife in tears. Luckily there was a single bed room available so I was able to sleep for about 4 hours before they woke me up as they needed it for a new patient. As you can probably imagine I was a bit of a wreck on Friday. Tiredness has got to be the worst thing when you’re feeling uncomfortable and irritable. After having a chat with my specialist we decided I could go home for the weekend as Mart is there to look after me and the point of being in hospital is to get rest not the opposite. I’m back in tomorrow for my first steroid injection and most probably will be readmitted to the ward. One of my closest friends has offered to set up his office at my house for the week to look after me so that I can have one more week at home, but I've been having quite a few tightenings this weekend so I’ll see what they think about that at my appointment tomorrow. It would be amazing, but if I’m showing any signs of preterm labour again I need to be on the ward.

I met a lovely twin mummy at the Tamba evening on Thursday and she popped in to see me in hospital on Friday with a book called ‘When You’re Expecting Twins, Triplets or Quads’ by Babara Luke. It is such a good book and I wish that I had read it much earlier on in my pregnancy. Thanks Jennie! I am now totally engrossed, cramming in all the useful and interesting information. One bit that has put my mind at rest a little is a chapter on cervical tightenings. I was never sure how many tightenings were considered serious or when I should be concerned enough to call the doctor. You are obviously told by your midwife during a singleton pregnancy to call the hospital when you are having 6 contractions an hour for more than two hours, however the tightenings I’m experiencing are more like braxton hicks with not a lot of pain. With multiples they can start very early on in your pregnancy and be the ‘real’ thing. Because I haven’t been given much information on the subject, I have sometimes just brushed off a number of niggles and pains as I didn't want to bother the hospital and delivery ward, putting them down to just strains of a multiple pregnancy. Reading the chapter on Warning Signs of Preterm Labour I have realised this is a really naive thing to do. In a multiple pregnancy it is so important to get to know your body and the signs it is giving to you so you can act on them accordingly. I’m lucky I have acted in time so far!

The advice the book gives you is to start monitoring your tightenings as routine from the 20th week of pregnancy. You should do this for an hour a day, it doesn’t matter which hour it is. Lie on your side and use your fingertips to detect the abdominal tightenings. Record the length of the tightenings, the frequency between them and what you were doing just before your monitoring hour. At the end of each hour follow the guidelines for the number of tightenings.
  • If you had fewer than four tightenings in an hour you’re ok and should monitor again the next day
  • If you had four or five tightenings in an hour, but no other symptoms of preterm labour, drink several glasses of water to combat the dehydration that can bring on tightenings. Then monitor again for an hour
  • If you have six or more tightenings in an hour call your doctor immediately
They obviously stress that if you’re having less than four tightenings an hour, are not experiencing any signs of preterm labour but you ‘feel’ that something isn’t right then you need to call your doctor straight away.

I didn't have the chance to take a pic of my bump when I was in hospital, so here we all are at 23weeks. I haven't grown forward much this week, I seem to be growing width ways now!

23 weeks pregnant 

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

WK23: Day 3 - Home Sweet Home

I honestly didn’t think I would be writing this post title so soon, but as I type I am sitting in my hospital bed where I have been for the last three days! I went for a doctors appointment on Monday morning and mentioned that I had been having some tightenings and lower back cramp/period type pain again. The doctor advised that I should call the Fetal Medicine Unit where I am seen by my specialists immediately and go in for a check up. Well I did, and after measuring my cervix they were suitably worried to admit me. I am very happy to say that things have settled down now and I am no longer getting the pains and tightenings, however it looks as though I might be staying in hospital for a while, it may be a long while... There have been lots of discussions between the specialists around where the best place is for me right now and to be honest I still don’t think we have a definite answer. I’m in two minds myself about the whole thing. On the one hand I think it would be good for me to be at home for as long as possible so I don’t use up all my hospital sanity before I really need to. On the other hand I will need a high degree of looking after and Marts currently at work all day and then looks after Luke in the evening. It will be quite difficult for me not to do things when I should be resting! I’m also keeping the family awake at night with my constant movements up and down to the toilet and to eat. At the end of the day I just want to ensure these babies stay in as long as possible so I will get my head around any situation which I need to deal with! I think the specialists are going to need to guide me on this one as I can’t decide.

I have already been spoiled by my incredible friends with visits and all kinds of lovely goodies to keep me happy. THANKS guys you really are the best. I also had a lovely gift from Lizzie, a reader of my Blog, of some Doublebase Gel to help my itchy belly which I can’t thank you enough for, it’s amazing!

So back to the usual weekly updates; we had a scan today and they are all doing really well! My continual eating seems to have paid off as baby 4 did me proud and hit 1lb 5oz (610g), I’m quietly very pleased about that :) All the others are 1lb 3oz (between 552g and 545g) which is amazing. As we're being scanned so often it’s important not to analyse the weights and measurements too much as a normal comparison period would be every two weeks. Otherwise there were no problems raised and the only other discussions were around when and if to start giving me Progesterone and letting me know that they will start my steroid injections from next week (24 weeks). The Progesterone hormone will be given as a vaginal suppository and could help prolong my pregnancy. Here is an interesting article on the subject The steroid injections are to help the babies lungs mature so they have a better chance of breathing on their own or with limited help when they are out of the womb. There seems to be so much positive feedback from mothers of prem babies to the benefits of the steroid injection. I am not sure on how many times a day/week I will be given one, but I will have them until the babies are born. I am also been given a daily injection of Clexane into my stomach (so painful!) to stop blood clotting, so I’m feeling a little invaded with medication at the moment. All in the name of the healthy arrival of the boys!

We also met with the Neonatoligist and went for a tour around NICU today. Both were quite difficult sessions but we are feeling far more informed about the viability of the babies survival and care at each week they may be born prematurely. Difficult decisions needed to be made around these topics so that the medical staff and everyone else involved in the birth and care of the babies would know how to react and proceed when I to go into labour. I’m glad it’s over, but also so glad we’ve done it as it’s made us feel a lot more confident about that side of things

I am being let out on good behaviour tomorrow evening to go to my Tamba antenatal class, so I should have a wealth of interesting information to share with you tomorrow.

Sunday, 15 January 2012

WK22: Day 7 - Pain Glorious Pain

It's been a very uneventful end to the week. I’ve literally eaten, slept and done odd bits of house work here and there. I manged to waddle my way to Tesco on Friday to buy some milk and bread and um’d and ah’d at the milk refrigerator as to whether I should buy 1ltr or 2ltrs. Stupidly I went for 2!  I also came out with a half price wok which at first I thought could be a good idea so I could balance out the weight on each side. I soon realised that neither purchase was very clever and nearly had to abandon both half way home. The weight of my bump is definitely enough to carry!  

I've been on a continuous loop of sleeping and eating this weekend and when not doing that I seem to be moaning about pelvic and back pain, trying to get comfortable on a sofa or hunched on all fours over my gym ball. Even taking paracetamol and my trusty cures of a hot bath or my hot water bottle don’t seem to be helping now. I’m trying to embrace the pain LOL (is that possible!) as we are going to need to get acquainted over the next while. I’m hopefully on track with my weight gain as I’ve been doing some serious eating the last few days. Lots of protein, diary, carbs and fresh fruit and veg.

I sadly missed one of my oldest and dearest friends wedding yesterday. Traveling to South Africa in my condition wasn’t really going to be an option. I can’t wait to see the pics! Congrats again Mon and Teddy, love you both loads xxx

I’m really looking forward to a busy week ahead with doctors and specialist appointments, friends visiting and an antenatal course with Tamba.
Bring it on :)

Thursday, 12 January 2012

WK22: Day 4 - A Block of Butter

I'm very happy to report that yesterdays appointment with my fetal medicine specialist went well. The fluid around my twin boys seems to have reduced rather than increased which is exactly what I wanted to hear! There is still an increased amount, but I am no longer diagnosed with polyhydramnios. There was also no signs of TTTS (what a huge relief!) So things are looking up again. All the babies have grown nicely as well. Baby 2 is slightly smaller than his brothers but only by a fraction and he’s still within the normal range for his gestation. We found out their weights which are;

Baby 1 - 1 lb 1oz (476g)
Baby 2 (Twin 1) - 14oz (393g)
Baby 3 (Twin 2) - 15oz (437g)
Baby 4 - 1 lb 1oz (474g)

They are still so tiny but it’s amazing that they’re all so close in size! I’m on mission to get them up to the average weight of a 23 week old singleton for next weeks scan which is 1lb 5oz (560g). The average for a 22 week singleton is 1 lb so I definitely have a chance.

We also discussed the possibility of hospitalisation. My specialist has advised that if I can last another 4 weeks at home that would be great, but said there will come a point when I wont be able to manage anymore. That’s a really scary thought! I know this is getting close but 4 weeks away is so soon. I’ll just see how I get on, I want to try and stay at home as long as possible but realistically if I’m going to be better off in hospital then that’s where I should be!

I’m back in next week for another scan and to have my cervix measured. They have also arranged that next week we meet with a Neonatologist (a Neonatologist is trained specifically to handle the most complex and high-risk situations. If a newborn is premature, or has a serious illness, injury, or birth defect, a neonatologist may assist at the time of delivery and in the subsequent care of
your newborn) and get shown around NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit). I’m not sure how I’m going to be feeling after that, as you know from my previous posts that I find the whole idea of NICU quite difficult.  

I went for my glucose tolerance test today which I am glad to say I survived. It’s the first time in about 3 months that I haven’t been able to eat anything for 12 hours straight and It was seriously difficult!! I was pale and shaking by the end of it. I had my blood taken at 9:30 and then drank 420ml of Lucozade, waited 2 hours and then had my blood taken again. I went and ate the BIGGEST falafel afterwards which was like heaven. So we’ll find out in a week if gestational diabetes may be the cause of my increased fluid.

Monday, 9 January 2012

WK22: Day 1 - 9 Months Pregnant

Another day waking up feeling exhausted from a bad nights sleep. I had an appointment with my community midwife today so I had to get up with Mart and Luke to get myself up there by 9am. Something which takes double the length of time now. I don’t think I will be able to take public transport up to the clinic for much longer. My midwife has agreed to see me at home for my appointment next month which is great. Blood pressure and urine were fine and we heard all their heartbeats really easily. My bump was measured and I’m now officially as big as an average 9 months pregnant singleton women. It’s quite incredible really when I'm only what would be just over half way through the singleton gestation. I also weighed myself and I was surprised to find that I was only 70kg (11.1 stone) I thought I would be more than that by now. The babies seem to be growing ok, so I don’t think it’s too much of an issue. I should be having a proper check of all the measurements at my appointment on Wednesday so we’ll see if in the last two weeks that they have grown enough. I am interested to know how much they weigh, as up until now i have only been given measurements. I wonder if this is something you get told before they are born.

We also booked a glucose tolerance test for me this Thursday. This should be an interesting one as I am going to need to be at the doctors for a 9:30am blood test, having not eaten from midnight the night before. I am then going to need to wait two hours in the surgery drinking only a bottle of Lucozade to have another blood test at 11:30. This will establish how my body processes sugar and should be able to tell whether I have gestational diabetes or not. If I do, it could be the reason for the excess fluid around baby2. I also had some blood taken to test for infections which could possibly be causing it.

Here’s my weekly bump pic...

22 weeks pregnant 

Sunday, 8 January 2012

WK21: Day 7 - Tiredness is Back!

The rest of this week has gone so quickly! Thankfully I have stopped having the contractions and abdominal pain, so on that front I'm feeling a lot more positive again. My hormones haven’t been very kind to me though! I just suddenly feel completely overwhelmed by this whole thing and the physical frustration of becoming more and more incapable is very hard to deal with. I don’t think the lack of sleep is helping. I have been so tired and hungry over the last week and I just can’t seem to get enough of either. Being so large now though with severe pelvic and lower back pain I am struggling to get any decent sleep. I’m up constantly in the night and find sleeping in the day a lot easier for some reason.

I’m also not able to stand up now for any length of time due the heaviness and pressure of my bump. It’s a very weird pulling down sensation which is so uncomfortable. I went to the physio on Fri and she gave me a tubi grip type of support which was initially great, but I cant really wear it for longer than an hour as it feels too constricting. If anyone can suggest a good bump support I would be very grateful.

It really does mean that I am going to have to completely slow down now and let other people do things for me. Anyone who knows me knows I find this quite hard! Just taking the Christmas tree down, doing some housework and and cooking dinner was enough to have me completely finished off and in tears.

I went to my local twins and multiplies group on Friday which was great. It was so good to meet all the mums and see all the kids together. Three new mums were there including a friend who has just had the most adorable identical twin boys. The 6 babies were lined up in a row, all pretty much the same age and I couldn’t help staring in amazement at 4 together thinking that’s what it’s going to be like! it was the first time I have seen 4 babies together like that and it was quite amazing!!!  

Otherwise the rest of the weekend has been relaxed. I spent most of it sleeping and eating, other than going to Luke’s friend Naomi`s birthday party on Saturday which was great. He had such a lovely time. I decided to get my craft hat on for her gift rather than buying something, so ended up making her 2 flower princess headbands. I was really pleased with the outcome. Amazing what can be done with some ribbon, flowers and a glue gun :)

Today a lot of time was spent discussing how we could customise the house to accommodate the babies and create spaces which are going to be most effective for the day to day care. With the help of my closest friend, and his skills in top ingenuity ideas and craftsmanship Mart and him will be hard at work building customised sleeping, feeding and changing facilities for the boys. Living in a small space we really need to be clever.

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

WK21: Day 3 - Mixed Messages

It’s been quite a difficult start to the week. Over the last three days my body has been doing some funny things which are rather concerning. It seems that with my womb being almost fully stretched it’s possibly sending out messages that I’m ready to give birth. I have been having stomach tightening without actual contraction pain as well as some horrible period pain like cramps in my lower back and abdomen.

I went in for my check up at the hospital today so they could check the excess fluid around baby 2 (the first twin). Unfortunately this has now got a little worse so they have diagnosed me with polyhydramnios (too much amniotic fluid in the womb). They are still unsure about what exactly could be causing it. It could be very early signs of TTTS , or a problem with the baby not swallowing or maybe diabetes. There are many possible solutions but they need to establish what the problem is first, so I am back in next Wed. Due to the tightening and pain I have been having I also had my cervix measured today which thankfully looked fine. They have decided to sign me off work now so the time has come for me to try and manage this pregnancy the best I can and keep myself and the babies as safe as I can for as long as I can! At the very minimum I would like to stick this out for another 7 weeks.

The team at the hospital are being incredible and are really making me feel as though I am in good hands. At this stage there is nothing we can do other than more tests and monitoring. I'm going to stay positive for myself and the babies, as whatever happens it’ll be ok!

Even though there is little change to the size of my bump, here's my weekly pic

21 weeks pregnant

Sunday, 1 January 2012

WK20: Day 7 - Welcome 2012!

Happy New Year everyone! I hope you’re all suitably relaxed and recovered from last nights fun.

01.01.2012 - There’s definitely something satisfying in writing out the first date of the new year. To me it looks untouched, allowing me to clear away all that was before it ready to start completely afresh. What an exciting energising feeling! There’s no doubting my year will be like no other I've experienced before. With our gorgeous dinner and relaxed night at home behind us Mart and I are both ready to take on this year fighting. I’m really looking forward (with some nervousness of course) to the adventure we are about to embark on, the year (if all goes as it should!) that our four little stars are born! WOW!

Luke and I had a delicious start to the new year with some cookie making.

So what else does 2012 have in store?
  1. Not the friendliest to start with but interesting all the same! Doomsday... Myth or Reality? - some religions and conspiracy theorists believe that it will happen, experts say not.
  2. Olympics 2012 - London are you ready! in 207 days, from the 21st June to the 8th September the world will be descending on us for the Olympic Games.
  3. If you believe in magic then you need to get ready for the last magic day on the 12.12.12. This year millions rushed to open businesses, get married amongst many other things on 11.11.11
  4. Queens Diamond Jubilee - in June 2012 the queen with be celebrating 60 years as Britains monarch. I’m not much of a royalist but that is definitely good going in any ones book! 
  5. WorldPride 2012 - a worldwide phenomenon and party celebrating and promoting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues on a global scale. This year the event is in London, with the final parade taking place on the 7th July.
It really is quite incredible that another year has past! Thank you again to everyone who has visited, read my diary and shown me their love and support. I have gained so much strength and confidence from you all! I want to wish you all all the most joyous and happy 2012, see you all soon xxx