Sunday, 26 February 2012

WK28: Day 7 - Goodbye 28, Hello 29!

Goodbye 28!
Hello 29!

Thank you Tash, Jackson and Hamish for these inspirational weekly pics! They never fail to put a massive smile on my face.

Another week behind me and I’m feeling ready to take on number 29. My contractions have almost completely settled down so I’m left wondering what is going on and when my boys might come. It’s hard not having any idea but I’m trying to stay as relaxed about it as possible. Obviously the longer I can keep them cooking the better! Stats of 30-32 week babies are hugely increased and their time in NICU greatly decreased. Keep your fingers crossed.

Thank you for all the encouraging comments, I’m sorry I haven't been answering them individually, it’s a bit of a struggle now.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

WK28: Day 3 - Week 28 Celebrations!

Can you believe it, after all these weeks of documenting my journey and focusing on the major goal of 28 weeks we have finally got here!!! It really feels like an achievement. I’m so proud of myself and the boys for bearing up and making this a reality, but I couldn’t have done it without the love and support of Martin, Luke, my family, friends, colleagues, the staff here at the hospital and all of you. THANK YOU everyone!

I’m sure you’ve been waiting anxiously for some news after my post saying their arrival was imminent, I’m really sorry for taking my time. I’ve been meaning to post since Monday but have so little energy at the best of times, it takes a bit longer than I would hope.

What’s been happening... my TVS today showed that my cervix is the same as it was last week, so the urgency doesn’t seem so urgent any more. It looks as though these monkeys are staying put for a little while longer. My consultant has been working hard trying to predict when things are about to kick off but we’ve decided that I’m probably going to surprise everyone with a unplanned arrival, and who knows when this will be!

Now that I’ve reached 28 weeks I’ve been given some privileges like being allowed to eat dinner in the dinning room. You may laugh :) but this small thing has really helped my sanity. It’s great to be able to walk around a little and try and build up some of my muscle that has disintegrated in the last five weeks, not to mention having other human contact. YEY!

Look at these super cute prem baby hats that my friend Jen’s sister Ellie knitted for the boys. Ellie they are amazing, thank you, thank you, thank you! and they are so soft. I laid them all out in a row and couldn’t help the wash of emotion which came over me, actually imagining the tiny little babies which would be in them. I’m so excited to meet my little stars now it’s going to be incredible. 

Sunday, 19 February 2012

WK 27: Day 7 - We`re still here!

Just a very short post letting you know we are all still here and doing well. I`ve been having very painful contractions but nothing regular yet. We will see at my TVS scan tomorrow how things are looking.

A friend Tash and her adorable twins Hamish and Jackson sent me these pics which I just have to show you, they really made me smile.

Today we were thinking of you and so we did some mixing and baking.... 
And this is what was in our bowl....  
Keep up your courage and determination.

Thursday, 16 February 2012

WK27: Day 4 - 2lb Babies

I’m feeling very positive again after the scan yesterday. All our boys are still growing as they should be, and there’s no sign of any abnormalities, problems or fetal distress. You won’t believe how little space there is in there, they’re literally crammed up against each other so for them to still be happy and well is a blessing. They did me proud again and reached the weights of at least two pounds which I was hoping for. Babies born at 2lbs or more tend to have less hearing and retinal problems later on in life. So their weights are;

Baby 1 - 2lbs
Twin 1 - 2lbs
Twin 2 - 2lbs 3oz
Baby 4 - 2lbs 8oz

My TVS scan was quite an eye opener. It showed that my cervix has shortened a centimeter in two days rather than the millimeters we were watching it go down by in the last couple of scans. Without wanting to tempt fate by putting a time frame on things we can only assume from this that things could start to progress very quickly from now. I'm scared but I'm feel confident and ready if I have to be. If my labour with Luke is anything to go by then I need to be checked and watched quite regularly. With him I dilated to 7cms without any regular or particularly painful contractions, and it wasn’t until a routine check a 40+5 days that they discovered this and sent me straight to the birthing unit. Everyone here is doing a great job of keeping an eye on me. An anesthetist came and spoke to me yesterday and ran through the procedure of a general and an epidural. I would ideally like to be awake for the surgery but they’ve advised if they have to move quickly because the babies are in distress or I'm bleeding a general is the only way forward.

Here we all are at 27 weeks

I sadly missed out on a very special friends birthday on Tuesday so I just wanted to send tons and tons of love and belated birthday wishes to the one and only DK. Donna you’re a super star and I love you loads! HAPPY 40th DARLING xxx

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

WK27: Day 2 - Love Is All Around.

What a happy day! Not only did my wonderful husband spoil me with gorgeous roses and dinner (thank you darling!), we've done ourselves proud by making it another week further! The boys now have a 90% chance of survival outside the womb, I cant tell you what that means to me!

Physically as expected everything is becoming gradually more difficult. The heartburn and constipation is horrible and the sciatic pain in my buttocks and legs is quite hard to deal with when you're feeling low. As they say a positive attitude is nine-tenths of the battle but it's easier said than done some days. 4 weeks on bedrest it's getting hard, but never fear I still have more in me ;) The process of turning over in bed or going to the loo is pretty comical as well, the little things we take for granted! Thanks again to the lovely midwives and staff for keeping me comfortable and sane. 

My TVS scan yesterday showed that my cervix is still shortening. We discussed my next steroid injection as the one I had three weeks ago needs to be topped up, but this next one will only last for about two weeks and is the last one I can have. Because of my cervix length and the painful tightenings I'm getting we decided not to delay so I was given another one today, with the second in the morning.

We have a full scan tomorrow which will look at the boys in detail, I'm really hoping they'll all be over 2lbs. I have definitely grown in the last two weeks, and the inevitable has now happened, stretch marks have appeared!! I was quite sad when I made the discovery, but really it was only a matter of time.  

I hope you've all had a wonderful special time with your loved ones today.

Saturday, 11 February 2012

WK26: Day 6 - Congratulations!!!

In the last 24 hours two of my friends have had beautiful baby twin girls, amazing stuff!!! I'm over the moon you've had girls Jen and Lu as there has definitely been an boy baby boom recently. So I would like to send massive congratulations to;

Jennie and Shane! Welcome to the world Roisin and June.
Lucy and Chris! Welcome to the world Annie and Elsie.

Here's one for the multiple mummy's;
Before she went into hospital Jen shared this brilliant video with me. Although I haven't had the boys yet I still get asked the majority of these questions by most. I wonder how it's going to be when they're here :)


I had my cervix measured again yesterday and it's gradually getting shorter. My specialist said she didn't expect anything to happen in the next week though. Eeek, fingers and legs crossed!!! At least a week and a day please boys.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

WK26: Day 4 - A Quick Update

I had a quick scan yesterday to check the boys heart beats and placental blood flow and they all looked fine. They were squirming around like mad in there which was lovely to see. The bigger they’re getting the more I can feel and see the movements with feet, backs and heads pushing out through my skin regularly. I keep wondering if they can feel each other moving around and if they know there’s more of them, or whether they think they’re the only one. I'm sure the twins know there’s two of them, but I'm not sure about the others. My cervix was also measured and is the same as last week which is good! I need to keep doing what I'm doing for as long as possible. 

Thank you all for your wonderful comments! I'm sorry I haven't got round to answering them individually, as you know it's a struggle for me sit up at my laptop for to long. I will when I get the chance.  

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

4d Scan Picture

I've added my 4d (the 4th dimension being real time) scan pic to the 'Clever Little Stars' post 

My normal post for today is below this one.


WK26: Day 2 - Breastfeeding The Boys

Sorry it’s been so long! I’ve been feeling very lethargic and emotional, with not a lot of voom to do anything.  

Breastfeeding the boys has been in forefront of my mind over the last couple of weeks, so I have been lucky enough to meet the lovely Tash who is a Barnado`s Breastfeeding Peer Supporter. I have always thought I would like to at least attempt breastfeeding for as long as possible, but it wasn`t until I met her that I realised it could even be possible to exclusively feed them for a number of months. Tash has provided me with a wealth of information and lent me a La Leche League book called Mothering Multiples by Karen Gromada which covers breastfeeding for twins, triplets and quads.

I found the book so interesting, especially the chapters on ‘Breastfeeding in NICU’ and ‘How To Make Up For A Poor Start’. I’ll be honest, trying to soak up and process all the information is quite overwhelming as there a lot consider and do to make it work. However, I do think the book could be used to dip in and out off rather than reading it cover to cover, making it an invaluable resource. It has certainly opened my eyes to the ways I can give my boys best opportunity to feed once they are ready.

To give them the option to breastfeed I will need to start expressing 6-12 hours after their birth and then continue to express every 3-4 hours in order to build up my supply. In the first few days I will produce very small amounts of colostrum, the super juice which is so important for newborns especially prem babies. The babies will be fed this through their drips and once my full supply comes in I should hopefully be able to start expressing properly for them. They will continue to feed on my milk through their feeding tubes until they are able to master the suck, swallow and breath reflex, at which point they will be able to start taking milk from my breasts. I think this is about 35 weeks but it really depends on the health and progress of the baby. Hopefully I will be able to produce enough milk for all four but if not they will need to be supplemented with formula. This to me sounds very do able, its just when I have to consider that all four babies could be in separate hospitals, it starts to seem a little daunting. I don`t know how I will manage to express and supply the milk to the boys if they are.

We have been warned it will be very likely that there won`t be enough incubators where I am now when they are born, so they could potentially be transfered to one of six Level 3 NICU units. (Southmead (North Bristol) Cardiff, Taunton, Bath, Birmingham or London). As soon as a bed space becomes available they would bring them back one by one. This was so hard to take in when we were first told but realistically if there are not enough beds or staff in a given hospital, then we really have no choice. Obviously the health and safety of our boys is all that matters to us!

Trying to organise and manage the milk and breastfeeding in this case will be very hard but we`ll just have to try and do the best we can. Thanks Tash for coming in to see me and giving me the knowledge and support, and showing me that it is possible to breastfeed quads despite what people around you may think. Tash exclusively breastfeed her adorable twin boys Jackson and Hamish until they were fully weaned onto solids. I think thats amazing! Here is a little more of what she does if you are interested in getting in touch with her. Let me know and i’ll connect you.

‘I am a Barnardo's Breastfeeding Peer Supporter. I am always happy to talk to anyone interested in breastfeeding and try to offer information based advice. If I don't know the answer to a question then I work with Breastfeeding Counsellors who usually do and if not can point me to the best resource. There is a network of Bristol Breastfeeding support groups and cafes where mums can meet and feed with the presence of Counsellors and Peer Supporters, which I also try to attend. I am always interested to meet new mums and dads especially those expecting multiples.’
Otherwise all is well with bump and I but am getting incredibly sore hips, thighs and leg pain from lying on my side all day long. I`m not getting a lot sleep because of it and as far as i'm aware there's not much I can do. If anyone reading my blog has spent some time on bedrest and has any suggestions, I would really appreciate them. I have also started on soya protein supplements to increase my daily protein intake. Protein is the building blocks for a growing baby and unfortunately hospital food isn't giving me nearly enough for four. 

It`s only 2 more weeks till I reach my 28 week goal, WOO HOO!!! It's actually starting to feel achievable. I didn`t think I would be saying that 3 weeks ago. After 28 weeks it will be one day at a time to see how much further we can all make it.

I had some wonderful surprise visits and gifts from family and friends over the last 5 days. My dearest friend came down from London and surprised me with a visit on Saturday. Thanks so much Heli it was amazing to catch up!!! I also want to send lots of love and thanks to my lovely Mother in Law for sending me the most amazing basket of pampering goodies which has already made me feel a bit more human, and to my wonderful Dad and Bek for the awesome puzzle which will keep my brain adequately stimulated. Something which I am desperately needing to stop me going loopy. Love you all very much!!!

Here we all at 26 weeks pregnant

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

WK25: Day 3 - Clever Little Stars

My clever little boys are continuing to do well in their grow bags! Our scan showed no problems, just happy growing babies. They’ve all completely moved around so I need to try and work out who’s doing the kicking all over again. The midwifes ask me regularly about my fetal movements, to which I can only answer ‘I feel lots of movement’. It’s quite hard not being able to know for certain. They are all very different weights now but still within the normal range of a 25 week singleton. The twins are on the small side, both 1lb 7oz, baby 1 is 1lb 9 oz and the king of the castle at the top of my belly is a whooping 1lb 13oz. Apparently it’s quite normal for them to start spreading out that this gestation, and they probably wont keep up with the weight of a singleton from now on. I’m so happy with this news and just the fact that we’ve all made it to 25 weeks. They now have a 60-70% chance of survival outside the womb and of that 50% can go on to have no physical or mental disability. As all my wonderful readers keep telling me I just need to keep them cooking ;) Thanks ladies for all your wonderful words of encouragement!  I have found the last week quite hard, staring at the same four walls and missing my family like crazy. You have all warmed my heart and given me my spark back. I cant wait to share with you a 4d scan pic I have of one of the twins. It’s truly amazing to see your baby inside you like that! I’ll post it as soon as it’s been scanned. 

After the scan I had a very reassuring chat with my specialist about the delivery. Apparently all the various teams of people who will be there are now briefed and mini mock ups are being carried out to ensure it runs as smoothly as possible. I am blown away by the thought and consideration which is  going into this. I find it hard to really express my gratitude for all the care the babies and I are, and will be receiving. That extends to my amazing friends who have rallied around Mart and I for the last 3 weeks to help with food, childcare and visits. You all know who you are, so thank you from the bottom of our hearts! As good as things are there's no going anywhere for me. I am still on bedrest until these babies come.

So I’m gradually getting used to the floatation boots (the things around my legs), but still find them a bit irritating. If the cord gets slightly tangled they’ll start alarming which is great when you’re fast asleep. Even with these on the doctors were still concerned that I might have a blood clot in my leg when I started getting some pain on Monday so I was sent off a an ultrasound of all the vessels. Luckily I'm all good. I feel like a disaster waiting to happening at the moment LOL.  

I spent some time with one of my dearest friends yesterday and he reminded me of when
I worked for him at the Outdoors Show demonstrating his amazing fitness and rehabilitation product Coolboard. I was pregnant with Luke at the same gestation, maybe actually a bit further on, which you wouldn’t guess by looking at my bump! Nic has designed and created this balance board and I wanted to mention it as it was incredible for me during pregnancy to build up my core strength and get me in shape for having a baby. If you’re looking for something to build up core strength or tone your muscles pre or post pregnancy then you really should have a look at his website for more info. The thing I love about the Coolboard is that it not only does it work all the right areas, but it’s stacks of fun too! I have spent many a night (fitness aside) challenging friends to see how long we can balance for. It’s definitely a skill you need to work on but once you got it it feels great!!! Here are some pics of me in action.