Friday, December 14, 2012

I suck ... there, I said it

I've been reading 2 Corinthians lately and am struck by how many times Paul boasts about his weaknesses. He talks about his inarticulate speaking skills, his thorn in the flesh and his moments of loneliness - and does so with gusto. It's not because he's trying to outdo Debby Downer and revel in misery; he does so because he has learned that when we are weak, then we are strong.

And none of us is 100% strong 100% of the time. There's something freeing in allowing ourselves to be imperfect with weaknesses and shortcomings.

So in that vein, here is my confession: I suck at multi-tasking. Seriously.

In college I waitressed at Pizza Hut for a semester and I quickly learned that I was fine as long as I have 2 tables or fewer. But toss me a third table and I immediately forgot basic skills, like greeting customers or bringing them drinks. It's as though a glance at the waiting, hungry horde was enough to overwhelm me and cause me to breakdown.

And now I have 4 hungry hordes (careful how you say that). And I still seize up when all 4 are hungry or fussy at the same time. I catch myself forgetting basic steps and will be in the middle of an activity before I remember, "Oh wait, I should have done ____ before I started this." For instance, 2 nights ago I started bathing the babies. Mid-wash I remembered that I should have put their bottles in the warmer so the babies could eat as soon as they were clean. But then I remembered I hadn't made a batch of formula. So while naked babies laid on the bathroom floor, I scrambled to assemble bottles that could be warmed that could be consumed after the washing.


So if you see me wandering the streets of Jacksonville with empty bottles, please steer me back home and whisper in my ear what it is that I'm supposed to do next.

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Hardship Begets Generosity

Today I've been thinking of the medical bills that already have started rolling in. We are blessed to have decent insurance, but triplets who remain in the NICU for 2-3 weeks are bound to cost a pretty penny (or cute penny as the case may be). Honestly, I'm not sure how we're going to pay these bills. I'm working on the faith aspect and trusting God but there are days it's hard to believe we will come out of this with more than the clothes on our backs.

And then God does amazing things to remind me He hasn't forgotten nor is He surprised.

He leads me to verses that tell of a small band of believers who were undergoing immense poverty and persecution. Yet, in the midst of their suffering Paul tells us that they "begged us insistently" for the opportunity to give. Seems the reverse of what I would do in the midst of poverty and hardship; yet Paul says because of their generosity and faith, not only were their names being remembered but so was the name of God.

He then surprised me with a very unexpected gift from my dearest and bestest friend. My friend, who is not Scrooge McDuck swimming in money, is probably the most generous person I know. She sent a note with a check. Her note said she had the opportunity to earn some extra money and she wanted us to have it for Christmas, formula and diapers. And the check was beyond anything I would normally accept from a friend.

Not only will I remember her gift forever and ever, but I'll remember this day as a reminder from God that He is Jehovah Jireh. And God is faithful. And my friend is awesome.

Conner Predictions

I'm not psychic and fully admit I could be 100% wrong regarding my predictions for these cute children (minus Santa). However, based on the time I've seen them, here are my guesses regarding my four offspring.

Nickname: Addie Boo, Midget, Munchkin
Character: strong-willed, compassionate, fearless
Prediction for future: Addie will be class president and possibly a lawyer. She has strong convictions of what is right and wrong, and is rarely willing to budge from her conviction. She can dig in her heels with a stubborn streak rarely seen, but I believe this character trait will serve her well. I don't think Addie will be one who is easily swayed; rather, she will be the one leading the swayers.

Nickname: Sweet cheeks (seriously, you have to see her cheeks)
Character: laid back and easy going
Prediction for future: McKenna will be the one to engage in reading and non-competitive activities. While her siblings are arguing or getting into trouble, McKenna will be cuddled next to her daddy as she reads a book. She will be the obedient one who we could leave alone for the weekend at home and know the house will still be standing when we return.

Nickname: Chubs
Character: needy, daring, mischievous
Prediction for future: Josiah will be the kind of kid who you worry about when he gets quiet. At just 1 week old, he was already trying to roll over in the NICU. He started out the weakest of the triplets but quickly surpassed them. He is VERY strong and determined. Josiah will be the instigator and will be the one to think of new ways to try daring adventures.

Nickname: Lil Bit, Q-tip (due to her white hair)
Character: feisty, fun
Prediction for future: Ryleigh will be all tomboy. Even the nurses in the NICU talked about how Ryleigh require more baths than the other kids because she was always messy and smelly. I can see her being the fun kid who runs around with boys. She also will be the character in the group. Even now, she loves to put on a show of facial expressions as we laugh at her antics.

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

A Whole Lotta Lovin'

So if you pay attention you'll notice a large gap of time has passed since my last post. There's a reason for this: their names are McKenna, Josiah and Ryleigh. And most likely you know they were born Oct. 24 and spent a few weeks in the hospital before being released home. Josiah has been home nearly a month; the girls came a week after him.

And life has never been the same.

Our 3-year-old is more visible in expressing her shock over our new lives. She has taken to throwing splendid tantrums in Target. If you happen to see a toddler lying on the ground thrashing her legs, chances are it's my child and you'll find me hiding one aisle over. She also has decided the hill on which she's willing to die involves clothing. It can take her 20 min to choose underwear and an hour to choose a dress. If I dare dress her in something she didn't choose, I risk igniting another Mt. Vesuvius scream eruption. When people ask me how we are coping, I sadly tell them life with the triplets is a cakewalk. It's our 3-year-old who frustrates and baffles me.

Mike, too, seems to be coping with this life transformation in his own way. Most days we are both optimistic that things are going well and will only get better. But after sleepless nights or endless fussiness from our son, Mike will be known to say, "I've decided I don't like babies."

And I know what he means. They are smelly, messy and very very needy. Our schedule revolves around their schedule and there are days I feel like a prisoner in my own home. It may be noon before I'm able to shower and brush my teeth. We can go days without leaving the house - which I hate for Addie since she's so active and can't tolerate this slothfulness well. And tasks that normally took 10 min can now take half the day.

Thankfully, Mike has been working from home and has been a HUGE help. We've also been propped up by family, friends, church members and lots and lots of coffee. Honestly, I don't think we could have survived without folks coming to bring meals or to feed babies. We've even had a few nights of uninterrupted sleep thanks to my parents watching the babies long enough for Mike and I to escape, sleep, breathe and reset ourselves.

So while things may seem chaotic and messy, I know we are starting to find our balance. We have a system for feedings, cleaning and surviving. And once in a while we have time to write, read and relax.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


My new nurse is named Maya. She is a mother of twin boys and is from Russia. She and her family moved to the US from Moscow in 1992.

I spent the summer in Moscow and St. Petersburg in 1997. Although it's been 15 years since I ate the heavy pumpernickel bread or cheese stuffed blinis, I recall much about my time there. I remember the White Nights Festival when everyone in St. Petersburg took to the streets to celebrate the never-ending day. I love the humble people who welcomed us into their homes to serve us borscht or tea, pouring their offering to us in reused styrofoam cups. I especially enjoyed the history I gleaned while visiting the summer and winter palaces.

My first year of college was a tough transition. I immersed myself in Russian literature and historical books (my friends referred to the Russian professor as my boyfriend since I seemed to follow him every where. They also mocked my thick tome titled "The Last Tsar.") I honestly thought about leaving college after my first semester and returning to Russia as a missionary.

In 1997 I could not have predicted how my experiences and interests would create a bridge of friendship with a complete stranger in 2012. Prior to our Russian conversation, Maya was an efficient nurse who inquired about my aches and pains. But now she is eager to talk to me about my time in Russia using the few Russian phrases I recall. And she listens when I share that this pregnancy's success and the healthy babies can be attributed only to God and his provision.

I'm hoping for more conversations with Maya and more chances to cross the cultural bridge in order to share about God's love for her. Perhaps, just maybe, God has a reason for me being here in the hospital at this time under the care of a nurse from a country I once visited and for which I have a deep love.

It's 4 am, no one in the place but me and Ambien

I've never taken Ambien and I gotta say it worked well ... for about 5 hrs. But then it wore off and my aches started in again, along with some mild contractions. That's alright. If the Tylenol the nurse just gave me doesn't kick in, they'll start monitoring me for contractions.

So here's the low-down from yesterday.

- Went to perinatologist for 34 wk check up
- Babies are doing GREAT! McKenna and Josiah are in the 60ish percentile for weight, and Ryleigh is right on target. All 3 babies are active and are visibly practicing breathing.
- I'm doing great since I still have no swelling and really have gained just over 50 lbs. I think I gained more weight when I was pregnant just with Addie

Right before we left the office, though, the dr ordered a blood pressure test. The numbers came back slightly elevated, so she ordered as 2nd test plus a urine test. The 2nd test presented even high blood pressure numbers and the urine revealed 2+ levels of protein. At that point, she thought it best for me to check into hospital for 24 hrs blood pressure/urine monitoring. This will end in 1 of 3 results:
1. dr decides numbers are in normal range and I'll be sent home on full bed rest (hahahaha!)
2. dr decided numbers are elevated just enough to warrant keeping me here until they deliver, which could be a few days to a week.
3. dr decides it's best not to risk it and just deliver tomorrow (or today, rather)

I don't think #3 will be the first choice since I seem to be doing so well but I'm not a dr.

The funny thing in all of this is that I (and by connection, God) have become quite the spectacle around here. The nurses and techs who have seen me marvel about how great I look and my happy outlook. In fact, I've been called "cute" by several of the staff. They really are surprised that at 34 weeks I do not have typical symptoms like swelling, or that I'm under 200 lbs, or that I've not been on bedrest at all during this pregnancy. And whenever they come in to my room, whether it's at midnight or 4 am, I am chipper and pleasant.

I hope in all this that the staff gets to hear our story of how God has carried us through every obstacle and has met every need.

I also hope to see my baby girl today. She had her first day of preschool yesterday and I'm so so sad that I missed that milestone. And I hope the meds kick in so I can snooze just a wee bit longer.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

It's midnight and I'm panicking

It's nearly midnight and rather than sleeping a restful, dreamless sleep, I am worrying. Actually, I'm emotionally panicking. Mike and I prayed before bed and he tried to reassure me. Unfortunately, the fears are a lot louder than reason or even prayers.

1. We're trying to sell our car so we can get a minivan. But what if the car doesn't sell?

2. What if the babies are born too early and have to spend weeks in the NICU? How will I care for them while also tending to Addie? How will we pay the bills? What if the babies have severe health issues?

3. What if the babies go full term and come home with me from the hospital? How will I cope with going from just 1 child to 4 with no transition, plus still heal from the c-section?

4.  I need to buy bottle nipples and a bottle warmer. And get baby soap. Do I have enough blankets? Oh, and I probably should put sheets on the cribs.

5. My body aches and my innards are very unhappy with me. On the brightside, I haven't been awaken by choking on my vomit in at least 4 days.

6. I suddenly feel very alone. I miss our friends in RVA. I'm very, very grateful for the people we've met in Jacksonville and I hope those relationships become deep friendships - the kind that can withstand me calling them at midnight to talk through my emotional panicking. Right now, though, I feel alone.

7. Oh my goodness. We're having triplets.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Country Road Take me Home

It's been more than 8 weeks since we left Richmond ... just about enough time for homesickness to start kicking in. The irony is that until this summer, I never would have claimed Richmond as my home nor would I have thought I would miss it if I ever left. Eight weeks away from the River City has opened my eyes, though, to how much I love that city and its people.

 1. I definitely am missing autumn. I love EVERYTHING about fall: the colors, the temperature, the activities. Right now, I should be planning a camping trip with the Parks' family or going apple picking with friends. I also should be wearing a light jacket as I take Addie to a park or nature walk.

2. I miss pumpkins - and not the kind you buy at a grocery store. It's no surprise that there are few (if any) pumpkin patches in Jax given its hot climate. But it was a family tradition of ours to go to a nearby pumpkin patch where we could select our own pumpkins, ride on a wagon full of hay and eat pumpkin-flavored treats.

3. Oh to have a hye burger at the Armenian food festival! I took it for granted that food festivals and ethnic food places were a given in large cities. Thus far, I have not heard nor seen any indications that our new city celebrates various cultures through food festivals. This is sad. I mean, hye burgers are like heaven with a side of green beans.

4. I miss the familiar places and faces. I miss knowing each week I can take Addie to a local children's museum where she could sit on dinosaurs or pretend to work at a cafe. I miss having friends who I could call in the morning and ask about visiting with them in an hour. i miss knowing where our favorite pizza joint, Indian restaurant, cafe and Mexican restaurants are located. I miss my gym. I just miss Richmond.

I promise my next post will extol the greatness of Jacksonville and the many wonderful people and places we've experienced. For now, though, I will look out my back window and imagine orange leaves floating from branches as I sip a steaming cup of apple cider.

Friday, September 21, 2012

How to make your head disappear in 1 easy step

So here is a guessing game. I'll tell you what perinatologist said today at our 29 wk appt., and the responses Mike and I gave. You try to guess who said what:

Dr: Looking great! You know, in our practice we've delivered 7 sets of triplets at 37 weeks.

Response 1: Oh, heck no.

Response 2: That's great! Let's aim for that.

Addie has discovered that if she twists just right, she can fit her head into my enlarged belly button.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Falling in Love with You

We have finally potty trained Addie! As a result, though, she prefers to run around the house naked. We can usually force her into a shirt and underwear but she requires a lot of convincing.

Addie will turn 3 in two weeks. Wow, time really has flown! She is obsessed with princesses, fairies, and superheroes. Sadly, she already thinks girls aren't allowed to play with legos, pirate toys or superhero figures. She is one tough and brave kid, but she's also very sensitive and sweet. I love my not-so-baby girl.

McKenna still refuses to show us her face. She is positioned nearly right on top of my cervix so when she moves, it feels as though she's about to fall out. While we haven't seen her smiling face yet, we have seen a head full of hair (see arrows on right of pic)

Ryleigh also has a head full of hair, and she is one rolling squirrel. She is the most active, but also smallest, of the triplets. I have a feeling she will keep us busy.

My dad says this picture proves I'm giving birth to a Dachshund rather than a little boy. Can you see the dog (only sick-minded people do)? Normal people see my sweet boy's face looking right at us.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Of Swingers and Spies

I'm hesitant to write this post because we still are not sure what we are facing. So if I go missing in the next day or so, please assume the worst - either I've been abducted or I've been initiated.

Mike and I have compared notes regarding our new neighborhood and have concluded 2 possible explanations: we either have moved into an enclave of swingers or we unknowingly have infiltrated a hive of espionage. These are the only 2 possible theories for why we never see anyone outside OR if we happen to cross paths with a neighbor, he or she quickly looks away and scurries inside.

Case in point: I have seen the neighbor to our right exactly 1 time in the month we've lived here; I have NEVER seen our neighbor to our left. The one time I saw our neighbor to the right, I happened to walk outside as she emerged from her garage. She walked to the end of her driveway to retrieve her trash can when she saw me. Her eyes widened in surprise and she hurriedly looked away. She grabbed her trash can and ran ... literally, ran ... to her backyard.

Second case: we have put Addie in her wagon and have walked around our neighborhood at least twice. On one occasion, we didn't see a single person outside even though it was a gorgeous evening. The second walk yielded 2 possible people with whom to talk. One was a man who was sweeping out his garage. I said something to him about how I liked the princess castle in his garage. He looked up long enough to make eye contact with me, and then promptly returned to sweeping. During the 2nd encounter, I complemented a woman on how well-behaved her dog was. She must have thought I was mocking her because she huffily explained that her dog was merely excited. I assured her I was impressed with how the dog wasn't running all around like my dog would do. She then huffed (really, that's the only way she knew how to talk) that of course her dog was behaving; he was a on leash. She then strolled away.

So we have concluded that somehow we managed to pick the one neighborhood in Jax that has something to hide. And logically, it must be that either they are all swingers or they all are spies.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Butt-head and the Kickers - (26 wk round-up)

Here is an unofficial composite ultrasound of the triplets at 26 weeks:

You probably can't tell from the illustration but Ryleigh's butt happens to be right at my solar plexus - this explains a lot of the discomfort I've been feeling at the top of my uterus. Supposedly, the ripping sensation I've been feeling up there are the muscles tearing as they try to adapt to the bulging baby that has wedged herself near my ribs. She also has the entire top of the uterus to herself so we were able to see her bowlegs stretched the length of the womb.

McKenna is in a jack-knife position with her butt right above Ryleigh's head. In fact, in several of the ultrasound pics of Ryleigh, you can clearly see a buttocks hovering just above her face. Poor Ryleigh. Although, as Mike pointed out, at least she's not being smothered by Josiah's posterior. McKenna by far is located the farthest south in my uterus, sometimes right on top of the cervix.

Josiah still is a proud boy. I didn't make the illustration gender-specific in order to keep it PG, but the ultrasound tech had quite a few giggles at Josiah's expense. He is the most active of the three kiddoes, and he specializes in kicks to the gut.

McKenna weighs 1 lb., 13 oz
Josiah is 1 lb., 12 oz
Ryleigh is 1 lb., 11 oz

Sunday, August 26, 2012

26 Weeks - You look so cute, oh wait ...

Covered Up

 You look so good, I wouldn't even know you're pregnant with triplets. Are you sure you're at 26 weeks?


Oh my God! Did you swallow a baby whale? Please, cover that thing up!

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Doctoring by guess and theories

I believe today should be recorded in some almanac as the day a doctor finally admitted a truth we patients have long suspected: much of what drs. do is merely based on theories and contradictory studies. Today's admission came after she admitted that there are not enough studies on triplet births to really know what helps or hurts triplet pregnancies. Some studies indicate that lots of rest is beneficial while others seem to indicate there is no known benefit from enforced bedrest. This would explain the variety of opinions I've received from my various health care providers.

* My ob/gyn in Richmond said I should expect to gain 40 lbs. She also said the idea that I should gain lots of weight to make room for the babies is a myth and that there's no correlation between my size and the size of the babies.

* One of the perinatologists in Richmond said I should gain 55-60 lbs, and I need to fatten up early in the pregnancy so the babies will have a better chance at having good birth weights.

* One perinatologist in Richmond told me to do whatever I want (within reason) but to stop an activity if I begin to cramp. He didn't believe in prescribed bedrest or house arrest unless there were indications that the patient needed it. The other 2 perinatologists I saw prescribed half bedrest (meaning 6 hrs a day) starting around week 20 and full bedrest starting around week 24.

* My ob/gyn in Jacksonville echoed the idea that I should do what I feel like doing until I begin to hurt or cramp. She said I should aim to rest 2 hrs a day. She did say the reason many drs prescribe increased rest is because a few studies have shown that when a patient stands for long periods of time, the blood flow to her uterus begins to decrease - which can lead to pre-term labor. She also warned that I will most definitely be on bedrest at some point but she doesn't know when.

So since I feel great, haven't experienced any cramping, still have good blood pressure, etc., I think I'm going to forego the restrictions Mike and my family have placed on me. I'm gonna start jumping on trampolines, riding my bicycle, skiing on the local river and skipping wherever I go... at least until I start cramping or a baby falls out.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Fitting together the pieces

In my last post I made a reference to seeing God's hand in all the decisions that have been made these past few months. Some folks may think I am flippantly assigning praise to God when really, it was just a matter of luck. I thought I would share just a few instances of what has transpired in the hopes of showing that not even I am lucky enough or good enough to conjure enough karma to explain the past few months.

1. In June, Mike and I made a last minute decision to drive to FL in the hopes that he could find a job or at least schedule an interview. A friend of my parents' happened to hear about our situation and passed Mike's name and resume on to someone he knows who recruits for IT jobs.

We arrived in Jacksonville on Sunday. By Wednesday, the recruiter had secured an interview with LPS. More importantly, she was able to schedule Mike for a face-to-face interview with the company despite LPS' protocol to conduct phone interviews before doing face-to-face interviews.

Mike spent the entire week in FL calling/emailing recruiters, applying to job openings he found online and even dropping by businesses in the hopes of at least meeting someone who would be willing to talk to him. It was all for naught. The only opening or hope for a job he encountered came through the work of this recruiter who was intro to Mike through a friend of my parents.

2. LPS finally offered Mike the job last week, with the stipulation that he had to be in Jax and ready to work by July 30. That gave us 2.5 weeks to pack, find a house, find an ob/gyn and take care of other details. My parents are real estate agents in Jacksonville and they had prepared us to anticipate rather bleak offerings for rental homes. Given that we needed a house that was under $1400/month, would allow dogs and would have enough space for all 6 of us, the outlook seemed grim. Within days, though, of being offered the job in Jax, my parents caught wind of a house that was being vacated not even a mile from their house. It offered plenty of space, a fenced in back yard and all the amenities we would need. Oh, and rent was $1300. We sent in our application and were approved to rent the house-despite the fact that 4 other families had already inquired about renting the home. When we received the lease we saw that the rent money is actually less than what we had been told.

3. I found a ob/gyn practice fairly quickly but was told my file would have to be reviewed by the drs there before they agreed to take me on as a patient. Thankfully I must have withstood scrutiny because they welcomed me to their practice and have even partnered me with a dr who is a mother to triplets.

4. Droves of friends have come by to help us pack and move boxes. We were worried about how we were going to empty our storage unit, bring boxes down from our attic and manage to pack our living space when Mike was still working full time and I was on restrictions. Thanks to many, many friends, most of the hard work has been done for us so that we most certainly will have everything ready to move by next week.

5. Mike's current job had asked him to work through the end of this week. He didn't want to - for various reasons - but felt he needed to cooperate with them so that they would cooperate with us when it came time to leave. But last week Mike couldn't help by vocalize his frustrations with some individuals who were making life very difficult for him. He never crossed any lines regarding respect or anger, but it was enough that HR considered firing him for his behavior. Thank GOD Mike has an amazing boss who stepped into the fray and persuaded HR to simply let Mike go home for the week and still get paid for the remainder of the week. Oh, and the company also agreed to pay Mike for unused PTO - something that is rarely done.

There have been many, many other smaller things that have transpired this past month that have clearly shown us God's intervention on our behalf. We are looking forward to this new chapter in our lives and are eager to see how God can use us to share His love in Jacksonville.

Monday, July 16, 2012

20 Week Roundup

I'm more than half way there!!! - assuming I reach my goal of going 36 weeks before delivery.

In two weeks I have gained 20 lbs, which my doctor will be very pleased to hear. In about a week or 2 I will be the same size as a fully pregnant lady who is carrying 1 baby.

According to one perinatologist I've seen, at this point I would be asked to quit my job if I worked full-time and resign myself to sitting for large parts of the day. I don't think I can resign from being a mom to a very active toddler, but I am learning to rest more during the day.

We have settled on names for each of the babies: McKenna Roslyn, Ryleigh Elisa and Josiah Michael. I was going to blog about the process we went through to choose the names, but my husband did such a good job writing about it that I think I'll just link to his blog:

In the past 2 weeks we have finalized plans to move to Jacksonville, FL. It has been quite the whirlwind but I completely see God's hand in it. We received final confirmation a week ago that Mike would be offered the job for which he had interviewed. Since then, we have signed a lease on a rental house that is PERFECT, found a good ob-gyn practice, had waves of friends help us pack or move boxes, and pretty much have everything in place for us to move next week. Mike even was given the rest of this week off with pay (long story), which gives us a bit more breathing room to finish packing and still enjoy these last few days in VA.

As you can see, things are moving right along. We will meet with the perinatologist this week for another in-depth exam of the babies. In the mean time, please keep praying for McKenna, Ryleigh and Josiah to keep growing and developing correctly. Pray, too, for Addie as she will be facing some big changes in the next month.

Thursday, July 05, 2012

From where I stand ... or sit

I had a quick appointment with the perinatologist today and was encouraged that the babies still look great.

  • Baby A's heart rate is 140, Baby B's heart rate is 144 and Baby C (the kicking boy) is at 146. 
  • I am at 18 wks but my uterus is the size of someone at 26 wks.; in 4 weeks I'll be the size of a full-term pregnant woman
Unfortunately, I also left quite overwhelmed. I know I should focus on the important stuff (me and babies are healthy) but instead I focus on all the changes that potentially coming my way. For instance:
  • dr. asked me about my regular routine. I told her each day I take Addie some where in the morning, like a park or museum. I rest for about an hr during her nap, but once she's awake I then clean or cook or do other chores. Dr said at this point in the pregnancy, I should be spending 6 hrs a day sitting. Um... what??? I can't do that! What about Addie? What about the house? What about poor Mike who works all day??? I can't ask him to then come home and cook or clean or bathe Addie.
  • Oh, but the best part was yet to come. Dr. said by week 24 (and possibly earlier) I will need to be off my feet ALL THE TIME. Again - how is that possible???
I told the dr we are thinking of moving in the next month. She said that's fine as long as it's before I'm at week 24. She also recommended that we think of putting Addie in a daycare or preschool since I could potentially be useless in 6 weeks - not to mention, what I'll be like once the babies are born.

So here's my panicked thoughts:
1. how do I feasibly stay off my feet 6 hrs a day? 
2. what things can I let others do for me without being a burden?
3. is it too late to find a preschool for Addie? and how would we afford one?
4. if we end up moving, how do I contribute given that I'm not supposed to lift anything heavier than a' basket of clothes?

Feel free to tell me to calm down, take a deep breath and relax.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Tick Treatise

Dear Ticks

I know I'm succulent. And with my extra blood volume at the moment, I probably set off your radars as soon as I venture outside. How else to explain that I can acquire 2 of you critters after a 5 min. walk outside while others have nary a tick despite spending hours outdoors?

But I have one small request: can you please attach yourself to a part of my body that is north of my belly button? Since I'm quickly losing sight of anything below my belly, it's really not fair of you to imbed yourself in an area I can't even see let alone protect. At least if you are on my torso or higher, I have a fighting chance at locating you and dislodging you before I contract Rocky Mtn. Spotted Fever or the bubonic plague.

Thank you.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Introducing ...




Group shot

We had our 16-wk check up with the perinatologist and found out we are having two girls and a boy! Mike already is dreading the dating years and paying for 3 weddings, but overall we're thrilled. All the babies look healthy and great - even Baby A, who the dr had a slight concern about last time.

Here's a rundown of what we learned:
  • each baby weighs about 5 oz.
  • Alwanda is positioned really low right now, so dr said I am still at risk for cramping and bleeding until she moves up more in the uterus
  • Alwanda and Cletus are positioned head to head and will probably end of smacking each other a lot
  • Cletus wants all the world to know he's a boy. We didn't even have to do a btw-the-legs shot to see him waving his flag :)
  • Dr. said he will severely limit my activity in about 4 wks.
  • He also said I need to gain more weight. By week 20 I should look to be full-term pregnant with 1 baby

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Dear children, I apologize in advance

It's true: you can't choose your family. Lucky for me, I wouldn't choose any other. Where else would I inherit such an anthology of family lore and stories - which I have chosen to share with you?

  • I had a great great uncle who killed his wife with a hammer
  • My grandma fell out of a moving car 
  • My grandpa had his head run over by a car; his father was driving
  • My dad once thought the best way to kill fire ants on a tree was to set the tree on fire
  • My dad also thought it would be cool to soak his hand in lighter fluid and set that on fire, too
  • My dad has seen the inside of Disney's jail; he was caught trying to steal a souvenir
  • My brother was caught ordering alcohol on a plane; he was in high school and it was a church-sponsored trip
  • My parents accidentally locked my infant brother in the car. During Mardi Gras.
  • My other brother was part of a break-dancing group. When he moved to a small country town, he told the guidance counselor about his hobby - to which she replied, "We have the rodeo here."
  • One night when I was in middle school, I broke curfew to watch Star Trek: TNG. My dad confronted me and said, "It's just a show." To which I screamed, "No it's not, and someday I'm going to be on it!!"
  • I broke my dad's hand wrestling for the remote control
  • My brother has 1 dimple, which occurred when my elbow met his face while jumping on a trampoline
  • I went to college thinking you could get pregnant by swimming in water with boys
  • My mom swore to us kids that it was safe to swim in rivers that had gators in them because "gators always stay on the riverbank."
  • The first time my husband met my family, we went skiing in a gator-infested creek. All was fun and games until a gator popped up next to my brother who was preparing to knee board. My dad gunned the engine as my bro. held on to the rope for dear life. Once we stopped, my other bro proceeded to toss bread into the water and call out "Here, gator gator." To this day Mike thinks my family is crazy.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Life Lessons from Florida

  • When ordering tea at a Mexican restaurant, do not ask if they brew their tea - unless you enjoy blank stares as you try to mime brewing tea to the non-English speaking waiter
  • If your brother starts a sentence with, "Remember when I used to entertain myself in the shower ..." - run
  • Afternoon rain showers may involve hail, thunder, and wind - or a 5 min. sprinkle. Either way, you'll see some kind of precipitation when you are preparing to go swimming
  • Have an explanation prepared for when your toddler daughter points at a group of women at the beach and says, "Look, mommy! Whales!" In this instance, she was trying to say "waves."
  • I need to invest in an inventer who can create a portable personal cooling system that will aid pregnant women who are visiting hell ... I mean, Florida

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

I will be right here waiting for you

A few nights ago, I dreamt Mike and I were participating in a couples retreat when the leader announced we would be hiking. I absolutely refused to go. I dug my heels in with every ounce of stubbornness I could muster and said it was the stupidest idea ever. Mike didn't comment or argue; he simply shrugged and continued walking with the group. Several minutes later, I felt guilty about how my choice would leave Mike all alone in a group of couples, so I decided to join the group. I finally caught up with them, but when I searched for Mike I couldn't find him. I abandoned my fruitless search and fumed my way back to the car - determined to wait for him while my anger seethed.

And then I saw him.

Sitting on a rock along the path, Mike was patiently waiting for me to come back. Before I could say a word he said, "I'm not going to force you to do anything you don't want to do. If you don't want to go, we won't."

My dream was a perfect echo of Mike's attitude these past few months. Time and again he has gone along with whatever idea I concocted or request I made. He purchased me a new body pillow when I couldn't find my old one because he heard me talking about how uncomfortable I already was becoming. He allows me to pick most meals and/or restaurants knowing my stomach has been touchy lately. And he made a split-second decision to take off a week from work and drive to FL in order to scout out jobs in Jax - because I decided I needed to be near my mom and dad. At every turn, he has been more than patient. He has been accommodating, comforting, encouraging and inconvenienced.

I have a lot I can learn from him. Namely, how to be as flexible and unselfish as he has been toward me.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

I get by with a little help from my friends

The past week has seen its shares of highs and lows. We had a safe trip to FL and are enjoying time with my family (yay!) But Mike has been disappointed on every front in his job search. I said from the beginning that I was willing to take God's closed doors as much as His open ones, and if He directs us away from Jax then so be it. But it's a lot easier for me to say that when I'm not the one running into the closed doors. Unfortunately, Mike is experiencing some really low lows.

But in the midst of our confusion and disappointments, God has encouraged me from unexpected sources. A former co-worker, Mark Kelly, very graciously sent a call to prayer to friends and supporters. His email has generated lots of other emails and words of prayer and encouragement for us - which mean more than I can explain. Mark also has offered to serve as a sounding board for us since he doesn't have a stake in whether we stay in Richmond or move - he simply wants to advise, listen and encourage.

Another friend, Danielle, has been so sweet to send me emails of prayers and to continue checking on us. She and her husband, Dennis, have time and again called, texted, emailed and reached out to us at just the moments when we needed a friendly pick me up.

Tonya hates to think of us moving but continues to pray for us. Already she has talked about making meals for us in the event that I have to go on an unplanned bed rest. Without any prompting or requests, she already is putting feet to prayers and is offering whatever help she can.

I am so very grateful to all those who have prayed, written, or thought of us while we continue on our journey. We honestly don't know where we will land, but knowing we have so many supporters assures me that our landing will be soft.

Saturday, June 09, 2012

If only...

If only it was one less baby ...
If only I was stronger ...
If only my family wasn't so far away ...

then maybe we wouldn't be thinking of moving
then maybe I wouldn't continually hear "I hope this isn't a bad decision"
then maybe I wouldn't be disappointing so many people

If only the story was different then maybe I wouldn't be the villain

Friday, June 08, 2012

Cuddly sheep and heart attacks

When I was pregnant with Addie, I dreamt cute, cuddly dreams. One in particular featured a bus ride with a friend as we meandered past a field filled with sweater-wearing sheep (see illustration). The sheep were so cute in their pink, blue and purple sweaters! I then left the bus and walked to a nearby farm where I enjoyed a down-home dinner with friendly strangers.

Oh, I also frequently dreamed that I had taken up smoking but was trying to hide it from Mike.

This pregnancy hasn't been at all the same - including in the dream world. This week alone I experienced my first night-terror followed by a wacky dream in which I was on trial after being falsely accused. I don't recall the specifics regarding the terror dream, only that I awoke with a pounding heart that took 20 minutes to calm. After that, if I even thought the word "dream" my heart would begin racing again.

If I were into dream interpretation I'd say the first dream meant I was looking forward to the soft, cuddly aspects of a new baby and that I was at peace. I also was hungry.

The second dream probably means I was either hiding something from Mike (I honestly can't remember doing so) or that I was longing for a time I could be rebellious.

This week's dreams indicate I'm in a time of panic. Also, there's a good chance I'll be forced to fight off someone in Florida who is trying to eat my face.

Saturday, June 02, 2012

VA vs. FL

I make lists for EVERYTHING. To do lists, pro/con lists, grocery lists. Honestly, I'm not sure I'd remember most tasks or ideas if I didn't have a pencil and pad near me at all times.

But how is it that my life currently seems to be laid out in a VA vs. FL list? When we first discovered we were pregnant with triplets, I was ready to pack my bags and move to Jacksonville to be near my parents. No way was I going through this without their help. And after talking to several moms of twins, I was even more convinced that I would need their help.

A few weeks ago, though, I began to feel like maybe staying in VA was the best option. Our friends, church and Mike's job are here - not to mention Mike's family. So I suddenly swung my opinion in favor of staying.

Well, as of this week we no longer have Mike's job as a string tying us to VA. Since he resigned, we now are left to consider where he will find the best opportunities for work: FL or VA. Also, my mom has said she's sure we would find a strong base of support in FL if we were to move there. So now I'm back on the fence. This is my current list:

VA Pros:

  • approx. 10 families we think we can count on for moral support and assistance (like meals, baby holding, etc)
  • Mike's mom and siblings
  • our church family
  • beautiful greenery (hey, it's a consideration!)
  • familiarity. We already have drs., play groups, routines, etc. all right here

FL Pros:
  • my family (mom, dad, siblings, cousins, aunt)
  • beaches
  • possibility of building support system through my parents' church
  • did I mention my parents? Because, really, this is a biggie. If we stay in VA, one of my parents can maybe come help for a month so that there will be 4 adults tackling the crazy midnight feeding schedule that I'm anticipating. If we go to FL, though, there will be 4 adults to tackle the schedule for far longer than just a month.
And in all of this Mike and I continue to pray, pray, pray. Ultimately we want to be where God wants us. Also, we know we're in a time crunch because I have maybe just 3 more months to make such a move before I'm the size of a house and lose sight of my feet. So for now the list remains unfinished and I remain undecided. 

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Day my Dad Passed Me Off as a Miss America Contestant

Years ago my dad and I were driving around Jacksonville when I begged him to go through the Starbucks drive thru. Unfortunately this left him in control of the conversation with the barista.

Barista: Welcome to Starbucks. What can I get you?

Dad: World peace.

Barista: Excuse me. Did you say "world peace"?

Dad: Yes. I think it's something we should all hope for.

Barista: Oh I agree. In fact, if you select me as your next Miss America I guarantee every child will have a map so they can find themselves and find inner peace.

Dad: Are you mocking me?

Barista: Oh no, sir. I would never do that. Because that would not help world peace.

Dad: Well I certainly hope you're not mocking that former Miss America contestant. Because that contestant was my daughter.

Barista: (silence) Um. Sir, I'm very sorry. So do you want to try one of our frappaccinos?

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

My Not-So Proud Responses

Many folks have asked, "What did you do when you found out you're having triplets?" So here's my honest list of responses:

  1. I asked for a recount. The doctor initially saw only two babies and at the time I saw only two on the screen. So when the dr said we were having three, I honestly thought he was joking.
  2. I thought, "Um.. this is so not good." Immediately after telling us we were expecting triplets, the dr began a 5 min. speech about everything that could go wrong with me and the babies. He urged us to consider selective reduction.
  3. So here is my shameful admission (just one of many): I actually considered having the selective reduction. I could not imagine carrying, birthing and raising three babies. I imagined years of stress plus loss of complete personal choice. No more vacations, no more date nights, no more easy trips to the park. So I asked the dr for the name and number of a specialist who could tell us about the procedure.
  4. I calmed down and realized there's no way we could do the procedure. This came about from talking to very calming and wise people who were able to talk me off my ledge and reassure me that having 3 babies really is a blessing. Also about this time, I found an article written by a dad who had recently watched two of his 3 babies be eliminated because his wife insisted on doing a selective reduction (see Because of these influences I was able to recognize that we had tried and waited so long for this blessing; how could I then choose 1 or 2 babies to randomly eliminate in order to save the other(s)?
  5. Here is my second embarrassing admission: even though I wasn't willing to have selective reduction, I did pray for God to take 1 of the babies. I told Him I couldn't have 3 babies and I couldn't very well kill one, but if He chose to take one of the babies then I wouldn't grieve too badly. I realize now that I was deluding myself. As soon as I had my hemorrhage, I realized how attached and protective I already had become of the babies I was carrying.
  6. I panicked, panic, still panic - and probably will for the next few years. I think the biggest thing I'm trying to accept is that there's no way I will be able to do everything perfectly. The house will not be as clean as I want, Addie will not be as entertained as she demands and the babies will use more of me than I can imagine. But we will survive. God has blessed us with these babies, and He most certainly will provide everything we need.  It may not always be clean, pretty or perfect but it will be possible.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Fuzzy Teeth vs. Vomit Breath

I need to brush my teeth at least twice a day. Brushing my teeth makes me vomit.

What is a girl to do? I briefly thought about forsaking my teeth but then thought people might avoid me if I approach them with Dragon Breath or green, fuzzy teeth.

Sadly, this tribulation has become so common that - just like Pavlov's dog - my body begins to respond with dry heaves as soon as I think about brushing my teeth. I've tried waiting a few hrs between eating and brushing but that hasn't helped.

It may come to taking a vote: should I forego teeth brushing and adopt fuzzy teeth OR should I brush knowing it'll induce vomiting - which leads to vomit breath?

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Closet Sex Addict

About 6 weeks ago I suffered a minor hemorrhage that turned out to be completely normal. Since that time, however, my normal ob has forbidden me to have sex. Which turns out to be harder than I initially would have thought.

So a few weeks ago, I swallowed my pride and called my doctor's office. You can not imagine my mortification as I asked, "Umm, when she said no sex, did she mean no anything or just no sex?" Thankfully the nurse on call graciously answered my question and urged me to wait until I saw the perinatologist to get his opinion.

Which led to my second sex conversation in three weeks when I asked Dr. C., "Am I allowed to have sex?"

Seriously, I'm starting to feel like a closet sex addict. I wonder if the nurse and Dr. C. left the room and giggled about how this sex-craved pregnant woman keeps inquiring about whether she can have sex, and what exactly is meant by sex.

I won't go into details regarding Dr. C's response, but suffice it to say he is now one of Mike's favorite doctors :)

Friday, May 25, 2012

Baby A and the Badonkadonk Fibroid

Yesterday was our first perinatal visit and we had the great pleasure of seeing Dr. C. Unlike some other doctors we've seen, he didn't pressure us to consider selective reduction, and he was very optimistic regarding the health of me and the triplets. Some things we learned:
  • Baby C is almost certainly a boy
  • Baby B loves having his/her photo taken
  • All babies are about the same length and have similar heart rates
  • Baby B is the one who has been giving me flutters
Toward the end of the ultrasound, the tech saw something troubling. She switched to the Magic Wand and called in Dr. C. For 2 minutes, my heart was pounding as I listened to them consult each other and speculate as to what it was they were seeing. Dr. C. finally said he thinks it's just a fibroid on my uterus. He used some special term but all I heard was Badonkadonk Fibroid. So all is well with that.

Dr. C's parting comment regarded Baby A. He said Baby A's yolk sac is larger than the other two's but not so big that it's in the Danger Zone. When yolk sacs are exceptionally large it can indicate possible chromosomal disorders. So for now we just wait until my next appointment to see if there's been any change. Dr. C said he's not worried - he just mentions the yolk sac as something we'll have to monitor in the future.

So that's where we are. A fairly good report now that we are officially past the first trimester!