Thursday, October 27, 2011

Coming Home and a big day for the boys

After my update from the nurses this morning, I thought this blog would be about Oscar's big day, but by the time I got there around 10 this morning, it had become a big day for them all!

Yesterday, I was discharged from the hospital and I am doing pretty well with recovery physically, but that, of course, meant that I no longer have a bed 1/4 mile from my boys. It certainly feels like something is missing in our house even though the boys have never been here before, but as sad as it is to leave them behind, I know that our little guys are in amazing hands with their nurses as Children's and I also know that my ability to rest and recover is critical to me making enough food for them which has thankfully been going awesome!

That's enough about mom though, this blog is now focused right where it should be, on our boys!

Each day when I talk to Dr. Mrozak in the morning either in person or over the phone we get a little update on what is going on with each of the boys and when I called this morning I got the best update ever...Oscar got to come off the ventilator!!! When I got to the hospital to visit, I found out that there was even more than that happening today. Oscar wasn't going to be alone; little Victor would also be off the ventilator by evening! In the meantime, he had to have a central line put in since his cord lines weren't working and he wasn't tolerating feedings which meant they needed a better, longer term IV so they don't have to keep poking him to move the location. Mylo just keeps plugging away; he struggles because he's super feisty wants to be kicking and moving all the time and  he's always pulling at his vent and his bili sunglasses and everything. He did have his Oxygen assistance lowered a bit so we are hoping he's off the vent when we go in tomorrow. He also just got to start feedings today so we've got two boys getting mama's milk and I'm crossing my fingers Victor can handle the good stuff sooner than later so he can catch up with younger, big brothers!

While we are there, the nurses let us handle many of the boys cares so we get to take temperatures, change diapers, give oral cares (milk on the q-tip) to help them keep establishing that sucking reflex that will be so important when they are ready to eat without the tubes. Today the boys had it in for mom and were out to show me that they were just like all the other boys and, as soon as you open their diapers, it was time for another pee party!  This, of course means the whole ordeal of changing their bedding. This is where my day got EXTRA exciting since Milo and Victor both pulled this on mom, I got to hold Victor up for the bedding change and even though he didn't get to leave the little isolete, just resting in my hands he went from kicking and squirming and just melted into them and then he opened his eyes and just stared at me. It had to be one of the most incredible moments of my life, to hold my sweet boy and, being a super lucky mama, I got to have TWO of those moments today, because Oscar did so well with CPAP that we got to start kangaroo care for him today! This means that we get to lay him on my chest or Marty's skin to skin  for an hour each day. He did beautifully with it today and just snuggled right in. Marty sat by our side and talked to him and he opened his eyes for the first time (his eyes have been fused which is normal for their gestational age)  while he was laying there and listened to his dad talk!

I could go on and on, but the important part is all of them are doing well and growing strong! I am going to try to put an all picture post together on Sunday's for their weekly updates since I now write these while attached to a pump, it's a little trickier for me to get all the pictures added in.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Welcome to the world new little men!

The last 48 hours have been whirlwind so I will try to do justice to our boys' birth story, but I'm sure I'll miss some important details!

Victor Orin Kokes

Oscar Ralph Kokes

Mylo Martin Kokes

On Saturday afternoon Baby B's (Victor's) monitoring continued to be a cause for some concern, but were improving a little from the night before. Dr. Saul came in to do dopplers to see how his cord was doing and for the first time we started to see not only some points of absent flow, but also some reversal, but then the little guy passed his BPP with flying colors and got an 8 out of 8 for all of his exercises and having a little more fluid than he had before even got him those points! We were pretty excited and I thought surely this meant we'd be a couple of days out. We were two out of three: his BPP and monitoring were improving, so it was just the cord blood flow that we had to be concerned with. Overnight, the monitoring continued to show some improvement so I woke up very hopeful that we'd be moving back to antepartum to wait out delivery for a little longer.

On Sunday morning that all changed very quickly and the waiting was over. Dr. Thorson and Dr. Saul came in together to look at dopplers on the cord for little man B and this time the reversal had become something that was happening 90% of the time and our littlest guy just wasn't responding very well to his BPP so, while I was expecting after our upswing during the previous 12 hours, that we'd be told all is well and we are going to wait a little longer, instead Dr. Thorson turned around and asked if the 23rd sounded like a good day for a birthday. I, of course, wasn't ready for this question and asked, "is that today?" and sure enough the answer was "yes." At this point, the whirlwind began and I couldn't even begin to describe the range of emotions that we (well really I-Marty was calm and ready to go)  had  from there. I was somewhere between tears of joy and excitement and tears of fear and worry for the next half hour as they assembled the delivery team and when you are delivering triplets it is a BIG team! There were probably 10 people in the delivery room watching over the whole process from the delivery standpoint and then, in the attached resuscitation room for the babies, each baby had a team consisting of a nurse practitioner and two nurses while Dr. Heokstra, our babies first neonatologist were standing by to care for each of our precious little guys on the way out.

Once the assembly was complete it was time to bring these little guys into the world. Marty was by my side and held my hand while they began the initial part of the surgery and at this point we were both just very excited to meet our boys after all of our waiting. The time from there has flown by! With minutes Dr. Thorson was telling Marty to get his camera ready and he did an amazing job photographing the delivery so I didn't miss a single minute of our boys life. Victor Orin (our little Baby B) was born first, which was exactly as it should be so he could get quick care since he was struggling from the get go. So little, but older brother Victor was born at 10:18 am and he weighed 2lbs 1oz and was 13 1/2" long! (I was pretty excited to hear that those couple of extra days had gotten us to the 2 lb mark!) Next out was Oscar Ralph (which we think was baby A, but we can't be certain). He was also delivered at 10:18 am and weighed 2lbs 11 1/2oz  and was 15 1/4" long and is our middle child. Our youngest son waited a whole 2 minutes after his brothers to be born and Mylo Martin arrived at 10:20am, weighing in at 2lbs 11oz and measuring 14 3/4" long. (Notice, Mylo, is spelled with a "y" since daddy and I had envisioned it differently before birth).  After they were born, Marty was able to go into the resuscitation room, to give the boys a proper welcome to our family and make sure they all got their names. He is such a natural daddy and you can just see the pride in eyes when he looks at his little men!

After the boys were stabilized and ready to head to the NICU, they wheeled Victor and Oscar together in an isolette through the OR so I could get a little peek, but I couldn't see them very well and just had to trust that it would be just a short time later when I would get to meet them both. Mylo was ready to go when it was also time for me to go to recovery so I was able to meet him in his little isolette in the hallway and was even able to reach in and give him a little mama love, before he and daddy rushed over to the NICU.

Marty got to stay with the boys as they got settled into their rooms over at Children's and they were able to bring me over as I was recovering about an hour later. It's difficult getting in and out of their little rooms with all their equipment when you are on a stretcher and my driver kept running into the doorways, which is freaky when half your body is numb, but the important part is I got to meet each of my little dudes and even give each of them a little mama love through their little openings in the isolettes. They each have their own little room at Children's but Oscar and Mylo's rooms are adjoining. I then had to come back for a little more recovery time and Marty was able to introduce Grandma and Grandpa Kokes to their first grandchildren. I was able to spend a little time with them later yesterday evening when I had gotten my legs back and Marty was able to give me all of the news from the day. He's a super attentive papa and does a great job of keeping up with what is going on with each of our boys as they start their long road into the big, outside world.

Today, the boys continue to do well and we were able to spend a lot of time over in Children's with them. We're very excited that little Mylo and Victor both are opening their eyes to the sound of our voices (especially Mylo to Marty's laugh), Oscar's trying really hard to keep up in this area, but his eyes are still fused closed, but he raises his little eyebrows so high trying to get those eyes to find us, I'm sure it will be very soon.  It's so very hard for me to come back to Abbott when I need to get pain meds or eat or whatever, because I just want to be there with them, but I'm grateful that they are only a little tunnel ride away so that I'm able to be with them even while I'm still in recovery. I've been able to read them stories and we were able to start giving them some colostrum on a little q-tip to give them the antibodies that mama's good stuff has even though they don't get to have it as their actual nutrition yet. It's been tricky balancing time with the boys, with eating, pumping, resting, and pain meds and it's always hard to come back to my room to take care of me when I just want to be with them, but I know my recovery is important to my ability to care for them, too so I'm trying to listen to my body so I can do that.

This is quite a long and babbly story, but hopefully it gives all of you a little window into the first days of our little boys lives. We are so thankful to have had such wonderful support from our family, friends, and others who are simply following our story through this whole process. Our babies are perfect in every way and they are feisty little guys so they will grow up to be big and strong, but our next few weeks are certainly going to be a wild ride as we strengthen these little guys up to come home to their little orange room in Columbia Heights!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

They're here!

I'll write a full post with pictures in the next day or so, but Oscar, Victor and Milo were delivered this morning. They are itty bitty, but they are feisty and strong and Mama is in love!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

28 Weeks!! Baby B gets to call the shots...

The good news today is that we reached 28 weeks! We are officially in the third trimester and our survival rates just shot way up! For our 28th week, I guess there is someone out there saying we don't get to know all the details. We went in for our ultrasounds and amnio yesterday morning and Baby B doesn't have enough fluid in safe places to do the test so it is not meant to be. We were reassured once again that the vastly most likely scenario has nothing to do with chromosomes anyway and little B just isn't getting everything he needs from the placenta with the restricted blood flow in the cord. So without those results we just go with how B is doing. If everything stays as is or improves for him we just keep resting and monitoring and letting everybody grow. If he starts to decline we deliver. This is, of course, way earlier than we had hoped to deliver, but he could hang in there for weeks and we may not have to.

After all that, last night began our first night of continuous monitoring for Baby B. His heart rate wasn't accelerating and decelerating the way it should  be so we kept an eye on him all night. The other test that gets done more frequently now is the biophysical profile (BPP) to make sure he's moving, his heart rate is where it needs to be, he's practice breathing and he's got a little fluid in there. Well, he pretty much will always lose his points for fluid, but he had been passing all the other tests. This morning was a little different though so we got moved back up to labor and delivery from antepartum (this meant lots of tears for mom who's just not ready to be in the delivery department). This isn't to say that we'll be delivering, it just says that they are watching even closer and the doctor wants me closer to her for monitoring and she wants me closer to the OR in case the time comes. We have another BPP in a few minutes here and are hoping little guy B decided to perk up from this morning to show them all he can do all the tricks so we can all stay in a little longer.

We did meet with the NICU so we know what to expect should we have to deliver before we get to go on our official tour next week and we know that they have the very best doctors and that there's no place better for these babies if they have to come out, but we want more days, more weeks to give them the best shot possible.

So for now we rest and grow as much as we can in between the monitoring...

On the heart rate monitors for all babies!

Contrary to popular belief, this is not the spa, the towels are there to wipe up all the ultrasound  goo that is ever present in our world...

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Lucky I got that night out...

So I guess it was a good thing that I got to get out of the house on Monday, but because I won't be getting out of the hospital now until the babies get here (and, yes, I was assured, it wasn't because I went to a movie). So here's the full scoop! I had a routine appointment yesterday and went in expecting all to be well with babies (me, is always questionable since I didn't even know that I was having contractions when I went into the hospital the first time, but the babies they are strong). At some point towards the end of my ultrasound the tech said something about running numbers and Dr. L-S having to decide what to do about Baby B since he was measuring small. At this point, I didn't know how small! Well, we got the numbers back and Baby A and C are both weighing in at a healthy 2 lbs 11 and 12 oz (this is the 60% even for singletons), but Baby B is only 1lb 11oz (this is the 14%) and his cord blood isn't oxygenating the way it should. So what does this all mean?

Well, first it means closer monitoring for all involved parties, which means I spent the night last night with 5 monitors hooked up around my belly-1 for each baby, 2 to measure any contractions I might be having. From here on out I only have to do that twice a day for an hour. (Sometime, I'll take a picture of this fun adventure!)  I was also placed on a round of steroids which helps the babies lungs mature so, if they should have to be delivered early, this will lesson the amount of time that they need to spend with respiratory assistance once they get here. They've also placed me on a course of magnesium sulfate (you all remember, this is my favorite--but since I was going to be kept up all night on monitors which not add throwing up, shakes and hot flashes to the party!) this will quiet the uterus for the tests that are to come and will also help to prevent some brain bleeding issues that can cause cerebral palsy which is common in preemies. 

Now comes time for the tough stuff, "what is happening to baby B?!" Well, he is hanging in there. He's moving like he should and his heart rates is still going strong. We have two possible causes of what is happening. One (and thankfully, the vastly most likely scenario) is that his placenta just simply is aging faster than it ought to and causing him to decide "what's the most important place for the nutrients that I AM getting"--the answer would be brain and heart. His brain and heart are both measuring fine, it's his belly measurements and ratio between that and the head that is off. The other, very rare, and very scary scenario is that he has a chromosomal issue that hasn't had any markers on the previous ultrasounds to show us that it could be there. The scary part is that all three of the chromosomal issues that could cause this disparity in weight gain and head to body ratio are lethal within the first few days of life. 

So what do we do with this new info? We start with having an amniocentesis on just baby B to find out for sure if there is a chromosomal issue. This will determine how we react to what happens if Baby B takes a turn for the worse. Since we have three lives to consider, we have to determine what is best for ALL of our babies. If there is no chromosomal issue, then as soon as B starts to take a turn for the worst, we deliver all three babies, and fight with everything to keep ALL these little guys going! If there is a chromosomal issue that will take Baby B's life very early on, then if he takes a turn for the worse we let nature take it's course and keep Baby A and C growing as long as possible so they have the best start possible. This is an impossible scenario to imagine and I can't fathom how we get through it, but like I said it is rare, so we first start with lots of positive thoughts and healthy growing energy for our little guy so he gets the same chance his brothers do. 

Monday, October 17, 2011

A very Marty post!

Today is our 3rd wedding anniversary (warning that this is a photo filled post)! The best surprise of the day is that my doctor is giving us permission to go to a movie! So I get to get a little break from bed this evening and that makes me very, very happy! I figured though for our anniversary this blog should be about the other half of this parenting duo. I know I mention him often, but he doesn't necessarily get the credit he's due while I share in the joys and lament all the woes of a multiple pregnancy.

Marty and I met in August of 2002 and if you ask anyone what the first thing they notice about Marty is, they will tell you it's his laugh. It's truly very unique and completely contagious. I will say in 2002, though I wasn't sure about this was so catchy I wasn't sure I could get past it, but I did and a few months later I was reminded of it when a friend who hadn't met Marty previously said "wow, he has the best laugh ever!" and I realized that I had not only gotten past it, but learned to love it! Now, I imagine our life in 2012 with 3 more of Marty's laugh surrounding me and it's about as happy a thought as I can handle!

Our early days worked out perfectly, timing wise, but I look back and laugh that it was probably Marty's unemployment at the time, that got our relationship off to a start. I had just started a new job in social work in a teen shelter and it was 2nd shift so when I got done with my first day on my own with a very rough group of boys at 11:00pm, a cocktail was in order, but when you have gotten off work at 11:00 on a Tuesday and all of your friends have day jobs, it's not always easy to find someone who's willing to hang out that late on a "school night" let alone find someone who won't be crabby just because you called. After thinking about it for a bit, I remembered I had this unemployed guy's number (we had met the weekend before when I was out with friends and ran in to a coworker who happened to be his roommate) and I figured "he was pretty cool" and wouldn't have to be up in the morning so yes, I called him at 11:00 at night and we hung out. He even came with a very cool gift: 3 CDs. We had talked a bunch about music that first night we met and were out watching a local band. He gave me a Mason Jennings CD, a Sleater Kinney CD and a Cat Power CD all based on music that we had talked about the first night. Well he definitely won himself a few more dates, even if he was unemployed.

As our relationship grew, one of my favorite traits about my husband came in his complete zeal for whatever he chooses to learn about. If Marty is going to take up a new hobby, you better watch out because he will come home with all of the gear to be a pro and there is no question he will be completely dedicated to it for a good 3-6 months (after that there's a good chance it will be time for a new hobby and this is not to say the old one will go away, it just won't be the center of attention). I saw this first with photography. We wandered all over Minnesota led by his camera. He has a great eye! Here are a couple of his shots.

Self Portrait-never an entirely straight face...

one he took of me at Minnehaha falls I believe

but he has a real eye for nature

and architecture! 

Then we got a wii and Marty decided that he (and I) should take up real tennis as well. He came home with a full on tennis bag, 2 rackets, balls and even visors and sweat bands. We went off to the little local cracked tennis court at the closet park looking like tennis stars (in a Saturday night live skit).

(I have no pictures of this, thank goodness)

His MG came next and "The Grin" as it was affectionately called, certainly showed us a good time until he started taking it  apart for the rebuild, now it's in pieces and in storage and will either be resurrected one day or sold to the highest bidder to make room for triplets (I vote for resurrection).

This has given way to smaller engines (after a brief stint with fishing and an ambition to learn to play the concertina and I do recall a fish tank and plant obsession in there somewhere too) and our small army of mopeds (we have 5, 3 are complete) that he has rebuilt from the ground up.

Marty's Motobecane

My Swinger


So Happy Anniversary to my very quirky, but very loving husband, I know that you will take that head over heals zeal for everything you do right into fatherhood and be fabulous at it! We've had many good years, even if only 3 are on the books and I can't imagine them without the memories we've made together!

Pretending to devour me at our wedding...

and me getting even

hanging out at Grandma's after Grandma's marathon--I used run those before 3 little humans took up residence inside!

at Jitters, an old and no longer existent, favorite hangout

 and today with his 3rd anniversary gift

Saturday, October 15, 2011

27 Weeks...still going strong!

Still plugging away! Everything has been pretty status quo this week except one night where the I started getting contractions more than I like to and we were timing them until almost 1:30 in the morning. They never crossed the 6 an hour line so I thankfully didn't have to go in, but they were keeping me on my toes (and making me nervous!) I just kept thinking that my bed is sooooo much better than being on mag in the hospital and eventually they stopped and I was able to get some rest and stay at home!  Thanks goodness. 

The babies are still doing well, their wiggles get more and more acrobatic every day and I made the mistake of telling my mother in law and grandmother in law how lucky I am that I'm carrying low so heartburn and painful ribs haven't really been so bad. Well, I guess I jinxed myself since Baby C officially found my rib cage the next day and Baby B likes to make sure to give whatever I eat a few good jabs from below and send me into heartburn land that is when he isn't knocking on the exit door which is a whole other uncomfortable sensation as you can imagine!!

We've had lots of visitors this week helping to clean house, give rides, bring food, have surprise showers, not to mention the people sending us good thoughts and prayers in more than one country and more than one religion! I continue to be blown away at the amazing generosity of our friends and family! Last weeks teary melt downs seem to have given way to happy tears of gratitude. We (and our little guys) are very, very lucky to have such amazing  people surrounding us and looking out for us from near and far!

Blogging in my non-bed, bed rest hangout. 

Friday, October 14, 2011

Bed Rest Book Review #3: I Sleep At Red Lights

I'm writing this book review at the very quiet hour of 5:30 am (even Jovian is sound asleep at the foot of our bed) and knowing that this will not always be a quiet hour. I'll have to enjoy it while I have it!

This is the first review of a triplet book, not a triplet parenting guide, but a triplet parenting memoir (I came across it accidentally when looking for a multiple parenting guide I'd heard about on Amazon). Bruce Stockler is an editor soon to be freelance writer/stay at home dad to a 2 year old with triplets on the way at the opening of I Sleep At Red Lights and he takes us through to when the trio are about 5.

The delicate balance of a home built on the schedules of triplets is portrayed in all its chaotic glory. Never once do we forget that when triplets enter your life, you are outnumbered instantly. I had to laugh at the "praise" for Stockler's book on the jacket that talked about the "hilarious" look into a family with triplets. I'm pretty sure that Stockler would agree looking back that much of the world of raising triplets is filled with humorous anecdotes. Looking forward, however, as a future parent of triplets, this humor is also peppered with moments of pure horror! (We still have to survive it, before we can look back at it and laugh...) This may be a better memoir to have read once the boys were in school when we could share in the memories with Stockler instead of realizing what we have to wade through!

As a book review for the general public (not the future parent of three, with a deer in the headlights look spread across her face), the memoir is a fun read complete with all sides of the parent/child relationship. It is not, as the jacket reviewers would have us believe, front to back laughter; it is funny, but also touching, frightening,  and very real. I truly did laugh and cry while reading this book...although if you've read my last post, the crying may be a little more free flowing with the pregnancy hormones and I'm not sure if this would have drawn for tears at a different time in my life!

As an avid reader, I don't know that I would suggest for everyone I know to go find this book, but it's old enough to get it for a penny on Amazon and if you have multiples in your life, I'm sure you would enjoy this little gem.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

26 Weeks...this is getting old!

So first off, 26 weeks was another uneventful week as far as babies and mama go. I had an appointment on Friday and all looks good. This was a quick OB check so we didn't do full growth ultrasounds, but I did get to see the dudes and they are doing well, although they are definitely getting more crowded in there! As for mom, my blood pressure hit 100 for the first time in my life and I no longer have the runner's heart rate that I used to, but I was assured that what I do have is still very good and normal for a triplet pregnancy. I also managed to pass the gestational diabetes test in the first round so I don't have to do it again!

The bed rest on the other hand is getting to me...I'm still keeping busy, but as those of you who know me know, sitting around is not my thing so I'm certainly getting a little more emotional about it all and a lot more stir crazy. I miss walking Jovian and running to Target when I "need" something, I miss meeting friends for happy hour or dinner, and I really miss yoga! I'm still able to do a few yoga postures a day on my own, but the community of a prenatal yoga class is so much more enriching.

The stir crazy I can handle, the crazy emotional is another story! I got to get out of the house for a breastfeeding class this week and have determined they should have separate classes for us crazy high risk pregnant ladies, because there is a good chance we just aren't going to fit the "this is what will happen" mold. One of the first parts of the class was a piece about getting off to a good start with breastfeeding and the teacher was telling us how important that first hour of bonding is, how we should all put in our birth plans that we want an hour of skin to skin contact before they take babies off for weights and measurement and all of that. Well as she's describing how amazing this hour is, I, of course, burst into tears. This is not an hour I'm likely to get for quite a while after our boys are here. I don't know if I'll even get to see them before they are rushing them off for special care! I got it together for the rest of the class and then started crying on the drive home, and on and off for the next 24 hours at just about anything I attempted to watch on TV or read. I believe I've come back to a more stable place emotionally, but let's just say when you are not allowed out and about, those things which shake you up are much more difficult to move on from.

So all in all 26 weeks has been a healthy week for babies and mama physically, but a trying week emotionally. This week has a lot of visitors lined up so I'm hoping that will keep me on the cheery side of my emotions! I did manage to smile for the 26 week photo...and with Marty by my side, there will always be laughter in between the fits of crazy pregnancy emotions!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Gearing up for babies...bed rest style!

While I may not be able to organize all the babies goodies or wash their new, sweet little clothes, I can certainly start decorating the walls from bed! If I'm remembering correctly, this will also be the first blog reveal of all of the boys' names so here's what I have in progress.  (The unframed pencil ones will be painted this weekend and I have Marty working on a photoshop one from his photography and I still plan to do a sewn one, too, but that will have to wait until after I am allowed out of bed)

These will be hung above Oscar Ralph's crib:

These will be hung above Milo Martin's crib:

and These will be hung above Victor Orin's crib:

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

A late 25 week post!

Saturday marked 25 weeks and our baby shower! This was wonderful, but it's taken me a couple of days to recover from all the visitors and partying! As far as pregnancy and babies go, the 25th week was uneventful. I've continued to do my job of laying low and the babies have got a new habit of having a 3am dance party, but they are staying put which means I'll let them wiggle all they want, whenever they want. I've decided I'm growing my very own b-boy crew!

The shower was wonderful and my dear friends J and R did a fabulous job of getting me all set up with food and drink in a recliner so I could enjoy the friends and family and get out of the house and still follow the rules! Our friends and family are incredibly generous and I'm amazed at our overflowing nursery. I, unfortunately had baby brain and forgot to get a camera to anyone, so I have a couple of photos that friends took, but not too many.

Reclining like a good bed-rester

preemie cake! seriously the cutest little clothes you've ever laid eyes on...super great idea J and S!

Vintage high chair my brother in law recovered to match our kitchen!

Thanks  so much to everyone for making 25 weeks very special and a little extra thanks to my mom, sister and mother in law for putting up with my telling them what to do to get a good start on washing and organizing all the babies' gear!