Sunday, January 7, 2018

Hi Mara, Are you there?

It's been a really long time.

A lot has changed over the past two years. One thing remains the same, my purpose in life is still to spend more time doing the things that make my soul sing -- both in my personal life and my professional life.

However, as a work-from-home mom of 25 month old triplets, the definition of self-care has drastically changed. Now, I first want to acknowledge the instrumental role my parents have played in the first two years of our boys' lives. We are blessed to have the constant help of family -- without it, I'm not sure where I'd be.  I am so deeply grateful for my husband and all family and friends who have made this journey easier in some way.

A few months ago I told myself I was going to get back to regular meditation. Why is it so difficult to just lay there with your thoughts after a busy day? I so often feel like, "I don't have time", but it's an excuse. After a busy day, I spend my evenings working, or I numb my mind watching Netflix.  "I really regret that 10 minute meditation." -- said no one ever.  Seriously.  I have been feeling out of balance lately, I think it's a combination of many things, the winter blahs being one of them. I decided instead of jumping right into a work session tonight, I'd light a candle and spend 10 minutes meditating.

Thoughts moved in and out of my mind. Thoughts about my businesses, my boys, our house... then it shifted. I started to feel this nostalgic feeling, a feeling I can't really describe. I thought about how I missed self care and how having children has been the biggest lesson in selflessness and giving up control. How I SO missed acupuncture; my yoga teacher training program and going to yoga class; massages; reading books for pleasure; spending a lot of time visioning, writing goals, journaling, meditating and reflecting; floating (aka sensory deprivation tanks I used to go to); Reiki; regular exercise; QUIET; window shopping and taking long walks alone; overall deeply reflecting on life and my life purpose.

Suddenly came the tears. Sobbing. Laying on my bedroom floor, a soft Om chant playing on my meditation app, it almost felt like I called out loud, "I'm here! I'm still here!". I put my hands to the center of my chest and clearly visualized this small, dim, but flickering flame. I don't know if it was my soul speaking to itself, to me, if it was God speaking to me -- but it was powerful enough to evoke this deep feeling of sadness, hope, joy, gratitude and relief. I am still here. Being a mom has changed me in many ways. It's changed my view on the world and allowed me to release control of certain things I used to care a lot about. I'm learning to loosen my grip on control when it comes to my kids -- that's the big life lesson for someone like me (and probably for many parents). Kids will do what they do. They'll eat what they want to eat. Sleep when they feel like they need to. It will have us feeling like we're pulling out our hair when it's not going "our" way, but you realize it's not about us anymore -- and that it's ever changing. Even with a pretty tight schedule having triplets, each day is a lesson in going with the flow.

I may not get to do all of the self care I used to do. I may not get to for a while. But, taking time to listen in stillness gave me the gift of knowing I'm still in there. I love my boys -- our souls are intertwined and they are part of me, but I needed to know I wasn't totally lost at sea.

Triplet motherhood is beautiful, hard, messy, confusing, trying, but overall a miracle. It takes a village and that's OK.

One of my goals for this year was to commit to 10 minutes minimum of daily meditation. Tonight it made me feel like this isn't a luxury, it's a necessity at this point in my life. People often say, I don't like yoga or meditation because it's boring or I can't sit with my thoughts like that. My friends,  I was reminded tonight that the clearest answers come in stillness.


Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Happy 3 week birthday!

Today marks the boys' three week birthday! It feels like the delivery was so long ago -- or just yesterday. My concept of time has felt off since their arrival. Over the last three weeks, we have spent several hours per day at the NICU (sometimes nearly all day) and have tried to have skin-to-skin time with all of them at least once per day. With Markus still in school, me still healing from the C-section and working around my pumping schedule, it makes for long days. We are so grateful to be staying at the Ronald McDonald house near the hospital (less than 5 minute drive), rather than making a 45 minute drive twice per day from home. 

Three weeks postpartum

The early postpartum period has definitely been one of highs, lows and adjustment to hormones! The time during my initial hospital stay and my readmission were still kind of fuzzy due to being on pain killers, having the blood transfusion, blood pressure issues, coming down from HELLP Syndrome, exhaustion, etc. I found myself crying extremely easily -- any change in plans or small stressor had me in tears! As I approached three weeks, this has dissipated for the most part. I've felt good emotionally, but with postpartum hormones and adjustment to having three babies in the NICU definitely comes high and low moments. Overall I am thrilled and extremely grateful that our boys are here and doing well! Markus and I are just so in love with them and cannot wait for them to come home! 

The pain from my C-section scar has lessened, but is still not quite 100%. I wear the abdominal binder I got at the hospital every day -- without it my scar hurts and feels less supported (if you have a C-section, ask your nurse for a binder!). I ordered a Bellefit dual closure girdle, but unfortunately the sales lady sized me incorrectly, so I'm waiting for my new size to come in the mail. 

On the morning of delivery I weighed in at 197 lbs. -- a 64 lb. gain from my pre-IVF/pregnancy weight! The day after delivery I had lost 30 pounds -- that was a lot of baby, placenta, fluid and blood volume! As of today, I've lost a total of 49 lbs. and have 15 lbs. to go until I reach my pre-IVF/pregnancy weight. 

A week before delivery at 28 weeks - measuring 45 inches around!

3 weeks postpartum

Other random postpartum tidbits:

- No more bloody noses or constant nasal congestion!
- My hair comes out in clumps when I brush it -- I guess this is normal and will go away soon
- I had my first drink since April -- a glass of champagne to celebrate the boys' arrival! 
- I have had a few deli meat sandwiches and they've been yummy!
- I can breathe again and it feels great
- I can wear my wedding ring again, but my engagement ring is still a little small!
- Sometimes I miss having the boys in my belly and feeling their kicks and pokes :(

The Boys

The boys are continuing to do well and are making progress! There is so much to remember and so much that changes each day with three of them in the NICU, I'll just provide some highlights:

- All three have been trialled off Cpap. They are now all back on, but each time it has been for a little longer than the time before (and it's such a treat to see their faces!)
- Mariks and Julians are no longer receiving IV nutrition -- Henrijs should be off of his IV in a few days.
- Mariks and Henrijs responded well to the ibuprofen treatment for PDAs, Julians unfortunately did not, but we are hopeful that his will resolve and he can avoid surgery.
- All boys are above 3 lbs, Henrijs hit 4 lbs a day ago! 
- Because Mariks and Julians no longer have IVs they got to wear clothes for the first time :) We get to start bringing preemie outfits from home for them to wear. Henrijs will also get to wear clothing as soon as his IV is out.
- While Henrijs was off Cpap, he got to practice breastfeeding with mom which was extremely special! 

Our little peanut Julians (currently 3 lbs 2 oz) trying on his new outfit

Our big guy Henrijs (4 lbs) off cpap

Mariks (3 lbs 6 oz ) enjoying time off Cpap in his Christmas hat and new outfit 

We continue to pray for our boys and hope that they might make it home by 36-37 weeks gestation or earlier. Of course, this can change and there are no promises, but we are hopeful! 


Thursday, November 26, 2015

The boys have arrived!

It has been a busy and crazy week, but undoubtedly the best week of our lives as we welcomed our three little gentlemen into this world. 

At 29 weeks and 1 day our little guys made their debut.  

The delivery

On Tuesday, November 17, I went in for my 29 week OB appointment at 9:00 am. Markus had class, so my mom brought me to the appointment. I had an ultrasound done and everything looked normal. My blood pressure readings, however, were not normal. I had good BP the entire pregnancy and suddenly my readings were high. The MFM midwife came to see me after the ultrasound and  told me I was going to be admitted, as my BP was above their cutoff.

My mom and I made our way over to OB triage, where I was admitted around 11:00 am. I was hooked up to fetal and contraction monitors and had some blood work done. The babies' heart rates were perfect, but it appeared I was having some small contractions. The nurse asked if I felt them and I didn't. My labs came back and showed some abnormal results as well as protein spilling into my urine. My BPs were still high. The on-call MFM OB came to see me and told me it was looking like I had developed preeclampsia and that I would be moved upstairs to labor & delivery to be monitored -- likely at least 24-48 hours. I called my husband, who was in class at the time, and told him to come over to the hospital, as I was now going to be admitted overnight.

Once in the labor & delivery room they continued to monitor my vitals, contractions and the babies' heart rates. I continued to have mild contractions, but the nurse said with triplets I could've been having them for a while and not been aware. Markus had just left for his 2:30 class when the OB came to check my cervix, which surprisingly was already dilated 3-4cm. I called Markus, who was 20 minutes into class at the time, and told him things went from a discussion about holding me off until 32-34 weeks to me being in labor in a matter of half an hour! Markus rushed over from school (which thankfully is across the street from the hospital) and was there with my mom to help me through the early stages of labor. When Markus arrived I could really feel the contractions worsening and pain wrapping around my low back. I was then started on a magnesium drip (everyone says this is the worst thing in the world, it wasn't that bad other than it makes you really groggy and SOO hot -- like I thought my face was burning off hot haha. Thankful for the nurse who gave us an ice bucket and washcloths!) Things then started happening very quickly and my memory is already hazy on the details. Sometime shortly after getting the magnesium drip and a steroid shot for the babies' lungs, the OB checked my cervix again and I was already at 6 cm. I was then told it was time for me to deliver! November 17th would be the day! 

Sometime after 3:30 pm or so I was in the operating room getting prepped for our c-section. At 3:58 pm our three miracles came out crying like tiny little lambs -- I cried each time one came out! The c-section went well (other than a good amount of blood loss) and babies were all healthy upon delivery. 

Mariks Olivers
3lbs 2oz, 16.5 inches

Henrijs Viktors
3lbs 8oz, 16.5 inches

Julians Augusts
2lbs 14oz, 15.5 inches

Post Partum

Post delivery things got a little complicated for me. I lost about 2.3 liters of blood during the c-section, so I had to have a blood transfusion. My lab results also indicated that I had developed HELLP Syndrome. Luckily, the blood transfusion and getting the babies out improved my labs quickly. A few days post delivery my numbers looked even better. I was discharged four days after delivery, but unfortunately was re-admitted six days post delivery for high blood pressure. The OB had put me on a BP med, but the dose wasn't high enough and I found myself having high readings, lightheadedness and dizziness. After two more days in the hospital (which helped me get additional rest, too!), my BP was finally under better control and I began feeling better.

The Babies

So far our boys have been doing great for 29 weekers! At just over a week post delivery they are breathing room air with the help of Cpaps (Mariks already had his off once for 24 hrs and the others may soon have theirs removed). They are tolerating feedings (by feeding tube) pretty well and are having the appropriate number of wet and soiled diapers. It certainly has been a rollercoaster and when it comes to preemies things can move back and forth quickly, so we celebrate the good news when we receive it. We look forward to their discharge and in the meantime continue to pray for their health.

We are so in love with our little guys! :)

Sunday, November 15, 2015

28 week update - Third Trimester!

How far along: 28 weeks 6 days 
Weight gain/loss: My home scale has been reading 190. That would put me at a 53 pound gain -- hard on those knees! 
Symptoms: My welcome into the third trimester has been a little rough. I think we're now entering the really tough phase. This week mornings have been better than afternoons & evenings. I've had swollen ankles and feet all week (blood pressure is still OK). Have had more trouble with sleeping, some heartburn and the usual nasal congestion/nose bleeds.
Maternity clothes: Some of my shirts are starting to barely cover the belly ;)
Sleep: When I first lie down at night it's been taking me 15-20 minutes to get comfortable breathing. I think the shift of (heavy) weight from standing to a horizontal position is taking time for my body to get used to. It sort of feels like I'm being choked and gasping for air. Once I get comfy, then I'm able to sleep for 1-2 (sometimes 3 if I'm lucky!) hours at a time. Getting out of bed is a little more work than it used to be, too. 
Best moment this week: I was able to spend some time with my aunt Astrida after one of my appointments this week. :)
Movement: Tons! 
Food cravings (& gestational diabetes update): I'm sort of blocking out cravings now and focusing on my gestational diabetes diet -- which really is just healthy choices, portion control and carb counting. I will note that I haven't had a single high reading now that I'm checking my blood sugar at home. All of my fasting readings have been between 61-68 (60-95 is normal) and only three of my 1-hour post meal readings have been over 100 (should be less than 140). To be honest, the GD diagnosis has helped me get back to my healthier pre-pregnancy diet faster, but I am feeling sort of skeptical about the results of the 3-hour test. I think that toxic Glucola drink shocked my system! However, I'd be curious to see what a reading would be 1 hour after eating a milkshake or a full plate of waffles and syrup. 
Belly measurement: Biggest part of the belly is now 45 inches! 
Gender: 3 Boys!!
Prayers: I'm praying to make it to the next target -- our 30s! 
Labor signs: No
Stretch marks: No -- but still having itchy belly. I've started putting coconut oil on my belly several times per day.
Mood: It's been another challenging week, but trying to keep those spirits up and enjoy this time Markus and I have as a family of two, as well as naps and quiet time whenever I'd like.
Looking forward to: Seeing how things are going with our trio at next week's appointment. Excited to see my sister again in two weeks! 

28 week belly

Sunday, November 8, 2015

27 week update

How far along: 27 weeks 6 days 
Weight gain/loss: I was 184 at my appointment this week (47 lb. gain)
Symptoms: Congestion/nose bleeds as per usual, some painful kicking/baby movement, generally not feeling well after about 5 pm (belly gets really heavy, lots of pelvic floor pressure, tired, worn out, etc.)
Maternity clothes: I got one more pair of lounge jogger pants from A Pea in the Pod, so now I have 4 pairs of pants in my regular rotation!
Sleep: Some nights are better than others. Occasionally a baby will be in a position that makes it uncomfortable for me to lay down or I'll feel short of breath. However, I am still getting decent sleep for the most part with about an average of 4 bathroom trips and a few position shifts throughout the night. 
Best moment this week: Our dear friends Roberts (who is also Markus' cousin) and Alyssa came to visit us this weekend! I was so grateful I could make it out for lunch yesterday! It was great to catch up with them, as we miss all the time we were able to spend with them while living in Chicago. 
Miss Anything? Well, I am missing my desserts and not having to think so much about what I'm going to eat (i.e., carb counting). I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes this week and I'm not happy about it... more on that below. 
Movement: Tons! 
Food cravings: Nothing really, but watching someone else eat something that I'd like to have is hard!
Belly measurement: Biggest part of the belly is now 44 inches! 
Gender: 3 Boys!!
Appointment Update: I left this week's appointment in tears after being diagnosed with gestational diabetes. I know it's not my fault and has to do with the hormones being released by the placentas blocking insulin. The OB said he was not surprised. I have had a hard time coming to terms with this diagnosis and I think working in the public health field and being someone who when not pregnant eats healthy and is very active somehow makes it harder for me. But, it is what it is and I have other friends who have had it as well. I'll have to go to a dietitian and diabetes educator and check my sugar at home. I obviously failed the 1-hour glucose tolerance test -- by only 4 points -- and had to do the 3-hour. To any other multiple moms doing the 3-hour: I recommend calling the lab beforehand and requesting a place to lie down. We had a private room with a recliner and I brought my body pillow and Kindle with headphones. During hours 2 and 3 I fell asleep while listening to guided meditation, which made the process much more bearable. During hour 1 I thought I was going to get sick a few times. I ended up having a normal fasting, I passed the 1-hour, failed the 2-hour by 30 points and then failed the 3-hour by 1 point. Bummer. In other news, we had a growth ultrasound this week and everything looked good! Baby B is still having some issues with the blood flow through the cord, but everyone is doing well! I also don't need to have cervix checks anymore.

Babies weigh:
Baby A - 3.3 lbs (above average!)
Baby B - 2.1 lbs (average)
Baby C - 2.6 lbs (average) 

Prayers: Praying to now make it through week 28! Praying for Baby B's growth to not be affected by the blood flow in the cord. Praying for me to be able to manage the GD through diet and for it to never pose an issue for me going forward. 
Labor signs: No
Stretch marks: No -- but still having itchy belly. 
Mood: It's been a challenging week, but trying to keep positive about the GD.  
Looking forward to: Hitting our next milestone of 28 weeks on Monday

27 week belly (6 weeks until our goal, can you believe it!?)

Sunday, November 1, 2015

26 week update

How far along: 26 weeks 6 days
Weight gain/loss: I was 180 at my appointment this week (43 lb. gain). So, I have gained 3 pounds since my last visit! I think we're on track...
Symptoms: Congestion/nose bleeds (we buy Kleenex in bulk now), feeling more pressure if I stand for too long, tired, harder to breathe & getting acid reflux when laying down.
Maternity clothes: This week I ordered a long sleeve PJ tee from Victoria's Secret in large for the hospital, a cute blue polka dot nursing nightdress in medium from Baby Be Mine and two Motherhood Maternity nursing tanks (two for $22 -- a steal!) from Poshmark. 
Sleep: Not too much new here. I have had some trouble breathing when laying down. Those lungs are getting crushed! 
Best moment this week: I'm always glad to get an update on things at our appointments. Most everything went well this week (more below). We also got a great deal on the Peg Perego Triplette stroller from a fellow triplet mom in the local Moms of Multiples group. The stroller is huge and we haven't yet tried fitting it in our car with all car seats installed. Not sure it will fit unless it is strapped to the roof or on some sort of outside rack! The main reason for buying it is so that my mom and I can walk around our neighborhood and along the bike path by our house with all three babies. Our car seats clip into the stroller and then when the little guys are bigger, we will switch to the toddler seats that it came with. 
Miss Anything? There are times when I miss life in our little apartment in Chicago and miss being able to go out with my husband and our friends. I am incredibly grateful for this pregnancy and our current living situation, but I think it's normal to have these feelings. 
Movement:  Still lots of movement! Sometimes its a tad painful/uncomfortable when one of the babies is really pressing its head or bottom into my belly. It feels like they are trying to push their way through! If I lightly press where they are pushing, they will usually move a little bit and the pressure will subside. 
Food cravings: Red pears and celery! Finally craving some healthy foods ;) The craving for baked goods/desserts, however, has not disappeared! 
Belly measurement: Biggest part of the belly is 43 inches. Interestingly, despite some weight gain the belly hasn't changed much. 
Gender: 3 Boys!!
Prayers: Our appointment this week went well overall. My blood pressure is good, babies' fluids are good. My cervix shrank a bit to around 2.6 from 3. Because I'm not having contractions or other symptoms the OB isn't concerned, as shortening will start to happen at this point. I'm praying it doesn't shorten much more and hope that by trying to minimize stair climbing/standing/walking/trips outside the house it may help. We do have to go for weekly visits now as Baby B was experiencing slower blood flow through his umbilical cord. The OB explained it to us and said that because Baby B is considered to be of appropriate size, he is not so concerned. If Baby B was much smaller than the others, then it would be a major red flag. This will be something that will need to be watched closely, so we will return next Friday. I'm praying that there will be no need to deliver early and that Baby B will continue to grow and thrive as he has been. I also had my 1-hour glucose test this week. I'm still waiting on results -- praying I passed! 
Labor signs: No
Stretch marks: No -- but having major itchy belly. The whole front of my torso has been so itchy despite using belly oil every night and lotion several times per day. 
Mood: Overall good. 
Looking forward to: I'm very anxious to get an update next Friday on Baby B!

26 week Halloween belly

Our pumpkins ;)

Sunday, October 25, 2015

25 week update

How far along: 25 weeks 6 days
Weight gain/loss: My home scale has been reading 178-180 lbs. depending on time of day. It's hard to say if I've truly gained or not? I'm going to talk with the OB on Tuesday about my slowed weight gain/growth over the last few weeks. Last time they didn't seem concerned and mentioned weight could now fluctuate, but it feels like I should be still gaining. 
Symptoms: Battled the tail end of my cold through Tuesday. So thankful to be better! However, the major congestion has now turned into the familiar mild congestion paired with mild nose bleeds. That's just how it goes! I've had a few bouts of feeling short of breath, it must be dependent on where the babies are pressing.  Showering has become pretty taxing as well. It's not so much the actual showering, as I have a lovely shower chair, but the drying off/putting on lotion/drying my hair part. I have to lie down afterward! 
Maternity clothes: Nothing new here! Enjoying my borrowed maternity clothes :)
Sleep: Now that the cold has passed, I've been lucky to get some decent sleep. Overall, I have been feeling more tired lately and it's been harder to wake up from a nap! 
Best moment this week: I'd say that our babies are still growing inside! 
Miss Anything? Nothing in particular.
Movement:  Lots of movement! Now in addition to protruding body parts and pokes/kicks, I feel the babies rolling or changing positions. The best way I can describe it is sort of a like having a sea serpent under the skin haha!
Food cravings: Still really enjoying oranges! Otherwise, no cravings. My appetite really increased for a few days after my cold, so that's a good thing. I think part of the not eating as much as I had been also has to do with the fact that it's harder for me to get up multiple times to make something to eat.
Anything making you queasy or sick? No
Belly measurement: Biggest part of the belly is still 43 inches. 
Gender: 3 Boys!!
Prayers: I'm very focused on making it to 28 weeks. I pray our babies keep growing well and that I continue to have the strength and health to carry them. I also pray I pass my 1-hour glucose test this week! 
Labor signs: No
Stretch marks: No
Mood: Overall good. Every so often I become a bit overwhelmed and have what I'm calling a little hormonally-incuded cry. 
Looking forward to: At this point every Monday when we hit a new week it is a reason to celebrate. I look forward to an update at this week's appointment. It won't be a full growth scan, but rather a check on fluid, heart rate and my cervix.

25 week belly