Friday, August 30, 2013

This belly is no joke folks! 29 weeks

We've been sticklers so far about only taking belly pics every two weeks, but we made an exception this week!  Every day I'm amazed by Michelle's belly and have been wanting to do a bare belly shot for you all so you could truly appreciate it. Today is your lucky day!

On Wednesday we had our local OB appointment and Michelle finally broke the 200lb mark! She's been awfully close the last few visits but this time she finally did weighing in at 202! We were happy because last time she had not gained any weight and we didn't want that trend to continue for the babies' sake.  

As usual that local OB visit kinda seemed like a waste of time but we did get another pic of the three heads now that they've shifted positions a bit and their heads are kind of in a diagonal line from Michelle's right ribs to her left pelvis. Okay here are the pics you've been waiting for! (When Michelle saw the belly pictures above she said "WOAH!  I guess that's why I'm so uncomfortable!")
the belly up close and personal!!

side view with hands for perspective

triplet heads!  Baby B is way in the back of the belly and hard to see now

Thursday, August 29, 2013

The doctor is in the house...

Sorry for my absence as of late, but as Michelle mentioned in the last post, I have been frantically working on my final project for my doctorate and defended on Friday!  The good news is I passed and am officially Dr. Therrien now! =)  It's still a little surreal and I can't quite believe I am actually done!  I haven't started signing things with my initials yet because it's just such a habit to do it the old way. I tried today and it took a lot of thought! 

Of course my degree is done, but as usual, the work isn't quite done.  My committee really wants me to try to publish this study so now I need to cut my paper down to 15 pages, do some revisions, change the referencing format, and submit it.  It shouldn't take that long, but I have a little more immediate project on my plate.  I am teaching a class next Weds on motor development for Michelle's interdisciplinary seminar class so I need to get slides together for that before working on revisions.  My goal is to get my paper submitted for publication before these babies arrive because otherwise it might never happen!  It is tricky though when your "deadline" is a moving target!  Michelle has been working really hard the past couple of weeks to get her candicacy paper done so that is completed pre-baby too.  She won't be able to defend until after the babies come most likely, but at least the paper will be in to her committee.

I took last weekend completely off from school-type work and it was pretty lovely.  I did some cooking and we put two soups in the freezer for when the babies come.  I'd really like to get a lot more meals frozen before these kiddos arrive.  I know that people will be bring food over, but I'm a pretty tricky person to cook for an the usual lasagna/casserole-type things aren't too easy to make gluten-free and dairy-free (I do eat goat cheeses and regular butter, but still...).  This week we bought a deep freezer off Craigslist so now we have plenty of space to store both breastmilk and freezer meals.  Last night I made a big pan of mexican lasagna for dinner so half of that can go into the deep freezer too.

our Mexican lasagna
Our new freezer...ready for us to get cookin

Thursday, August 22, 2013

28 Weeks! Belly pics...

It's Michelle post number 2 for me.  Mari is busy prepping for her advanced practice project defense tomorrow afternoon, so I am trying to keep our readers happy by posting very flattering pictures of myself (sarcasm).  We were excited because we actually remembered to take this week's picture during the day and we thought the lighting would be better, but in comparing the two, I like the 26 wk better, so maybe we've been doing it right all along!  The belly is continuing to grow, which is good as we want these babies to put on at least a pound and a half each before they decide to make their appearance!  Like any good (read: paranoid) 1st time triplet mom, I do a new google search each week: "## wks + triplets" and this week I came across two blogs of women who made it to 37 weeks with their triplets...a good sign, I'm thinking! Here's a picture of the belly, taken on Wed at exactly 28 wks, with the 26 week picture to compare.  It's funny because it's only one day later and I already think I look bigger than this!

A lot of people have been asking how I'm feeling, and my quick answer has been "pretty good, actually".  I've slept more than 5 hrs a night ever since that horrendous stretch of no sleep a few weeks ago, and I've been napping in the afternoons, but that's given me the energy to work on my schoolwork in the morning, which is a very good thing.  Unfortunately, last night saw a return to insomnia land, and I'm REALLY hoping it doesn't last.  My fingers are crossed for tonight!  

Monday, August 19, 2013

Full day of doctor appointments! Latest ultrasound pics

Full day doctor appointments are tiring!  We left our house around 9:30 this morning and got home just a little before five.  We started the day meeting with the NICU social worker, Mindy.  She was very nice and gave us a brief rundown on some things we could expect if our babies have to go to the NiCU. We didn't have a ton of questions but some things were good to know. We learned that up to three people can be at each kiddos bedside in the NICU at a time (not like we will have ever have that many!) and that visiting hours are 24/7.  All visitors have to come in with us, though we can call and give special permission for grandparents to visit on their own, which might be nice.  We also learned that, unfortunately, if all three babies go to the NICU, it is unlikely that they will all be in the same "pod" or area of the NICU, and may even be in three different pods.  The idea behind that is similar to how hosts seat people at restaurants because they don't want to overwhelm a pod with three new babies at once.  But it is a bummer for us because visiting the babies in the NICU will be a little trickier if they aren't right by each other.  They did say they would work to move them closer eventually, but it wouldn't happen right away.  I'm picturing myself following the babies to the NICU right after they are born and wearing a groove in the floor as I go from baby to baby to make sure they are all doing okay.  

After a bit, Mindy took us up to a meeting room where we met with a fellow from Maternal Fetal Medicine, the head of neonatology, the social worker, and the nurse who did our childbirth education sessions.  The fellow from MFM is a guy we met n our first visit and were lessee than impressed with then, and he didn't do anything to change that opinion today, but the neonatologist seemed like a nice, down to earth guy and he was pretty positive about expectations for our babies.  He said that if the babies make it to 35 weeks in utero and are born weighing 4.5 lbs then they won't have to go to the NICU unless there are other concerns.  So that is obviously our goal!  We would love to have triplets that don't have to go to the NICU at all!  

After that meeting Mindy took us on a quick tour of the NICU where we got to see the pods, which really will be a pain because they are around corners from each other, but oh well. We saw lots of little tiny babies in there today.  Their max capacity is 40 babies and they had 38 today so they are pretty busy right now! The NICU is definitely a little intimidating, but is pretty much what we expected I guess.  I've heard only good things from families I work with who were in the Danville NICU so that is comforting.

We were happy we had packed a quinoa salad because we had about ten minutes to eat lunch in the lobby between the tour and the ultrasound.  Michelle has a love-hate relationship with the ultrasounds now because the last two have been pretty uncomfortable for her.  This one was better than the past two, but her restless legs inevitably drive her nuts trying to be still for that long.  It is really getting harder to see what's going on in there because it's just a mess of baby parts in there now!  It was especially hard for the tech to measure baby Bs head because her head is squished between the other two's tough being the middle child already!

Good news is the babies are doing very well. Baby A has regained the lead in size, weighing in at 2lbs12oz, which it's him in the 72nd percentile!  The girls were within a gram of each other, weighing in at 2lbs11oz, so they were in the 63rd percentile.  Keep in mind, all these percentiles are for single babies, so basically they a rock stars!  We are so happy that they are all still growing well!  The doctor told Michelle she is "knocking it out of the park" and to just keep it up and he will see us in four weeks! Here are the pics, which were NOT too easy to get, especially for baby B!

Changing bodies...

I've been thinking a lot about the human body lately.  Michelle's belly is pretty incredible and I'm amazed by the sheer capacity of her uterus, and I know this amazement will only grow over the next couple of months!  The babies have been moving more lately and I can more consistently feel the girls moving around in there and the other day Michelle said she actually saw a kick from baby C. That was a first and I've been excited to see it every since.  Well yesterday was my lucky day.  Again it was baby C coming through with the big kicks. (Maybe she'll be our little soccer or rugby player!) It is hard for me to feel baby A moving because he is so low, and on our ultrasounds lately he is usually facing Michelle's back.  But Michelle can definitely feel baby A when he is moving and it is generally not pleasant because it feels like he is kicking her pelvic floor or her cervix!  Sometimes she will just be sitting at the table and will wince and jump a bit because our little dude is kicking her.
Because of the ever-growing belly Michelle has really had to change her eating habits.  It is a good thing she was a rockstar about eating early on because she can't eat anywhere near 4000 calories now.  As before she has to eat frequently, but can only eat very small portions or she feels sick afterwards.  We are still adjusting to this new reality and Humphrey has gotten a few more people food treats lately, finishing off what Michelle couldn't eat.  She can eat the most in the morning but by the late afternoon evening her digestive system seems to have hit its limit.  It is hard to see her so uncomfortable and not be able to help.
My body has also been changing over the past few months.  I've definitely put on some sympathy pounds (somewhere around 10-15 of them!) and I'm sick of it.  This is completely unsurprising since I haven't been working out and have been eating more with Michelle's attempts to to eat enough for four!  So I've started a Couch to 5k app on my iPhone just to try to get back into the habit of working out. We'll see how it goes, but should be better once I'm officially done with school at the end of the week!
And I don't think I've mentioned it on the blog yet, but in an attempt to solve the "more babies than breasts" issue we are facing, I decided a few months ago that I was going to try to induce lactation.  Lots of women who adopt infants induce lactation so they can breastfeed their new babies so I thought I'd give it a shot.  A few weeks after we found out about the triplets I had a sad night realizing that with three babies, which is already one more than we'd planned on, I wouldn't ever get pregnant and carry a baby.  I was never really sure that was an experience I needed to have, but I was still a little sad about it.  I was also feeling sad about not breastfeeding because I know that it can be such a unique bonding experience.  So we did a little research and when it seemed like inducing lactation was a real possibility, decided to give it a shot.
For the past few months I've been following a protocol that includes taking a nausea medication that has the side effect of inducing lactation.  Six weeks before you expect the babies to arrive you are supposed to start pumping every few hours.  With an average triplet gestation of 32 weeks, we figures I should start at 26 weeks just in case.  So for the past couple of weeks I've been pumping and slowly, but surely, it is working.  I think we're pretty lucky that it is working so quickly and so well because that isn't always the case.  These babies should have quite a stash of breast milk in the freezer by the time they are born, especially if they aren't born until October!  The whole experience of pumping is kind of strange and particularly when there are no babies yet, but when I get annoyed I just think about those babies and how I would do anything for them and it doesn't seem so bad.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

It can be done!

Okay, well, it looks like we can keep the Rav4!  Last night the Chicco KeyFit car seats (read, our last chance) arrived and I installed them in the back of the Rav.  After spending two hours with two different car seat installation gurus I feel like I'm pretty darn good at installing infant car seats.  It took some wrangling, as it always does, but all the bases are secure and I can get all the seats in.  It takes a bit of wiggling, but they fit!  

Now, I have to admit that my initial gut reaction to this was disappointment because I was starting to get excited about getting a Prius V. =)  But, we need to be practical and with all the unknowns we're facing in the coming months and the potential for some big expenses (formula, diapers, etc), unpaid time off work and my student loan payments starting up again, not having a $400/mo car payment seems like a good idea.  Good thing we didn't do anything rash on Friday.  Friday morning, just when we were getting ready to leave for Pittsburgh, the car smelled like a dead animal.  We took it to a dealership in Pittsburgh, and sure enough, the car smelled like THREE dead mice that crawled up into our A/C-heater-blower system and died.  YUK!!!  I seriously considered trading it in right then and there and buying a Prius V!  But cooler heads prevailed (ie Michelle) and we just let them fix it. =)  The new KeyFits are pretty nice looking and should work out just great. And we will just keep this car and run it into the ground and maybe then we'll both have "real jobs" and be able to afford that Prius V. =)  

  Here are the pics of the car seats! We're still going to get them triple-checked by the police officer who originally helped us out, but I'm pretty confident they will pass.  I'm also emailing the car seat "guru", Kelly, the pictures just to make sure she thinks they look okay, but I feel pretty good about them. Even put two big jars of beans in one seat to make sure it didn't seem like too much jostling to get the seats to click in. =)

room for our family of five!! *that still sounds weird to say!
Good thing we aren't very tall!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

And the baby room is complete!!

We've been working on this a little bit at a time for weeks and today we got the last pieces to pull it all together! We hope you enjoy the picture tour of the Therrien triple(t) threat nursery =)
Guess the date calendar from the
Chicago shower that's on the door
Entering the room
Baby A's crib, the dresser/changing table, & the organized closet

Baby B & Baby C's cribs

View from the closet back towards the door

We had fun putting the baby room together and got help from lots of people.  We got the wall decals from a woman in Seattle that we found on Etsy and ended up ordering more after the first set to fill in a few gaps.  We just happened onto the blue and green things hanging from the ceiling over each crib at the local kids resale shop and thought they'd fit in great and be perfect little pseudo-mobiles.  Michelle's sister Tracy helped take off the closet doors and got the curtains for us.  She also helped us sort, wash, and fold baby clothes.  My sister Kate and Michelle's mom Denise both sewed mini-crib sheets for us which was a big help and saved a lot of money.  And our friend (and my boss) Annie sewed the window valance and crib skirts that finished off the room today!  Thanks to everyone who helped us make this room a fun place for our babies!!

26 week belly pics

Sorry these pics are almost a week late, but as some of you know I've been immersed in my advanced practice project, which is my final project for my doctoral progam for the past week or so.  Today I finally turned it in and I am scheduled to defend it on August 23rd.  Then I will officially be done with all the requirements for my Doctorate in Rehabiliation Sciences.  It's been a long 4 years of working full time and going to school, and while I have learned a lot, I am ready to be done.  I would say I'm ready to have my evenings and weekends totally free, but I realize I have a pretty short window before these babies arrive and free-time seems like a thing of the past! =)  

Speaking of a short window, I've had a few mini-panic moments over the last week or so as I realized that these babies could be here in 6 weeks (or even less)!!!  Of course we are hoping it's closer to 9 more weeks, but even that is only two months!!  AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!  (that's a glimpse into what happens in my brain during a mini-panic moment)  =)  I know we are just about as ready as we can be, minus getting our cloth diaper order in, but still, I feel like you probably can't every REALLY be ready for having three babies all at once.  But I know that we will figure it out, just like we've figured out everything else over these past 12 years together.  Oh yeah, I realized that I never posted that August 3rd was our anniversary.  It's been three years since we exchanged vows on a gorgeous deserted beach in Fiji.  Seriously with the number three this year! =)  We both feel incredibly lucky to have the wonderful loving relationship that we have and it seems like we couldn't love each other any more...and then the next day comes, and it seems like our love has grown yet again.   

Our love is kind of like Michelle's belly right now actually. =)  Every day it gets just a little bigger.  A few days go by and we don't pay that much attention to it, and then BAM it hits us how much bigger it is.  This week has really been one of those BAM weeks.  Unfortunately, some of that realization has been brought on by how uncomfortable Michelle is getting.  She now says multiple times a day how heavy her belly is and continues to have trouble getting comfortable.  She has though, been sleeping pretty well for the past couple of weeks so we are both thankful for that small miracle!  Okay, enough are the belly pics you've been waiting for!

24 weeks

26 weeks
(measured 39 weeks pregnant this day)

Hooray!!! I went all photo-shoot style on her
yelling out different feelings or poses =)

Woah!!  How'd my belly get so big?!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Car seat drama continues

Today was the day we met with Kelly, the car seat guru from SafeKids.  We met her in the parking lot of Panera and provided entertainment for the people streaming in and out at lunch today.  We even had a guy come over and ask if he could help us. =)  Once again we spent an hour trying to get our three Graco SnugRides safely installed in the back of the Rav.  Kelly also brought along a Chicco KeyFit and an Evenflo seat to try in combination with the Snugrides.  We thought maybe if we got one seat that was a little higher or lower then the handles wouldn't be as much of a problem, but we weren't able to find a combo that quite worked.  For about 5 minutes we thought we had it, but we had to have the outside two seats angled a bit.  The bases were snug, but Kelly wanted to run it by a colleague so she texted her some pictures.  Sadly, her colleague agreed with our concerns about the angle (something about the rebound angles).

So it looks like we're back to the starting blocks on this.  We're going to go ahead and order three Keyfits to see if that will work.  We are also setting up another visit with Kelly who is going to find her Combi Corcorro and some Diono Radians for us to try in combination with the Keyfits.  And, if all of this fails, then it's time to look at cars.  Michelle and I started doing some initial research in case this eventuality comes to pass.  I think we mentioned in the last post that we were thinking about a used Highlander Hybrid but we've never actually seen one in person.  So, after eating a delicious dinner of sweet corn brown rice risotto, we decided to make a quick run to the local Toyota dealer to see one in person.  We did check one out and you could definitely see the extra four inches of width in the backseat.   But it is big...or at least it feels like it to us!  Jerry, our nice and not so skeezy salesman did tell us how much he appreciates his Sienna minivan though. =)   Both seat 7-8...Sienna's gas mileage is only like 21mpg while the Highlander Hybrid gets closer to 30... (here are pics for comparison)

Before we left the house I'd done some research on the gas mileage and back seat hip widths on a handful of cars.  I noticed that the Prius V hasd an extra inch of hip width and obviously gets way better gas mileage, so while we were at the dealership I thought we'd check it out.  The backseat did indeed look wider to both of us so I asked for a measuring tape.  In the Rav, on both sides there are little plastic pieces that force the outside carseats to be pushed in.  I measured the distance between those pieces in the Rav and it was 39 inches.  Then I measured that same distance in the Prius V and it was 44 inches!  The hip width (between the door handles) is only an inch bigger, but the useable width of the backseat is almost 5 inches wider in car seat terms.  Soooo IF the new car seat options don't work as well as we want them too in the Rav, it looks like the Prius V is a real contender for our next vehicle.  Here's a picture of a Prius V...

Now, before you all leave comments about how we're going to need a minivan or a bigger SUV with more seats for our kids' friends...I want you to know that we know that!  But that is an "eventually" reality and not something we're worried about in the next few years.  We have been a one car family for a few years now and we like it (most of the time).  But we realize that might not be a forever thing, so once Michelle is done with school and has a "real job," and we become a two car family, THEN we can look at vehicles with room for more passengers.  So we have thought about it, and are still thinking about it..  .And we would ideally just be able to save money and keep the Rav...but we will see.  We also want to make sure our babies are safe and that we don't drive ourselves nuts trying to get them in and out of the car.  Any of our readers have a family member or good friend who is a Toyota Dealear?!  Or might have seen a 2012 Prius V Two (ideally in this gray color) for sale near you?! =)  (option two is obviously better if you live in driving distance of us!)

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Special deliveries!!! (no, don't worry...the babies have NOT come yet!)

Wow, getting the mail has been never been more fun than it has in the past couple of months.  We've ordered enough things online and gotten enough packages that we know who delivered the packages by where they are; FedEx delivers at the front door, UPS delivers to the carport, and USPS stuffs things in the mailbox and when they can't manage that it's the carport. This week we got a couple of things we ordered for the baby room including the changing pad and some more organizing bins from IKEA.

Baby closet organization
In July we got some packages from our shower like three portable high chairs, an ergo carrier, and some rumparooz diaper covers.  We also got some unexpected packages which was even more exciting!   Michelle's mom, Denise, sent us another batch of mini-crib sheets, two nightgowns and a cute striped maternity shirt.  Our old rugby teammate Bri sent a package of clothes and other goodies, which was a total surprise!  My mom sent a package of little surprises too; there were a couple of small insulated lunch coolers which will probably come in handy for transporting pumped milk and some yummy dried pineapple and mango!!  My mom and dad also sent a check in our anniversary card saying we had to spend the money on something that will be hard for us to do in a couple months!  (Soooo many things fit into that category that it's hard to decide...a movie, dinner, anything outside our house really!) 

We got a package of diapers and wipes from Alison whose note said "don't send a thank have way too many other things to do!" =)  And a couple weeks ago we got a HUGE box full of baby goodies from Kim, a mom of an adorable little guy I used to work with.  Her son actually looks like a mini-me and was one of my favorite kiddos to work with. =)  Then today we got a check in the mail from Kim's mom with a sweet note that said "You made such a difference in our grandson's and Kim's lives.  We would love to make a small difference in your life. Wishing you the very best in this new adventure of 3 miracles. Enjoy every minute!"  Wow.  So   amazing.  I can't think of a more direct example of karma. =)

Cute baby boy clothes from Bri
We are so grateful for these and all the gifts and general outpouring of support we've received from friends and family near and far.  Speaking of far...I love checking out the "stats" for our blog and seeing that people have checked out our blog in Europe, Russia, China, Australia, Peru, Iceland, and Malaysia!