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Keepin’ It Real Rewinds 14 – Finding Out the Gender in a Quad Pregnancy

oh Boy

Picking up from where I left off last Rewind

“But wait, there was another surprise in store for us during the ultrasound.This surprise was responsible for putting the largest smile on my husbands face that I have ever witnessed and nearly gave me a heart attack.  All of this before heading in to a major surgery…”

Our ultrasound technician (who was absolutely fabulous) looked me in the eyes and said, “You want to find out what your having, right?” 

We had been surprised enough already in this pregnancy, YES! of course we wanted to find out! In our minds we were thinking 2 and 2 would be perfect scenario. 1 girl 3 boys perhaps, or maybe the other way around.  I never imagined them being all one sex, although I’m sure Brad silently dreamed of having all 4 boys as the ultimate scenario. 

Honestly, I had always pictured myself as a mother of a daughter.  I babysat most often for girls, I understood “the pink love language”, I cherished my own relationship with my mother, and looked forward to having that closeness with my own daughter. Boys seemed almost foreign to me, even though I had two older brothers. Although I desired to have a son someday, I never imagined I would be a mother of a handful of BOYS. 

What a sense of humor God has!

My 13 week pregnant body lay motionless on the ultrasound table anticipating the news. After completing the heartbeat count, Amberlee began scanning my belly that was just beginning to swell and reveal the life inside of me.

“Baby A is a … BOY.” (Thrilled.)

“Baby D is …looks like… a BOY too.” (Oh wow, 2 boys?)

“Baby B is …” (finding out B’s gender was finding out 2 at once since Baby B and C were identical twins)

A pause followed that seemed longer than a lifetime.

“Baby B is definitely a BOY.”

“Let’s check Baby A again… Yeah…looks to be. It’s still early it could be too soon to know for absolute sure even on a high-resolution machine.” (I think she really wanted to find a girl in there for me!)

Suddenly the room felt like it was spinning.  I felt hot, uncomfortable, and scared to death.  I looked over at Brad for some comfort, and immediately spotted his mile-wide grin.  The man had just won the lottery.  He was beaming, giggling, literally cheering, and just plain giddy.  I smiled sheepishly back at him.

I was about to be prepped for surgery to hopefully allow 4 BOYS a better shot at survival.  Suddenly, the thought of being a mother of all boys took precedence over my fears of the TAC surgery. 

My life had once again taken a completely different turn than I had expected.  I had SONS. Four boys who could live to carry on my husband’s name. 

Four boys for whom I would put my life on the line for…

QuatroMama

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Keepin’ It Real Rewinds 13 – TAC Surgery

My sincere apologies for the extended break I took from the Keepin’ It Real Rewinds series.  Too often I find myself consumed by the present to recollect the past.  However, I am often reminded of the true miracles that surround me daily, and I feel compelled to share the story of God’s grace and goodness with all of you.

Let’s rewind to about week 13 of my quad pregnancy when I was preparing for one of the scariest days of my life…

imageI’ve written before about my prenatal Transabdominal Cerclage Surgery in the past, but without getting too terribly medical, it’s a surgery that involves a c-section incision, momentarily pulling the bladder and uterus outside the body, and placing a band that lassos around the uterus in an effort to keep the babies gestating inside the uterus for as long as possible.  My high risk obstetrician has performed more than anyone in the world and is leading the research field in this procedure significantly decreasing the risks of cervical incompetence and pre-term labor.

We wanted to do anything and everything humanly possible to keep the babies growing inside of me for as long as my body would allow.  Although there was no proof that my cervix wouldn’t be able to hold the pressure of 4 babies, to us it wasn’t worth the risk of finding out through losing the pregnancy before viability.  We talked to several mothers who had lost babies to cervical incompetence, and those who had successful pregnancies post TAC. We carefully weighed the risks and prayed fervently, and in the end felt strongly compelled to go through with this involved procedure.

On Friday September 22, 2006 the morning of my scheduled surgery, I woke up to bleeding, and feeling like I may have been losing one or more of the babies.  We loaded my packed suitcases and headed in for an ultrasound, not knowing what we might find.  Would there be 4 heartbeats?  3? 1?

Please Lord, let there be at least one! 

My desire to be a mother had never been stronger. Although fear surrounded me, there was a sense of peace and calm that surrounded Brad and I the entire day. God’s grace was present once again in our uncertainties.

I laid on the examination table, staring intently at the screen, searching for heartbeats and counting them in my head, and waiting for our ultrasound tech to confirm my untrained eyes.

Baby A. Baby B. Baby C. Baby D.

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Four strong beating heartbeats.  Four little lives that I desperately wanted to do anything in my power to save. Four little beings that represented my own flesh and blood, yet formed by the Creator of the Universe.

But wait, there was another surprise in store for us during the ultrasound.

This surprise was responsible for putting the largest smile on my husbands face that I have ever witnessed and nearly gave me a heart attack. 

All of this before heading in to a major surgery…

image

If you would like to read my account of our journey through infertility and an extreme high-risk pregnancy, I’ve linked each post.  I hope that it is an encouragement for any of you who may be experiencing this difficult road. There’s more to come…

The Prequel

KIRR 01: My Heart to Have Children

KIRR 02: Infertility 101

KIRR 03: Infertility 201

KIRR 04: HSG, Hormones, and PCOS Rollercoaster

KIRR 05: BFN (Big Fat Negative)

KIRR 06: BFP (Big Fat Positive)

KIRR 07: Spreading the News

KIRR 08: Just Triplets

KIRR 09: Reserved Excitement

KIRR 10: Raising the Risks – Quadruplets with Mono Mono Twinning

KIRR 11: Questioning Everything

KIRR 12: 1st Trimester

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Keepin’ It Real Rewinds 12

First Trimester:

Although it’s a bit of a blur now, the uncertain days of the first trimester seemed to last a lifetime.  Every week, we returned to my RE (Reproductive Endocrinologist) to complete blood work and count heartbeats while we held our breaths. Although we knew that one or more of the embryos disappearing or absorbing would be a more favorable outlook for the rest of the babies; We breathed a sigh of relief each time the fourth heartbeat was accounted for, knowing that God had chosen to sustain life yet another week.

Ultimately I chose to trust God’s sovereignty in each of those growing little bodies, but I struggled every single day with our circumstances.  I attempted to prepare myself for the worst case scenario, yet I wanted to believe that God could save all of them. He was the God of miracles, right?  He would work all things according to His purpose. He promised to do so, but I wrestled with trusting Him completely.

Because of the increased risk due to the mono-mono complication and the fragility of a high order multiple pregnancy, we kept a very short-list of people who knew about our quadruplet pregnancy during the first trimester.  It was SUCH an involved, complex, emotionally-loaded, time consuming, conversation.  (In fact, I’m STILL explaining Monoamniotic Monochorionic Twins, over two years later!) The idea of triplets was daunting enough without throwing in another number and complication that we ourselves didn’t understand completely. Looking back, would I let more people be "in the know"?  Perhaps. I think it was our coping strategy to deal with the exponential unknowns.

Physically, I was handling the demands of a multiple pregnancy incredibly well.  Although I dealt with serious fatigue and fell asleep to the music of Final Jeopardy most evenings, I was able to keep meals snacks down with ease.I even went the whole trimester without purchasing a single maternity clothing item. (Thanks to the rubber band trick I learned from Natalie!) Working my speech therapy job at the school was tiring, but I enjoyed the distraction of the kids, and the support of my colleagues. 

Towards the end of the first trimester, I was referred to our perinatologist, Dr. Sumners, who would take over my care exclusively.  If I remember correctly our initial appointment went well over 3 hours. (Our doctor was in an emergency c-section for a woman having her 14th baby. Apparently there’s no stopping the fourteenth!) However, our prolonged wait was no accident. A photographer was in the office doing a shoot for an upcoming brochure, featuring 10 month old QUADRUPLETS on the cover!  While we waited, we were able to observe them interacting, and interrogate ask their mom a million questions about her own experience. We could hardly believe our eyes!  We barely knew quadruplets existed before now, and here they were right before our very eyes smiling, climbing, giggling, ALIVE and HEALTHY!  So incredibly healthy! 

Meeting Denise and her babies became our "living proof" that with God all things are possible and filled us with a new hope…

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