Tuesday, July 31, 2007

5 Healthy Babies are Here!!

Well Rachelle and Jayson are a little busy right now so I (Cassi- Rachelle's cousin) am posting a quick update on the babies for them. The delivery went well and all 5 babies are healthy. The biggest baby is already in the nursery and the other 4 are in the NICU and doing really really well, they are hardly hooked up to anything, only 2 of them even needed oxygen masks!
Rachelle is also doing well. Here are the weights of the babies from smallest to biggest, and then I'm sure Rachelle or Jayson will be posting again in the next day or so.

Baby B (girl)- 3 lbs 6 oz
Baby E (boy)- 3 lbs 15 oz
Baby D (girl)- 4 lbs 2 oz
Baby C (boy)- 4 lbs 15 oz
Baby A (girl)- 5 lbs 1 oz

Monday, July 30, 2007

11 Hours and Counting...

After all the waiting and anticipation of the big day, it is hard to believe that it is nearly here. I am very ready to not be pregnant anymore, but am a little nervous about everything that will be happening tomorrow.

Apparently, getting ready for a scheduled c-section is an all night process. In about an hour or so, I will have to take a "cleansing" bath to help get rid of any bacteria that might be present. Around midnight, they will come in and put not one, but two IV's in (better safe than sorry is their motto.) Then I will need to take another cleansing bath, in case anything was missed the first time. At 5 am they will take me down to the Labor and Delivery area, where they will continue to prep me. (Don't ask me what they are going to do during those 3 hours before delivery, but they insist that it takes that long!)

The delivery itself should be quite the "birthday" party. There will be three people there for each of the babies. For me, there will be Dr. Park, who is the resident that will actually be doing the slicing, Dr. Elliott, and another doctor doing a fellowship with the practice, Dr. Freeman. Then there will be a couple of nurses for me as well as the anesthesiologist. In addition to the medical people, there will be two videographers and a still photographer from the hospital PR. Last, but definitely not least, there will be my husband, Jayson, and hopefully my Mom and my Aunt. There is a separate viewing room (which doesn't really have a view of me, more of the babies once they are delivered and in their incubators) where my kids, dad and other family members can watch some of the excitement.

I can't wait to meet all these little ones and I hope that all will go well with the delivery for both the babies and myself. I can't express how grateful I am for all the prayers and support that we have received throughout the pregnancy!!! Stay tuned for pictures of the Wilkinson Quints!!!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

No Wonder I Feel Huge....

After several hours of waiting, I finally had my growth ultrasound this afternoon. The results from the ultrasound are fed into another computer where they are analyzed by a different program that the doctors like better, so it takes a few hours after the ultrasound to find out the results. But, I am happy to say, that the results are finally in! The purpose of the ultrasound was to check growth and to also do something called a biophysical profile or BPP. The BPP looks at baby movement, whether or not the babies are practicing breathing like they are supposed to at this stage, heart beats, and amniotic fluid. All five babies scored 8 out of 8 on this part. The babies also appear to be growing just fine. Before I list the estimated baby weights, let me just give the disclaimer that these are just estimates and have the potential to be off by a bit. They measure the babies head circumference, abdominal circumference and femur length and then the computer program uses these measurements to come up with the estimated baby weight. According to today's ultrasound, the babies estimated weights are:

4 lb 11 oz
4 lb 12 oz
4 lb 12 oz
4 lb 8 oz
5 lb 9 oz (yikes!!!)

I was told that the last baby had a large head, so that could be throwing off the measurement just little bit. Looking at the weights is actually kind of scary! Considering I have five babies in there, these weights seem HUGE! Especially since they have 5 days and 11 hours more to grow (not that I am counting down or anything). It is no wonder that I sometimes feel like my tummy is going to split open :-)

When I started this journey, I did have some aspirations to break the quint gestational age record. Over the past couple of weeks, however, I gave up on that idea and decided 34 weeks was plenty. If these estimated baby weights are even close to the actual baby weights, I do have good shot at breaking the quint birth weight records. The current record for the heaviest quint birth weight, all combined, is 21 lb 1.2 oz. The heaviest quint birth weight for a single baby is 5 lb 1.6 oz.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

33 Weeks Today!! (7 more days to go)

Today marks 33 weeks! Just 7 more days until delivery, barring any unforeseen changes in my condition. I am actually amazed that I have made it this far. At the beginning of our journey, I had hoped and aimed for 34 weeks, but based on the statistics, thought that it would be unlikely that I would actually get there. I know that I have been very blessed to have made it this far, and to have spent so little time in the hospital, compared to other multiples moms. The doctor has also said that he will not put me on the mag again to stop contractions, which is another huge blessing. Again, I am so grateful for the many prayers on our behalf, many from people we don't even know, that have gotten us to where we are today.

My days are all pretty much the same. I am so large now that the only way to get semi-comfortable is to lay on one side or the other. When I am on my left side, I watch video's (I finished Gilmore Girls and am now working on Alias) and read emails. When I am on my right side I read books (I am 300 pages into Harry Potter). Eating meals is interesting, since I can't actually sit upright anymore--there is too much in the way. I try to sit up as much as I can, then I spread a big napkin over myself to catch anything that falls on the way to my mouth. The day we had spaghetti, my mess could have competed with that of a two-year-old. I love it when visitors come because it makes the time go by faster. It has been nice having my husband here this past week. My mom also makes it out to visit me several times a week, as does my aunt Jeanie. My kids like to come and visit, but I think it is more for the snacks and lemonade that I save them than it is for me :-)

Other than visitors, my favorite part of the day is still the "hydro-therapy" bath. I used to go down to the 3rd floor for the hydro because the tub up here on the 5th floor was broken. They fixed the tub up here a few days ago, however, so now I use it. The tub on the 3rd floor is shaped kind of like a little boat. The sides have doors to make getting in easier. The tub is filled part way before getting in, then the door is put back on the the tub is filled the rest of the way. The tub on the 5th floor is a little bit different, however. The tub itself is just a big, deep, tub---no doors so it can be filled all the way before getting in. There is a chair that I sit in that raises me up and over the tub and then lowers me down into the water. The first time I used it, I had a hard time not laughing the whole time. The noise the chair makes while rising sounds like a ride a Disneyland or something. You almost think that once you get to the top, the chair is going to drop suddenly. Fortunately, it doesn't, but it feels pretty silly to be up in the air in this chair, especially considering that it's purpose is to get me into the bath---so no clothes on! But once I finally get in the bath, it feels great! I am determined to get a picture of this tub before I leave here.

I have another growth ultrasound tomorrow and am anxious to see how much the babies have grown in the past two weeks. We also get to meet with one of the Neonatologists to talk about what happens with the babies after they are born. I will post the estimated weights tomorrow.

I just got a visit from Dr. Elliott a few minutes ago and he said that they are moving up my delivery time from 10 am to 8 am. As I type this, it is about 9 am, which means that at this same time next week, I will have babies!!! Kind of exciting to think about!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

The Countdown has Begun!

My doctor has officially set a date and time for the delivery. July 31st at 10:00 am. So, as I write this, I have 12 days to go. To be honest, I was ready to give up on the whole "34 week" idea and I tried to talk my doctor into delivering me next week sometime (which would only have been a few days early, but something about not going another weekend seemed appealing), but he wouldn't budge from our original goal. Even though I have had this date in mind the entire pregnancy, it is nice to have things specifically scheduled to occur. Of course if something goes wrong before the 31st they will deliver me then.

Today I am 32 weeks and 2 days. Once I reached the 32 week milestone, I really felt I could breath a sigh of relief. At 32 weeks, the babies have an excellent chance for both survival and for not having any long term disabilities. At this point, they (the babies) just start putting on some fat. Another really great thing about hitting 32 weeks is that if I go into real labor, they will not put me on the mag!!!! At that point, they would just deliver me instead of putting me through the torture of the medication.

All things considered, I am still doing amazingly well. I continue to have a lot more contractions than they would like (six or less in an hour is ideal---I usually have 8-12). However, the contractions don't appear to be changing anything, so that is good. I am supposed to monitor for an hour in the morning and an hour in the evening, but instead a typical monitoring session goes something like this: I monitor for one hour, I have too many contractions, they try some different medications and monitor some more, I still have too many contractions, they call the resident down to check my cervix, my cervix has not changed so they decide that I can be taken off the monitor. The whole process takes several hours, which isn't so bad during the day, but can be frustrating during the night, when it takes until 1 or 2 in the morning to decide that I can be taken off the monitor and allowed to go to sleep! Fortunately my day schedule usually allows for me to catch up on the missed sleep.

My husband, Jayson, arrived in Phoenix yesterday. Besides the fact that is wonderful to have him here, it also helps me to breath easier, knowing that if something happens and I need to deliver quickly that he will be here for it. My kids are also really excited to have their dad around.

This past week, Jayson's Aunt Linda and Aunt Victoria have been at our house in Austin unpacking boxes, decorating, and making our house livable. I am so grateful for their generosity!!! Jayson brought pictures of the "makeover" and the house looks great! Before their visit, the house was really disorganized and had boxes everywhere. Now we actually have a beautiful home to return to when the time is right. They spent a lot of time getting Riley and Kaiya's rooms painted, decorated, and organized as well as doing a complete laundry room makeover. I can't wait to see things in person. Now that Jayson is gone, my friend Natalie is taking the reigns to make sure that the builder fixes all the little things that were installed incorrectly on the house. We are so blessed to have such wonderful friends and family!!!!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

A Post from the Luxury Suite at Banner Good Samaritan

I finally figured out how to get on the internet from my room. Of course it helps that I am not whacked out on heavy duty drugs at the moment! That was certainly not fun. Hopefully I won't have to repeat the mag anytime in the near future. But for now, I am am feeling great (other than feeling really large!). Today they moved me to my "permanent" room on the antepartdom floor. All things considered, the room is not too bad and even comes with a mini fridge and entertainment armoir. I also had an ultrasound today to monitor the babies growth. I am happy to say that all the babies are growing well and are right around normal for 31 weeks gestation. The five babies weights were:

4 lb 2 oz
3 lb 5 oz
3 lb 9 oz
3 lb 10 oz
4 lb 3 oz

The smallest one is the one on the bottom of the pile, so it is understandable that she is smaller than the rest. Still she made it into the 35th percentile for 31 weeks gestation, so that isn't bad. The two 4 lbs-ers were both over 50th percentile for their age.

So, with all this baby in me, you can probably guess that I feel HUGE---kind of like a balloon about to explode. But I know I have to hang in there a few weeks more, so I am sure I will look back fondly at these days as the days when I was "little". OK, that might be exaggerating things just a bit. Not only do I have lots of baby weight in me, I have also gained 8 lbs since I have been in the hospital. Considering I didn't eat anything for the first three days, that only leaves one explanation----water weight! My feet, ankles, legs, etc. have gotten huge in the last few days. They hook me up to these machines that basically have a series of balloons the blow up around my legs and are supposed to help circulation. They also look stylishly like white moon boots.

My favorite part of the day here is when I get to go for "hydrotherapy". This is just a big tub that, yes, even I can fit in. The water is supposed to help keep up the babies amniotic fluid and hopefully help some of my swelling. It is very relaxing, so whatever the reason for the tub, I am quite fond of "hydrotherapy".

I have been very lucky since I have been in here to have many visits from my mom, aunts, kids, cousins and husband. It really helps pass the time--especially now that I am not so drugged up. I am so grateful for all the the kinds emails and comments that I have received from many of you----they really boost my spirits. It is not the easiest thing to sit up and type, so I many not get all the email's answered, but please know how much I appreciate them.

Please keep our family in your prayers! I will try to post when I can, but Jayson will make sure that the updates stay regular!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Status of Rachelle on July 10 much better

Today marks 31 Weeks with only three more to go and Rachelle is feeling much better.

After the long and painful few days, Rachelle is off the magnesium and the contractions have slowed a lot. She is feeling much better and can actually get out of bed on her own. One of the problems she was having over the last few days was with breathing. She was really struggling to breath and constantly sounded like she was running a marathon (which, in a way, she is) when I talked with her. The doctors didn't like that but she was able to get over it by this morning. The doctor is still pushing for 34 weeks and Rachelle is, now, a little bit unsure if she can make it that long.

I guess that it is hard to understand unless you actually go through it but apparently being on the magnesium is really awful as many multiples moms can attest. However, it seemed to work and she appears to be stable again. The fact that she has not yet delivered the babies reminds me of why we had her go to Phoenix in the first place. We knew that her doctor, Dr. Elliott, would push her through the awful part no matter how much she hated it. He told us that early on and he is holding true to it (which I am sure we will thank him for later...after the memory of the pain is gone). I think she was just a little overwhelmed and shocked when he came in and told her that 34 weeks was still the goal when she was in utter agony at 30 and one half weeks. Normally, three and a half weeks doesn't seem like a very long time but it seems a little longer when it is three weeks of torture. Fortunately the torture has gone down but there is always that threat of it looming over her. I don't blame her for starting to doubt but I am still confident that if anyone can do it, she can.

Thanks again for all your prayers.

Jayson (Writing for Rachelle)

Monday, July 9, 2007

Finally in the hospital

(For a slightly more up to date post done on the evening of July 9th, see Jayson's blog by clicking here)

Well, Rachelle can't write anything because she is in the hospital and not feeling too well so she asked me (Jayson) to write it for her. I decided that I am going to try to give daily updates here from now on so you can know what is going on. On Friday of last week, Rachelle "failed" two of her home monitoring tests so they had her come in to the hospital. When she got there, they decided to start her on the magnesium. At first, she felt fine but they found that it wasn't stopping the contractions so they upped the dosage a lot. By Saturday night she felt really sick and the contractions were not slowing much. The nurses thought that she might have to have those babies before the weekend was out.

I spent Sunday with her and she wasn't feeling particularly well. When we initially "signed on" with Dr. Elliott in Arizona, he told us that there would come a time when Rachelle would beg to be done with the whole thing despite all our goals. Up until Sunday, we couldn't imagine that. Now, however, we see what that is like. She is really miserable but hanging in there for now. She will go as long as her body takes her. Right now, we are really hoping to make it to 32 weeks which would be July 17th. If we can make it to that, we will then see what it would take to make it to 34 weeks. Right now, the next 48 hours are fairly critical and if they can't stop the contractions, then we might just have to have them sooner rather than later. The good thing is that she is far enough along that the babies all have a pretty good chance of being just fine (provided they have enough room for them in the NICU).

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

30 Weeks Today!!

Today I am 30 weeks! I have made it to another milestone on my journey. I always love Tuesdays, because that is the day the "week" number changes. I was reading the blog of Suzanne, another Texas gal who is pregnant with quads, and she had a link to this chart, which I found interesting:


The chart shows outcomes for premature infants by gestational age. The highest the chart goes is 30+ weeks, but the 30 week data is pretty great. I know that at 32 weeks, the stats get even better, so when I reach 32 weeks I will breath a sigh of relief. After 32 weeks, every day the babies stay put is worth three days in the NICU, so I am still aiming for my 34 week goal. It is hard to believe that it is only 4 weeks away---that in all likelihood the babies will be born this month.

This was a week of visitors. First to come was my friend Natalie from Austin and her sister Katie. They were in town for their sister's wedding. The first thing Natalie says to me when she sees me is, "Wow, you are HUGE!!!" I think everybody needs a friend who just tells is like it is! She took some pictures while she was here. She didn't send them to me, but she did pass them on to my husband---he posted one on his blog this week at: http://www.wilkinsonquints.org/blog/jaysonblog.html.

Next to arrive was my sister-in-law, Alicia, and her husband and two kids. They have been watching Riley and Kaiya for the past two weeks in St. George, Utah. We haven't gotten together in about 2.5 years, so it was really great to see them again. They are wonderful for taking in my kids for two weeks. Riley and Kaiya had a great time at their house and loved getting to know their cousins who they don't see very often.

Of course one of the best parts about Alicia coming is that she brought my kids back! It was wonderful to see them again. It had been about five weeks since I last saw them and I really missed their sweet personalities and cute smiles. Both of them gave me a big hug and then hugged my belly and kissed it once for each baby. I had forgotten how much energy they have, especially in contrast to my life on the couch! Riley has found it particularly hilarious that I have to go to the bathroom so frequently. He asked me why and I told him that the babies were always kicking my bladder. He thought that was hilarious and he proceeded to go around the house, giggling and telling everyone what I had told him. Finally, someone asked him what a bladder was. He thought about it for a second and replied, "I have no idea!"

After Alicia and her family left, Jayson's Aunt Gloria and Uncle Larry along with their son Danny and his family arrived. I had actually never met them, so it was wonderful to finally put some names with some faces. Aunt Gloria is very generous and came bearing all sorts of baby gifts. She is awesome!

The last person to arrive was my mother. She is planning on staying here until after the babies are born, for which I am so grateful! She is such a big help with my kids and with other things around the house, not to mention what a great support she is to me. She also concurred with Natalie's assessment of my belly and has been taking pictures of it every chance she gets. I'll try to post one soon.

My next visitor arrives tomorrow----my husband, Jayson! I am very excited to have him come, since I haven't seen him in over 5 weeks. It has been hard to be seperated from those that I love most during this pregnancy, but I am confident that this is where I am supposed to be, and that this is where the babies will have the best possible chance. I know that the sacrifices my family are making will all be worth it in the end.