Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The Big Day!

Well, the big day had finally arrived. The day of our midterm ultrasound. Luke stayed overnight with Grammy and Poppy’s house so that we could arrive at AGH this morning, bright and early. Our sonogram was scheduled for 8:00am. We only got about 6 hours of sleep last night due to some issues with our fairly new hot water tank leaking, but I think we were running on pure adrenaline this morning anyways – lets get there, see our babies and move on! I have to admit that the anticipation leading up to this ultrasound, as I’ve mentioned before, has been quite great and scary. The potential for anatomical malformations was a very real possibility. John and I both knew this, yet knowing it didn’t make the wait for the ultrasound any easier. I just wanted it to be over with. My prayer the last few days was for that “peace that passes all understanding” mentioned in Philippians 4:7. I prayed it would rest on both John and I and our family and friends as we began to see the babies and hear the results of what we were seeing. We had a wonderful ultrasound technician named Nicole. She was very kind and did a great job of explaining everything she was doing and very informative in detailing what we were seeing. We talked a lot through the ultrasound, not only about the babies but about other things as well just to help pass the time. I was really thankful for such a kind and caring technician.

As the ultrasound began, she started by doing just a quick scan of all four babies, showing us all four and their location. She likened the uterus to an apartment – poor Baby A is the first baby and furthest down closest to the cervix – the small, cramped basement apartment building. This baby is positioned transversely at this point (that is, laying left to right). Baby B is just above Baby A and is also laying transversely. Baby C is in the upper left quadrant and is breach (laying vertically, feet first) as of now and Baby D is in the upper right quadrant (loving referred to by Nicole as the “penthouse suite”!) and was actually moving so much, I don’t even remember what position it was in! Nicole was very certain to take the time to show us each and every detail of Baby A just so that we could familiarize ourselves with what she and we would be looking for so Baby A took a little longer than the rest. Ultrasound is such a common thing today – it’s easy to forget what a miracle this tool is in allowing us to see the development of these little lives as they progress! We saw many of the anatomical parts of the baby – lenses (eyes), the heart with all four chambers, left and right arm and leg bones, the lobes of the brain, ears, feet, fingers, kidneys and many other internal and external features. At the end of the anatomical review, she asked “would you like to know the gender of the babies?” John and I both gave a resounding “yes!” Baby A is a beautiful, healthy looking little boy! Hallelujah – a playmate and boy buddy for Luke! We moved onto Baby B and Nicole did the same, meticulous review of this baby and all of the same anatomy. Again, a baby that appears to be strong and progressing nicely! Baby B is a beautiful little girl! I can almost hear the Wible/Lemonovich women giving a collective “yahoo!” from here! We took a slight break and went onto to do Baby C and Baby D. We finally get the word from Nicole that she is finished and after about 3 hours – we hear the news that we were praying for. All four babies look very good, have beautifully growing hearts and all appear to be anatomically sound! It was sheer joy and thanksgiving to God that John and I felt for this wonderful news. We learned that Baby C is also a girl as well as Baby D. So….for a recap….that’s 3 girls and 1 boy!
Although knowing the genders of the babies is so exciting, it is inconsequential to hearing that so far, they appear to be healthy and progressing nicely. The most heartwarming part of the whole morning was seeing Baby D. Nicole said she appeared to be very “feisty” and was moving around like crazy. The reason this is so incredible is because this is the baby that they initially told us they thought would naturally miscarry as she was behind significantly in her development around the 8th week or so. If she did not miscarry and if we had decided to “selectively reduce” one or two of the babies to try and guarantee health to the other two babies, Baby D is definitely one of the babies they would have suggested reducing. And now…here we are…watching this feisty little girl kick and wiggle and show what a fighter she is. I thought about her the whole rest of the day. Just proof that God keeps his promises…he will never leave or forsake us…we can take that to the bank!

Here’s the measurements as of today for all four babies:

Baby A – boy – 10 oz.
Baby B – girl – 11 oz.
Baby C – girl – 11 oz.
Baby D – girl – 10 oz.

All four babies measure, crown to rump, approximately 9-10” at this point.

Dr. Thomas came in at the end of the ultrasound to tie up a few loose ends. Baby D was hiding under my ribs and he wasn’t able to get a good picture of her spine so at my next appointment, he’s going to try again to get another snapshot. We met with Dr. Thomas for awhile after the ultrasound to do administrative things like blood pressure, weight check, etc. The good news is that I’ve gained an additional 9 pounds, so as of today, I’ve officially gained back all of the 18 pounds I’d lost from being so sick and dehydrated between weeks 5 – 14. I am officially 19 weeks pregnant as of today, but my stomach measures that of a woman at 29 weeks! I’m definitely growing! J

Dr. Thomas said that I need to keep eating as much as possible – roughly 4000 – 4500 calories per day! I need to eat lots of proteins and lots of high fat, high carbohydrate products. Great, right?!?!? This may sound funny, but I’m actually tired of eating! I feel like all I do is eat – actually, it is all I do these days! He informed us that typically, quadruplets progress at about the same rate as singletons up until around the 30th week. It is at this point that the mother is incapable of taking in enough calories to keep up the rate of growth as a singleton, so the babies growth rates tends to taper off at this point for quads. Not to mention the fact that there are four babies inhabiting that tiny space so it’s just not possible for much more growth to take place. He cautioned me strongly against lifting Luke or anything of any substantial weight from this point forward. He confirmed that weeks 18-23 weeks is the most common period for miscarriage in quads so I need to be careful with my movements and be mindful of my awkward center of balance at this point. He also cautioned me against being outside too much now that the warmer weather is approaching. I am at a high risk for dehydration and sun poisoning. So, no nice brown suntan for me this summer! Dr. Thomas did also mention that because my job doesn’t require any physical exertion and I sit all day, I can probably continue working through at least 28 weeks unless some complication would arise. I was glad to hear this – work gives me something else to think about other than myself! J

I’m scheduled to go back to see Dr. Thomas every two weeks for now. I’ll continue to have ultrasounds at each visit so that they can continue to monitor the babies progress as well as mine.

After a nice big lunch (yep, time to eat again!), we headed upstairs to the NICU for our tour and meeting with Dr. Guthrie. I’m sorry folks, but after getting up so early and having such an emotional day, John and I are physically and mentally exhausted, so we’re going to head off to bed. I’ll do another post though tomorrow about the NICU experience.

Thank you all SOOOOOOO much for your prayers and support as we approached this big day. We’re definitely not out of the woods yet by any means, but today went a long way towards increasing our confidence, easing our minds and strengthening us for the journey ahead.


Carrie, John, Luke and the Lemonovich Quads

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Houston....we have a KICK!!!

Mom and Dad stopped over last night to watch the Penguin game. We were sitting on the couch when all of a sudden, I felt one of my four little peanuts give me a quick kick in the tummy! I had just enjoyed some ice cream so maybe he/she was trying to tell me that they love ice cream as much as I do!

Anyways, that's the first real movement I've felt so far. How exciting to know that my little ones are growing and becoming more and more active! I say that now of course...ask me how I feel about it in a month or two when all four of them are duking it out in my tummy like the Pens vs. the Rangers!

I can't believe all of the wonderful responses we've had to our blog. I'm absolutely floored by it all. It warms my heart so much to know that there are so many friends and family (not to mention people we don't even know!) out there that are praying for our family. How truly blessed we are and how good is our God to share these blessings with us! Thank you to everyone!

Only 5 days until the big ultrasound...keep us in your prayers! :)

Monday, April 21, 2008

Frequently Asked Questions...

We've been asked so many questions about my quadruplet pregnancy throughout the past 3 months, that I thought I'd take a few moments here to answer a few of the most common ones for you.

1. Are you going to find out the gender of the babies?
Yes! For those of you who remember my first pregnancy, I really had no interest in finding out if it was a boy or a girl. I felt exactly the same way - until I found out we were having quadruplets! We will find out the gender of the babies on April 30th at our ultrasound. As I mentioned in my first post, there are a lot of ladies on both sides of the Wible/Lemonovich clan who are praying for at least one girl!

2. Do you know if the quads are fraternal or identical?
Dr. Thomas felt pretty confident at our second ultrasound that the quads are fraternal. He showed us on the monitor that there was a definite membrane between each of the sacs separating the babies, so in all likelihood, they are fraternal.

3. Will you need to go on bedrest? Move into the hospital at some point?
I talked about this with Dr. Golde at my last appointment. Partial or even complete bedrest is not an definite thing. As with so many other parts of this pregnancy, it's a "wait and see thing". If any complications arise, such as the start of pre-term labor, some form of bedrest is a definite possibility. However, full time hospitalization at some point is a definite. I'm DREADING this but just keep trying to remind myself that it is for the good of myself and
the babies and that it's just short term. Dr. Golde thought that I would probably need to move into AGH at some point between 24 and 28 weeks. Again though, a lot could change between now and then so we're trying to remain flexible for whatever comes our way.

4. Are you planning on moving to a new house?
At this point, we aren't sure. We've gotten our house ready to sell just in case we see a house that we think would perfectly fit our needs. However, we still haven't found that place as of yet. Our two biggest "must haves" at this point are location (we're hoping to get closer to the Bridgeville area) and space (a large game room with padded walls would be great!) And oh yeah, at least 4 bedrooms! We've looked at one or two homes that would be great, but we're not quite ready to move on any of them yet. If we don't move, our home here in Moon Township is big enough to accomodate us for awhile until we find just the right place.

5. Do you watch the TLC show, "Jon&Kate+Eight"?
My husband John enjoys watching this show to see all of the craziness that can occur in a household with 8 kids! I personally am not crazy about the show because I'm not really sure that it gives a realistic picture of what life is like with a family of higher order multiples. For example, one episode is focused on Kate going out and getting a new wardrobe? Hmmmm....I don't think there is a new wardrobe in my future anytime soon! I suppose it's all in good fun though. Hey - if I could get all of that money for having a TV show document my wild and crazy life with multiples, I'm sure I'd do the same thing!

6. Have you felt the babies move yet?
No, not yet - although I'm expecting this to start any day now! Dr. Celebrezze to me that I would probably begin to feel movement anywhere between 16-20 weeks. I can't even imagine what it will feel like to have 4 children kicking inside of me (think about that: 8 feet AND 8 hands kicking and punching!) Nonetheless, the thought of those tiny lives moving inside of me is thrilling :)

7. What kind of car will you have to get to hold 7 people?
We have no idea quite yet! John has been reading up on this and looking for some of the options that are out there. Minivans and SUV's are definitely something we may be able to consider, but it's not just about holding 7 people. It's got to be a vehicle that comfortably and safely holds 5 carseats. This could be a tight squeeze! Unfortunately, a passenger or conversion van is probably our most practical option. Oh well...gone are the days of chosing things just because they look good! It's now all about practicality and functionality. I'll drive whatever John chooses - can I at least get the passenger van in bright red????

8. Have you picked any names yet?
Not really. We have a few names that we both like, but we've really not even talked much about this yet. I think we both figure we'll wait until after we find out the gender of the babies on April 30th before starting to talk about this.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Our First Post!!!

I can't believe it! We're finally posting our first post! John and I have been so busy but this site is so very important to us because it gives us a chance to keep all of you - our wonderful family and friends - a place to catch up with us and see how we're doing, what's new, what's needed, what we'd like to have you pray for on our behalf and a million other things!

Life has been so incredibly hectic since February 4th, 2008 - John and I lovingly refer to it as "the day that changed our lives forever"- the day we were told I was pregnant with quadruplets. I found out about being pregnant in mid January but had no idea I was pregnant with four. The past 2 1/2 months have been the most frightening yet exciting months of our lives. The entire month of February is actually a blur...between the endless appointments with specialist upon specialist and then second opinions followed by my incredible sickness and dehydration, I wasn't sure we were ever going to make it to this point. But God has been gracious and through the miracles of modern medicine and the wonderful care of my 3 doctors - Thomas, Celebrezze and Golde - I am finally at a point where I'm able to focus on the babies more than myself! We will be delivering the babies at Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh. As I mentioned above, I have found a group of three fantastic doctors who have really taken "the glass is half full" approach with us. There is so much about having higher order multiples (HOM) that is downright bone chillingly frightening when you consider the statistics and the possible outcomes, but my doctors have been very honest, yet very positive with us. God has truly blessed us with these caring physicians.

I am currently 16 weeks and 5 days pregnant. At my appointment last week, Dr. Golde measured my stomach and said that although I am only 16 weeks, I'm actually measuring 22 weeks at this point. Statistics say that by the time I reach my 24th week, I will actually measure the size of woman who is full term with a singleton at 40 weeks of pregnancy. Can you imagine?!?!? The average gestational age of quads when they are born is 29 1/2 weeks. There just isn't enough room in there for them to remain in the womb too much longer than that. I'm praying they don't decide to duke it out for space in there or I might have some pretty uncomfortable days coming up! :) My doctors are hoping to get me to at least 31 weeks with anything longer than that being "gravy" in the words of my dear Dr. Thomas! I am supposed to gain 75-100 pounds (that still boggles my mind) through the pregnancy, although I initially lost 18 pounds due to illness. I'm finally gaining weight now that I can eat and drink again thanks to the Reglan that I am now taking to help process my food and stop me from vomiting. But still I keep thinking - if I gain 75-100 pounds, where does all that skin go once the babies arrive! I'm afraid to even think about that for right now!

Our next doctors appointment is a big one - April 30th. It's a very important day for us because we will be having our 4 hour mid term ultrasound on this date. During this ultrasound, the doctors will be doing a complete anatomy check of each of the babies - lovingly referred to as Baby A, Baby B, Baby C and Baby D at this point - and will be able to begin to detect any possible malformations that may exist. We're trying not to focus on this but for every appointment we go to, we have to be somewhat prepared for what we might hear. We're excited though to see the babies again, how they've grown since last time and what we've got cookin' down there - maybe a girl or two for the Wible/Lemonovich clans? We need a girl BAD around here! The ladies say way too many boys, time for a little girl or two or three???? We're also going to be taking a tour of the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) with one of the five neonatologists - Dr. Guthrie - who will take care of the babies once they are born. I'm sure this will also be a difficult place to visit, yet I'm trying to think of it as a positive place instead of something negative.

As I close our first post, we want to take the opportunity to thank each and every one of you who have called, sent words of encouragement to us through cards or emails, brought meals to our home, or most importantly prayed for us in the past few months. Words cannot express how much we have appreciated the love and kindness that has been shown to us in these difficult times. And now, we ask that you continue to pray for us for the following:

1. That God would continue to bless both the babies and I with good health.
2. That God would continue to bless both John and I with peace of mind and assurance that our lives and the lives of our children are in the hands of our loving God.
3. That God would give strength, energy and patience to John and our son Luke as I slowly decrease my household responsibilities around our home and the general dealings of our daily lives in order to get more rest.
4. That God would be with us at our appointment on April 30th, 2008 for the ultrasound and NICU meeting and that no matter the outcome, we are assured of God's great love for us and for our children and that His will be done!
5. That God would guide the hands, hearts and minds of those doctors, nurses and other medical staff who provide treatment to us.

Thanks so much again for visiting our blog! Check back often for any updates (or just the just the ramblings of a delirious woman pregnant with quadruplets!)

God bless,
Carrie and the rest of The Lemonovich Clan