Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Doctor's visit today...

23 weeks pregnant as of tomorrow...time to go to the doctor's office again. I'm going every 2 weeks these days and I have an ultrasound at every visit as well as a quick visit with the doctor for the regular stuff (blood pressure check, weight check, "how are you doing" type stuff).

I was hoping that they were going to measure all of the babies again today to give us an update on Baby Girl D, but Bonnie, the ultrasound technician said that they will only do the growth checks once a month as any sooner than that isn't enough time to get an accurate assessment of progress and development. They did do an ultrasound, but this time they just checked the bladders and stomachs of each, the amount of amniotic fluid in the sac and the heartbeats of each baby. I'm happy to say all 4 babies looked good in each of these areas. One piece of good news is that Baby Girl D's heartbeat was 150 beats per minute - just like everyone elses. 2 weeks ago, her heartbeat was lower than everyone elses at 136 beats per minute. They got a nice profile shot of her today and as with all of my little peanuts, I was glad to see her squirming around and looking SO cute.

I met with Dr. Golde after the ultrasound and he said that I continue to look good. He cautioned that I will probably start to feel very "heavy and weighted down" over the next month. I told him that this has already started to some degree. I'm definitely starting to slow down. I get tired so easily, out of breath in a heartbeat and I have some sciatic pain in the right side that occasionally makes me catch my breath. One of the most important signs of pre-term labor is the shortening of the cervix. This is symptomatic of the body saying "Hey! There's a lot of weight in here! It must be time for this baby to come out!" Unfortunately, the body doesn't know that there are 4 babies in there so hence the term pre-term labor. They checked my cervix today and said that it looks great. No shortening has taken place.

My next appointment is June 10th and Dr. Golde said at this appointment, they'll do another ultrasound for growth assessment of all 4 babies to see how they are doing. Overall, a good appointment!

John, my husband, is going to post later on this week about some exciting news we have on the house situation and some upcoming help we're going to be needing. Check back soon!

Thanks everyone for checking in on us!
Carrie, John, Luke and the Lemonovich Quads

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Doctors visit today...Baby Girl D update...

As of today, I am 21 weeks, 1 day pregnant. I'm definitely beginning to feel LARGE! The low back pain is definitely increasing and I'm getting more and more out of breath when I try to expend any amount of energy. Honestly though, I really can't complain. For being as far along as I am and reading many accounts of women in my position already being on bedrest, I feel pretty good. I can still function pretty normally and I don't have any significant pain or problems, so I thank God for sustaining me.

Today was another office visit and ultrasound with Dr. Thomas. The office visit went well - I gained another 4 pounds. All of my other vitals look good and still no stretch marks as of yet - yahoo!!!! We had another ultrasound today to check the progress of the quads and to do some follow up views from our last appointment. Bonnie, our ultrasound technician, was great. Very friendly, very informative and more than happy to spend time showing us everything she saw and explaining what everything meant! I can honestly say everyone at AGH has been SO wonderful to us!

Bonnie did a basic review again of each baby, showing their head and abdominal circumferences, bladders, measuring their legs bones, checking their heart rates, verified appropriate amounts of fluid in each sac and analyzed their current weight. Here's how the babies measure as of today:

Baby Boy A - measures 21 weeks, 1 day and weighs approximately 15 oz.
Baby Girl B - measures 21 weeks, 3 days and weighs approximately 1 lb., 0 oz.
Baby Girl C - measures 21 weeeks, 2 days and weighs approximately 15 oz.
Baby Girl D - measures 19 weeks, 6 days and weighs approximately 12 oz.

Bonnie verified that anatomically speaking, all of the babies again look well and all necessary internal and external features were clearly visible.

We spoke to Dr. Thomas again following the ultrasound. He reviewed the photographs and expressed concern again regarding our Baby Girl D. He is concerned that she seems to again have fallen behind developmentally. He reminded us that she "lagged behind" initially around the 9th week when he was concerned that she may miscarry but instead, rebounded. His concern at this point, as he explained, is that when a woman is pregnant with a singleton, the typical placement of the placenta, which is the baby's food source, is centered directly in the front or in the back of the uterus. This positioning allows for optimal nutritional crossflow from both the left and right sides. When a woman is pregnant with higher order multiples, there is often a "runt". This would be Baby Girl D. The runt usually suffers because the placental placement is not optimal due to the sheer number of children in the womb. In her case, the placenta appears to be placed on the right hand side of my uterus which doesn't allow for good nutritional flow. He is concerned that while the others appear to be progressing nicely and right on schedule, Baby Girl D is not showing the same gradual progress. He said they will continue to monitor her closely and watch for growth. If she doesn't progress over the next few weeks, we will need to make some decisions possibly down the road as the pregnancy moves along about whether or not to birth all of the babies early in order to try and save her or allow the pregnancy to continue, realizing that she may stop progressing all together and/or could miscarry. Birthing all of the babies early however could cause a potential danger to all 4 children, not just Baby Girl D. This, of course, was very difficult news for John and I to hear, but we remain hopeful that our little girl will continue her feisty ways and keep fighting! We pray that she continues to grow just like her brother and sisters, but more importantly, we pray that God's will be done in the life of this tiny little girl. We trust that although we may not understand God's will, we can trust that he knows what is best for this small child. We talked about this in our bible study at church a few weeks ago - the hardest prayer to pray is "not my will, Lord - but THY will be done!"

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight". Proverbs 3: 5-6

So tonight, we ask:

1. that you to continue to keep our family and our quads in your prayers - especially our little Baby Girl D. We ask you to pray, that if it be God's will, that she would rebound again and continue to grow and progress.

2. that you pray for strength and courage for our family as we continue on this path God has set before us.

3. that you continue to pray for Carrie's health as we draw closer to the time when carrying out the normal functions of every day life will become more and more difficult.

4. that you pray for John who continues to take on more and more responsibilities around the house and with Luke as Carrie becomes less capable as the pregnancy moves along.

Thanks again everyone for checking in on us! We're so blessed to have you all on board! :)

Peace,
Carrie, John, Luke and The Lemonovich Quads

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Welcome to our new look and...The Lemonovich Log!

So, what do you think? How do you like our new look? In my travels through the net and researching various websites on having/raising multiples, I came across www.blogsbydanielle.blogspot.com. Danielle does "blog makeovers" using digital medial kits to customize your plain old boring blog sites like ours. I contacted Danielle and in just over a week, she did a complete makeover of our site! I want to give a big "thank you" to Danielle for all of her hard work - I love it!!!

I also want to give a HUGE shout out to a very talented woman who has become a dear friend to us, Natalie Popielarczyk. Natalie is the talent behind Portraits by Natalie (
www.portraitsbynatalie.com) and the creator the amazing photos of our family and the individual pictures of Luke you see at the top of the our blog page. She has been kind enough to give us permission to use these photos on our page and is our official "quad photog" when the babies arrive! I cannot recommend Natalie highly enough - she has been wonderful to work with and you'll be seeing more of her amazing work displayed here on our blog over the coming months.

I've added the link to both of these ladies' websites under our "favorite links" tab. Check out their sites to see more of their portfolios.

Love,
Carrie

Saturday, May 10, 2008

The Photographic Debut of the Lemonovich Quads!

We finally got a chance to scan the pictures we got at the ultrasound on April 30th. Honestly, many of them aren't very recognizable, but there are a few we wanted to share with you guys just so you could see a few glimpses of them in all of their glory at this stage.

This one we like to call "family portrait"...



It's probably a little hard to see, but this picture is a head shot - top looking down - on babies A (boy), B (girl) and D (girl). Baby C (girl) is showing you a profile/bum shot! It really is an amazing picture - especially for me! When I ponder the fact that all of these children are inside of me, it sends chills up my spine!

Here is another picture of all four babies. Each of the shots is labeled baby A, baby B, etc.


Thanks for taking a peek at our pics! We'll post some more in the coming months as we have more ultrasounds and their images become a little more clear!

Blessings,

Carrie, John, Luke and the Lemonovich Quads

Reflections from Luke's Mom on Mothers Day....


On this Mother’s Day Eve, I thought I’d take a few minutes to post a blog about the sweetest little boy I have ever known - my dear son, Luke. With all of the excitement over the past few months of finding out we’re pregnant with quads, trying to deal with my extreme sickness and weight loss, etc., my baby has managed to become quite the independent, adorable little boy you see here.

Luke is just turned 16 months and is every bit of what you picture a boy to be – filled with personality, loaded to the gills with energy, stubborn as can be and he has the knee scrapes, bumps and bruises to prove it! Although he’s your average “rough and tumble boy”, he loves nothing more than to cuddle up with you and read one of his favorite books – which lately is “Puppy Love”. He loves getting hugs and kisses and is good at giving them back. His latest is puckering up his lips up like he just sucked a lemon and planting a big smooch on you. It is simply adorable and makes melt. I look at him and I am in awe and so thankful for the amazing gift John and I have been given in this child.

As you can clearly see, he looks so much like me (that’s a joke, of course!) He’s the picture of his Daddy with the bright blonde hair and fair skin although the blue eyes come from me (and his Poppy!) He is very tall for his age (just over 33” already – another thing he gets from his Daddy) but he’s thinned out nicely as he’s grown. He in the midst of a hunger strike now – refusing to eat any meat or vegetables that aren’t in baby food form. I hate to say it, but he’s inherited my strange food texture obsession. He doesn’t seem to like things that are saucy or chunky. I know – weird! He also seem to like to smell things before eating them – yep, weird again! Fruit is his absolute favorite thing to eat right up there next to Goldfish crackers and raisins.

Luke is talking so much these days. He has always been a big “babbler” but lately, the words seem to be flowing out of his mouth like water. He says “Da” (which is Daddy), “hi”, "bye", “uh-oh”, “baba” (which is his bottle) and as of late, his new words are “all done”. It’s hard to believe that just a months few ago, I was concerned that he wasn’t talking more like all of the other kids his age! His personality is really starting to shine through and I’m so enthralled with being able to interact with each other instead of me talking and making silly faces and him just laying there giving me the “what the heck are you doing?” look. I give him directions and he actually understands them – hallelujah! It has a down side too because when I tell him I want him to do something and he doesn’t, I know it’s just that Wible “stubborn streak” running right through him! No doubt where he gets that from! :)

Now that the weather has broken here in Pittsburgh, Luke absolutely loves being outdoors. He loves to push his Happy Hopper and his small yellow bus all over the driveway and is fascinated by walking in the grass and feeling it on his bare feet. I’m hoping to be able to take him to the zoo, Kennywood and few other places this summer before I have to go into the hospital, but I’m not sure we’ll make it. He’s also really beginning to love playing with our dog, Sam. Sam is a big 90 lb. yellow lab who is very kind and patient with him – even when Luke gets a little rough. He loves to play with Sam’s tail and grab his dog tags to make them jingle. I have feeling these two will be great friends over the years!

Well, thanks for listening to me brag just a bit. Like so many Mom’s out there, I am just so in love with this little boy, so proud of how much he's grown and so grateful that I can call him my own.

I also want to send a special Happy Mothers Day to my amazing Mom, Carolyn. She retired a few years back but is busier than ever these days chasing around 4 grandsons – Augie, Jack, Luke and Sam – and with 3 granddaughters and another grandson on the way, she’ll be busier than ever in just a few short months! She has done so much for me, especially in the past 5 months since finding out I was pregnant with quads, and there is no way that I can ever repay her for her love, kindness and willingness to do WHATEVER needs to be done other than telling her just how much I love her and how much she means to me. Even today, on Mother’s Day, she is having a cookout out at her house despite our repeated requests to let us take her out to lunch so that she can relax a little! I give thanks to God on this special day for my Mom.

Happy Mothers Day to all of you current and future Mom’s out there!

God’s blessings on you all...Carrie




Friday, May 2, 2008

The Big Day...continued!

Sorry that I zonked out on Wednesday without finishing the post about the remainder of our big day, but like I said, John and I were so physically and mentally drained, we had to get some sleep to be able to function today! We both agreed that Wednesday night was one of the best nights of sleep we’ve had in a long time! Last night, I actually fell asleep on the couch at 9:00 and didn't get up until 7:00 this morning so I think I've finally caught up!

Anyways, after lunch, we went upstairs and met Dr. Guthrie and the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) staff. We spent some time initially talking with Dr. Guthrie who told us a little bit about what we could potentially be facing in terms of NICU treatment and length of stay, all of which are very dependent on when the babies are born. If the babies are born during the 23-25 week period, they will no doubt encounter potential lung issues and for at least some period, will need the assistance of a ventilator to help them breath. The lungs are very stiff at this point due to their incomplete development so that babies have to take very deep breaths to draw in enough oxygen. This makes their chest rise and fall in a very profound way and although they aren’t experiencing any pain, it may appear that they are. At the 23-25 week range, the babies could also be faced with issues regarding brain development, the potential of some bleeding on the brain, as well as development of their retinas. In short, being born this premature can bring about quite a few additional problems then say for instance, a baby born 4-6 weeks later during the 29-32 week range. Even at this point, the lungs are typically not fully developed and the use of a ventilator could be necessary along with medications which help the lungs to mature more quickly. The goal is have the babies stay in the NICU until they reach certain physical hallmarks – which are usually achieved around the gestational age of 37 weeks or so. Dr. Guthrie said that they would need the children to weigh at least 4-5 pounds, be able to eat successfully from a nipple on their own, tolerate regular temperatures outside of their isolettes and breathe on their own before being released from the NICU.

We toured the unit with Dr. Guthrie and were given the chance to meet some of the nurses that were on duty. Everyone was so wonderfully kind to us. Dr. Guthrie told them we were having quads and they all cheered and said how excited they were to see us and the babies in the Fall. There are 5 neonatologists on staff at AGH, including Dr. Guthrie, and at least one of them is there in the NICU 7 days a week, 24 hours a day. We got the opportunity to see a set of triplets who were born there just a few weeks ago. All 3 are doing well and are continuing to progress nicely which was so wonderful to see! There were also a few sets of twins, some of which were just getting ready to go home which was also a joy. The one baby that I’ll probably remember the most was a single baby boy born prematurely at 24 weeks. He only weighed 1 lb, 2 oz. Honest to goodness, his little diaper was the size of my fist. He was so incredibly tiny and fragile yet absolutely adorable. Dr. Guthrie told us that despite his prematurity, he was doing well and growing and being fed intravenously through his stomach at this point to make sure he gets the nutrition he needs. He’ll probably be in the NICU for awhile, but his prognosis at this point is good. A bona fide miracle that little boy is!

Dr. Guthrie also pointed out to us that each of the isolettes had a handmade quilt on top of it and each baby had a tiny crocheted cap on it’s head. There is a local nursing home that has a group of grandmas that hand makes quilts and caps for each of the babies. What an incredibly sweet gesture to these tiny little souls from strangers who don’t even know them!

As Dr. Guthrie walked us to the door as we left our appointment, I felt an overwhelming peace and confidence that our children would be in very good hands under the care of Dr. Guthrie and the rest of the NICU staff. Overall, the day had been very positive, the news was encouraging and John and I both felt overjoyed with the outcome. I think we exhaled for the first time yesterday around 2:30pm!


So, that's the story of our big day. Please continue to keep us in your prayers. We want to thank you all so much for being a part of this journey with us. There's lots more to come! We're going to start posting pictures on the blog here very shortly....we've got some great new pictures of Luke I'm dying to share and I warn you in advance, John has started taking some tummy pictures of me. They ain't pretty but they'll give you an idea of just how quickly I'm growing!

Take care everyone and God bless!
Carrie, John, Luke and The Lemonovich Quads (Baby Boy A, Baby Girl B, Baby Girl C and Baby Girl D! :)