I put my mom back on a plane yesterday. The babies aren’t coming, and my mom can’t take off more than 6 weeks, so we decided she should go back to work after all. Throughout this pregnancy, I’ve prepared for every complication I could think of, but I never considered I would fall at the far end of the bell curve, with no complications at 35 weeks completed. The non-stress tests continue to show plenty of fluid and reactivity from the babies. Last Friday the nurse beamed, “these are the nicest triplets I’ve met” because they all positioned themselves to make the testing easy, and their reactivity was immediately apparent. Yesterday was tougher, took longer, and I squirmed painfully at one point (turns out I was having a contraction that the monitor caught). You’d be surprised how many women are having twins and triplets in CA these days, so once or twice a year the office comes across a triplet mom who makes it this far w/o complications. Everything has scooted along nicely and easily for me, and I am extremely lucky.
Now about the much anticipated c-section. After a little negotiation with the doc, I scheduled it for 37 weeks 2 days, a.k.a., June 10th. Some docs believe it’s better to have the babies out by 35-36 weeks because the benefits of keeping babies in don’t outweigh the risk of complications that can develop for mom or babies after 35 weeks. They also argue that babies run out of room, and are better off coming out so they can continue to develop. Other docs (this is where my doc stands) believe that the risk of having babies in the NICU with various problems associated with lung development is not worth an earlier delivery of 35 or 36 weeks (about 5 – 10% chance). I’m not sure which side is more “correct” in practice. I’m being closely monitored so if any issues develop they will be detected immediately, and the babies will be delivered. My doc informed me I would get a steroid shot to help develop their lungs if I had them before 38 weeks…which means I’m getting a steroid shot. Not too happy with this, as I figure a big dose of steroids has gotta do more than develop the lungs…I’ve only heard of a handful of women who’ve made it to 37 weeks, so it’s VERY likely a problem will arise, or I’ll go into labor or my water will break before June 10th.
I was hoping to schedule the c-section a little sooner, but I quickly realized not to fight the doc on this one. He had just seen a triplet mom who argued with him about scheduling her c-section (she wanted it sooner because she was in pain/uncomfortable). Like many women who get past week 30, she was insisting on an earlier c-section then he thought was appropriate. It’s tempting, especially when you hear about others getting scheduled c-sections around 35-36 weeks, but I wouldn’t insist against the doc’s recommendation. If keeping the babies in longer means they’ll be better off, then I have to trust the doc’s methods, and continue dealing with the pain. The doc’s seen hundreds of triplet pregnancies, and keeps up on the latest research, and teaches at the university. Let the man do his job, I say. So I listened to the doc, scheduled the c-section later than I had hoped, and didn’t complain. I’m 35 weeks completed, up 30 lbs., and 5’2″. So, Yes, I’m in A LOT of pain, all day, every day, and especially when trying to sleep. But if I can do it, anyone else can, too!
I’ve received a few emails asking me to share how I got so far w/o complications. I’d love to take credit, but I don’t think I did anything special. There was no way for me to have known it was going to be this way, otherwise I would have worked and stayed in school a little longer!! Based on recommendations, I was extremely conservative and on modified bedrest early on. I’ve not spent much time on my feet since 14 weeks along. I was especially non-active between weeks 25-30. I haven’t driven at all since week 28 (the belly’s so big I can’t reach the steering wheel or the pedals anymore). 4 weeks ago I realized that what I did physically was not having an effect on the pregnancy, but I don’t know if that would have been the case throughout the pregnancy. I’ve been very active since we moved, doing the majority of unpacking, building furniture (I mean A Lot of furniture), shopping everyday (I’m talking walking the long isles of Home Depot) and cooking. I’m still very slow, and get worn out easily, but there are no signs of preterm labor. I don’t push myself, I just do what I feel like I can do. Sometimes I have to rest for a couple hours after these activities, and I now spend 70 – 80% of the day on the couch. I never do anything alone (either with my mom or Jason, always), I drink a lot of water because I crave it, but I don’t consciously try to saturate myself. This level of activity is not normal for a triplet pregnancy–absolutely unheard of at 35 weeks completed–so I wouldn’t recommend it. My point is that there is no recipe for doing well. There are a few things you can do to keep the babies in longer, but overall, I think it comes down to factors no one has much control over. It’s as random as conceiving spontaneous triplets. I didn’t do anything special to get to this point, I just got lucky.