{Quad Squad} If I'm being honest...

This quad pregnancy is one of the hardest things I'll ever do in my life.

For 11 years I was a synchronized swimmer and lived by that all-too-familiar athletic motto, "No pain, no gain." Pushing past the hurt, the tired, the injuries and the frustration was just something I could do. I've had to endure some tough situations in my life, learn to be independent, fight for I wanted. There were those days where I felt I couldn't go on any more.

But all of it pales in comparison to this experience. As with any pregnancy, being responsible for growing a life and taking care of yourself for the sake of someone else inside you carries great burdens. You can't just throw yourself around anymore or push yourself to the limits because it could result in dire consequences. With a multiple pregnancy like mine, the effects are only intensified and the self-caretaking starts so much earlier on. It is a huge responsibility to carry and grow four babies and it's not one that comes lightly. Which is why I felt inclined to write this post...

I try really hard to stay positive. If you've been reading my Quad Squad posts, you know that I've said time and again it doesn't do any good to get worked up over things or stress myself out because I have no control over them and it would just strain my body anyway. But that doesn't mean it doesn't happen. I told my husband recently that being in this damn hospital must've sprouted the water works. I've shed more tears in here in one week then I have in years!

Not one to cry very often, there are days during this pregnancy where I just have to let it go and bawl my eyes out. Some mornings I wake up and I'm just not sure how I can do another day. While the very next morning, I might wake up and feel so positive about things that I'm ready to conquer it again. I think it's important to feel the bad stuff with the good, because it's reality. And sometimes reality just sucks!

Just days past my 22 week mark, I got admitted to the hospital. In here, I wear four bracelets on my right wrist announcing everything from my lack of drug allergies to my last blood panel. But really I'm just convinced it's so they don't lose me. They put a yellow bracelet on there that reads "fall risk" in case I should decide to go galavanting by the nurse's station. Sweet.

My IV was relocated from my left arm to the back of my left hand and it hurts so bad. I can barely flex my entire hand as it is, and now I have two IVs pumping through my veins, which feel like they're about to explode. I just have to endure it until the end of tomorrow, which is when my weekly two-day sentence of magnesium sulfate ends. (For such an awful medicine, it's really great for the babies and calming contractions.) I'll be rid of the terrible side effects that make you feel like you have the flu complete with full body aches and leaves you feeling off balance and very whoozy. So if some of this post sounds odd to you, well, tough shit—I can't think straight!

This update is literally the biggest thing I'm doing today, the rest of the time I lay and watch TV or movies. Reading a book makes my head spin right now. My right hand is still nearly completely numb and has been since early last week. Doc says it's probably all the extra fluids in my body weighing down on some nerves. I can grab certain things with my hand, but other times it doesn't quite work all the way and starts to hurt. My stomach is getting so big for my stature that it's an immense struggle to get out of bed, much less turn over. The other day I literally got stuck on my back and thank God the husband was around to help me the rest of the way. It's like seeing a turtle flopping around in an overturned shell. Some stuff just ain't pretty, y'all.

And during all this, I have to gaze out my hospital window and wonder what the world is up to. I've been under such extreme circumstances for so many months, that it's starting to play tricks with my head. It becomes harder and harder to ever envision myself as being back to "normal" or feeling like myself again. I know I will, it just seems like that was another lifetime. Even being in the hospital and being pregnant doesn't seem real sometimes. Like I'm here, but this isn't me. It's weird. And I'm constantly wearing a contraction monitor that shows the activity level of my uterus and when it starts going up, I worry that my time may be limited.

I anxiously await each of my weekly ultrasounds to see the babies and know they are okay, and to be sure my cervix is still holding on and not trying to prepare for delivery. Yesterday I had a bit of spotting (light blood), but it stopped quickly and was very minimal. Doc said it was normal but it still gave me a scare. And when the nurse checked the babies' heart rates (they do this daily using a small handheld doppler device), Logan's heart rate plummeted three times while we listened, slowed down and finally picked back up but still sounded irregular. It made my own heart drop. What if something was wrong with her? They checked it twice since and she's been just fine. The doctor say says it's completely normal, sometimes the baby will manage to sit or even squeeze it's own umbilical cord in its hand. When the blood flow slows down, they release it. Like an awful game to give the mom cardiac arrest if she happens to hear it. C'mon, Logan girl, I know you're bored but let's not get that bored, okay!? At the end of the day, a nurse came by to ask if I was okay and I started crying. It just happened—the stress of those two events was enough to trigger the water works again and if I was growing flowers on my bed sheet I'd have a garden.

So you see? It's not all daisies and roses in here and this pregnancy really has been a challenge. But it's amazing what our bodies are capable of taking on and preserving through. I pray every day for God's strength that I can do what it takes to keep these babies growing, and I pray for each of them that they will fight for themselves and each other as we near the final weeks, however many they may be. I am so grateful for all the people who have selflessly spent hours praying for me, the babies and my husband—we are so protected by His angels! And I hope that by keeping things real and sharing both the ups and downs of our quadruplet journey, my husband and I are able to strike inspiration, hope and peace in the lives of others who are dealing with their own challenges. Truly, what doesn't kill you, makes you stronger...

26 comments:

  1. Keep up the good work .Just keep pushing for that goal of 28 weeks . I know in my heart that you can do it .Have a great day .

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  2. Stay strong Amber... you will be back to "normal" before you know it. I felt the same way and now looking back I have a hard time trying to remember what that all felt like. Once your babies are out you will be able to go home and start your new life! Shortly thereafter you will have a hard time thinking back on these times too... almost like a mind block. Keep up the good work! Your babies need your courage and strength! :)

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  3. I feel your pain!!!!!!! I am great one day , the next day I am in tears. I think I have literally stressed my husband completely out. I have been in the hospital a month now, but did get to go home for 4 days 2 weeks ago. It's hard but I know we can do this ( god wouldn't give us something we couldn't handle). Hang in there .

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  4. Amber, thanks for being real. For sharing what you are going through. My heart aches but it sure makes me pray more fervently for you, mike and the babies. child birth is a miracle when it's just one, but talking about bringing 4 babies into the world, i just do not know a word which can describe the absolute most amazing thing one can do. Being prego has changed your life, both yours and mike's life. i admire how you have handled this experience. i know God is your source of inner strength and you have been blessed with such a godly husband who loves you. i love the journey of your life and glad to be here to share the hard part as well. wish i was there at the hospital and help you water the flowers or laugh at you being a turtle. i love you!

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  5. I really have no words for you, except to say that what you're doing is extreme and I'd expect for the emotions that go with it to be extreme...I find you extremely brave, extremely strong, and extremely honest. You are gonna be such an EXTREMELY good Mom!
    Laugh, cry, scream if you want - this is tough.
    ((((HUGS)))) and many prayers for you and those sweet babies.

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  6. Hang in there, you CAN do it!

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  7. Amber, I love you very much. I keep thinking about that scrawny 6 year old that showed up at the pool so many years ago!! I knew I would be blessed to have you in my life. Such a little pistol!! I thought of a name for your first book.....Three Girls and a Boy by Amber Davis Bell :). Patti

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  8. it is so awesome that you can still post on this blog with all the hard work you are putting in growing those 4 babies...so proud of you...

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  9. omg girrrrrl. this post brought back SO many memories! i have totally felt all of those emotions and know exactly what you are talking about. so depressing to just lay in bed all day, wondering what in the world was going on outside my window...feeling like a prisoner with the most important job in the world~ growing 4 healthy babies. hang in there. this too- will be such a distant memory, i PROMISE you that. stay positive, girlfriend. you are a rockstar!

    xoxo
    suz

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  10. There is nothing glamorous about a multiple pregnancy!! I carried triplets to 36 weeks- it hurt so bad, I could hardly stand to be in my own skin. I looked forward to my nightly Ambien, just for a 5-6 hour reprieve from the pain. I tried to focus on the babies- when my doctor offered to deliver at 34 weeks, I asked for two more weeks to help my babies be stronger. You can do this- you are giving those babies a precious gift with every day you suffer. Stay strong!!!

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  11. You can do it and you are great at staying positive. And, I will tell you what- nothing too exciting is going on in the outside world.

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  12. I've been following your blog just because I love babies and quads fascinate me. Just a quick suggestion for your bedrest time - Have someone pick up some books on tape - specifically Playaways - all you need is headphone (and batteries) and you can listen for hours without moving a muscle. Praying for health and strength for you!

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  13. just popping over for a visit and want you to know I am thinking of you during this time...what blessings...4 little ones will be!

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  14. Great post! You are amazing and doing a great job but it is ok whine a littl along the way.

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  15. Amber you are doing great!! I had tears in my eyes reading this post, knowing it has to be pure hell for you some days. Stay strong, scream cry, cuss all you want..know that we are here for you and those little ones.
    Continued Prayers!!

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  16. YES, hardest thing I've ever had to do, too! Even harder than the first year of the babies' lives. I was on mag for 8 weeks straight, and I couldn't even concentrate enough to read a magazine. Took me all day to complete a blog post. I've been where you've been, but I am here to tell you that it's worth it!!! My kids came when I literally could not go on another day in the hospital ... at 33 weeks and 2 days. Hold out for as long as you can to give those tiny ones the best fighting chance!! (((hugs)))

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  17. I am so enormously PROUD of you! Always have been and always will!!

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  18. Sweetie you are doing so good. I have 2 kids & 1 on the way and pregnancy in itself isnt easy. I cant imagine multiplying that by four, you must be exhausted. I pray for peace in your heart & strength for your mind and body. Im pulling for you girl, hang in there. Thanks for keeping it real on your blog :)

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  19. I found out about your growing family and blog from a fellow member of the NWHMOM. I have an older son and twin girls. The emotional rollercoaster is quite a ride with twins--I can't imagine adding two more in there! Hang in there, God has blessed you with these four little miracles because you and your husband are made of the right stuff to handle four babies and any and all challenges that come your way. Good Luck--this will all be a distant memory when you are changing four diapers at 2 am ;)

    PS One of my daughters loved to suck on her umbilical cord during her time on the inside. It seemed like every ultrasound, she had the cord in her mouth sucking away!

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  20. I just recently found your blog and am praying for you and your babies. I love this verse and maybe it will be an encouragement to you, too.

    In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind. Job 12:10

    Keep resting and growing those babies! There is no better job than being a Mommy!
    Katie

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  21. You are an inspiration! You can do this, your babies are lucky to have such a strong mom and thoughtful dad! Stay strong lady!

    Stacey

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  22. Hey Amber! I was just checking up on you... hang in there! I know you can make it to at least 28 weeks and I've been praying for you and your babies everyday. I know exactly what you mean about feeling like a turtle stuck on its back, sometimes I just can't get up! Your attitude and strength are inspiring to me as I trudge through the last few weeks before the 6 pack get here!

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  23. Your honesty is inspiring. Praying for you daily! The Bell babies are blessed to have such a strong mommy and encouraging daddy!
    -Blaire and Russell Reagan

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  24. Well put, so honest. Such a true description of life on hospital bedrest. Good days, well tolerable days anyway, Hehe, bad days and absolutely horrible, don't know how to get thru the next hour days. It is your 'normal' right now, but won't be forever. You will get out of there and have a new 'normal'. It may not be your old normal, but it will be YOUR normal life, your family! And all this will be a distant memory as you hold those precious babies. Some mommas have found comfort in some sort of day counter, give you some joy in ticking each day away in a visual way. Also bring as much home into your hospital room as possible. Make it your space. Get comfy. You are doing the best thing for those babies and you.

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  25. I can't even imagine the stress... but each day you're getting closer and that little army in your stomach is getting tougher.. just like their mom. Hang in there. There is absolutely nothing happening out here. Keep your head up. Love you!

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  26. You let it out. You don't have to be positive all the time. Being pregnant is not easy but being pregnant with 4 I can't imagine.
    Think of this... I'm 8 1/2 months pregnant walking a dog in an office complex... somehow I fall. (imagine) I know the feeling of being a turtle on it's back. I'm sure I gave the guys in the office behind me some great shots. Not funny then but funny now. I know your faith and strength will get you to your desired goal...4 healthy little baby Bells. Hugs

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