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...