{Prego Pics} Growing Pains!

Just a quick look back on the last four months and how the quads have grown already!


And to think I've got roughly three more months to go. XXL sweat pants, here I come! :)

{Quad Squad} 16 weeks + Maternity Photos!

Well, folks, we've arrived at Week 16. Actually it's nearly 17 weeks now, so I'm a little behind posting but I've been keeping up my weekly prego pics to give you all a front row seat to the ever-growing behemoth that has become my stomach. Certain clothes seem to minimize the bump bulge, while others definitely enhance it!



We haven't had an ultrasound for nearly two weeks but are due up for one in a couple days and I'm, as always, anxious to see how our quadruplets are doing. New developments at this stage of the game include a bit less nausea (though not enough to abandon my meds), lots and lots of trouble sleeping and a growing tightness in my stomach. My belly button is threatening to pop out soon and my husband keeps asking if it hurts! I assure him my belly button is not the body part that hurts. I also can no longer see my feet when standing up straight. Though I'm still getting regular pedicures for everyone else who is privileged enough to have them in their sights. All vanity is not (yet) lost.

It might be time for a bare belly shot before long—especially while I'm still without stretch marks, which I know will set in sometime toward the last few weeks. It's amazing how much your body can handle. The quads underwent a growth spurt during the past week. How do I know this? Because my stomach began expanding at an alarming rate, my appetite increased and the tightness was at an all-time high as my body struggled to adjust. There's also been the introduction of other bodily woes, like head-to-toe aches and pains and constant exhaustion. Sometimes. I'm. Just. So. Tired. But then I remember I have four little people in there and my efforts to stave off a nap or an extra long "recline" in the recliner seem futile. 

Seeing myself in photos has taken quite the adjusting to. It's hard, sometimes, to believe I'm truly pregnant at all—much less with quadruplets. Certain days it feels like it's a weird dream or something. Other days, it's most definitely not a dream and I just want to punch the world in its face for how miserable I am and the constant advice strangers seem to want to give me. Unless you had quadruplets, lady-I'll-never-meet-again, back off! Like my husband said a few weeks ago, "God help the person who pisses you off on a bad day." Amen.

The emotional, tear-inducing breakdowns have now reached three in total. One occurring the day we found out about the quads and, naturally, I bawled wondering what the hell we were gonna do. The other two occurring from mere exhaustion and minor depression from being sick for so long. I am a huge advocate of embracing the way you feel, even when it's negative, and at least acknowledging those feelings, processing them and then picking yourself up and moving on. Thank God I've got a fantastic, helluva husband by my side who recognizes this and has been a great source of strength and support on those occasions that it all feels like just too much.

While we're on the subject of emotion, being scared seems to be an ongoing part of my journey as well. For any other moms of multiples out there, whether you've had them already or are currently pregnant with your multi-babies, I feel I should openly admit the sheer terror that fleetingly enters my thoughts on occasion. My personality doesn't dwell on it for the most part, but sometimes I feel the need to contemplate what's ahead and sort of steel myself for the upcoming events that I know will be ever so difficult. Fear for myself, my health, the babies, the awful possibilities... it's all very real and something I live with on a daily basis. Sometimes I wonder how I'll be able to physically handle what's to come, and other times I am simply amazed at how God enables my body to work all this out. And then once I realize the big picture will occur the way He has planned, I regain that calm and peace God has blessed me with through all this and return to my day-by-day journey, tackling 24 hours at a time.

A particular recent 24 hours involved a photo shoot of the husband and I to commemorate this special time in our lives—and the only time I ever plan to be pregnant! Plus, my doc is adamant about staying off my feet as much as possible so I wanted to get some photos done before it was too late. And I got too big. Because, really, who wants to look at photos of a whale in a dress?

But the important part is that I love these photos and have them printed and framed in an annoying quantity all over our house. They truly make me smile. :)


As always, thanks for reading along. 
Coming up next: quad party pics!

{Etsy} New jewelry items!

If you love a little bling, a pinch of turquoise and a dash of fun, then you'll want to check out my newly updated Etsy shop, Texas Take, for some brand new jewelry additions!


All my items are self-designed—meaning no one else is ever gonna show up to the party wearing the same necklace—and handmade. That means I string, cut, maneuver, ply, force, shape and crimp each item individually with my own hands, y'all. And it'd sure make a quad mamma's heart happy if you'd go check out my shop and maybe even purchase a piece or two. (Did I just play the quadruplet card? Oh, oops...sorta.)


And just because I think you're all so great, I'm gonna throw in free shipping on any orders you make between now and March 15. Just enter code TXTKSH at checkout to apply. Happy shopping!

The One Night Getaway

Sometimes you just have to get away. Even if it's not very far. I haven't been out of the house much due to feeling so badly most of the time and with not much energy to spare, my few outings are pretty limited. The husband has been very busy with work and then doing home improvements when he's around, trying hard to prepare for the arrival of our quads. Don't know what I'd do without him!

But we really just needed a break, a change of scenery and some one-on-one time together. So I was completely surprised and totally touched when he booked a hotel about 20 minutes away so we could enjoy a little in-town R&R. We watched movies on cable, lounged around in sweatpants, went to the hotel happy hour (mine wasn't quite so happy sans alcohol, of course!) and enjoyed a pasta dinner at Carabba's. I felt good all day yesterday and it was great. This morning we got up in time to catch the tail end of breakfast and I actually ate two plates full. An hour later, I wasn't doing so hot and ended up having to resort back to my Zofran for the nausea.


We did get some maternity photos done today, though, and they turned out simply amazing. (Except you'd never guess I totally threw up on the side of the road on the way to the shoot. It's a glamorous life, people, glamorous.) I knew I'd regret it if we didn't get some taken, since this will very likely be our one and only pregnancy! A good photographer friend of mine came to the rescue with our limited scheduling—my doc wouldn't approve of me traipsing around a photo shoot after February—and snapped some really cool portraits of the husband and me. I can't wait to show them to you all next week.

We will be busy preparing for our quad parties and showers the next two weekends, and are very excited to see our friends and family. Unfortunately, we are going two whole weeks without a doctor's appointment or an ultrasound, but after that we'll finally have an anatomy scan of the babies, which will reveal their genders and start giving us an idea of their developmental/health status. As I type this, I'm pretty sure I can feel one of them sweet little thangs in my ribs. Sleeping at night has become very uncomfortable—I can only lay on my side, which results in feeling like I'm squishing at least two other people and my stomach starts hurting so I have to move again. This cycle progresses into the wee hours while my husband manages to pass out, snore and acquire all kinds of magnificent REM cycles. Other than feeling the occasional movement "inside," I haven't felt anything more even though the husband is anxious to finally feel one of the babies move. I'm enjoying less movement while it lasts because I can only imagine what eight pairs of dancing feet will be like!

I am so thankful for my mom, all our parents, friends, neighbors and, most of all, my husband for being so awesome—even in these early stages. We still have (hopefully) three months of this pregnancy left and we've already received so much support. From people bringing food, helping move furniture, handing off clothes and supplies to my husband fetching water, popcicles, medicine, filling prescriptions, picking up smoothies, taking care of the pets and whisking me away to a hotel for the night. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

{Daily Pics}






From top to bottom:

1.) The husband installing new floors in our living area. Went from beige carpet to Purgo wood-like laminate in Highland Hickory (from Home Depot). Love the results!!
2.) Getting furniture back in place... Jersey girl approves.
3.) Newly appointed mantel decor details.
4.) My last craft show before the quads arrive! Find new pieces at my online shop here.
5.) The husband's homemade cornbread for dinner tonight. Delish!

{Quad Squad} 13 & 14 weeks

All the sudden time is starting to pass by much more quickly. The first trimester of my quadruplet pregnancy seemed to drag on, especially because I was so sick around the clock. Every day felt three times longer than it was. But since our most recent doctor appointment last week, the day I turned 14 weeks, it feels like the pace is picking up. We had all our showers/quad parties planned for March, and found out before we left the doctor's office than that wasn't going to work. He anticipates I could go on bed rest anytime between the next two to six weeks! While there's a possibility I could last longer, it's still something we need to be prepared for. And I need to be taking it extremely easy from here on out to avoid any early labor symptoms and to help my body along as much as possible. (Trust me, it's harder to take it "easy" and do nothing than it sounds. At least if you're me, it is!)


Anyway, doc said definitely no showers in March and definitely no traveling. His exact words, were in fact: "Well, you have two options. Have your showers in February or have them in the hospital!" So the husband and I both called our moms as soon as we left his office and told them the updated news. They swooped into action and just hours later had managed to reschedule the quad parties for the end of February. Amazing! We are so incredibly grateful to our friends and family who are all participating in these events and who are being so phenomenal in pulling things together on the fly. This entire pregnancy (and probably much of my future life) seems to revolve around being flexible and rolling with the punches. There's nothing that's for sure, nothing is a given and everything could change at a moment's notice. While you try to prepare yourself for that as much as possible, sometimes you just have to take it all one day at a time and not worry about the next 24 hours until you're there. It's certainly an attitude that's getting the husband and I through this experience with our sanity intact.

I'll have to do a post soon on the house and the nursery progress. We (and by "we," I mean my hard-working husband supervised by yours truly) just finished replacing the floors in our main living area—going from creamy beige, overused, dog-hair infested carpet to clean, slick faux wood flooring that mimics hand scraped oak and looks divine. It will be easier to keep clean and great for four little babies to crawl around and play on!

My mom is still here with us and she's been a lifesaver in countless ways, from cooking meals to running errands to helping clean up the place. After the floor replacement, it feels like every single object is covered in a layer of sawdust. There's even a layer of it on the front door. So this week's goal is to get the house clean and the furniture back where it belongs, then we'll tackle the guest room/nursery transition. Thank God for moms, they make everything better.


And I am finally feeling better and am eating! It's a Christmas miracle. I haven't enjoyed food in so long it's actually weird to savor something, swallow it without gagging and keep it down without fighting an intense wave of nausea. I'm still on Zofran, though, to keep that last part at bay and I still get the occasional headache. But overall, things are much improved and my cold is also on its way out. However, just as soon as I start to feel this glorious sense of, well, we'll call it "quad pregnancy normality" I've also started to become extremely exhausted all the time. It's been a crazy party house environment over here with 8pm bedtimes, daytime working hours spent on my laptop in the recliner, mid-day naps and frequent sitting breaks. I feel like a 98-year-old woman. Assuming that is what being nearly a century old feels like. With a giant bowling ball attached to the front of your stomach. And some minor back pain. And the feeling that your innards are stretched to max capacity. It constantly feels like I ate too much and my stomach is going to pop.


But enough about my gastro-intestinal situational awareness. As far as the quads go, every one is looking very healthy! They are growing right along schedule, measuring just a few days under however many weeks I am that week. At the last appointment, our doctor said they looked "really good" three times—so I'm taking that as a good, good, good thing! We don't have any new ultrasound photos or video just yet. We're now only seeing the one doctor, instead of overlapping the two, and his ultrasounds are pretty quick and basic. However, in about two weeks we go in for the babies' first anatomy scan and we'll find out the genders then!! I'm so excited I can hardly stand it. Never thought I'd be all amped up about baby-related stuff the way I get these days about new cribs, onesies or ultrasounds. Jeez, my life is changing. But I'm very nervous and excited to find out what we're having and am keeping my fingers crossed there's not more than two girls in there. I don't think I could handle that! I'm not a frilly, pink-loving, bow-tying girly girl... as if that's even news to many of you, lol. So I feel I'd be better with baby boys. All shall soon be revealed.

In the meantime, you sweet quad-blog-following people who put up with my ridiculous complaints and incessant self-rants, I'll leave you with this priceless picture of one of my best friends and I after lunch recently. She's 26 weeks with a singleton pregnancy and I was 14 weeks and a day with the quads. It's crazy how we're nearly the same size and share five babies between us.


Sometimes life is completely unpredictable.
:)

{Quad Squad} The Latest

Hi ya folks. I've been absent for awhile because it's been a rough week, to be honest. I've been feeling so bad it's been hard to keep up. Every day is a new challenge and I'm just trying to take it all in stride. In the meantime, my super sweet mom has arrived and I could not be happier (or more relieved) to have her here. She's given my amazing husband a break—he's been taking care of so much around here—and I swear I'm starting to feel better just with her being around.

My adorable momma, ready to come see me!

You can read about what we've been up to (and all the wonderful things my mom has already done!) on her blog here. On her way in town, she stopped to pick up these teeny tiny A&M booties and four A&M pacifiers for my Aggie husband. It was the perfect surprise. :)



In the meantime, I'm focusing on getting nutrition where I can, which has involved a lot of smoothies. Here's another post from my mom's blog on that, I sure am glad she's around to grab those for me on the days that food is not my friend.


I promise to have a little more info on the quads as we have an ultrasound appointment tomorrow morning, and I'll get my 13 and 14 week photos posted over the weekend. In the meantime, the couch and a smoothie are calling my name...



{Quad Squad} 12.5 week video & update

I'm writing this post from day two of bed rest and it's going, well, about as good as anything on bed rest can, I assume. For starters, my cerclage procedure yesterday went just fine. (Please Google this if you want to know more about it, I just don't feel like splainin' the details on here again and I'm trying to spare some of y'all from TMI!) My doc almost didn't go through with it, though, since I've developed a bad cold and he was concerned about how I was feeling. And he was more concerned about it developing into something truly nasty, like pneumonia. So he gave me the "wary eye" when I insisted I was willing to just get this over with and I'd take all the meds he prescribed and get well in a few days before deciding it was okay to continue with my surgery. I'd already been at the hospital for a couple hours, been jabbed with an IV and I was wearing a fashionably oversized backless gown. Plus, my rear end was rather uncomfortable on the scratchy bed sheet and the sensors they'd placed on my chest kept me from being able to readjust my position, like I was literally chained to that dang bed with a gaggle of wires and tubes. I though I was going to breathe fire because my throat was so dry and I hadn't had so much as a sip of water since midnight the night before (surgery protocol) and I was actually starting to feel hungry from lack of food. Really, need I go through this again?

I was super nervous when they wheeled me into the operating room, keeping my hands on my stomach the whole time as if that would keep the babies safe. I remember drifting off to sleep then waking up what felt like just minutes later to hear everything had gone well and it was all done. Whew. I'd also gone through two bags of IV fluids so I'm sure my body was enjoying not being completely dehydrated. I took in a bottle of cranberry juice and a bottle of water, waiting until the dizziness and grogginess subsided enough to get up and plop my butt in a wheel chair then got whisked out to the car and was on my way home. We had a glamorous home arrival, the husband and I, because I managed to upchuck the liquids I'd drank at the hospital into a plastic bag in the car. He had to hold me steady and as I walked in the front door and straight to the bathroom to dump the contents down the toilet. Sometimes you are really glad no one else is there to witness these atrocities. But then I just went on and told all of y'all about it, didn't I? Suppose I'm not harboring much shame. It's a game of survival at the moment, folks.

My bed rest "command post" for the past two days.
I spent the rest of yesterday in and out of sleep mode and feeling rather "elevated" on my various medications. And today I'm still on bedrest, occasionally trying to remember what my name is, what work email I was just typing and what time I need to take what medicine. I happen to have just tossed back a bottle of stout antibiotics to help stave off infection post-surgery and to keep my cold at bay, which is the most heavy drinking I've done in awhile. It's a seven-day liquid supply you take all at once. Supposed to be cherry-banana flavored, but it was not cherry-banana flavored.

Speaking of food, eating has been rather difficult again. And I've lost a few pounds the past couple days. All I want to do is gain weight so my little quad squad can grow and I can stay strong. I'm taking it very seriously as I truly believe (and from what I've read and heard from doctors) that the right weight gain from early on can help make a big positive difference. So for now, I've given up trying to find an appealing meal for my non-existent taste buds and have "ordered" dinner from my ever-so-patient husband on his way home from work later. I'm getting The Hulk smoothie from Smoothie King in chocolate. It's got nearly 1,500 calories in the medium-sized and comes packed with protein, calories, vitamins and other nutrients that are actually geared to promote weight gain. I used to drink the super-sized version when I was a synchronized swimmer and was so boney and skinny in my early teenage years that I fell off the growth chart. My parents would pick up one of those bad boy's every day for me and I'd wolf it down after swim practice. It has real butter-pecan ice cream in it, too, which makes for a delish flavor and helps out with my calcium share for the day. Never thought I'd find myself in need of those smoothies again, ha.

Other than having a tightness and slight cramping in my stomach, I can't tell of any other side affects from the cerclage. Tomorrow, I am allowed out of bed for small periods of time but have been sworn to take it easy for the following week. I know I'll keep my sanity better when I can move around a little, but I also feel so sick with this cold that resting has certainly been the best option so far. Aside from not being able to breath very well, running through about 2.5 boxes of Kleenex a day, choking down disgusting cold medicine every four hours, coughing up my left lung and rubbing Aquaphor lotion all over my dried-out face, things are just peachy. I'm not even trying to make you feel sorry for me. Okay... maybe a little.

**********

But on to the good stuff: babies! (See how I made you wallow through all my self-pity with me first!? Mwahaha.)

Here are our alphabet of quads from our latest ultrasound at about 12.5 weeks:


They definitely look like little people in there! The video we got was pretty cool, too, because we could see so much more detail than before. Elbows, knees and toes... knees and toes. Ha, it was awesome. They weren't as wiggly as they have been on other occasions, but we still enjoyed seeing them. I edited the video to some of the best bits, which you can see below.

video

Thanks for sticking with me and listening to all my woes. The day has taken a turn for the worse, so I'm going to put away work and turn on the TV, then douse myself with cold medicine... and come back and watch my video for like the 2349808746240th time when I need another pick-me-up. :)


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