Monday, May 30, 2011

17 weeks and 3 days

Well, I just dropped Meg off at the airport after a very brief three-day weekend. Seriously, I feel like I just picked her up and I'm already saying "goodbye." Fortunately, I'll see her again soon, in just two and a half weeks. At that point, it will be for good. That's right. My honey gets to move up here PERMANENTLY in just a few weeks. We've already made it through two months and with all that we have going on during the next few weeks, it'll fly by.

Awaiting her, will be an extremely excited husband and her all-time favorite cat, Abigail. Those two have quite the bond. Seriously, I'll need to monitor it when the babies get here and make sure Abigail isn't monopolizing her time. We discussed it for a while before the trip and decided that it would be better to have Meg fly her up here during this trip instead of trying to make her squeeze into her kitty carrier for the twelve-hour drive that lies ahead in June. All I can say is, poor Meghan and poor Abigail. It probably wasn't more than five minutes into the trip, and before Meg got to the airport, Abigail peed in her carrier.  Unbelievable.  On top of that, if there could be anything worse, Abigail started putting off this really strong "scared" odor.  Now, I wasn't there in the cab or on the plane to smell it, but when I met them at the baggage claim, "WHOA!"  What made it worse was the fact that she had to take Abigail out of the crate and carry her through security, so all of that stink got all over Meg's clothes for the entire flight!  I told her it was just practice for the babies.  That was until Abigail was in my car for the 45-minute ride home and I realized that it was I that needed the practice.  I swear I almost put her in the trunk or tied her to the top of the car. Her kitty stink was that bad!  What's really amazing is that by the next morning, she had completely cleaned herself off.  Her fur was soft again and she actually smelled pretty good, at least as good as a cat can smell.

Now, Meg's gone and it's just me and Abigail for the next few weeks, waiting for our mutual best friend to come home.  This time, it will be for good...finally.

I'll leave you with a pregnancy update pic and couple of other photos of Meg with her OTHER best friend.

She still has a long a way to go, but I thought I'd remind you where she started with the first pregnancy update pic.

Just a few by the window

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Creating an Oasis for an Expecting Wife

When Meghan moved in to my condo (aka "The Dungeon") three and a half years ago, she did so knowing that she was giving up one of her favorite places to relax an unwind at the end of the day or start her morning off with a cup of coffee--her balcony.  If I had been renting my place at the time, I'm sure she would have coaxed me into looking for someplace new, where we could both fit, that also had some sort of easy access to outdoor space.  Because I had bought my place prior to us meeting, she happily (reluctantly) gave up her place to move in with the man she was going to marry.

She's done an excellent job putting up with my black-out blinds and propensity for liking a little more privacy than not (we were at street level after all).  Now, I've looked around and I can't seem to find a contract anywhere stating such, but I'm pretty sure it was understood--spoken or not--that I would one day give her a place where she could spend as much time as she wanted outdoors, without always having to drive to a park to get there.  Where she could spend hours on end reading books, getting her daily dose of Vitamin D, and now, playing in the grass with our triplet babies.

In between doing the woodwork inside the house and having my appendix removed, I put in a patio and firepit in the backyard.  Ok, ok.  I didn't really put it in, but it was definitely my idea, including the design, stone, and color selections.  My contractor had a five-man crew here for four straight days.  If I would've put it in, well, let's just say Meg would probably be sitting in a half-excavated backyard for at least a few more years.  Life is short.  You might as well enjoy every minute that you can.  Some things are worth waiting for.  My friends, this patio wasn't one of them.

It doesn't do any good to have a nice patio if you're looking at brown grass.  So, next up is a sprinkler system, which will be going in during the first week of June.   This will be another thing that I outsource.  I'm trying to get better at deciding when it's worth it for me to do something and when it's more effective, from both a cost and time perspective, to allow others who do these tasks for a living, to take over and do it the right way the first time.  With triplet girls on the way, I can only imagine that I'll be forced to start making these types of decisions on a daily basis because, knowing me, there will probably just never feel as if there's enough time.

Here are the rest of the before and after pics of the patio creation.  Now we need some furniture!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Going Above and Beyond (shout out to myself!)

***Please note that this post was written in the middle of the night, after surgery, on a pain med drip--It's also a little long***

Just a tour? Who settles for just a tour of a hospital when you can get a taste of the real thing? Not this supportive husband. If you recall, about a month ago, Meghan and I visited a couple of the hospitals in our area in hopes of making a more informed decision as to which hospital we were going to entrust with the delivery of our girls.  We met with nurses, asked a ton of questions (ok, I asked a ton of questions), we took tours of the NICU, checked out the recovery rooms, etc.

Something was missing though, as we just weren't able to definitively choose which hospital we liked the most.  I couldn't exactly put my finger on it though.  So, my body, fully aware of our internal dilemma, decided that, in the best interest of choosing at which hospital Meg was going to deliver, it would donate one of my organs to the cause as a way of providing entry for a first-hand experience.  The organ de choix--my appendix.

(Rare photo of me taken with the webcam)

It all began when I noticed a pain in my stomach on Wednesday night, unlike any pain that I had felt before.  I've definitely felt worse stomach pains.  I was just having a difficult time locating the source of the pain, even though I could feel the pain centered right over my bellybutton. I was hoping that a good night's sleep would cure the problem, but I ended up waking up several times throughout the night with more severe pains, mixed in with what felt like bouts of fever.  When I woke up in the morning, the pain had diminished a little bit, but I also noticed that it had migrated from the center of my belly to the lower right quadrant of my abdomen.  At that point, the pain was coming and going in waves.  It's really hard to describe it though, but I'll try.  Basically, it didn't feel like an upset stomach or when your stomach cramps up.  It also didn't feel like sore ab muscles, like you feel two days after doing crunches when you haven't worked your abs in a long time.  It felt like the pain was locked somewhere in between my stomach and ab muscles.  Though I did try to "stretch it out" to no avail, just in case I had inadvertently used my ab muscles while I had been on the computer at work.  Like I said, it was a strange feeling. 

I never actually got sick though, which was great, because any sort of movement was definitely providing an opportunity for the pain to remind me that it was still there.  The convulsions involved in vomiting would have definitely put me over the edge.

Because I wasn't displaying any of the really serious symptoms of appendicitis, I almost wrote the pain off to constipation, or some other bowel-related issue.  To be sure though, I called a couple of friends who are now sans appendix and, of course, my mother who has been an RN for almost three decades.  I compared notes with everyone, as well as to what I was reading on WebMD and decided it was better to be safe than sorry if it really was my appendix.

When I checked into the ER, I actually got a little embarrassed.  At one point, the doctor asked me to rate my pain on a scale from 0-10, with 10 being the worst pain possible.  Honestly, at the time he asked me, it was 0 and that's what I told him.  I started to think that I had over-reacted to what would probably end up being gas.  Well, that was about five seconds before he pushed down on my abdomen, where the pain immediately jumped to a 8 or 9.

After that, the next stop was to get a CT scan.  Upon entering the room, the nurse said that we'll start with Option #1 (as if it were realy an option), then the radiologist would determine whether or not we'd need Option #2.  Like any curious patient, I asked the obvious question, "What are Options #1 and #2?"  To which I received the answer, "Let's just start with Option #1 before we WORRY about Option #2."  It wasn't really a satisfactory answer to me at the time, but now I understand why she explained it that way.  After raising my arms above my head and moving in and out of the CT scan a few times, the radiologist called down and said that he could see what he needed to and that Option #2 was off the table.  So, the nurse finally explained that if doing a basic CT scan didn't provide a good enough view of my appendix, they would have needed to perform a RECTAL CONTRAST, thus why they kept it the "secret" Option #2.  Radiology nurses, thank you for that by the way.  No need to worry an already sick patient.

(How they remove the appendix)

After confirming that I did, indeed, need an appendectomy, they were actually able to squeeze my surgery in within the hour.  I'm not going to lie, I did get pretty nervous when they started to wheel me back to the OR.  The worst thing I've ever been to the hospital for was a fractured wrist.  I've only ever been knocked out once, and that was when I had my wisdom teeth removed.  But I've never had a tube down my throat or a catheter before now (speaking of catheters, I didn't know they had used one until the first time I tried to use the restroom in the middle of the night).  If you've ever had a catheter, you know what I'm talking about.

Since I slept for most of the evening yesterday, I woke up around 3:00am this morning.  I won't bore you with all of the details of how nice my room is, but there are two pieces of equipment which I wasn't aware of before I arrived, but make complete sense and make me want to thank the thousands of patients before me who probably created the need for these tools so that I didn't have to suffer.

Do you know how easy it is for abdominal surgery patients to get pneumonia?  I didn't.  Apparently, most post-abdominal-surgery patients fail to breath deep enough which cause the farthest reaches of the lungs to be under-ventilated and, eventually, collapse.  So, I have to take 10 deep breaths per hour out of this device, below, to keep from getting pneumonia.

Also, it's very easy for any surgical patient to get blood clots in their legs from lying still for too long.  Now, they have what look like equivalents to blood pressure cuffs that alternate their inflating and deflating to ensure that the blood keeps flowing through your legs. It felt a little strange at first, but then it was almost like someone was gently massaging my calves for hours on end.

Well, I'm hoping to get released today, but for now, I'm still hooked up through this IV,

which is feeding me fluids, antibiotics, and the occasional pain med.  I have to take it with me everywhere.  Everywhere consists of two places right now--the restroom and the entire recovery room floor.  They're encouraging me to get up and walk around as much as possible to help get my digestive track moving again.  If anyone has ever seen Something's Gotta Give, and you remember the scene when Jack Nicholson is in the hospital, you'll get the next reference.  I was walking around the floor with my IV stand and one of the nurses came up behind me and asked if I wanted a second gown to help cover up.  Lord, I hope she thought I just looked cold or something, because I know I didn't tie the back of my gown.  I can't reach back there!

I'll go ahead and wrap this up by saying that I think we found our hospital.  The experience here has been great and the nurses here have been wonderful.  All in all, I think I could've done without the catheter experience, but for a guy that likes to get his hands dirty and get into the mix, there was no better way to assure myself that delivering our babies at Edward Hospital will provide the right experience for us!

Lastly, I want to give a shout out to all of my nurses - Kathy, LaShonda, Rose, and Majen.  Thanks for taking such good care of me ladies.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Preparing for mom and the babies

I'll start this post by letting you know that you'll most likely see an improved quality in the photos that I include in this blog.  Don't get me wrong, I didn't hire a photographer to start taking all of my photos.  I'm referring to the fact that I finally put two and two together and took a lesson from how I post photos of things I'm selling on Craigslist and am applying it to this blog.  Anyone who uses Craigslist regularly probably can tell the difference when someone uploads their photos directly to Craigslist compared to other posts where the photos are obviously from better quality files that are hosted on another site.  I learned this lesson years ago and have since started uploading any CL photos I had planned on posting, to my photography website, then linking them in the html code, instead of uploading them using the CL photo upload tool.  When you do that, similar to how blogger does it, the posted pics get compressed and end up with horrible artifacts that don't look anywhere near as clear as your originals.  Not sure why it took me 20 posts to figure it out, but I found another blog where the pics looked great and it got me thinking.  Anyway, just wanted to share my lesson in case anyone was noticing the same thing on their own blog photo uploads.

I keep referencing how busy I've been, in my previous posts, trying to get the house ready for when Meghan gets here in June, so I thought I better share some pics of the work.  While there's no real deadline, I have a self-imposed deadline of trying to get all of the inside woodwork and painting done in the next four and a half weeks.  We don't want mom to be breathing in fumes and sawdust do we?

I'll be sure to post a complete before and after sequence when I'm done with our bedroom, but I wanted to share some photos of the progress I'm making, mainly to reassure my wife that all of those Lowes credit card charges are actually resulting in WORK, not just a garage full of tools :)  Though, (men take note) signing up for a project like this is an excellent excuse for building out a tool collection.

I hadn't really worked with wood much since my father and I built a custom loft bed for my dorm in college.  It was pretty sweet.  We had built in lighting and ran electric conduit up top and underneath, all controlled by a built-in light switch.  It wasn't too complex, but it was pretty cool when I set it up in my room.

Here's a quick shot of one of the larger frames that I had to build.

This all started with this woodpile,

and was cut up and put together with these tools,

to create the foundation for the wainscoting.

I know you can't see it yet, because the vision is still in my head, but our bedroom walls will be lined wainscot panels that have a 4" shelf that runs along the top edge around the entire room.  The inside of each square/rectangular panel will be finished off with decorative trim and then it will all be painted in a glossy white "trim" paint.  To top it off, I'm putting up crown molding at the top of the wall and will run rope lighting around the room to illuminate the tray ceiling. 

My goal was to create a super-comfortable room for Meg when she needs to sneak a few minutes for herself.  Don't worry, the girls' room is getting some major attention, too, I just wanted to have our room complete before she gets here.  To top it off, I'm adding a patio on to the back of the house with a firepit!  I'll share those pictures in another post.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The beginnings of a triplet wardrobe

Meg is so funny sometimes.  She called me on Friday and said that it was the first day she actually looked pregnant and not just fat.  (Honey, if you're reading this, I've never thought you looked fat)  It was the first day when people, who didn't know she was pregnant, actually came up to her and inquired as to the reason behind her expanding belly.  Good thing she is pregnant.  Can you imagine how awkward that would be if she was actually just gaining weight?

So, while I'm working hard at getting the house ready, Meg spent some time over the weekend at Babies 'R Us updating the registry.  She just couldn't help herself and spotted some super deals on baby clothes, so she snagged a few really cute dresses.  I know this probably seems strange, but when she sent me the photos of the dresses, I think I must have stared at them for at least five minutes.  These are the first baby clothes that we've purchased and it's so strange to think that one day soon, these clothes will be filled with three little girls.

On that note, I've been noticing that my mind wanders off fairly often lately, wondering what our girls will look like.  I'm sure this is normal for expecting parents.  Sometimes I can't believe that this is all happening and that, not only are we fortunate enough to have one kid, but that we're really having three at the same time!

Hopefully, Meg won't kill me for posting this picture, but she sent me a side view pic last night of her laying down.  Apparently, she was trying to read and, for the first time, her belly was noticeably in the way.  It must feel so strange to have your body change so much from what you've been used to your entire life.  I know that men will never truly understand what it's like, but Meg, know that I appreciate what you're going through to allow us to grow our family more than you will ever know.

Friday, May 13, 2011

It's getting crowded in there!

On Wednesday, Meg went in for another sonogram.  It looks like she's now on a bi-weekly schedule, at a minimum, through the end of the pregnancy.  Don't worry, there's nothing wrong.  They just want to monitor her more frequently as she gets further into the pregnancy.  Today, she's exactly 15 weeks.   I can't believe it.  Time is flying by so quickly!

I know, I know.  "She's got another 25 weeks to go," is probably what you're saying to yourself.  Unless you're a mother or father of triplets.  If you're a parent of triplets, you already know that the average gestation time for triplets is 33 weeks.  So, if we're lucky, we'll make it to 33 weeks.  If we're super lucky, we'll make it to 35 weeks, leaving us with 20 weeks.  20 weeks is about five months.  Five months seems like a long time, right?  Not if you're an expecting father of triplets in a brand new house, with a brand new job, who wants to get everything done that he can foresee needing to do with his house for the next few years.  Also, not when you wake up everyday thinking about how comfortable you want to make your wife when she gets here in five weeks and you don't want paint fumes or sawdust flying around the air.  When you're that guy, 20 weeks seems like it's tomorrow.

Back to the babies.  Take a look at this 3D shot.  They look like their faces are in each others' butts!  It will be so fun to show them all of these images when they get older and tell them which one was Baby A, Baby B, and Baby C.  Kind of looks like an abstract painting, doesn't it?

Wednesday was pretty much just a photo shoot at the doctor's office.  They didn't measure the babies, but, based on the some of the 2D sonogram pics, you can definitely see the difference between 14.5 weeks and 12.5 weeks.  From my post a couple of weeks ago, you could see that each girl had plenty of room to move around.  Now, not so much.  Basically, it's getting crowded in there!

Also, just so you all don't think I'm crazy, I'll be sharing some before and after pics of the some of the work that I'm doing around the house before Meg gets here, in later posts.

Monday, May 9, 2011

14 weeks and 0 days pregnant (the important parts are growing)

Have I told you how much I love my wife and how difficult it is to be apart during this pregnancy?  It's getting harder and harder each passing week.  We only have six more weeks of this not being together stuff.  We've been going for two to three week stints without seeing each other, but fortunately, this past weekend, I got just a little reminder of how beautiful and wonderful my wife is.  Fortunately, this weekend's trip had multiple purposes.

#1 - My younger sister, Lea, graduated from college.  Way to go Lea!

#2 - Fulfilling my desperate need for some Meghan time.

Yes, I am guilty of being completely in love with my wife.  Each time we see each other at the airport and hug as if the world's survival depended on the strength of our squeeze, I bury my face in the space between her neck and hair and take a deep inhale.  I can't remember if she always smelled so good or if it has something to do with being pregnant, but I love it!

As soon as I landed on Friday evening, we went straight to Barnes & Noble.  We've been discussing different parenting ideas lately and decided we needed to get on the same page.  Not because we've been disagreeing, but mostly because I haven't spent any real time with children since my sister was young, which was quite a long time ago.  Meghan interacts with kids everyday, so through her own experience and her education, she's definitely way ahead of me when it comes to the "What would you do when your kid does this?" type of questions.  It's not that I don't have answers, it's just that my answers sound like they're coming from a 33-year old man who hasn't had the responsibility of making decisions on how to raise children and THEN having to live with the results.  So, Meg and I decided that while we were apart, we'd each read a couple of books about dealing with crying babies, getting babies to sleep through the night, and ways to encourage good behavior with toddlers.  I'm sure we'll find parts from each book that we both like and dislike, but it's a way to stay connected during our time apart and have something interesting to discuss on those nights when each of us didn't do much else than work really hard that day.

Talk about feeling old.  On my flight home, I was sitting next to a guy who was reading Maxim magazine while I was thumbing through the no-cry discipline solution.  He must have thought to himself, "this guy is old!"

Meghan didn't send me a picture of her belly last week, so I made sure to grab a quick shot before going to bed.  In the photo, I'm having a difficult time seeing a ton of change from two weeks ago, but in person, you can definitely see how our three little girls are making a home for themselves for, hopefully, at least the next 20 weeks.  In person, you can see where her belly is really starting to push out.  I'm not exactly sure how to describe it except to say that at 4:00 and 8:00, there are more pronounced curves where her belly is sticking out more directly.  At this point, she's only gained 12 pounds.  We're not exactly sure if that's normal for a triplet pregnancy, but the babies are growing at the right pace, so we'll start worrying if or when the doctor tells us.  Also, I know that some of her students may be reading this blog, so I'll keep it PG and just say that other parts are approaching sizes never seen on her small frame.  She's now to the point where she had to buy a special piece of fabric over the weekend that attaches to the front part of her bra to reduce the amount of cleavage that can be seen when she's working with the kids at school.

She sure is glowing!

As I was flying home on Sunday night, I was thinking about how Mother's Day will never be the same again.  I think most of us take for granted what our own mothers went through when they had us and how difficult and scary it must have been at times.  There was no blogging, no facebook, no way to easily find out what's happening to your body and to know whether it was normal or not.  Their knowledge of pregnancy was much more limited and they most likely relied on the experience of a few close family members.  I think most men, in general, take pregnancy for granted.  I know I did.  Going through multiple IUI and IVF cycles has, obviously, made me appreciate how much of a miracle pregnancy is and how lucky Meg and I are to being having our three girls.  I'm so grateful that my mother was able to have me and cared enough to raise me with a ton of love.  I hope that Meghan and I can do the same for our children.  God willing, this time next year, we'll be celebrating our own first Mother's Day!

Monday, May 2, 2011

The doctor called and Baby C is a...

At this point, some of you must be thinking about how strange it is that I've been borrowing pictures of other people's kids for my blog posts.  Well, there's a reason I used this picture for today, in particular.  The doctor's office called us today with news on Baby C and this picture is a representation of the final results for our three babies.

Yep, we're having THREE GIRLS!

I've been thinking about this all day and I haven't been able to fully comprehend the gravity of my situation.  I'm sure Meghan is probably thinking about things completely differently, but my mind is totally consumed with questions like...

"What am I going to do with four women in the house?"

"How cute are they going to be when they're all dressed up in matching clothes?"

"How am I going to make sure that each of these girls feels equally loved?"

"Will the fraternal triplet feel left out when she has two sisters who look alike, or because they're triplets and sisters, will they all be close with each other?"

"What am I going to do when they all turn 16 and want to start driving?"

"Is there a chance that AT&T/Verizon will actually tell me that my girls have surpassed the limits of 'unlimited' text messaging?"

"How am I going to protect three girls from having their hearts broken?"

"How am I going to protect three girls in general?"

"How many more years into retirement am I going to have to work to pay for three weddings?"

"How awesome will it be that I'll get to have three father-daughter dances at their weddings?"

"How great is it that there's a much higher likelihood that we'll get to see them and future grandkids more often, since we all know that couples usually spend more time with the wife's family?"

"How amazing will it be when all three of my girls give me a hug at the end of the day?"

and, "How sweet will it be when all three learn to speak and can one day call me 'daddy'?"

One thing's for sure and it's that I'm in for one heck of a ride.  Bring it on.  I can't wait!