Hoffman Quintuplets 1+5= The 6-Pack

Hoffman Quintuplets 1+5= The 6-Pack
Babies getting big!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

June 13th...Happy Birthday Quintuplets!

            I woke up early the morning of the c-section to get makeup on and look the best I could (even though I was miserable) for the grand event I worked so hard to achieve!  I was in shock to find out that morning that Dr. Elliott had flown across the country Thursday night to help perform the procedure and was flying back out after the procedure was done!  When we first arrived, he promised he would be there, and he was!  I was a lot more relaxed since he had done this eighteen times before with quintuplets and many more times with quadruplets etc.  The hospital was amazing and video taped the entire birth and gave photographs to us since the day was such a whirlwind!  Michael had to stay on the outside of the OR and change as they prepped me inside the OR.
           Upon entering, I met with the anesthesiologist, anesthesiologist tech, scrub nurses, OR nurses, camera people, residents, and saw the teams for the babies ready in the glassed area conjoined to my OR.  It was about 50 people in there at that point.  I was given a spinal epidural and was laid down on the table.  The sterile field was created and then my three doctors and Michael entered the room and more people too!  I'm glad they were there since I was so nervous of both the c-section and the condition of the babies. I entered the OR at 8 am.  The first incision was made at 8:13am.  The first two babies were delivered at 8:15, second two babies at 8:16, and last baby was born at 8:17.  During the procedure, Dr. Elliott was calling out when to start certain drugs to help my overly stretched out uterus to clamp down at the right time. HOM have to be delivered quickly to prevent shock to set in with my body and my uterus from clamping down on the remaining babies.  The longer each one remains in my body the worse the outcome after the first incision.  As they were delivered, Dr. Elliott held them for the camera and us to see!  They all cried at birth and I did too!
            The babies were then immediately handed off to their NICU team in the other room.  As I was being sewn up on my vertical and horizontal incision, they started bringing them over for us to quickly see in their isolates!  Elias was stable enough they could take him out of the isolate so I could see him and kiss him before they whisked him off!  Michael followed the last baby out.  Dr. Elliott and most staff left as the remaining staff finished closing me up and removed my cerclage.  I was then taken to recovery exactly one hour from the first cut at 9:13.
             I stayed in recovery for another hour.  I was able to start eating ice chips there.  Michael and Susan (cousin) kept running between NICU and me to give updates, show pictures etc.  Afterwards, I was returned to my antepartum room for frequent monitoring, and was allowed a clear liquid diet for the rest of the day.  I wasn't hungry though at all buy forced myself to eat the clear liquids and walk when I was able to slowly.  After I walked, Michael was allowed to take me down to the NICU by wheelchair and wheel me to each baby so I could see them!  It was so special!  They weighed between 3lbs1oz and 3lbs11oz!  Both are great rates for a single baby at 31w1d let alone multiples! They were all on ventilators but at minimal settings! Otherwise, they looked amazing!

June 9th-June 12th (the day before the c-section)

June 9th-June 10th always hold a sad place in my heart.  These were the dates I lost a daughter at 24 weeks to Turner's Syndrome and associated heart defects.  It totally devastated me.  She would have been three this year.  I know she is in a better place though and is free from the lifelong hurt this syndrome and the heart defects would have caused.  I spent these two days in solitude and just kept myself busy with other tasks.  I listened to a lot of music during this time.  Also, I did a lot of thinking, took minimal phone calls, stayed off social media, away from tv, etc.  I mainly wanted to be left alone. I don't think the pain will ever be gone from this loss.  I just have learned how I personally need to heal and handle these days in a positive manner.  Her name is Allyannah Alexsys and I love her forever and always.

In addition to these days already being a little more sad and stressful, all of our household items from NJ were delivered to a house I leased in AZ from the hospital bed (sight unseen).  Also, a house I had previously purchased at eighteen in another state was fixed up and put on the market to sell since the renter's moved out.  Furthermore, the effects of the magnesium sulfate were starting to get worse.  Suddenly, I was gaining at least 10 lbs of water weight a day!  This was terrible timing since 2 out of my 3 doctors were out of town!  I had met their "replacements" before they left just in case but it was still scary.

After four days, I could barely move or breath!  I had gained forty pounds of water weight (in four days) and it was starting to leak into my lungs causing pulmonary edema. They could not just take me off the magnesium since the babies would have pushed through the cerclage causing major damage to myself and them!  The contractions were also coming more frequently and we were out off options... the doctors decided it was time to deliver.

They decided on June 12th the c-section would be the next day at 8 am.  This gave ample time for the prep work to be done on me and the room appropriately staffed!  I was relieved for the extreme swelling pain to be gone, to be able to breath, and to meet the babies.  However, I felt like I failed! My eyes were on the prize to make it another 3 weeks for them...  I had beat the average of 27 weeks for quintuplets by a month, did everything they told me, had daily injections, fought to get to AZ, etc. but it did not feel like enough!

My favorite past time was my once a day hydrotherapy bath!  It relieved so much pressure and made me feel weightless even though I weighed so much.  After my hydrotherapy bath on the 12th, the prep work fun began!  I stood in the tub as the CNA helped bathe me in a solution that killed any bacteria etc on my body. Afterwards, I put on a gown, had bloodwork done, a second IV inserted, prophylactic IV antibiotics given, and was shaved by the CNA! Luckily, the CNA and I had 70 days to become acquainted before this!  We were joking throughout and I'm sure it's something neither of us will forget.  Honestly, by this point with so much fluid and breathing issues anybody could have done anything with me I was so miserable it did not even matter.  I then rested the best I could until 5 am on the 13th...I was hoping my fight was a enough for healthy babies.

Last growth ultrasound before the birth and events starting to lead to an earlier delivery...

Since the last update, a lot has happened!  At the last time of the last post, I was doing well,  I was only getting daily injections of Terbutaline and other oral tocolytics to maintain my contractions at less than 3 an hour.  However, starting the next day, I was put on a high level of magnesium sulfate as a bolus and then on a continuous dosage.  The nurses said they had never seen such a high maintenance dose given and most moms who they have had on a lot lower dose could not function at all.  I was lucky since I was still able to move to use the rest room by myself slowly, and could still function.  At that point, my main complaint from the magnesium was feeling very warm constantly (I had a fan on high and air turned all the way down and was still on fire feeling).  I also had a burning sensation in my eyes that came and went.  Magnesium Sulfate is the "super drug" that is the last resort tocolytic since it is the most powerful.  I was put on it since the combination of the other drugs would not keep my contractions low.  I was averaging 8-12 regular contractions an hour.  These contractions were painful and I had them getting stronger for 13 weeks now! Talk about a long labor!  

At 30w4d (June 9,2014), I had another growth ultrasound, my twice a week biophysical profile ultrasound, and a cervical length measurement.
The babies weighed:
Baby A: 3lbs 13oz
Baby B: 3lbs 11oz
Baby C: 3lbs 5oz
Baby D: 3lbs 9oz
Baby E: 3lbs 11oz

They all scored well ranging 8/8 on the biophysical profile.  Occasionally, we would get a 6/8 from one not wanting to show off their practice breathing.  However, it is not alarming since we know they can do it since we've seen it done at other times.  Plus, there is "always one in every crowd" that does their own thing!  

My cervical length had shortened to 0.9, I was fully dilated above the cerclage, and my cervix was "paper thin".  At this point, I was placed on even more strict hospital bed rest.  

I was still looking forward to doing whatever was needed to get to the 34w1d scheduled c-section date of July 4th since I knew how amazing the outcome would be for all the babies!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

A day in the life of the hospital and status update!

Life in the hospital is interesting when you are not sick...you just are super pregnant and things can get crazy fast!

A typical day in the hospital for a higher order multiples mom includes:
-3 meals (ordered like room service), 2 snacks (brought around 2x a day on a cart), 4+ protein shakes.
-Total daily calorie consumed at least 7000 calories a day. I was dropping weight at 5000 cal a day.
-Daily Ultrasound to see/hear heartbeats and movement (impossible to pickup all babies on NST in room).
-At least 3-hour naps a day ordered by doctors.
-Daily Shower, makeup/hair done, changing clothes, and changing bed linen to remain feeling "normal".
-Twice a day toco monitoring of contractions (if I have more than 4 an hour I get a Terbutaline injection).
-Every 3 day blood draws of Type and Screen encase you suddenly need an emergency c-section (luckily       my Dr. stopped these from weeks 26-30 so I can have a little break).
-I am on Motrin 4x a day, and Nifedipine 6x a day to help maintain contractions at 4 or less an hour.
-Vital signs taken frequently.
-Meeting lots of awesome CNA's, nurses, ultrasound techs, housekeepers, transporters, etc.  Everybody    
eventually knows you around the hospital lol.
-Random visitors of hospital personal such as pet therapy, prenatal yoga, Chaplain, nutritionist, and many others.

Other things to look forward too:
-Cerclage (thankfully mine is holding firm!)
-Biophysical profile ultrasound (2x a week to watch the babies practice breath, check heart beat, check amniotic fluid levels, and look for movement.  The top score is an 8/8 and test is started at 28 weeks).  All the quints have been getting 8/8 on the twice weekly tests!  Little Rockstars!
-Cervical length check (checks for  funneling-dilation of cervix and shortening of cervix)
-Every three weeks, growth scans to find out how much the babies' weigh and check their anatomy.  (All of the babies, have been bigger than singletons which is very unusual for multiple babies).  Grow Sumo Babies, Grow!
-Steroid injections to help mature lungs of babies at 24 weeks and 28 weeks!  Doesn't feel great since they inject in your hip/buttock area but it wasn't too bad!  Totally worth it so they can breath a lot better if born early.

Latest Update from yesterdays Biophysical Profile Ultrasound  (BPP) and cervical length check:
Gestation 29w4d: Days in hospital: 60 days!

BPP- all babies received an 8/8!
Cervical length was shortening and more importantly internal os of cervix started dilating all the way down to the cerclage :(.

New plan of attack from the doctors:
Same meds as before, toco monitoring of more than 3 contractions now equals a Terbutaline injection), and strict bedrest (only bathroom or laying flat in bed on my sides)  At least there is only 31 days until scheduled c-section!  Not bad considering how far we've come!

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Positive Outlook and Goals for the Quintuplets first year!

Love that this past week's focus was wrapping up old things and creating new beginnings!  NJ is officially history as all stuff is moved from there and on it's way here!  The IL house is officially on the market for sale with a Realtor and looks amazing! Thanks to everybody's hard work for chipping in and making it look immaculate after the tenants left!  I've learned how much you can coordinate from a hospital bed hundreds of miles away from everything.  I also have learned to get rid of any negative people from my life and any "friends" who turned out not to be so... I learned to let go of control and fully trust others (who I know have my back always) for help when needed.  This is hard for me since I like taking over the job! My car is on the selling market too! Thanks Mom for getting it ready to sell.  Overall, it has been a stressful but awesome week! This week I've done a lot of thinking and made a bunch of goals to accomplish by the time the quintuplets turn one!  I can't wait to meet the babies and  start tackling the goals! I have also finished most of my "Type A to do project list" this week.  I even had time to be crafty (something I am not) and make the babies adorable name tags for their individual isolates!  Sorry can't show the names until big brother, Conner, gets to help decide which baby gets which name!  The house is rented in AZ and waiting to be set up for the 6-pack! The doctors have said nesting instinct is definitely kicking in for me...so game on let's do this (from my personal office, the hospital bed, of course haha)!

Some goals for the first year with the 6-pack:
-Have all quintuplets healthy, solely breastfeed, on a "normal" developmental scale, and sleeping through the night!
-Be a hands on mommy to Conner, work with him daily on extra school stuff, sports, and fun stuff!
-Finish getting out of debt.  I'm getting there!
-Jump start my Pure Romance Business in AZ!
-Finish nursing school and one other degree (I've finished two degrees since bed rest)!
-Take exam/Get a great Nursing job!
-Hit goal weight (125 lbs), tone up after quints, and get the family clean eating!
-Run a 10k with the 6-pack!

This is in addition to the daily tasks of having a 6-Pack at home.  Hopefully, these can happen.  I want to show myself, the 6-pack, and others the sky is the limit :)

Womb Mates! Meet the Babies in the Womb!

Current Pictures taken at 27w4d!

Baby A cuddled up and keeping it classy with a pinky in the air!

Baby B (head), Baby C (foot), Baby E (Face)!

                                                   Baby D relaxing and playing with her fist!

Baby E kissing Baby B's Forehead!

Baby A resting her hand on her face!

What to expect in a day of a quintuplet parent!

Since coming down to AZ for initial medical care, it is ideal for them to stay with the same doctors for two years. They will be premature (even at 34 weeks) and they will require many follow-up visits. They are expected to be caught up with singleton children of the same age no later than two years old!    So as I'm stuck in the hospital in AZ, a move has happened from NJ to AZ.  This includes all of the baby gear!  The key to being a higher order multiple parent is organization!  This is just some of the items waiting for the babies.  Luckily, everything was organized before I went on  bed rest.  This merchandise was all donated, gifted, or bought by us on clearance, sale, or with coupons!  Thanks to everybody who helped support the quintuplets!  Mainly, diapers and wipes are the only things being stocked up on still...

What to expect in the day of the life of a quintuplet parent for the first six months:

4 baby girls
1 baby boy
40-50 bottles
120-150 ounces of breast milk
22 hours of dedicated pumping by Mommy
40-50 dirty diapers
1 box of wipes gone a day
1-2 loads of baby laundry (plus 2-3 loads of other household laundry)
5 baths
10 ears to wash behind
5 swings
5 bouncers
2 changing tables
2 rocking chairs/gliders
5 bassinets
40 burp cloths
10 blankets
10-15 outfits for babies
15 pacifiers
3 tummy time mats
50 fingers
50 toes painted with nail polish that match their  individual clipboards
5 clipboards, to record diaper changes, feedings, naps, activities, developmental milestones
5 beautiful smiles
25 minutes to feed/change/burp/comfort each baby, every 3 hours.
1 big brother to keep entertained, in sports, in school, and feeling special still.  He is for sure the best big brother ever already!

Pictures of some of the organization: