Monday, June 2, 2008

Get your belly flip books ready

Week 17 continued... with an emotional vengeance.

As if somehow on cue, over the next couple of days after our amazing ultrasound and phone consult with Dr. Jelsema went so well, we started to receive semi-mysterious phone calls and emails from some of our Tech friends. It started with Jen Wickstrom... whom, upon hearing about our quadruplet pregnancy took it upon herself to immediately spring into action doing everything she could to help our family out. And I mean EVERYTHING. She was one of the first people to call me with her heartfelt congratulations and comforting words of support that God has CHOSEN our family and that this was truly a blessing beyond words. She understood to miracle unfolding in our lives and had an amazing impact on us with her words of encouragement and enthusiasm. But it didn't stop there. Through her incredible connections and friendships at her and Ben's family church she spread the word adding us to prayer lists, as so many of you have done and thank you ALL for this as it is the greatest gift of all for our family. Then she came up with a plan to put together a "needs list" for our family and actively pursue filling in every blank she could think of to include on that list through her incredible network of friends and family.

When Jen first called me and then emailed me more specifics about this "needs list" I'm pretty sure I just sat there silent for a few minutes. I know I've said it before, but we have been so focused on the health of our babies that we honestly did not dedicate much of our prayers and/or thoughts the actual logistics of the "stuff" that we will need once we have our babies. Thank you Jen for lighting this torch and now sharing/passing the torch to Tonia Nemecek, who is now my "needs" shadow... she's awesome... and a great one for persistence (to which I stink right now).

Here's a pic I found of Tonia & her son Nicholas from 2 years ago when they were up... again... she's a mom so it was rough even finding THIS action shot of her (in which you see about zero of Tonia). And another pic from that same weekend with the dad's (Jeremy & Scott) holding Aiden and Nicholas' hands walking out in the water... MELT HEART HERE!!!

The hardest part for Jeremy and I, again, we've probably mentioned this before, is trying to push our embarrassment/pride out of the way during this incredible journey. As much as we can not BELIEVE how blessed we are with the amazing outpouring of support you have all shown, we also have a VERY TOUGH time accepting it all with our mouths closed (I don't close my mouth all that often, as most of you know!). So, when Jen and Tonia put on the "TELL US WHAT YOU NEED!!!" pressure - I clam up and have no idea how to respond. Yes, I KNOW what you girls want me to tell you and yes, we certainly have needs... but we do not want people to think that we are some sort of charity case. We are confident that we can DO IT, no matter what the obstacles financially and physically... we have each other as a family. But, yes again, the truth is that we need to get the heck over it and accept that we are in a wonderful place having this outpouring of support from all of you... so I just want to say that we're sorry for being so stinking slow to respond to ANY requests for Lew Needs info... and any talk of donations to US? Ugh. We would like to bury our heads in the sand and pretend it's not on the website it's so humbling... but please, PLEASE know how much we appreciate everything. ALL of you.

And Jen, who has spent every week since she first contacted me thinking of EVERYTHING (did I mention that already?) - I mean, the girl is even trying to find someone to donate a house/apartment to our family in Traverse City in the event that our house doesn't sell in time for the birth of our babies so we don't have to split up our family (tick, tock, tick, tock...) - UNBELIEVABLE. And it is 100% Jen, and I'm sure Ben too although he's the silent player in the back, right? (go figure the woman being the dominant one in the family... hee, hee...) We have no idea how to say thank you in a way that truly conveys how we feel, but thank you. The glory of God's work is so obvious in how you choose to live your lives and help those around you.

And then, shortly after Jen contacts us, Jeremy starts getting phone calls and emails from people like Tim Bonk, George Moeke, Nate Curell saying things like "Send me some pictures of your family and don't ask any questions." Uhhhh... what? "Email me some background info on you and T and a progression of how you got yourselves into this predicament - and don't ask any questions." "Where are you planning on living and when are you going to have the quads?" Mysterious alright. Not exactly the everyday phone call/email you expect from your old college buddies - I'm pretty sure of that. And then some mention about a weekly "conference call" where you all sit around and talk about US?? (which Jeremy is EXTREMELY jealous that he can't be a part of, by the way... he wants to drink beer over the phone with you guys too!! If only you weren't talking secret code talk about US...) At this point we still didn't know about the website and blog, and to this day we have no idea what ELSE they talk about (CLEAN that open mind here), but regardless, it's touching to know that you boys have taken the time to set up a weekly appointment with each other to talk about us. Even if your primary goal is an excuse to close yourselves into the den and drink a 6 pack of beer reliving the "glory days"... well, we're honored.

And now, Jeremy and I were officially one big pile of mush at the end of week 17. In addition to everything I mentioned above we also had friends calling and offering up their high chairs, car seats, pack n' plays, etc. - and Dana Salladay shows up for a play date with her daughters Jackie and Ava with her car completely loaded down with everything she could fit in it for us to have!! We never expected or saw any of this coming... We were at our emotional wreck limits and completely unaware of how to digest the fantastic news about the health of our babies, and the outpouring of support going on with all our friends and family. We dedicated entire nights to standing in our kitchen holding one another crying after the kids went to bed, reflecting on all the miracles taking place around us... there is just nothing we could do or say to give God and those around us enough praise. Please know the impact you have all had on our lives... we are forever changed.

OK - hush up, Tonya, and show us the goods.


week 18 folks:

Week 18 was the scariest week we have had to date during our quad pregnancy. OK, maybe minus those first 8-9 weeks - but it's a close call. As I just reported, week 17 went by and felt like some sort of crazy euphoric dream in retrospect. And then the DAY we hit 18 weeks it all came to a crashing halt because I got sick. And I mean S-I-C-K. I am SO VERY AWARE of how blessed we have been throughout our pregnancy in terms of my health and, even more so, the babies health. I have read about and heard horror story after horror story about how sick the mom's are throughout their pregnancies with crazy hormonal changes associated with a quad pregnancy. The only other mom to have quads in Traverse City, bless her heart, Kristin Godwin, was in the hospital on complete bedrest and an IV she was SO SICK at like week 5 of her pregnancy!! I think she lost like 30 lbs because she just could NOT keep anything in her body. Yes, LOST 30 lbs people. Pregnant with quads. Is that an oxymoron, or what? But, praise God, all four of her little girls were born healthy!! Anyhow, day 1 of week 18 began with Tonya nearly passing out in the shower. But the old "I'll be be fine - I just need to eat something - blah, blah, blah" mentality of this stubborn girl was a pretty bad call that day. I INSISTED (much to my husband's dismay) that I would be FINE and drove my arce into work (long story, but I'd been off several days the week before because our nanny and her kids had the flu! So the old work-time-off guilt thing kicked in... I know... I blow... DUMB). I discovered that I could literally not be on my feet for ANY MORE than 4-5 minutes without the black tunnel starting, light headed, starry eyes, ringing in the ears... HELLO, YOU ARE GOING TO PASS OUT, TONYA - SIT THE HECK DOWN!! I mustered through, barely, about 1/2 hour of near misses before I made it to the bathroom as quickly as possible to unload that "I'll be fine food". OK. Guess this was about the time I realized how scared I was about the whole situation. So I immediately called my doctor even though, thank GOD, I already had an ultrasound scheduled for later that day. They instructed me to "lay in bed and try to keep down any fluids possible until my appointment." and that I was in "no condition to drive a vehicle, so make sure someone brings you to your appointment." Hmmm... this just somehow didn't seem like the time to admit to them what a moron I was and had actually come into work that day. So. What did I do? Well, what any other woman would do in my condition... I locked myself in a conference room (man, I hope no one from work actually reads this blog...) for a couple hours sleeping on and off and then, gulp, drove myself to my appointment. Yes, not one of my smarter moves in life (from the word GO that day), but again, that huge TLew "I can do it" pride thingy tends to be a bother sometimes... Anyhow, I think I managed to hold down like 3 almonds and a sip of water prior to my appointment and then I tried to eat a kashi bar or something on the way over... which I promptly gave back to the system when I got there. I am pretty sure I fell asleep on the ultrasound table waiting for the doc (yeah, all 8 minutes of waiting... I was pathetic) - and then finally found out that my blood pressure was registering me like... oh yeah... DEAD it was so stinking low. Once Dr. Madion came in (and woke me up) he told me that it's typical around mid-pregnancy for your blood pressure to take a nose dive for a bit - and, like with most everything else, the more babies you have, the more severe the symptoms. And I have low blood pressure to begin with, so it didn't exactly come in handy for once. But other than that, the babies looked GREAT still and all he could say to me over and over was "You are doing so great, Tonya! I am SO encouraged by how well you are doing with this quad pregnancy and how healthy the babies look! We couldn't be happier for you!" Now, normally this type of enthusiasm is met by a bolt of YAHOO's! And high five's out of TLew. But on this particular day it was all I could do to keep my eyes open and look at him and say "Are you serious? I feel like death warmed over. Are you sure I'm going to be OK?" All the while I was saying this I honestly didn't WANT to tell him any of it either because I was SO AFRAID that this was the beginning of the end of my freedom. And I mean it. I thought FOR SURE that bedrest was INEVITABLE after how my day had went and I was petrified that I was going to have to call Jeremy and the boys and be like "Mommy's not coming home... she's in the hospital on bedrest until forever..." Ohhhhhh...I was scared... but I think deep down I knew that I'd made enough bad judgement calls over the course of that day NOT to be completely up front and honest with him about how I felt; couldn't eat, couldn't drink, couldn't stand, couldn't anything. But - he gave me the ole "Atta girl" and sent me home (no - he didn't know that I had drove myself... I didn't tell him THAT part...). He reassured me that I should try to keep down any fluids, chicken broth (HIGH SODIUM CONTENT) I could and that I would TOTALLY recover over the next couple days. Okeedokee. I was smart enough - if I can say that - given the fact that I HAD to get home - in driving. I pulled over several times just to rest my eyes (this was an effort to keep them open) and took as long as necessary to get home. Thankfully I didn't have the pass out issue so much in a sitting position, so it was fine.

Oh, and yes, I learned my lesson.

NEVER underestimate the power of a quadruplet pregnancy and the havoc it can reek on your body. You may not just "be fine" so, like Dr. Jelsema says "listen to your body and be smart."


And wouldn't you know it? After 3-4 days in bed and doing a lot of reading books with the boys laying on the couch ("Mommy, why don't you want to play with us?" INSERT FEELING HORRIBLE HERE!!! AND NOT FROM THE SICKNESS!!!!) I felt about 90% by the end of the week! So those doctor's DO know what they are talking about.... jeeeeeesssshhhhhhhh.....

week 19:

This was a great week - still recovering a tad, but for the most part I felt like "me" again and all was well in TLew pregoland...

week 20:

Look at the difference from week 19 to 20!!! It's nuts!!

This was Mother's Day weekend and we made our official "last trek" downstate to see all our family for the rest of this pregnancy (with clearance from the doc). It was great to see Jeremy's sister Jess prego one last time (for us) and visit with Lew family in from all over the country (Alaska baby!!!). We had a blast - although time is ALWAYS much too short... and then my mom and Jeremy pulled off a surprise baby shower for us on Saturday evening!! It was just awesome!! I felt like it was a scaled-back version of our wedding where you want to see and talk to EVERYONE THERE for hours, but in reality you get about 10 minutes top with each of them and come away wishing for more.... I couldn't believe the friends and family that hiked over to my parents house to see us and all of the amazingly generous gifts we received!! Thank you SO MUCH to all of you- especially my mom who KNEW that I was NEVER going to give the official "green light" to have a baby shower for us... again... yeah... you're sick of hearing about the pride, I know... me too. And managed to sneak one in on me anyhow... we appreciate it so much. But more than anything, honestly, is just our friends and family who were THERE. They all came and brought their entire FAMILIES which I LOVED!!! Being together is all that matters... especially since we know that our travels will come to a screeching halt here in for the next couple years (or longer?) so it'll be more and more difficult to see anyone... unless they want to sleep in a pop up outside our double-wide once we finally land in Traverse... hee, hee... WE'D LOVE IT!!! I know that as most of us have gotten older, had our own families and careers, we all appreciate the time we get together so much more. This is SO true and telling for how we felt that weekend - we KNEW this is the last time we will probably see so many of you - possibly for YEARS - and it was so great, yet bittersweet at the same time... we love each and every one of you so much... please know that even though we may be invisible and caught up on our own very real madness for a while to come here - we will be thinking of you all constantly and praying that God shed His light on your families as you have down for ours...

I miss you all so much already....

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