Thursday, May 29, 2008

Let the belly viewing begin

Consider yourself warned.

I have now made it to the point in our pregnancy where I FINALLY figured out that, DUH, I was getting bigger by the millisecond now that I'd POPPED and I'd better start snapping some pics soon to have some sort of baseline to compare myself to! I think I waited about 3 weeks too long, but oh well. Better late than never in my book. And, amazingly enough, I'm pretty sure that it took my research through other mother's of multiples blogs to finally have that brick clock me in the noggin.

Don't ask.

So, in my quest to show a fairly recent pre-quad pregnancy picture of myself, I discovered that I MAYBE have one to three pictures with me in them. Total. In the midst of our hundreds and hundreds of pictures taken over the years... What? You don't belive me? Then you must not be a mom (I do NOT mean that in a bad way) because almost every other mom I know has mentioned at some point that they are the ghost members of their families too. Why? Oh. That's easy. Because, for the MOST PART, mom's are the ones who are all about grabbing the camera to click a photo op. Now, I KNOW there are the exceptions to this rule out there. And, if you are one of them, keep you nice hubby to your bloody self, the rest of us like the fact that this gives us something to complain about with our otherwise awesome hubbies... hee, hee... I actually think that Melissa Kunz was the first one to bring this to my attention at our first annual Techie camping trip (is that the last one that you Kunz' have made it to? Seems you are busy have babies all the other years... hee, hee... and now who's laughing? Are we tied yet?). I think by this point her and Tyler had about 5 kids, or 9 kids... or SOMETHING like that... anyhow, Jeremy and I were the ultra-naive first-time parents with little Aiden nicely tucked in his baby bjorn for most of the trip nursing up a storm (pretty sure he put on about 12 lbs that weekend). It was a GREAT source of entertainment for us to watch our 'veteran parent' friends with 2 or more children and see how the different parenting styles struck us and influenced how we would want to be as parents. I won't go into too much detail, but we'll just say that we came away from that weekend with the entire Kunz family up on some sort of pedestal. They had kids running everywhere (within eye and ear shot - no safety concerns what so ever) half dressed, diaper only, birthday suit - you name it. And the kids were having a BLAST!! Of course. And the parents? THEY WERE TOO!!! They knew enough to know what to worry about at that point. And a little God-given dirt on a play ground or volleyball court or beach sand was NOT worth their stress. Melissa and Tyler sat back like the parenting pros they were, and still are (because 4 years later THEY AIN"T DONE! YAHOO!)with brews in hand enjoying their family and friends. They were NOT the family with the child who wasn't allowed to walk across the volleyball court ("You might get dirty!") and constantly on edge because their children had to change clothes 4x/day from the "camping dirt"... no siree. They were living it up. Jeremy and I decided right then and there WE WANTED TO BE LIKE YOU, KUNZ'!!! Wow. Feels good to get that out. I hope I didn't embarass anyone, but we feel the same way. As long as everyone is safe, being nice, and not licking the floor in a Walmart (now THAT's germs... we are talking about god-given dirt here people, DIFFERENT!) - life is good.

How did I get on that tangent? Did I warn you about those too? I hope so because there are bound to be more... Oh yeah, pictures. Melissa had brought like 5,000 pics of her family over the past few years and I began notice (around picture 1,856) that I hadn't seen but one of Melissa's finger's in a picture with her hubby and kids yet. WHAT? So she gently, and very matter-of-factly explained that she wasn't IN any of the pics because she was always the one TAKING the pics. (bless her heart - she honestly did not seem to hold any resentment) I think she might have even noted that she was nervous to die for fear that her children would think they were motherless for the first 5 years of their lives because, well, she was non-existent on film!! BUT I DID IT, Melissa!! I FOUND YOU IN A PIC... granted, you are way in the background, and there are about 30 other people in the pic, and you can't REALLY see your face or anything... buuuutttt... let's focus on the positive, right? That's Melissa, folks! Waaaaaay in the back behind the blue chair. The cutie-patootie (not that you can tell from this pic) with the short blonde hair. And, as proud as I was for finding this, look. Your hubby upstaged you again in the foreground... men.

OK, moving on... Sorry for all the skin here -WHITE skin at that. I somehow must have managed to swipe this picture from Jodi Stopyak or something (she's great for that!), because it's from that same weekend, a family photo of US, and I'm IN it!?! Figure that out. Sorry if it's a bit more than you bargained for... trust me, mama T needed a tan come July 2004 with a 3-1/2 month old baby, but it's all I could find from that whole weekend with me in it. Oh, and WITHOUT Aiden in his most-favorite nursing position (note cankles... this boy was 5lbs even at birth!!). But I guess I figured that you'd all be able to stomach our whitey selves better than any boob shots I could've shared. Opps. There I go again - too much info...

And then, fast forward, here I am (BELLY PIC - BELLY PIC - BELLY PIC) week 16 of our quadruplet pregnancy:

YIKES! Thankfully by this point I was mostly past the naseua - it was very hit or miss (although when it HIT - look the f-out!!). I decided to take all my belly pics at night right before bed. Why? Well, I suppose if you've never grown at this astronomical weight it might come as a suprise to know that I am WAY bigger at the end of the day than in the morning. Yep. It's true - I've even taken measurements to confirm. In fact on this particular day I measured 33.5" in the morning and 34" when I took this pic. SERIOUSLY!!

The next week we had our BIG ultrasound with Dr. Jelsema. It's normally what is considered the 20 week ultrasound with a singleton pregnancy (what a weird term to throw around) - but because of the number of babies in thar' a growin' - the research shows that they actually mature a bit faster. They don't have a scientific explanation for this, according to what I've read and seen anyhow, which includes the following books: 'The Multiple Pregnancy Sourcebook' and 'When You're Expecting Twins, Triplets, and Quads' (thanks Tonia Nem!) as well as my 'Into the Womb - the Miracle of Multiples' DVD by National Geographic - GET THIS! It's AMAZING!! But they do know that the higher the number of multiples in the womb, the faster they mature in the earlier stages of pregnancy. This , of course, is according to God's perfect design in my book... knowing that these little miracles will be born much earlier than a single pregnancy (in most cases) and therefore NEED to mature faster to get ready to support itself outside the womb sooner!

My mom came up again (she rocks!) to be with me for the ultrasound and then Jeremy was going with me to the appointment with Dr. Jelsema the next day. Yes, our appointments with our multiples specialist are actually on two separate days (in addition to the 2 other ultrasounds/month that I get with my regular OB). We have to do this because he is only in Traverse City 2 times/month and we "Compromise too much of his schedule" to have our ultrasounds done the same day as the appointment with doc to review. I don't mean that in a bitter way - that's actually what they told us. But the truth is that (2) back-to-back trips to Traverse City are MUCH BETTER than having to tool down to Grand Rapids so we are just glad that he's up here at all!! Anyhow, Jeremy decided it would be more appropriate to be at the meeting with our doctor to find out how our babies look and address any conerns. My mom would be in the ultrasound (all 3.5 hours of it!!) for the "fun" part =)

The night before the big ultrasound was d-day for my belly pic and my mom insisted on doing them while we were outside playing with the kids (I must've looked good and prego to her?). So, they look different because: #1 - I'm not 2' away from a mirror trying to negotiate the pic myself (is that a modified 'thinker' pose? niiiiiccceeee...) and #2 - it's NOT AT NIGHT!! I'm telling you - you'll agree after comparing this pic to the 16 week one!! I think I actually look smaller because it's the middle of the day!! Or not... who knows.... oh - and the DEER IS FAKE, PEOPLE. We are hilbillies - if I forgot to mention that yet... we have fake deer in our backyard... and our children do 'ride' them on occasion... as if THAT'S not normal or something.

My ultrasound appointment went PHENOMINAL the next day! It was SO EXCITING to see how big all the babies had gotten and how well defined all their bones, organs, brain matter, etc. were!! LITTLE PEOPLE IN THERE!! And, yes, I do indeed get 3 ultrasounds/month so it shouln't have been some huge suprise to me or anything... but there is still so much comfort in seeing the ultrasound tech click "normal" or "within range" for every item on each babies checklist. After our horrible 20 week appointment with our pregnancy with Aiden & Meadow, where it was first apparent that Meadow had several severe abnormalities that could be life-threatening, each and every ultrasound holds so much weight. I get sweaty palms EVERY TIME. It just doesn't matter how many times you hear that your babies look good or are developing normally... we have the unfortunate experience of seeing it all spiral out of control in an instant in front of our eyes... so this 20- week but really 17 week ultrasound where the specialist was measuring EVERYTHING held extra stress, as it does for every mother-to-be. But all was well!! Dr. Jelsema even called me the next morning to tell us to "save our gas money" and he conducted our consultation and ultrasound review over the PHONE instead. He said that there was nothing he was concerned about at this point and therefore he didn't see the need to actually have us make the trek in to meet in person when all he had was good (no.. GREAT!) news!! It was such a relief!! Our regular OB is awesome, we love Dr. McKay and Dr. Madion.... but the truth is that seeing our specialist Dr. Jelsema, who we KNOW has so much experience in multiples, is so reassuring. He has been so supportive and encouraging offering nothing but praise about how well the babies are doing, how well I am doing, my cervix was still that of a non-pregnant woman - which is a HUGE GAUGE that they will watch throughout our quad pregnancy for signs of preterm labor. He actually said "I do not forsee any bedrest with you at this point based upon how your taking care of yourself and the babies are holding up." YAHOO!!! We went from almost GUARANTEED bedrest at the onset, simply due to the high-risk nature of a quadruplet pregnancy, to such encouraging words, by our doctor who has years and years of experience with other mom's in my shoes... Not that I have much to do with any of it - glory be to the Big Guy upstairs looking down on our family!!! I try my best to take care of myself in every pregnancy as I do in life, eat healthy, exercize regularly, stay positive... but in this sort of situation we recognize that almost EVERYTHING is out of our hands. Growing FOUR healthy babies with this pregnancy has been our number one concern from day one and continues to be to this day... we praise God every single night for the blessings he has bestowed upon us.

Back in the Saddle...

It's official, folks.

Ever since being off from work I am officially the world's WORST emailer and/or computer user. I have just been SO HAPPY to take off the handcuff's from this darned thing - they've had a pretty tight grip for the past 8-12 years - and it's liberating NOT to be bound to an electronic device all day long! But weird too... it's been my lifeline (as I'm sure it is for 99% of you) for that long too. And to go from checking email 5-8 times/day (or more... cough, cough...) to checking it ONCE EVERY 5-8 DAYS?? Yeah... opps. Sorry.

Anyhow, I'm chomping at the bit to tell you all everything that's been going on over the past week, as Jeremy has done a great job of keeping you up on, so I'm going to BREEZE through the next 10 weeks here! Plus, I can't WAIT to start posting belly pics - holy moly! If I haven't warned you yet - NO SHAME for this girl!! So, for the weak of heart, I'll warn you when you are approaching one... because they are coming up quick.

So, back in time... (insert scooby doo squiggle lines and music)... After we laid out our plan/puzzle around week 10 the next couple weeks we "coasted" through feeling so good about where we were headed. We told the boys about the quads during week 10 too - that was a hoot! OK, let's be honest - Caleb PROBABLY doesn't "get" it so much... and, well, I guess Aiden REALLY either. But here's the first thing that popped out of Aiden's mouth when we told them that mommy had FOUR little babies in her belly "CALEB! You're going to be a big brother!!!" OH-MY-GOSH!! It was the CUTEST thing ever!! And now, these little dudes of ours, they just melt our hearts daily. Caleb is my big belly kisser. He wants to "kiss babies" at least 2-3 times/day. And it can NOT be with my shirt down - HAS to be pulled up for full effect. This doesn't come in handy so much, as cute as it is to US, when we are places, like, oh, say CHURCH. Yeah, NO ONE WANTS TO SEE MOMMY'S BELLY, Caleb!!!

~Week 10 is when I found out from my doc that there was a very real chance I would be on bedrest around week 20. He also indicated that I would be "big and uncomfortable enough" that it would not only be unsafe for me to be behind the wheel at that point, but perhaps I wouldn't fit?? OK, maybe I sorta' read between my own lines with that last little bit - but that was sort of what Jeremy and I came away with. And so I needed to quit work NO LATER than 20 weeks - no questions asked - because it is over an hour commute for me each way. He talked about the concerns with blood clotting because of the enormous blood flow associated with this high level of multiples (I was instructed to start taking baby aspirin every day at week 12); again, the belly size thingy (ahhhhhh!!!!); and most importantly the "Is it worth it?" comment regarding a potential accident and air bag release while I am behind the wheel at that stage of pregnancy. There is NO arguing with that logic, because a job nor anything else is "worth it". So, 20 weeks it was.
Now, again, for those of you who know me this won't come as a big shock, but for those of you who don't so much... well... this "quitting work" thing wasn't as easy as it may have sounded. I have always had that PULL to be home with my children and my work. Yet Gosling Czubak allowed me to work from home 2 days/week once we had kids. THIS WAS UNHEARD OF AT OUR COMPANY. As my little mind justified it (because we all do in some way shape or form... that working vs. non-working mommy issue) I needed to "be a full time mother to my children more days of the week than not." Period. I was so set on this fact and how it made our lives a bit more balanced. And to do this, my boss stuck his neck so far out on that chopping block for me and never failed to stand by my side over the next 4 years of pressure from every which way on this matter. We are a smaller (50+ employees) engineering consulting firm in Northern Michigan. I am the ONLY female engineer who works (oh, worked) there at the time. You can be sure that there was a WHOLE HECK OF A LOT of resistance to the idea of me staying home 2 days to "work". Suuuuuuure she's working, right?

Anyhow, I'm not going to go on for days about this (like I could and normally would) - but I hold my former employer and boss in the highest regard. I recognize the opportunities they gave me and what they allowed me try out on them (working from home being an enormous part of that). Yes, I know this is fairly commonplace in enormous cities and large corporations. But, give us a break. We're Northern Michigan. So I knew that I wanted to tell my boss as soon as possible to give him ample time to shed my work load onto other people and wean me out of the picture. So, yes, my boss actually knew about us being pregnant with quads about 2 days before our family and all our friends. UGH! But, again - the SOLE reason we waited that last couple weeks to tell them is because we wanted to do it in PERSON!!

Anyhow, work knew, and then we traveled downstate to head to Disney (our last vaca out of state, or out of our backyard for that matter, for the next 20 years, right?) and saw all our family the day before we left. Here's the board we made so the boys could break the news to them all:

I don't know how much of that you can make out, but it was pretty darned cute (says me)! And yes, those are just four TOTALLY random baby pics around our quad ultrasound... it took them a while to catch onto what was going on... but once they did - HOLY FUN! We have the best families in the world and they were, and still are, SO suportive and so excited for us!!

Then we were off to Disney with the boys and my parents met us down there - it was a BLAST! Jeremy and I both cried putting the boys to bed on our last night... we just knew that so much was going to change for us, for them, and that, honestly, who knows if we'll ever get back to Disney again? It was bittersweet... but a fab way to spend our last family of 4 vacation (and you too Grammie and Papa!).

Here's an adorable pic of the boys at one of the little play areas/water spots at Disney... they were "cooling down" - ummmm... to say the least. (yes, this is the infamous SHOE INCIDENT for those of you who have seen their ultra-cool Disney crocs and heard the story...)

A couple of weeks after Disney World we were back downstate for my sister-in-law Jessica's baby shower (modified, since the poor thing was on bedrest and had JUST gotten out of the hospital... we love you Jess!!) and we always did the "tour de Michigan" traveling back and forth to see a TON of our friends to share the news about the quads as well!! It was a fabulous weekend and, really, the weekend that I went from being able to "hide" my belly to - oh - NOT AT ALL!!!
Here's a pic of me from that weekend, Saturday night, at the Nemecek's house playing on the foor with out lil Caleb and Will Stopyak... things had definitely started to POP by Sat. night! I was 15 weeks along... whoa.
The babies were each measuring ~4.75" - 5" long at this point! But this weekend was amazing for us... we were SO HAPPY to tell all our friends and they were all SO crazy supportive and encouraging. I don't believe we had a SINGLE "Wow. I'm so glad it's YOU and not ME." or "QUADS? What are you going to DO? That's going to be INSANE." comments... just goes to show those who know and love you know what to say in crazy times =) Thank you to everyone for the outpouring of love and support over the month or so it took us to see each of you and share our news... we love you.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

The Puzzle by Lew

The Puzzle -

In recap, The Puzzle is meant to give others that may find themselves in a situation similar to ours insight on what we are doing to prepare ourselves for taking a family of 4 to a family of 8 (if that thought doesn't give you the chills...). That situation is a two income family, with two youngsters, that live a more than comfortable, yet completely normal life. Then one day, some dude with a magic wand (Dr. and his ultrasound thingy) tells you that you are pregnant with QUADRUPLETS and BOOM, life seems not so comfortable and soon to be far from normal.

The Puzzle is also meant to entertain family, friends, and others, yet keep it real, as spewed from the mouth, er fingers, of Lew. The seriousness of our situation is just that - very freakin' serious. But, we love life and I am going to have some fun with this...but this is serious shat!

Sidenote: I am planning on corning our doctor soon, so I will know what we are having. It will be the ultimate secret. But I need to know. I cannot explain why. I don't have a reason other than there are FOUR BABIES IN THERE! bribes, no getting me really drunk and grilling me. I will keep this secret and I won't regret finding out. For the record, it's 3 boys and 1 girl - I am like 6 for 6 on baby predictions to this point...

Another sidenote: We LOVE where we live. BUT, Bellaire is not an option to us. It could be to someone else that lived here and was prego with quads, but not us. We need Traverse City for doctors, hospital, help, friends, etc., the list is lengthy. We will not go downstate or to a big city. No offense, but the big city life is no longer in us.

So, without further adieu, drum roll please..........Paint this on a board and cut it into pieces:

Our current house that needs to sell, a new house, a means of income in Traverse City for Lew, The Babyliner (our boat, formerly known as The Babeliner, that needs to sell), Kia for a Bus (my vehicle that needs to go for something that can accomodate 8 with all sorts of baby seats and stuff), typical baby stuff (which we have, just we need 3 more of everything), I think THE QUADS fall in around here, and most importantly, help raising Aiden, Caleb and THE QUADS.

And that's The Puzzle. It is very serious to Tonya and me. With each passing day, yeah, stress rising with belly growing!

We just recently got a bit of a corner started with The Puzzle - I start a new job in Traverse City on June 9th. In consideration of the timing and necessity of this puzzle piece, Tonya and I feel this must be a really good opportunity for me. However, I know for a fact that the tears will be flowing when I walk out the door of Sagasser & Associates, Inc. for the last time after 9 truly enjoyable years there. There are 2 people there that I owe so much too, I mean so very much, it's just gonna be one tough damn day, I'll leave it at that.

Pregnancy Update -
As I previously mentioned, Tonya has an ultrasound appointment tomorrow then we meet with Dr. Jelsema on Wednesday so expect some good bloggin' from Tonya in the next couple few days that will no doubt include some ultrasound photos, baby lengths, weights, etc., and etc., etc.

So that's that. We are really hoping for the next puzzle piece to be the sale of our house - Tonya's doctor told her she needed to be in Traverse City like 2 weeks ago and here we aren't. Plus, who the f%$k wants to move when your wife is 20whatever weeks pregnant, espcially with quads! Heck, who wants to move ever? Moving blows! Mostly, if shit goes bad, we just want to be close to the hospital and again, here we aren't. There are other options, but this would make everything a heck of a lot easier down the road.

Also, I will provide additional insight on items that relate to The Puzzle that aren't, or weren't depicted as puzzle pieces as these instances arise...for instance, our budget. Yeah, it's personal, but you know what, if someone else is in a situation like ours 10 years from now and is somewhat relieved to know that we did it, then that will make us feel real damn good.

So, from the start Tonya and I fell back on a couple sayings:

1) God would not give us more than we could handle.
2) We will figure it out.

And we now know that God wanted to bring out some traits in some people, for whatever reason we do not know yet, and probably they do not know yet either. But there are some people out there that are doing some amazing stuff. Some stuff that we do not know about beyond this website and blog. But our situation, decisions we have made, are impacting people in ways we never thought would. We underestimated the impact our situation would have on others. There are some damn good people out there and we love all of you.


Saturday, May 24, 2008

Powder & Makeup by Lew

Yeah so Tonya is famous...The boys and I, well we just escorted our sorry bums outside and rubbed dirt on our faces and peed in the yard while The Pregnant Princess got all the face time...

But you know what, she's hot, she's pretty, she's smart, she's cute, oh yeah, and she has FOUR BABIES IN HER BELLY!!!!!

There was a bit with Tonya being interviewed in our house. That was great for Toyna, she looked so hot on TV! There was s;do some neat footage of our family playing outside. Unfortunately, the bit of Aiden going yard, and Aiden swinging and missing and knocking himself upside the head with his bat were both overlooked!

Here's the deal - we don't want the press - at least that was my stance (Tonya 1, 346 Lew 4). But Tonya caved from talking to the only Mom that had Quads in Northern Michigan. Oh, I think I failed to mention she worked for.....7&4!

So, for those of you that are like us that do not watch the news because it is so gosh dang depressing...this was one cool story! I mean come on, like the cutest family ever, pregnant with quads, 4 year old on camera picking his nose...Priceless!!!!

Tonya update - Belly is confirmed as being big...and damn cute! To think back like just a couple weeks - good God man! It has become blatantly obvious to me that bed rest will happen, and it will be sooner than we expect. In fact, I am expecting some interesting news at our appointment this coming Wednesday with our specialist Dr. Jelsema...most likely a couple weeks? Daily observable growth is good, but at the same time, it is scary. Regardless, what is best for getting The Quads to 32 weeks is all that matters. Then again, Dr. Jelsema may just say what he's been saying: "Listen to your body."

So, Imma steal somma Tonya's fame here...We have Dr's appointments on Tuesday and Wednesday (as I indicated above) of this coming week. Tuesday will include an ultrasound and Wednesday will entail a meeting with Dr. Jelsema. This week is a big deal as The Quads are going on 'Roids next week. I tell ya, if these kids come out da' womb with Gotee's looking like Mr. Ed, Imma be a bit ticked off!

Steroids will be given to Tonya next week. For those not in the know....modern medicine is such that the steroids are for The Quads lungs. If a child or children is/are born before 23ish weeks, chances of survival are basically zero due to lack of lung development. However, should a child/children be born anytime after 23ish weeks, not withstanding other circumstances, their lungs are developed enough to allow modern medicine to assist with getting them to a point at which their lungs can eventually allow them to survive without assistance, God willing.

Again, heavy shat man.

I have some feelings about things that I am too afraid to talk about. They are good feelings. I hope God is feeling what I am feeling.

If you pray, or if you daydream and sometimes wish for good things for friends, family, etc., pray for our babies to handle the 'roids like it's no big thing...last thing we want is for a shot of juice to make The Quads want to get the f- outta Dodge...


Friday, May 23, 2008

Blawg Hawg by Lew

Guess who's back, back again...

Note the time of this blog and then note the title...I told you all that she would go 'blawg wild'!

Man she is talking some heavy shat eh? Well, as a matter of fact, it is heavy shat man. But it's our life and we want you all to know that we love it!

First and foremost - a clarification: when Tonya says "Jeremy is going after whitey" in a blog, She does not mean that I have an ax, or a pitch fork, or some knumb chucks with my yin-yang bandana on...she means I am going ice fishing for whitefish. See the "20 Week Update by Lew" for more information on the benefits to mothers pregnant with higher order multiples in Finland or somewhere over there who consume alotoffish (foreshadowing)

And I have no idea what she was talking about when she said something about me driving home early from the UP?

Okay, I'll get serious now - thank you for your generous responses. We love you all.

My wife is awesome! Her belly looks SOOOOOOOOOOO cute! A week ago it was kinda big and now it's well, bigger. To me, she's getting close to being the equivalent size to the final day of pregnancy #1, which was I believe 35 and 1/2 weeks! Aiden and Caleb talk to The Quads, pray for The Quads, say goodnight to The Quads. We are just so happy and are so excited!

We have picked out names and we went over them today. Kinda sorta preliminary list dealio. I seem to have an upper hand at the moment (seriousness fading...). I do not wear the pants in this house, so the upper hand deal could change. But, I have formulated a baby naming plan and TONYA TOLD ME tonight that she could be talked into my plan! That would take the overall record to Tonya - 1,345 Lew - 4.

A piece to The Puzzle has fallen in place...but I have to get to bed, the TELEVISION CREW will be here tomorrow moring at stay tuned for updates!!!!!

Finally, I would like to let alotoflemons know that our prayers are with them. For those of you that just thought wtf is he talking about, see the foreshadowing note above. Anyway, a very kind woman commented to our blog the other day, last name - Lemonovich - pregnant with quads - hence - blog site: Brilliant! The Lemonovich family is in like the exact same deal as we are, damn near to the day. Carrie and John and their son Luke, we have a lot of people pulling for us. I'm pretty sure I can get a couple few extra prayers for you and your family and your quads by just saying "Do It" on this blog.

As serious as I get - Lemonovich Baby D is in our prayers. Carrie, it is readily apparent that you and John are very special. God knows what is best. God Bless your family.


Thursday, May 22, 2008

Sooooo... now what?

Expect for the perpetual exhaustion and sickness - WHOA!!

I've never experienced this level of exhaustion in any of my pregnancies, nor have I actually experienced REAL sickness (projectile... in case you wondered) - so it's pretty odd. I continued to have ultrasound appointments at our regular OB office, Dr. McKay & Dr. Madion, for the next 2 weeks and then we had our first appointment with our multiples/high risk specialist, Dr. Jelsema. This is the same specialist from Grand Rapids that delivered Meadow and Aiden back in March of 2004 and there was a LOT of comfort knowing who we were going to see, what he was like, his demeanor, etc.. It felt so good to talk through a lot of the information and statistics we had been confronted with over the past month or so, as well as discuss all the additional literature and numbers he had for us. There is a lot of comfort in knowing that the person you are trusting your babies lives with is experienced in high order multiples... he hasn't just studied it in medical school or read about it in some medical publication. No offense to our regular OB's, because they are GREAT and we feel SO comfortable with them - but we are LITERALLY the second set of quads EVER in Northern Michigan. Thankfully, the first set was a patient of my regular OB (go figure?), but still - being #2 in line? Hmmmm... I know it took me more than two tries to hit my first ball off the tee in golf, you know what I'm saying? OK, so maybe I could've found a better analogy than that... but stay with me here...

The good news was that with each and every single ultrasound appointment the doctor's had grown a bit more optimistic and excited for us. That was SO important to our well being and peace of mind in moving forward... we still hadn't shared our news with anyone and keeping it all bottled up can start to take it's toll on you when there is no one to share ANY level of optimism with! And by the time we got to our appointment with Dr. Jelsema, the MAN, well - we were blown away by his level of confidence that we could do this and our babies had a decent chance of being perfectly fine.

This may seem like a small, little insignificant comment NOW. But, trust me, at the time... it meant the WORLD to Jeremy and I. We had started to feel like we were about the only ones (who knew) that were batting for our babies and had any level of confidence that with God's grace our little miracles would each join our family healthy as can be. The statistics were really that scary at times... and, in their defense, the doctor's "job" is to alert you to all of those outside issues and concerns so that you are moving forward with as much information as possible.

So, here was Dr. Jelsema, again, the experienced one, the specialist, the MAN, "Dr. J" (says Dr. Madion) telling us in an extremely straight forward, precise manner (as is his ONLY demeanor 95% of the time) that he believed in our babies and believed in us. Yet, ultimately, he pointed out that it was still our decision what to "do" (and I won't rehash the gore I threw on you with my last blog - but you know where we are). Jeremy and I both came away from this appointment feeling 110% better about the entire pregnancy than we had to date. As much as we knew how much we would love any and all babies that God blessed our family with, it was still scary as could be and we spent a lot of time talking about all the WHAT IFS we had to address in putting the pieces of our lives together as a family of EIGHT. YIKES!
Um.... the next day we were technically in week 10 of our quadruplet pregnancy and just like that - POW! By the end of the day I had an amazing transformation take place.
Could not button up my "normal" pants to save my life.
I did mention I was only week 10, right?
Now, granted nobody other than me and probably Jeremy (although, bless his heart, he would never admit it) could tell or would have ANY idea... but I don't think I hit this point until like week 21 with our twin pregnancy. Wowee!! We are in for it this time, eh?
This was also the week that I was able to get the contact information for the other quad mom who had delivered in Traverse City. IT FELT AMAZING TO TALK TO SOMEONE WHO HAD BEEN IN MY SHOES BEFORE!! Her name is Kristin Godwin and she had four healthy girls at week 28! That's right - ALL GIRL'S!! It was a bit weird that a random stranger knew about our quadruplet pregnancy before ANY of our family (again - minus my mom and dad) and/or friends... but by this point we knew that we were going to see them all in another couple weeks and we really wanted to wait for the opportunity to tell them in person rather than over the phone. It was the way we wanted it to be - even if it meant waiting a few extra days/weeks to share our ENORMOUS news =)
And by the end of week 10 things had really come into perspective for Jeremy and I. We'd had time alone together to discuss at great length exactly what this quadruplet pregnancy meant to us and our family - without ANY outside pressures or commentary - which was sorta' nice. There were zero expectations other than those we were setting up for ourselves and it felt right for us. This was also the weekend that we literally sat down and laid out a plan of attack for our family. Sound cuckoo? Well, maybe it was, and maybe it still is - because BOY OH BOY that plan has some SERIOUS items to tick off the list - but we knew we needed to move forward. We had literally went from scared and uncertain to directed, motivated, determined and even a bit (gulp) EXCITED over the course of a few short weeks (NOT A LONG TIME WHEN YOU ARE DIGESTING THIS SORT OF NEWS!!!). It was a great feeling of power for us to just lay the groundwork and move ahead - knowing we could and would never look back.
This, is what Jeremy has written about as the "Puzzle". So I'm starting to think that I'm not allowed to divulge all the details of this puzzle until we agree the time is right. For those of you that DO know, yes, there is a long laundry list of things that we feel are necessary to accomplish to get ourselves, our babies, and two boys in a place that we can all be comfortable with and ready to start our new lives. But, with God's grace, a little bit of our own stubbornness and perseverance, and, unbeknownst to us at the time, the AMAZING outpouring of love and support from our friends and family, we have all the confidence that we will get there. Even if "there" isn't 100% finishing the puzzle... we know that "there" will be fine and we will be OK.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

"Uh, hey honey... it's me..."

Hmmm... how exactly does one start a "We might be pregnant with quadruplets" conversation over the phone with their spouse??

Anyone? Anyone?


Remember that Jeremy was somewhere up in the great white north ice fishing with his buddies and so the dilemma became: call him to discuss OR call him merely to say everything is OK and we'd talk when he got home.

So, these pics aren't exactly of Jeremy and his buddies ice fishing - they are Aiden and Caleb (left) and Jeremy and Caleb (right) this past winter out on the ice looking for whitey.... too cute, eh?

Now, let me tell you that it felt extremely awkward, sad, odd, depressing, etc. to me that my husband was NOT first person to be there by my side and know exactly what was going on with this pregnancy. Yes, some of it due to the level of secrecy we normally keep (see previous blog) but also because he is ALWAYS the first to know EVERYTHING!! I honestly can't describe the feeling I had inside... but it was just foreign and uncomfortable to me. Even, as excited as I was to have my mom there with me and share in the experience with her, I was very honest with her that it was just not going to be the same without Jeremy by my side. I'd never had it ANY other way... and I now that I had, well... yeah. The idea took a bit of getting used to... to say the least.

After weighing my options on the way home (in between my mom and I being on the cell phone CONSTANTLY to each other - so irritating that we had to drive separately since I came from work!) I decided I was absolutely not comfortable with rolling that dice and calling him in the U.P. to spill the beans. #1- it was about 5pm by now and the chances were darned good that they'd been on the ice with brews in hand for a bit now... nothing like a good buzz kill, eh? #2 - He still had 2 days of vacation with his buddies remaining and I KNEW that this news would over ride any sort of fun he would have. It was be on his mind constantly (for obvious reasons) and he would feel the need to come home early to be a support system to me... I just ruled it out. I was going to be OK at home with my mom and boys all weekend and it would give me time sort of "on my own" to digest the whole thing before talking to Jeremy. I believe that in the midst of my internal debate about how to tell Jeremy he actually texted me something like "How'd it go?" So in the end I decided to text him back and simply wrote "Everything is good. Have a great time and we'll talk when you get home. Love you!"

Everyone may not agree with how I went about this - but it made the most sense to me at the time. Jeremy was in no position to digest the information I needed to talk to him about and I also knew that we wouldn't want to tell a SOUL (other than my mom) about it until we had a good deal amount of time to figure things out for ourselves... so it was for the best. I think my mom was even a little surprised that I didn't tell Jeremy - I mean, it's pretty freaking HUGE news, right? But...

When Jeremy got home that Sunday night (hung over, extremely tired...) I still wasn't sure what to do. But at this point I couldn't hold onto the information any longer and when he asked how everything went I had to get it out. The ultra-tricky part is that we honestly still didn't KNOW 100% of what was going on because of the two additional sacs with no heartbeat present (or visible) at that appointment. After explaining to Jeremy exactly what transpired here's what he had to say "Wow! Twins, eh? Well, that's great... we always said we wanted four kids, right?"


Acknowledging the hung over and sleep deprived state he was in I decided that maybe he didn't actually HEAR the entire conversation and so I was all like "Uh, yeah... for NOW... but they said that there's a chance that the other two could..." but I'm pretty sure Jeremy had made up his mind that a doctor's 20-50% chance at survival and no heartbeat meant that we were having twins. It simply was not on his radar at that time. It was not in his mind that the possibility even EXISTED that the other two would develop normally by the following week. Yet in the back of my mind... I'll chalk it up to mother's intuition... that's all I can say...

As you can imagine, the next week could not have went by any stinking slower. I could not WAIT until my next ultrasound! And, yet again, fate was NOT on our side - Jeremy was called off to a job site and absolutely could NOT make it to the appointment with me. So this time I was completely alone. I was not loving that idea. At all. Although, I suppose in the end it was fine to be alone with my thoughts... I guess. So, There I lay on the table, and by now "morning"sickness (ALL DAY SICKNESS) had kicked in pretty good so I was adding insult to injury between that and my nerves. As I watched my OB walk his wand from one sac to the next and point out each fetal pole and beating heart I was lost inside... literally. I don't know how one actually goes about processing this information as it is taking place. And there was no one there to take the emptiness away or hold my hand or offer any of the right words at the time... it was so... alone. I can't think of any other way to describe it. And all the while, bless his heart, perhaps my OB once again took the silence as a sign of my being on the verge of "losing it" and so he began his rambling again. Only this time, I had nothing else to distract me and I heard and processed every word.

I want to warn you that this is where I am going be a completely emotional wreck for a bit and get out some feelings that are not going to be welcomed by some folks out there. I will preface it by saying that I am on the verge of tears remembering that day and all the emotions I felt... I do not expect that we are all on the same page with our moral beliefs,etc. But this is our family blog and I am going to share it ALL with you. I am not going to filter through and pick out the nice and easy stuff to talk about because I honestly believe that someone, somewhere, out there is either about to experience what I did, in the midst of going through it, or has had to deal with it in the past... and, again, I only hope that by being completely honest with you all I can let that someone know that they are not alone.

The ramblings once again began down the path of "Now just because they all have heartbeats at this point doesn't mean that they are all going to MAKE it. It is still extremely early and there is a very real chance that any one of them will not be here in a week or two. I know this is a lot to process, but try to keep in mind that there are options available to you once we do know how many of them make it. Here are some of the statistics that I need to share with you regarding quadruplet pregnancies and the risks and potential outcomes associated with carrying four fetuses..." "And by choosing to reduce the number of fetus' present, you are giving the OTHER babies a chance at life. The odds of having a positive outcome for ALL the babies is much, much better if you only have three and even more so if you reduce to twins..."

Please take a moment to digest this. Or TRY to. I had literally JUST LEARNED that I had miraculously developed FOUR fetuses inside me, after months and months of "trying" with assistance. We are very well educated and aware of the risks that are involved with any type of reproductive assistance. And, as I've mentioned, due to the horrific loss of our baby girl, Meadow, we are also true believers in the miracle of life and the fact that God has a plan for each one of us. Yet, in light of all of this - after being given a full 10 seconds to process the idea of quadruplets - I am being given the option to END one or more of our babies lives in order to "give the others" a chance at life.

Take a life.. one of OUR BABIES lives... to give a life... to a different one of our babies? Intentionally?

This, my friends, is what Jeremy and I call "glorified abortion". Period. How on earth could we possibly live with ourselves knowing that WE had taken the risk of multiple pregnancy and yet WE were going to make one of our own God-given gifts, one of our creations, pay the ultimate price for our decision? And as Jeremy and I spent night upon night up until all hours holding each other and crying our way through this moral debate, because in the end we felt we needed to talk the entire process through and LIVE each step of it, we had no idea how we could get out of bed in the morning if we had chose any other way but to accept what God had so graciously given our family. The reality is that they take you in, lay you on an ultrasound table, and determine, by ultrasound picture, which baby (or babies if you choose...) is "most accessible". Then, the carefully insert a needle into that baby(ies) beating heart and inject a substance to make it stop.

The end.


Again, we have already been so blessed with two healthy boys in our family, and perhaps this is what made it so much more real for us. WE LOVE YOU AIDEN AND CALEB!!! How do you know that baby you "choose" isn't going to be your little snugglebug... the one who wakes up from nap time to run down to you with his blankets and lay with you (where ever) until he starts playing with your ears... and then your nose... and then giggling and whispering "Love you, mommy... juicy, please?" We couldn't bear the thought.

In all fairness, again, I will say that we recognize that not everyone is in the exact same situation we are. I have read plenty of blogs where the parents chose to go ahead with the reduction for reasons only they know... and that is something we are not capable of trying to understand or judge them for. We are only sharing with your our PERSONAL thoughts and our PERSONAL moral debate. Yes, we have always said from day one that we are both extremely pro-life people - but until you too are faced with a challenge such as a quadruplet pregnancy (where the chances of having all four of your babies born healthy is incredibly low) you have no way of knowing which way your heart will turn inside you. I will not go into the specifics about all the horrible statistics we have been presented and had to try and digest regarding our extremely high risk pregnancy, but we know that there are certainly people out there who think WE are doing the morally irresponsible thing by moving forward with all four babies. Yes, the statistics are not in our favor... but we truly believe inside the most sacred places of our hearts that we are doing the right thing, the ONLY thing, we can for our family. I know I am like a broken record at times, folks, but God does not make mistakes and no matter WHAT - we will be OK. I have my supportive, loving husband at my side, my two beautiful children to be thankful for everyday, and even if we are taking the road less traveled by following through on what God has planned for us with our quadruplets, we know it is a road that has our family name on it and has been waiting for us to reach it...

I'm sorry for this horribly heavy blog, but I really did need to talk this all through because it is a very real part of our pregnancy and I know it has been and is for many other families out there too. It's so extremely controversial and personal, it's scary to bring it up under ANY circumstances for fear of upsetting everyone... but I hope this has given you a bit of an insight into where Jeremy and I have come from and why we are moving ahead with the assurance that all will be as it is meant to for us. No, we don't look any further than today and getting out of bed tomorrow, and keeping these babies inside me as healthy as possible for as LONG as possible... we have an extreme case of tunnel vision you could say... but healthy babies is all that matters in our lives right now. ALL that matters.

Thank you again for listening and for your prayers.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Try, try, try... try?

Oh looky here, me again. I know I have a LOT of ground to cover so I am going to try to keep plugging away to get us all up to speed on our family.

So, yes, we were going to try that fateful "one more try" - and try we did... and try... and try... I remember on our last "trying" session when I took that pregnancy test and got another negative I actually told Jeremy "I'm not sad this time... I think I'm downright p*issed off! I don't know why - but I'm just angry about it!" Ummmm... maybe you've been in my shoes before and you are a perpetual early tester yourself, mommies... whoops. Boy did I miss the boat on THAT one. Who'd have guessed that I waited a full 10 days (PERFECTLY ACCEPTABLE, right?) and got a negative with FOUR BABIES making their way to implantation at that exact moment!?!? So, being the persistent one that I am, I tested everyday for the next 5 days... I was waiting for one thing or the "other" to happen - and neither was! It was odd. And Jeremy just thinks (or knows) I'm nuts and to sorta' ignore me after a while with the whole thing. Right-O. So finally, I think it was like day 16 after the big DAY that I saw one of those "am I imagining this line it's so faint" test results. Again, I'm sure some of you have been there. So, being the calm, logical woman I am (cough, cough) I waited at least 15 seconds before flying to the phone to call my OB and tell them I had a positive test.

Self control is a strong suit of mine...

They, of course, indicated that they wanted to wait another couple days to see if the "other" would still happen and then bring me in to start the HCG testing every other day. For those of you that don't know, they want your HCG #'s to double every 2 days. That is a decent indicator that early in pregnancy that everything is progressing well and your chances of miscarrying diminish with every confirmed doubling. My first test must have been on a Wednesday late afternoon, because they wanted me in for another test Friday evening. Just so happens that I was heading downstate after work that Friday with the boys (Jeremy was staying back to catch whitey) for a fun-filled girlie weekend of baby shower registering with my sister-in-law Jessica (see pic at left of me with Jeremy's sister's Jessica, and Kristy - Jess is now 36 weeks prego - yahoo!) as well as for the baby shower of my girlfriend Kris (see pic below - and who is now the proud mommy of her beautiful twins Jacob and Carley!). SO - I had to figure out a way to get to the hospital and get my blood drawn by like 9pm or something. Only small glitch is that my mom WORKS as an RN at that exact hospital (it's right across the street from my parents house where we were staying Friday night). Why a glitch, you ask?

Well, I will tell you that in the past Jeremy and I have been very reluctant to share with anyone other than each other when we are actually "trying" just because of the emotional rollercoaster associated with it in our past. Again, if you have been in our shoes, you understand completely that it helps nobody to get the constant (although well intentioned) "Are you pregnant yet?" quiz monthly from friends and family. I strongly believe that stress is a HUGE roadblock for those of us who have and do conceive difficultly, and we try to do all we can to alleviate any unnecessary stress where we can in our lives during this time. So, mums the word. And it is shocking that I can keep this secret from my family because I am extremely close with them. But I also know that we live 4 hours away from them and it would drive THEM nuts knowing the stress that we were under too - so nobody seemed to win if we opened our trap.

However, this time we decided it would be different. Again, it was our absolute last "try" to add to our family and I WANTED to share in every single up and down with my mom.... so thankfully, in this case, her working at the very hospital that I would need my HCG test done at was a TOTALY BLESSING!!! She could make sure the fax from my doc in Traverse City made it down, confirm the lab hours, etc. Things that are nice not to have to worry about when it is in an unfamiliar hospital. So, we go as soon as we get down. I think she met us there actually. And we had the results really quickly (thanks mom? probably.): our numbers had more than quadrupled. Hmmmm... I believe Jeremy's EXACT words when I called him that night were "So.... what? Does that mean we have four little buggers in there this time? Ha, ha, ha..."

Who gets the last laugh on that one? Not so sure anymore...

I, of course, was on cloud 9 all weekend!! I had no idea what the numbers ACTUALLY meant, and they certainly warn you that super high HCG numbers does NOT mean that you have multiples or are out of the "woods" for a miscarriage (do a internet search and scare yourself if you feel the need... but some reasons are not pleasant for high results). But they did feel good enough about it all to tell me that they didn't need me to come in for anymore HCG tests at all! WHAT? I'm used to like 3 or 4 of them at least... so to do just 2? I took that as a reassuring decision. Again, we didn't tell anyone because we still didn't technically KNOW anything. But I can tell you that helping someone register for their baby shower and then GOING to a baby shower are even THAT MORE FUN when you are so psyched to possibly be pregnant yourself too!!!

The only downfall with the no more HCG test thing is that we now had to wait until week 7 to go in for the ultrasound and see what was actually going on. My patience does not take this wait easily (see earlier reference to the phone sprint) and I was bouncing off the walls! Not knowing is almost more excruciating than knowing in my book. At least once you KNOW you can set your path accordingly... but this waiting... again - a lot of you have probably been there so I will say no more.

Then FINALLY week 7 rolls around!!! And, as Jeremy and I have shared with many of you, it was an odd situation once more because Jeremy had this ice fishing trip planned to the U.P. with a bunch of Tech buddies for a LONG time (see pic below - it's an old one from a camping trip a bunch of us took - but this just gives you an idea of the amazing circle of friends that we have from Tech. These are just the boys with the chitlins (at that time... you could probably triple that number now - ha!)... and the ultrasound appointment fell smack dab in the midst of it. Now, in total fairness he OFFERED NOT TO GO - but this was ludicrious to me! I hope, to those of you who know me, that the least I can say is that I am all for my hubby (and I) having our fun times off with our friends occasionally - it is needed people. And if you DON'T make time for it in your marriage you SHOULD!!! I very, very rarely "Tell him no", and vice versa. We spend 90% of our free time together with each other and our children, and respect each others need for time with friends. It cracks me up when I hear about how tied down a lot of hubbies are with their wives... why do these women torture themselves and their husbands like this? Seems to just create more problems to me... but I won't get off on THAT tangent for hours. My point being that I knew it would be ridiculous to ask Jeremy not to go when I clearly had the option of changing my app't date (WHAT?) or... (drum roll, please) using this as a great way to spend time with my mom again and have her come up to go to the appointment with me!! Yep, it was a pretty cool opportunity the more I thought about it - and I knew, no matter what, Jeremy was only a phone call away. Plus my mom was JACKED about being there!! And, if you know Sherry (mom), she was LOVING the fact that she would be the absolute FIRST PERSON ON THE PLANET TO KNOW whether or not we were prego =) Bless her heart! It was exciting....

Here's a pic of my mom and dad... aren't they the CUTEST!?!? 34 years and counting, baby... what an inspiration they are to us.

So - we go. Sweaty palms, upset stomach and all... we make it to my OB's office. And what does the ultrasound pic reveal? Hmmmm... (and I quote) "Well, there's more than a couple of them in there... that's for sure." Huh? I'm pretty sure my mom and I both needed a tab bit of clarification on this one... and here's what he showed us: sac one: fetal pole with beating heart. sac two: fetal pole with beating heart. "TWINS!" I yell out!! Oh, but no so fast batman.... sac three: potential fetal pole (it's early, folks) but no visible beating heart. And, gulp, sac FOUR: no visible fetal pole or beating heart.

Insert cricket noises here....

Then lot's of random doctor comments about how "The first two look good, but I give the third one about a 50% chance of survival and the fourth one, well, maybe a 20% chance. I know it must be overwhelming, but really, don't get yourself too upset or panic yet. There is a very real chance that the last two will not make it, Tonya...." and on, and on, and on.... but by this time it was pointless... he wasn't even in the room with us... he may have well been talking to the wall or plodding on about the weather or something...

Insert Tonya and mom laughing hysterically and non stop here....

And keep going...

And still more...


Whew! I suppose in hindsight, you either laugh, cry, or completely lose it when faced with the potential for having four babies growing inside you. We chose a combo between the laugh and lose it sections and I think it worked out pretty good... we laughed so hard and the tears flowed so easily (not sad ones) it was like one of those crazy personal jokes that you share with someone and after about 5 minutes you can't even REMEMBER why you were laughing in the first place - you know? That hardly GUFFAW that releases every ounce of tension you may have built up... and it feels awesome.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Let the story begin...

Well, I'm finally taking the plunge here.

Trying out my hand at this blogging thing.

I hope I don't bore you all too much. And I hope you like to READ with me in Captain's Chair!

First of all I would like to say THANK YOU SO MUCH to our friends who set this whole thing up for us. I know that we would not have done it on our own and I believe that the blog section in particular is extremely important for us to do. Throughout this quadruplet pregnancy I have gained the most insight and "real life" knowledge and advice from reading other quadruplet mom blogs. I do not consider myself all tech savvy, so I will attribute my finding them in the first place to absolute blind luck (read: Google search for quadruplet pregnancy)!! But once I stumbled on a couple good ones I was hooked - these sites are the daily lives, decisions, doctor's appointments, emotions, pains, joys, etc. of other families not so different from ours. The connection between us - even though we have never met, nor probably ever will - is one that so few people can relate to that it is an automatic match. I hope that I can now "Pay It Forward" with our blog and provide some insight to another mother of quads (to be) out there looking for guidance, reassurance, or just a similar voice amidst the masses of information and statistics provided by our doctors and specialists...

But don't get me wrong, I had no idea about this until it was US and I was reading my own thoughts and fears, only written on someone else's blog... and then I began emailing these women. I had no idea...

I would like to say kudos to my hubby as well for his amazing blogs to date. Man, that guy - eh? I can't tell you how many people have commented to me that they "were a bit shocked that Jeremy could write like that" and things of that sort. Pretty great, huh? You should see what he can do with a love letter... tee hee hee... oh - and a Bombay Sapphire straight up... but that's another story. Yes, back off ladies, I'm the lucky one here =) Poor guy just gets dragged through the embarrassment mud with me around. But in all seriousness I would like to say that my husband is my rock. Always has been, and always will be. In life, people talk about soul mates and so forth... well, it's not a cliche' in our household. We have had some horribly tough times that we have endured together, and through it all each experience has somehow managed to bring us closer together in the end... in my book THAT'S true love. Not coasting through the good times... so, thank you Jeremy. Thank you for loving me, for loving our family, and for standing by us 110% no matter what the obstacles. I love you more than anything.

Jeesh. Listen to me already. And I'm just getting warmed up! (did I mention that I tend to be long-winded? Hmmmm....)

Overall, my hope is that once I drag you all through the chronological events of how our family found itself in this particular scenario it will be an easier ride for all of us. What's that? The BEGINNING, you ask? Aren't we almost 22 weeks? Ummmm yep. But, being how I am, sorry kids. We start at the beginning. I can't bounce around. It would literally haunt me in my sleep!! AND, lucky for you all I have kept a pregnancy journal from the beginning and so... Shall we?

For the sake of time (and perhaps I'll get lucky and not scare you all off in my FIRST official blog), tonight I am only going to talk through where we started. So, sometime around last fall, we decide that we'd like to try "one more time". I think anyone who knows our family knows that we are absolutely enamoured with our two boys, Aiden (4) and Caleb (2) - and forever remember our angel Meadow who went to be with the Lord. No matter what, we knew that this would honestly be our last pregnancy. We had always talked about having more children, and we love having our boys 2 years apart! It is so much fun having them close enough to play together. They have grown to be the best (and occasional worst) of friends now that they are both a little older. But we also are keenly aware of how lucky we are to have two healthy children. We do not get pregnant the easiest, and we both agreed to that this one time would be our last. If it was meant to be, then great! But if God decided that our family was complete, then we knew we would ultimately accept that fate as well and have no regrets.
Which leads me to the one itching question everyone loves to ask: "QUADS? It couldn't be natural, right? What kind of reproductive assistance did you have? IVF?" I KNOW that people don't mean it the way it comes out... but let me tell you - please do hesitate to ask ANY WOMAN this question. Even if it is burning your mouth to get out - BITE YOUR TONGUE. I am fairly laid back and open about most things in my life, but this is such an ultra-personal question and it just FLOORS ME that people think it's OK to blurt it out. Honestly. Maybe I'm too sensitive here. Oh well. I doubt I'm alone, folks... so just think before you speak. I don't know why, but in my mind it is almost as if it lessens the excitement of your pregnancy, or authenticity of it, or SOMETHING when faced with this question. Much like adoption mommies must feel. "Oh, little Johnny sure doesn't look a BIT like your other children! Is he yours, or adopted?" DOES IT FREAKING MATTER? IS IT ANY OF YOUR BUSINESS?
OK, down girl. Down. I'm off my soap box.
So, to clear the air, because I know y'all are simply curious and I'm a nut - yes, we are pregnant with quadruplets and no, it was not without some form of reproductive "help". I will tell you that it's not a LOT of help and we were shocked, as were our doctor's, that we were able to become pregnant with FOUR little miracles after the difficulty we have had. And, in the end, no matter where you stand on reproductive assistance issues, I hope you can all appreciate that what God has bestowed upon our family is certainly nothing short of a miracle. EVERY SINGLE HEALTHY BABY BORN is a God-given miracle and unfortunately it usually takes an unfortunate incident, or knowledge of one, to bring that back into the general public radar. Yes, we may have "help" getting pregnant, but in the end, we came to accept it as a blessing because we understand more about the entire conception to birth process that occurs inside a mother's womb. And to educate yourself is to watch the miracle unfold before your eyes. It blows us away when we think that we have four - yes FOUR - little ones inside me. But God does not make mistakes. Nor does he give any of us more than we can handle in this life. And we truly believe that assistance or not, we were chosen for this role. What an honor. (albeit a bit scary and overwhelming one at times.)

Friday, May 16, 2008

The Puzzle by Lew

The intent of this post is two fold - 1) to apprize folks of how The Plan is progressing and 2) to provide insight to others in our situation. The title of this post will remain constant and will be updated as the pieces to The Puzzle fall into place. It will only be posted by Lew (we'll see how that holds up). The Plan is just that - a plan and it is conveyed in this post as a puzzle. Tonya and I put a plan together. We looked at it all, from all sides. Well, at least WE feel we looked at it all from all sides. The Plan essentially evolves around putting our family in the best possible situation to raise Quadruplets plus 2 wild and crazy boys.

The box to the puzzle was opened when we looked at each other and said wtf are we going to do! That would have been when we first found out that there were 4 in "there"...The box to the puzzle has a picture of our family on it, with each of us holding a baby, and all the facets of The Plan in the background. Thanks to Tonya, we do not know the gender so the babies have question marks on their faces. Our goal with The Puzzle is to have the background pieces together before the babies with question marks on their faces are born (thanks, again, to Tonya).

There are not enough pieces to classify the puzzle as a jigsaw, but there are quite a few pieces nonetheless. Up until recently, the puzzle did not have much rhyme or reason to it. We have studied it, looked at it from different angles, even gone so far as to look for numbers on the back of the pieces, but still we remain "puzzled".

Some of the pieces are starting to fall into place. They aren't joined together, at least not for the moment, but there appears to be some pieces that seem as though they may fit.

Next week there will be some pieces that are connected...and I will be able to lay the puzzle out for you all to visualize.

It would have been nice to have the puzzle together by now, but life is not easy, it is a challenge, and it is far from a game. I consider it more of a series of mazes, and I have never considered a maze a game. Each stage of our lives is a maze, and with each maze you have to choose a path or paths to go down. There are paths that you can go down that end abruptly. There are paths that seem to go on with no end. You can continue on a path or turnaround. But, there is only one path that is the right path. Tonya and I are doing our best to find that path. Please pray for us.

We are ready for this challenge, but this f&$%ing puzzle needs to get together and this is one hard f&$%ing maze!


Her Last Day by Lew

Tonya had her last day of work today. We are sad but I'm going to start pushing for dinners being ready when I get home from work. Oh, that's right, there's QUADRUPLETS cookin'...

Seriously though, no doubt T will post a blog about her day today. Tonya was impacted by many people that she worked with in many different ways and those same people were impacted by her in ways she will never know. That is the kind of person Tonya is and that is one of the many reasons why I am so proud to call her my wife and the mother of our children.

She said she got ice cream from Moomers at the going away party her work, Gosling Czubak, threw for her. Moomers is like the 4th best rated ice cream in the freakin' nation. I vote it #1 for the name! T is an ice cream freak for those not in the know. More importantly, ice cream before bed is a phenomenal way of getting essential nutrition to The Quads over the course of the night.

Seriously again, I was very sad for her today. She was sad, but at the same time, that new leaf is really starting to get close to turning over...

The good news is T will finally be able to start focusing on giving as much love to Aiden and Caleb as possible. Aiden and Caleb are a concern of ours when The Quads arrive and we are doing our best to prepare them for their arrival.

More good news is T will be able to 'really' focus on keeping those Quads comfy-cozy in "there". We really need them to want to stay in there (insert wishful prayer here). With the stress and pressure from work gone, she should be able to get into a Quad Cookin' Groove if you know what I mean?

Anyway, expect a flurry of belly photos and a whole lotta bloggin' from Tonya in the very near future!

Week 20 Update by Lew

Please note, this was an e-mail sent by me (Lew) on May 9, 2008. Some dude named Stevo told me I should post it on the blog. Well, Imma feelin' bloggy tonight...

All -

I'm emailing for two reasons: 1) to update everyone on Tonya and The Quads as I know some have been inquiring and 2) to say thank you for your support.

We are currently at or near 20 weeks. Tonya is doing absolutely great, though she was sick as a dog last week. She graded herself at back to 100% on Sunday (May 4), which was a big relief as we were somewhat worried she wouldn't come out of it. She had an ultrasound appointment yesterday (May 8) and The Quads are perfect! (Please knock on wood).

To put things in perspective. We caught a show last night called Super Quads. The mother gave birth to identical quad girls at 30 weeks. The conception was natural - the odds on that are 1 in 11 million! I think we're only at like 1 in 6 or 8 million. Anyway, the heavyweight from that birth came in at an astounding 2 pounds 14 ounces with the lightweight coming in at an amazing 2 pounds 6 ounces. At 20 weeks (that's us now), the mother was the equivalent size of a typical single mother at full term (40 weeks)! I won't say how much weight Tonya has gained, but she looks great and her Dr's couldn't be any more ecstatic on how well she is doing! That mother wound up gaining 80+ pounds and the Dr's were worried about her health and that is why they chose to do the deed at 30 weeks. We will not be allowed to go past 32 weeks, which falls on August 4. To be able to get to 32 weeks would be a miracle to us. So, considering how Tonya currently looks, feels, acts, etc. we are so very lucky and continue to pray hard. That mother was on bed rest from 20 weeks. I think I would evolve into an ostrich if Tonya was on bedrest as of now - yeah dig hole, insert head....Currently, Tonya is showing no signs of requiring bed rest in the near future, though we are well aware that could change in the blink of an eye.

Basically from the start, The Quads sizes have all been darn near exact. As of last week (19ish weeks), The Quads were measuring approximately 7ish inches with an approximate weight of 9 ounces! Our BIG appointment at 16ish weeks indicated the brains, hearts, and spines are all perfect for each of The Quads. A huge burden was lifted off our backs at the conclusion of that appointment. Though again, we are well aware that could change in the blink of an eye.

A few weeks ago, I believe as result of Tonya being provided some information from someone that received this email, Tonya asked me to pick up some Flax Seed. Flax Seed I say, no problem. I have no idea what it's good for. So I'm at the pharmacy area at WalMart, next to the fish oil stuff, wondering why the heck she wants Flax Seed Oil? So I get it and she says wtf is this? Ummm, read the label T-? She says I wanted Flax Seed, not Flax Seed Oil. Well silly me. So she doesn't take any of it. So a couple weeks ago she sends me an email that indicates that mothers pregnant with higher order multiples in Finland or there abouts have the longest average gestational time in the WORLD due to a diet high in fish! Yeah, so the Flax Seed Oil was next to the fish oil so now who's laughing....Tonya is taking Omega-3s daily and she claims her skin has never been better (that's a hint ladies). I also require her to consume a glass of milk before bed as that really helps provide The Quads with essential go juice for growth over the course of the night.

So, that is a summary of where the pregnancy is currently at.

Things are a bit hectic at our house these days, I will spare the details, but wha!

Finally. I am going to keep this short, as I could go on and on and on and on....Thank all of you for all of your support. Tonya and I are blessed with the best group of friends in the WORLD. That comes from the bottom of our hearts. I don't know where to start. I don't know what to say. I don't know how to say it. But thank you for everything. It means more to my family than any of you will ever know. We have not been able to find words appropriate to describe our feelings. In so few of words, thank you. We love all of you and we are forever grateful for your support.

Also, an effort was put forth to get a website, complete with a blog, running for us (I think I'm there now?). With Tonya leaving work next week (that would be today!!!), she will be able to provide, I would imagine in thorough detail, updates of how the pregnancy is progressing. The blog will most likely be the best means of communicating with Tonya. I vow to make periodic blogs that will no doubt have nothing to do with anything other than me being a dork and saying stuff I shouldn't. That is evidenced by My First Blog...

But hey, I'm going to be a father of quads, so f-em all if they can't take a joke...

Your thoughts, prayers, kinds words, and unconditional friendships have overwhelmed us.

Lew, T, The Boys, and The Quads

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

My First Blog by Lew

Beware of Dog. The Eagle has landed. Millions upon millions of updates, pictures, stories, and, oh yeah, QUADS to follow. 10-4. Over and Out. Roger that good buddy.

Why Blog?

Hello All,

This blog is set up for Tonya and Jeremy, or family and friends to keep everyone up to date on what is going on with the Lewandowski's.

My idea is to teach Jeremy how to use it (it's very simple). Then he can keep us up to date as his time permits.

Other ideas/requests?

You can add a comment to this post, give it a try.