Thursday, July 31, 2008

Parents Hit Grand Slam With Birth of Quadruplets

10:29 PM PDT on Thursday, July 31, 2008

By MARY BENDER
The Press-Enterprise
LOMA LINDA - They were supposed to arrive in October, in the thick of Major League Baseball's playoffs -- 100 years after the Chicago Cubs were last crowned World Series champs.
But the odds of quadruplets going full term are roughly equivalent to ... well, the Windy City's heartbreak team winning the Fall Classic.
So on Tuesday, a contingent of doctors, nurses and respiratory therapists the size of a ballclub roster delivered Amber and Michael DeMaria's four tiny babies at Loma Linda University Children's Hospital. The couple, Cub fans and first-time parents who live in Crestline, fielded questions Thursday about their daughter and three sons, born at 28 weeks and 3 days of gestation.


Michael De Maria kisses his wife Amber after placing a Chicago Cubs T-shirt on the incubator of their son Michael Huston DeMaria while visiting their quadruplets Thursday at Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital.

 
A full-term pregnancy lasts 40 weeks, which would have made Amber's due date Oct. 18.


The DeMaria quadruplets were conceived through in vitro fertilization, during which the couple's physician implanted two fertilized eggs. Not only did both result in a pregnancy, but one embryo split three ways to create identical triplet boys.

"They fertilized two and told us we might have one (baby)," said Amber, 30, who teaches biology, anatomy and physiology at San Gorgonio High School in San Bernardino.
"Most women go through in vitro several times, but that was our first try," she said.
The well-choreographed medical team delivered the babies by cesarean section, starting with Anthony at 11:11 a.m., followed quickly by Michael, then sister Jaileigh, and finally the smallest quad, Jakob, who weighed in at 1 pound, 15 ounces.
As if becoming the parents of quadruplets isn't earth-shaking enough, a half-hour later -- the earth shook.
A 5.4-magnitude quake, centered in Chino Hills, jolted a vast swath of Southern California at 11:42 a.m. Tuesday. Doctors were tending to Amber when the rocking began.
"She was getting stitched up," said Michael, 37. Their first concern was for the newborns' safety. The babies came through the temblor unscathed.

But the quake rattled their relatives in the waiting room: Michael's older brother, visiting from Las Vegas, and Amber's parents and younger sister, in from Utah. "They were a little shocked," said Michael, an Illinois native.

His love of the Cubs' storied ballpark explains the little girl's middle name: Addison. "Wrigley Field is on the corner of Clark and Addison (Street)," said Michael, wearing one pink and three blue hospital bracelets on his wrist.
The baseball connections don't end there.
Two-pound, 11-ounce Michael, the heaviest quad, was given the middle name Huston after Oakland Athletics pitcher Huston Street -- not because he's a favorite ballplayer, but because Amber likes his name, her husband explained.

Jakob's middle name, Thomas, is a nod to Amber's father, while firstborn Anthony Joseph's name is the reverse of Michael's father and brother, Joseph Anthony Sr. and Joseph Anthony Jr.

They combined Amber's middle name -- Jai -- with that of her 17-year-old sister, Rori Leigh, to christen their lone female quad, Michael said.

Amber worked until June 11, the end of the school year, and heard plenty of prospective baby names from her San Gorgonio students. The next day, her doctor ordered her to go on bed rest.

"The day I was admitted (to the hospital) was my baby shower," Amber said. "I came in for my appointment and I was dilating and contracting."

She wasn't allowed to walk for six weeks.

On Tuesday, Amber DeMaria gave birth to quadruplets — three boys and one girl.

It was rough. It was boring," she said. "It was hard to stay in bed that long." Amber passed the time scrolling the Internet and watching her favorite cable stations.


Amber will be released from the hospital Saturday, but the babies will remain in the neonatal intensive care unit for eight to 10 more weeks, said Dr. Lily Martorell-Bendezu, the quadruplets' attending physician.

Doctors prefer to keep premature babies in the hospital until they grow to 5 pounds and can breathe without the help of ventilators, said Martorell-Bendezu, a Loma Linda neonatologist.

Michael must return to his job as a pharmaceutical representative Tuesday. He said he'll take parental leave from work once the babies are discharged from the hospital.

"I'm taking a year's leave of absence," Amber said. "We're hoping our insurance pays for cooking and cleaning," she joked.

Reach Mary Bender at 909-806-3056 or mbender@PE.com
A few notes on the babies

I was able to kangaroo hold (skin to skin) Jakob and Jaileigh on the first day
We have been able to bathe Jaileigh and Michael
We have been able to change all diapers
All babies were intubated except Jaileigh
All babies were extubated by the end of their first day except Anthony
All babies are on lights for bilirubin
All babies are on room air except Anthony
The second day I was able to hold Jaileigh because she was the only one not on lights

Mom and Dad are still holding up. I am finally getting sore. I was on an adrenaline rush for awhile and didn't feel pain, it was sooooo nice too.


Anthony Joseph


Michael Huston


Jaileigh Addison


Jakob Thomas



We would ask all of you to give us some recovery time. I know everyone wants to visit but we are trying to spend as much time in the NICU as possible right now. I have changed rooms and no longer have cell phone service either. The best way to keep updated is the blog or leave messages and we will try to get back to you. We really appreciate all the calls and visits but are feeling overwhelmed at this time. Thank you again for all that you have done. We look forward to visiting you soon. Keep the comments coming, we really read all of them.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

More Pictures

Jaileigh and Mommy- they really are small!



Final fetal monitoring morning of delivery



Wrigley and Maddox visiting on Saturday



Amber and Rori minutes before delivery



The Bucket List! Do we need to say anymore?

Pictures

Here are the babies first pictures. We have more but you will have to wait because it takes so long for the blog to upload them. We are off to see the babies again. . . .

All babies are doing good right now. Mom is doing good. Grandma, Grandpa, aunt Rori and uncle Joe are doing well too. We will put a more detailed update later.




Daddy in his space suit all ready for the delivery.


Baby A


Baby A


Baby A Anthony Joseph


Finding Baby B


Baby B Michael Huston


Baby C Jaileigh Addison


Baby D Jakob Thomas

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

delivery day!!!

Hello everyone this is Rori as of elevenish i officially became an Auntie (and Joe became an Uncle) In the midst of an earthquake (it was a 5.4 earthquake check the Internet if you don't believe me.) Sandy Amber's relief society president said it was heaven announcing the arrival of the DeMaria Quads. Sorry to the rest of San Bernardino who had no idea why the earth was shaking. Mom and the babies are doing splendidly the Doctors are very impressed with my nephews and niece amazing physique but of course as i told Mike all the little ones seem to take after the cute side of the family (Amber and I) and i see no resemblance to him . . . a pity that. seriously they all have dark dark hair and were bigger looking than i thought but i was envisioning something resembling a Polly Pocket..
Baby A:2lb 9oz
Baby B:2lb11oz
Baby C:2lb 4oz
Baby D:1lb 15oz
I will post pictures later when the babies are cleaned up to the peak of cuteness actually i refuse to do more till I get to go see them up close and personal.. Joe and I spent the whole time peaking through the blinds with our nose against the glass while they stabilized the babies. i must mention that our attemps to steal gowns and pretend to be nurses failed:)

28 weeks 2 days New Baby Weights

I finally received a copy of the baby weights from last Friday. That ultrasound was pure torture. It took 5 hours. As many of you know from experience it is very difficult to lay on your back for that long when you are pregnant. At one point because Baby A is so low they had to tilt the end of the bed up, which made my head lower than the rest of my body. They still couldn’t get a good view of his little head. Baby C’s head is next to my spinal column. She is so squished they couldn’t see her very well either. Baby D is squished up under my ribcage and Baby B is hogging all the room right in the middle. There isn’t much room left for growing in there.

Here are where the babies are located.
Baby A- maternal left, head in birth canal
Baby B- mid uterus, head down
Baby C- maternal right, head down
Baby D- top of uterus, transverse (horizontal across my uterus)

This is a little different from last time. Baby C (girl) has pushed her way down and she is now 2nd in line. Her head is right on top of Baby A’s and Baby B’s head is laying on Baby C’s shoulder. Baby B had is feet sticking in Baby C’s stomach and was just kicking away. They ultrasound tech tried to get him to stop by pushing on him. I think that he thought his brothers were pushing on him so he just kept kicking away.

Here are the weights as of Friday (27 weeks 6 days)
Baby A- 2 lbs 2 ozs 975 grams
Baby B- 2 lbs 7 ozs 1107 grams
Baby C- 2 lbs 1 ozs 940 grams
Baby D- 1 lb 15 ozs 881 grams

Baby B is our fatty boy and is actually 1 day larger than a singleton baby would be at this time. The other 3 babies are all within a week of what they should be if they were singletons. All of your prayers are being heard. Baby D has grown and is catching up.
All of the babies had the correct organs and the were working correctly. Baby D’s bladder was full. I guess this is a sign that he is using it. The boys were very proud of being boys and our girl was very lady-like, she had her legs crossed at the ankles.

On Saturday night all 4 babies had decels. This was the first time that Baby A had a decel. Baby D was the first to pull out of it. Hooray!! Baby B had the hardest time. They all recovered beautifully. During it my room was full of worried nurses though. I had four nurses standing around me holding on to the monitors and another one settting up the IV and one more paging the doctor. After it was over my nurse told me she was impressed at how calm I was and I told her that I knew everything would be all right and this babies were going to be fine. There are too many praying for us for things not to work out.

Sunday the babies didn’t have any decels. Two of the babies had accelerations which is really good. Accelerations in the heart rate usually occur in 32 week babies and means their lungs are getting ready to work on their own. Hooray again!

Thanks again for the support and prayers. We also really appreciate of the positive comments from other quad and multiples families (Gerwer, Tubres, Grafs, Burketts, Urechs, and everyone else). It is a relief to hear about your positive turn outs. THANK YOU!!

I was working on this all day yesterday and never posted it. Rori or Mike will be posting the next one today after the delivery. I will be out of the networking business for awhile. Thank you again.

Monday, July 28, 2008

I Love The Nurses

I love my nurses here. That will be the only thing that I will miss when I leave the hospital. The staff here is FABULOUS!!!! When I was first admitted I was told to make a list of my favorite nurses and then I could request these nurses. My list keeps growing and I have never had to use it. The list has the name of the nurse and a reason why they are my favorite. These ladies have made my stay as happy and pleasant as possible. There are quite a few of them that I hope will keep in contact with us. Some of them that aren’t scheduled to work for our delivery date have traded shifts so they can be present or are just coming to support us. I don’t think that there is another nursing staff in the world like the one here.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Bottom of the ninth (bringing in the closer)

Hello everyone, I am the guest writer today and will try to do my best and give any info that we have received. As far as being stressed and tired I would not change anything about what I (we) have been through. Nothing can compare to what Amber has been through she has been a trooper and I am so proud of her.

The last couple of days have been a little crazy. Amber has been hooked up to monitors on a regular basis so that they can monitor all of the heart rates and they have noticed that babies B,C, and D have decelling heart rates. It is a little concern but after more observation they are ok. If that isn’t enough Amber was having constant contractions that were lasting six minutes and now is on procardia around the clock. With all this happening Dr. Oshiro has decided to deliver the babies on Tuesday at 11am. That would put Amber at 28w 3days. We would have liked to have gone a little longer but we at least hit our original goal of 28 weeks.

Today we did a biophysical profile to get the babies weights and all were over 2 pounds except D he is at 1#15oz. My brother Joe probably wants him to be a Jockey. Although he has grown in the last week more than he did in the previous 3, so things are looking up.

I want to thank everyone for all the thoughts, prayers, kind words and visits. We are forever grateful to all that have helped.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

It's A Balancing Act

I am going to blame my slow blogging on you guys. I have received so many visits and 3 care packages that I don’t have time and energy to blog. I love the visits and care packages and wouldn’t trade them for anything! You are doing a wonderful job of keeping me entertained.

Now for the babies update. That is probably what all of you are waiting for. Mike tells me about all of you that he works with, my mom tells me about everyone in St. George, and Sandy tells me about all the church people that read so I will try and be better about updating.

The doctors are not really concerned with HELPP. My blood pressure is very low, I’m not swelling anywhere, and I don’t have abdominal pain. Today they did a blood test to see if my platelets have dropped and I will let you know when I get the results back.

The heart decels in Baby D have continued and they have decided that he is in a little fetal distress. Yesterday Baby C joined in on the decels as well. Baby D has them everytime he his put on the fetal monitoring so they sent me down to ultrasound to have a doppler study done on his unbilical cord. They found out his blood velocity is high- which explains why he is having heart decels. I don’t really understand why a high velocity does this but it means he isn’t getting all the nutrients he needs. They checked the blood flow to his brain and he has great blood flow there.

Dr Oshiro is my primary doctor and the head of the perinatology department at Loma Linda. He checks on me a couple of times a week and as far as things go he has the final say. The other doctors that I talk about are the doctors that are in charge of rounds for the week. The all work in his office they are just the ones on call for the week. This week Dr. Gilson and Dr. Lister are working. This is frustrating to me to not have Dr. Oshiro here everyday. For example, Monday Dr’s Lister and Gilson informed me that they weren’t going to sacrifice Baby’s A, B, and C to save Baby D. They were going to let me go to 30 weeks even if Baby D was struggling. Dr. Oshiro came in later in that day and said he would deliver me if Baby D was struggling, especially if I was past 28 weeks. He has full confidence in the NICU here.

I am on on Procardia on an off/on basis. Basically after I have the fetal monitoring I have to go on Procardia. The monitoring really gets my uterus excited or angry which then causes me to contract even more. Normally I have 3-4 contractions and hour. Today, because of the monitoring, I had 8 contractions in 30 minutes. It is all a balancing game. We are praying for all things to balance out.

Today they have also scheduled a biophysical profile on Baby D. This will tell the doctors even more about how he is doing. This morning he did not have a heard decel so maybe he is doing better.

That is it for now. Oh- They have now given me the Pediatric Childrens Hospital Menu to choose from. This will help with the yucky food problem. The food is actually ok for hospital food. The problem is really me. I am allergic to onions so that eliminates almost all of my entree choices. I usually have to order peanut butter and jelly or quesadillas. I love both of those food items but 3 weeks of eating them gets a little old.

I almost forgot- Today is 3 weeks in the hospital. I think that I am still sane. Mike could probably tell you better than I could if I am. I should have him write a blog about his side of the experience. I think he has it far harder than I do. He still has to work everyday, make his own meals, take care of the dogs (they are very high maintenance because we spoiled them), and come visit me. He drives about 1,000 miles a week for work and in normal circumstances this tires him out. I can’t imagine what he is going through now. Poor Mike. **Sorry Rori- I know how you are feeling about the mean BIL. You might have to give up on your vendetta and forgive him.

Thank you to all of you for your comments, emails, calls, visits, care packages, and prayers and everything I forgot!!!!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

27 Week Update

Today is 27 weeks and 1 day. We only have 6 days until our next goal. I have procrastinated long enough on the hospital and health update. I have been keeping notes in my "journal" so I remember everything that has been going on.

On Wednesday we had a growth ultrasound. They wheeled me down to the Maternal Fetal Medicine office, where I usually go for my appointments, and I didn’t even have to wait in line. The nurse told them I was on bed rest and to get me in now. I also got the ultrasound tech that I wanted, Brittany. She is the head of the department and is wonderful. Most of these ultrasounds take 2 or more hours and she does them in 45 minutes. She is very efficient and knows exactly what she is doing. It was neat to see the babies so clearly. We didn’t get any pictures because they are so squished there weren’t any Kodak moments. The tech thought that she could get a good 4d picture of Baby A’s lips. By the time she snapped the picture Baby B had moved his hand over Baby A’s face.

Here are the new official weights-
A 1 1b 15 oz 885 g +/- 130 g
B 1 1b 15 oz 889 g +/- 130 g
C 1 lb 14 oz 850 g +/- 130 g
D 1 lb 9 oz 716 g +/- 130 g
454 grams =1 pound

Our little girl ( C ) has caught up to the boys but Boy D has not kept up. We asked how accurate the weights were and she had the computer figure out the accuracy for us. All of the weights are +/- 130 grams. We were very happy to see that most of the babies are very close to 2 pounds. Dr. Oshiro was not happy with Baby D’s growth and said they would monitor him closely. They also checked my cervix with the transvaginal ultrasound and it is officially MIA/AWOL, no where to be found. We already knew this but it had now been verified with technology.

I am now on fetal monitoring for 2 hours a day. I have 6 things hooked up to me. The doctors noticed that B and D were having significantly low drops in their heart rates. They put me on an SO2 (oxygen saturation monitor) at the same time as the fetal monitoring to see if the monitors were picking up my heart rate during these drops. It turns out that they were so the babies are just fine.

Dr. Gallin has been in daily to give me updates on all of this. One thing she is worried about is what she calls "real estate problems". There just isn’t enough room for 4 at the inn. The babies may be stepping on or squishing each others placentas and cutting off nutrients and oxygen. She is worried this is what is happening to Baby D. She said that they would do another growth ultrasound on Baby D next week to see how things are progressing.

Another thing she is worried about is something called HELPP syndrome.
The acronym HELLP was coined in 1982 to describe a syndrome consisting of hemolysis, elevated liver enzyme levels and low platelet count. The syndrome has been considered a variant of preeclampsia, but it can occur on its own or in association with preeclampsia. (http://www.aafp.org/afp/990901ap/829.html)

In my last PIH screening they noticed that my platelet levels have dropped. She said they are still at a normal level but the dropping is a sign of HELPP. She talked to me about the signs and symptoms that I need to watch for and told me that they were watching me closely as well. She also said that HELPP occurs more frequently than PIH in women pregnant with triplets and quads. If I do end up getting HELPP we will have to deliver the babies.

I am doing really well. I still have a positive outlook on life, I’m not bored, I don’t hate the nurses or the doctors yet, I still get dressed everyday, I’m still allowed to use the porcelain potty, I can still eat sugar, all is right with the world. Oh and most importantly, I am still an incubator to 4 little babies! Thank you for your continued prayers and thoughts. It is a great support to Mike and I to know that so many are praying and thinking about us.




Darcy came to visit from Wisconsin. She is out here for a couple of weddings too. I just like to pretend that she came all the way out here just to see ME.



This is the view from my room. I love it! People always try to close my blinds so the sun doesn't bother me but I love it.



You can see that I am growing! The hospital food is helping. I really think it is all the extra treats I get from my visitors. : ) I don't know if you can tell from this picture but my belly is taking on a square shape. The nurses all laugh at me. It is especially noticeable when I have a contraction.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

#### Numbers ####

In my free time I started a list of numbers of the events from my first 14 days in the hospital. The list started in my head and then I eventually decided to type it up. This is to make up for all the daydreaming I did in math class. I found myself highly entertained. Maybe you will find it informational and entertaining as well. This list is for days 1-14 only. Today is my 17th day in the hospital so the numbers have changed but I will not be redoing the list anytime soon.

3340- grams of babies
2008 miles- longest distance traveled by a visitor (Darcy from Wisconsin)
454 grams in a pound
72-80- contractions per day
32- nurses (all of them have been wonderful!)
24- miles from our house to the hospital
23- number of visitors
21- approximate number of times I use the restroom a day
14- days (2 weeks) in the hospital- All Inclusive Vacation
11- number of injections with a needle in my body, not my I.V.
9- blood draws
8- number of vitamins I take each day
7- I.V. starts
7- issues of People magazine I've read
6- ultrasounds
6- monitors hooked up for an hour each morning and night
6- Procardia pills
4- babies
4- placentas
4- different rooms (suites)
4- Wheelchair rides
3- urine tests
3- signs on my door
3- injections of terbutaline
3- wonderful care packets
1- glucose test
1- roommate (for 1 day)
1- x-ray
1- visit from Wrigley and Maddox
0- number of good meals served by the hospital

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

ALL’S FAIR IN LOVE AND WAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This is writing Rori again.

OK SO NOW THAT I HAVE BEEN HOME FOR ALMOST A WEEK I HAVE DECIDED TO TELL OF A WAR WAGED WITH A CERTAIN BROTHER-IN-LAW WHO LEFT A CERTAIN COMMENT ON A CERTAIN PHOTO IN A CERTAIN SISTERS-IN-LAW FACEBOOK . . . HE IS TO REMAIN ANONYMOUS BUT FOR THE SAKE OF THE STORY WE WILL CALL HIM MIKE D. NO- M.DEMARIA. YES, THAT’S MUCH BETTER.

P.S. THIS STORY WAS TO REMAIN SECRET BUT ALL’S FAIR IN LOVE AND WAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!

OK SO HERE IS THE STORY- THERE ONCE WAS A BEAUTIFUL TALENTED BIOLOGY TEACHER WHO MARRIED WHAT SHE CONSIDERED TO BE THE LOVE OF HER LIFE M.DEMARIA. SHE THEREFORE TIED HER YOUNG LONG-HAIRED SISTER TO THIS SO CALLED DREAM BOY BY HER OWN MARITAL STATUS.NOW, THIS YOUNGER SISTER WAS THE PERFECT SISTER-IN-LAW ALWAYS SWEET AND KIND AND HELPFUL. UNTIL ONE DAY M.DEMARIA BECAME GRUMPY AND DECIDED TO NOT REFLECT HIS SISTERS-IN-LAW GOOD HUMOR WITH HIS OWN. LUCKILY THIS SISTER-IN-LAW HAD A SWEET SISTER ON BED REST WHO JUST HAPPENED TO BE ABLE TO WOO HER SWEETHEART TO SLEEP TO ASSIST HER OH-SO-INNOCENT SISTER. WHILE DEAR M.DEMARIA WAS SLEEPING THE GENIUS SISTER-IN-LAW PULLED OUT HER SECRET WEAPON TO END ALL WARS . . . HOT PINK NAIL POLISH!

YES, I KNOW WHAT YOU’RE THINKING . . . SURELY THIS YOUNG LADY WOULDN'T DARE TO DO THE UNTHINKABLE AND PAINT M.DEMARIA’S TOENAILS WHILE HE WAS SLEEPING AN INNOCENT SLUMBER BUT THAT IS WHERE YOU WOULD BE WRONG FOR THIS GIRLS COURAGE KNEW NO BOUNDS. AND AS YOU CAN SEE IN THE ACCOMPANYING PHOTO SISTERS-IN-LAW ALWAYS TRIUMPH WITH THE ASSISTANTS OF THEIR "TWIN" SISTER . . . MWAHAHAHA


The Twilight Zone

Hello all,
I'm Amber's friend Michelle. Amber hasn't told the entire story of this incredible pregnancy, mostly because it would mean she would have to mention what a wonderful person she is, so I'm here to do it for her. I doubt you'll be able to read this story and not get chills.

A little background and you'll see why her quad pregnancy is quite bizarre. Six years ago I met Amber when she walked into my home, a needed, blessed volunteer to help with my then 4 month old quadruplets who were just home from the hospital. They had been quite premature (27wks) and needed a lot of care. I have 3 boys and 1 girl, two of my boys are identical. My quads were conceived on my 5th IVF attempt and I wasn't given much hope. We did transfer 4 embryos but it looked like 2 had arrested so I wasn't thinking anymore than two babies were possible. Imagine my surprise when we see identical twins in one sac and then two more sacs with one baby each. I thought my head would explode. My doctor had never had an embryo split into identical twins in the 15 years he had been at the clinic. After a hard pregnancy and very long NICU stay, we were finally able to bring the kids home. That's when I met Amber.

When she first came to my home, I found myself intimidated by this gorgeous, tall, athletic, blonde woman. Then I started to get to know her and I knew that she was one incredible person, beautiful inside and out. We hit it off and she quickly became just one of the family. She helped me two nights a week and on Saturdays. The more I got to know her, the more I loved her. She now is welcome at my home anytime, in fact she has a key and her own room and bathroom. She is a sister, niece, friend, confidant. I adore her. The selfless service she provided to me and my children made such a difference in our lives and the gratitude I feel towards her is hard to put into words. She helped make it possible to enjoy my babies, not be so overwhelmed by these 4 little pee machines that I couldn't take time to see the wonders all around me. For that, I will be eternally grateful. Even after I no longer needed the organized help, Amber still came over regularly just to change diapers, feed kids and chat.

After a few years, she moved to Las Vegas, which made me sad, but she met her husband there so it was obviously a good move. Then the both of them packed up and moved to sunny California. Despite our geographical difference, (I'm in Utah) she still came to visit when she could and my kids always LOVE seeing her. So, after she gets married, I tell her "Honey, you're 26. Don't wait too long to start your family so what happened to me won't happen to you (I was 37 when I conceived). I guess I should have been careful about what I say as it seems that statement ended up being somewhat prophetic. After a year of concentrating on each other, they decided it was time to start their family and wouldn't you know it???? She got bit by the infertility bug. After trying a few things that don't really have great success rates, she told me that she had great insurance that provided a lot of coverage for IVF. To that I said "Time to just go straight to the big stuff...IVF has the best success rate with the lowest higher order multiple rate. Just promise me you will only transfer one or two embryos." We joked that she would transfer 2 and get triplets anyway. We knew it was possible since one of mine split but I think we all still thought it was unlikely.


So, with shot needles in hand and faith in their hearts, Mike and Amber went on to IVF. She cycled perfectly and transferred two embryos. This is where the twilight zone music should be playing in the background because out of those 2 embryos, she got the 4 babies she is now carrying. Identical triplet boys and one girl. No one had entertained THAT idea! Any of this sounding familiar? Also, in the 65 years combined doctor experience her clinic had never had quads result from a two embryo transfer. I guess Amber and I are trailblazers!
It just seems particularly weird that we would meet 6 years ago, become friends because of my quads and now have it be her turn to be expecting quads. Geez, do you think maybe she spent too much time with me and it rubbed off???? In any event, it is now my turn to provide some help to her. I wish I lived closer and could spend every day helping out, especially since my babies are starting first grade in the fall and I have no idea what to do with myself.
I hope Amber doesn't mind me singing her praises and taking up blog space but I do feel like this is a one in a million story. Good luck to all of you out there who are expecting or who have been blessed with multiples. We are all so very fortunate to have our kids.

Much love to all,
Michelle

Monday, July 14, 2008

12 days down in the clink!

Sorry for how slow I have been at updating the blog. I haven't gotten into a good routine yet and my Internet surfing and updating has suffered. I am doing GREAT. I am still off of all drugs except vitamins. I keep telling the nurses that I am at "Boring" status. I really like being at boring status and they like me being there too.

Today a team of perinatologists came in to meet me. I thought they were just curious to see the new quad mom but they were actually working. Within an hour they had placed orders for me to be monitored for contractions one hour a day (TOCO), have PIH screening (Pregnancy Induced Hypertension), and some sort of blood screening panel. The PIH and blood screening panels are to get a baseline of my normal levels because hypertension rarely occurs before 28 weeks. The blood draw will also let them know if my liver is functioning properly. To do the PIH screening I/they have to collect my urine for 24 hours- gross I know!

Sadly, my mom and Rori went home on Saturday. It was a very sad day. The nurses here all know Rori and ask where she is. They looked forward to see her more than me I think. Mike and I wish that they would both just move in with us permanently. It was very comforting to have my mom near.

My friends, Michelle and Jen, flew in from Salt Lake to visit this weekend. They were so fun to have visit. They spoiled me with Olive Gardens Torta di Chocolate, a warm double chocolate cake served with vanilla cream sauce and fresh strawberries. I don't think that I will ever eat hospital dessert again.

I now have wheelchair ride privileges. I can go on a ride for 30 minutes a day. Hooray! I really look forward to those. On Saturday Michelle and Jen brought down Wrigley and Maddox (our puppies) to visit. Mike had stayed at the hospital over night so when the 30 minutes was up he took them home. He had to go home to pick up Rori and my mom so that they could come visit one last time before their plane departed.

I promise to update better and Rori has promised to submit another story. I think it is going to have something to do with painting Mikes toe nails. Thank you again to all that are praying, emailing, calling, texting, visiting, etc. We appreciate it so much. The prayers are keeping our buns in the oven!



Rori and I the first night that I was admitted. I have the lovely blue robe on.


I don't think that Mike will be able to squeeze into my new twin bed much longer. I am expecting my belly to get a lot larger.


Multi-tasking- monitoring fetal heart tones and contractions while talking on the phone and posing for a picture. This is only done by the over-the-top nurses because it requires a lot of patience! It is not in my orders yet- they told me to expect it soon though. It is very uncomfortable to lay there with 5 monitors strapped to your belly for an hour. Especially when you have to use the restroom every 30 minutes.


Mark made by the monitoring.


I "heart" my babies. 26 week belly shot.


Michelle and Jen surprised me with a Audrey Hepburn shirt. I am a big fan of Audrey! One of my doctors asked if I was trying to make a fashion statement in the hospital?!? I told him "Of Course, didn't all pregnant women?" I especially like my new jewelry- the id bands and the IV.


Michelle and I

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Here’s The Novel!

One Week Down in the Suites de Hospital a la Loma Linda

I am back. Sad for a lot of you, I know, because Rori is so entertaining. I told her that she needs to do a weekly update, just for the humor. A lot of you want the nitty gritty details so I have tried to remember everything I could. I was surprised at how much I could remember. I am not offended at all if you would like to email and ask me more personal questions. I left out the really dirty details because there are people that read this that do not want to know those details. My email is on the right hand side of the blog.

Wednesday (7/2)
This was a big day. I had my doctors’ appointment, my gestational diabetes test, and if all went well a baby shower. Mike, Rori, and I all went to the doctor together. Mike kept telling everyone that Rori was our child, which embarrassed both of us. I don’t know why she was embarrassed. I was embarrassed because I didn’t want to be thought of as old enough to have a 16-year-old.
My big day was ruined when Dr. Oshiro admitted me to the hospital for pre-term labor. I was having too many contractions, my cervical length was too short (gone), and I was effaced and dilated to 1 cm. They admitted me to labor and delivery, which is a very nice wing of the hospital. I wish I was back there. The rooms are huge and private.

Susy and Heidi were throwing a baby shower for the Crestline and the Victoria ward. I was very excited to go to it. When going to the doctor is the highlight of your week because you are trapped in your house, going to a shower was like a trip to Paris. The shower was cancelled and moved until after the babies are born so that we can still attend.

I was put on Indocin (Indomethacin) for the contractions and Keflex to treat for GBS (strep) until they got the strep test results. Eating was not allowed in case I had to have a C-section and I was hooked up to an IV to keep me hydrated. I also had continuous contraction monitoring. The monitoring actually makes me relax because I don’t have to pay attention to my contractions as much. I know the nurse is in the other room watching them on the computer. You can really tell who the good nurses are because of how they watch the monitors. If I am having a series of contractions the good nurses run in to check on me and to make sure I’m not in pain. If it is a so-so nurse they come in an hour or so later and ask if I have had any contractions. I really haven’t had one bad nurse. They majority have been exceptional!
I also received my first steroid treatment for the babies lung development. I will receive the next one in 24 hours. They warned me that they would hurt but it was nothing compared to the progesterone in oil shots I had to have for 12 weeks. Those were so painful I swear I still have lumps on my bum from them.

Thursday (7/3)
Still on Indocin and Keflex in case of strep. I was moved from labor and delivery at eight or nine at night to the high risk ante-partum wing. I was moved in with a roommate. YIKES! I can’t say that I like sharing a bathroom with another pregnant woman especially when you both have to go every 30 minutes. High risk ante-partum rooms are all in a circle around the nurses station. The patients that are here are high risk pregnancy patients that are waiting to deliver or who have delivered. I asked the nurse how many had multiples. There is one other lady who is pregnant with twins.
My strep results came back negative so they took me off the Keflex. I am only on IV fluids, Indocin, and the contraction monitor. They also allowed me to eat today.

Friday (7/4)
My parents, brother and sister-in-law arrived. More entertainment! If you can picture seven of us squished into half a room with one guest chair and my roommate had that many people on her side too, it is quite hilarious. Finally one of the nurses took pity on us and moved us to another room that night at nine or 10. This room is still a shared room but there isn’t anyone in it but me. They told Mike he could sleep in the other bed. He has been able to sleep over with me because my family is here. They go home at night and babysit the dogs and the house. When they leave, we are going to be very sad.
Today, I received my last Indocin. Hooray! They also took me off the IV and let me shower. My Gestational Diabetes came back negative, I can still eat otter pops!

Saturday (7/5) 25 WEEKS HOORAY!!!
I woke up feeling yucky. I was having trouble breathing and it hurt to breathe deep. I have asthma and allergies so I just thought something was bothering me. I really don’t remember a lot of details about this day. I remember that I was having a lot of contractions and the doctors were in my room all day. They were really concerned about the contractions I was having so they put me on Procardia, a calcium channel blocker. I received this every 30 minutes for three doses and then they decided it wasn’t working. I was sooooo hot. I felt like I was on fire and I could feel my pulse beating inside my eyeballs. They decided to try Terbutaline, another anti-contraction drug. When they told me that I broke down and started crying. I was so upset that this was a last resort. They started prepping me for surgery- blood work, IV, signing consents, etc. The terbutaline is given in shot form and works rather quickly. It made my heart race even more than the Procardia and I had muscle twitches in my whole body. If you have ever taken albuterol, it was 100 times worse than that feeling. I felt like a drug junky. About this time they discovered that I had a fever. Now they started looking for the source of the fever. I told them earlier about my shortness of breath so they ordered a chest x-ray. I was also having extreme back pain on my right side so they ordered a UA (clean urine sample). By this time the terbutaline was working. They shot me up with Demerol and I was gone for the night. The nurse put the Demerol in my IV, in five seconds I felt it hit my brain and in five more I was asleep. That stuff was awesome! I had a hang over the next day though.
Rori remembers more about this day so you can check the previous blog entry and somewhere in between you will get all the details.

Sunday (7/6)
We found out I have pneumonia and not a UTI. I was put on a Z-pack to treat it. They also put me back on the Procardia to keep the contractions under control. I don’t have any side effects from the Procardia. The ones I experienced earlier were from the fever.
Andy, Tia, and my Dad went home this morning. They left Rori and my mom. Rori as you know for entertainment and my mom for help. It helps so much to have family here. I have felt so calm knowing that my mom is close and will take care of everything. I am so grateful to my dad for letting us keep them because I know how attached he is to my mom. I don’t think they have ever been apart longer than a week.

Monday (7/7)
Monday afternoon taken off Procardia and given it only as needed. Monday night I was taken off continuous fetal monitoring. Doctor Oshiro also ordered that I be allowed to sleep from 10:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. without being disturbed. This was because our wonderful nurse Leigh pushed for it. I wasn’t sleeping at all because I was being woken up every four hours for fetal monitoring and vital signs and then in between I would have to go to the bathroom. They taped a big sign across the door to not have anyone disturb me between these hours too. Leigh also got permission for me to shower today. It was very refreshing, I no longer smell like "hospital" as Rori calls the smell that was permeating from my body. My hair decided that it was going to be curly during my pregnancy and is out of control without a shower to tame it.

Tuesday (7/8)
No monitors and no drugs. Just vital signs and fetal hr monitoring every four hours except between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m..

Great day! I got the internet tonight. The only complaint I had today was my blood pressure was a little high because I was so excited about the internet and no more drugs.

I wanted to tell all of you who have visited thank you so much. The visits no matter how long or short really help keep my spirits up. I get so excited when people come by to say hello and I really appreciate those of you who have been in. Those of you who have called, texted, and emailed thank you too! I will get around to returning emails and phone calls.

Also, thank you so much to all of you who are praying. Your prayers are being heard. I have been so calm and I know that everything will turn out all right because there are so many people praying. Every prayer helps and is heard and appreciated.
A huge thank you to the 4 wards that fasted for us on Sunday. Sunday was a positive turning point for us and I know it was because of the fasting and prayers of so many. It is so humbling and overwhelming to know that so many people care about us and our babies. This pregnancy has been so humbling to me personally. I have never wanted to be the center of attention or one to rely on others and the Lord is teaching me that it is ok to be in need and to have others pray for you.


For those of you worried about my sanity in the hospital you don't need to worry. I am well entertained. The nurses are wonderful people and like to chat with me. I also have books to read, Cable TV, the Internet, a journal to write in, someone who wants to teach me to knit, and lots of visitors. More importantly I have peace of mind that I am being taken care of and my babies are too. I no longer have to worry about going up and down the 4 levels of stairs at our house, I have maid service, I get to pick my meals, I get snacks, I am very catered to here. I am enjoying myself and don't think that I will be going stir crazy too soon. The only negative to being here is not seeing my puppies everyday. I miss them a lot. They have been my buddies the last month. I am so thankful that my mom and sister are here and keeping an eye on them.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Hooray!! Amber is off of her medicine and contraction machine!!!!

Hi again this is still Rori, Amber has given me permission to continue writing her precious blog as long as i call her and read it before i publish it as i tend to get carried away into too much detail!
OK so here is the update Amber gave us a bit of a scare on Saturday when her contractions started to be one minute apart, and the Doctors began to prep her for the birth of her babies, and discovered that she had pneumonia in one of her lungs when they discovered she had a fever. It is too early for the babies to come so Amber received a priesthood blessing and with its help and medication, her contractions began to slow and she is now allowed to eat and move around. We are very grateful for all of you who fasted and prayed for her!
Now on a less serious note Amber and my tricks which are entertaining enough to keep even a bored mother to be laughing are at an end. Our mother has arrived. Now in any other situation our mother would be welcome as she is very useful as one of the mothering breed tend to be. But since she was the source our entertainment was directed at her arrival has brought a bit of melancholy to Amber's dear little purple walled hospital room.
Now to explain... Imagine if you will Amber and I sitting on her hard little bed looking in vain for some form of entertainment on the telly when Amber's cell phone begins to ring. One look at the caller i.d. brings wicked little smiles to our faces as we both raise our eye brows and Amber hands me the cellular device. Now apparently when Amber and I talk on the phone we sound alike which is irritating for our dear family members, who usually instead of admitting their confusion ask us a series of questions designed to discover who we are. My favorites tend to be along the lines of "How is your sister, what is she doing" " What are you doing" " Have any of your friends called, if so who?" Amber and I have played this game long enough we are usually able to keep them going until they slip up which is usually what dear mother does, as she seems to be too impatient to keep the game going. So it was with great joy that I heard my mom ask me if I had had my ultra sound yet. I replied no i had not. Slightly miffed she asked me why not and i replied because i was not pregnant after which i hurried and handed the phone to Amber who got the brunt of moms disapproval.
Another item of excitement this weekend was that our family came down!!! Our family consists of our mom, dad, our brother Andy and his wife Tia plus half a person in the form of our unborn nephew, Major. This gathering significantly crowded the little hospital room and the nurses looked in amusement as each time we came we brought loads of entertainment for Amber in the form of DVD players, books, fingernail polish, eyebrow plucker's, candy, food, etc...
HOORAY!!!!!!!!!!!! I am downstairs in Amber's basement and my mom just yelled down that Amber has been taken off her medication and her contraction machine because her contractions have completely stopped!! Even though Amber still has the peneumonia her fever is gone and she is on anti-biotics that are helping he improve daily. We know that this was possible because all of you who prayed for her and asked your wards to pray and fast for her yesterday. Thank you SOOOOO much!!!

p.s. sorry if this shows up twice i hit publish before i was done writing:)

Friday, July 4, 2008

This is Amber's sister Rori Amber was admitted to the loony bin on Wednesday the day after i arrived although i see no connection... Truthfully she was put in the hospital when she went for her checkup and they found she was dilating and was having to many contractions. Everything is under control now but they will not release her until she delivers, so you may be stuck with me or another obscure family member for awhile:)
Now because Amber has given me almost free reign of the precious blog i am going to tell you a story of sisterly collaboration against the worlds most loathed object...THE BED PAN! Even typing those three words gives me a shiver down my spine just thinking of the narrow escape Amber had yesterday. And now to explain.
Amber and i were quietly minding our own business poking each other and whispering as she has a room mate (temporary we hope). I was trying to wake up the babies by putting the T.V. speaker up against her tummy and Amber was lightly smacking my head because apparently the babies were napping and were in no mood to do something entertaining for Auntie Rori. When in walked the nurse whom we had liked up to this point because she claimed to be something of a multiples whisperer. Claiming that when she graced a room with her presence the multiples would lie still long enough for her to get their vital signs. Obviously we were in awe of her and became still as well as the Quads. With her brow furrowed she proceeded to ask Amber if she had unplugged her contractions monitor. After exchanging a worried glance with me Amber replied that she had in order to get up to relieve her squished bladder. The nurse got a slight smile on her face which immediately made us suspicious and said" O dear the Doctor has you on compete bed-rest, with NO bathroom privileges." Our mouths dropped in horror and i think i saw a slight glisten in Amber's eye as she brought out the BED PAN OF DOOM and politely covered it with a sheet type thing. It took us approximately twenty minutes to discover that this would not do and as the bathroom was three feet away Amber could make it in and out within two minutes. I offered in my own juvenile way to put the contraction monitor on my stomach and flex my tummy every once in awhile so it wouldn't look suspicious to the nurses looking at their monitors in the nurses station. Amber of course said no and instead suggested that i look out the door and wait for the nurse to leave the monitor and that was when Amber would make her move. We sat there while the now evil multiples whisperer left and was replaced by another nurse. When nature finally called about forty five minutes later Amber feeling guilty as is the nature of naturally sweet people told me to just go ask the nurse if she could unplug the monitor so she could go to the restroom because the new nurse had neither heard and seen nothing of the bed pan as I had shoved it into a supply closet. I was all for the espionage angle we had planned before, but was unwilling to anger the pregnant woman and so i went and asked the nurse who said by all means go relieve yourself. Surprised and amazed i was half way to the door when she said oh wait she is on bed rest, and proceeded to follow me to Amber's room to tell her herself. She checked the charts and exasperated Amber told the nurse that she had been up and down for two days in the hospital with no problems and would be just fine. Sensing a meltdown was close i suggested that the nurse talk to the Doctor and discuss the situation. She did so and now Amber is the proud user of a flush able porcelain throne and a good deal more friendly with the nurses. And the message here as we can all see is to never concede that the pink plastic potty is the only way!!!!
Well that is my story sorry if it was boring and sorry to all you English teachers or grammar freaks grammar has never been the highlight of my existence:) Thank you for remembering Amber in your prayers we need all we can get!! Good bye for now till i type again if i am ever allowed to:)