After all the research and reading I’ve done, I’ve decided that I need to gain 75 pounds by the end of the pregnancy to help ensure that I have some big babies. It sounds like a lot, but it’s not really when you consider the recommendation for one baby is usually around 25 pounds or more. The only problem is, even though I get hungry and even just get the munchies, nothing sounds good to eat. I’ll stand in front of the pantry, feeling like I’m starving to death, and everything I can see nauseates me to think about. Often I’ll just have Brian pick something out, and then make myself eat that. I never feel like I’m eating enough, and I watch the scale like a hawk!
We’ve decided that if these babies don’t decide to make an appearance sooner, we will schedule them to be born sometime between Christmas and New Year’s. After Christmas, they will be past 37 weeks, and should be fully developed. This way, they shouldn’t need to spend any time in the NICU. However, we don’t want them to go too much farther, because we’ve heard of problems with deterioration of the uterine environment when triplets stay in too long. So if we go before New Year’s, not only do we get three bundles of joy, but we get three joyous tax breaks!
One of the things we are concerned about is the amount of time the babies will have to spend in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). The doctor says a rough guess is usually they stay until their original due date, but that’s just a statistic. They will go into NICU if they are too small, if their lungs are not fully developed, if they can’t regulate their body temperature, or if they have not developed the sucking reflux (which emerges around week 34, I believe). Then they stay in NICU until all those factors are taken care of. My goal is to keep them out, and if we make it to 37 weeks then that will probably happen.
Of course, the doctor thinks we’re crazy to try going to 37 weeks. He expects them at 32 weeks, and he says that is standard, but it also include statistics from before there was research done into how to make those babies stay in a little longer. I’ve been in contact with a couple of supertwin organizations, and I’ve run across a surprisingly large number of triplets who were born at 36 weeks or later. This percentage appears to be growing. There are basically three things that all of these women share in common: nutrition, bedrest, and weight gain. The biggest part of nutrition is getting enough protein, 150 to 200 grams a day. Very difficult. The rest of the nutrition is just common sense eating right, and you’ll get enough nutrients through trying to get all that protein! The bedrest starts off slowly at 20 weeks and increases throughout the rest of the pregnancy. As I’ve mentioned, weight gain is between 50 and 80 pounds, and I’m aiming for 75, just to be on the safe side. I don’t really care how hard it is to lose later if it makes my babies healthy.
At 20 weeks I will go on partial or modified bedrest. Basically I plan to stay in bed and only get up to answer the door, go to the bathroom, and take a shower. No cooking, no cleaning, and definitely no leaving the house. This is a little beyond what my doctor has mentioned so far, but again, I’m erring on the side of caution based on the information I have gathered on my own. More restrictive bedrest will depend on how the pregnancy goes. Generally speaking, I’ll probably be put on strict bedrest (only going to the bathroom) eventually, and finish off with being in the hospital on a bedpan for a period of time before they’re born, probably with tocolytic therapy. But it won’t be so bad, because we’re not getting taken surprised by the bedrest, so we are doing a LOT of planning now to make it go smoothly and painlessly. Figuring out how to get all the electronics (computer, TV, VCR, stereo) arranged efficiently is turning out to be the hardest part. If anybody has any suggestions at all on this one, I’m wide open. We haven’t been able to figure out anything we really like.