Monday, December 31, 2007

20 Weeks

It's a ... and a ... and a ...

It has been a few weeks since I posted but we finally have the answer to the mystery of Baby A. At our 18 week visit with the Maternal-Fetal Specialists, we had the ultrasound that evaluated the full anatomy of each baby. The doctor checked everything including the heads, bladders, livers, hearts, blood flow, stomachs, arms, legs, hands, feet, and faces. The babies were all measured and were measuring in at sizes equating to 18 weeks 5 days on their 18th week and 3rd day. As such, we are all developing on target which is the really the most important thing. However, Grandma Sally, Mike and I were all really anxious about finding out the sexes of three babies.

Baby A, which will always be the most difficult to view as he/she is located on the bottom of all three babies, was a challenge to evaluate. The ultrasound tech tried really hard (and I mean really HARD) but was unable to determine the sex of Baby A. So, at 18 weeks, Baby A remained a mystery. Baby B and Baby C were not as difficult. It was great to confirm what we learned at our 14 week visit. Baby B and Baby C are BOYS!!! Evidence from 18 week ultrasound:



So, we left without knowing the sex of the Mystery Baby A. Another thing to point out is that I will be monitored frequently to determine the length of my cervix. This is the best predictor of pre-term labor. As the doctor was informing me that from this point forward, I will be monitored weekly and that the average cervix length at this point is 3 cm, the ultrasound tech measured my cervix at 5cm. After this information was revealed, the doctor set my next appointment with him for 4 weeks. So, it looks like these babies are going to bake for a while longer. All in all, we are all doing very well. So far, so good!

At 20 weeks, we visited my OB/GYN. As with all of these appointments, the visit started with an ultrasound. The ultrasound tech, knowing that we were still wondering about Baby A, went on an expedition to determine the sex of Baby A. While we did not get the photographic evidence, we learned that Baby A is a.....


Yes, it's true.... all three Eskimos are Boys! Boy oh boy! It's a really good balance for the full Team Darnell. Mike has 3 girls already and it was apparently time for some boys. This will give us 3 girls and 3 boys. Mandy (age 11) and Veronica (age 9) were here and able to attend the ultrasound that revealed they were gaining not only 2 but 3 brothers. The babies are getting better at getting their photo taken and Baby C had the best photo during this visit. He must have known his sisters were present as he was caught waving at the camera:

This visit went smoothly and all is well. I learned that I should start planning for bed rest starting at about Week 26 which starts February 5th. While this is not a guarantee, it's what is typical for triplet pregnancies. I have started to feel "something" that I have learned is the babies movement. They are also really taking over my body at this point. I have trouble eating much at one sitting, I loose my breath quickly, I am not sleeping well and I am most comfortable fully reclined in a recliner. How many weeks do I have left....... Our next appointments are on Jan 11th and Jan 14th.

I think this pretty much brings everyone up to date! 2007 has been an exciting year for Team Darnell and it will only get better in 2008.

Happy New Year to everyone!

Take care,


Friday, December 7, 2007

17 Weeks

We have recently returned home from our visit with Dr. Dixon. The good news is that all babies still have strong heartbeats and all seems well. They were all very active during the ultrasound. During the ultrasound, Dr. Dixon did comment about how they are starting to get crammed in their. We did not find out the sexes of the babies today as we hoped. He deferred this to the "guys upstairs." This is not a spiritual reference but a reference to the Maternal-Fetal Specialists office that is directly above his office. He indicated that because they will be doing the detailed ultrasounds for measurements, weights, baby health, anatomy, etc., our visits with him would only include brief ultrasounds for heartbeats only. There were no photos provided today either. Our next appointment with the "guys upstairs" is next Friday, December 14th. So, we wait another week to find out the sexual make-up of the Eskimos.

Take care and stay tuned,


Monday, December 3, 2007

We have a stroller!

Check out Papa Darnell and his hot new wheels!! The joy in his face is too much to handle :-) Let's just say he was not in the mood to model. Regardless of the look on his face, we are very happy with our first baby purchase. We were able to find the entire set for a great price and in the process, I met a very nice woman also experiencing a triplet pregnancy.

Thank you Teresa!

The infant carriers are Evenflo for all of you out there already planning to purchase things for the little Eskimos! We are 17 weeks tomorrow and are scheduled for a doctor's appointment (ie. ultrasound) on Friday. At this appointment, we should find out the sexes of the three little Eskimos! Stay tuned!


Saturday, November 17, 2007

14 Weeks

This week was a very busy week for Mama and the three little Eskimos. In addition to the two doctor visits, we also attended a conference in Jacksonville. It was very nice to visit with old friends but we just do not have the energy of years past.

Our two doctor visits were with Dr. Dixon and Dr. Hume. Throughout the remainder of the pregnancy, we will be co-managed by Dr. Dixon as our OB/GYN and Dr. Hume/Dr. Willis as the Maternal-Fetal Specialists. The easiest way to describe this is that Dr. Dixon is my doctor and Dr. Hume/Dr. Willis are the babies' doctors. When I visit with Dr. Dixon, he will focus on my health throughout the pregnancy (in addition to the babies) and Dr. Hume/Dr. Willis will focus on the health of the babies. The result of both visits this week, we are all doing well.

During both visits we had ultrasounds (#6 & #7 to date). These babies should be very use to having their photos taken by the time they are born. As you can tell in the photos, they are becoming much more photogenic (ie. looking like babies). I inquired about the sex of the babies and the ultrasound tech at our first visit really tried to detect the anatomy of these babies. While we were told not to run out to purchase anything, she was able to give us a good idea about Baby B and Baby C. See below.....
Baby B - I currently look like a ...... BOY!!! I am located on my mother's left side. I am developing on target and per Dr. Hume, I have a skull and 4 limbs... yipee!!!

Baby C - I also currently look like a ...... BOY!!! I am on my mother's right side. I am also developing on target and per Dr. Hume, I also have a skull and 4 limbs... yipee!!!

Now...... BABY A.....

Baby A - I am developing on target. Per Dr. Hume, I also have a skull and 4 limbs. I have been given the label of Baby "A" as I am closest to the cervix (ie. first in line at the exit.). I am in the center below Baby B and Baby C. I am also the one already causing my mother trouble due to the potential placenta previa (which is still present). As you can see from my photo, I was taking a nap during this visit and really did not want to awaken to participate in some silly hunt for my anatomy. I refused to cooperate and therefore the tech was unable to wager a guess regarding my sex. My mother, based on all the available information, seems to think that I must be a ... GIRL!

While the idea of there being 2 boys and a 1 girl in our little trio is very exciting, we refuse to get too excited until this information is confirmed at our next visits. Our next visit with Dr. Dixon is Friday, 12/7 (17 weeks) and Dr. Hume/Dr. Willis is Friday, 12/14 (18 weeks). During both of these visits, we should be able to get a better idea regarding the sex of the three little Eskimos. While we (mainly me) are excited about the idea of there being two boys in the bunch, the most exciting news of the weeks was that all babies had skulls, 4 limbs and looked very health so far. I also learned that tall women have a better chance at carrying multiples longer. At 6 feet tall, I am ready for this first challenge of raising triplets!

I am feeling a little better these days. Dr. Dixon has provided me some medication that appears to be helping.

I wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Take care,


Saturday, November 3, 2007

11 Weeks

Greetings! Last week on 10/26/07, we had the 11 week ultrasound with Dr. Duffy. It was our last visit to the Florida Institute for Reproductive Medicine in Jacksonville. It was a very big milestone for us. We have been hoping for the day we were transferred to our primary OB/GYN because we had a healthy pregnancy, but saying good-bye to Dr. Duffy was a little emotional. I remember the day when Mike and I first sat in his office in February and he was full of excitement and optimism. After a short conversation he said, "let's do it" and we were at the beginning of this great journey!!!

During our 9 week post, I relayed the rarity of a triplet pregnancy resulting from a frozen transfer but skipped a few points in our journey that resulted in the frozen embryos. After this February visit with Dr. Duffy, we started the Invito Fertilization process which started with me taking birth control for one month. Yes, we also thought this was a funny way to start. Once this month was complete, we started my fertility injections to mass produce eggs during one cycle. Once the eggs were "ready" they were retrieved and fertilized with Mike's little swimmers (also obtained through a surgical procedure). This resulted in 12 fertilized and viable embryos. A few days later, 3 of these embryos were transferred into me and the other 9 were frozen. Well, during this "fresh" cycle we were unsuccessful and did not get pregnant. We waited a few months and then returned to attempt a "frozen" cycle with some of the frozen embryos. At this point, they thawed 6 embryos and 4 survived. We transferred all 4 and here we are with our "Three Little Eskimos" (endearingly named by Aunt Sue due to their 4 frozen months). If you are keeping track, this means we have 3 remaining frozen embryos in storage.

Now let's get to the 11 week update. All Little Eskimos are doing well and continue to develop on target. Grandma Sally was present for the ultrasound and was able to see the Three Little Eskimos in all their glory! The babies were again active with Baby B showing the most life bouncing all around. This was so cute that I began to laugh. At this moment, Dr. Duffy said "Momma needs to behave." After making a couple comments, Grandma Sally apologized but apparently... I was the Momma that needed to behave as my laughter was making the ultrasound a little difficult.... oops, I'm sorry! Here are the photos:

Baby A measured in at 4.82cm and had 158 beats per minute (bpm). Baby A was the most photogenic of the day actually starting to look like a baby.

Baby B measured 4.83cm and had 160 bpm. Baby B was our little bouncer during this ultrasound and would not sit still for the photo.

Baby C measured 4.28 cm and had 160 bpm.

It was exciting to see all three remain on target through this visit. However, after this visit, we had a little scare. Early Tuesday morning, I woke up with some bleeding. I checked many discussion boards and felt ok to return to sleep. When I awoke in the morning, there was more and I placed a call to the Dr's office here in Tallahassee. They asked me to come in right away for another ultrasound. During this ultrasound I was again relieved to see three healthy babies with strong heartbeats. It appears that Baby A's placenta is partially covering my cervix which can cause irritation and bleeding. Later in the pregnancy this would be diagnosed as Placenta Previa but at this point, there is no diagnosis as the uterus will continue to expand and this will probably resolve itself.

I am starting to feel a little bit better as I have good days and bad days. This is better than all bad days! My next appointment is my orientation here in Tallahassee on Wednesday 11/7/07. With a follow-up visit the Doctor and ultrasound on 11/13/07.

Take care,


Saturday, October 13, 2007

9 Weeks

The past three weeks have been quite challenging. I have experienced "morning sickness" all day and night. It has been a struggle to find any food that I am able to keep down. Once I find something, I am hungry in a matter of minutes. These babies are united in "sucking" the life right out of me. Again... a sign of great days ahead! However, it will all be worth it in a matter of months.

Yesterday, we had our 9 week ultrasound and all babies are developing on target. We were able to hear the 3 heartbeats for the first time and this was powerful! The babies were provided labels of Baby A, Baby B and Baby C.

Baby A is 2.62 cm and had 170 beats per minute (bpm). Baby A was also active while we were looking at him/her and we could see the little arms moving.

Baby B is 2.42 cm and had 164 bpm.

Baby C is 2.48 cm and had 164 bpm.

Our appointment started with our Doctor indicating that we were helping him make news. He proceeded to tell us that a triplet pregnancy resulting from the transfer of frozen embryos is literally unheard of. Apparently the success rate of becoming pregnant from a frozen cycle is low and then to have 3 of our 4 transferred embryos develop into pregnancies is even more unbelievable. He indicated that there is a 6% chance of triplets during a fresh IVF cycle but a less than 1% chance of this happening from a frozen cycle. He also indicated that not all centers cryo-preserve the embryos that are unused during a fresh IVF cycle. I hope this experience along with some other success stories will help other centers explore this option because without it, we would not have been able to afford another full IVF cycle. Without the cryo-preservation of embryos, we might not have been able to experience a pregnancy. We knew this experience was rare but did not realize just how lucky we were…I mean are. We return for another appointment in 2 weeks and look forward to seeing the babies continue to develop!

Take care,


Friday, September 21, 2007

6 Weeks

6 Weeks

One little, two little, three little....... Darnells!

This morning, Team Darnell had a big day. At our Week 6 ultrasound, the Doctor led Mike and I through a "count the circles" activity. Dr. Duffy proceeds to tell us that each circle represents a pregnancy and after a couple seconds, he asks "now, how many circles do you see?" Mike responds, very matter of factly.... three. It is a fact, we are pregnant with triplets. We have spent the remainder of the day sharing our news with family and friends. I have never heard so many "oh mys" in one day! In the ultrasound photos the dark areas are the babies. They all appeared the same size and just as healthy as the large circle in the upper right. They were just a little resistent to all being in the same photo. I am sure this is a glimpse of fun times ahead.

As soon as we left the office, Mike asks me "Do you ever do anything half-ass?" Really, it's just not my style. I have been feeling well so far with most of the typical pregnancy symptoms, heightened sense of smell, nausea and fatigue. I am sure it will only get better from here. If we were to carry to full term, the due date would be approximately May 13th. With triplets however, we are looking forward to April babies.

Our next visit to the Dr. is in three weeks. We plan to utilize this blog as a way for friends and family to keep up to date on our progress. Please continue to send your positive thoughts our way!

Take care,