Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Our First Week

Team Darnell has survived our first week as a family. It has definitely been a week filled with great joy and excitement.

During the last post, we left off with all three boys in the NICU. There stay in the NICU was short lived. After one night, all three were moved down to our room. The room that we were in was too small for the Eskimo trio so we were moved the biggest room on the floor. Hopefully, this is just the beginning of many years of special treatment!

The picture above is all three boys lined up in our room. Our family received all kinds of attention at the hospital for being so healthy. There was a nurse that had worked at that hospital for 22 years and in all of her experience, there had never been a set of triplets that had made it to the floor with the mother. All of the other sets remained in the NICU and were discharged from there. We are so proud of our boys and their accomplishments already!

We remained in the hospital for two more nights with the boys in our room and we were all discharged together on Tuesday. The boys were quite healthy but our discharge was almost delayed due to my condition. Dr. Dixon informed me that I had lost a significant amount of blood during the surgery and for the first couple of days, my blood level was still on the decline. On Tuesday morning, the blood tests had showed my blood levels had leveled off but I was still functioning on "half a tank." I really wanted to get us all out of the hospital and I was feeling well. I told Dr. Dixon I was feeling well and I promised to take it easy at home. With that, he agreed to let us go home. So we all rolled out of the hospital and into the big bad world at about 4pm on April 15th, 2008.

The boys were perfect on the ride home but the fourth baby (this is what I became for the next few days) did not handle the ride home. We were only minutes from the hospital and I got quite sick. When we arrived home, I proceeded to bed for a few hours but my condition did not improve. On Wednesday, I moved to the recliner in the living room where I remained for the next 48 hours. I was experiencing the most extreme head ache I had ever experienced and any movement was near impossible. I was not able to do much with the boys but thanks to Team Darnell, consisting of Grandma Sally, Uncle Lance and of course Super Dad, the boys were settling in well to their new home. The team would do all the heavy lifting and would bring me a baby to hold. This was about all I could do.

On Thursday, I went into see the doctor and my blood pressure was 150/100. This was higher than it ever was during my pregnancy and let's not forget that I was hospitalized for my blood pressure. I was sent home with blood pressure medication and medication for migraines. I started feeling better once medicated and by Friday, I was able to get up and move around. This was good because the first trip to the pediatrician was Friday morning.

We woke up on Friday and the Team loaded up to get the boys to the doctor. We arrived at the doctor's office the full Team of four adults and three babies. We were a site to behold as Daddy carried a baby, Grandma Sally carried a baby and Uncle Lance carried a baby while I led the parade into the office.

The boys were weighed and checked out. All were given a clean bill of health. However, Andrew showed some signs of Jaundice and we were asked to return with him on Saturday to test him again. The test was to determine if the signs were increasing or on the decline. On Saturday, his tests showed his score was on the decline and there were no concerns. He was weighed at this visit and he was the first baby to get back up over 5lbs! Way to go Andrew!!

I had to return to Dr. Dixon on Friday to check my blood pressure, which was 140/90 at this visit, and to check how I was healing from the surgery. Could I perform as well as the boys at their visit.... of course not! When checking my incision, the doctor discovered an area of my skin above the incision that had apparently split due to the rapid stretching from the swelling I experienced at the end of the pregnancy. This area had a strange appearance and Dr. Dixon's reaction when first observing this was.... "What is that?" This is not a very comforting feeling for your doctor to look at you and say... "What is that?" I was prescribed two different antibiotics and Mike was taught to dress my new wound. I am becoming harder to care for than the babies at this point. There was a little bit of good news at this appointment as my blood level was now up to "three quarters of a tank."

It is exciting to have the boys home and start to see their little personalities start to develop. Andrew, the oldest of the crew, is also quickly becoming the responsible and protective older brother. The first night in the hospital, I had his crib near the bed so I could easily reach at least one of the babies. He was fussy all night. The next morning, we moved his crib next to his brothers and he has been content ever since. He is the best eater of the bunch. When it is time to eat, he gulps (literally gulps - we will work on manners later) down his bottle. There was also an episode when he was in the crib with his arm resting over Jared. Grandma Sally took his arm and put it back under his blanket and he quickly pulled it back out to put it over his little brother.

Jared, the second born but by far the smallest of the bunch, has been endearingly nicknamed "The Baby" due to his tiny size. He does not have much interest in eating and would prefer to sleep all day and all night. Due to the struggles to get the baby to eat, he has received more attention and cuddling from mom. As such, the baby has become the first that really wants to be held all the time. When he cries in the crib, the moment he is picked up, he is just fine. He was born weighing 4lb 13oz and at the Friday pediatrician appointment his weight was 4lb 8oz. He is the same length as is brothers but almost a half pound less in weight.

Wesley, the youngest, is our little Mike. While all three boys are blessed to look just like their father, he has also started to develop Daddy like mannerisms. We have been swaddling the babies to put them down to sleep. Wesley was the first to fight the swaddling. He desperately wanted his arms mobile and outside of the blanket. He would work to pull his arms out and it was only at this point that he was happy. I have attached a photo of how Wesley has determined he is most comfortable while sleeping. In case you were wondering where this behavior comes from, I have also included a photo of Daddy sleeping.

The week has been full of crying, cuddling, feeding, bottle making, diaper changing, laundry and most of all loving boys that are three beautiful gifts! Here are some other memorable moments from the week....

Murray has quickly fallen in love with his baby brothers and has turned into quite the Nanny. He frequently checks on his babies and makes sure anyone holding his babies knows exactly what to do. Chewie has been a little more difficult. He is quite jealous and likes to pretend the babies do not exist. Here is Murray's first chance to meet his brothers...

Our days are filled with 24 bottle feedings and approximately 30 diaper changes. Here is a shot of our bottles....

Uncle Lance visited for a few days and offered great assistance. By the time he left, he was a pro at feeding, burping and diaper changing. It's not possible to visit without jumping right in! Here is Uncle Lance with the trio....

Andrew & Jared cuddle...

Wesley after eating just a little too much...

But most of all, the first week we all hoped for the moments where the new recruits of Team Darnell were all sleeping peacefully giving us a few moments of catch some ZZZZZs.

Sorry for the delay in posting since our departure from the hospital but hopefully everyone understands we have been a little busy. However, we have enjoyed every minute we have been able to spend with these boys!

Hope everyone is doing well and thank you to all of you that have called, sent e-mails and sent best wishes over the past 10 days. And... a special thank you to everyone that has been there to help us.

Take care,


Saturday, April 12, 2008

Day 1 - Happy Birthday Team Darnell!!!

Good evening everyone! I want to thank Heather for sending out the e-mail announcement to everyone. As she indicated, at 1 am I woke up and had the sensation that I needed to go to the bathroom. Prior to getting out of the bed, I realized I REALLY needed to get to the bathroom. The symptoms were more of a slow leak than a gush so Nurse Kim was not sure if it was urine or amniotic fluid. She completed some tests and I was encouraged to wait an hour and see what happens. After that hour, let's just say we were able to determine that it was amniotic fluid and Dr. O'Bryan, the on duty doc, decided not to play with fire and it was time to deliver.

WOW! It was fast from that point forward. I was first moved to a Labor and Delivery room to be prepped for surgery. We decided to take one more picture of the baby mountain that had amassed on my body. In this photo, you can see the baby mountain plus some of the swelling that had accumulated in my face and arm.

Once prepped for surgery, I was moved to the operating room where in less than one hour, the room was filled with a beautiful "song" sung by Team Darnell.

At this point, all three boys were doing very well. As they were finishing up with me, the boys were taken to my recovery room for their assessments. Once arriving, in the recovery room, Wesley (Baby C - on the left) was grunting and needed to be taken to the NICU for additional oxygen. Andrew (Baby A - on the right) and Jared (Baby B - in the middle) were doing well and remained in the recovery room until they were moved to the well-baby nursery. They remained there throughout the day and were observed during all routine activities.

I attempted to breastfeed both boys without success so far so I fed them both bottles. They were then taken from my room back to the nursery so I could rest. When I woke up later that day, the nurse came in to tell me that Jared was a little cool and they were struggling to warm him up. We then proceeded to spend some time as mommy and son with him laying skin to skin on my chest. I was just in awe at this point of this little life that grew inside of me, along with his brothers. Here is Jared trying to warm up:

We were unsuccessful in getting him to warm up and around 7pm, the doctor decided that Jared needed to go to the NICU. Not only was he not maintaining his temperature, he was having difficulty keeping his food down. When they told me they were going to move Jared to the NICU, they proceeded to tell me that it would be best to also move Andrew to the NICU along with his brothers for observation. So, all three boys are now down in the NICU.

Prior to the big move, we were able to spend some quality time with Andrew and Jared. Here is Grandma Sally and Andrew:

And the proud Papa with Andrew:

Maria Leon also visited to spend some quality time with the babies. Here is a moment she shared with Andrew and Grandma Sally:

I am doing pretty well. I have been removed from the IV fluids and my catheter as been removed. I have still not gotten out of bed but plan to do this very soon. Other than being tired, I seem to be recovering well so far. The nurse was just in and she is going to give me some pain medication now so when I actually get up to go to the bathroom, it should not hurt. That sounds like a great plan to me!

Now for the million dollar question, was I able to get my nails done..... no. Andrew's decision to break out of his confined space impacted the rest of us. Oh well, I am glad they were all born so big and healthy. We do not anticipate they will spend much time in the NICU.

I want to thank everyone that has supported us in any capacity throughout this pregnancy. It has been enjoyable keeping everyone up to date with what is going on with our pregnancy through this blog. We will continue to keep everyone posted on the joy of raising triplets from the Team Darnell perspective!!

Happy Birthday Team Darnell!!!

Take care,


35 Weeks & 4 Days - Team Darnell Arrives... FOR REAL!

Message distributed via e-mail by Heather Hamblen:

Good Morning!

Mike and Kellie are proud to announce the arrival of three healthy little boys! The trio arrived this morning at just about 5 a.m. Kellie's water broke at 1 a.m. this morning and once this was realized she was taken to surgery and prepped for the trio's arrival.

Andrew Travis Darnell formerly known as "Baby A" arrived at 4:59 a.m. weighing 5lbs 3oz and is 19 inches long.

Jared Travis Darnell formerly known as "Baby C" arrived at 5:00 a.m. weighing 4lbs 13oz and is 18.5 inches long.

Wesley Travis Darnell formerly known as "Baby B" arrived at 5:01 a.m. weighing 5lbs 5oz and is 19 inches long.

All the boys are healthy and doing well. Wesley was taken to the NICU as he was having some minor breathing problems. They were anticipating that he would be released from the NICU later today. Andrew and Jared did not require a trip to the NICU.

Kellie is doing well after surgery - if you know her she sounded a tad bit groggy. However she was her normal detailed oriented self relaying the specifics of the babies arrival. It would seem that the boys were not a fan of her checking herself out to get her nails done!!!!

Congratulations Momma and Pappa Darnell!!!!!

Heather (Burke) Hamblen

Friday, April 11, 2008

35 Weeks & 3 Days

.... and still pregnant!

It's another week down here in the hospital. The week has been relatively uneventful and there have been no significant developments in our situation that would push us to waiver off of the 37 week target. At this point we are at 11 days and counting!!! It seems like a long time from now but tomorrow will be 10 days and then we are really in the home stretch to a healthy delivery!

Physically, my blood pressure and tests have been fine over the past week. The struggle at this piont remains to be with the fluid retention that I am experiencing. I have gained 15 pounds in the two weeks I have been here in the hospital and it is all related to fluid retention.... I am swelling like a big water balloon at this point. I have achieved something that I thought was previously impossible; I have been drinking too much water. My body has become overwhelmed by the water and is struggling to process all of it. I was recently put on fluid restriction. Has anyone ever heard of a pregnant woman being told to drink less water?? It gets better. My sodium levels are low so I have been encouraged to increase my salt intake. Again, has anyone ever heard of a pregnant woman being encouraged to eat more salt?? It's like the twilight zone here in the hospital.

The maternal-fetal specialist was in to evaluate the boys yesterday and all are still doing very well and I am still not having any signs of pre-term labor. I have not had one contraction or braxton hicks contraction at this point. Again, something unheard of for a triplet pregnancy. These boys appear to be really happy where they are and are in no hurry to enter this world. I hope this is a sign of how cooperative and compliant they will be in their early days!!!

Now, let's chat about my mental state. There were some low points during this week as I was experiencing some pain from the weight gain and I was really ready to hear that they were going to deliver. Each day without that decision was harder and harder. At this point, with the maternal-fetal specialist telling me that we are going to get to 37 weeks, I have resigned myself to the fact that this date will not change. This has really helped my psyche.

In addition, who could remain down in the dumps when I am living in a tropical paradise? As mentioned in my prior post, a close friend decorated the room like the tropics. Here are the pictures of my view:

It is like the great equalizer beach! Please note that Chewie and Murray are the same size, which cracks me up. By the way, this banner is about 8 feet long and 4 feet tall. It covers most of the wall in front of me.

This is the sun that shines over the beach! When I look at this, I want to sing "You are my sunshine, my only sunshine." Could he look any happier????

This is the palm tree that hangs on the door and that creature in the tree is a monkey with bananas added by Nurse Debbie.

The last thing that is helping to improve my mental state is my decision (made today) to break out of the joint!! Yes, that is right!! Mike and I are planning my big escape for tomorrow. Don't worry, his idea was to tie sheets together and shimmy down from the third floor window (let's all just imagine that image for a moment). But, I have decided to roll right out of the front door and dare them to stop me! What is so important that I need to break out of the hospital and risk my health and the health of my unborn children you ask? The answer ... to get my nails done, of course. I have been here for two weeks now and with an additional two weeks before the babies arrive, I am facing some gnarly nails if there is not an immediate intervention. I have searched high and low for a technician that is willing to come to the hospital but no such luck. So, I asked for a day pass from Dr. Dixon today and he was just not able to approve it. However, he mentioned that I am the boss so if I want to assume the risk and discharge myself against medical advice (AMA) and then readmit a few hours later, there is nothing they can do to stop me. He is just worried that I return with a blood pressure through the roof and it pushes their hand to do an emergency delivery. The nurses are very supportive of my adventure and they think everything will be fine. So, let's all cross our fingers and hope for a smooth adventure and really pretty nails! And yes, there will be a pedicure as well. I also think this will really help me recharge and then have the mental capacity to make it 10 more days.

I think I have brought everyone up to speed at this point. I hope everyone is doing well and we are all in the home stretch now! We will have babies in just 11 short days!

Take care,


Tuesday, April 8, 2008

35 Weeks

Well, what can I say.... we are 35 weeks along and still pregnant. This is our 10th day in the hospital for this stay and can anyone say "stir crazy?" Physically, I am doing well. My blood pressure has remained within normal limits and all other tests continue to be normal as well. Dr. Dixon just visited and said we are still in a "sit and wait" pattern. The Maternal-Fetal Specialist will visit me on Thursday and he indicated we will do lab work at the same time to see if anything has changed. There was a day last week in which my blood pressure started to gradually increase over the day but it was back to normal by the next morning. So physically, there are no signs that would point to delivery at this point. I guess this is a good thing???

On Sunday, my close friend, Maria Leon decided my hospital room needed a little face lift. She has created a tropical paradise here in room 367. The main wall that I stare at all day has been transformed into a beach scene and a palm tree has been hung on the door. Since that time, Mike and the nurses have gotten into the spirit. The nurses created a sun to shine brightly on the beach scene. In addition, the palm tree now has a monkey with his bananas hanging out in the tree. During Mike's visit last night, he added a cut out of Chewie and Murray to the beach. He also added a picture of his floating head to the sun. I don't have my camera here right now but I will take pictures and post as it has brought me laughter over the past couple days.

The nurses continue to make predictions that I will deliver sometime this week. I have not had a growth check on the boys in over a week but based on my assessment, they are getting bigger. I am not sure how much bigger I can get at this point! It is getting harder and harder to walk and move around. It is probably a good thing that the most movement I do is back and forth to the bathroom. We plan on getting one more picture of my belly prior to delivery.

Well, I don't have much more to report today as we are just in a waiting pattern. On the far side, we are just 14 days from arrival (April 22nd) however it could still be sooner.

Take care,


Tuesday, April 1, 2008

34 Weeks - Team Darnell Arrives!!!

The great day we have all been waiting for has finally arrived. Around 10pm last night, I started feeling bad, I can't explain it but I was just feeling bad. When they came in to take my vitals around 11pm, my blood pressure had spiked and it was enough to call the doctor. They immediately put the babies on a monitor and the babies were also starting to show signs that the time had finally arrived. I immediately called Papa Darnell and I was prepped for delivery. Then at 1:46, 1:47 and 1:48 am, the Darnell boys were brought into the world.

The boys were all evaluated in the NICU, they are all healthy and currently doing extremely well. I am recovering and ecstatic about being a new mother. Mike and I spent the remainder of the evening resting and we hope that the boys will be moved to the well nursery later today. Until then, we are enjoying the time to rest here in the room.

There is only one thing that is causing us a little concern at this point. The doctor's in the delivery room were a little quiet as the boys were delivered and we heard a lot of whispering. Neither of us are too sure what they were whispering about and they did not tell us. Mike spoke with Dr. Dixon this morning and Dr. Dixon is recommending some additional tests on the boys, one to include DNA. We are a little confused as to why they would recommend this test to us. Maybe it is some sort of cruel April Fool's joke. The boys are so beautiful and we are still trying to figure out if they look more like Mike or me. Please let us know what you think......

Baby A

Baby B

Baby C

Hopefully everyone has a good sense of humor and understand that this post is in honor of April Fool's Day and these babies, though all beautiful, are not members of Team Darnell. Ha! Ha!

I am still very pregnant (no joke) and the new recruits have not yet arrived. They do not appear to be in any hurry to enter this world. As of today, we have made it to 34 weeks and we are still in the hospital. All of my tests show that I am very stable and my blood pressure is quite normal while I am here in the hospital (ie. 120/66). They boys are monitored every morning and are doing very well. Dr. Dixon indicated during his last visit with me that we are still targeting the 37 week (April 22nd) mark unless there is maternal or fetal distress prior to that point. So, we actually might make it all the way to 37 weeks, 3 weeks from today! However, I am still taking it one week at a time. Now that we have made it to 34 weeks, our next goal is 35 weeks.

I hope everyone has a great April Fool's Day!!!

Take care,