Since finding out the genders of our triplets, two months ago, I have had at least one scan every two weeks. So I’ve seen all three babies bounce around my womb, a lot! I have also felt them bounce around my womb, a lot! The rumbles these three babies make inside my belly often take my breath away. It’s really nice to be able to feel all three though, and for the last few weeks others can feel them too. The first time Babel got kicked in the hand by one of his brothers his eyes opened so widely in surprise. It was super adorable. Babel loves hugging and kissing the bump, he likes putting his head and hands on my belly to feel the babies move and to talk to them. He’s genuinely excited about his three babies on the way.
Last week, Babel and I received our EU settled statuses from the UK government and we’re expecting Yasu’s any day now. This means the triplets will be born to at least one parent residing in the UK with ‘Indefinite Leave to Remain’, which means they’ll be British citizens from birth. And Dutch. And Japanese. These three babies will be born with three nationalities each! That’s pretty cool.
Yasu started taking weekly photos of Babel and the Bump (and me) when I was 21 weeks pregnant, and I’m really cherishing these photos already. I wonder how far we’ll get and fear how much bigger this bump is going to get. I’ve already been feeling 40 weeks pregnant for a while now.
Oh the pregnancy ailments, I kind of forgot about those, and now they’re appearing thrice as badly and early. Of course, there are those common pregnancy symptoms like swollen feet, waddling, nipple soreness (especially enjoyable while nursing Babel), the constant need to urinate, constipation, nasal congestion, nosebleeds, and those lovely pregnancy hormones which make you so terribly quick to cry.
But the ailments that are really making pregnant life hard for me at the moment are:
- Fatigue. Oh my goodness, these triplets require a lot of energy, more energy than my body has available it seems. The doctor and the midwives always tell me to make sure I rest a lot. Really, I don’t have a choice, my body makes me nap and sleep all the time. I want to do a lot of things before the triplets are here, but I’m not getting a lot done because I usually fall asleep as soon as I try to concentrate on something. And I can only have one coffee a day now, so no to caffeine to help me out either.
- Pelvic girdle pain. I had that near the end of my pregnancy with Babel, so it was going to happen again and earlier on with a new pregnancy, and the fact that it’s triplets only sped things up. It’s making walking extremely hard and exhausting and lying down is even more painful. It’s like being constantly kicked and punched in the groin area. Sleeping and turning over in bed is already hard, because of the big and heavy belly, but now this pelvic girdle pain has taken it to a whole new level of agony. And of course that constant need to pee, which seems worse at night, means having to climb out of bed and waddling to the bathroom numerous times throughout the night. Not fun, not easy.
- Tingling and numbness. Pressure on my nerves often makes my left thigh feel numb, but the carpal tunnel in both hands is the worst. My fingers tips are permanently numb and tingling these days, my fingers feel swollen and the skin feels tight. It hurts more at night and the wrist splints just make sleeping more uncomfortable and aren’t really making a difference.
- Let’s not forget, about that daily shot of Clexane Yasu administers everyday. Such a joy that is. Even though this needle phobic coward has gotten more used to the daily needle (still can’t look at it though, and have to play loud music to distract myself) the pain that comes with the insertion of the medicine is still awful, every single day. It’s feels like poison is slowly creeping through my cells murdering everything on its way. The bruises the Clexane leaves on my body are also a constant source of pain. But we still do this everyday because it’s supposed to help against deadly blood clots, so yeah, it’s important.
I know these things will all soon be forgotten once the babies are here, and it’s all absolutely worth it. But I thought I’d write them down just to remember a time in my life, where I accomplished almost nothing (except growing three babies all at once in my belly), and Yasu had to do basically everything in the house (including helping me get dressed) and Babel had to entertain himself everyday after nursery.
So, I have ultrasound scans and check-ups every two weeks. Triplet 1 (the fraternal girl) has her own placenta, her own amniotic sac, she’s always on my right, and she’s been doing fine in all scans. Growing well, no problems at all.
Triplet 2 (an identical boy) usually lives in the middle of my womb and has a multi-cystic dysplastic kidney (MCDK) on the left, which we found out during the anomaly scan at 20 weeks. The doctor wasn’t able to finish the anomaly scan (even though it lasted almost an hour) because the babies get into each other’s way all the time, so she had to finish checking for abnormalities in the two following scans.
It was scary to learn about this boy’s kidney, but the doctor assured me that only one functioning kidney is required and his right kidney appears normal. He is going to need lots of extra medical care compared to his siblings, maybe even an operation to removed the faulty kidney, but he should be able to have a comparable quality of life in spite all of it. His kidney has since swollen and made him the biggest triplet for a while, but now his abdominal and mcdk growth rate has slowed most likely as function of this kidney is decreasing, as hoped.
Two weeks later, triplet 3 (the other identical boy) appeared to show a symmetrical slowing in growth about a month ago. The doctor was much more worried about him than his brother with the bad kidney. The boys share a placenta and a chorion, but they have their own amnions. They are monochorionic diamniotic (MCDA) twins. Because they share the placenta, the doctor was worried this triplet wasn’t able to make as much use of the placenta as his brother which may have led to the slowing in growth and could be very dangerous. We discussed strategies to optimize placental function. She did admit that one of her measurements could very well be faulty, which made me suspect all measurements. Especially since ultrasound estimations of fetal weight seem to be notoriously incorrect.
It was very worrisome news again, and of course this always happens when I attend check-ups alone without Yasu. I tried my very best not to stress out too much since there was basically nothing I could do about it, except keep doing what I had been doing, and try to have faith in my body’s ability to grow and nourish my babies.
Two weeks later the scan showed a significant degree of recovery in growth of triplet 3, and two more weeks later he’s the largest of all three babies. This really went to show that these biweekly scans are both a blessing and a curse. Yes, it’s lovely to see the babies dance on the screen every time, but measuring them so frequently can create these kind of stressful situations. If I would have only had scans every 8 weeks like with Babel at this time of pregnancy, we would have completely missed this dip in growth. Also, I’m still not quite convinced this dip actually even occurred as the doctor admitted it was so hard to get correct measurements with the three of them.
In any case, triplet 3, usually resides on my left in the uterus, and has always been an active fetus, like his triplet siblings. My last scan showed all three babies over 800 grams and growing linearly overall. Which I hope to keep up for at least another 8 weeks.
We tried a 3D/4D scan, when I was 24 weeks pregnant. As expected, the babies were in each other’s way and we could not get any good 3D facial shots, like we did with Babel. It also didn’t help that they were all facing towards my back during the scan. The sonographer did try her best and we got some interesting looking 3D shots from the side and back. We also all got to enjoy the show on the big screen. Best of all, I got to have a video of the babies moving around in my belly, which was what I treasured the most from Babel’s 3D/4D scan.
With Babel I was super eager to get a good look at his face. I was so anxious to know what he looked like. Pregnancy felt like it was taking forever, and he didn’t come meet us until week 41. This time around, the weeks are flying by, and I know we’ll meet the babies before I get to week 36, so it really feels like this pregnancy is super fast. There’s lots of things I want and need to take care of before they get here, but time is running out especially when I sleep most of it away.
Life with three babies in my belly is pretty uncomfortable and I know it’ll only get worse. I’m especially not looking forward to the day they start pressing into my lungs and breathing becomes difficult. But I’m very excited about these three little rumblers in my belly, and I am doing everything I can to keep them cooking in here for as long as possible. It’s sometimes still hard to phantom that we’re having triplets. How unusual is that?! And with only one ovary, one tube and one try. Like Yasu says: “our life is always interesting.”