You may be thinking to yourself “Now, wait a minute Ashley. I know a standard pregnancy is 40 weeks. I also know that half of 40 is not 17.” You would be correct. A standard pregnancy is usually 40 weeks, and half of 40 is universally recognized as 20. So why does the title of this post say that I’m halfway at 17 weeks? If you pull out your handy calculator, wouldn’t it tell you that 17 doubled is 34? It sure would!
So why am I halfway at just 17 weeks? You see, the standard 40 weeks is for a healthy lady who is pregnant with one baby. I am a healthy lady, but I am not pregnant with one baby.
If you remember waaaaay back to last November, we got 9 embryos that made it to day 5. 2 of those embryos were transferred, and the other 7 were frozen. Then, in December, we transferred 2 more. Then in March, we again transferred 2. That meant that we had just 3 remaining, and as they always thaw the “best looking” 2, we had our worst looking 3 left. Based on my transfer/failure history, we decided to transfer them all, which means we put 3, 5 day old embryos into my uterus. Normally, this is reserved for older women or ones with low quality, younger embryos. We were told the risks, and accepted them.
Flash forward to my second and third betas. They were scheduled for 5 days apart, one on a Tuesday and one on a Sunday. On Tuesday, my beta was 976. In the first few weeks, it generally doubles every 48-72 hours. By Sunday, it should have been around 4,000. When the nurse who called me told me the number, I actually said “I’m sorry, what” and had her repeat it. The number she told me? 7,841. Almost double what it needed to be at. So we prepared ourselves for twins. My clinic does your first ultrasound at 6 weeks, which I would be at the following Saturday, so we scheduled our first OB ultrasound for that coming Friday. What we saw shocked us, and I’m pretty sure my brain shut down for a few minutes to process the image on the screen.
If your ultrasound reading abilities aren’t great, I’ll just go ahead and point out that that says “1”, “2” and “3”. Sure, they just look like little black blobs in this picture, but there were 3 yolk sacs and 3 fetal poles. “Congratulations, you’re pregnant with triplets”… Uh, don’t you mean “Oh shit, what the hell happened!”?
Over the next 4 weeks, our RE monitored their growth, and they all made lovely progress. He also asked us about doing selective reduction. For those who don’t know, growing and having three babies isn’t exactly celebrated in the obstetrician world. They much prefer 1. Maybe 2. So we were given the option of waiting until we could see them better at about 12 weeks, and then deciding if we wanted to reduce. I personally, along with David, am very pro-choice. I see nothing wrong with abortions, and feel that it is up to each woman to decide what to do with her body and what she’s growing in it. Having said that, we decided that, for us, the right choice was to keep them all. Yes, it is going to be hard. Yes, I am 99.9% likely to have to do a c-section. Yes, I’m much more likely to get gestational diabetes and pre-eclampsia. Yes, the babies have a guarantee of NICU time. But our family will be complete. David has dreamed of having 3 kids for as long as I can remember, and if less embryos than that had taken, he may feel that his family is incomplete, because I would not have done IVF again, unless only 1 had taken.
For a low risk, singleton pregnancy, women see either an OB or a midwife every 4 weeks until about 6 months. I don’t see an OB or a midwife. I saw an OB for my first appointment at Kaiser, but that was mainly to confirm that I wasn’t crazy and making up a story about being pregnant with triplets. Once she saw 3 babies with 3 strong heartbeats, I was handed off to a Perinatologist, or doctor of Maternal Fetal Medicine (MFM). They deal with high risk pregnancies, which I am. I get to see him every 2 weeks for now, but I’m sure that as my birth window approaches, I’ll see him more often. In general, triplets pregnancies go to 32-34 weeks. I’ve read a few stories about women going to 35, but that is it. They just run out of room, and can’t grow properly past that point. I was told that, thanks to PCOS and the risk factors it involves, I can realistically expect to deliver any time after 28 weeks. By 28 weeks they are developed enough to survive, but would have a very lengthy NICU stay.
My MFM does an in depth scan of one baby at each appointment with a quick check of the other two. At our appointment last week it was discovered that baby A has velamentous cord insertion (VCI). At my appointment this past Monday it was discovered that baby C also has VCI. He is still not concerned about them having it because it isn’t generally a problem except during delivery. I’m pretty sure that them having this will guarantee a c-section, but we’ll find out more once I get closer to birth day.
I don’t think I ever posted about an estimated due date, but for a single baby it would have been April 15th. Alas, I will not make it anywhere near that date. We are currently aiming for March 10th, when I’ll be one day shy of 34 weeks. If it is possible to go until March 17th I’d be thrilled, but we can’t know that yet. The earliest they can come and be okay is January 28th, but we are super hoping that doesn’t happen because it will mean months in the NICU versus weeks.
Here are this weeks ultrasound pictures:
We found out the sexes on October 24th, and if you look carefully at the photo that brought you to this post you should be able to find out too!