Today we reached 18 weeks! I have an app on my iPhone called “What to Expect” and it says that right now, the babies are about the size of a mango. Can you imagine? FOUR mangos in my belly right now?!?! CRAZY!!!! I definitely feel like a human fruit bowl! It says that there was a recent growth spurt and right now the babies should weigh about a half pound and be about six inches long! That probably explains the sudden growth in my belly. It’s starting to really look like a pregnant belly and I’m starting to hit it trying to squeeze through places that I used to have no trouble getting through. (I'll post a pregnancy picture soon, once we get unpacked.)
At 18 weeks, it seems like I’m ALWAYS hungry. And when I'm hungry, I eat. As much as I can! You see, right now (and until they are born), the only thing I can do to minimize the amount of time we spend in the NICU is to feed them so they will gain weight. The bigger I can make them, the greater the chance of survival and the only way to make them bigger is through nutrition. So what usually happens is I eat and eat until I either can’t eat anymore or I start to gag and can no longer down another bite. Then I have to sit in a reclined position long enough for the food to partially digests or else, one of the four babies has stomped the food in my stomach into submission! I’m trying to make healthy food choices when I can, but sometimes, it’s more of what sounds good at the moment! The most important thing is to keep feeding them, but I’m trying to get as much fruit and vegetables into my diet as I can.
To be clear, I’ve received no incentive for this, but here’s a picture of what my lunch looked like today. White Oak Kitchen & Drinks in the Galleria – Houston is still within my walking distance and didn’t involve stairs so I made the journey in anticipation of their smoked chicken salad that comes with fruit, banana bread and pecans. I also ordered a cup of their soup of the day which was some kind of creamed corn that had peppers and other goodies in it as well.
Everything I had today was with the intention of it's nutritional benefits for the babies and be assured, every bit of it was delicious. One of the problems I’m encountering is that in the middle of eating, no matter how delicious something is, sometimes, it just suddenly starts tasting terrible. I will gag, sometimes to the point I throw up and then the only options are to stop eating or else find something that has a different, better taste to it and my body accepts! Today was a perfect example. I’m enjoying my chicken salad, when it suddenly starts to taste like I’d imagine grass to taste based on the smell. But I’m particularly disheartened that this time, in the midst of my gagging fit, I knocked over all my fruit onto my office floor. Now don’t think it didn’t cross my mind to pick it all up and eat it anyways. But after considering my babies’ health, I decided it would probably be wise not to!
I can tell my body is working overtime to get our boys and girls ready to meet the world in a few short months! At 18 weeks, I’m also noticing that I can't take a full deep breath anymore!! It feels like my lungs actually stop inhaling for lack of space. It’s particularly challenging when I’m in the middle of interviewing a candidate over the phone or in person and have to struggle to get the words out because I can’t breathe.
Another thing that’s been bothering me recently is a tingling/numb feeling in my fingers. It’s been bad enough to wake me up for the last three nights and is now starting to exist during the day as well. I’ve emailed my doctor at Texas Children’s to see if this is normal or something I need to have checked out.
So that’s it. The plan is to cruise through the next two weeks, in anticipation of arriving at "the twenties" and getting ever-closer to that all important first landmark goal of 24 weeks. 24 Weeks is the first point of viability and I believe it's a 25% chance of survival with a 40% chance of premature complications from cerebral palsy to issues with the heart. Every week after that improves their chances and we are praying I can make it to 32-34 weeks. The more weight they can gain and the more their lungs can develop will certainly aid their efforts to survive once born. Adam and I pray for this each and every day, and I'm trying very hard to provide them with as much nutrition as possible, while taking care of myself so that I can carry them as long as possible. As always, we appreciate your continued prayers and are taking this one day at a time.