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February 13-February 19



Sunday, February 13, 2000

Lorena had been having contractions and took some of the stronger medication (Brethine) at home which stopped them. Little did we know the fun that awaited us in the next few days.

Monday, February 14, 2000

We spent a very romantic Valentine's Day together. We went to Magleby's Restau...oh wait, that was last year. Actually, Lorena was on bed rest, and I went to work at the MTC. One of our neighbors did bring us a nice dinner, however. Lorena had been having some contractions all day long. She didn't feel too well and noticed that her face was swollen that evening. By 9:00 things were getting worse. She decided to wait until her 10:00 pill (nifedipine) to see if it would slow the contractions. By 10:30 things were getting worse. The contractions were now about 5-8 minutes apart. Her pulse was too high to take the Brethine, so we called Dr. Parker. He instructed us to go to Utah Valley Regional Medical Center to be monitored and possibly started on the really hard stuff (magnesium sulfate). This would mean that Lorena would have to stay in the hospital until the babies were born. We immediately went to the hospital, arriving at 11:30 PM. They began monitoring contractions and the babies' heartbeats. Baby B was not cooperating with the monitoring process. She was having too much fun moving around. Baby C was surprisingly compliant.

Tuesday, February 15, 2000

After monitoring for half an hour and seeing Lorena's pulse and blood pressure, it became evident that these were real contractions and that her pulse was too high to take the regular medication. The nurse came in with a syringe filled with betamethasone to hasten the development of the babies' lungs. (Lorena had one dose at 24 weeks and Dr. Parker was hoping this booster could help if given at least 24 hours before delivery.) An IV was started with magnesium sulfate as well as regular saline. The nurse expected the contractions to stop in about ˝ hour.

We called our moms, Cade (Dane's brother) and the Hollands (our really good friends) to tell them that Lorena was being admitted to the hospital until the babies arrived. We told them we would call them back when we knew more.

Unfortunately, the contractions then grew closer together and greater in intensity. They were very painful. At about 2:00 a.m. the nurse came in to increase the dosage of the mag sulfate and informed us that the doctor was on his way. She told us that he mentioned the "D" word–DELIVERY. We were shocked as we did not expect these babies for at least a few more weeks. The anesthesiologist then came in and started an epidural. Lorena told her that she was her new best friend.

We then made the phone calls again and instructed Lorena's mom to get the first flight out. Dane's mom was already on her way down from her home (an hour away.) Dr. Parker came and took out the cerclage (stitch) in Lorena's cervix. His reason for doing that was if the contractions became very intense and attempted to dilate the cervix, with the cerclage in it could rip the cervix and possibly affect future pregnancies. As soon as the stitch was out the cervix dilated to a 2. The mag sulfate was left in and we were told that a decision would be made by daybreak. When the cervix was checked a half hour later, it had opened up to a 3 and Andrew's head and bag of waters was felt and seemed to be bulging. The epidural had slowed down the contractions, but they were still frequent.

At 3:00 Lorena's blood magnesium level was checked. It turns out the her body was just flushing the magnesium out, not letting it affect her. By daybreak it was clear that the babies were coming. Dr. Dildy, the perinatologist came in and did a consult at around 8:00. He told us that had we not had the cerclage put in at 20 weeks we would have delivered the babies a month ago. He told us of the other things they could try to stop delivery, but one had made Lorena sick and the other was deemed to possibly affect the babies. So, the decision was made that if Lorena's water broke or she dilated to a 4, the babies would be delivered. Right at that time Andrew's baseline heart rate jumped to 180 and that also became a thing to watch for possible delivery.

For the next two hours it was back and forth as to whether or not we were going in for delivery. Doctors kept coming in and saying we were going to do it now, or then it became tomorrow, it was frustrating!! Finally, at around 10:30, Dr. Parker came in and said that he would rather take the babies now, in a non-emergent setting. Lorena started to cry when he left knowing that they had waited for this moment to have their babies for a really long time. Lorena was then prepped for surgery. Dane put on his wonderful surgical garb. Lorena was wheeled into the OR at 11:00.

The babies were born at 11:31, 11:32 and 11:33. They all cried after they were suctioned. Elena (Baby C) was way up in Lorena's ribs and was the most difficult to remove. She had some bruising afterwards. The doctors held each of them up for Lorena to see. There is a room off of the OR where they stabilize and intubate the babies and then take them to the NICU. Dane took pictures of them in that room and was informed that each of their APGARs were 7 (1 minute) and 9 (five minutes). He then went with them to the NICU while Lorena was being stitched back up. Elena was breathing on her own and did not have to be intubated until about a half hour later when they realized that she would just stop breathing.

Grandma Ester had arrived from California five minutes before and was in Lorena's hospital room when she heard a commotion in the hall. She went outside and saw staff members with three babies. She asked if they were the Seeley babies and when she was told they were she started to cry. Grandma says she thinks they took her to the NICU but she can't really remember much after that.

Dane called Mike Abel and had him come assist in giving each of the babies a blessing. Mike knew his way around the NICU as they had twins born at 28˝ weeks just last year. It is truly remarkable that we met and became friends with Mike and his wife Patty. Their experience helped to prepare us.

After recovery (with the famous "shakes"), they were ready to take Lorena to her postpartum room. On the way they stopped by the NICU and Lorena was able to see each of the babies. We also wanted to decide which girl got which name. When Lorena saw Cassie she said that she should have that name because it was a big name for such a small girl. After some discussion, about two hours later, we decided that Baby B would be Cassandra and Baby C would be Elena.

We had some friends and family come to visit and many more call. We went up to see the babies quite a few times and marveled at how perfect they look.

Lorena was finally able to sleep soundly for the first time in many weeks. Dane slept in the hospital with her. The whole day felt like a dream to each of us.

Wednesday, February 16, 2000

The PDA valve is a concern for all three. If it does not close soon on its own, surgery may be required. The surgery is fairly common with preemies. We hope none will need it. There is also a bit of concern with the vavle that connects the left atrium and ventricle in Drew's heart. It opens fine, but has not been closing completely, causing some backflow of blood within the heart. It is not a major concern at this time but could become such. The children are all relatively stable and are, as one of the nurse practitioners put it, about "par for the course." What she meant was that they are doing about as well as they expect with babies born 12 weeks early. This is reassuring. Hopefully they can shoot under par next round.

Thursday, February 17, 2000

Both Elena and Andrew were taken completely off the drug dopamine, which helps regulate blood pressure. This is great news. Cassandra has really improved as well. She started off the day at 15 micrograms of dopamine per hour (I think that's how they measure it). By the afternoon she was down to 4. Hopefully thay'll be able to take her completely off of it in the next few days. The PDA valves on all 3 kids are still partially open. We hope that they will close soon. The only body parts that are especially distinctive are the hair, ears, hands, and feet. We've decided that Drew has his mom's ears and feet. It is hard to tell for sure, but it definitely looks that way. Elena seems to have her dad's ears, hands, and feet. I think she gets them from the Munk side of the family. We can't really tell with Cassie. We just know that she is tiny and cute.

Friday, February 18, 2000

We found out great news this morning. They told us that both Drew's and Elena's PDA valves closed during the night. This is very exciting news. However, because it is a ligament there is a possibility that it could reopen, especially if the babies experience a great stress. It is more likely that the valve will stay closed for both of them. They did not check Cassandra's yesterday, but will in a few days. We hope it will be closed then. All three are improving. There is not any great concern at this time over the valve that is leeking slightly between the left atrium and ventricle of Andrew's heart. It appears that it will fix itself. In any case, there is little they will do about it at this point if it does not, mainly because he still has excellent blood flow. We just need to wait and see what happens with that. Elena had a blood transfusion today. This is very common with tiny preemies because they have to take so much blood for testing. It is likely that the others will have one in the near future as well.

Saturday, February 19, 2000

Today Mom came home from the hospital. It was very hard for her to leave without her babies, but we never really expected anything different from the time we found out we were having triplets. It did not make it much easier though. Drew got a blood transfusion today. It seemed to go well. Drew and Ellie appear to still have dark hair. Cassie's looks blonder every day. Her complexion also appears lighter than her sister's. All three are so cute (as the photos attest). Tomorrow morning they will do another echo cardiagram (heart ultrasound) on Cassie to see if her PDA valve has closed. If not, there is a possibility that she will need surgery to fix it. It looks like Drew may have his dad's nose. He has those same, wacky, uneven nostrils as Dad.



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(c) Dane Seeley, 2000