Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Pregnancy (from old blog)

What a week!  As you all know, the babies were born on Monday April 23rd.  Everyone here at Texas Children's has been great!!  The delivery went very smoothly with approximately 35 people in the operating room.  Each baby was immediately handed over to their own team and once they were cleaned up, the team brought each baby over for Dave and I to see.  I have been recovering- slowly, but surely- and I appreciate family and friends giving me time to rest.  I'm now walking around a bit and getting to see the babies more often.  I officially met them on Tuesday and got to touch them!  I couldn't believe they all fit inside my belly.  My very favorite moment was getting to hold one of them this morning; she had been upset, but immediately calmed down when I held her. :)  Two of the babies love their pacifiers and Dave got to put the pacis in their mouths yesterday.  5 of the babies are cruising along as expected for preemies born at 30 weeks.  One baby is sick, but making progress.  In the NICU, things change hourly so we're constantly getting updates.  We're concentrating on their general health and progress.  Our news has spread faster than expected, but we really appreciate all the prayers and support. Please continue to pray for the babies' health!
The intention of this site was to give updates to our families and friends with the progress of Lauren's pregnancy.  We cannot control who can view this site.  Since the birth, it seems the media has caught on much more rapidly than expected, and have published the link to this site.  For members of the media, please see the statement below:
Please see the statement below regarding the sextuplets that were delivered at the Pavilion today.  The family is not taking interviews at this time and has asked for all media calls to come through Christy Brunton ( or 832-824-2645)

Today at Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women, Lauren and David Perkins from Houston, Texas gave birth to sextuplets at 10:26 am.  They delivered 3 boys and 3 girls at 30 weeks 1 day gestation and all babies are currently in the Texas Children’s Pavilion neonatal intensive care unit.  Both mom and babies are stable.  All babies weighed between 1lb 10oz and 2lbs 15 oz.  The sextuplets were conceived using intra-uterine insemination with ovulatory stimulating drugs. The Perkins are not releasing the names of the babies at this time.

A press conference is TBD once the family has had time to recover and agrees to release more details.  The hospital will release more details and photos at the permission of the family in the coming days.
Lauren here... It's been quite hectic this evening, but I'm settled in my room and doing ok.  My blood pressure is all over the place and I'm being super monitored for everything.  Got to meet with a neonatologist and everyone's getting ready for the big day.  Baby C and D are having trouble, but especially Baby C.  She's not showing growth and limited movement, breathing, and brain activity.  I know Dave already asked, but please say extra prayers this weekend for all of us!!!  The plan is to deliver Monday morning, maybe Sunday, worst case is tomorrow.  I still need to get one more steroid shot in tomorrow and I'll probably be put on "the mag" tomorrow to help the babies out until Monday.  Thank you all for your prayers and support throughout this whole pregnancy- I'll be 30 weeks on Sunday, so I'll be barely making the goal :)
One more thing... for those of you who know us personally and have my contact information, do not expect a response from me.  i will if I can, but it's unlikely- no offense to you, I do read and appreciate all messages!
Dave here.  Lauren has just been admitted to the hospital immediately after her appointment.  The doctor expects to deliver Sunday or Monday.  Please pray for Lauren and the babies.  Say an extra prayer for Leah Michelle (Baby C), as she is not doing so well.
Well, after resting all day yesterday, I'm feeling better today.  I'm being extra careful with my activity level now so I can stay at home as long as possible.  I was told the next time I go to the hospital I won't be coming home until after the babies are born.  As I mentioned before, Monday morning I woke up with contractions that were more regular and lasted longer than I'd experienced thus far, so we packed up (assuming I wasn't coming home again) and headed to the hospital.  Of course, my doctor was out of town until Monday afternoon so I called the back up doctor and he wanted me to go to a different hospital so he could see me himself right away.  With the choice of different hospital, seeing experienced doctor vs. same hospital, seeing resident- I chose different hospital.  They were definitely ready for me as soon as I got there!  I was immediately put in a labor & delivery room (skipped triage), hooked up to monitors, and the doctor came in shortly after to evaluate me.  He did a quick ultrasound and all the babies looked ok and my cervix had thinned out some, but was still closed so that was good news!  I got some additional medicine to calm contractions and had to chug like 2 liters of water.  Turns out I had developed a lovely UTI and that's what probably started the contractions.  I got started on antibiotics right away to nip that one in the bud.  After a few hours I was feeling ok, but had to stay overnight for monitoring.  The interesting thing was that the CEO of the hospital came to welcome us and tell us about how great the hospital is with multiples and gave us a free guest meal with every meal I ordered.  We're pretty sure she was trying to win us over so I'd deliver there.  My doctor came in first thing Tuesday morning and he checked out Baby D and nothing had changed, which is good.  I found out the specifics on the absence of flow- his heart and umbilical cord are still pumping, but there's no forward flow in between beats.  The baby can survive for quite some time like this, but if it turns into a reverse flow that is not good and he would need to be delivered.  D still has a good heart rate, fluid, and movement so the doctor's comfortable leaving him be for now.  The decision was made to leave me in the hospital for the day and see about going home Tuesday evening.  I felt perfectly fine all day long until about 4:30; I started feeling contractions every 2 min and they were more uncomfortable than before.  My doctor and his nurse came in a little after 5.  The contractions had started to come further apart, but didn't know what was best- home or stay.  Ultimately, he left it up to me.  I could go home and just come right back if I needed to or stay and eventually be transferred to my regular hospital.  After waiting it out a few hours, I decided to go home if only for a few hours since I'd have to be moved at some point anyway.  Glad I did!  I will say that everyone at the other hospital was great!  I will start seeing my doc twice a week from now on until I go to the hospital for good.
The highlight of my hospital visit was meeting 2 moms of quints in the Houston area!  I've been in contact with them through email/phone and they drove down to meet me :)  I really enjoyed talking with them and hearing about their experiences.  Momma Mary also visited me despite having a super busy week this week!
Other happenings... I was able to skype into my job's department meeting last Friday for a few minutes just to say hi to everyone.  It was neat and fun to see all their faces for a second!  Also on Friday, I went to the lab to have some blood work done and take my glucose tolerance test.  Once they found out I'm expecting 6 babies, 4-5 ladies came out just to see me in the waiting area.  They asked a lot of the usual questions and made me take a picture with the lady who drew my blood- it was a little strange.  I was glad no one else was in the waiting area.  I will mention that my glucose test came back normal so no gestational diabetes for me!!!  And my liver functioning has stayed the same.  On Saturday the Fort Bend Moms of Multiples had their spring sale of hand me down baby items.  Since I'm not ready to buy stuff myself (we're having a couple more showers in May/June), my contact in the club asked around and got a lot of items that didn't sell donated to us!  Definitely an unexpected blessing!  I also had a weekend visit from Roaxana who brought me ice cream and free samples of caloric nutritional drinks (she's a dietitian so she couldn't just bring unhealthy ice cream).  I also got summoned for jury duty on April 30th!  Serioulsy??  I called them today and they had never heard the excuse "I'm expecting sextuplets any day now" before :)  As long as my doc writes me a note and I mail it in, I'm excused.
My dad got here on Tuesday and my brother's flying in tomorrow.  My grandparents told me they're ready to drive at a moment's notice, so the whole family's getting ready.  Dave's parents are also just waiting around for us to say it's go time.  As my friend Patricia says, I'm just a "ticking time bomb" haha  Well, this past week turned out to be quite eventful.  Sorry for the super detailed entry, but this is how I'm "journaling" about the pregnancy.  Thanks everyone for the extra prayers this week and continued notes of encouragement!!  We see God's hand in this every single day and it's truly amazing.
Very short, quick update because I'm really tired...  went to the hospital yesterday morning because I was feeling contractions every 10-15 min for 2 hours.  After 2 long days of monitoring and wavering on what to do, I'm now back at home.  May only be here for one night, but I'm glad to sleep in my own bed!  Depending on how I feel tomorrow and Thursday, I'll write a detailed post about the hospital visit and other random happenings from the past week.
We made it to 28 1/2 weeks!!  I wasn't sure if I'd be sent home after my appointment today, but I was.  Doc says since I rest better at home I can stay there until something happens or I'm just as miserable at home as I'd be in the hospital.  And since I still get these questions a lot- there's no set date for hospitalization or delivery, just lots of monitoring so decisions can be made.  Consistent, regular contractions, consistently high blood pressure, cervical changes, consistent back or pelvic pain, and/or bleeding will automatically put me in the hospital for good.  I have been having a lot more contractions the past few days, but they usually stop after an hour.  So, we're just waiting for the time they don't stop and I'll go in.  My doc is going out of town this weekend so we really don't want babies to be born until next week!  My blood test results from last week were good meaning my liver functioning has gotten slightly better.  I'll have it checked again tomorrow; if my liver gets worse, that's another reason to go in the hospital and deliver babies.  The horrendous itchiness has also been slightly better!  Still itches everywhere, and I still scratch all the time, but it's more intermittent.
Today was a full scan of the babies.  Baby C did not show any growth, BUT doc thinks it's an error in measurement because baby C is buried under all the others and it's hard to get good pictures and measurements on her.  I'm going back on Tuesday to redo Baby C.  All the others did show growth, on the low end of normal growth, but with 6 babies that's to be expected.  Baby F is still biggest with Baby B in a close second, and Baby D is still lagging behind.  Baby D's estimated weight is 1lb 7oz and Baby F's is 2 lb. 6 oz.; Baby A is 2 lb. 2 oz, Baby B is 2 lb. 5 oz, Baby E is 2 lb. 0 oz., and Baby C is 1 lb. 5 oz, but again, this is probably not accurate for C.  The only possible issue is that 2 of the babies are showing an absence of diastolic flow or at least that's what I think was said.  Not a big concern now since all have good fluid levels, but if it doesn't improve, babies will be delivered.  From what I gathered, it has to do with blood flow through the umbilical cord, and the problem is likely caused by intra uterine growth restriction.  Basically, they're crammed in there and can't grow much more and soon enough it'll be better for them to be out of the womb than in.  Doc said that if he had to make a prediction, he's guessing I'll deliver within the next 2 weeks.  We're still shooting for 30, but that's within 2 weeks!  Hasn't hit me yet that they will be here soon!  Exciting and Terrifying all at once :)  I also get asked this a lot... so far my belly is 45 1/4 inches around and I've gained 45 lbs.
That's it for medical updates.  Fun stuff... our dear friend Patricia made the perfect curtains for the babies' room and put them up last Friday- I love them!!  My grandparents, aunt, and uncle came to us for Easter and brought a feast with them.  We really enjoyed spending time with them even if my uncle did call me Moby ;)  And there were quite a few other visitors that deserve a shout out... Sara, Emma and Clara, James and Jo Lynn... no one showed up empty handed either!  Even though I don't give everyone a shout out, I'm so thankful for the visitors, phone calls, and snail mail cards that are continuously coming.  You all make the days fly by and remind me that there are people out there praying for us and cheering us on.  Love x 8 cuz God is so great!! (Stole this from Momma Mary)
I can't believe I'm 3 days away from the original goal of 28 weeks AND I'm still at home.  I was trying to find the record for sextuplets and the furthest gestation I found was 32 weeks, not sure if that's really the record or not.  My new goal is still 30 and I'll up it from there.  Went to the doctor yesterday for a quick check up and everything's still looking good!  Normal heart rates, normal fluid levels, and lots of activity going on in there.  Their kicks are definitely getting stronger.  My stitches are still holding and my cervix hasn't started thinning out yet- all good!!  My only complaint is the itchiness.  It's gotten significantly worse this week.  My stomach is all red and irritated and I'm getting these little bumps everywhere.  So my whole body itches SO BAD and my mom says I'm scratching like a flea bitten dog.  Had more blood work done yesterday to see if that reveals anything.  In the mean time, not much I can do about it except cortisone cream, aveeno lotion, and benadryl which all helps, but doesn't give total relief.
In other happenings, one of my college roomies came to visit this weekend.  Didn't do anything exciting, but it was fun to hang out and catch up.  Also had a couple other visitors who brought yummy treats and donations :)  I've also been able to join some mom groups for parents of high order multiples; it's been very helpful to ask questions and talk with others who have been there, done that.  It's also encouraging to me, if all these other people have managed, we can too!  Our PR plan is all worked out and we're so pleased.  TCH's staff has been great so far.  Our plan is to not release anything until the babies are stable in the NICU.  The hospital will handle everything so we can focus on having healthy babies.  When/if we're ready to talk, PR staff will set everything up for us.  We're so glad we don't have to worry about any possible attention that may come our way.  Today we got our Zakys which will help our babies develop in the NICU- so excited about these!  That's it for this week.  We continue to be amazed by all the blessings God is providing.  Thanks for the prayers and keep up the good work!!
It's Lauren- as usual.  I'm glad everyone has enjoyed Dave's post :)  Of course I have to add to it!  I remember standing in front of the church as Dave and I looked at each other with "What is going on?!" expressions.  That experience was overwhelming to say the least, but we knew God was with us.  Pastor Delores's son and our translator came to visit Pearland last November.  We enjoyed telling them that not only are we expecting one baby, but six!  They were shocked (as everyone is), but happy for us.  Pastor Delores's son shared with me that as our group was getting on the bus to leave Nicaragua, his wife pointed at me and said "God has something big in store for them, I just feel it".  She was right!
When it was time to make the dreaded decision (as I called it) for selective reduction, I struggled.  I do not want anyone to think we took it lightly or that it was easy.  It was the hardest decision we've ever had to make and I don't wish it on anyone.  As a school psychologist, I work with special needs kids and make decisions based on data; I've seen kids who have severe developmental disabilities due to premature birth, in addition to a whole variety of disabilities.  Raising one child with these conditions is difficult, but 6?  It was too much to fathom.  As a Christian, I believe God has a plan for us and provides the resources we need to handle what He gives us.  I was torn as to what was best for our family.  I went back and forth everyday and cried a lot.  Dave was steady in his opinion and I knew I didn't want to do anything without him; we have to be a team or else we won't survive.  Fortunately, we have great families, friends, and small group who were praying for us and supporting us no matter what.  Ultimately, we decided we had to go for all 6 and trust God with my health and the babies.  A verse that is now near and dear to my heart is Proverbs 3: 5-6 which says "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways submit to Him and He will make your paths straight."  While we were debating reduction, this verse randomly popped up in my life 3 times from 3 different people.  And eventually I got the point!  And since we did decide to keep them all, it continues to randomly pop up as a reminder.  We absolutely do not regret our decision, but I do not judge anyone who does choose to reduce.  It's a tough decision and I don't know anyone else's circumstances.  I do know that God has had His hand in our lives throughout this pregnancy!
Now on to the pregnancy update...  went to the doctor today and everything's still looking good!  Just looked at heartbeats, fluid, and movement and all are ok.  I know they are active little critters, especially in the middle of the night!  No changes in my condition except getting bigger and more uncomfortable.  The new hospital opened this week, so I will definitely go there.  I would like to wait a couple weeks before that happens because I know there are kinks to work out.  My grandparents took excellent care of me last week and my mom returned last night and will be here until the babies come :)  I've had quite a few visitors the past week who have brought food, helped decorate the nursery, and watched chick flicks with me- thanks friends!!
Word is starting to spread about us.  I knew it would happen eventually, just weird now that it is.  My doctor said the hospital has been asking him questions about media and it looks like we may have to set a plan with PR people on what information we want released.  The NICU doctors and nurses are already making plans and training for the delivery.  We're still shooting for at least 30 weeks.  I'm 26 1/2 now.  Thanks again for the continued prayers and support!  I give all of you partial credit for how well I've been doing :)
Dave here.  There are a couple things on my mind that I want to express.  First of all, Lauren is a hero.  She's made it to almost 26 weeks and she's sitting next to me here at home.  Most women in her situation would have been in the hospital for weeks.
Through some mutual friends, i know of a Houston family that had sextuplets last year.  They decided not to selectively reduce, and they faced a lot of ridicule.  People commented on their blog how insane they were for the decision they made.  I feel terrible for that family, but I'm thankful for the amazing support we have received from our family and friends.  I'd like to share some context on why we made the crazy choice to not selectively reduce.
In July of last year, we went with our church to Leon, Nicaragua.  While there, we partnered with the local church "Luz y Vida" (Light & Life) to construct walls and classrooms, run a small pharmacy, teach quilting, host VBS, and of course, play soccer with the kids.  Our church has gone to Luz y Vida the last few summers, so they are basically part of our family.
During church service at Luz y Vida one evening, I was just chillin' toward the back of church, quietly observing (most of the service was in Spanish, which I'm not too fluent in).  The church leader, Pastor Delores, then called "Lorena y Davíd" to the front of the church, and I had no idea why.  I think my heart instantly hit 200 beats per minute.
Unknowingly to me, Lauren divulged our infertility problems to a friend of ours.  Word got to Pastor Delores, Wilbert, and Gloria, and here we both were, standing in front of the congregation.  They told the church about our fertility issues, and they started to pray for us in Spanish.  I'm not going to lie, I was out of my comfort zone.  Lauren and I both knew something was in the works.
Flash-forward to decision time.  Here we were, pregnant with sextuplets, and facing the real possibility of reducing down to twins.  Many may think it was coincidence for us to experience that night in Nicaragua and then face the 1% chance of carrying sextuplets.  We do not think it's a coincidence.  I believe it was because of that night that ultimately led to Lauren telling the OB/GYN "we're going to keep them."
Thank you for your support, and thank you, God.
The hospital stay was shorter than expected- I was able to keep food down and got back to feeling "normal" fairly quickly, so I was released yesterday :)!!  Thanks to all those who called and visited and brought snacks when I was starving, made the 2 days go by much faster!
Today I had my regular weekly appointment.  Dave's family was able to drive in for the day, so we were able to visit for a little bit and Mary joined us for the critter viewing :)  Everything's still going well.  They are very active and have good fluid levels and heartbeats.  They are really hard to get good pictures of and decent measurements, but from what was seen, they are all growing.  Baby D is still the small one and will probably stay that way.  All of them are behind for a singleton baby, but that's to be expected with 6.  I'm still doing ok too.  The meds are keeping contractions under control and the itchiness too.  Everything's more uncomfortable and the belly is heavy, but what can ya do about that?  I can't believe I'm 25 1/2 weeks already, they'll be here in 3-5 weeks!
Tonight our wonderful, awesome, best ever Care Group went all out with a potluck dinner/onesie painting party.  And they gave us 6 handmade quilts!  Dave and I would not be making it through this without this group of people, we love them so much and their support is overwhelming!  We used to wonder why God gave us a "small group" of 20 people- now we know!
Quick update... I'm in the hospital again.  I had a couple vomiting episodes this morning and couldn't keep anything down, so that landed me here.  I'll be here at least 2 days.  So far, I'm feeling better.  I just tried my liquid meal (yuck) and if I can keep that down, I'll get real food!  Mostly I'm just being monitored.  Babies are still being very active and had normal heartbeats when they checked this morning.  I did get my blood work results back and I do have the liver disease, so I'm on medicine for that- glad I complained about the itching!  Dave and my grandma are here with me, my mom went back to Colorado this past weekend.
We did have lots of visitors the past 4 or 5 days which was fun!  Brandi was able to squeeze in a quick maternity photo shoot last week too and I love the pictures I've seen so far!  That's it for now, I'll try to update again soon.
Well, we've made it another week!  I'm now 24 1/2 weeks which means the babies are viable with a 50/50 chance of survival if they were born now.  This was an uneventful week, which is good!  Everything is getting harder each week like sitting, standing, moving around, eating, sleeping, etc.  so I've really limited my activity level.  Since I'm hardly sleeping I'm really tired all the time, but I don't want to complain because I'm thankful I'm still at home with no major issues.  Went to the doctor today (another quick appointment); the babies are still looking good with heartbeats and fluid level.  I'll get full measurements next week.  They are very active little critters too; Dave and my mom were able to feel some body parts and kicks this week which they thought was neat.  I had some blood work done to test for a certain liver disease that's fairly common in pregnancy (especially multiples), the main symptom is itchiness and I'm definitely itchy all the time, and not just where the rash is.  The best part of the appointment was the doctor said Dave has to rub my back everyday :)  My mom has continued her work at our house; the baby room is really coming together and the dining room is completely clear of all baby items!  For those of you who saw it before, you know what an accomplishment that is.  To leave you with some exciting news, Dave and I have agreed upon names!  They are...
Allison Kate, Leah Michelle, Caroline Grace, Andrew Noah, Benjamin Luke, and Levi Thomas.  As always we appreciate your prayers and support and ask that you continue to pray for us!  God is great!!
The fast is officially over!  Thanks to all who participated and made it through the whole week.  If you weren't on Laura's email list and would like the daily devotionals, contact me via email or facebook and I'll send them to you- they were great!  My doctor appointment was bumped up to Wednesday this week.  It was really quick, but heartbeats, fluid level, and movement are all looking good!  I'm feeling the "critters" all the time now, but can't distinguish between babies whatsoever.  My doctor said he told another physician about me and they were shocked I wasn't in the hospital yet; to me, that's just another testament to your prayers!  Yea God!
My mom and I toured the new Texas Children's Women's Pavilion today and it's awesome!  It opens March 26th, if the babies are born after that date we'll be in the Pavilion.  Definitely would recommend delivering there if you get a choice.  I've been really laying low this week.  The bigger I get, the more tired and uncomfortable I am, so there's not much motivation to do anything.  But, I'm not supposed to do anything anyway, so I guess that's good.  But we did have a low key 81st birthday dinner for my grandmother :)  My dad went home earlier this week, but my mom is still here and continues to be a huge help.  She painted the babies' room and it looks so good!  Thanks for the wardrobe suggestions, to Vaniesa for bringing dinner this week, and to all of you who have mailed encouraging cards to us!
Things have been good since I got home on Monday.  I completed my last iron infusion on Wednesday and went to the doctor today.  It was a quick appointment, but heartbeats and fluid levels looked normal which is what we were looking for today.  I've been feeling fine- just getting more uncomfortable.  I'm starting to outgrow my maternity clothes, not sure what to do once I can't fit into them.  After my hospital visit, my mom decided she will be staying indefinitely- probably until I go into the hospital for good.  And to continue Dave's FAQ...
When will you be going into the hospital for good?
Only God knows.  There is no set date; if I have stronger contractions, high blood pressure, and/or any bleeding- I'll be there.  Doctor says he'll keep me at home as long as I'm doing ok.
Will they deliver the babies at 28 weeks no matter what?
Nope.  We'll keep chugging along as long as possible- 30 weeks would be awesome!
Thanks to Ali, Chad, Julie, Mary, and Patricia for bringing food this week!  We also had cameras installed in the nursery and future baby room #2 yesterday that allow us to monitor all the babies at the same time from our TV- it's so cool!  Thanks to Marc and New Hope for setting that up for us.  I know many of you are fasting for us this week; we absolutely appreciate the extra effort and prayers.  I did decide to fast by not watching TV during the day- so far, so good :)  Also wanted to say thanks to everyone for saying an extra prayer for baby D!
Just a quick update today...  yesterday morning I woke up with bad abdominal pains that I had not felt before.  After doing my usual pain remedies and resting for an hour, the pain had not subsided at all.  I called my doctor and went to the hospital.  I had several lab tests done and was monitored for contractions.  Turns out the pain I had was round ligament pain and not contractions- yea!!  After a few hours it went away, but I had to stay in the hospital 24 hours for monitoring.  Everything is back to normal and I came home today.  We are very thankful it wasn't anything serious- round ligament pain is completely normal and there's nothing you can do about it.  Thanks for the continued prayers!!
Tomorrow I will officially be 22 weeks along!  2 more weeks and the babies will be viable.  I started my iron infusions this week.  They're not bad, I have to lay in a hospital bed while iron drips through an IV for 90 minutes, but it is a slow process.  I have 2 more sessions left next week.  My contractions and blood pressure are still fine and my rash is slightly better.  I had a full scan on all the babies done yesterday and generally everything is looking good!!  All the organs look typical, heart rates are normal, movement and fluid are normal.  They are starting to have variability in weight.  F is the biggest weighing just over a pound.  A, B, C, and E are about the same size all at 15 oz.  D is lagging behind at 11 oz.  I told F she needs to share with D. :)  At this time they should weigh about a pound, D is a week and a half behind, F is on track and the others are a couple days behind.  The doctor says this is normal variability for 6 babies and since everything else looks good there is no need to worry and there's nothing we can do about it now.  Lots can happen over the next couple months.  I'm praying that we can keep chugging along and baby D can catch up.
Last Sunday I had my last pre-baby shower with my New Hope friends.  Megan and Ali did a fabulous job hosting; it was so fun to see everyone and we got lots of incredible gifts!  We also celebrated Dave's 29th birthday this week with family, friends, and lots of cake!  My parents are still in town; my mom has been busy busy washing baby stuff, organizing, and putting things away- our house is looking so much better!  She has also been a huge help with housework and yardwork.  Maggie (our dog) has become a traitor and is now sleeping in the guest room with them!  We'll all be sad to see them go in a few days.  Another highlight of this week was Lauren coming to my house to cut my hair- such a blessing!
One more thing I would like to mention...  One of my lovely tentmates in Nicaragua is going to do 7 days of fasting and praying during the first week of March (1st-7th).  One day for each baby and one day for me.  She has spread the word to some New Hopers who are also participating, so I thought I would write about it and hopefully more of you would like to join in.  Laura (who started the fasting idea) is doing a fruit and vegetable fast, but do whatever is best for you.  I obviously cannot fast with food and water, but will give up something else for that week- maybe the trash TV shows I've picked up during my house arrest? All glory and honor to God for what He has done already and what HE will continue to do!! 
Nothing too exciting to report this week, which I consider a good thing!  Well, 2 things that are exciting to me and probably no one else- my wonderful friend Vaniesa worked very hard for 2 days re-organizing our kitchen to free up space for bottles, etc. so now our entire house has been reworked and my parents are here visiting for 2 weeks!  I went to the doctor today, it was supposed to be a long appointment with full scans of all babies, but both of his nurses were out sick and it's impossible to do full scans on all 6 without help.  So, that'll happen next week.  Also next week I'll be starting my IV iron treatments; this involves going to the hospital every other day for a total of 5 iron treatments.  I must say that all of your prayers are so evident every week!  All of the babies had normal heartbeats, normal fluid levels, generally normal size (can't tell without specific measurements), and they're super duper active.  And the contraction medicine is doing its job, I'm still having the very mild ones I can't feel and my cervix is as it should be.  So, everything is still as good as it could be for being 20 weeks 5 days pregnant with sextuplets!  The 28 week goal doesn't seem so far away anymore.  God is SO GOOD!!!  Oh, and I didn't mention before that I have a nasty rash all over my back and on my chest and it's spread a little to my belly and neck.  It's caused by my crazy hormone levels and is completely harmless, it just itches like crazy.  I try my best not to scratch, but I end up scratching.  It's supposed to go away on its own after I deliver, so I'll be dealing with it for a couple more months.  Since I keep forgetting to post current pictures (sorry!), I'll tell you that I am measuring at 40 weeks for a singleton baby and definitely look it.  I get bigger and more uncomfortable everyday.  I think that's everything for now.  Please continue to pray!!!  I know it's working!
I hope y'all enjoyed Dave's entry!  Maybe one of these days I'll add to it, I tend to get more questions than he does.  Everyone was worried I'd be bored once I went on medical leave from work, but I haven't had time to be bored!  Though I do spend most of the morning in bed.  Last weekend my grandmother's friends hosted a gift card shower for us.  It was amazing at how many people came considering we didn't know any of them, and of course the food and decorations were wonderful.  The best part was that we didn't have to make room for the gifts.  This week I had lots of visitors and 2 truck loads of baby hand me downs were dropped off!  The dining room is once again completely full and there's lots of sorting to be done before my next shower.  Dave's parents are here this weekend and they had my to do list done in a couple of hours!  And they got us a really cute baby book- B is for Baylor, for you Baylor alumni out there it's a neat book, just don't want our kids to get any crazy ideas of following in Mom and Dad's footsteps!
I had my weekly doctor appointment yesterday.  It was supposed to be a quick one since my doctor was out of town and I was only meeting with the nurse, but it turned into a loooong appointment.  Good news- babies are doing great, my blood pressure has been good, I have no swelling anywhere, and my cervix is still looking good.  Overall, we're in great shape for almost 20 weeks.  Bad news- I thought I might have had a contraction or two the other day, but wasn't sure.  And something on my ultrasound indicated the same.  So, the nurse sent me to the on call doc so I could be monitored for contractions.  Not sure how long I was hooked up to the machine, but it felt like a long time.  Anyway, turns out I am having very mild contractions that I can't feel which isn't unusual at this point since my uterus is about full term size.  But I still have at least 8 weeks to go, so I'm now on medication to hopefully prevent the contractions from getting any stronger.  I also found out I'm still anemic, and since I'm already maxed out on the oral iron, I will most likely be going in for IV iron treatments this week or next.  I feel like I'm running a marathon and just getting to mile 18- where it starts to get hard and just gets harder from there.  As always the prayers are appreciated and needed as more complications will arise in these last couple months.  The support continues to amaze us!  We feel so blessed to have so many people surrounding us with prayers and love.  Our family, friends, and church (New Hope) are the absolute best!!!
Dave here.  I hijacked Lauren's site to give some of my own perspective.  I thought I'd share with you the answers to some frequently asked questions..
How did you react when the doctor said he counted 6?
Like this:  o_o
Before the ultrasound, the doc said he had indigestion from Lauren's high Beta levels (which is an indication of possible multiples).  I looked at his face while he was analyzing the ultrasound, and based on his expressions, I could tell something was 'off.'  Initially he said he counted 5, but after a second look, sure enough, there were 6 little black sacks.
We didn't faint.  We didn't scream for joy.  We didn't cry with fear.  We were just silently stunned.
What has been the hardest part of this pregnancy so far?
The toughest part was facing the decision of whether to 'selectively reduce' or not.  Based on previous high risk / high multiple pregnancies, odds are not good for all 6 to fully develop.  Most parents in our situation decide to reduce down to twins.  Assuming the parents concede, the doctor aborts some of the babies in order to give the remaining a better chance to develop.  Initially, I thought there was no way we could reduce; however, I did waiver in my opinion at times.  I learned that it's easy to cast judgements from the sidelines; much more difficult when you're in the hotseat.  I struggled with trying to be the spiritual leader and a good husband, while not having to go through the physical trauma Lauren would go through.  It would be so much easier to make this decision knowing that I would be the one going through the physical trauma.  We agreed as a team that God meant for us to start with 6, end with 6, all by putting control in His hands and not in ours.
The second hardest part was adjusting to the 'new Lauren.'  She used to be always busy, running 49-50 miles a week, and not getting enough sleep.  And then within a week, she was always tired and not feeling well.  I felt like I was married temporarily to someone else, which was a culture shock.
How can we help?
Just pray for Lauren's health, and pray that all 6 stay in there as long as possible and develop to be fully healthy kids.
How does it feel to soon be the father of 6 kids?
I honestly don't think about it.  I keep my sanity by being completely negligent of fathering 6 kids.  Why?  Because there's too much at stake right now.  My goal is to help Lauren chill and remain healthy.  Once all 6 are born, then I'll freak out.
Are you concerned about finances?
No.  I know it'll work out.
Are you moving houses soon?
No.  We'll make do with the great home we have today for a few years.
How about a vehicle?
Yes.  We'll rely on Lauren's dad to help us out with that.  We'll probably get a 10 passenger van.  Won't that be cool.  Marc's lobbying for us to get a 'Dongfeng', which is a Chinese bus maker; only because the name is 'Dongfeng.'
What has been the best part of this pregnancy?
Seeing God reveal himself in many ways: through our family and friends, and through Lauren's progress.  This experience is certainly strengthening my faith.  Before Lauren was pregnant, I told God that I really needed him to show himself to me in a more tangible way.  We also prayed for a child.  He pulled through for both needs in a big way.  The good book says that we are to be the hands and feet of God, and we certainly experience God's help with people blessing us.  It's truly humbling.
Have you gained sympathy weight?
Unfortunately not.
Will you have a tv show, given the opportunity?
Heck no.  I don't think being on tv was root cause to the demise of the Gosselin family (Jon and Kate 8) or the Masche family (Raising Sextuplets).  I think being on tv exacerbated pre-existing problems.
Will you get rid of your dog, Maggie?
Heck no.  We love Maggie and we know we'll need to continue to give her attention.  We also know it'll be best to integrate Maggie and the kids to get them used to each other.  As long as we do that, we don't anticipate major issues.
It's been a busy week!  Mike, Megan, and Vaniesa have been over every other day helping us get organized.  We've cleared out the babies' room, reorganized closets, and moved furniture around.  Actually, I should say they did all those things while I "supervised".  Also sorted through all the baby items we've gotten so far and there is actually walk space in our dining room again!  Several friends have brought us some yummy meals too :)
Today I met with a dietitian and got a couple more supplements to start taking.  She said I was doing well and my current eating habits are good, so that was nice to hear.  Afterwards, I went to my weekly OB appointment and all is well!  The babies are very active, good heartbeats, and a good amount of fluid.  Still 3 boys and 3 girls :)  My blood pressure is the same- fine at home, high at doctor.  I had some blood drawn to check my iron levels again, hoping that I only need to continue the supplements and not go in for IV iron.  We're continually thanking God for good, healthy development and all the loving support!  And thank you all for the prayers!
I had to wait an extra 2 days because my appointment was rescheduled again due to bad weather!  Today was a quick scan, just checking to make sure fluid levels, heartbeats, and movement were good.  And we're happy to report that the Lord keeps on blessing us- everything looked great!!  The big news is that Baby A was hiding something last time, so we're having 3 boys and 3 girls!  We did have names picked out, but now we'll have to drop a girl name and decide on a boy name.  From here on out I will be going in every week, so I will update more often; I also have to start monitoring my blood pressure several times a day.  We're praying that everything continues to go smoothly so I can stay out of the hospital as long as possible and that I make it to 28 weeks (10 1/2 weeks to go).  Pictures will come later since I can't mooch the scanner at work anymore :)
In addition to healthy development, we've also been extra blessed with wonderful family and friends!  Last week was my last week of work, so I'm officially on medical leave.  I had 2 showers and they went all out with food, decorations, and gifts!  Dave's parents came last weekend to help around the house which was awesome and several friends have brought us food this week.  We are continuously amazed by the support we've been receiving and words cannot express our gratitude.  Obviously God has been hearing all the prayers, so keep it up and thank you all!!
Yesterday I had my 15 1/2 week appointment.  Dave was unable to attend due to a work obligations, so 3 of my favorite friends came instead!  It was fun to have other people there who get excited about the babies moving and seeing their little feet and heartbeats.  The doctor did full scans of each baby, measuring their heads, abdomens, legs, arms, brains, and hearts- with 6 this took about 2 hours.  The good news is that they are all doing really well!  They are all close to the same size and right on track.  The big news is that we found out genders!!  Unless one of the girls was hiding something (tiny pecker syndrome as my doctor says), we're having 4 girls and 2 boys!!
I'm still doing fairly well.  Nausea has improved (knock on wood), but I'm still super tired all of the time.  My blood pressure and weight are both getting higher with each appointment- weight gain is good, blood pressure is bad.  I am now starting to monitor both at home in between appointments.  January 20th is my official last day of work, so I'm excited about that.  In the mean time, my boss has been wonderful in letting me work from home as much as possible.  I started registering, thanks to Megan and Vaniesa who dragged me to Babies R Us; I put a link on the Registry page.  I will be adding new pictures soon, so stay tuned!  And Dave and I would just like to say THANK YOU to all of you who have signed the guestbook, given us gifts, given us hand me downs, brought us food, and prayed for our family!!  The amount of support we have received so far has been amazing and it's a little hard to believe people are praying for us all over the world.
Cerclage was done today.  I was able to go back early since it was a holiday and no one else was there, procedure lasted about 30 minutes and I was under general anesthesia.  After I woke up I had to lay around for a couple more hours to show that I could keep liquids and solids down and pee without a problem.  Dave was glad I didn't want all my lunch so he could finish it for me.  Once we got home I slept and Mike and Megan brought a yummy homemade dinner over for us.  Only pain I've had is in my throat from the breathing tube and a little cramping.  I'm supposed to stay in bed tomorrow then I should be able to get around on Wednesday.  Thanks for all the wonderful guestbook messages!  I will start taking belly pictures this week and as soon as I get hold of a scanner I'll post baby pics.
Had my 13 1/2 week check up this week and all is good!  All 6 are right on track with growth and heartbeat.  We actually got to hear the heartbeats this time and take home pictures of all of them- even a few extra of a kicking leg, crossed arms, and a hand on a forehead.  Even though we couldn't tell at all, the doctor was able to see one boy and one girl for sure.  At my next appointment we should find out all the genders!  This will also help the doctor distinguish between Baby A, B, C, D, E, and F, besides the placenta location.
I'm still doing ok, still having random nausea even with medicine, but I have been going longer between bad days (knock on wood).  I'm taking lots of vitamins, especially iron and folic acid.  The doctor told me my new job is to "decrease stress, increase rest", and I've been doing really well with that, but I do have to go back to work next week :(  I probably won't be there for long.  I'm also having a cerclage done on Monday- they're going to sew my cervix shut so I won't dilate early and will be able to hold the babies in as long as possible.  Will post on that next week.

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