Max and Karla – Sept 1, 2001
Max and I originally intended to get pregnant right around this time, so our time management couldn’t have been better. I wanted to have a baby right around graduation from grad school before I kicked off my personal training business. However, after going off the pill, my cycles never returned. After seeing several doctors, my blood work and RE confirmed the diagnosis I assumed as an exercise physiologist, I had hypothalamic amenorrhea (HA). Infertility among active women gets oodles of attention in scientific journals but it is unfortunately hardly ever mentioned in popular women’s health magazines and the media. The stress of exercise and too little fat in the diet cause many women, especially runners, to either stop ovulating or have short luteal phases. The recovery from HA requires dietary change and a break from physical activity and can take several months to years till normal cycles return. I immediately stopped training for a half marathon, added tons of fat to my diet and gained 10 lbs. As expected, my cycles still did not return immediately. Our RE decided we would first try a few months of the popular fertility drug, Clomid, which helps some women ovulate before moving on to more invasive methods such as injections and finally IVF.
After our first month on the lowest dose of Clomid, we got pregnant. We were ecstatic! Clomid rarely works on women with HA yet it had worked for us on our first cycle! It wasn’t until my first u/s at 6.5 weeks that we found out I was pregnant with triplets. I vaguely remember that first u/s when the RE said “Mrs. Gravitt, you are definitely pregnant, in fact, I see 3 embryos”. I remember repeating “no way, what does that mean” several times as he scanned each embryo and we listened to each baby’s heartbeat. He said the chances of this happening on Clomid were 1/10 of 1%. To be honest, the first feeling both Max and I had was complete shock. We had never thought of multiples! As the news sunk in, we became more and more excited. This is our little miracle and we are truly blessed!
A triplet pregnancy is very risky. The biggest risk is preterm labor. The average gestation for triplets is only 32-34 weeks. Many women are put on bedrest around 25 weeks. Weeks to months stay in the NICU is common for multiple preterm babies and the miscarriage risk is high. With that said, many women go on to deliver very healthy triplets. There is not much we can do to ensure an event less pregnancy except get plenty of rest and eat and eat and eat. In fact, I am supposed to gain 45-60 lbs. through this pregnancy, most within the first two trimesters.
Most people wonder if my petite size poses a problem (5′1″, 103 lbs at the start). My height is not a big concern but the fact that I am trim, may work against me. At the same time since I am fit, I may be at and advantage. There is no question that I will have to pile on the pounds. This has been fun so far, I basically eat all day. I eat full fat ice-cream, eggs and ham, drink tons of juice, and get up every night for a midnight snack of ensure and a piece of fruit. As I get bigger, it is going to be harder and harder to get food in so I am trying to eat as much as I can now. In addition to excessive eating, I also have had to cut out physical activity. It is not necessarily a risk for the babies this early in pregnancy but it will definitely interfere with any weight gain. This has been hard for me not only b/c I love to work out but also because I always wanted to be one of those women who wears the cute pregnancy workout clothes and teaches spin classes up to 9 months:) But I am going to do whatever is best for the babies, which means lots of eating and rest.
Another question I often get is “Is the morning sickness worse with 3?” I don’t know what it is like with 1 but I am going to say yes, it must be! Starting from week 7, I have been nauseas all day long. Some days I just want to curl up on the couch and stay put all day. I am now wearing sea bands around my wrists 24 hours a day. I think it helps a little. I also suck on peppermints constantly. I’m not sure if this does much but put my focus elsewhere.
The most common question “Wow, how are you going to handle 3 newborns?” With lots of help! My mom and sister both live 10 minutes down the road. I plan to accept any help anyone offers. Yes, we will be getting 3 cribs, 3 car seats and tons of diapers. I don’t expect to sleep much the first few months and I will be putting my career on hold for awhile. Our row house is going to be crowded so a move may be in our future. We know it is not going to be a typical pregnancy, birth and first few years but it is what we have been blessed with and we embrace it.
And yes, we will be finding out the sex ASAP. I don’t think I need any more surprises this pregnancy.
We will continue to update as things progress. We appreciate everyone’s thoughts and prayers through this exciting but daunting time. Max, I and our families are ecstatic about having triplets! We look forward to sharing this journey with those we love.