Our Journey to Triplets: It’s Time

On a snowy Tuesday morning in February I gobbled down a huge breakfast of biscuits and gravy before the dietary nazi made her daily visit. When I was finished I stood up to go to the bathroom and thought I had peed my pants. By then, I was HUGE and pretty much peed my pants every day. For some reason I felt like I needed to let the nurse know. She rushed to get the doctor. I wasn’t concerned at all. He checked me and said “Call your husband. It looks like you’re having the babies today. What? Today? I’m only 29 weeks 5 days. Then I was scared.

I called my husband (and my family) around 11:30am and said “It’s time”. He responded with “Time for what?” The babies are coming today, honey. He left work immediately. I was moved to a bigger room and hooked up to 3 heart rate monitors. Uncomfortable. The doctor told me that as long as the babies weren’t in any distress that he would wait for my husband to get there before I was taken into the operating room. My in-laws arrived first. Then my very sweet husband. I will never forget the look on his face. He is a man of few words, but when I look at him I always seem to know what he is feeling. He was pale…nervous…and just as scared as me.

A little after 3:00 I was wheeled into the operating room. I was given a spinal block. Matt was then allowed into the room. He looked pretty cute in his gown and surgical cap. I wondered what life would be like if he was a doctor. I know, what a silly thing to think of when I’m about to be cut open, right?! I just wanted to think of anything other than what was about to happen. Including myself and my husband there was the anesthesiologist, 3 doctors, several nurses, and a neonatal nurse for each of the babies. I just laid on the table and cried.

And then they begin. As I was being cut open my husband and my doctor chatted away about John Deere tractors (Matt is a sales manager for a dealership). When I think about it now, I’m sure the doctor was trying to distract him from watching me being gutted. At the time, I thought that the doctor just needed to concentrate on what he was doing!

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What seemed like hours later the doctor says “It’s a boy.” Jase Matthew*was born first at 3:32pm (2lbs 6oz and 15 inches long). He didn’t make a sound. I didn’t even get to see him. I didn’t even know if he was alive.      Seconds later “It’s a girl.” Henley Nicole* was born (2lbs 3oz and  just over 12 inches long). She cried. It was the most beautiful sound. I didn’t get to see her though. Then at 3:33pm he says “It’s another girl.” Sadie Marie*came last (2lbs 2oz and 13 inches long). No sounds from her either. She was whisked away too. I cried and cried and cried. Not being able to see your babies immediately after they are born is indescribable.
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The next thing I remember is waking up in another room with a Neonatal physician giving the status of the babies. I had no idea what she was saying. I was completely out of it. About an hour later I was wheeled into the NICU to finally see the babies. I vaguely remember them from that day. And that hurts my heart. I couldn’t be there for them like a mother should have been. And that is a burden I struggle with every.single.day.

But, the good news is that we are here today…2 1/2 years later with happy, healthy, crazy toddlers. Although them being born so prematurely wasn’t ideal God had a plan for them. I can’t wait to see what else he has in store for my sweet peas. Their lives may have begun at birth, but it was life after the NICU that we all really began living.

*If you’d like to read more about JH&S individually I have linked back to their separate posts I wrote about them recently.

Our Journey to Triplets: My Hospital Stay

Read part 4 here.

An overnight stay in a hospital is doable. A week stay is worse. I was an in-patient for almost a month. I don’t wish that on anyone no matter the reason they are there.

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10 days in-patient

I will admit at first I was looking forward to making a home away from home in room 246. I couldn’t rest at my real home. I felt like I should be up doing something, anything to pass the time. The thought of laying in bed (I was soooo tired all the time), napping the days away and watching my babies grow under more than one watchful eye pleased me. Looking back now I can say that I was stupid. Dumb. Clueless.

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Sadie’s head

This is what I’d like to tell my naive self: It’s lonely there. When you’re two hours from home visitors come, but can’t stay long and they don’t come as often as you’d like. Sure, they come twice a week and Matt stays the weekend. But you’ll still feel abandoned and cry yourself to sleep every night. You’ll spend your 33rd birthday alone. It’s loud. You’re supposed to be getting much-needed rest, but all the sounds of distressed pregnancies keep you awake. Blood draws and IV replacements at 5am wake you after you feel like you just closed your eyes to. Doctors do their rounds before the sun comes up, ya know. You’ll get poked and prodded, examined and re-examined before you even get to have breakfast. Speaking of…the food is awful. You’ll cry over the food. And because you are diabetic you’ll have to deal with the dietary nazi. She looks like she just graduated high school and is demanding you eat this and not that. She’s a complete bitch and you’ll loathe her every day presence. You will miss not being able to breathe the cool February air. Only once will you get outside. And it’s just for a second. You will be in the hospital for 26 days.

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Matt sleeping

And just when you think you can’t take anymore the babies will come and you will finally become a mother. Jase, Henley, and Sadie will make your greatest dream come true. Those tiny babies will fill your heart with a love that the sweetest words cannot explain. You will pray every single night for them and for you. You will pray that you and Matt can give them the life they so deserve because they have given you the life you were meant to live.

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Our Journey to Triplets: The Next 12 Weeks

Read part 3 here.

I healed pretty quickly from my cerclage. Other than my incision opening after the staples were taken out, I was told I was the poster child for an abdominal cerclage. Matt became my nurse and clean and packed the hole in my growing belly until it healed. I have no idea how he did it. To this day he gags at toddler poop and the smell of our garbage can makes him dry heave.

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                                 18 weeks

We had high hopes that at my next appointment we would find out the sexes of our sweet peas. I don’t know how some women can go though an entire pregnancy without knowing. My excitement was overwhelming. At 17 weeks we heard the words “Baby A is a girl, Baby B is a girl, and Baby C is a girl.” I was so overjoyed to finally know. Let the baby registering begin!

At 19 weeks we found out that Baby B was actually a boy! Let the baby registery editing begin. The next couple weeks making decisions in triplicate consumed me. It was all I could think about. The OCD, list maker, organizing freak inside me LOVED it. This may sound silly, but something as simple as registering for baby stuff brought me to tears. Months before I wasn’t sure that it was something I’d ever get to experience. I spent all my free time choosing owls or elephants and researching baby carriers and strollers. It was pure bliss.

22 weeks
         22 weeks

Christmas came and went. I ate a lot of food over the holiday, and my belly got bigger, and bigger, and bigger. By 22 weeks I was almost the size of full term singleton pregnancy. I was swelling more often than not. And a few days before my next appointment I felt like I was leaking amniotic fluid. On January 11th I was admitted into the hospital to monitor Baby A (Henley) overnight. An ultrasound confirmed her fluid was low and that she was much smaller than Jase and Sadie. I was sent home the next day officially on bedrest. I was sad and I was ready. Mostly, sad. I wondered if I’d ever get to meet my sweet girl. Exhaustion had definitely set in and I needed to do (or not do) all I could to take care of Henley and myself.

Oh my!
                25 weeks

Once a week appointments began. Ten days in and I was sent by ambulance from Union Hospital in Terre Haute (our local hospital) to St. Vincent’s in Indianapolis. Uncomfortable doesn’t even begin to describe that ride. I was admitted for observation for the contractions I was having. I was sent home the next day with medication if they started again.

On the last day of January I had my next appointment. It was frigid. It had snowed and there was a horrible pile up soon after we passed a treacherous stretch of interstate on our way to Indianapolis. I prayed for those people. And I prayed hard for myself that day. There were no changes in Henley’s fluid level and I was beginning to shows signs of preeclampsia.

Matt left for a work trip to Florida on Febuary 3rd. The next day I was admitted into the hospital (2 hours from home) at 26 weeks 4 days for the rest of my pregnancy. I was happy that the babies would now be monitored daily, but I had no idea just how horrible the next month would be.

Our Journey to Triplets: Abdominal Cerclage

Read part 2 here.

At 12 weeks I started seeing a Maternal Fetal specialist at St. Vincent Women’s Hospital. Early morning appointments in Indianapolis (a 2 hour drive) became a regular for us. At 3 months I was pretty confident that I was past the miscarriage stage. There was a calm in me and for the first time in a long time I was excited about the coming weeks and watching my babies grow! That is, until we met Dr. Doom.

Dr. James Sumners almost immediately gave  “there are risks with a triplet pregnant talk” and explained to us various options we had to help prevent losing one or all of the babies. The first being selective reduction. No. He also described a procedure to us called a transabominal cerclage. This procedure is done in women with an incompetent cervix. Although mine was not at that point, the doctor explained with a triplet pregnancy my cervix would most likely weaken increasing even more the risk of late term miscarriage. He advised us that he was one of a few doctors in the country that does this surgery. After what seemed like an hour of him educating us, we quickly decided. Yes. Not having this done was not even an option in my mind. I wanted what was best for me and our sweet peas.

Just 2 weeks later Matt and I nervously drive to Indy for my cerclage. I was more than nervous. I was afraid. I could barely talk. I choked back tears as we checked in at the front desk. I was quickly taken back to be prepped for surgery. Matt followed quietly. I had one last ultrasound before and wondered if this was the last time I would ever see the babes. By this point, I was hysterical, but didn’t show it. As I was wheeled into the operating room I cried hard as I watched Matt walk away. The last thing I remember was sitting on the side of the table, hugging a pillow, sobbing as they gave me a spinal block. The nurse helped me lay down and that was that. When I came to I was having another ultrasound. It’s very foggy to this day, but I do remember the tech saying she heard all 3 heart beats! Sweet relief! I spent 2 nights in the hospital recovering and 5 days later I was back at work. And so began my every 2 week appointments.

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My franken-belly after surgery

Our Journey to Triplets: “I think there’s three.”

Read part 1 here.

The next morning I confirmed the pregnancy with my family doctor. She called me personally to let me know that I was going to me a mother. I cried.

Three days later my pregnancy was confirmed with Dr. Henry’s office. My levels were perfect for being 4 weeks pregnant. Less than 2 weeks later I had my first ultrasound. It was exciting, nerve racking and uncomfortable for sure. But then everyone got quiet. The silence seemed to last forever. The ultrasound tech had the doctor take a closer look. And then he said the4 words I will never forget…”I think there’s three.” I cried and my heart exploded. We were asked to come back in a week for a 2nd ultrasound to confirm. Triplets. Shock. Triplets. Complete shock.

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Never did it cross my mind that we could end up with more than twins. My sister laughed when I told her there was a possibility of twins. This was the text I sent her when I found out I could be carrying triplets.

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The doctor was correct. I was pregnant with triplets! So how did this happen?! We were told that an embryo must have split immediately after my transfer. But…he said usually they stay in the same sac. Each baby had their own sac. In his 20+ year career he had never seen 2 embryos transferred resulting in a 3 separate sac pregnancy. There is the possibility that he left an egg when doing the IVF retrieval and that I got pregnant on my own. In the end, however they were conceived, I am calling it a miracle.

“I think there’s three.” When I replay that moment in my mind I can’t help but smile now.

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Our Journey to Triplets: In-Vitro Fertilization

My husband and I met later in life. I was 27 and just divorced. He was 28 and still living with his parents working a great paying job, saving a ton of money for his future. Which shortly became our future when he proposed just 11 months later. In April he bought a huge 5 bedroom house and in June 2009 we were married. Everyone always told us that since we lived in this lovely, but like I said before, gigantic house, we should start having babies to fill it up! Oh did we ever!

We waited a 15 months before we actively started trying to have a baby. By month 20 I was concerned. So, after much discussion we decided to see an infertility doctor. We most certainly weren’t getting any younger and my need, my want for a child was in overdrive. Painful tests, Clomid, ultrasounds, Intrauterine Insemination is how I spent the summer and fall of 2011. Nothing. Nothing, but tears, lots of money spent, and sadness. Emotionally, it was like I was drowning. We took a break and went on a cruise.

By April 2012 I still wasn’t pregnant. But, I had new insurance and we were ready to start seeing our Reproductive Endocrinologist again. Our heads were clear, we were relaxed, and very hopeful that this time treatment would be successful. We met with Dr. Michael Henry in late May and came to the decision that In-Vitro Fertilization was my best option at getting pregnant.

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So we began our IVF journey. I started birth control in June. Menopur, Follistim, Lupron, and Novarel new words in my vocabulary. Progesterone in Oil, Doxycycline, syringes, and needles became less foreign to me. Injections, blood draws, injections, ultrasounds, every other day appointments in Indianapolis, injections…is how we spent our summer. On August 16th I had my IVF retrieval. Ten eggs were retrieved, 9 fertilized, and 5 days later we still had 8 perfect embryos. Two of them were implanted on August 21, 2012. They were the strongest, they were the most likely to stick (for lack of a better word). “Splash” the nurses said as we watched on a monitor these oh so very tiny embryos finding their way. We prayed.

I was to take a pregnancy test 9 days later. By day 3 I vomited at the smell of the Chinese food I was cooking for my husband. I called my sister. She saidit was probably too soon to be getting sick. I cried. I cried the next day too. By Sunday Matt begged me to just take the test. It was 4 days early. And it was POSITIVE…very quickly positive.  I cried.

* I blogged previously about our infertility journey. You can read about it in more detail at http://www.howtomakeababyafter30.blogspot.com

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