Triplet Tales

Your Birth Story. A Letter to my Children

My dearest Liam, Luka and Violet,

One month ago, you entered this world just shy of thirty weeks gestational age. Today you would be 34 weeks if you were still inside me, but on Thursday, May 27th, 2021, it was your turn to enter this world and change the lives of your dad and I for the better forever.

We had been checking my blood pressure twice daily since our appointments at both doctors on the Thursday the week before you were born. I had very mild signs that I might be developing preeclampsia and so we were were making sure my blood pressure didn’t get too high, making sure I didn’t have any other symptoms. That weekend, we moved to Oma and Poppa’s house so we could start a remodel to make our little house function better for all five of us. Your dad and your Oma and Poppa did most of the work, they wouldn’t let me do much other than organize a bit here and there or give directions when needed on what should go where. I was pretty tired and my belly was so big, it was hard to do more, even though I wanted to.

I felt a bit worse as the days that week of your birth went on, but I knew I had a doctor’s appointment on Friday when they would check all of your measurements again. Violet, you were small, so they wanted to make sure you kept growing. But we didn’t make it that far. Wednesday night, your Grandma Queenie, Grandpa Gabe and Patrick arrived from Mexico for a wedding they were attending Memorial Day weekend. We caught up a bit, and your Grandma Queenie kept her hand on my belly to try and feel you moving inside. But it was late, so soon they headed off to bed. I wanted to get ready for bed and head to sleep, but I just didn’t feel right. My belly was tight around the three of you and my head was hurting. So we called our OB’s office and asked to have the on call doctor paged. When she called back, I told her my symptoms and she said we should go to Labor and Delivery to be checked out. “It might be nothing,” she said, “But I think you should go anyway.”

They checked us in just before midnight on the 26th and started to run tests. It wasn’t long before the on call OB came in and sat down. “Your symptoms have progressed, and now you have what we call severe preeclampisa.” she said in a calm voice. “You’ll need to stay in the hospital until the babies are born.” We asked how long that would be and she said it could be up to a few weeks. Luckily, I had packed my hospital bag about a week before and had included items to be ready for an extended stay. By morning, I hadn’t really slept thanks to the multitude of tests and exams and medications. They ran a magnesium drip on me to help combat the symptoms and slow down the small contractions I was having. It was likes someone lit me on fire from the inside when the medication went in. Nurses pressed ice packs to my armpits and the back of my neck to cool me down. They gave me a steroid shot to help speed up the development of your tiny lungs. The plan was to have a second one 24 hours later.

In the morning, the MFM came in. He told us he’d be surprised if I made it another 24 hours. My symptoms were just getting worse and the only cure for preeclampsia is to delivery the babies. My body just couldn’t support three babies and three placentas anymore. It was never a danger to you, but soon I would be in danger. He said he’d waive the late cancellation fee for missing my appointment scheduled for the next day. It’s always good to have a little humor during an uncomfortable situation. They tried to wait longer, to get that second steroid shot in, but by the evening on the 27th, they decided they couldn’t wait anymore. It was time.

My OB was at a conference or something but she was hurrying to get to the hospital while Dr. Newman, who was on call, got everything ready. I really wanted Dr. Haddock to bring you into the world, as she had been such a comfort and support through the whole pregnancy. We were delayed a bit because there was another emergency c-section that bumped us to a later time slot, so she made it.

May 27th, 2021

Your dad, he was just amazing during your birth. I told him to capture as much as he could with our phone cameras. He managed to do that and still be right by my side keeping me calm. While they administered the epidural into my spine, the medicine that would keep me numb from the waist down so I could be awake when you came out, Dr. Haddock leaned her head into mine and we stayed there, forehead to forehead, while she told me what would happen. How they would open me up and bring you out one by one. That they would keep you connected to me for exactly one minute each, to allow the nutrient rich blood from your umbilical cord to run back into each of you before they clamped and removed them. That then each of you would be transferred to your very own team from the NICU and stabilized in a room just off the operating room before they took you upstairs to the NICU. She said your dad would be able to come in to that room and see you and then come back to be with me.

May 27th, 2021

They then turned me around on the operating table and I stretched out, my belly rising into the air, filled to the brink with your precious bodies, still keeping you safe, even though it was a danger to me. It was time to turn you over to the talented doctors and nurses who could care for you better than my body could for the rest of your gestational journey.

There were so many things that were scary before and after your birth. The preeclampsia that necessitated your early delivery. The large hematoma and internal bleeding the next day that required so many blood transfusions, another emergency surgery the day after your birth, a few days in the ICU, and a night intubated on a vent. Scarier for your dad, your grandparents and so many family and friends than it was for me. I was out of it a lot, I didn’t know until later, when your dad pieced it together for me, everything that I went through. That’s another story though, and you know it all has a happy ending anyway.

But your birth. Oh my darlings, it was the most beautiful, most peaceful experience you could have in an operating room. It was joyful, and strange and even funny. And though so much before and after that moment is still fuzzy for me, I remember every second of that time. As the sheet rose up that separated your daddy and I from the numerous doctors and nurses on the other side, and my belly slid out of view, I took a deep breath and prepared for your arrival.

I felt no pain, I don’t even remember feeling any of the tugging or pulling or pressure they warned me about. I was just so ready to meet you, to see your little faces, to know the beings I had been feeling moving inside me for the past months. I had no fear, only joy and anticipation. Liam, you came out first, at 10:27pm. Dr. Haddock called you a little prince and lifted you high so I could see you over the curtain before calling for a nurse to start the clock on your delayed cord clamping. We always knew you would come out first, you sat so low inside me, Baby A from the beginning. Luka, you came next, at 10:28pm, a surprise change up, you were always Baby B, but you were head down and easier to reach so out you came, peeing, already ready to do this baby thing. We laughed and Dr. Haddock remarked on it, and as you will well know by the time you are allowed to read this, we have it all on video. Violet, you were last, my baby bird, doing your own thing in a breech position, making her dig around for you a bit. You arrived at 10:29pm, a little quieter than your brothers from the work to get you out, but I heard your tiny cry as they laid you back down. Dr. Haddock told me later that for a brief time, all three of you were stretched across by legs, still connected to me by your umbilical cords. I couldn’t feel you but I love the thought of you all being out in this world but for a fleeting moment, still connected to me, tethered between two of life’s most magical stages, before being whisked away and covered in wires.

Your daddy followed the teams of doctors and nurses who tended to you in your very first moments, he captured pictures and videos of you as they quickly armed you with CPAPS and sensors so they could help you breath and monitor all your vital signs. They took you all, tiny but mighty, up to the NICU and your dad stayed with me while they closed my incision and sent me to recovery. We knew there would an uncertain amount of time before we could bring you home to us, that we would have to measure our first days, weeks and probably months in visits to the NICU. Our daily schedule wrapped around designated feeding and holding times, our hearts and minds embraced in parenthood, but our lives still swinging in limbo with empty cribs standing at the ready but no baby cries to wake up to in the middle of the night. We also knew in those first moments of your life, a love we had never felt before. My trio, you are my heart.

June 27th, 2021

Today, on your one month day, we each got to hold all three of you for the very first time together. You filled my lap and my soul. I love each of you so much. I’ll come see you tomorrow, and the next day, and the next. And soon our home will be filled with your coos and cries and laughter and love. And I can’t wait.

Love, Mom