How the four of us began
It all started on Sunday, November 25, 2007 when I was admitted to the hospital after a routine visit with my doctor. I was beginning to develop pre-eclampsia, so my doctor wanted to keep a close eye on me and give me a chance to rest before the babies arrived. I was 32 weeks along exactly at that point, a major milestone with triplets. I still wanted to get to at least 34 weeks, which was my doctor’s primary goal. Anything after that would be lagniappe. The first five or six days in the hospital went by pretty quickly, with plenty of visitors and phone calls. I spent my days online, reading, and watching television.
By the weekend, though, I was starting to feel worse, with rashes all over my body. I was just huge and couldn’t really get comfortable. Heartburn plagued me, and I was hooked up to inflatable leg cuffs to prevent blood clots. Even though I was taking an Ambien or Valium, I never really slept well. I was cranky, itchy, swollen and exhausted.
My doctor was off that weekend, but he said he’d see me on Monday and depending on how I felt, we’d talk about scheduling a c-section. By Sunday night, I was rehearsing in my head what I wanted to say to him.
When he came in on Monday morning, he took one look at me waving the white flag and knew I was done, mentally and physically. He checked the schedule and said we could do it at 6:30am the next day, Tuesday, December 4. Gulp! I hadn’t expected him to say it would be so soon, but I was thrilled.
Prepping for the babies’ arrival
I was a little sad I didn’t make it to 34 weeks, but it just wasn’t mentally possible for me anymore. I wasn’t even sure if it was physically possible. My blood pressure and urine protein levels were increasing slowly but definitely, and it seemed like my body was just saying “enough!” So 33 weeks 2 days was as far as I could go. Not bad by any means – in fact, just about average for triplets. After a hellish 45 minute long ultrasound a few days before to check on the growth of the babies, we knew they were good sizes, hovering around four pounds each. I saw a healthy four pound baby in the nursery on one of my wheelchair outings from my room, and I was happily surprised at how big it seemed, not to mention in awe that I had three of them in my belly!
The anesthesiologist came by at around 9:00pm the night before to put my IV in. At some point, a nurse came by and shaved my tummy too. My mom brought me some Chinese food for my last meal, and eventually I went to sleep. The whole “no food or liquids after midnight” was one of the toughest parts of the whole surgery. Not the food as much as the water. My sinuses gave me a lot of trouble during my pregnancy, so I’d regularly guzzle a jug of water during the night. It was awful to have to go without.
The big day!
At about 5:00 in the morning, I got up and “freshened up” a bit. My mom came by, as well as my husband, George, and a friend. At 5:30 or so, some nurses came in and gave George some scrubs. We headed to the OR at just about 6:00, and I was surprised at how small it was. They had me sitting on the edge of the table, and then they put in my spinal, which was a lot more uncomfortable than I’d been led to believe. It took a while to get it in, and I’d feel these little zings and zaps going down my legs.
Finally, it was in correctly and my legs immediately went numb. They turned me around, and layed me down on seriously the narrowest table ever. I was pretty sure I was going to fall off. At that point, I was numb from the chest down. I could tell they were arranging my legs and putting in a catheter and getting me all ready for the incision. After just a few minutes, the operation had started. I was paranoid that I was going to feel something, but I didn’t at all. As I’ve heard many times…before I knew it, they were pulling out the first baby. We were about to find out what we were having!
I should mention that I was seriously struggling to stay awake. I was so out of it. I assume it was the drugs, or else I was just so tired and relaxed that I just wanted to sleep. Who knows? But I figured, maybe this is something I should try to stay awake for. Ha! In any case, my doctor pulled out the first baby and announced what I “knew” all along… it’s a boy! Of course I didn’t really know, I just knew.
I didn’t hear any cries, but my doctor had said not to be worried, they may not cry right away. In any case, within two minutes the other two boys were out. I heard one of them cry. They sounded like kittens with their teeny, high-pitched cries.
George went outside, and I could hear everyone cheer as he told them it was boys. The boys were wheeled out in their isolettes and I got a tiny peek at their perfect little faces. For a while, I was sewn up and I could hear my doctor discussing the placenta. He mentioned that it looked like the placenta of identical triplets, but he couldn’t be sure. (After having DNA testing done on the boys, it turns out that they are indeed identical.) Time went by and eventually I was shifted onto a bed (that was fun!), wheeled out of the OR and into a recovery room.
I had visitors, but I was so out of it. George was putting the video he took onto the computer. It was nice to have visitors, but I had serious trembles. Because of my blood pressure, they put me on a low dose of magnesium sulfate for the next 24 hours. That sucked, not because of any drug side effects, but because it meant I was bedridden until the next day, and it meant I wouldn’t get to see the boys until then.
The rest of the day was spent in bed, completely unable to get up. I did not enjoy that, particularly because I could only have ice. Nothing else. Later on I was allowed some watered-down juice. Whee! I had a ton of IVs in, including morphine, which was weird. I’d push the button and then within a few seconds, pass out for about 15 minutes. At some point in the afternoon, an NICU nurse came and brought me pictures of the boys and footprints. That was what got me through the rest of the day.
A formal introduction
The next morning, my doctor came and checked on me and pronounced me able to get out of bed. He knew how desperate I was to see the boys. I wanted to take a shower at this point, and God bless the nurse who helped George get me up and into the shower. It was like a scene from a horror movie. Awful. I almost fainted at one point, but we got through it. And then we went up to the NICU. Sadly, George was unable to meet his sons for a few days, due to a cold. But I was able to bring him pictures so we could settle on names.
Linus, Oliver and Miles spent less than two weeks in the hospital before they were able to come home with us. They were very healthy babies, never needing anything beyond “feeding and growing.”