"There's Three"

A quick preface--I wrote this entry last May, a year to the day after we found out we were having triplets.  I get asked about the day we found out we were having triplets more than any other experience in my life.  So I thought I should capture whatever recollections I had before they slipped away.  As you can see, this is the one and only blog entry I did last year!  I hope to do better this year!  

May 14, 2014.  

“Today’s the day you get to find out if you’re having one, two, or three babies, Mom! If it is THREE babies you have to check me out, okay?!” said Lucy.  And in that instant we should’ve known Lucy was psychic, but instead we just thought she was an imaginative six year old.  But let me start from the beginning.

It had been a rough few weeks.  And that’s a massive understatement.  My dad passed away fairly unexpectedly at the beginning of March.  I was so sad.  Every day I loaded the girls for carpool and wiped away my tears as I drove. Then my kids were sick for several weeks straight—strep, UTIs, unknown fever virus lasting a week.  And then I herniated disks in my back and was in searing pain.

And so, when I took a pregnancy test mid-April and the results were unequivocally positive, I was surprised.  And there was no need to decipher these results; no faint lines like my other pregnancies but instead bold red lines that smacked me in the face.  I felt…shocked.  I texted my sisters and one of my best friends.  I called and scheduled my first OB/GYN appointment. 

And, I started getting excited about baby #4.  We said, what’s one more?! One more will just fall right in with the rest of the group!  In those early weeks of pregnancy before my May 14th dr appt.  (which was at 9 weeks), I also started feeling very tired and very sick.  I had been sick with each baby, and I had read that you typically get sicker with each pregnancy, so I thought it was normal.  But the level of nausea and fatigue was like none other I had experienced before, and I was a little concerned.  I walked a few miles at the gym and could not catch my breath, despite the fact I routinely walked much faster, and then I came home and napped for hours.  I fell asleep in the middle of Easter egg hunt chaos at my parents’ house.  I fell asleep putting the kids to bed every single night.  I simply could not sleep enough.  And, I threw up.  All the time.  I would hurry the girls along for school (only Lucy in big kid school then), and throw up in between ushering her out the door.  I fell asleep so hard and fast that, on some nights, I willed myself to get up and eat something—anything—before I fell back asleep.  I was so, so tired.  

I joked with a few friends that maybe it was multiples.  I told the girls I was pregnant, in part because I needed to explain why I was always sick.  They quickly told everyone else for me.  And so, on the day of my appointment, I found myself telling a fellow mom, Lisa (who’s a mother of five including twins), that I was heading in for my appointment, and I joked that I was nervous it could be twins.  “Twins are something!  I will pray for you!” she said.  I laughed.  She laughed.  I went on my merry way.

And so it finally came time for my mid-morning appointment on May 14, 2014.  Seth worked all night and was able to come with me, even though he was a very tired, quiet version of his usual self.  We met with my dear friend, who also happens to be my OB/GYN.  We talked and laughed.  We laughed that I was once again in her office with baby #4.  I said “we just want one healthy baby!”  (Do you SEE all this foreshadowing?

Due to a scheduling conflict, my ultrasound was not until about 1.5 hours later.  Seth and I ate at Subway.  The details of that lunch are seared into my brain because, for us, there was life before that lunch, and life after it.  The details remain in laser-sharp focus reminding me of the Before and After.  And so, after lunch, we waited to see the baby bean on the ultrasound.  We were cautiously excited.  And then it was time.

The ultrasound tech smeared me with jelly, put the wand on my belly and then just as quickly removed it.  I thought I saw two blippits of babies but I wasn’t sure.  “Oh, your bladder is not full enough, we have to do the transvaginal ultrasound.  I’ll be right back.”  Twenty minutes passed.  I didn’t think anything was wrong.  I didn’t think much of anything, actually.  She eventually re-entered, and told us that my dr. wanted to come by and say hi.  Now, I have a tendency to make nervous small talk.  So I chattered on about how we love my dr. and went to college with her.  Seth later told me he thought something was wrong.  I was just making idle small talk.  Finally, my dr. entered the room.  The tech restarted the ultrasound exam.

My dr. immediately started laughing.  Gasping and laughing.  We stared at the screen.  Seth asked “is that two?!”  “Count again,” she said.  SILENCE.  We all stared.  It was like slow motion.  Finally, my dr. said “it’s three.  There’s three.”  Again, silence.  We all just stared.  I started crying.  Crying and laughing.  Laughing so hard it was shaking the wand and made the babies look like little jumping beans on the ultrasound screen.  I thought to myself—this is the moment my life changes course.

What will this mean for my big girls?  HOW will I carry three babies when I have such big babies?  HOW will I physically do it?

 I think the first thing I said in reply was, “I am going to get stretch marks.”  Someone told me that was the least of my concerns.  But again, I couldn’t fathom how my body could carry three babies since my singletons were so big.  And I also thought—no wonder I’ve been so tired and so sick.  This explains everything.  We sat there, shell shocked, while my dr. repeated over and over—you can do this.  You can do this. 

Seth was sitting in a chair by my head so I never saw his face.  My dr. told him to hold my hand as I cried, so he did.  He later said he almost passed out.  Again, my dr. said, you can do this.  And look, you have tri/tri triplets, which is the best type to have.  She also explained some quick info on triplets—I would have a c-section (I did not, but that's a story for another day!); the babies would probably go to the NICU; I may go on bedrest (definitely did happen).  Later, I would learn that the ultrasound tech took so long because she was busy finding my dr., who could be there to explain the news if it was good or bad—the ultrasound tech wasn’t sure what kind of news we would get, only that it was triplets.  My dr. would later tell me she had her own moment of shock and surprise when she was told, and she had to compose herself before coming into the room to offer moral support to us.

The dr. and ultrasound tech left the room so we could gather our things and have a minute alone.  Seth sat in the chair, unable to move, shaking his head and saying he couldn’t do it.  I told him it’d be okay—but really what did I know?!  Eventually I said, “Seth, someone else needs this room.  We have to leave.”  And with that he willed his legs to work and we made our way to the waiting room.  I had to reschedule for an earlier OB appointment per my dr.’s instructions.  When I asked the office staff to reschedule, they didn’t understand why so I quickly and quietly said, “well, I am apparently having triplets so I’m supposed to come sooner.”  Suddenly there was a crowd on the other side of the counter from me, bursting with excitement at this recent news.  I felt shaky.  Seth looked shaky.  They asked if he was ok.  I said “well no, he’s not.”  They got him water.  They ordered me to drive him home (I did).  They asked if he needed a wheel chair.  And with that, he finally stood up.

I had the first ultrasound pics of the triplets in my hands.  I snapped a photo and texted it to two of my best friends, Mollie and Jenelle.  I wrote something like, “well it’s triplets and I’m not even joking.  It’s been nice knowing you, I’ll see you in 5-10 years!”  They knew I wasn't kidding, and we started a long convo about what this meant, how this happened, etc.  I texted my mom and my sister Liz.  Everyone was confused by the ultrasound photo—you could only SEE two baby beans in three little pouches.  I was driving home when my sister Maryellen called.  She could tell something was not right.  I told her, “it’s triplets.”  “What the f*#k!  WHAT THE F*#K!” she said.  “Exactly!” I said. (As an aside, she never curses.  And I do a lot.  So it’s rather funny that her reaction is maybe the only one I remember via actual phone call).

At some point in sharing this news, I either said it or thought it—we will be ok.  We WILL be ok.  My mom cautiously waited on the phone to hear how I felt about this news.  My sister Liz screamed into the phone and everyone at work heard her.  My brothers heard the news from my mom and texted things like OMG, we love you.  My best friend Jessica was calm and collected.  So was my good friend Lindsey. 

And just like that it was time to pick up Lucy from carpool.  She burst into the car and asked, “how many babies is it!  HOW MANY?!”  I just stared.  And wondered—what did she know that I didn’t?  When we later told her it was three babies, she remembered that we had NOT checked her out and wasn’t happy about that. 

We were too shell shocked to cook dinner, so we went to eat at PF Changs.  The kids spilled lots of drinks.  I think Emmy ate the spicy mustard.  The kids were impatient waiting for their food.  And I wondered, how would we do this with three more?                        

The next day, I saw the mom of twins who I’d just seen the day before.  We were both helping our kids in the school bathroom.  She brightly asked, “only one?”  I just shook my head.  Tears welled up in my eyes.  “TWO?!” She asked.  I shook my head again.  Finally I choked out the words, “it’s three.”  “It’s going to be okay.  It’s going to be okay,” she said.  I was still reeling from our news, and I clearly wasn’t ready to share it.  My friend graciously kept my news quiet until we were ready to share it.

And slowly but surely, we became more comfortable with the idea that I would be having THREE babies.  I scheduled my first appointment with the maternal fetal medicine (MFM) drs (high risk pregnancy drs.).  I started telling very close friends.  I reached out to my former colleague who, believe it or not, also had three kids and then spontaneous triplets.  I told more friends.  My friend Laura almost started crying; it was such overwhelming news.  My friend Abby was super calm and just said, “it will all be ok.  It will be ok.”  Slowly but surely, the news sank in, and I knew: it will be ok.  It will all be ok. And that was the beginning of our of journey to a family of six!  Yes, we were surprised.  We’ve never been more surprised in our lives.  But, what wonderful surprises.