George and I met at an English pub back in April 2002, and started dating right away. But in February 2003, we nearly broke up.
"I don't want kids," he said, "and I'm not sure I ever want to be married."
Well, fine, then, I told him. We'll break up. For me, kids were non-negotiable. Threatened with being dumped, he changed his mind and decided that maybe a kid would be okay after all, and marriage too. But just ONE kid. Well, I wanted two, but we'd cross that bridge when we came to it. One at a time, one at a time.
Fast forward five years, and we were happily married and ready to start trying for that one kid. It didn't take long, and in May 2007, I got a positive pregnancy test. Pretty early on, too, and a friend joked that I was probably having twins.
"Don't even joke about that," I warned. I knew that twins weren't all sunshine and roses. We couldn't afford two babies. One was fine, thankyouverymuch. I had dreams of a natural, drug-free delivery, cloth-diapering my baby, and getting the coolest stroller I could find on our budget.
When I was seven weeks pregnant, I went to my obstetrician's office for my first ultrasound. It was something he did for all of his patients, to rule out ectopic pregnancies. I was thrilled to be able to have the pregnancy confirmed so early, especially as I hadn't been experiencing any morning sickness. A few food aversions, but nothing dramatic. I feared the worst. And when I hopped up on the table and the ultrasound tech started the scan, I was even more worried. After a few minutes of probing, she asked if I'd experienced any morning sickness. I knew this was her way of telling me she didn't see any baby. I stared at the ceiling, just willing her to tell me the bad news so I could just stop feeling so hopeful. I couldn't see the screen that she was looking at, so I had no idea what was taking so long.
Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, she told me to go get George out of the waiting room so he could take a look at the ultrasound. At this point, I thought maybe the news wasn't all bad. Surely she wouldn't make us look at my empty uterus, would she?
So I get back on the table, George sits down, and she turns the screen so we can see it.
"You're having triplets," she said, calmly.
* * * * * * * *
Of course we were shocked. I didn't get the overwhelming feeling of joy I probably would have gotten had we only seen one tiny heartbeat chugging away. Those three little squirming beans filled me with terror, and I only wanted to burst into tears. We couldn't think rationally. After the ultrasound, I remember going up to see my doctor, and he said, "you were built for this." George and I discussed having to buy a minivan. We were absolutely stunned.
Despite my doctor's warning not to tell anyone until I was twelve weeks along, we couldn't help but start calling our family and friends right away. No one really believed us, of course. My best friends were sure I was playing a trick on them, even after I sent them our ultrasound pictures.
I have to say that I had a relatively easy pregnancy. Aside from a scare until 23 weeks that two of the triplets were monoamniotic (meaning they share an amniotic sac, which presents many risks including entanglement and cord compression) that ended up being a false alarm, I did great. Due to having a long torso and being 5'10" (remember, I was "built for this", according to my doctor), I never went on bedrest or had any preterm labor issues. I ended up changing doctors mid-way through my pregnancy and had the most wonderful specialist ever. At 32 weeks, I went in for a routine appointment, and due to my rising blood pressure and early pre-eclampsia, he wanted to admit me immediately for the duration of my pregnancy. He let me wait a couple of days so I could get everything together, and I checked into the hospital two days later.
After nine days on hospital bedrest, I was exhausted, swollen, and itchy. The babies were doing great, and I still never had even the smallest contraction. But stick a fork in me, I was done. No more. My body was waving the white flag. I just couldn't go on any more. My blood pressure was getting to dangerous levels, and so my doctor agreed that delivery was my best bet. We scheduled the surgery for December 4, 2007, at 33 weeks, 2 days. It was just about the average length of a triplet pregnancy.
I didn't know what I was having - we opted not to find out the sexes. We did, however, know that we were having three babies of the same sex. We didn't know if they were identical or fraternal, but we planned to do testing after they were born. At 6:54 am, my doctor pulled out Baby A and exclaimed, "it's a boy!", just as I had always suspected. His two brothers followed one by one, and so by 6:56, Linus, Oliver, and Miles were here.
I didn't get to see them until the next day, due to the medication I was on for pre-eclampsia (the condition I'd developed at the end.) George was sick, so he couldn't go visit them in the NICU either. It was a difficult 24 hours, but recovering from the c-section made it go by pretty quickly. I later found out that twelve hours after my boys were born, a set of quadruplets (all girls) was born, and a day and a half after that, another set of triplets was born. Some of the news outlets thought that was pretty interesting, and we were featured on ABC World News.
My boys came home after only 11 and 13 days in the NICU, and they were as healthy as could be. They didn't ever need help breathing or eating, it just took them a little while to learn how to do the latter. They came home a week before Christmas.
In March, we finally got the results of the DNA testing we'd had performed on the boys. We found out that they are, indeed, identical. Identical triplets are extremely rare - some put the odds as high as one in 250,000,000, but I think it's probably closer to one in 720,000.
It's hard to afford to raise three babies, when you never expected to have more than one or two. Our house is too small, and we're on government assistance for the boys' formula. It helps, a lot. It's hard to pay the hospital bills for three babies when you only budgeted for one. But I can't imagine not having these three sweet, dimpled boys.
It's true, some of my dreams went out the window when we had triplets. There is no such thing as a med-free triplet birth. C-sections are par for the course, and as far as cloth diapering goes, well, I'm happy to say we were able to put that into practice, just not as much as I'd like...yet. I am back at work full-time, to pay for daycare, but to be honest, it keeps me sane. I absolutely am in awe of stay-at-home moms of triplets, but I have to admit, I'm rather glad that our financial situation is such that it wasn't ever an option. That minivan won't pay for itself!
Chances are, we won't have any more kids. I'd love to give the boys a baby sister when they're older (MUCH older), but it's unlikely (not to mention the fact that, well, there's only a 50/50 chance I'd even have a girl!) I'm sad that I'll never be able to go through a normal pregnancy, and all because of finances. But in the meantime, I consider myself the luckiest girl in the world!