feelings, healing, labor and delivery, multiples, pregnancy, sharing, triplets

Start At The Beginning

I’ve spent a good amount of time putting my thoughts into words and updating our CaringBridge website. I want to separate that source as a place to prioritize Ryan’s health updates. This though, is my place. My place to share my own thoughts and feelings in a real, raw and therapeutic way. I don’t owe anyone anything, but what I’ve found is that sharing on Instagram and here has connected me with so many people who I wouldn’t have otherwise met. Additionally, I’ve experienced things recently that have the potential to make me feel very alone. Thankfully I feel extremely supported but, if my sharing can help even one person feel less alone, then I feel like I’ve added value to the universe and that brings me joy. 

But where the hell am I supposed to start? I have SO much to say. I wrote last about my first trimester. It was a time where I wasn’t very thrilled about being pregnant. The boys were wreaking havoc on my body. I was tired and couldn’t eat anything. I was also grateful for the greatest gift of all, three babies. Who would have thought I would be here now, in my third trimester, with no babies inside of me. Instead, two babies dead and one baby living off machines, spending days in the NICU, uncertain about everything.

Honestly speaking, I would love to go back to the part of the story where I was pregnant and more than anything in the whole world, I’d like to re-write my reality. It would be a reality where Chase and Ben were still alive. I miss them so badly. I think what I need to do for myself is go back to the part of the story where my water broke and things took a turn to scary-town. I need to process it all through words and put it ‘on paper’ to help myself move forward. I don’t know if that changes the tone or the theme of this blog, even just temporarily, but I don’t really care. This is real life and until recently, I never imagined what this could feel like. My naivety had the best of me, through pregnancy and even through being admitted to the hospital. While I hope to every higher power that you’re never in this position, I need to explain how it became my truth. 

My water broke at 23 weeks 4 days. It was about 1 am and I woke up thinking I had peed myself. I shimmied to the bathroom and about half way there, the fluid dribbled down my legs. At that point I knew I wasn’t peeing. I tried to stay calm. I sat on the toilet, actually peed and thought – I’ll clean myself up and then get back to sleep. Except I tucked myself back into bed and fluid kept coming. I knew something wasn’t right. I had never experienced a broken water, but in my heart, I knew I needed to get to a doctor. What I knew about waters breaking lead me to believe I was going to be giving birth within an hour. I was immediately terrified.

Off we went to Lawrence & Memorial. I knew we would eventually deliver at Yale New Haven but at this point, as scared as I was, I knew it was FAR too early for these babies to come. I guess my optimism was suggesting I go get checked out more locally and then go home until it was time for the big show. I thought maybe bed rest was in the cards. Boy, I was wrong. At L&M, they admitted me. The on-call doctor came in and told me that I wouldn’t be going home until the boys arrived. As if I wasn’t already terrified. I had no hospital bag. (As if that was even remotely important at that moment? I’ll get to that later.) The next move was to transfer me to Yale in New Haven so that I could be with the appropriate medical group.

At this point, the doctor assured me that some women experience PPROM (preterm, premature rupture of membrane) and go on to keep their babies in utero for weeks. I regained some hope. I had finally reached a point in my pregnancy where we’d had enough normal scans, I’d felt pretty confident in our potential longevity. I had been saying that our next milestone was viability at 24 weeks. Looking back, I knew it would be an important milestone, but for the wrong reasons. 

Upon arrival at Yale, many medical professionals came to meet us. One of those people, we now refer to affectionately as ‘Uncle Zain’. Like Dan, with a Z, he told us at our first meeting. The intent of said meeting was to have a “hard conversation.” Zain came to talk to us about the reality and potential risks in our situation. At 23 weeks, 4 days, there are certain statistics we needed to be made aware of. Our babies had roughly a 30% chance of survival at that gestation. It would improve as time went on, but Zain wanted to talk about what our wishes might be in the event they were born and couldn’t survive outside of my body. Did we have the conversation? Of course. Was it hard? Most definitely. Did I feel like I was aware of the possibilities? Sure. But I was also so sure my babies would stay inside of me for at least another two weeks. I never imagined what would come. I kept willing the universe to give me more time with them.

I started to make myself comfortable in the hospital. Care baskets came from loved ones and I asked the kids in our families to make some artwork for décor. The nurses and doctors encouraged it. I wasn’t dilated and my non-stress tests were all unremarkable. I felt slightly concerned that Baby A, now Ryan, had a little less fluid than the other babies, but overall, I felt good. I was eating, sleeping, resting. Honestly, I kind of felt like it was the pre-baby arrival rest I had been craving. 

Monitoring took place around every 4 hours. I stayed calm with the results of each session that was unremarkable.

I had spent the first night at Yale alone, knowing Tom was exhausted and wanting him to have his strength for all the responsibility that would inevitably fall on him with me hospitalized. Thankfully, my separation anxiety is strong and I asked him to come back and stay with me for the second night. At about 1 am on October 6th, I woke up out of a dead sleep with cramps. I went to the bathroom and returned to bed to try and sleep more. That wasn’t happening, so I buzzed my nurse and let her know I was having a hard time. She called for the doctor to come and they checked my cervix. I was still not dilated. This gave me some mental relief, but my discomfort was progressing. In the meantime, the effort was made to hook us back up to the monitors to check on the babies. Unfortunately, my nurse struggled to get all three babies on the monitor. I was frustrated and growing impatient as my cramping became more intense. 

Faking a smile under my mask for this picture. Monitoring 3 babies was not a fun task.

Inevitably, the doctor returned and an ultrasound machine was used to locate and check on the babies. About 40 minutes after my previous cervical exam, the doctors checked again to find that I was 5 centimeters dilated. I’ll never ever forget the fear that struck my body when she looked at me and said that it was time to go to the operating room. I looked to Tom and I sobbed. I cried out that it wasn’t time yet. Then, as if there was a slap across my face, I stopped. I quieted myself and I listened. I focused on what was happening around me and most importantly, staying calm for myself and for my babies. I knew I had to be brave. They rolled me out of my room, and into the next chapter of my life.

My first room after I was rolled out. Looks like a tornado touched down and this was just the beginning of the wreckage.

multiples, pregnancy, sharing, triplets, Uncategorized

The First Trimester

I’ve been waiting impatiently for this milestone for about 8 weeks. Today I can finally say I’m through the first trimester of our pregnancy. I’m really happy to say it, but saying it doesn’t really change much. I went from feeling consistently like a 2/10 to maybe a 5/10 on my best days (there aren’t many).

The first trimester has been really rough for me. It’s arguably one of the most physically demanding phases I have experienced in my life. I feel my belly stretching and I toss and turn at night wondering if I’ll ever be comfortable again. (I know it’s only going to get worse) I’ve wondered frequently through these past weeks; would this have been easier if it was just one baby? The fact is, I’ll never know and I’m pretty happy about that. I really always thought pregnancy would be this profoundly amazing experience. While I am in a continual state of awe at what my body is capable of, I now see much more of the reality of it all.

Trying to get pregnant through IVF was no walk in the park. Most times I complained about what my body was going through, I tried to counteract the negativity and remind myself that it would all be worth it. And it was. The same mentality rings true for pregnancy. When things get really hard, I’m working double time to remind myself that there are three bodies inside of mine, growing big and strong and it won’t be long before I get to hug and kiss them. It’s not easy, but it will be worth it too. Feeling like a fraction of myself for an extended period of time has induced a sort of sense of sadness. I know that I have one very important job right now and I am taking it very seriously. It’s just discouraging to feel like the bare minimum is the best I’ve got right now.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about my desire for the ‘next thing’. When Tom and I were dating, I wanted to get married. When we got engaged, I wanted to start planning a family. When we bought a house, I wanted it renovated. When we were starting to try for a baby, I wanted our next baby. I realized I was stuck on looking into the future and I was missing the present. When we got pregnant and found out we were getting ‘three for the price of one’ I finally slowed down. Afterall, that’s some big news to wrap your head around. I don’t really have much brain capacity for any other trains of thought at the moment. I will forever be thankful to these babies for helping me break this cycle. Even in the state of suck, I remember that this is what I need to embrace right now. I’ve been focusing predominately on the remainder of this pregnancy, concentrating on how we can best prepare for the arrival of the trips (we’ll never be truly ready for this adventure but to make sure we have the time and attention to devote to their needs upon arrival) and what I can do to ensure their continued health and growth. This means a lot of things, including protecting my mental health and not biting off more than I can chew.

I like to remind myself (and others who are quick to jump to the silver lining) that it’s perfectly normal to have a hard pregnancy and still love your babies unconditionally. It’s valid that pregnancy is hard AND rewarding. It’s possible to be absolutely overjoyed and absolutely miserable simultaneously. If you’re hearing complaints from me, know that just underneath them is so much love and gratitude I could burst. There hasn’t been a day that’s passed in this pregnancy where I haven’t had a complaint. I’m not going to apologize for that because there’s also not been a day where I am not SHOOK in the best way, that I get to be their mom. I’ve been hungry, even starving, with no appetite. I’ve had headaches that feel worse after Tylenol. I’ve slept like a rock and woken up exhausted. I’ve gagged and heaved every single time I brush my teeth, often defeating the purpose of brushing. The new normal for me is that nothing is normal.

The first trimester has been a doozy. I’m happy to report that right around 13.5 weeks (so just a few days ago), my appetite partially returned. Any meal that I eat to completion is an actual celebration. I’ve spoken to some other triplet moms who’ve given me peace of mind that there will come a time in the second trimester where I will have some energy back and I will feel more like myself. I look forward to hopefully reporting back in a few months on these improvements.

This is just a wild experience. There’s no other way for me to describe it. It’s overwhelmingly beautiful and horrifying. I laugh until I cry and I cry until I laugh. Tom is, as per usual, my saving grace. One day around the 10-week mark, I had him speeding to the emergency room. When he got off the exit, I flung open the door and yacked everywhere. I went from sweating, crying and yelling at him to laughing my ass off because he was scraping puke out of the car door and I wanted him to take me to the damn ER for nausea. It was absurd and hilarious. I’m doing my best to find the humor in it all.

In the last year, I’ve really embraced the “it’s okay to be both” mentality. I would highly encourage everyone to think about this and how it applies to their life. It’s been an amazing coping mechanism for me in showing myself gentleness and grace. Lord knows I’ve needed it through the beginning of this pregnancy. In short, becoming pregnant with triplets and getting through this first trimester has really driven home that mentality for me. I am endlessly thankful and overjoyed that these babies are mine. I am also constantly praying for the moment they stop wreaking havoc on my body (fully aware that might be never).

As always, thank you for being along for the adventure with me! xo

feelings, multiples, parenting, pregnancy, sharing, triplets

“There’s three babies.”

Two. Pink. Lines. Tears, joy and a smile that’ll make your face hurt. Hugs, more tears and excitement that you could only feel in this very specific experience. It was a full year of wondering when it would happen and then…

There’s three babies.

THREE BABIES. I swear I said only those two words for the hour that followed the news. But before I take you there, I’ll back track just a little bit. 

On May 11th, 2021, we had our second IVF transfer. The doctor gently placed two frozen embryos on the lining of my uterus. I’m not a hugely religious person, more spiritual if I had to label it. Doesn’t matter. I prayed. I prayed as the embryos were placed with a few tears in my eyes. I quietly begged whatever power that might be to please help give us a baby. You see, our intention with a dual embryo transfer was just to have one healthy baby. After our first round of IVF was unsuccessful, we came up with this plan in conversation with our doctor. We agreed that because we didn’t genetically test our embryos, it would be good to increase our chances of success with the trial of the dual transfer. Truthfully it was a no-brainer. When the doctor said we could end up with multiples, I just thought, “ending up with twins is not a deal breaker” and Tom agreed. I don’t think either of us imagined the news that would follow. 

On the afternoon of May 14th, the first response pregnancy test in my bathroom drawer was burning a figurative hole. I had tested early before, never this early though. I knew it was too early and told myself I wouldn’t be discouraged if it came back negative. Tom wasn’t home and I knew his feelings might be hurt if I found out any news without him so before I spilled urine on the stick, I taped off the results window. I peed when I had to and let the stick sit. Thankfully he was home about 15 minutes later and we looked together. We both saw the very faintest line and in that moment, the thought crossed my mind that it was two babies. To be honest, I thought it was twins from that very moment, almost without question. Of course I questioned it with Tom and the one girlfriend I told. I asked daily (maybe hourly), “Do you think its two?” They did. I did. It was definitely two. Tom and I watched the pink line get darker and confirmed with a blood test that we were in fact expecting. My first two blood levels seemed slightly high, but it was the third blood results that drove home the idea of twins for me. My HcG came back upward of 40k. Keep in mind though, Dr. Google says very firmly that HcG blood levels are not a good indication of multiples. Be as that may, there were no doubts in my mind. Even the nurse on my voicemail said “makes me think there might be two in there.”

On June 9th, we went to our first ultrasound. 6 weeks and 4 days pregnant. I felt so nervous. I think I would have felt that way regardless of the circumstance. I knew I would be perfectly happy if it was just one baby. I was so thankful to be pregnant. I didn’t want to be greedy, but my gut told me “TWINS” and I had it in my head and heart. I had already imagined our life with two little ones. The picture looked so pretty. We went in, I took a deep breath and held Tom’s hand. We saw one baby, then two babies. It felt like I exhaled from holding my breath. I dazed off. The screen was at an unfavorable angle for me to really see what was going on. I felt so relieved that our two little embabies stuck. Then I remember coming to (so to speak). The nurse looked at me and said “Are you following what’s happening?”

I looked up at her with a big smile and said “We’re having twins!” and she corrected me. “There’s three babies.”

THREE? My eyes filled up all over again. I was trembling. I was shocked and scared. No, terrified. I felt so many emotions, none stronger than the next. I looked at Tom and I asked him if he was okay with all of this.

He barely looked away from the screen and replied “of course.” He squeezed my hand and smiled. It was that moment precisely that I felt at peace and excited. My imagination corrected all of those images of us with two babies to us with three babies and everything still looked great. VERY different, but beautiful. We finally finished the scan and we took our little pictures and went on our merry way. We had the nurse make us a print zoomed in on one baby to show our family and cover up our very big secret for the next couple weeks. On the car ride home, we could not stop smiling and laughing. We immediately found humor in the fact that we’d be a minivan family, despite me swearing I would never drive one. 

I like to say that I manifested having a plan for pregnancy and parenting, and the universe is having a good laugh at that whole plan. (In case you didn’t guess, there is no longer a plan – unless you count survival as a plan) I don’t know what the duration of this pregnancy or beyond it will look like, but I think this is my chance to give up a certain level of control and let our lives unfold. Having triplets is going to be exciting, overwhelming and unique. I look forward to the adventure and the challenges it’ll bring. I hope to meet the triumphs and failures with humor and grace. At the end of it all, I find immense comfort in the ideology that we would not have been given these circumstances if we couldn’t handle them. We will keep pushing forward and take it all as it comes. Our hearts are so full.

As always, thank you for being along for the ride with us! xo