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


I’m A COVID Bride…

Fair warning: this is a long post. They will not all be this way. I promise. I have been working to put this behind me for what feels like an eternity, yet it’s only been a couple months. I think that says a lot about how deeply this experience affected me. I can say with conviction that I will never ‘get over’ this. It has been an excruciatingly painful experience that leaves me feeling very empowered and confident in myself, my character and my marriage. Being a COVID bride made me a walking contradiction who spews from my mouth about how grateful and blessed I am for my marriage and concurrently from my heart how the world is cruel and life is hard. I think the COVID pandemic would have changed my empathetic soul forever, regardless… but that fate was sealed when my wedding got pulled into the equation.

I share. That’s what I do. Selfishly, I want to put my story into words, as a symbolic release. My hope is that anyone else going through wedding planning/cancelling/rescheduling in this pandemic period may find camaraderie in the truth that months later, I have not rebounded and I am not fine. Spoiler alert: It’s okay to not be okay. And yes, I have deemed myself entitled to encourage that thought for you. 

The COVID-19 Global Pandemic caused our wedding, scheduled for April 10th, 2020, to be cancelled. Not postponed or rescheduled – cancelled. Every time I say those words, I follow them with “but my marriage still happened.” It is so difficult to address the topic without falling down a rabbit hole of negativity. It is irrefutably something you could never understand unless it happened to you directly. Even when it happens to you, it’s different than the way it’s happening to the next person or couple.

Someday, I’ll share the (hindsight) hilarious timeline of how we got engaged, I had back surgery, we decided to get married in 5 months, and how it was all actual insanity. For the purpose of this story, I want to stick to the feelings. 

Leading up to getting engaged, people thought I was being pushy and impatient. Those people were right. I am PRESENTLY pushy and impatient. I pose the question with 20/20 hindsight, why do we allow guilt to be laid on us like weighted blankets for admitting we know what we want or that we accept who we are, ‘flaws’ included? Have you ever heard the expression, ‘the squeaky wheel gets the grease’? I bring life to that squeaky wheel. That’s who I am. I knew I wanted to marry Tom seventy-two hours into knowing him. We talked about forever on our first date, the same night we told each other “I love you”. I would have been untrue to myself to stay quiet about my longing to be married to him.

By the time the proposal came, I was emotionally flat out from anticipation, so I’ll let you use your imagination about the nitty-gritty of how the wedding planning process went. I’ll just say it was a rollercoaster, as I imagine it is for most brides. 

Fast forward. Everything was in place. Only minor details were left to be ironed out. On March 13th, we got in the car to travel to Tom’s home town for my bridal shower my now mother in-law threw for me. It was that same day that the POTUS declared a State of National Emergency. So, that was the beginning of a quick end. By the time the weekend was through, we knew we had no other option than to call the wedding off. I began unraveling.

Without any real discussion, we knew postponing was not an option and that come hell or high water, we were going to be pronounced man and wife on the day that we intended. State restrictions and moral compass prevailed over our desire to have our close family present for a small ceremony so we ended up live streaming our union on Facebook for everyone’s safety.

Just us, the judge and our photographer were physically present for the most epic thing I’ve ever done. A local country club was kind enough to open up their closed down banquet hall for us to use so we weren’t standing out in the cold. The day was… nothing I ever expected it would be in the best way possible. The moment we said I do was one of the happiest I’ve ever had, even though all the moments around it, the back of my head was thinking, “this wasn’t supposed to be it.” I laughed until I cried, and then cried until I laughed all damn day. 

It cannot go unmentioned that the kindness, love and support showed to us throughout the whole cancellation and inevitably having our ceremony was outstanding. I’ll never forget the way so many people we love showed up for us. We got married, I have my husband, and life goes on. 

Except life hasn’t exactly gone on for me. I’m not the same person anymore. Before our wedding was cancelled, I was already losing my mind. Anxiety and depression had consumed me. Therapy took the edge off. I felt lonely, misunderstood and stressed for both wedding and non-wedding related reasons. I reached the peak of self-pity, while also taking the role of my own abuser. Then the wedding was cancelled and my mind was lost. Gone. POOF. I held it together as best I could for the sake of the world around me, but even my best was piss poor. That happens.

Emotions happen. Some days the flood gates open. I don’t try and hold back tears anymore. It always feels like a cleanse to let it happen.

Then I didn’t want that mind back, because the bottom was dark, but so was the place before the bottom. So, I stayed in the feeling of abyss. A depressed newlywed. A sad honeymooner. I was in mourning because something figuratively died. The thing that died was not just the dream or idea I had all my life about my wedding day, it was the wedding day I actually worked to plan and that trickled through so many different shapes and phases to inevitably be the life I thought I wanted to live. It all died with the cancellation of my wedding. I am now a revised me, still in work. What I want out of my life is different. It’s really difficult to even put this concept into coherent words because it is all still ‘in work’.

I didn’t want this to turn into a complete sob story, and I wish I had a quick and quirky punchline to end the story. When I originally wrote this post, I had the “but it all worked out” ending in place. I read it and reread it and it felt so fake. The concept of this blog was built on real raw honest ideas and creating a space for myself and others to be accepted ‘as-is’.

That’s where the cool part starts. I realize I don’t need to be a phony. I don’t need a happy ending to every story. What I need is to live my life and feel it and be present and immersed in it, even when it sucks. And when it sucks, to let it suck for a hot second or a couple months. 

I’m turning a corner to a place where the story is simply beginning again. I am taking the revised me, and my husband and I are starting our life together as Mr. and Mrs. He is there for me in an unwavering way. I will always have him. He will always have me. Our marriage happened. Our wedding didn’t. We celebrate constantly. I mourn regularly. 

I’m an outward mourner. I cry, sob, talk to my therapist, talk to Tom, cry more. Tom mourns privately, and also doesn’t harp on sadness. His uplifting spirit captivated me the night we met and that hasn’t changed. He has created a space in his world for me to be as I am; any day, any time, any way. He is beautiful and I am so glad he is my person.

My takeaway from this entire situation, outside of a forever partner, is different from what others are experiencing. I have a deep appreciation for how it’s different for everyone. My heart hurts for the couples going through anything resembling an interruption of how they want to declare their love. My heart soars for the couples out there making the absolute best out of their situation.

This is a new version of me. My insides feel different. All my life I have been the same, yet different. Changing and always staying the same. Unsure and confused by anything uncalculated and the emotion that lack of planning evokes. I think for the first time in my life, I am realizing that change is beautiful. Growth feels exceptional. Living and learning hurts sometimes, but it has to happen. Greif has to happen. Feeling sad has to happen. I have to feel the feelings to be able to eventually move on. Why rush the feelings? 

If you’re a COVID bride, or just a bride, or a groom, or a partner entering a marriage or a sacred union… if you’re human (and reading this, I would assume you are), I urge you to feel. Feel it all, wholly. Lift the blanket that may have been laid upon you to hide your emotions. Do not sugar coat things for the sake of not looking like a complainer to others. The people who love you will hear your complaints and tell you they are sorry for your hurt feelings, even if they weren’t to blame. You do not have to be afraid to take up space just because it doesn’t consist of sunshine and rainbows.  

I am grateful for my husband, our bond, our marriage and our love. I am overjoyed to be the wife of a great man. Our wedding was cancelled and I broke into a bajillion pieces and now I am putting them back together differently than they were before. Mosaics are often beautiful. Life can be like a mosaic. A bajillion broken pieces put together to be a beautiful work of art. Our wedding was cancelled, our marriage was not and it mostly fucking sucked. Onward and upward my friends! 

In solidarity,