The week leading up to the babies being born was physically painful. I could barely move. One night I had pretty bad contractions but they were irregular and eventually stopped so we ended up not going in to the hospital, although we probably should have. Then, a couple of days later, I barely moved to the left while sitting down to make room for Turbo, and I pulled a muscle and it hurt really bad. Turbo (our dog) sat with me everyday and some nights when I was sick and hurting.
I had to go in every other day that week to get heartbeats checked with this crazy machine. I had to sit super still and they had to place monitors on each baby and get consistent heartbeats from each one for 20 min. It was almost impossible. If I moved a muscle or breathed too hard, or if the baby moved at all, the monitor would get off and we would have to start over. I was so uncomfortable and sweaty. Haha It was a mess.
But they still thought everything looked good, and that I was on track to make it to 35 weeks (full term for triplets). The babies had other ideas though. The night before the babies came, I couldn’t sleep again (I got very little sleep those last couple weeks), so I went downstairs to lay on the couch and tried to read or get comfortable. Contractions started again but they were still irregular. Throughout the night, they got worse and closer together. Finally in the middle of the night, I went to wake up Derek. We decided to call the on-call doctor this time and have it checked out. We drove to the hospital with our bags packed but hoping that we still had a couple of weeks to wait. We called our parents and told them not to come yet, and that it was probably false contractions again. We got to the hospital around 4am. They got us settled and put me on magnesium to slow the contractions. They also went ahead and gave me a steroid shot which helps with the babies’ lung development. Ideally you get this shot 48 hours to a week before giving birth. Derek called school around 5am and told them that he would be coming in late, but would probably still be there. And we waited. The contractions never stopped. They just kept progressing. They wheeled me down to my MFM and she confirmed that it was probably time to take them out. I had started to dilate so we couldn’t wait much longer. I was so scared because I wanted the steroid shot to be in my system longer, but if we waited, then Oliver would have tried to come out on his own and it is extremely dangerous to have a vaginal birth with triplets. Plus, the other 2 babies were breached. I was also scared of them being so small and just not ready to be in the outside world yet. I had no idea if they were ready. Ready or not, they gave me an epidural and got me all good and numb. I remember minutes before they wheeled me into the operating room, Derek stood me up and said, “We will not bring these babies into the world in fear. We are rejoicing, and we are happy. This is a moment that we have been waiting for, there is no room for fear.” I love that man. He was so right, and he helped me stay calm throughout the whole process. First they pulled out Oliver at 2:01pm. He weighed 4 pounds and 1 ounce. I was awake, but I had a sheet between me and the doctors working. Derek later told me that Oliver came out with the cord wrapped twice around his neck. His Apgar score was much lower than they wanted. Derek saw Oliver grey and not breathing but thankfully didn’t tell me until much later. His Apgar score started out at a 5 (this is not good). After about 5 minutes he was only a 6 (which is still not good), but by 10 minutes he was up to a 9 (this is much better). Then they yanked Shepherd out so hard by his feet that he had this dark black bruise on his whole foot for the next week. He also came out at 2:01pm, and he weighed 3 pounds and 15 ounces. The doctor said later that it was the worst bruise that he had ever seen on a baby. Shepherd’s Apgar started out as a 4 but quickly jumped to a 9 after 5 minutes. Then came Lucy, last but not least. She was born at 2:02pm and weighed 4 pounds and 1/2 an ounce. She was on room air from the start and had an Apgar of an 8 to begin with and was up to a 9 after 5 minutes. Lucy was the first to cry, and only one to cry in the delivery room. Thankfully, I couldn’t see much, but Derek was terrified the whole time. The boys were grey and not crying. After 10 minutes though, they were able to wrap all 3 up real tight with oxygen and bring them over for a picture one at a time. Then began the longest hour of my life. Derek got to go up to the NICU with the babies, and I was wheeled to a recovery room where I sat by myself not knowing how the babies were doing. No one could come back there except Derek, and I wanted him to be with the babies. So I sat. I sat and I prayed. Each year I pick a theme verse to memorize and repeat throughout the year. And this year my string of verses is Mary’s song. I sat in that recovery room and repeated over and over to myself:
Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!
And Mary said:
“My soul magnifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me—holy is his name. His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation. He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty.
These verses got me through that hour. I found comfort in knowing that God was watching over me and my babies. I rejoiced in God in that moment and chose not to fear, but oh how I rejoiced even more when Derek came back to report that all 3 were doing well up in the NICU. I could not go see them until I was able to sit in a wheel chair. So together we went to another recovery room where family could join us and we rested and slept until we could see our babies again and hold them for the first time. It’s a weird feeling knowing that these extensions of yourself are no longer inside you but you can’t see them or hold them. You just have to wait and take care of yourself and be thankful for the amazing doctors and nurses that are helping them breathe. We had to learn quickly to really trust and be thankful for people helping us with our babies from the very beginning. It has never been just us. It really takes a village, and the nurses and doctors in the NICU were a part of our village. By God’s spirit alone we had so much peace. Next week I’ll start sharing about our NICU experiences. I still can’t believe how healthy our babies are. We are truly lucky and never take for granted the fact that SLO are here and well. That was a big prayer that God answered YES to.