I knew I was pregnant with one baby.
It was a long road getting pregnant this time, much more difficult then the first time, which involved sex and taking pills. We’d had to do injections, vaginal ultrasounds and blood work, go through an emotional hell, doctor’s visits, timed sex and a much higher chance of having multiples. But according to my internet research and how I was feeling, I knew that there was only one baby in me.
The internet said that if a person was pregnant with multiples their beta HCG levels would skyrocket. Mine were low but steadily going up. Dr Google also said that if this was a multiple pregnancy, I would be sick and have intense feelings of pregnancy. The only thing I felt was intense joy that I was finally pregnant.
“Well, it looks like we have hit the jackpot,” he said, just as I turned my head to see the screen – and two little sacs with beating hearts staring at me.
I swallowed hard and told myself that twins would be doable. We could totally do twins because I had two arms, two boobs and there were two parents in our house. We could do this.
“Yup, we have hit the jackpot,” the doctor said snapping me back from my pep talk, “I see two babies… and wait…. there is something else.”
Everything in my mind stopped as he said the words, ‘something else’. I looked at the screen willing myself to make something out of fuzzy blackness. And then I prayed.
“Please, God let it be a tumor.”
The doctor moved the probe around looking at the screen in silence. In my head, I chanted, “Tumor, tumor, tumor. I can deal with a tumor but I can not deal with three babies.”
“Well look at that. Yup, there is a heartbeat in the third sac. It looks like you are having triplets,” the doctor said with a huge grin. “Congratulations.”
I couldn’t muster a ‘thank you,’ just stunned silence.
Jeff and I were silent as we checked out and walked to our cars. He gave me a peck on the cheek and then got in his car and drove away without uttering a single word.
My mind raced as I drove back to work.
In my office, when faced with the pictures of my newly two year-old son, Hayden, I cried.
I cried because I was scared. I cried because I had no idea how I was going to do this. And I cried because in my head all I saw was me and others paying attention to three infants and Hayden left alone in the corner.
That day in December was when my life forever changed. My prayers for another child had been answered threefold.
We were going from a family of three to a family of six.
It took some time, but when I was eight weeks pregnant and already needing to wear maternity clothes, I had embraced the fact that I was having triplets with cautious optimism.
I was very lucky my pregnancy was very normal – except for my expanding stomach.
By the time I was 16 weeks, people thought I only had a couple more weeks to go, and by the time I was taken off of work and put on ‘modified bed rest’ at 22 weeks, people thought that I was going to deliver any day.
It was hard for me to leave work as a nurse supervisor, but I was exhausted and tired of puking everyday in the trash can in my office, so the thought of being home all the time sounded awesome to me.
Except I forgot about one thing: I had a two year-old at home.
I did my best to take it easy and just rest during the day, but by the time I was 26 weeks along, my uterus was pissed and became very irritable, meaning it was contracting. Which meant that my cervix was shortening and dilating.
So I found myself in the hospital.
The first couple days in the hospital were a blur of tears, fears and me learning to give up control.
The doctors didn’t think that I was going to give birth any time soon, but just in case they educated me on premature infants – including every single complication that could possibly happen.
I cried hourly.
I was scared of the unknown and my heart was breaking because I couldn’t be the mom that I wanted to be to Hayden and I was forced to be a mom and protector to three unborn babies.
Being the eternal optimist that I am, I tried to make the best of the situation. I learned how to knit and made hats for each one of my new babies, I started a blog to keep family updated and I became an expert in daytime soap operas.
I also learned that those three blobs on the ultrasound had become three little people who had shared all the same experiences but had very different personalities. Baby A was Quinn, who sat at the bottom of my belly and quietly took whatever came his way. Baby B was Jake the giant. He took the entire right side and was constantly pushing for more room. And Baby C was Claire, tucked under my ribs and ruling from the top of the pile much like she does today.
The highlight of my day was when Hayden came for a visit. I could hear his little feet running down the hall as fast as he could, and when he poked his head around the corner and looked in, my heart would skip a beat and my arms would ache for him.
He would climb into my bed and get at close to me as possible, usually sitting on my side since my lap was nonexistent, and poke at my ever-growing belly. And the babies inside me would push back. My heart soared when I had all my children together.
I agreed at 31 weeks to go home because every week after this was just icing on the cake.
Three weeks later, I was beyond miserable.
My body ached. I would sneeze and pull muscles on my belly. I couldn’t breathe and begged my family to either get me some Depends or put a catheter in my bladder so that I didn’t have to urgently pee out five drops every three minutes. Going to the doctor every two days for non-stress tests and blood presser monitoring was exhausting.
I looked at my doctor and said, “I am done.”
He gave me a nervous laugh and a puzzled look but didn’t say anything.
“I am done,” I said again. “I am only doing this for one more week and then these babies are coming out.”
“But you are doing so well. Everyone looks great,” he said. “I thought that you could be my first triplet mom to make it to 36 weeks.”
I tried to laugh, but only peed a little in my pants and then looked my doctor square in the eye and said, “If you want to get these babies to 36 weeks, you are going to have to find a way to transplant my uterus onto someone else because I can’t take it any more.”
Then my doctor did the smartest thing he has ever done in his career. He stopped arguing with a pregnant woman and got out his schedule and booked my C-section.
And on June 19th, Quinn, Jacob and Claire were born weighing in at 5lbs 2oz, 5lbs 12oz and 4lbs 3oz, respectively, at 34 weeks, 3 days.
Hearing their small squeaky cries as they were pulled from me was all I needed to know. All we had been through, from the shock of their presence to the emotional roller coaster of the pregnancy, was worth it.
The only thing left to do was figure out to care for four children aged two and under.
Curvy Girl Guide Contributor Jen is the mother of triplets and their big brother. Often times, she feels like she’s buried in children. To cope, she tells the stories from under that pile on her blog, Buried With Children and on twitter.