Friday, January 1, 2010

First Things First

The first thing people want to know after they find out we have triplets is, "Was it natural?" And if they don't ask, I later find out they just assumed that Tim and I used some type of "help" with fertility/conceiving. The truth is we didn't. We didn't do IVF, AI, or any fertility "drugs." No, twins/triplets don't run in the family either. Having triplets was completely spontaneous and came as a COMPLETE surprise.....SHOCK!

If you know me, you KNOW that I DO NOT like change! You also know that prior to this whole experience, I lived a pretty carefree and selfish lifestyle. So the fact that I have triplets is somewhat amusing to most of my family and friends. When we told people about the pregnancy the most common response was laughter....the second was, "Shut the F up!" The thought of having one baby was freaking me out a little.....I knew that our lives were about to change drastically (I just had NO idea how true that was), so finding out that Tim and I were about to have THREE babies was interesting to say the least. The night before my first pre-natal appointment, Tim and I were talking and he suggested that maybe we were having twins, to which I distinctly remember saying, "If we have twins, I will cry and they won't be tears of joy." Little did I know what the next day's events had in store for me. I went to my appointment alone since I thought it would be a quick check-up to schedule my class, get pre-natal vitamins and set up an appointment for an ultrasound, but instead my doctor gave me an ultrasound that day and very quickly said, "oh look, you're having twins!" I didn't quite understand WHY I'd be having twins, but I looked at the screen as she turned the monitor to show me the two sacs with two heartbeats. I was really nervous, but talking myself through it...people have twins all the time; it was going to be OK, when she gasped and said, "I think there's two heartbeats in this sac! Yes, there are definitely three heartbeats!" She pointed them out and then I turned my head away from the monitor and didn't look back. I spent the rest of the appointment staring at the ceiling and trying not to cry. When the doctor said, "Let me make sure there's not any more," I remember wondering what was wrong with me; I felt like a circus freak.....and if she had found any more, I think I might have died right there on that table.

I should probably explain that at the time I was an Early Interventionist; I worked with children with special needs, some of them multiples and LOTS of them preemies. I knew the increased risks of my babies being born with disabilities. I knew the likelihood of my babies being born premature and what the consequences of that could be. I had worked with several sets of multiples with severe special needs and that's immediately where my mind went. Instead of being flooded with emotions, my mind was being flooded with terms like ROP, CP, IVH, ventilators, CPAP, apnea and bradycardia, failure to thrive, nG/G-tube, increased risk for SIDs, etc. etc. Would my babies be OK? WHY was this happening? Would I be OK? Would my body ever be the same? HOW were we going to do this? HOW could we take care of THREE babies? How could we afford three babies? We needed a bigger car. We needed a bigger house. We had outgrown our entire life in the matter of a half-an-hour appointment! I was devastated! And I'm a little hesitant to write that....I don't know who will read this or what they'll think of me for saying/feeling that, but I want to be real, and that's how I really felt. There were a million other emotions to follow over the next several months, some good, some bad, but at that moment, that's how I felt.

Despite my feeling that I needed an appointment with a psychiatrist, my doctor made me an appointment with a perinatologist instead. All joking aside, I really like my OB-GYN; she's a very nice woman, but I definitely think she could have handled the situation better. She was SO caught up in the excitement of "diagnosing" triplets - she actually said, "This is the first time I've diagnosed triplets," that she failed to notice (or if she did she didn't acknowledge) how upset I was. She kept telling me how exciting it was and then continued to tell just about everyone in the office. By the time I left, everyone had asked me if I was THE ONE having triplets (this didn't help me not feel like a circus freak). My doctor congratulated me one last time before saying goodbye and I walked back out the same door I came in.....but NOTHING was the same; I wasn't the same and I knew that my life would never be the same. As soon as I got outside the hospital I called Tim and just CRIED. I couldn't stop the tears and I couldn't talk....I couldn't answer his questions - Was everything OK? Was the baby OK? What was wrong? On and on.........
"Is it twins?"
"No." Pause.
Then I don't remember if Tim asked if there were "three?" or if I was able to mutter out the word in between my sobs, but I do remember the dead silence on the other end of the phone.....until he said, "I'm on my way home."

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