Next in the series of birth stories is another unusual one – Kim’s is the tale of triplets!
It’s pretty safe to say that my birth story is not what most people would consider normal; in fact it was far from normal in many ways, but I can honestly look back at it and say that for the most part it really was wonderful.
On 20th July 2011 my husband, John, and I attended our first scan at our local hospital. Everything in my pregnancy had been pretty standard so far but I had morning sickness which then turned into all day sickness and the doctors just told me to suck it up and rest, so – rather grumpily – I did.
However, our seemingly normal life was about to get a huge overhaul as I lay there on the bed and the sonographer announced “It’s triplets!”…
For the first time in my life I was in actual shock, I was rendered speechless and anything that did come out of my mouth was just utter jibberish (so I’m told). The nurses took pity and gave me a very large sugary tea and let us collect ourselves in a private room. John and I just kept looking at each other, and laughing that slightly hysterical laugh that you aren’t quite sure whether it might turn into tears kind of laugh.
Due to the complications that a high order multiple birth entails we were referred to a larger more specialist hospital where I would be under consultant care. Our follow up scan occurred only a few days later with our consultant and I recall this as being the worst moment of my pregnancy and birth, mainly because I was not prepared for the decisions that they were about to put upon us.
Multiple pregnancies carry a significant number of complications such as pre-eclampsia in the mother (high blood pressure) and premature labour. 90% of triplets have to spend time in the special care baby unit due to being born too soon so just looking at statistics you may be able to see why a medical professional would recommend selective reduction.
Selective reduction is where you abort one or two of the fetuses in order to give the others a better chance of survival. I had no clue that we would be offered this kind of option and it was dreadfully overwhelming. I felt like we were being battered with all of the negatives of having triplets and I began to panic about their welfare as well as mine.
John and I were on the same page from the start and we didn’t ever consider reducing our tribe. The doctors respected our decision especially as all the boys are identical so the procedure to reduce would have imposed a significant risk on all three babies.
The following months resulted in countless scans – one every 3 weeks if I remember correctly followed by one every 2 weeks once I reached 30 weeks. Each day that I was pregnant was another little step to getting the boys here as safely as possible and when we reached 28 weeks we were thanking our lucky stars! We couldn’t believe we had made it this far without any complications. Little did I know that I would actually keep going until 34 +1 weeks when my trio decided that they had had enough of being squashed and wanted to make an entrance 2 days before their scheduled c-section date.
I had been having terrible pains all weekend, almost like one of the babies was boxing with my liver, but after consulting the hospital and taking some paracetamol the pains subsided and I thought nothing more of it. On Monday morning they came back with a vengeance and after having a bath and taking paracetamol the pains were still very permanent so John drove me the 50 minutes to our specialist hospital (at rush hour, joy!) and I was seen to straight away. I figured I would be in for the duration now and that they would just deliver on Wednesday as planned, but after my consultant checked I was already 3cm dilated. He rang the intensive care baby unit (NICU) to check there were enough cots and gave us the thumbs up for delivery in 2 hours!
My nerves had subsided and a serene calm came over me, it was very odd considering I was petrified of needles and was about to have a canula shoved in my hand and a spinal injection in my back. The staff were incredible and despite it being an “emergency c-section” everyone was in very good spirits and we even had christmas music in the background. My c-section started at 8pm (shift change) and members of staff who should have gone home stayed to help with the delivery. There were approx 20 people in the operating theatre as each baby needed their own specialist team.
It sounds strange, but I was determined to make the most of my unconventional birth and not worry about things that ‘might be’. I am a very positive person and I figured if there were any issues with the boys’ health we would deal with them if they arose. Thankfully I was right to be positive. Lucas, Harry and Oscar were born at 8:19pm, 8:20pm and 8:22pm weighing a very healthy 4lb 14, 5lb 3 and 4lb 12 respectively.
They needed less help than I anticipated, but after John had had a quick cuddle they were whisked up to NICU. I didn’t manage to get a cuddle with Harry until Tuesday and Lucas and Oscar until Wednesday. It would have been lovely to cuddle them sooner like you would following a normal delivery, but to be honest I don’t know any different and I’m pretty sure I still love them just as much as I would have if I had cuddled them straight away.
I was discharged on the Wednesday and John continued putting on my underwear and pushing me around in a wheelchair just as he had done before I gave birth (he’s a very good man). The next 18 days were spent in the special care baby unit (SCBU) at our local hospital and although we had to spend Christmas day in hospital the staff made it very special for us and even gave each of the boys a stocking filled with toys and books. It was obviously not my ideal way to spend Christmas, but I look back at that time with very fond memories. We would often go into the unit at 10am and stay there until about 6pm. We would read books, play music, tube feed, nappy change and even bathe them. It was lovely to be a part of their care, but going home at the end of the day without your babies did make you feel like more of a carer than a parent.
The time the boys spent in the SCBU allowed me to recover from my c-section and after 3 weeks I was even given the all clear to drive. Finally we were given the all clear to take the boys home so on 5th January 2012 we all took that very careful drive home. I will never forget on arriving home for the first time, lining all 3 car seats up in the kitchen whilst looking at John and saying “now what do we do?”.
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