Alicia D.’s Birth Story

July 24, 2013

Triple the blessing…

I told my husband I was ready, that I wanted to have a baby now. We were both older than the average bear and I thought we would have to work on it. 4 weeks later we were pregnant, 4 weeks after that, we found out it was with triplets. .07% chance. Profoundly blessed and profoundly naïve…

I had a great triplet pregnancy. Everything was going great at 26 weeks. The high risk doctors said I had a “double gold star cervix.” My blood pressure, sugar and everything else was on track. Good appointments until April 26,2011 when the doctor said that I was going on high risk bed rest at the hospital for the rest of my pregnancy. My “double gold star cervix” was not a gold star anymore. I cried, my husband consoled me. Then he excused himself for a sip of water in the hallway. Little did I know he was crying in the hallway trying to get it together for me.

Fast forward 5 days in the hospital, May 2, 2011. I had officially moved in thinking I would be there for 6 to 8 more weeks. My husband had a plan for smuggling in my basset hound for a visit if needed and I had work projects to do from bed. I moved in SUITCASES, bedspreads, CD’s, and a visitation schedule. I had the meal schedule planned out for the next two weeks and had taken over a drawer for middle of the night (or all the time) snacks. I was getting ready for the long haul. I told my doctor we were going until 36 weeks. She said bring it. I am a stubborn lady, so the fight was on!

The royal wedding was taking place and the President was announcing a major victory in the fight against terrorism that night it all started happening. I was having contractions, although I didn’t know it. My husband went home (1 hour and 20 minute drive) and the doctor came in concerned. She checked me. I was 3 cm dilated. Luckily I had all of the steroid shots for the baby’s lungs but we were only 26 weeks and 6 days along. Way too early! They started magnesium. I called my husband crying hysterically. He raced to my side (in record, Mario Andretti speed). I called my mom and dad (they live in North Carolina) and my mom was packed and driving to my side within 20 minutes (we later realized she forgot some really important things, like underwear but oh well!) She arrived on May 3, 2011 at 7:30 AM in the morning. She drove all night and all she remembers is the energy drink she tried and her constant prayers.

The next morning my doctor came in to check me, this time I was 7 cm dilated. The babies were coming today. We had the opportunity to have it planned (with all of the right people in the room) or have it be a wait and see possible middle of the night kind of thing. We opted for the right people and I gave birth to Jackson, Shelby and Marlee at 1:47 PM, 1:48 PM and 1:49 PM on Tuesday, May 3, 2011. My 34th birthday. Not at all how I planned to have the babies, certainly not this early, but something was simply so amazing to share this day with my babies. God was at work through this entire situation. It was His timing, and His timing is always right. Here I was with my mom by my side thinking she gave birth to me this very same day 34 years earlier and here I was giving birth to my babies on the same day.

We had your very typical micro-preemie issues. We were 2.3, 2.4 and 2.5 at birth. I didn’t get to see any of my babies. All 34 people in the operating room were blocking my view…but they did that on purpose. What I would have seen could have been too much to handle. My husband went to the NICU (he picked the password, good grief.). My mom stayed with me. The Chaplain of the hospital brought me pictures of each of the babies that I could hold on my chest. Although something was terribly not right since they were not inside me, at least I had something to hold on to. Two of the three were on vents.

Holding all of my babies for the first time together at 40 days old.

Fast forward through my own medical battles with a UTI, hemorrhoids, a 3 day stint back in the hospital after release for a hematoma and I was able to visit the babies on and off. I pumped for 1 month straight (every three hours), took medications and all I got was “boob sweat.” (Seriously, I thought it was the gold liquid of breast milk, a year later my NICU nurses told me otherwise.) I felt like a failure. I couldn’t give them the blood transfusions they needed, the milk that was best for them or really do much. But what I realized is that God was providing through other people. He provided top notch care for my little ones at the best NICU I could ever imagine. One filled with loving nurses, caring doctors and very good medical care. He provided a woman to care so much as to donate a month’s worth of her own milk for my little ones. He also called someone to be a “baby blood donor” so that my children could live. He provided a friendship with another NICU mom of 27 week twins for me to connect with. He provided a caring Chaplain, gracious and patient staff and a security guard who knew me by name.

4th of July (7 days before we were released)

We had some scary moments of NEC scares, ROP Stage 1 in all three, trouble getting off the O2, vents, not passing hearing tests etc. I lost it several times. Things that did not make sense: Like I let their hospital birth bracelets almost rot off my arm because I couldn’t cut them off; the beeping in the grocery store still makes me jump a little, and at times the road to the hospital where I drove 1 hour and 20 minute daily gets me a bit weepy. I still can’t imagine what our life would have been like had the NEC not been caught in time. And I also can’t imagine what life would have been like without God being a comfort for me.

70 days later, all on the same day (first time in hospital history), we were released from the hospital and I brought home my three most precious miracles. The hurdles don’t end on the day of release however. There are doctor’s appointment, insurance issues (over 2 million dollars in bills so far), therapies and a lot of thought about why this could have happened. But all in all, our babies (they belong to my Lord, my husband and myself) are simply miracles that are doing amazing. Totally healthy… totally wild… two year olds. I have tried to make meaning of these experiences by joining our Children’s Hospital NICU Family Advisory Committee as well as doing some counseling with some struggling NICU moms.

The babies at one year old

Although we all have different birth stories there is one thing we all have in common. It wasn’t what we planned and for us all, it was a difficult experience.