Five months later…our babies are sitting up enough to use the Bumbo and jumperoo, smiling and giggling, grabbing objects (so no necklaces or earrings for mom for…oh, maybe a year?), and developing their personalities.
Five months ago seems very long indeed. I felt the need to remind myself of what it was like.
So here it is, in not-so-gory details: the birth of the triplets!
My obs (all 11 of them–they work as a cohort), anaesthesiologist, and hematologist (who knew I would have so many docs??) spent the weeks leading up to the delivery trying to figure out if I would be a good candidate for a spinal block, which would mean being awake for the birth, or if I would need general anaesthetic and be unconscious. To spare you the minutiae, after a round of steroids and many blood draws–and whoever invents medical tape that doesn’t rip half your skin off when removing it has my vote for hero of the year–they determined about an hour before pre-op prep that I could be awake. I had prayed and tried to be okay with either decision, since it wasn’t mine to make, but I am so, so glad I witnessed the birth of my babies.
They wheeled me into the OR where other nurses were still setting up. Alan counted upwards of 20 people in the OR: docs, L&D nurses, NICU nurses, etc. The anaesthesiologist and her resident had to stick me twice with lidocaine to numb the spinal area, which was less than fun, but the spinal block itself worked very well. After they set me up on the operating table (which is really narrow–I suppose the docs need to reach everything), they did a few tests to make sure I couldn’t feel anything. I couldn’t.
After they set up the curtain so I couldn’t see the surgery–not that I wanted to, yikes–Dr. Gopalani and Dr. Bar-Joseph started in. It felt like a very short time before the tugging started, and Dr. Gopalani (according to Alan, because I don’t remember this) said, “Here’s little Baby A–and she’s not so little!”
I had been told that they would lower the curtain a bit so I could see each baby as they removed him/her, but they took each baby directly to their station where nurses did their thing (APGAR and all that). As soon as I heard her cry, Alan and I were both sobbing–it was the closest I have ever come to radical amazement, the connection between the divine and the wonders of the physical universe.
From my sideways vantage I could see the nurses holding Audrey up to wipe her off and weigh her. My first conscious thought was wondering how on earth I could hold a baby that small–she seemed so tiny and fragile. Theresa emerged a minute later, also crying, and Jamie a minute after that. Once I heard each of them squawk, I knew they would be okay, no matter how long they had to stay in the NICU or ISCU.
Alan narrated each baby’s arrival, going to each station to inform me of their weights and appearances. The one thing he said over and over was, “She/he is so beautiful, so beautiful.”
He left to go with Jamie to the NICU, and Jen came in to hold my hand and talk me through the last bit of surgery, which also felt like it went by quickly. Suddenly it was over, and I was being lifted to a gurney to be taken back to the recovery room with both Audrey and Theresa.
Holding my girls as they wheeled us to the postpartum wing felt amazing: I had two of the most precious and longed-for gifts I could ever receive cuddled in my arms. They took all of us to the NICU first so I could see Jamie and hold him for the first time. Each of them was so tiny, and so utterly perfect.
That evening, Guy, Barb, Beth, Colin, and Jen celebrated with us and Audrey and Theresa in the room. They all got pizza from the pizza shop on the corner, and I ate popsicles and Jello for my clear liquid diet. =) The nurses let the girls room in with us for two nights before they determined that the girls couldn’t hold their body temperature and sent them to the ISCU. That was the only disappointment of the experience–one of the nurses even told us to have the car seat test done for both girls because they might go home with us when we were discharged, which both excited and terrified us.
They ended up staying in the ISCU for3.5 weeks (Audrey) and 4 weeks (Theresa). Jamie was released from the NICU after a week to join his sisters, and we spent all of June shuttling back and forth to the hospital; a month of pump parts, bottles of breast milk, snacks, books on breastfeeding multiples, bonding with nurses and other moms, and learning how to care for our beautiful babies.
And now they’re babbling at us, smiling their “Good morning!” smiles, and snuggling into our hugs. God is so, so good.