Julie, Jessica & Jaclyn's Birth Story
The First Time My husband, Jeff and I got married six years ago, and my sons Jeffrey (11) and James (7) are from a previous marriage. Jeff and I both love children and tried to get pregnant. We talked to our doctors and they suggested Clomid. When Clomid didn’t work, we tried IUI, and after the first round of shots we were pregnant with another boy.
Because of my age, turning 35 the day I got pregnant, I was talked into doing an amniocentesis to detect any problems. The amniocentesis made me lose this precious little angel, John William. He was stillborn at 20 weeks. I was heartbroken. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about him. Our priest, Father John, helped us in dealing with his death and placed his ashes around a beautiful tree in Potomac, Maryland.
Surprising News! Jeff and I decided to try again. After another two rounds of fertility shots, I was pregnant. The nurse had my blood drawn every other day and my numbers were high. At five and a half weeks, the nurse said that she saw two sacs, but said that only one had “something” there. I was told to come back ten days later. At seven weeks, the nurse said, “Well, it’s not twins, it’s triplets!”
Meeting with the Doctors Jeff and I met with the fertility doctor, who told us that with my medical history (two miscarriages and a stillborn), the odds didn’t look good for me to carry these babies to term. My size didn’t help either ( I am five feet tall and a little over 100 pounds). She suggested selective reduction. Then she told us that one of the eggs had split, meaning I had identical “twins,” and that this is an act of God. We had already decided “No” to reduction and that I would go as far as I could with the pregnancy.
Jeff and I met with a high risk doctor who had delivered multiples and he didn’t discuss reduction. He said that I would probably go on bed rest at 20 weeks and be hospitalized at 34 weeks until the end of my pregnancy. He really wanted to get me to 36 weeks.
A Winner! I went to the Internet to read as much as I could on triplets as well as identical twins. I sent for the Triplet Connection Expectant packet. What a wealth of information. At nine weeks, I entered a contest for Health in the Millennium. Anyone turning 50 or 100, or expecting in the millennium, could write a paragraph on what their health ideas for the future were. I wrote that I was expecting triplets, due on Valentine’s Day 2000, and I wished for them to be happy and healthy, etc. I was nominated a weekly winner, and received a gift certificate of $75 to use in their health catalog.
Bed Rest Begins At 12 weeks, I went to the bathroom at work and was hemorrhaging. An ambulance took me to the hospital, and the emergency doctor on call told Jeff and I a dozen times that if I was going to miscarry there was nothing they could do for me. The prayer circles started.
I went to my doctor the following afternoon, still bleeding, but it was dark blood. He did a sonogram, thinking there would be no good news. He showed me the three little heart beats and later said that he thought that the cysts and fibroid I had were causing the dark blood.
For the next eight weeks I bled. I was on bed rest, only allowed to go to the bathroom, take a quick shower or get my water bottle filled. I was going to the doctors every other week. At 20 weeks our sonographer said that it looked like I was carrying all girls. Jeff thought he saw “boy parts,” so until delivery, we didn’t know.
Bed rest was hard. I missed James’ first day of kindergarten, his birthday, Halloween, and I was too big to enjoy sitting at the table for Thanksgiving. Both Jeffrey and James seemed to be handling my bed rest just fine. Thanks to the Triplet Connection and their reading materials, I read that bed rest is so important for growing healthy babies. The laundry can wait, the dishes can wait. I crocheted the babies their blankets, one with green colors, one all white and one with purple colors, since I didn’t know if they were boys or girls. Jeff bought me a laptop, my connection to the rest of the world. He took the boys to daycare, cooked dinner and helped with bath time. I could help with homework. Father John and Deacon Bill visited me every Sunday while Jeff took the boys to church and Sunday school.
At 22 weeks, Jeff took a pleasure trip to Colorado and he drove. I didn’t want him to be mad at me, but I really didn’t want him to go. My mom was staying with me at night to help with the boys. It was really too much for me with him being gone, and I went into pre-term labor. I was sent home on medication to stop the contractions. I had to take this until the end of the pregnancy. At 28 weeks, I started itching. I developed a rash on my tummy, and thanks again to the Triplet Connection, I received information on pregnancy itching. My doctor put me on medicine since the itching also made me very irritable.
Happy Birthday! James, who was five at the time, had said many times that he didn’t like having the last birthday in the year. On December 17, 1999, at 31 weeks six days, Jaclyn, Julie and Jessica were born. I woke up that morning and felt a gush. By the time I got to the hospital and was checked I had dilated to 2½ centimeters. My doctor said that he would like to start an IV to stop the labor if he could. Five minutes later he checked me again, and I had already dilated to five centimeters. There was no stopping my labor now. He was very pleased with the weight of the girls, who were born by c-section. Jaclyn weighed three pounds, ten ounces, Julie weighed four pounds, five ounces, and Jessica weighed three pounds, three ounces.
The NICU doctor said that the girls would be in the NICU for three to six weeks, if not longer. Jaclyn came home from the NICU on New Year’s Eve. Julie and Jessica were both home within three and a half weeks. Their doctor told us that the girls were doing so well, that we needed to take them home. I used the colors from their blankets for their pacifiers, green for Jaclyn, pink for Julie and purple for Jessica. Jessica has red hair, and a green safety pin on Jaclyn’s clothes and a pink one on Julie’s clothes helps us know who’s who.
What a Homecoming! The day after all the girls were home I received a phone call about being a grand prize winner out of all of the weekly winners for the contest I’d entered. The grand prize was $15,000! Our family was video taped and was shown on the internet along with pictures of the girls.
People ask me what I thought when I was told I was carrying triplets. I always wanted three children, but God must have thought I meant three children at one time. I am a firm believer that God only gives out what we can handle, so he must have thought that we could handle the bed rest and taking care of our five children. Jeffrey and James’ elementary school and our church organized volunteer help and they are truly wonderful. Families from the school and the church have also been bringing dinners by during the week. My hope is that one day, when I can, I would like to give as I have been given.
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