I’ve been absent for a few weeks from the blogosphere. If you don’t follow me on Facebook, I delivered the triplets two weeks ago on June 23rd. It wasn’t supposed to happen that way. I wasn’t even 23 weeks along, but my body had other plans. Early on that Sunday morning, Abigail was born at 4:48am. She lived for two hours, before passing away and becoming an angel. The other two managed to stay in me for 17 more hours. Sunday night, Abby’s identical sister Peyton was born. Shortly after, brother Parker was born. P & P just celebrated two weeks in the NICU. I’ll give you an update below, but first I want to share what my family has gone through and what it’s like grieving publicly.
(Ryan and I holding Abby for her short time on earth)
Two weeks ago today, I woke up in the ICU. I had a half dozen IV’s bruising my arms and oxygen tubes in my nose. I was scared. I remembered bits and pieces of the night before. I remember giving birth to the triplets and I remember the heartbreaking moment when we lost one of them. You see, I was extremely sick. An infection is what caused me to go into labor so early. Immediately after giving birth, the infection took over and I went into septic shock. Doctors whisked me back to the operating table and did everything they could to get rid of the infection. I remember getting to the ICU, where my family was waiting. I remember the doctor saying that because I’m young and healthy, I should survive. It wasn’t until days later that I realized how close to death I really was. I look back now as I’m at home recovering and I think about my husband and my parents. As they sat in the waiting room already grieving over losing Abby, Ryan wondered if he would be a single dad to two surviving triplets. And I’m sure my parents wondered if they would lose a child the same day they lost a grandchild. It was a rough week in the hospital, but we managed to get through it. I’ve been at home since, taking it easy and trying to regain my energy from my illness and months of bed rest.
A week ago today, we said goodbye to our little angel Abby. I can’t explain the pain we are enduring, it’s unlike anything I have ever experienced. The entire service felt like a dream. It was a surreal moment where I felt like I would wake up and still be pregnant…or at least hoped. It gave us the closure we needed, but it will be a long time until we can move on. As I’ve mentioned, we knew my pregnancy was high risk. There were a number of things that could go wrong, but after reaching the second trimester, I never thought losing a child would be one of them. Once I hit 18 weeks, I seemed to experience every major complication possible. But week after week, a miracle happened and I was still pregnant. That was until two weeks ago.
The grieving process is an usual one. There are good days and bad days. On the good days, I might only cry for a few minutes. I find myself laughing with friends over the phone and reminiscing over pregnancy cravings and the funny things our surviving triplets did in the NICU that day. On the bad days, I find myself crying at anything. A Starbucks drink because that’s what Ryan brought me right as I started to go into labor. Hot tamales because that was my pregnancy craving the week before I delivered. On those bad days, my heart aches. Not a little pain you feel when someone breaks up with you. It’s a deep sharp pain that causes me to grab my chest in terrible physical pain. That’s usually followed by tears and the thought “why me”?
I know each day will get a little easier. And I know the more I talk about it, the easier it will get. I find myself wondering if it was a good idea to be so public with my pregnancy (though it would have been impossible to hide triplets on television!). Did I have to let people know I was having complications? Did I have to let people know our struggle with infertility? But looking back, I wouldn’t change a thing. I know my story has helped others who have gone through similar situations. I received emails from people across the country telling me I’m an inspiration and that I give them hope for starting a family. My motto during my pregnancy has been, “God gives you only what you can handle”. I have no idea why things happened the way they did and I know I’ll question that for a long time. But maybe, just maybe, losing a child was meant to be so that I could share my story and help others going through their own loss. We know that Abby saved her brother and sister. She was in distress for so many weeks, but hung in there, giving time for her brother and sister to grow. I know we will never forget her and we’re so thankful for the two hours we got to spend holding her. She was a fighting, kicking her way out into this world. She evened squeaked, trying her hardest to cry. So as we move forward, Ryan and I will use her strength as guidance…helping us get through the ups and downs of grieving and having two children in the NICU.
(Holding Parker for the first time)
Now onto a happier note–our surviving triplets. A few people have asked me if we now refer to them as “twins”? The short answer, no. They are always going to be our triplets. There were three of them the entire journey. Even though one isn’t with us now, she’s with us in spirit…and that’s why I refer to Peyton and Parker as “surviving triplets”, not twins. As for P & P, they are trucking along in the NICU. They both have their moments, but we’ve learned to ignore the constant beeps and alarms. The doctors and nurses know what they are doing and they are taking great care of our babies.
Parker opened his eyes last week! He’s been wide awake ever since then. He’s a bit tinier than Peyton, but he sure is feisty…always kicking and tugging at his wires.
Peyton is quite the princess in the NICU. The nurses have even given her tiny bows to wear! Check out Ryan changing his first ever diaper–his hands look bigger than Peyton. Most days we get to hold them, unless they are being difficult. And let me tell you, that hour a day makes the pain and grief go away. They are barely a pound each, yet they are so full of life. Thanks for all the prayers, keep them coming. We have an extremely long road ahead of us, but we’re staying positive and cherishing every moment with our preemies.
This story was first published on my Skry’s the Limit blog at www.wandtv.com on July 8, 2013.