My story actually begins on October 2, 2003. The day I had my first ultrasound. That was when the very shocked technician informed me that
I was carrying triplets. She was excited because she had never seen triplets in an u/s before, and I was just trying not to faint. A few days later I met with my OB/GYN to learn what that actually meant. The reality was that this would be a very difficult pregnancy, and there was a very good chance they would be born premature. The question was, HOW premature.
The first step was a surgical procedure to hopefully keep me
from going into preterm labor. They stitched the bottom of my uterus closed to keep it from opening on its own with contractions. I had a very monitored pregnancy. I went through a lot to make sure these babies stayed in as long as possible because the longer they stayed inside, the better chance they had of being healthy.
I stayed at home on bedrest for months, and monitored my contractions at home with a belt that reported directly to a 24 hour a day nursing service, I also had to check my own blood pressure and report to the
nurses as well. I started blood pressure medicine early in the pregnancy.
Eventually, I was placed on an IV pump. I had to place a needle and tube into my leg and attach it to a pump that I wore 24 hours a day. When these precautions stopped working, I was hospitalized on February 25th. I was started on magnesium to stop the contractions while we waited for the steroid shots to develop their lungs. The magnesium was horrible and I had bad reactions to it. I was vomiting blood, incoherent, and practically paralyzed for the two days I was on it. But this was worth it to ensure that my babies were born as healthy as possible.
February 28th I had to stop taking the Magnesium because my
lungs had started to fill with fluid and I was having trouble breathing. This
was dropping the oxygen levels that were reaching the babies as well. The contractions began again, and it was decided that the babies would be born that morning by caesarian. The pregnancy was 33 weeks and 1 day along. Eric was born at 10:41 am weighing 3 lbs, 1 oz. I didn't see him as he was rushed by me on his way to the NICU, and he didn't cry. Joshua came next at 10:42 am weighing 3 lbs 14 oz. I only saw the top of his head as he was rushed by, and he didn't cry either. Hannah was born at 10:43 am weighing 4 lbs 3 oz. She cried very loudly and flailed her arms as she was rushed past me.
Eric started out on the ventilator for an hour, then moved to CPAP - which is a machine to help babies breathe when they are too weak to
breathe on their own, then he was given oxygen, Josh and Hannah were both started on the CPAP but weren't on it long before they moved to oxygen. All three were breathing room air within 24 hours. I didn't get to visit them in the NICU for eight hours, and I didn't get to hold them until the next morning. I wasn't allowed to hold Eric until three days later when I was leaving the hospital, because he couldn't maintain his temperature outside of the incubator. When I held him, I had to hold him in what's called a Kangaroo hold. Which means I held him skin to skin, and both of us were wrapped up in blankets. They came to check his temperature several times while I was holding him, and had to put him back in his bed when it dropped too low.
The trio didn't have many issues in the NICU, they all had their turn under the bili lights for jaundice, and Hannah wasn't very tolerant of the IVs. She kept pulling them out.
Hannah was the first to come home. She was home after a week and a half in the NICU. Joshua came home after 2 weeks in the NICU. Eric was another story. After his brother and sister left the NICU, he stopped eating, and the nurses had to resort to using the feeding tube again. After a few days of this, I brought Hannah and Josh back for a visit. He immediately started eating again and was home with us within a few days. The nurses thought he just missed his brother and sister.
The time a child spends in the NICU is a very emotional time for the parents. Leaving your babies behind when you leave the hospital is
heartbreaking. My ex-husband and I used to each have a photo album that we carried with us with pictures of them, so we would have something to look at when we missed them. I'm also sure that the nurses in the NICU were sick of hearing from me. I must have called every 20 minutes to check on them. But our family is lucky. If not for the March of Dimes, and the research they provide, my babies, these wonderful
children standing here with me, wouldn't be here today. That is why I walk every year. Walking every year, and raising money for this cause, and even serving as your ambassador family this year is a small favor in return for what I've gotten from the March of Dimes.
I hope you enjoyed the speech. It was hard to write, and even harder to give. Please, if you have any extra money, give to the March of Dimes. If you live in the Crawfordsville area, you can help me in another way. I am having a yard sale on Friday and Saturday, ALL proceeds are going to the March of Dimes. Someone donated money to me to cover the ads, so if you have any junk bring it to my house. If you need any junk, come to my house and get some! Or if you desire some lemonade, come over, because Morgan will be running a lemonade stand to raise her own money.