MS, the Birth of My Triplets, and the Aftermath
I will never forget the fear and anxiety I felt knowing not only was I about to welcome three babies into the world, but that they were premature and my husband was not even there with me. I was also fearful of how the epidural for the C-section would affect me because of my experience with the anesthesiologist during my son's birth (which you can read in my article, Becoming A Mom with MS). The fear, anxiety, and the numbness felt after an epidural will be another article topic all on its own.
The triplets were born and rushed to the NICU
But that's for another day! At 10:20 PM, just a little over an hour after my water broke, we welcomed our Baby A, a little boy. Within 2 minutes later, his 2 sisters joined him earthside. My husband rushed back from the lake once he found out my water broke and made it into the OR with me right after Baby C was born. It wasn't like in the movies where immediately after the C-section, they brought the babies over for me to see and hold. Each baby had to be rushed to an isolette, where they each had a team from the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) to work on them and make sure they were okay. With my first son, we had a two week NICU stay, and while I expected our triplets to most likely to be premature and in need of the NICU, I was not fully prepared for how tiny and fragile they were.
I've never held such a tiny baby
Baby A, our boy, was our biggest baby at 4 pounds and 5 ounces. Baby B, one of our girls, weighed in at 3 pounds 5 ounces, and Baby C, our tiniest girl, weighed just 2 pounds, 7 ounces. Baby A and B both were immediately put into isolettes and on CPAP for their breathing. Our tiny 2-pound Baby C was the only one who did not require any oxygen, and I was able to hold her for the first time a couple of hours after they arrived. I have worked at a preschool in the past and babysat often, but I had never held a baby so tiny! She was so little but so perfect, and the doctors and nurses were amazed at the fight she had in her. Both Baby A and B were on oxygen for the next day but came off CPAP within just two days.
Recovering from my C-section and visiting the NICU
Each baby was overall healthy, and they were deemed "feeders and growers." This means they were in the NICU primarily to grow, learn to eat without an NG tube, learn to regulate their body temperature, and go a certain amount of time without apnea and Brady spells. Premature babies are prone to have apnea and bradycardia, which causes their heart to beat too slowly due to their immature nervous systems. That first month was spent recovering from my C-section, going back and forth from the hospital to visit the babies in the NICU, and trying to help our oldest son adjust to our new normal.
A memory I will never forget
The babies had what was called "touch times" in-between their feedings where I was allowed to go in and hold each one separately as they were fed through their feeding tubes. Skin-to-skin, also known as kangaroo care, was what we often did as they thrived most when they could feel mom's touch. Premature babies' brains are continuing to grow and mature as they sleep, which is why they designate certain times of the day where parents and other approved family members can go into the NICU to hold them.
It's an overwhelming feeling to hold such tiny babies covered in wires and tubes, much less more than one at a time. Up until their first week, I was only allowed to hold one or two at a time, but exactly a week after they were born, the nurses allowed me the privilege of getting to hold all three of my babies together for the first time. There was nothing more surreal or beautiful than seeing them all united again outside of the womb and holding three tiny babies in my arms for the first time. That is a memory I will never in my life forget.
Read the final part of Calie's story describing bringing her babies home from the NICU and restarting her MS medications.
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