We are coming up on the three year anniversary of the day we found out we were having triplets; a day that I will never forget. We had three children at the time, and made the decision to have one more baby. My 41st birthday was in April and I told my husband if I wasn’t pregnant by then, we were done. He agreed.
A week before my birthday we found out I was pregnant! Due to our crazy kid schedules, work schedules, and out of town guest schedules, we couldn’t see the doctor until the second week of May. Because of my age you never know what could happen or go wrong, so we decided not to tell anyone. Not knowing how far along we were, my obstetrician did a trans-vaginal ultrasound. Since this was my fourth pregnancy I knew to look for a peanut shape on the screen. Well I saw two peanut shapes! I said, “OMG, I see two!” She said, “Well, I see three.” My response was, “Three what?” She laughed and said, “Three babies.” I knew she wasn’t referring to three puppies. It was THREE BABIES. We already had three kids. Three more would make six!
I immediately started crying. I was scared. I was speechless. I was stunned. How did this happen? I mean, I know how IT happened, but OMG, three babies at one time! Multiples do not run on either side of our families. We weren’t using any fertility drugs. It was 100% spontaneous. THREE BABIES! We have a minivan. Three more kids would not fit in a traditional minivan. We would have to get a church bus van! I nurse my babies. How could I possibly nurse three babies? I only have two boobs! Where would we put three cribs? My mind started racing. All the questions! All the concerns! Did I mention I was already 41 years old? It was THREE babies?
My husband, who is always the voice of reason, was very calm. Or at least on the outside he appeared to be calm. He started looking a bigger car options. He was figuring out where we would put three cribs. Our OB had already told us that if I continued carrying all three babies, she would have to move me to another practice. I was too high-risk for her. I am diabetic. I was “older” (AMA/advanced maternal age). And I was carrying triplets. The thought of losing one never crossed my mind. I had never had a miscarriage. Despite my diabetes, my three previous pregnancies were relatively normal.
I started comprehending the idea that we were having three babies at once. My mind slowed down. I began to start planning where we would put three cribs. I let my husband worry about the car situation. My number one concern was to carry three healthy babies as long as I could. I started researching online about triplets. Common expectations. Common concerns. I know every pregnancy is different but at least I had a road map. I completely expected many detours. As we all know, babies have a mind of their own. We were having triplets, it was so exciting! What a blessing!
At my next OB appointment they did another ultrasound. And unfortunately, Baby C had no heartbeat. I was devastated. What happened? What did I do wrong? Our OB explained that sometimes these things happen. She was very compassionate and explained maybe something was wrong with the baby and was not developing the way it should? I know all that, but this was our first loss. I already had a plan! I was ready for three babies, or at least I thought I was. We decided that we would do nothing with Baby C. We didn’t want to risk losing the other two babies.
We had monthly appointments with our regular OB and a high-risk neonatologist. The ultrasound technicians were always so good. They gave me a heads up and let me know that they had to measure Baby C and check for a heartbeat. I had the option of looking away but I didn’t. I looked. The first few appointments I asked, “Is there a heartbeat?” It was always “No.” I knew it would be no but I had to ask. By month seven Baby A and Baby B pushed Baby C out of the view of the ultrasound technicians. I knew she was still there. I figured it was a girl. We had three girls at home and the other two babies were girls.
There are days that I look at my twins, Anna and Amelia, and wonder if they knew there should have been another sister. On their birthday, I say to myself, “There should be a third cupcake.” When they are fussier than normal or fighting, I find myself saying, “OMG imagine if there were three.” I know their sister is in heaven and God only gives you what you can handle. The loss of a triplet was devastation, but God knew I could handle five girls.
Jennifer Sutherland works full time from home. She married her college sweetheart who is a stay at home father. We have five girls, 14, 11 , 6, & 2 year old twins. We live in Central Florida. In my “free” time, I enjoy spending time with my family, spending time outside, crafting, and drinking lots of coffee!
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