Our Story

“I think we’re having a baby”, the first words from my mouth just 5 months after learning I had hypothyroid condition and PCOS (Polycystic ovarian syndrome). We called the doctor the next morning and made an appointment for a blood test and sure enough he said “You’re expecting”.  What we didn’t know at the time was we were in for the ride of our lives.  I quickly learned the real meaning of the words “Morning sickness”.  A few days after our first appointment, the blood test returned with very high levels of hormone. The doctor called me in for an ultra sound.  Our first ultrasound revealed a very healthy little baby beginning to grow.  He was still baffled by the levels of hormone and seeing only 1 baby, so he did another blood test.  He called me again the following week and said we needed another ultrasound. This time to our amazement we saw TWO healthy babies growing.  So , that explained the high levels of hormone at least at this point.  The doctor was not concerned at this point and said he would see us in a couple weeks for another follow up ultrasound. Those couple weeks went by agonizingly slowly as I became more and more ill with morning sickness and struggled to keep all the prenatal pills down. Finally, it was time again to see my two little angels on the ultrasound. The doctor flipped off the lights and began looking.  He looked at Baby A, then Baby B, and kept looking around. He measured the sizes of each baby until, he stopped and looked closely at the screen.  Now you have to understand our Doctor.  He is a very serious, blunt man.  He cuts straight to the chase on everything.  He said, “and here’s baby C! This one is much smaller than the other two,” and off he went measuring some more and didn’t say anything more about 3 babies. Finally he said “3 babies is going to be a tough pregnancy and chances are all 3 won’t make it”.  He asked if we wanted to reduce the pregnancy but of course we declined!  We had been blessed with THREE babies and how could we take one away! The real question was,  “How are we going to tell our parents we are having triplets?”.  Once we were able to swallow again from the big news we smiled and left the office with great anticipation.  It would be then that the doctor would refer us to the University of Washington Hospital to a High Risk Clinic. 
On a Tuesday morning we loaded into the car and drove 2 hours to Seattle to the High Risk Clinic for our first ultrasound and meeting with the new doctor.  This proved to be a very agonizing trip for me as I was very uncomfortable since I had to drink a ton of water so my bladder could be full for a 4 hour ultrasound.  This would be the first of over 100 2 to 3 hour drives to Seattle.  We were very nervous at this point since the doctor referring us had offered to terminate our pregnancy, telling us it was going to be a very difficult pregnancy and that there was a good chance none of the babies would survive.  When we got to the High Risk Clinic the doctor greeted us with a smile and then quickly got down to business. The first thing he did was offer to terminate and my husband spoke right up and said “NO WAY!, we are keeping these babies”.  The doctor said “alright, but I will warn you there are health risks to mom and babies.” We agreed that we knew there were risks, but we were willing to accept that and we couldn’t feel more blessed with our decision to keep going. 
The next 6 months would prove to be the most difficult months we’ve ever experienced.  I ended up in the hospital 3 times before the babies arrived and the final time I was there for nearly a month.  I had chronic kidney problems, heart palpitations and a pressure sore that didn’t heal until long after our babies arrived. On April 27th, my sister’s birthday, I was admitted for the final time and endured a long stay on bed rest to try and keep the babies in for as long as I could.  At this point we were 24 weeks and a few days.  The doctor wanted me to get these babies to 32 weeks, so I knew I had a long road ahead of me.  The road was long for my husband as well, since he had to continue to work 2 hours away.  He would drive home every night and go to work and return to my bedside in the wee hours of the morning.  My mother also made the trip many nights to stay with me and would leave when Phil got there in the morning!  Almost around the clock someone was with me to help out, to assist me and to be there when I would have to call the nurse in the middle of the night scared and in pain.
On May 10, 2011 I started having really horrific pain in my Kidney, worse than when I was admitted so the doctor decided we needed to have an ultrasound to see if I might have kidney stones since I have had one in the past.  I was wheeled down to the ultrasound tech and put on the table. I was feeling ok at this point but towards the end of the ultrasound I started to feel a lot of pain all over and I burst into tears when I got back to the labor and delivery floor.  One of the nurses, who I had become very attached to during my long stay, came rushing into my room to find out what was happening.  I told her I felt a lot of pain and fluid coming out.  She quickly got the team of doctors and they checked it out.  The plan of action was to get me magnesium and give me the steroids to help the babies’ lungs develop faster if they were to come.  This took several hours to get me back under control and the poor nurse had to stay past her shift for a few hours. She promised to stay and make sure I was ok before she left.  That evening it was decided that I was stable and the babies weren’t probably going to come just yet.  We would be able to keep them in longer so that they had a better chance of survival.  How much longer? We weren’t sure at that point but the doctor still hoped for 32 weeks.  Many sleepless nights and restless days went by.   Finally one nurse had a great idea to let me get into a bath, where I could hopefully get some relaxation.  I was able to do this twice with a lift team before the babies arrived.  What a relief!
On the morning of May 16, 2011 it was a typical session of rounds. The doctor came in, told me he wanted to see me go at least 2 more weeks, but really wanted me to make it to 32 weeks before the babies came. I groaned and agreed and tried to go back to sleep.  About 5 minutes after the doctor left the room, something didn’t feel right.  I felt a gush and a lot of pain, similar to the previous experience the week before, but a little more intense.  The doctors and nurses came rushing back in.  They were sure it was just my kidney again, but they said they would check just to be sure.  The doctor checked and immediately I could tell this wasn’t the same response as “It’s just your kidney”. He turned to the team and said “I’m going to scrub.  Get her ready.  We are delivering triplets today!”  It was now about 9am and my mother wasn’t even to the hospital.  My husband had called her at work and told her she better come, that we were having babies.  He said it very calmly, but she rushed right up.  At this point I was so scared. This was the moment we had been anticipating but “IT’s TOO SOON! I cried”.  The nurses reassured me everything was going to be ok as they wheeled me to the operating room.  As they prepped me for C-section all I worried about was making sure the babies were ok and I kept screaming “PUT ME TO SLEEP”.  I had to be asleep for the procedure since I cannot have epidural due to my Spina Bifida.  This was risky to the babies as the anesthetic also puts them to sleep, so the C-section had to be quick.  By 10am I was asleep and the operation began.  By 10:35 the first baby was out and the 2nd then at 10:36 baby C was born.  Our 3 miracles were born at 28 weeks and 2 days, all weighing 2lbs and under.  Thus begins a new journey of becoming Two + A Trio.

July 20th, 2011: Holding all 3 together for the first time!
Our First Family Photo

1 comment:

  1. Awesome story Gretchen and Phil. So glad to have been able to be such a part of all of your lives this last year doing the many photos shoots we have. I smile when I look back at the new years we spent while you two had your 3 little secrets- the next time I saw you was in the hospital in Seattle with little Katelynn in your arms, so tiny and fragile. They are beautiful babies and you and Phil are great parents. Keep up the good work!