One, two, three…and then one more:
After trying for only a few short months to get pregnant I went in to see my doctor. I had been pregnant once before but it had ended in a miscarriage at 13 weeks and we had to wait until I was able to try again, it seemed like forever…. It actually didn’t take that long, compared to some people. I used the Basal Body Temperature charts and took my temperature every day, but my charts didn’t look right to me, at least not the way that the sample ones from the internet looked. So after 5 months of chart taking I brought them in with me when I went to see my doctor. She looked at them and said that I was clearly not ovulating and since she knew I could get pregnant, she would prescribe a fertility drug for me to try.
I went to the drug store to fill my prescription for Clomid and immediately went home to take the first pill, as they have to be taken in the first days of your cycle. From there it was a waiting game. Even before my next cycle was due I knew that I was pregnant. I started to feel the same way I had the first time I was pregnant, so I went out and bought a pregnancy test kit. It was positive! Then I went to see my doctor to confirm that I was definitely pregnant and I was! I was so excited to be pregnant. There was no way that I could wait for 3 months to tell people. My friends at work started to dote on me, telling me not to pick up heavy boxes, or to play baseball with my students (I am a teacher). Little did they know…but taking their advice my have saved my pregnancy.
One night, at 10 weeks, I began throwing up and couldn’t stop. I was feeling very exhausted and so my husband took me to the hospital. There they gave me 2 bags of fluids to rehydrate me. While there a resident checked for the baby’s heart beat; we heard a faint heart beat and I was very relieved as I had never heard a heart beat with my first pregnancy. At 12 weeks I began spotting and was immediately worried that I was having another miscarriage. I went to see the doctor as soon as possible. She told me that it was probably old blood and not to worry too much. She gave me a requisition to get an ultrasound done anyway and so when I was 13 weeks my husband and I went for the ultrasound. Lying on the table and looking at the monitor I immediately saw what I thought was two babies. I was so thrilled! Twins run in both sides of my family and my husband and I were ready for the possibility of twins. The doctor doing the ultrasound continued to move the image around and then said, “You know you’re having triplets, don’t you?” WOW! I thought having twins would be great, but triplets…even better! My husband and I were thrilled!
As soon as I saw my doctor after the ultrasound she said to me that she was hoping that I wouldn’t be working at all anymore. I mentioned to her that I was only going to be substituting and therefore wouldn’t be working every day anyway. She said that was fine but that I would probably have to quit around 20 weeks. (At 15 weeks I ended up in the hospital again for dehydration, but that time I had to stay over night. I know I was dehydrated and completely out of it because when a nurse asked me if I was pregnant though IVF I said I didn’t know!) When I began subbing at the beginning of the new school year, I soon decided that working full days were getting too hard so I resigned myself to only working afternoons. A few days after that I was told to quit altogether, which was fine by me as I was too exhausted to work anymore. I was never told to have strict bedrest, but rather it was recommended I stay at home and rest as much as possible. When my husband and I wanted to go out Christmas shopping that November he pushed me in a wheelchair! I did what I knew I needed to do.
My pregancy was going fairly well. Nothing too out of the ordinary for a triplet pregnancy, or so I thought. At 29 weeks I began to have some symptoms of early labour (backpain and diarrhea) and after seeing my doctor was admitted to the hospital. I was already 2cm dilated. Once I arrived I was immediately hooked up to a monitor for contractions and fetal heart monitors. Indeed, I was having contractions. I was given something to stop the contractions, which soon worked and they stopped. My doctor told me I would have to stay in the hospital for a few days, possibly until the babies were born, which she was hoping would be 6 more weeks. That wouldn’t be the case.
One early morning, at 2:00am, I began to have contractions again. This time the contractions were not as easy to stop and I had become 3cm dilated. Around 2:00pm the doctors were satisfied that the contractions had stopped and I was finally allowed to eat! (They wouldn’t let me eat all that day in case I needed surgery). An hour after I had lunch I went to the washroom and began to bleed – LOTS. My contractions couldn’t be stopped this time and I had dilated to 6cm. The babies had to be born. At only 30 weeks I immediately went in for an emergency c-section. On December 11, 2002 at 4:29pm Max Austin Berg was born weighing 2lbs 11oz, 14 3/4″ long; at 4:30pm Dexter Calvin Berg was born weighing 3lbs 1/2oz, 15 1/2″ long; at 4:31pm Joshua Ivan Berg was born weighing 2lbs 13oz, 16 1/2″ long. Each of them were born breathing on their own. The steroid injections I received at 28 weeks for their lung development really helped. Their small sizes didn’t surprise us though; we were expecting that, but we were surprised by the fact that they were all boys!
After spending a few hours in recovery I still wasn’t feeling well enough to get into a wheelchair to go to the NICU to visit the boys. The next moring I couldn’t go due to the nurses’ shift change and then doctor’s rounds. By the time I was able to go, I decided to wait for the nurse to take out my IV and I was finally able to see them again around 2:00pm the next afternoon. I was told that Dexter had to be put on a ventilator for a few hours overnight but it was already out by the time I saw them. Joshua and Max were on oxygen as well as other tubes and monitors. Max was on some atibiotics as he had swallowed some blood during delivery and he wasn’t able to eat until his stomach cleared out.
Being in the NICU isn’t something any parent would want to do. It is very hard to be in there and have other people tell you when you can or can’t hold your children. It was a long 49 days until we were able to bring home our third baby, but we trudged in there day after day. I wouldn’t allow myself to take “a break” and not go visit for a day. There were the good, the bad and the horrible days. The first good day was when the boys were four days old and one nurse asked if I had held any of them yet. I had told her, “No, the doctor said maybe next week.” She said she would have to take them out of their isolettes later to weigh them, so why not hold them each for a little bit? I was so excited! That was one of the best feelings in the world. The bad days were any day when there was a set-back with any of the boys. Those seemed to happen often, but the boys nevertheless continued to improve.
My most horrible experience in NICU happened on Christmas Day when the triplets were two weeks old. It wasn’t just because that it was Christmas Day and my children were in the hospital, but I think it was because some of the nurses were short on compassion as they had to work on Christmas Day. I had previously held Dexter and Joshua almost every day. Max, however, was still having some problems with his stomach and they didn’t want me to hold him until they saw some significant improvement. I didn’t have a problem with that. My problem began the moment I walked up to their isolettes and saw that on top of each isolette was a picture of all three boys being held by someone – and this person wasn’t me!! I think that someone had very good intentions of trying to give us a nice Christmas present, but they have no idea of how much that hurt and still hurts me to this day [that these pictures of them being held were not of them with their parents]. The one thing I had been trying to patiently wait for since I knew I was expecting triplets [i.e. holding them all] was taken away from me by some nurse, a stranger. What’s worse is that even though all of them had obviously been out of their isolettes to be held that day already, I, as their mother, wasn’t allowed to hold them individually, except for Dexter. They still told me that Max was too frail to hold and Joshua’s nurse had to help out another nurse with an emergency. Some Merry Christmas, eh?
The boys continually improved with Dexter always being the first to accomplish each little milestone. He was the first to be in a bassinette, the first to be bottlefed, have his leads off, etc. Joshua was always next and Max always crept along behind. When the boys were one month old, my wish for holding all three together came true. We had a wonderfully understanding nurse that day and I asked to hold all three and she agreed! I don’t know what the doctor would have said, but I didn’t care! That was the first moment where it finally felt like we were a family.
At 6 weeks and 2 days Joshua (4lbs 14 1/2oz) and Dexter (5lbs 11 1/2oz) were allowed to come home. It was great to have them at home, but at the same time a little tricky with having to have someone to babysit them the day after their arrival home so I could go back to the hospital to visit Max. I was determined to visit Max every day too. I thought he’d be in there for about 1-2 more weeks, but five days after the first two came home so did Max, at just 4lbs 5 1/2oz. I think they let him go a little early just so it would be a little easier for me. I didn’t care about the reasons why…having all three at home was fantastic!