NICU, Transfusions, & the Prepared Doctor: A Triplet Birth Story

I knew pretty early into my triplet pregnancy that a C-section would likely be my birth story. And honestly, I was perfectly fine with that. After struggling for so long to have a child of my own, I didn’t care too much whether I delivered vaginally, naturally, cesarean–I just wanted my babies to be healthy. And I was beyond grateful that I had life growing inside my womb.

My pregnancy was a breeze for triplets. I had no morning sickness and felt pretty good the majority of my pregnancy. I had a cerclage at 14 weeks to help my cervix stretch to help keep my babies in me as long as possible. I was put on strict bed rest at 27 weeks and managed to make it to 34 weeks 1 day. My pregnancy was nothing short of a miracle. In fact my initial Doctor believed I would have an unsuccessful triplet pregnancy. According to her, I was “too short, too thin, and it was my first pregnancy.” I learned pretty quick to find Doctors who supported me throughout my journey who were supportive of my situation and willing to help me have a successful pregnancy. Not only did I find a Perinatologist who delivered my miracle babies, but she saved my life too.

Delivery Day finally arrived.

After my Doctor did an ultrasound and checked on each baby and the remaining fluid in each sac, my Doctor told me “You can go a few more days if you want to.” But I absolutely didn’t want to. My body was tired and the pressure of carrying my tiny humans was a lot on my body.

All of our family waited at the hospital with extreme anticipation to meet the newest additions. This meant a lot to me. My husband was finally taken back to a room in the OR while our nurses and Doctors prepped me. And my Mom waited in the recovery room so I could have someone with me after the babies came.

I remember walking into the delivery room. It was hard to walk because the pressure of the triplets felt heavy. My heart was so full of anticipation and excitement. After the spinal block and prep, my husband finally came in. I was feeling numb and a bit shaky, which I didn’t know would happen, but other than that I really couldn’t feel much. I felt better having my husband there with me holding my hand. He stared directly into my eyes and told how beautiful I was. I could feel the joy in him. He was about to become a Dad.

In a matter of moments, I felt a tug as my Doctor was about to deliver our daughter, Charlize. “I think something is happening,” I told my husband. And in that second Charlize was born. Our Doctor held her up for a quick second. She was beautiful with dark hair and bigger than what I expected. Our Doctor then pulled out Sawyer, I didn’t get to see him. And then finally, Jax. When she showed me Jax I thought he had the cutest little nose I had ever seen. The NICU team was moving quickly to stabilize them and see what their needs were. My husband walked across the room to dote on the newest loves in our lives. My heart felt so satisfied. I was finally a Mom.

I was kind of going in and out. My husband headed to the NICU to be with the babies while my Doctor stitched me up. I woke up in the recovery room with my Mom and my labor and delivery nurses. I kept asking for pictures of my babies but there was a mix up and Mom didn’t have her phone. It wasn’t long after that that my world became a blur and my memory of my delivery became more of a fog and what I was told happened rather than what I remember.

Every so often my nurse would press on my stomach to make sure my uterus was contracting back to it’s original size. This was incredibly painful. I do remember that. My Mom told me I would squeeze her hand so tight it turned deep red. I could barely keep me eyes open. Blood clots the size of golf balls were coming out of me. My Mom knew something was wrong. I was losing a lot of blood. My nurses called my Doctor who agreed that the situation was life threatening and I needed to get back to surgery right away. It was a whirlwind. And my poor Mom was in the midst of it all.

“I need an OR. If it is not available we are going to have to do this now, right here” My Doctor said as she turned to my Mom. “Please go find Ryan and pray. She has lost a lot of blood.”

I was rushed back to the OR. My Doctor needed to stop the bleeding and I needed blood transfusions. I was experiencing uterine atony, which lead to excessive hemorrhaging. My mom had to tell my family what was happening. My husband was in the NICU at the time, along with my sister and her husband. He was beaming as he walked toward her, she said. Talk about a high of highs and in an instant low of lows.

Fortunately, my Doctor was really prepared. I remember prior to my delivery she talked about the risks of delivering triplets, she mentioned I was high risk for uterine atony and that it could lead to death. I thought nothing of it. I just never thought it would happen to me. My Doctor, even prior to my c-section, had my blood type ready for me in case I needed transfusions and thank God she did because they had to move quickly to stop the bleeding and stabilize me.

It was hours later when I woke up in the recovery room. I was so thirsty and my husband was feeding me ice chips. I couldn’t even keep my head up to look at him, I was just so tired and really had no idea what had happened to me. Nurses checked on me all throughout the night taking blood, re-bandaging my c-section wound, and changing my hospital underwear and padding. It hurt every single time. My body was so weak. My husband slept next to me on the couch and left every hour or so to go check on the triplets.

In the morning our Doctor came in to share with me what had happened. I could barely keep my eyes awake to really understand. At one point I even said “I am so sorry I am trying really hard to pay attention but I just can’t keep my eyes open.” I lost two liters of blood that night. I could have died. My Doctor inserted a vaginal pack to help stop the bleeding. And I have experienced nothing more painful in my life than having it removed.

Nearly a day had passed and I was desperate to meet my babies. I was so weak, but I knew I had to use all the strength I could to somehow get out of my bed and get over to the NICU to meet my long awaited miracle babies. With the help of one of my labor and delivery nurses, she was able to help me get to a wheel chair. The heart of this nurse in particular was like nothing I have seen before. She was with me the night before and stayed after her shift just to make sure I was okay. She was determined to help me get to the NICU. I remember crying through every movement as my nurse helped me to the wheelchair. “We don’t have to do this now, if it is too much.” She told me. But I needed to meet my babies. I needed to see them, to hold them. My nurse wheeled me into their NICU room with my husband right beside me. Talk about a moment. I don’t think I ever understood the power of love until I for the first time finally met my hope babies. They were so wanted, so loved, and they were finally here. I first saw Sawyer, then Charlize, and finally Jax. My heart was truly overwhelmed with some of the greatest love I have ever felt. I was able to hold Charlize and Sawyer. We had to wait a couple days to hold Jax because he needed breathing treatment. The triplets were healthy for the most part. All weighed about 5 pounds each and needed to work on growing and feeding. One of the hardest things I experienced in my first days as a Mother was leaving them in the NICU. I ugly cried the whole drive home. I knew they were in the best of hands. I firmly believe NICU nurses are angels. The triplets only spent two weeks in the NICU and all came home with us on the same day.

My birth story was not what I imagined it would be and I wish I could remember more, but it is my story and it has made me a stronger woman. I know how terrifying the situation must have been for my husband, for my family. However, for myself, I think it took me some time to realize and understand how terrifying the experience really was. My birth story could be considered traumatic and truthfully, if my Doctor wasn’t so prepared I could have died. Thankfully, I had nothing to compare it to and because I was so out of it, a lot of my delivery and the days following are kind of a blur. Even those moments I met my babies are fuzzy. However, nothing can take away that overwhelming feeling of love that was planted in my heart the moment I became a Mother. I brought life into this world, three lives. I am proud of my journey. I am proud of my story and what my body did. I could never repay my amazing Doctor who took care of me so well throughout my whole pregnancy and delivery.

Being a Mother is undoubtably one of the most incredible things I have ever experienced. My journey to become a Mother is one of Hope. And my heart rejoices in this absolutely undeniable love I share day in and day out with three of the most precious tiny humans!​

Story and photographs submitted by Desiree Fortin

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