I made it! I’m sure 33 weeks doesn’t seem like a big accomplishment to most women who have been pregnant. But with each week and then each day that brought me closer to the time I delivered the triplets, it just continued to amaze me what a gift I was receiving!
The underlying fear I didn’t realize I was holding on to was that my body was ultimately “broken” and would go into premature labor once again. Visions of NICU stays and beeping machines and fragile babies and long lonely walks into the hospital and being unable to feed my babies – these all hovered in the back of my mind.
But breaking past this point must be something like what a runner feels like seeing the Finish Line and hearing the cheers (I assume this because I am not a runner and don’t understand why people interrupt good sleep on a regular basis to go sweat and run – I have little people who interrupt my sleep and I chase after, sweatier and sweatier. : )
This post is a little different than my usual posts, but it just kept swirling around in my head and I had to get it down on paper…or blog. You know what I mean. : )
Not having experienced a typical pregnancy the first go-round, I’m constantly aware of the great differences between a higher-order multiples (HOM) pregnancy and a low-risk singleton pregnancy.
- Fewer ultrasounds. I had routine ultrasounds (vaginal and abdominal) about every two weeks with the triplets. I had one at 8 weeks this time and will have one more to check the location of the placenta, around 36 weeks.
- Different prenatal care. After discovering at 11 weeks that we were having triplets, we frantically searched for a doctor who had experience with HOMs, could fit me in and would also be willing to deliver them naturally. I spent so much time in specialist’s offices and my OB/GYN’s office. This time, around 18 weeks, I started looking for a midwife who would attend my VBAC at home (there are many wonderfully skilled midwives who wanted to, thankfully!). My kiddos have been a part of the development of their sister/brother all along, climbing up on the bed to hear the baby’s heartbeat and use their own “stet-a-scopes.” Intense and draining vs. casual and natural. The difference is so striking and really could be an essay all it’s own!
- No nausea in the third trimester. I was pretty much nauseous the entire pregnancy and randomly (and very, very violently) throwing up. I never threw up in the first trimester with this one and haven’t been nauseous since about 18 weeks!
- No surgeries. At 21 weeks I had a cerclage. It was a minor surgery where they “sewed” my cervix shut to prevent it from opening any further! A cerclage isn’t even a consideration this time around!
- No bedrest. I spent about three months on modified – strict bedrest, in an attempt to stave off premature labor. These days I have a cervix of steel (you can pray for that to stop in another 8 weeks or so, k? ; ) ). I am not working out at the gym (are those pregnant women really for real???) but I am taking my kids to the park, grocery shopping, nesting and LIVING!
- There’s more room. I joke that this baby is swimming in the Penthouse because he/she never.stops.moving. The movements sometimes throw me off balance! With the triplets, they always moved plenty and I joked then that they were all dancing at once. But their flips were entirely limited within the confines of three sacs and around three placentas. As big as my belly was (see below!) it was still pretty tight real estate in there.
- My belly isn’t as big. See? Enough said. Glory, hallelujah!
Someone commented to me the other day that I was going to experience pregnancy “like the rest of us” and I laughed in my head: unlike the “rest of them,” while pregnant with the trio I essentially skipped the whole second trimester and just had awful, horrible first and third trimesters. …No nice break where you feel somewhat cute and energetic. I went straight from vomiting to feeling like I was 40 weeks! I measured full term for six weeks before giving birth…and I gave birth at 32.5 weeks. Think on that one for a minute. : )
It’s also pretty funny to me as I prepare for this baby how much less stuff I need! When we were preparing for three babies, we had to buy a bigger vehicle, three carseats, three cribs, etc. (see more crazy stuff we had to buy and do with three babies here). With this baby, I need a carseat (we’ll have four in our van…gulp). I lovelovelove this one that we have for the trio so I’m planning to just go with this one from birth! And diapers. I loved cloth diapering with the trio and can’t wait to see this little one in some fluff! I just haven’t decided on which ones I want this time around. (What’s your current fave?) And I want to wear this baby. Well, I figure this baby won’t have much of a choice as I’ll be chasing three little ones around. Wearing a baby was just not easy before so I am looking forward to it with this baby; I’m in love with this one (gender neutral, don’t you think?). I have a few other things I need/want, like swaddle blankets, clothes, nursing pads, etc. But the “needs” are so much fewer this time around!
As different as these pregnancies are, I’m also incredibly aware of how they are similar:
- I am pregnant. I am growing life inside my body. Whether there were 30 fingers or 10, I am doing something that fulfills God’s mandate to be fruitful and multiply and functioning in a way my body was created to do. It fascinates me all over again.
- I’m still tired. It’s amazing how much true “rest” was impossible on bedrest. I was constantly drained and fatigued, supporting three very, very rapidly growing humans. This time, I’m supporting those same growing humans (three year olds, anyone?) outside my body and growing one. The struggle is real, folks. It’s real.
- I’m still excited. The first time I became a mother. Three times over. All at once. It was bewilderingly exciting to meet one baby after another and to know they were mine.This time, I am so looking forward to pulling this little one from my body and snuggling him or her on my chest with Daddy, introducing him/her to three excited siblings.
- I still have temptations to fear. With my first pregnancy, I felt like a ship tossed between waves of “how will I ever manage to care for three newborns” and “what if one or more doesn’t survive?” It was a constant battle. This time I face the question every mother has asked since Eve first gave birth: will I really be able to do this? And the answer is yes. I am in faith that God created my body to give birth, even post-cesarean, and that I will be able to deliver this sweet baby in the comfort of my own home, surrounded by my family.
Daily I am confronted with the challenges of this pregnancy – hard in a different way – aware that each day is full of His grace. And I make it to the end of the night not through my own strength or abilities but with His help. I am weak and counting on seeing His power and grace during each moment (2 Corinthians 12:9-10).
Countdown to 42 weeks: 8 weeks!
How far did you carry your last baby?