My Birth Story (Triplets!)

Dr. Yamada stands up from the stool positioned between my legs and removes his rubber glove. “You’re six centimeters dilated.”
I hadn’t felt anything, just an unsettledness, a general discomfort. Everything about this pregnancy has been different from my first, the waiting, the long night of contractions, the three exhausting hours it took to push out our son.
“How many weeks?” the doctor asks.
“Thirty-four,” I say.
At every appointment, he reminds me to keep off my feet, no extended walking, no lifting over ten pounds. But I do lift our two-year-old. It’s something I can’t give up.
Everything picks up speed. A nurse appears with a wheelchair. At the hospital next door, a team of three works on me, taking vital signs, changing my clothes, giving us forms. Then, something I hadn’t expected: pain.
Forty-five minutes later, I am blissfully numb in a large operating room. All around me is activity. There are three doctors, many nurses, much equipment. My husband Jason is there in his green surgical suit, video camera in hand.
“We’re going to begin,” Dr. Yamada says.
My only view is the blue curtain positioned so that I have no view of anything. I feel pulling, the way your stomach drops on a rollercoaster. And just like that, a small cry.
“Here he is,” a nurse says. “A boy.”
I watch as they wipe his face. They bring him to me and prop him up for a quick kiss. He has Jason’s eyes.
More activity below. Much too quickly to process, someone says: “Another boy.” Two more nurses appear. One is holding a fair-skinned baby. The hair escaping in thin wisps from the cap is pale blonde, a surprise. He, too, is wheeled away.
There is a slight but palpable change in the room’s mood. Later, Jason says the scene was like a “construction site,” with doctors pulling things out of me, pushing them back in.
Dr. Yamada announces my only girl. I strain for a look at her, but there are many bodies in the way. She is the smallest, having been forced into a tight space beneath my ribcage by her sprawling brothers. They take her away before I see her.
Then the waiting begins. Waiting while they put me together again, get me a bed and a meal. They want me to wait until morning to see the babies, but I refuse. Around midnight, I finally go to the NICU.
The babies are sleeping in their isolettes. The boys are near each other, spread out almost naked under the lights. The nurses assure us how warm it is. Our daughter is a few isolettes down, next to a pair of twins I find out later have been there for three months.
Jason and I look at each other—worried, ecstatic, dumbstruck. We are very lucky. In thirteen days, all three are home, side by side in their crib. And then I fully exhale for the first time in weeks.
-by Mary Vensel White

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