by Valerie Hodgins
When I got married at 21yrs old I already knew that I had PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) and was following the recommended treatment for it. Finding out at 23yrs old that I was having triplets was a shocker. I think that I was in shock for the first few weeks. Everyone around me was so happy so why shouldn’t I be? Reality sets in when you are immediately put on bedrest because finding out at 13 weeks that you are carrying 3 babies “back then” there were no other options. From 15wks to 31wks I would LOVE to say that I enjoyed my pregnancy and that I was a glowing pregnant mom, but in fact I was scared out of my mind, huge and hormonal! Every week that passed was one week closer to a new milestone`.
Being admitted to the hospital at 26wks cause I was “close to delivery” was the scariest day of my life, they wheeled me into the NICU to show me the size of a baby that I was carrying to put it into perspective for me that if I were to deliver now this is what I would be faced with….then they showed me a baby that was 33wks gestation and said this is what I want! The pressure was on for something that was totally out of my control, listen and follow the strict hospital bed rest rules because I wanted those 33wks babies!
Well the babies came at 31.1wks during a planned C-section because the babies were growing so much that my lung capacity was restricted and my cervix was 5cm dilated. I felt so much guilt because I couldn’t get my babies to 33wks, I begged the doctors to wait to 32 wks and they explained that they would rather “plan” for their delivery then have it happen in the middle of the night with no extra support. So on Aug 14th 2002 at 6:45am the prepping for the C-section began. We had a waiting room FULL of family and grandparents waiting to see these 3 tiny babies. At 8:25 Chloe was the first to make her arrival at 3lbs 4oz screaming and was whisked away to the NICU, at 8:27 Carter was delivered at 3lbs 12oz and immediately brought to the NICU and 8:29 Cameron at 3lbs 12oz known as the baby of the family was also brought to the NICU. I never got to see my babies when they were born; I remember hearing them cry as they were taken down the hall to the NICU but that’s it. The guilt that I’ve had since day one, but had no control over. Finally after 3hrs in recovery and being horribly sick with the epidural and the C-section I was wheeled into the NICU to see my tiny babies. I cried because they were so perfect, I cried because they were so tiny, I cried because they were hooked up and I had no idea what was going to happen. We spent 42 days in the NICU and most of my days I was there for 14-16hrs because where else should I be? I felt guilty when I wasn’t with my babies, so I would sit in a rocking chair and hold each baby for little while and move to the next again feeling guilty that I couldn’t hold all 3 at once.
We call September 25th OUR FAMILY DAY, the day we finally got to bring our babies home. We loaded the babies into the van and drove 25km/hr all the way home with our precious cargo, my parents even followed us because they didn’t want anyone else to drive too close…LOL. We got home, put the babies in the house and looked at each other and said “Now what do we do”….. Our life for the past 6wks someone else did everything for the babies, we finally felt like parents and cried! Well one of the babies started crying and so began the routine and feeding schedule. Different formulas, different amount of iron drops, different acid reflux doses. Trying to keep track of all the wet and poopy diapers, who ate what and when? We had a perfect nursey set up with 3 different cribs, but when it came to that first night at home with the babies I was scared to leave them! So I dragged a futon mattress in their room and “slept” on it every night for the next 8 months. It wasn’t until my first POMBA meeting that I realized that this wasn’t “normal”. The other moms encouraged me to move out of the babies’ room and back into my bed. They gave me the confidence that I needed that my babies were OK and that I needed to trust that!
Having 3 babies and now being faced with going back to work, financially we had no choice. Mommy had to work so we had various family members coming to the house on their respected days to watch the kids as I went to work. That first year of trying to juggle being a working mom and 3 babies is a blur, somehow we got through it.
We started to notice that the now toddlers were not hitting certain milestones and self-referred ourselves to the local 0-6yrs children’s program. By the time the kids were 2.5yrs we had 2 of them diagnosed with severe autism. The guilt that I felt as a mom, was it because I went back to work that I didn’t notice the clues, was it because I was so exhausted from trying to keep up that I missed something? I had no control and I was no longer “in charge”. The life was crazy busy as we knew it would now change forever. Now we had no other option but look for daycare that would help Chloe and Cameron with their disabilities…but how would we pay for it??? So Mommy applied and got a second job working afternoons, midnights and weekends to cover the cost of daycare. Now I felt guilty because I was away from home even more but had no other choice….my heart ached every time I had to leave them.
Fast forward to 12yrs later, when last October when I was sitting at a workshop for Postpartum Depression and Anxiety. WOW….everything the facilitator was describing was ME, how can I be figuring this out…NOW? I always had a smile on my face and I didn’t feel the “scary” symptoms of PDD but it was the anxiety of everything that, in my opinion was buried for 15yrs and I had no idea. Talking about our experiences will only educate and help others. As well put together you are on the outside no one sees the inside. People always say I don’t know how you do it….well you know what me neither….I just do it! I do it for my family, my husband and most importantly my kids…cause that’s what moms do!
Mother to 14.5yr old triplets