A year ago today David and I received news that would change our lives. We found out we were pregnant about a month earlier. And at the time I was 11 weeks along. David left early that morning for Cincinnati, OH for a conference he was leading. He wouldn’t be back until late Sunday. I was already in the throes of morning sickness, which of course knew no definition of time – keeping me up at night sometimes. I woke up and began to prepare to leave for work. I began to experience some bleeding and quickly called our wonderful midwife, Diane. She had done a quick check-up earlier that week and we had heard the heartbeat! But she was slightly concerned with the bleeding so she said she would order an ultrasound for me for as soon as possible – just to make sure everything was ok. I called David but had to leave a message as he was already in flight. Then I called my mom to see if she could take me to the appointment and to be with me, just in case something was wrong. Then I called work and told them I wasn’t going to be in the office today and to please pray. And I waited. I tried to trust God. I didn’t want to lose this baby. But whatever happened, I knew He was in control and was lovingly caring for me.
Diane called me back with the information about where to go for the ultrasound. Mom arrived. We headed to Lake Mary. We got lost. I was nervous. We found the plaza. I checked in and we waited. They called me back, mom came, too.
The technician was not a nice person, did not smile or make small talk. She didn’t try to reassure me. I was in there for an ultrasound to see how my baby was doing and she was very cold and impersonal. She told me they needed to do an internal US but I said no. After all, I didn’t even want to do an US in the first place because we were going to do this thing naturally – no drugs, no US, no doctors, no hospitals. The technician said that it was likely they wouldn’t be able to tell very much at all with the external exam since the baby would be so small. I asked her to please try anyway.
She began the exam by turning her monitor away from me so I couldn’t see a thing. She said this was because she needed to relay the information to my midwife who would then call me with the results. Both my mom and I were confused by this but I was too anxious to question Sergeant No-personality. Besides, I reasoned that I’d rather hear bad news from Diane than her, anyways.
Silence reigned. The room was freezing. My tiny tummy was covered with goo. My heart was pounding. I looked at the ceiling tiles. I wished David was not in Cincinnati. I prayed. I steeled myself for bad news. And then the technician spoke. “You said you had an appointment with your midwife this past Monday? And she heard the heartbeat?” I nodded yes while my heart sank. She must not see a heartbeat. That’s ok, Jennifer, God is still sovereign. He knows. David, where are you? I want my bed. I don’t understand, Lord.
After what seemed like an eternity, she finished and said we could go out to the waiting room. The room was appropriately named. We waited. For hours. They kept telling us they had to get ahold of Diane before telling us the results. We later found out Diane was attending another birth. Meanwhile, David kept texting and calling me to check on me and find out what was taking them so long! And my mom and I made small talk. We talked about everything but neither of us listened to the other. All we could think was why can’t they hurry up and tell us? Let’s just get it over with. Finally, as the office was closing, they decided to call us back anyway to tell us so we wouldn’t have to leave still wondering. All of a sudden, the Sergeant seemed a little nicer. Maybe she was excited to be going home soon? We waited in the exam room and then she brought the doctor in. He was an elderly gentleman with a folder in his hands…but that’s all I remember of him even though he was delivering very important information to me. He was five steps into the room, shook my hand and said, “Well, the good news is – it’s triplets.”
Of course he was joking. My mind insisted this could not be possible even as my mother attacked me from the side with a hug, while jumping up and down. I told the doctor he was joking, told my mom he was joking, wondered why on earth she believed him and willed the feeling to come back into my suddenly numb body. The doctor began to explain how it was possible – that it was true. I have no idea what he said, only that I am glad for the chair that held me up. Everyone in the room was grinning. I was not. Shaking, yes. Grinning, no. I began to feel like Alice in Wonderland and just wanted everything and everyone to stop. Then the tears started coming. I couldn’t put thoughts or words together. I just knew that it was not possible and I didn’t want it to be possible.
The doctor left at some point and the technician, who was now grinning and as friendly as can be, told me to “hop back up on the table” and she’d show me some live pictures of my babies. I didn’t want to but at the same time, I was drawn to see what was going on in my womb. Sure enough, there were three. It was incredibly obvious and clear. There were three babies in three little homes. And David and I were going to have three babies. Three babies. Three babies. Triplets. Three babies.
My mom, who had not yet been able to contain her exuberance, began to explain what she’d been experiencing the entire day. During the earlier US, she angled her chair so she could see the monitor and sneakily saw the tech typing “Baby A” on the picture. She wondered why she would type that if there was only one…then she saw her type “Baby B”…and then “Baby C.” At that moment, the tech asked her infamous question about the doctor’s visit earlier that week and having heard “the” heartbeat. This question led me to believe that I was losing the baby, but it led my mom to believe that I was losing THREE babies. She let none of this show and kept calm the entire rest of the US. She never let on in the waiting room that she knew I had three babies inside me. She only wondered how on earth she was going to help me through learning there were three and that I’d lost them. I give major props to my mother for making it so long without letting on what she knew. Major, major props.
So we made our way back to the car where I anxiously called David who was even more anxiously awaiting my call. I dialed his number…but…how do I say it? How do I tell my husband that the one baby is three? I sat there. Finally, I dialed his number. I asked him if he was by himself. He said yes. I don’t remember the words I said, only that he didn’t believe me. He didn’t believe me for a long, long time. He thought we were kidding – that since I was with my mom that we cooked up this joke and thought it’d be funny. He didn’t think it was possible (who did?!). I couldn’t convince him. Twenty minutes later I was still trying. We were almost home by that point. Finally he made me text him a picture of the sonogram. It began to sink in that this was real – well, that plus asking me about 50 times if I was serious. Later he told me that he went numb and fell back in his chair. In his hotel room, in Cincinnati.
I have a wonderful husband. He spent the next few days encouraging me from afar, supporting me, praying with me, calming me and wondering with me. I often called him that weekend to tell him I couldn’t stop crying. I didn’t want three babies. Why was this happening to us? It wasn’t right! I can’t handle it! I felt like I was watching all of my dreams – lifelong dreams! – swirl down the drain and I was powerless to do anything about them. All I could see was hospitals, drugs and a dreaded c-section in my future. My desires to breastfeed, cloth diaper, and spend those Saturday mornings playing with our brand new baby on our bed – they all vanished. I envisioned Jon and Kate, Plus 8 and her big saran-wrapped belly and her angry words and Jon’s impatience and the screaming children. I assumed there would be no money to adopt our little girl from China – the one with whom I have a connection and a bond even though she hasn’t been born yet. And we probably wouldn’t have the ability to adopt our little African-American guy that we thought God had called us to. Gone. Everything I had planned, dreamed, wanted, desired, felt called to. I was angry, felt lonely and terrified. I remember feeling guilty and ashamed wondering if I’d lose one or two. I remember feeling like a freak – no one I knew had triplets. It just doesn’t happen. People have babies one at a time…mayyyyybe, two at a time. But three??? Yet through it all, David calmly reminded me – every day becoming more convinced himself, even as he struggled to fully understand – that God knew what He was doing.
And I’m happy to say, I can see now at least a part of what His plan was…because we have three beautiful, precious, scrumptious children that I wouldn’t trade for single births for the world. Or an easy pregnancy, or all those lazy Saturday mornings with one baby we’ve “missed out” on. Every bit of it was worth it and each baby is precious in His sight…and David and I think we’ll keep them.