I’ve been meaning to post our birth story and now that my triplets are three months old and sleeping better (woo hoo, they are in bed by 8:30!) I’ve found the time to write it out. Just to be upfront for anyone who is looking for such a birth for reference or research purposes, I delivered triplets (tri/tri) vaginally without pain meds in a hospital setting.
God was so very good to us, as I was able to make it to 36 weeks exactly and our trio spent zero time in the NICU, all of us homeward bound two days after birth. I think the fact that I followed the Brewer’s Diet really helped the babies’ developement and birht weights (4-11, 5-10 and 5-13). Some of you know from previous conversations with me that I was able to find a great OB (through our midwife) who specialies in “high risk” births– i.e. multiples, breech, etc. Overall, though I did have some frustrations with him, it was the best case scenario possible.
Once I reached 35 weeks with my triplets, my husband and I (who had been assured that this would NEVER happen) started to talk about ways to naturally get labor started. Long story short, nothing worked so on October 20th at 36 weeks exactly we decided to go in to the hospital and potentially break baby A’s waters– our conditions for this were that I be more than 5 cm dilated. At that point, I had been walking around fully effaced for about two weeks. So to the hospital we went and I was 6 cm, so we ended up checking in to the hospital and breaking baby A’s waters. Within half an hour I began having pretty hard contractions, and after about 3.5 hours of labor I reached 10 cm. I may have actually been fully dilated before this but kept refusing additional checks because the first one (during contractions) was so painful that I wanted to limit further checks to just one when I was at 10. During that time I was laboring, nurses came to do an NST every 20 minutes out of an hour– the four bands they needed to use for this were so painful though, that I finally required nurses to hold the monitors in place on my belly instead of having them strapped on me. Once at 10 cm, I was wheeled to the OR to deliver. I was SO relieved to be transitioning to the part where I could actually DO something!
There were probably like 15 people in the OR during my birth– NICU team, anesthesiology team, nurses, additional doctors, etc. I wasn’t very happy about that, but it was a compromise that I had to make to win other, more important battles. My husband and midwife (turned doula) suited up and I began pushing at each contraction, coached by a team of nurses. Honestly, the coaching was a bit much but in the moment I went with it because I was in the zone and ignoring them somewhat anyway. 🤷♀️ I would have really preferred the opportunity to labor based on my own instincts, but this is the nature of a hospital birth with triplets– I was fortunate enough to have an OB who supported my vaginal birth in the first place, that I had to also respect his concerns about getting the babies out in a timely fashion. This required me to create my own sense of peace in an anxiety-ridden environment, which I was able to do only by the grace of God.
After about 20 minutes of pushing in the OR, Ulysses, our baby A was born vaginally in the most classic sense. The nurse team set him on my chest and he was able to latch right away. As with all multiple vaginal births though, it wasn’t time to celebrate yet– back to pushing. I was able to hold Uly for a bit but eventually passed him onto my husband and the nurse team to check as I continued to push. An hour or so passed as I continued pushing hard three times at each contraction without result. Atlas, my baby B was head down but sunny side up and his head was pressed into my pubic bone.
After some time, my contractions seemed to have slowed enough that I finally accepted a very small dose of pitocin to try to increase my contractions– I’m not sure if it helped or not, but after more contractions and pushing my OB used little bit of vacuum to help me push Atlas out– he emerged pretty upset and sporting a huge bruise on his poor little crown from his positioning. He also went directly to my chest though, and latched before being passed on to my husband and the team. That part was the most anxious for me, just trying to keep emotional closeness and both babies in sight was hard while still continuing to labor. My husband and midwife/doula were such an amazing asset to me in this, as I knew I could rely on them to have tabs on the babies and they did.
Once Atlas was born, things kind of went into hyper drive. My OB had prepared me for this, having previously told me that he would most likely aid baby C’s passage out in order to be safe about taking too much time and my uterus going down too quickly. Ottoline, my little lady baby C ended up footling breech, so my OB reached in (yeah, ouch) and basically pulled her out. She came into the world with completely wide open eyes looking ALL around and was also placed on my chest right away. From this point on is kind of a blur. I remember thinking I was done, and the remembering about delivering placentas. I definitely wasn’t prepared for all of the manual pressure (pushing) on my stomach, or the small surgery to stitch the minor tear that I had, but after delivering three babies you kind of just roll your eyes and grit your teeth. After these additional necessities (including a touch more pitocin to stem the blood flow), the babies and I were wheeled all together into recovery. So much happened after, of course, but I digress. The only notable event was that I passed out on my first walk to the bathroom, but I’m anemic and had just lot a good amount of blood. Not to mention that my pain threshold had been met– lol, duh.
My midwife later told me that at one point, so had to take herself in hand and remove herself to the side of the room because of the way the medical team was “digging around” inside of me, both during (to stimulate contractions I guess) and post birth (getting clots and such out). I never really realized how much of one’s own birth isn’t self-witnessed– this seems obvious because clearly there’s no out of body vantage point, but is so funny to me now because there were a number of things that happened during my birth that I didn’t realize had happened at all until I was told later. Overall my birth experience was a good one (though not without things that I wish had happened differently), but a large part of that is because I prepared my mind realistically before hand that it would be painful and probably difficult. It was both (as I suppose giving birth to triplets should be) but completely worth it in the end.
Our babies were ridiculously healthy on arrival, something I can only credit to God. No issues and no NICU time left our recovery and post-partum nurse teams shocked but joyful. That seems to be the general theme of these babies’ lives, to surprise, awe and stand as a testimony to God’s glory! We are beyond thankful. At the end of this, I especially want other women, particularly multiple Moms to know that there is no reason that we need to be afraid of birth or asking for the things we need/want for our own. That said, it’s also really important to know that birth is unpredictable and the only way to really be at peace with the process, the pain or the result is to surrender control. For me, this surrender was to God, because He is the only thing bigger enough than myself to be trusted completely and utterly.
Today I am doing really well, though life has been as stressful as newborn triplets do make it. I did have one postpartum trip to the ER (I would have just gone to my OB but he was out of town) for pretty bad abdominal pain and what may have been a small infection– my white blood cell count was not up and no retained tissue was found, so they just assumed as much and put me on an antibiotic to be safe. In all honesty, I was originally released (ejected?) from the hospital much too soon, something that apparently my OB signed off on though I could barely walk. I believe it was the overexertion (you know, from getting up in the night to see to newborn triplets) on my very very weak core that caused the stress and pain on my abdomen/uterus. I could have totally made the call to stay in the hospital longer, to be fair, but at the time was just so excited to go home. Ulysses, Atlas and Ottoline are doing amazing and growing like wildfire, now cracking smiles and laughter to our delight. We are so so blessed and thankful for the way that they came into the world! If anyone reading this has questions (or whatnot) in order to help with their own birth desires or plans, please don’t hesitate to reach out– I’m an open book.
Just a note: Please respect my privacy by not sharing these photos without a link back to this post or my Instagram @ofdustandwonder. Feel free to share the post as it is (of course, with a link to this page), thanks!