CLIMB

Bo, Timaree & Connor


My husband, Robin, and I both teach school in a small northeast Nebraska town of about 1200 people. We have a 3-1/2 year old daughter, Tahnee, who was born after many years of surgeries and infertility problems. After she was born, the doctor thought everything looked goodand we shouldn’t have any trouble getting pregnant for a second time. Well, that wasn’t the case. I was diagnosed with severely scarred fallopian tubes and our only chance for another pregnancy was IVF, in-vitro fertilization.

In March of 1993 we went through the grueling process of injections, ultrasounds, and blood tests. We had planned on using six of the embryos, but there had been too many multiple births when six embryos were used so we cut it down to five. I laid on my back for a week after the embryos were implanted and prayed that we could have the baby we wanted so badly. In the meantime, Robin the biology teacher had explained everything about our infertility and in-vitro in detail to his students. You can imagine my embarrassment whenever I bumped into them at school or around town!

Ten days after the implant I went in for a pregnancy test. returned to school and waited. At noon that same day I received the phone call. My doctor told me that the rabbit had died! I was so nervous that I wasn’t sure if this was what I had wanted to hear, but it was. I sat down and cried and of course everyone at school knew why. I called Robin and told him the wonderful news. Now we had to wait again, this time for an ultrasound a week later to find out how many embryos took. We were stunned when the sonographer counted three sacs! I had prepared myself for a possibility of twins, but triplets I hadn’t even thought about.

The doctor came in to look at the ultrasound and had mentioned that one of the sacs looked much smaller than the others and may not remain. Several weeks passed and that small sac remained. Now he was telling us that we would have to decide whether we wanted to chance continuing the pregnancy with that smaller baby or use selective reduction and get rid of it. I went home and literally cried to God. How could we terminate ANY baby of ours? I told God to take one baby if he chose because I couldn’t. At 7 weeks another ultrasound was done. God must have heard me because now all three babies were the same size. We went ahead with the triplet pregnancy inspite of the problems that we would face. The doctor’s main concern was the numerous scars on my uterus from the surgeries but he said he would look out for me.

June 1 was the next milestone, my last injection! My butt was relieved and so was Robin, who had given them to me every day for the last two months. Things were going great, I never even had a day of morning sickness. Two weeks later things got a little scary. I awoke at 1:00 a.m.. and started to bleed – it turned out to be a slight case of placenta previa. After that everything progressed without a problem. I did, however, have a cerclage around week 24 but I was expecting that. Again things were going great, I even waited until week 30 to take terbutaline.

I had my weekly ultrasound on November 3, 1993 (one day before week 34) and the babies looked great. The doctor checked everything he could on them, blood flow, organs, weight, breathing, etc. He did decide to put me in the hospital the next day just as a precaution. He said I was making him nervous being at home. On November 5 the doctor did another ultrasound. Baby A wasn’t breathing like he thought he should. A non-stress test was ordered and again Baby A wasn’t responding like he should. The doctor came in that night at 10:30 p.m. and told me that there may be problems and we might deliver the next day at Sacred Heart or be transferred to Sioux Valley 1-1/2 hours away. I prayed that my baby would be OK. The next morning an ultrasound showed some fluid building up in the abdomen and my doctor sent us to Sioux Falls.

After we got to there an emergency c-section was performed. Baby A, our dear little Bo weighing 4 lb. 4-1/2 oz., was the first to come into the world, but he did so without a cry. His placenta had a leak in it and almost all of his blood went back into my blood system. This accounted for me not bleeding. As the doctor brought Connor, 4 lb. 11 oz. and Timaree, 4 lb. 3 oz. into the world, Robin sat three feet away from the doctors who were doing CPR and giving him injections etc. They worked on Bo for over 18 minutes before getting any response. I knew something was wrong when I only heard two cries.

I didn’t see our babies until that evening. Timaree and Connor were doing great! No ventilators, only monitors and IVs. Bo was another story. There lay our firstborn son, unresponsive, swollen from fluid because his kidneys were not functioning, tubes and cords all over his little body, and occasionally some seizure activity. How could he go from being so perfect on Wednesday to this on Saturday? The nurses said that they would baptize Bo if we wished. Five minutes later we were told that our minister was there. Our good friends had called him and said that Bo was not doing well and there he was. Bo was baptized that evening; we didn’t know how to feel . We still had two perfectly healthy babies and we were overjoyed for them. Being happy and sad at the same time doesn’t work.

On Sunday we were told that Bo had been doing better. He was responding to light and touch. When I had gone to visit him he even opened his eyes, looked at me, and responded to my voice. I was thrilled! I thought that this was the turning point and Bo would start improving. He did not, however. I think in my heart that Bo was saying good-bye.

Monday afternoon the neurologist gave us our worst news. Bo had very little brain activity and he suggested removing the ventilator. We returned numerous times to the nursery to visit Bo and say our good-byes. The nurses were WONDERFUL. The took many pictures of Bo and even got Connor and Timaree dressed and had pictures taken of all three of our precious babies together. They even videotaped them together (I haven’t been able to watch it yet still too painful). They put together a memory book with his hand and footprints, lock of hair, and various other mementos of Bo’s short life.

Bo passed away early Tuesday morning. My biggest regret was not being able mentally to hold Bo when he died. I told the staff that since I couldn’t hold him I wanted someone to hold Bo when he died. I didn’t want him to die all alone. Julie, the nurse that held him said she was rocking him and turned on some soft music. Bo took one last breath and went to heaven. I’m glad he went so peacefully.

Robin is also a licensed funeral director and was able to take Bo home and to the funeral home of some good friends of ours. Robin said this was the hardest thing he had ever done. I will be forever grateful to him because no one touched our little Bo who wasn’t deeply concerned about him. We had a private family service on Thursday. This was the first time Tahnee had seen Bo (he died only hours before she got to the hospital). We were able to view Bo. He looked like a little doll and so much like his brother and sister. Bo was buried at the foot of his paternal grandparent’s grave.

Wednesday was reserved as our “happy day”. Connor and Timaree were transferred to Sacred Heart in Yankton ( a 30-minute drive instead of 2 hours to Sioux Falls). It was good also to be in a new environment. Tahnee was able to hold the babies for the first time. It really was a happy day. Connor needed to eat on his own and Timaree needed to hold her own temperature and they could come home.

November 21 was the day they came home. Again we were thrilled to bring them home but sad because there should have been three. Since coming home we have had literally hundreds of cards and for a while our house looked like a florist’s. Our friends and family have been a tremendous source of support. Robin dreaded his first day back to school but when showered with hugs from his students admitted that it really was healing.

These young people and our friends have been great about remembering all three of our babies. They have remembered our triplets by giving then personalized Christ mas ornaments, wall hangings, quilts and pullows. The nurses at Sacred Heart gave us a lace angel in memory of Bo. We used it at Christmas to top our tree. The Child Development class who had sponsored Toys for Tots in the past decided to sponsor our triplets and raised over $700 for them. In a time when we don’t hear many good things about what our teenagers do, the ones we have been in contact with have truly been a blessing in our lives and the lives of our children.

I have been truly grateful for all of the articles that have been written by other parents who have lost one or more of their multiples. This is the only way I have been able to be in contact with someone who knows what we are feeling and going through. Even people who have had a singleton die can’t relate to the mixed emotions of birth and death together. Living in a rural area does have its drawbacks in a situation like ours.

Like so many of you, it hurts so terribly bad when people refer to Timaree and Connor as twins. I will often respond by saying that the triplets are doing fine (although I am not really that comfortable saying that either) or that the babies are fine, or call them by name. By calling them twins I feel like Bo is looking down from heaven and thinking that I have forgotten him. I do appreciate people who ask first if they are twins. Then I can respond and tell them about Bo. That way I feel like I am keeping his memory alive. Tahnee is very good about including Bo in conversations about Connor and Timaree. I hope she always remembers him in that way.

We have done many things to keep Bo’s memory alive:

* we kept our small Christmas tree up in the family room and decorate it with the season, holiday, or special occasion. (Tahnee’s birthday is coming and we’ll decorate it with a birthday theme). We have Bo’s picture in an ornament that always hangs on the tree.
* we hung a stocking for Bo at Christmas.
* we took a small decorated Christmas tree out to Bo’s grave.
* My sister gave us three bears on the day our triplets were born. At various celebrations or activities I bring Bo’s bear along to include him. Recently I took “Bo Bear” to a shower that was given for Connor and Timaree. When we have the babies’ picture taken I plan on including “Bo Bear”. “Bo Bear” either sits under the tree or on our bed.
* Robin’s aunt gave each of the triplets a bear quilt. Bo’s quilt had two boy bears and two girl bears on it. I am having a friend embroider the triplets’ names, birthdate, and weight along with Tahnee’s next to the appropriate bear, then hang the quilt in our bedroom.

Dona

A Walk in the Woods

A walk in the woods
Three bears hand in hand.
A stroll on the beach
Bear feet in the sand.

A walk in the woods
One bear lost his way,
The search had gone on
Through the night and the day.

A walk in the woods
Two bears not three.
A stairway to heaven
The one bear did see.

A stairway to heaven
The one bear did climb.
A stairway to heaven
Too soon was his time.

A view from heaven
A view from earth,
Each missing the other
Only days from their birth.

Dona In memory of our little “bear” Bo
We love you and miss you
Mom, Dad, Tahnee, and your triplet “bear” brother and sister Connor and Timaree

Interview…a mother of triplets

1. Your name and some details about your twin or higher multiple baby/s who died, and other children (if any, living or previous losses)…My name is Dona. I am the mother of an 11-year-old daughter, Tahnee, and surviving triplets; a daughter, Timaree and; son, Connor who are now 7 years old and in 1st grade. Our other son, Bo, died on the 4th day of his life from complications from a leak in his placenta. The doctor thought it might have occurred 24-48 hours prior to their births. Nothing related to a triplet pregnancy. All 3 babies were over 4 pounds each and I carried them 34+ weeks.

2. When I remember my baby/s, I…still have days when I cry and cry.

3. The worst part is…watching my girls play together and Connor saying “I wish Bo were here so we could go play together.” or Timaree saying that she misses Bo and will cry. That about breaks my heart!

4. I have coped with anger by…keeping my faith in God.

5. I still have problems with…seeing triplets or reading about successful triplet births; especially those carried as long as ours.

6. I have learned that…there are reasons for what happens in our lives and if we accept what happens and try to be better ourselves or make something or someone better it won’t be in vain.

7. I no longer think that… Bo’s death was caused by something I did or did not do.

8. I remember when… Bo opened his eyes and looked at me as I was speaking to his nurse as if to say, “I know you are my mama – I’ve heard your voice before.”

9. My partner (if any) and I feel close when… Always! My husband, Robin, is very compassionate and has given me so much support year after year. I do thank God for him!

10. The best times to remember my baby/s are… When someone asks me about my children I always tell them about Bo. My kids also will tell people about Bo when asked. AND Timaree and Connor are very good about telling others that they are Triplets NOT Twins. Good for them!!

11. The worst times to remember my baby/s are… Maybe not the worst time but the hardest is the anniversary of Bo’s death and Timaree, Connor & Bo’s birthday as well as special holidays. We do include Bo’s memory in those celebrations in some way.

12. Sometimes I wish… that I could turn back time and have our triplets be born on the original c-section date and NOT wait longer and that Bo could have lived a little longer so Tahnee could have held him. The doctor was going to let her hold him but he died before she got to the hospital.

13. When I could handle it again, I did…I watched the video the nurses took of Bo with Timaree and Connor and Bo’s baptism.

14. If I could choose whether or not to have twins again (or triplets or more etc. again)…If I were younger – I’m 40 now! – I would choose to have triplets again. Right now I am happy with my children and miss my Bo each and every day of my life.

Dona