Kendall, Trey & Baby C
My husband and I decided to try to start our family in September, 1994, just six months after we married. At that time we had no reason to think we would have trouble conceiving so we converted our storage room into a nursery and waited for a positive pregnancy test. One and a half years later our nursery was still empty and I had grown tired of waiting.
My gynecologist was not much help. We didn’t know what was causing our infertility and my doctor didn’t seem too interested in finding out. It didn’t take me long to take matters into my own hands. I looked through my phone book and found an ad in the Yellow Pages. The doctors were ”Board Certified in Reproductive Endocrinology/ Infertility”. The ad listed some of the procedures that they performed and I was hooked. It seemed there were so many ways to get around infertility, I had to give them a try. When I dialed the number, I felt uneasy. I didn’t know what my problems were or what kind of help I needed. All I knew was I wanted a baby! My fears were erased when the cheerful voice answered the phone. The girl on the line was very understanding and scheduled a consultation with the doctor. Their first opening was not till three weeks later. The receptionist informed me that the two partners were giving a seminar on infertility the next night.
My husband and I attended the seminar and found that the doctors we were about to see were very professional, kind and very much interested in helping us conceive. I was very impressed with how they seemed to genuinely want ME to have a baby. Starting in March of 1996, my husband and I both were subjected to a battery of tests. We were told I had polycystic ovarian disease. I simply could not ovulate on my own. We began using the fertility drug Metrodin in June, but the first cycle was a complete failure. The next month my dosage was increased and in August I found out I was pregnant!
I was very excited, but from the very beginning I had morning sickness that lasted all day and extreme swelling of my abdomen due to the effect that the Metrodin had on my ovaries. I started bleeding a few days later after I found out about the pregnancy and began to panic. I called the doctor’s office and was told that even if I was miscarrying, there was nothing that could be done this early in the pregnancy and I would just have to wait for my appointment that was scheduled for two weeks away. Those two weeks were very agonizing. I could not think of anything except my baby or babies that I may have been losing. My ovaries were still hyperstimulated and I stayed in bed much of the time.
The day of my doctor appointment finally arrived. My husband and I were both excited and nervous about the ultrasound we were about to have. I closed my eyes and prayed to myself and then heard the doctor say, ”We have a heartbeat, no we have two…hold on we better make that three.” I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I just stared at the monitor and I saw three tiny flashes of light! Those were my babies’ hearts beating! I was so happy that I was still pregnant, I didn’t stop to think about what having triplets would mean.
Right away we were worried about how we would handle the financial responsibility of having three kids at once. I really resented the fact that I was finally pregnant and couldn’t enjoy it because I had so much to worry about. My husband, Rick, and I didn’t tell others about the triplets right away. We needed to get used to the idea before we could discuss it with anyone else (including family). It took us about a week before our anxiety turned to bliss. We shared the news with our family and friends. Most people couldn’t believe it and said things like ”How will you ever make it?” and ”I sure feel sorry for you two!”. I wondered what ever happened to ”Congratulations!” or ”I’m so happy for you!”
My father had just started calling the babies Winken, Blinken and Nod when my 10-week ultrasound revealed that one of the tiny babies had just disappeared. I was heartbroken and (horrible as it may sound) relieved. I was just so worried about carrying triplets and the financial aspect of it was always right there in the back of our minds. I was sad about the loss and felt guilty about all the emotions I was experiencing. I just thought that having twins would be so much better for us. I would have my two children, never have to be pregnant again, and the children would have each other as well as a special ”twin” bond. It sounded so perfect.
The next four weeks I let myself fantasize about the two babies inside me. Would they be boys or girls or maybe one of each? I hoped for one of each, as this would mean we would be blessed with both a daughter and a son. This, I decided, would be just wonderful! I was happier than I ever have been in my life, and I felt great. I had another ultrasound at 14 weeks and all of a sudden I realized that the perfect pregnancy I was having was just too good to be true. One of my remaining babies had a serious problem. Baby B was not growing at the normal rate. I was referred to a Maternal-Fetal Specialist. Dr. O. specialized in high risk pregnancies and all of a sudden my pregnancy had become one.
Dr. O. told us that our tiny little Baby B had anencephaly. He explained that our child had not developed its brain and if this baby was not stillborn, it would not live long after birth. This was the only part of the conversation that I heard. I sat on the end of the table and watched the tears roll down my husband’s face. I had never seen him cry before and I have not seen him cry since. This is the day that forever changed my husband and myself. I could only wonder if I was going to end up with any children at all. I began to doubt it could happen. I had already lost two out of three, it just didn’t seem possible. Dr. O. suggested we consider selective reduction of Baby B. Again we were faced with situations and decisions that no parent should have to address. We decided we wanted to do whatever was necessary to save Baby A.
I read everything I could find about anencephaly and got a second opinion from another maternal-fetal specialist. It turned out there was actually less risk involved to Baby A if we just left things alone. We decided against selective reduction and put our fate in God’s hands. We said a lot of prayers and tried to be positive. I was in constant fear that my next doctors appointment would reveal another tragedy. I just didn’t think I could survive another loss.
In my 18th week an ultrasound told us that we were carrying a daughter and a son. With any luck and God’s will, our daughter would be born healthy and lead a happy life. Our son, on the other hand, would never know how much he was wanted or what I would have given to make him healthy. My husband had not allowed himself to acknowledge that there were two live babies inside of me. Since the day we were told about the anencephaly my husband referred to my belly as ”the baby” and talked about the future always using the term ”the baby”. Hearing now that he had a son changed him again. He realized how much he loved the tiny little boy slowly dying inside me. I wondered why we were being punished. We were the ones who wanted children, not the ones who abused or neglected their children. God was angry with us, but we didn’t know why. Why would he give us such a precious gift and then take it away little by little with such cruelty? I could no longer bring myself to go to church or to pray.
Four days before Christmas, 1996, I went to Dr. O.’s office for a glucola test. After examining me, Dr. O. mentioned casually that I could use a cerclage. My cervix was short, but closed, he said. He wanted me to have the procedure done the next day. I checked into the hospital for an overnight stay. The procedure went fine, as I had no contractions afterward. I felt better mentally, but physically I was going downhill. I was starting to retain a lot of fluid. My legs swelled and my stomach stretched so big I could not see my feet. My husband was wonderful, but my boss was not so understanding. I was afraid of losing my job, afraid of losing my healthy baby, losing my faith. I was going to ask Dr. O. to consider putting me on bedrest at my next appointment. I would be 29 weeks pregnant on Valentines Day, 1997. That was my next scheduled appointment.
Unfortunately, the only bedrest I got was at the hospital during my labor. On Thursday, February 13 at 1 a.m. I noticed I was leaking fluid. Could it really be my water? I was only 28 weeks pregnant. This could not be happening. My husband called the doctor and we were told to come to the hospital right away. I believe I was in shock. I kept telling my husband that maybe I wet the bed. I was not having contractions. He just kept driving. I wasn’t scared because I didn’t believe I was in labor. Everything changed when I walked into the lobby of the hospital. My water broke as we were heading for the elevator. A huge gush spilled into the floor and my clothes and shoes were soaked. I started to panic, I begged my husband to take me home. As soon as we got up to Labor & Delivery, I was stripped of my clothes, put into a bed, given an IV, had blood drawn and a catheter inserted. I was put on magnesium sulfate, and steroids to mature my daughter’s lungs. I was beginning to panic so the nurse gave me drugs to calm me down.
Things seemed to calm down. My contractions (which I had but couldn’t feel) had subsided. The plan was to keep me there as long as possible without delivering. I was wondering what I could possibly do in the hospital for the remaining 12 weeks of my pregnancy. I didn’t have to wonder long because 46 hours after I walked into the hospital, my daughter was being pushed out of my womb. There was so much fluid in my son’s sac that there was just no more room for my daughter. I tried hard to keep her inside me but I felt her dropping lower and lower. There was total chaos in my room. My contractions were not registering on the machine, but I KNEW my baby was coming. The nurse didn’t want to listen to me but I begged her to call Dr. O.
Dr. O. was in an emergency c-section, but after a couple of minutes he came through my door. He examined me and announced that I was 10 cm. dilated and 100% effaced. We were headed to the OR. I thought it would be only a matter of minutes until I saw my little girl. I was still somehow expecting to give birth and then take her home with me. I hadn’t been cautioned about preterm labor or informed of the problems premies face. I just assumed it would be the same as having a term baby. Little did I know…
I was given an epidural in case there was trouble delivering my son. As soon as I was in the OR I opened my legs and my daughter’s head was visible. She had come right through the cerclage! I pushed once for her head and once for her body. On February 14, 1997, Kendall Brooke came into the world silent. She was purple and so miniature. I was again in shock. My daughter sneezed and only then did I know she was alive. She weighed 2#12 and was 16 in. long. They took her straight to the NICU and I would not see her for another 2 hours. It took 25 minutes for Trey Andrew to be born. He was also born silent, but alive. Dr. O. thought it was best if I didn’t see Trey in his condition. I thought he knew best. I wish I had just listened to my heart instead of the doctor on that one! The nurse brought my son to me wrapped in a blanket. The only body parts that were visible were his tiny, little feet. Trey weighed 2#6 and was 12-1/2 in. long. He never made a sound. I just held him and talked quietly to him.
My husband and my mother also held Trey. No one else in our family opted to do so. Our little baby boy lived for 53 minutes. I’m happy to know that I got to tell him my thoughts while he was still alive. It hurt so much to say goodbye. I honestly didn’t think it would. I thought I had said my goodbyes a thousand times already. I physically ached from the pain in my heart. When I let the nurse take him away I did not know if he was alive or dead. We only had him in the room with us for 15 or 20 minutes. It turns out he was still alive when I gave him back. I feel so guilty for being in a hurry to get to the NICU. I was only worried about Kendall, I feel like I betrayed my son. At the same time, I’m sure he understands. I know he’s an angel in Heaven.
It’s been 17 months since my babies were born and Trey died. Kendall has been the best baby anyone could ever hope for. She’s always been extremely happy. She has not suffered from any complications after her birth. She was never on a ventilator and her stay in the NICU (5-1/2 weeks) was completely uneventful. We brought her home on a heart monitor, after a month she was off of it. I was really surprised about our good fortune. I just assumed our lives would never be normal or good again. I was really wrong about that..
The only thing that bothers me now is that I have no way of letting others know about Trey. When you see one little baby out, you don’t ask if it was a multiple. Rarely do I get to acknowledge Trey’s existence to other people. My own family and friends pretend he was never here. This is hard for me at times. I do the best I can when it comes to remembering Trey. I visit the cemetery pretty often and I write to him in a journal. We have started mentioning him to Kendall now that she is learning to talk and understands us better. Someday she will know the whole story. She will know how much we love her and wanted her. She will also know she has two siblings in Heaven who love her and keep her safe. All of our children will remain an important part of our family and the two babies I lost will live in our hearts forever.
I have faith in God again. It’s taken awhile to get past the ”why me’s?” and the ”what-if’s?”. I just believe there is a purpose in everything. This was the way it was meant to be for me and my husband. We sure went through a lot of hell to get our little piece of heaven. I want to have another baby sometime in the future. I just hope next time we’ll be fortunate enough to have an uncomplicated pregnancy…God willing.
A Poem to Trey
Does Heaven make you happy,
So far up above?
Are you safe and warm
And surrounded with love?
In my heart-
I know that you are,
Instead of shining here on Earth,
You’re Heaven’s brightest star.
I know you are at peace,
I wish I could be too,
But my heart is broken
Because He has taken you.
I wish that I could hold you
Just one last time-
And tell you that I love you
Instead of saying it in a rhyme.
I know that this can’t be
My dreams just won’t come true.
I have to keep on writing
Until it’s my time to be with you.
I hope you are happy,
In Heaven, up above.
All I can ask of Him
Is to send you all of my love.
Down the Road…update
Hi all! This is coming to you from Kentucky. I’m Nicole and my story ran in the October, 1999, newsletter. I’m writing to let everyone know about the changes that have occurred in my family’s life since the loss of our babies back in 1996 and 1997.
For those who are not familiar with my story I will give a brief history. After three years of infertility I became pregnant with the help of Metrodin injections. I conceived triplets, only to miscarry one baby (Christian) at 12 weeks. At 16 weeks we were told that one of the remaining babies had anencephaly and would not survive outside of my womb. After much thought and a second opinion we decided against selective reduction. At 28 weeks I went into labor. I was on steroids to mature my daughter’s lungs and mag sulfate to stop contractions. After 46 hours, my daughter could wait no longer and decided to be born before my cerclage could even be removed! This was February 14, 1997. She weighed 2 lb. and 12 oz. We named her Kendall Brooke. Kendall’s brother followed after a 25-minute wait. We named him Trey Andrew. Although my husband and I very much wanted to see and hold our son until he died, our doctor advised us against seeing him. He claimed Trey’s abnormalities were much worse than he anticipated. We held our son wrapped in a baby blue blanket that felt like nothing but air. We buried our son four days later without ever seeing any part of his body other than his tiny little feet. Our daughter stayed in the NICU for 6 weeks and then was declared healthy enough to go home weighing 4 pounds even. Kendall is currently 3 and a half years old. She is a giant ball of energy and the sunshine of our lives. She shows no signs of being premature at all. She’s 45″ tall and weighs 38 pounds.
In September, 1999, I underwent gastric bypass surgery to help me lose weight. I had lost more than 85 pounds from September to April 2000 and had suddenly developed a normal menstrual cycle. When I didn’t get my period in April, I took a pregnancy test on May 1 that come out positive!! I was sure it was wrong because I am infertile! Well, apparently I am not infertile. I am currently 25 weeks pregnant with a single healthy baby boy! I have lost an additional 20 pounds during my pregnancy and feel better (physically) than I ever have in my life. My emotional state is a different story entirely. I thought that if I ever had the chance to have a “normal” pregnancy that everything would be wonderful. I had no idea (until now) that there is no “normal” for me. My idea of pregnancy will be forever tainted by complications and tragic losses of my first pregnancy. I want to enjoy my pregnancy, but every kick (or lack of one) sends me into a paranoid whirlwind. Should I call the doctor or not call him? What was that pain? What do contractions feel like? What do hiccups feel like? The only consolation I get is knowing that in three short weeks I’ll be as far along as I was when Kendall was born and she is healthy as can be. I just feel like if I make it that far everything will HAVE to be ok…I know that isn’t the smartest way of reasoning, but it makes me feel better.
Our son is due to be born on January 1. We couldn’t be any happier (or surprised!) about this wonderful addition to our family. Kendall is very excited about having a little brother and is very much looking forward to helping me take care of him. I have to admit that I hoped this baby would be a girl. I was afraid of having a baby that would take Trey’s place. I know in my heart that will never happen (for me) but already I’ve had to deal with comments from family members that I have found hard to swallow. I never really know how to respond to comments such as ”he’ll be the first grandson” or ”now you’ll have one of each”.
It’s very hard not to just yell out the facts because these people are aware that we already had the first grandson and that we already had one of each. I just wish that my family and friends knew how much it hurts to have them dismiss Trey like he never existed at all.