Breanna, Bedford & Brette

After 13 years on an emotional rollercoaster we finally had what we thought was an impossible dream.

The first year of our marriage we conceived twice only to miscarry both times. The next two years went by fast with no pregnancies. I talked with my OB/Gyn and he began a fertility workup. The next six years we were on clomid during which we had seven miscarriages. We decided to let nature take its course. That year we were off clomid I miscarried twins at 13 weeks.

My OB/Gyn had expanded his fertility treatment center at that point. He referred me to the new nurse practitioner. She was wonderful and totally amazed that after all we’d been through we were still trying to have a biological child. The eleventh year of our marriage we began taking pergonal for ovulation induction which worked but we still did not conceive. The twelfth year was spent taking pergonal and having IUI and still no conception. They did not offer IVF at that time so I was referred to a local fertility clinic. The MD looked over my past records and began treatment immediately – that was November, 1994 and by January 30, 1995 I was pregnant – only my first cycle with in-vitro. The MD was amazed that it only took one cycle.

February 15, 1995, I had my first ultrasound. Three separate sacs each with a beating heart – TRIPLETS! The MD was concerned because I am diabetic so he suggested selective reduction. That topic was never discussed again. March 1, 1995, all still well –three beating hearts. I was referred to a perinatologist due to multiple gestation and diabetes. The two whom I saw are two of the most wonderful doctors in the world. I’m convinced that without their expertise I would not have made it through the pregnancy. They saw we every week from the 8th week on. At 30-43/7 weeks a routine Doppler showed that triplet B had an almost absent end diastolic flow (IUGR, intrauterine growth retardation). I was immediately hospitalized and biophysical profiles with Dopplers were done daily. At 33-53/7 weeks a complete OB ultrasound was done to get an idea of weights. Triplet B had gained approximately 6 oz. in 3 weeks. My primary MD wanted to continue the BPP’s and if “B” got in trouble then he’d do an immediate c-section. After a very short discussion between partners the decision was changed. A c-section was scheduled for the next morning, 8 a.m. August 24, 1995.

My epidural was dislodged during the transfer to the delivery table so they had to put me to sleep, at 8:30 a.m. Then at 8:32 a.m. my first daughter Kimberleigh Breanna was born at 4 lb. 8 oz. and 17″ long. At 8:33 my son Stephen Bedford was born at 2 lb. 9-13/2 oz. and 15″ long. Then at 8:34 my second daughter Kendra Brette was born at 3 lb. 13 oz. and 15-3/4″. No one had any major problems. Bedford went on the vent for 12 hours, when he decided he no longer needed it. We spent 5 days in NICU and everyone transferred to NICU step-down. Breanna came home on September 8 at 15 days, then Brette on September 14 at 21 days and Bedford on October 4, 1995, at 41 days.

Bedford had feeding difficulties and very bad gastric reflux. In late October Breanna stopped breathing and turned blue. She spent 4 days in Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital and has never had another episode. Bedford was still having trouble gaining weight so our pediatrician referred him to Vanderbilt Children’s Clinic, the gastroenterologist. On November 17 he weighed 5 lbs. 4 oz., having gained only 1 lb. 1 oz. in 5 weeks. The doctor said that if by November 27 he was not up to 6 lbs. he would hospitalize him and do tube feeding. Bedford began being more alert, smiling and laughing, with less reflux. We were to have 3-month pictures made on November 25 but it was so cold we canceled the appointment. We decided that November 26 would be our first day together as a family at church services. Saturday night I laid out everybody’s clothes and gave all babies their baths. Bedford weighed 5 lb. 10 oz. now, he still needed to gain 6 oz. by Monday. I felt sure he would more than likely be in the hospital on Monday.

I was up every two hours during the night with his strict feeding schedule. At 5 a.m. feeding he smiled and cooed at me so much more than usual. He ate eagerly and more than normal and was back in bed by 5:40 a.m. Then at 6:10 a.m. he began crying so my husband got up and gave him his pacifier and he was right back to sleep. Then at 6:50 I got up and took my shower. I fixed bottles for everyone and when I went to get Breanna I looked over at Bedford and he was not moving and was face-down. When I grabbed his lifeless little body as a nurse I knew CPR was too late but as a whose only son lay limp in her arms I methodically began CPR. I screamed for my husband to call 911. When EMT’s arrived they tried briefly to intubate Bedford without success. He was rushed to the emergency room over 8 miles away. All the way there I prayed for a miracle also without success. After a half hour of attempted resuscitation they pronounced him dead. The autopsy revealed nothing therefore the death was ruled as SIDS. I feel so deeply for parents who lose a child this way. It is the most cruel way God could ever take a child away from its family. No reason, no warning. You just find them dead. We buried Bedford on November 28 beside my father (also Bedford).

The test was not over. The same week of Bedford’s death, Brette stopped breathing, five times on November 30. On December 1 she was put in the hospital and extensive testing was done, even genetic testing. No reason found for her apnea except prematurity. In February of 1996, Breanna had to be hospitalized again, this time with RSV.

I am glad to say that both girls are doing well at this time. We’ve made it through our first birthday and now we are only a few days away from the first anniversary of Bedford’s death. It doesn’t help any for this to be Thanksgiving week. Even though, I thank God every day for my two beautiful daughters. I am angry and bitter with Him for taking my son. They say time heals the broken heart but never is it said how much time. Everyone handles life’s difficulties differently. When people say, “Are they twins?” I say very adamantly, “NO! They are surviving triplets.” No one seems to hear the word surviving and they ask where the third one is. Then I get to tell them about Bedford. I can’t comprehend how anyone who has gone through this could possibly refer to their remaining triplets as twins. They were not conceived as twins and the death of one does not automatically make them twins.

We would like to hear from others who have had a similar loss. Enclosed is a poem sent to me shortly after Bedford’s death.


…The girls are now happy and healthy first-graders.