Cindy’s Triplet Story
My story is eight years in fertility clinics across five states, two forced menopauses, two endometrial surgeries, thirteen inseminations, four IVF, two GIFTs, an approved adoption application, and “let’s just try one more time to conceive.” That last effort involved getting fertility drugs in Mexico at a significantly reduced cost. (Tip—same American lab makes the medications that are available in all countries, stronger in strength, at a cost of about 10% of what we pay here in the states and it is legal if you follow Custom’s rules.)
At 36 years old, I knew I was either pregnant with multiples or having Rosemary’s baby because I was throwing up stuff I ate in high school. Once I learned there were three, two girls and a boy, I was so excited because I was done with the fertility game. We had exhausted all of our savings and vacation days.
A church friend of ours was a hospital administrator and he immediately took us on a tour of the NICU. I saw little ones who were smaller than my foot. I got an appointment with the best perinatologist and my successful journey began. I would be a model patient.
At 18 weeks I became homebound. At 23 weeks I became bedridden with bathroom privileges. I laid on my left side, drank endless amounts of water, and ate 4,500 calories a day. I gained 47 pounds and had a 54” waistline. I phoned in my contraction monitoring twice a day. An organization called Sideline got my number from the doctor’s office. They called and counseled. Most importantly, they gave my name and number to a relatively new organization (back then) called MOST. That was when I met Maureen, who called me regularly and explained in detail everything that was happening and supposed to happen. Maureen was always there with needed advice and helped my long, boring days by giving me titles of reading materials that would help prepare me for all that was ahead. This was pre-cell phone, pre-home internet and cable TV had limited channels. I have never met Maureen in person, but I count her as one of my dearest friends. We are 1,600 miles away, but one of the things on my bucket list is to meet her, win the lottery and give the money to Raising Multiples, a MOST Community.
At 37.5 weeks, we scheduled a C-section. It was the day after Thanksgiving. Everyone in our community had the day off so 100 people were there to welcome our little ones into the world. They all weighed over 5 pounds and went to regular nursery. Haley, Suzanne and Beau were ready to come home from the hospital before I was. I started running that dreaded fever and had to restrict all visitors. Once home, Maureen was a phone call away, answering all the questions that no one else could.
I had always wondered why I had to wait so long to have a family. When the triplets were a year old the answer was revealed to me as I was filling bottles and washing clothes at 2:00 am. God’s plan was for us to have triplets and he was waiting for us to be mature enough to handle it.
My children were very healthy—never missed a day of school. Prior to school age, I stayed active in our local Mothers of Multiples club. There were seven sets of triplets and dozens and dozens of twins. There was a great deal of swapping clothing and toys.
My children stayed together in the same school classroom. Their first grade teacher was a triplet and ironically shared the same birthday. This was pretty special for all of us. In fifth grade we changed school districts and were required to split up. A new financial realization resulted. Each child had 25 kids in his or her class and each kid in the class had a birthday party. For mom and dad this was giving 75 birthday gifts a year. Financially, raising multiples is tougher than we imagined. But if given a do-over, we would not change a thing.
We never required our triplets to attend the same university. Our only rule (besides not going to a really expensive private school) was that they could attend any Division I school that was not more than a day’s drive. We visited 20 something schools. Surprisingly, they all choose the same one even when sibling rivalry was at its peak. The school was a 10 hour drive from home. They did not ever live together, each one joined a different Greek society and all majored in different areas of study. After their freshman year they scheduled a weekly dinner together. They lived their own lives but had the comfort of knowing the other was just a phone call away. Sometime between the junior and senior year they settled into a close friendship and kinship.
I guess my journey is now becoming part-time. Last week my husband and I attended college graduation. One would think at the same school it would be easy. Nothing about having triplets is easy (except maybe the amusement park were everyone likes the same age level rides). At graduation, they all walked at 11:00 a.m. at three different locations on campus. So dad went to one, mom went to one and grandparents went to the other. All of us had a video camera in tow to capture the moments for later viewing.
As adults, they are now grappling with their first hard look at separation. Older adult multiples tell me it is somewhat like a divorce when they have to leave each other. Not sure it is that bad, but the feeling appears to be more like losing a family pet.
My three are leaving the nest, all with great jobs. I look forward to becoming their friend and not having to parent so much. My friends talk about “how fast the time went.” I don’t think it passed fast, but it is over before I want it to be. I’ll admit, my husband and I sometimes feel we are too old to have kids this young. However, for 22 years, when feeling totally exhausted mentally, physically and emotionally, I have repeated to myself something I read in one of the old MOST newsletters. It is good advice for any age: “There is never a day so bad that can’t be fixed by a good nap.” – Cindy H.
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