Multiple Pregnancy: Expecting the Unexpected
"Behind every baby is an unbelievable story." Discovery Health is revealing the stories behind some unbelievable pregnancies and births during Baby Week, premiering Sunday-Friday, June 14-19 at 8P e/p on Discovery Health. Programs included in the week’s lineup: Twins By Surprise; Little Parents, Big Pregnancy; Births Beyond Belief; Obese & Pregnant, and others that are sure to peak your interest. You’ll find a video preview of the episodes here.
Our own story of four brothers born on the same day, is nothing short of astounding, so Discovery Health along with BlogHer decided to highlight our blog on the Baby Week website. Many of you faithful "Quad Addicts" have been following our story for some time, and many of you are hooked on my Keepin’ It Real Rewind Series, in which I’m slowly documenting our infertility and pregnancy journey. However, there’s an "inside" story that I’ve yet to share with you, that I’ve decided to disclose for this post.
After our battle with infertility, we knew our chances for twins were elevated due to hormone treatments for my Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome and a family history of twins, but we had no way to prepare for the shock of quadruplets. In fact, we could hardly wrap our minds around the idea of "triplets" when we learned in the 8th week of pregnancy, that our 3 were in fact FOUR! Each doctor’s appointment seemed to up the ante, so much that I feared each appointment would be reveal yet another heartbeat and yet another multiple pregnancy term ending in "-let" (quintuplet, sextuplet, etc).
I was terrified, purely terrified by the thought of quintuplets! You might think after four, what’s one or two more, but in my mind it was drastically different. I had 2 arms; Brad had 2 arms. That was one arm for each baby. We could somehow "handle" that. Four car seats would fit in our minivan, four cribs could cram into one nursery, four boy colors (blue, green, yellow, and red) could be used to color code their feeding charts; but throwing another baby in the mix would breakdown my entire game plan.
Each doctor’s appointment that passed without any more surprises, calmed my heart into believing that there truly were only four. It wasn’t until I was hospitalized at 28 weeks into the pregnancy, that the numbers fear became once again unnerving. Similar to the deliveries featured on Twins by Surprise, our hospital had a surprise multiple birth of its own, several years prior to our delivery. However, many of the nurses who were present at that particular delivery, in which an expected quintuplet birth became a sextuplet birth, were assigned to my care. Repeatedly I heard about this mother’s caesarian delivery, and the shock of the doctors finding another sac, just as they were starting to sew up her incision. Usually the story would end with a, "Can you imagine?" "What if you really have 5 instead of 4?" "Wouldn’t that be something?"
My daily ultrasounds were less than reassuring, as body parts were crammed and tangled inside my stretched to the max belly. It was nearly impossible for our ultrasound tech to distinguish who was who, and even though I trusted her with my life, I couldn’t help but question if somehow one could be hiding somewhere.
After 32 LONG weeks my body was rejecting the pregnancy. High protein levels, hyper-reflex problems, and severe swelling signaled a dangerous condition known as preeclampsia had taken over. The highly anticipated birth day had finally arrived! As they prepped me for surgery, I felt a peace and calmness that I know HAD to be from God. Although I knew there was MUCH uncertainty in the hours and days ahead, I was eager to leave the extreme high risk pregnancy days behind, and meet these little ones who’s lives I had been fighting for so long.
Immediately following the intense pulling, ripping, and yanking of my body, I heard the words, "The first one is out!" With each little life taken out of me, I could breath easier than I had for months. Minutes later, (which flew like seconds) four tiny, yet perfect little bodies entered the world. It was over…or was it? I had just taken a huge breath of relief when my doctor in his dry wit yells, "Here’s another one!" "Here’s another one!" My heart stopped right there on the operating table. I’m sure alarms must have sounded to alert the anasethiologist that he had indeed lost me, but it couldn’t be heard over the roar of laughter that filled the room. I was officially the mother of quadruplets!
The final "quint scare" took place in the resuscitation room, where the boys were cared for immediately following delivery. In the emotion and excitement of the moment, Brad lost count and thought there were five babies. Here’s the video proof: