#18 | Courtney's Birth Story: Baby + Triplets Make Four

April 8, 2020

Imagine you've had an easy, natural birth and are ready for baby number two. Then, when your first child is twelve months old, you go for your pregnancy confirmation visit only to hear, "Surprise! Triplets are joining the family!" Courtney is here today to share her roller coaster journey of shock, excitement, self-determination, and ultimately, her peaceful surrender to the cesarean birth she never thought she would have.


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Please remember we don’t provide medical advice, and to speak with your licensed medical provider related to all your healthcare matters. Thanks so much for joining in the conversation, and see you next week!

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View Episode Transcript

I vividly remember laying there and watching the technicians face just her eyes got bigger and literally her jaw started to drop. And I said, What's going on? She's like, um, I see three embryos. And even as I tell this, I get chills.

I'm Cynthia Overgard, owner of HypnoBirthing of Connecticut, childbirth advocate and postpartum support specialist. And I'm Trisha Ludwig, certified nurse midwife and international board certified lactation consultant. And this is the Down To Birth Podcast.
Childbirth is something we're made to do. But how do we have our safest and most satisfying experience in today's medical culture? Let's dispel the myths and get down to birth.

Imagine you've had an easy natural birth and when your baby is 12 months old hearing some prize. triplets are joining the family. Courtney's here today to share her roller coaster journey of shock, excitement, self determination. And ultimately, her peaceful surrender to the surgical birth she never thought she'd have.

My name is Courtney. I have been married for almost nine years now to my husband, Kevin. I grew up in the Fairfield County area of Connecticut. I've been here my whole life and we met here and have started a family in Fairfield. We were married for just about a year when we decided to try to get pregnant. My sister had been ill and we really wanted her to have a nice. We tried it didn't work. So we went to a fertility specialist and started IOI and I had a couple rounds. I lost my sister in the middle of that. And the month after she passed, we got pregnant with my first daughter. I knew from the beginning that I wanted to have a natural birth. It had a lot to do with losing my sister. It was something that empowered me. I felt I needed to experience every little bit of it in honor of her a little bit her first niece and I owed it to myself to do that on my own. So we found Cynthia and went through the HypnoBirthing course. It was amazing. I there's just everything went smoothly. I started with a midwife, that's where I began my pregnancy, never had any issues. It was a great pregnancy, carried her full term and went through the labor employing my HypnoBirthing techniques. It was a wonderful birth. I remember just just fading out and falling almost into asleep. It was it was amazing.

So you were pregnant when your sister passed away.

I got pregnant the month after she passed. So we had three rounds of IOI. I did January, February, I took March off because I knew she was going to pass. And she did and went back in April.

Can you comment on that? Because there are so many women who lose a loved one when they're pregnant. It's such an unbelievable emotional burden. And did you want to comment on that for the people who have been in that situation?

Yeah, I, you know, I obviously, she was my younger sister by 16 months. So we grew up like, like twins. I carried so much sadness during my pregnancy, but it was my baby that carry me through it. You know, while I carried her it really gave me purpose when I really might have like, things could have been really, really bad. It was the one thing that kind of kept me afloat, I think. Did you ever think caring for her after she was born just gave me something to to keep my mind occupied and give me purpose in life. You know?

Did you have any sense of your sister being with you? Yes always, and I kept I actually brought an eight by 10 photo of her to the hospital for my to have in my room, which I learned in HypnoBirthing photo of something that inspires you or and I kept her by the bed.

Yeah, it's no coincidence probably that you got pregnant now they're right none whatsoever I have no doubt in my mind it was her gift to me. Yeah, that's really special. Yeah, it was it was really special. My daughter her middle name is Heather and on our my sister and yeah, it's just it was the timing was not a mistake. I know that the universe was you know, holding me. So we perfectly healthy baby, wonderful infancy. I had my placenta encapsulated I, I did everything that I could to kind of make it the most healthy and empowering, like postpartum experience for me as well. That was something the encapsulation was, I mean, the looks the comments. I got from everyone I know because it was the first person in my circle of friends to do even hypno birthing. And I, I breastfed for a year it was just, it was all really wonderful. For anyone who doesn't know what placental encapsulation is, immediately following the birth, your placenta is taken. I had a specialist, somebody who that's what they do. They dehydrate the placenta and then encapsulate it into pills to take postpartum to help with depression, like hormonal changes, and also milk supply. And there I had no issues with either I'd love to believe that it was partly because I did the encapsulation, I mean, against what everybody thought at the time. My mom was like, I'm sorry, come again. I don't understand what you just said. Yeah.

I don't really get what people's hang up with is we eat lots of

right I know

that's what I said. It's just another organ. And around 10 months after she was born, I started to think, Okay, well, I'm getting older. I'm 37. And we definitely want to have another child. So let's talk to the fertility doctor again. And given my age, the medicine I used previously typically tends to lose its effectiveness at that age that I was at. So we started me on a different medication. And what do you know, the first round, I was pregnant, and we were so thrilled it was

it was my first thought was this is all gonna be so easy. Yeah.

I'll have a perfect pregnancy second birth will be so much easier than the first

Yeah, everything's just gonna be fabulous.

I'm such a pro at this now.

And things were just a little strange, some extra bleeding. Things like that. So I, I went in, I said, I think that it didn't work, I think that I've, you know, lost this round. And I went in we did some blood tests, and I was on my way home and they called and said, Are you home? Are you where I said, I'm driving? I'm fine. What you know, there said, well, you're not you're pregnant, and your levels are very high. So, okay, you know, I get this wash of panic over me like, what's, what's going on? You know, so, I went in alone, my husband was at work and the city went in for the ultrasound and I just, I mean, I vividly remember laying there and watching the technicians face, just her eyes got bigger and literally her jaw started to drop. And I said, What's going on? She's like, um, I see three embryos. And even as I tell this, I get chills and she slowly and dramatic turns the screen and I mean I just lost it I and went through this What did you do crazy outpouring of emotion like I'm talking hysterically crying into laughing like a lunatic just kind of like staring off at the wall like ah, like laughing and then coughing and crying and she's like get them in here get him in here like, all of a sudden the door opens and not just the doctor but five or six other nurses come in it's like the whole staff came to constrain you exactly are we dealing with here like with this woman and what why did they all come in? Well, it doesn't happen often. Were they excited for a dealer to kind of I think they wanted to see this there had been only one other woman in the clinic in the history of the clinic, whoever had higher order multiples, and that was putting three in an IVF. So we did it why it was almost guaranteed. To me that we wouldn't have higher order multiples. So this just to be clear, this was your three. This was not a result of IVF. No, yeah, I didn't insemination.

You just dropped three eggs.

A lot more than that. They said that. Yeah.

Some of our listeners might be a little bit confused about the conversation we just had about IUI versus IVF. Could you just explain the difference?

Yes, IUI stands for intrauterine insemination. So you typically take medication to stimulate follicles, and then your husband provides the the semen and you're inseminated with that in the doctor's office, as opposed to IVF where you take different medications and and hope to have eggs that then are inseminated into after they've been fertilized outside of the womb,  which is typically when we see the high order multiples that are not yet under The circumstances of IUI right and had never never happened in my doctor's practice. It was a shock to everybody. Once again, maybe your sister was involved.

Well, yeah, that's, that's exactly how I feel. Yeah.

So in between the laughter and the crying Can you articulate the emotions you were feeling when you heard that news?

Terror? I mean, just real true raw fear. I just, you know, because the moment you hear that then in floods, the oh my gosh, the complications, the risks, what can happen? All those sorts of things. And then just, oh my gosh, like, I'm that girl. I'm gonna have triplets like I don't. I've never known anybody with triplets and no one in my town that I grew up in had them. And it's funny then when you when you get pregnant with them, they start coming out of the woodwork. There's three or four sets in the town we live in and in I never knew that before. But um, yeah, just there's Now there's so much unknown. Another emotion I felt was pure excitement. I mean actual joy that my body did this, that it happened. And I felt that we were blessed. Lucky. That was really, you know, I didn't I did not ever feel Why me How could this happen? Oh, no, I can't do this. I really did know in that in those first few minutes that I could do it that I would then I was going to and I mean, I didn't start going down the real you know life like financial things and all that kind of yet. You house after? How do you actually need a quiet?

How do you be out there? How did your husband respond? So I left went out to the parking lot and called him and he's like, Hi. Hi. You know, I'm like, so where are you? He's on the desk. I said, Is there any possible way you could step out and go into a conference room or something? And he's like, what, you know why you and I'm like, Don't worry, it's not there. I'm okay. And everything's okay. You just have some news to share. And it was a typical crickets situation. I said, so it's triplets. And it was just dead silence on the other end. And his first words were, okay, we've got this, we can do this. And that put my mind at ease, of course. And then I called my mom and she squealed and screamed and was nothing but excited. So it just was the so then from there on out, that was okay, this is what we're doing.

Did your mind go in that moment or very early on after finding out this news? To the thought of how your birth experience would be different?

Absolutely. I knew almost immediately that it was, you know, not going to be like the last time and I started to, you know, worry, I put my mind at ease early on that whatever it is, it's just what we're going to have to do. I'm older, there's three of them. There are a lot of risks. I just didn't want to put myself in any unnecessary danger or risk by insisting on going any certain way. In fact, I spoke to my team of midwives in the very beginning. And they were like, wait, you want you want to still come to us? What do you and I insisted that I was going to go to them? In the beginning, they said, okay, almost maybe to just placate me. We'll see how far we can get. And we did. We made it a couple months. And then they just said, I don't think we can. We're not equipped for this. And they moved me to Yale. So I had a new team of doctors at Yale. I was sat down and To very strongly urged to reduce the pregnancy by my doctor, by my fertility specialist, and by the doctor.

I can't even imagine what that thought does to today now that you had babies.

Yeah. And I think about who it would have been and oh my god, you know, it's just it's terrifying, horrifying hearing that was never going to happen never know, I think, how did you respond to them? They put they sat me down and went through a list this is what can happen and it was horrific things, you know that they said were possible. And I cried the whole time and I said, I'm going to talk to my husband, but I can tell you right now, we're not doing this. So that's it. So this is like buckle up because we're doing this you know, and it's been done before. And with that, I always I did believe and I think my previous pregnancy had a lot to do with it that my body can handle this anything you know Oh man, I never knew what I was in for but I knew that I could do it, whatever it whatever it took, you know?

So tell us more about that. What was it like?

Oh gosh, so I started out I immediately took to social media and found this the most amazing groups of women pregnant with triplets do in the same month even they got that particular and formed so many great friendships with women all over the country who were also pregnant. And we talked to each other through it because nobody knew around me anything about it. And twin twins to triplets. It's just such a such an insane difference.

It's exponentially more complicated.

Absolutely. So, you know, the pregnancy was fine. I just it was it was it became physically difficult very fast. I got so big. So So much pelvic pain I couldn't sleep and you know, it's settling down really. I had to have a seat in the shower to set on because I couldn't stand for so long. I could barely get my arms above my head. My mother moved up from Florida and moved in with me. So she could pick the baby up out of her crib because I couldn't pick her up anymore.

You had your baby Oh, yeah, so she was how old was she was a little over a year and she was 19 months when they were born.

Okay around a year when you were Yeah, yeah. Um, so you know quickly got just very physically difficult. I started really not to leave the house. Yeah, it was the fact they were three separate sacks and three separate placenta, so the weight of that, but then that also is safer because they all have their own nutrition, right? They're not we're not going to have to deal with the fighting over the placentas and everything like that. Well then we got to the point where we found out they were all transverse. So the bottom guy, Oliver was basically hammering them in his little bottom and my cervix like holding them in. And that's another visual that I always kind of cling to that he held them in. I had preterm labor 27 weeks rush TL and an ambulance flying up the side of the highway sirens on and they I stayed in the hospital overnight, and I remember them coming in and saying, see, you might not leave you could be here until you have these babies. And I was, I mean, no way. You know, my daughter was so little and I just couldn't find them. Well, lucky for me the every 10 minute contractions I was having weren't doing anything. my cervix wasn't changing. So that was that That was my norm moving forward from 27 weeks, I had contractions every 10 minutes, 24 hours a day, it was totally not went away. No, never went away, just, you know.

So just to be clear here for women, you felt the tightening sensation of surges, but you didn't feel a lot of discomfort associated with it every 10 minutes you were able to sleep and it was this constant reminder, this constant sensation your body is carrying these babies and preparing to birth them at some point in the coming. That's exactly what it was. So I almost had to get used to it. But then I in the back of my mind, Wait, am I going to know when I'm actually going into real labor since I'm in basically fake labor all the time.

In reality, or your your uterus was actually just doing what it needed to do to strengthen and tone and it just happened earlier and because you were carrying triplets. It was more concerning because of course the risk of preterm labor is much greater. That's a lot of weeks.

Yeah, so you know that the checking off every what was it Thursday Okay, we made another week. Okay the babies you know they they have this now they have that now I got steroid shots twice for their lungs and things were just kind of plugging along yell doesn't believe in actual prescribed bed rest but I put my goodness on kind of self imposed bed rest because it was really the only thing I could do was just lay there and sit there and try to do as little as much as I could but wasn't a whole lot really towards the second half of the pregnancy. I remember early in my pregnancy talking with my midwives about how this was going to go on. Do people have natural births with triplets and yes, the answer was yes, but it's a significantly more complicated prepare yourself for a C section and I I did I did not want to put my babies in any risk. And that fear was a little bit overriding at the time. So when I moved my, my care to Yale that was really set that that was the way it was going to be. They scheduled my C section for my actual due date 40 weeks and I remember not gonna happen laughing thinking I like your optimistic thing. Yeah.

When I moved my care up to Yale, I remember asking them them at Yeah, it's very different right? You can chat with midwives about the possibility of a natural birth with triplets and then you speak to the doctors at a large hospital about it and they they laughed at me actually. I'm like Haha, let's be realistic.

So but in that moment, when they laughed at you, what did you feel so my I was a little frustrated, a little kind of wanted to flex my muscles and say, Wait, what are you talking about? Like, this is my choice. You want to be taken seriously? Absolutely. At least have a respectful conversation about my options. Not to say that I felt ignored or but definitely told, rather firmly that it's really not not going to be an option. And then as the babies grew and were all transverse on top of each other, I resigned to this as the way it's going to be. And now I need to mentally prepare for that.

Did they remain transverse through the whole pregnancy pregnancy? So the original birth Yeah, would not be an option. Yeah, Courtney, I'll never forget that. You took a HypnoBirthing refresher class and when the women went around the room talking about their lovely first birth, and you were one of them, I mean, we're all pregnant with baby number two. And you told them you were having triplets. And it was certainly noteworthy in my work, that you knew you made a rational decision to have a Syrian section given circumstances, you still came to regroup and to tap back into what you learned in HypnoBirthing that served you in your first birth that was natural, what was it that you came for, that you knew you could take into a surgical birth, the only thing really I felt that I could control was my mental, my approach to it inside my own inside my own head, so employing the breathing techniques and visualization techniques that I learned would help me significantly in in entering into this experience with a level head I think is what the way that I saw it, whatever whatever I can do to help this be calmer and more peaceful that breathing is what the breathing techniques were what really worked for me and the visualization were what really worked for me in my pre my first pregnancy so I wanted to to remind myself myself that I had that tool to use, rather than just kind of flying into this with no idea what was gonna happen and no control over my my emotions and my, my mind, I think I knew in the back of my mind from the beginning that it was, it would most likely be the very clinical pregnancy and then would result in a C section. So, I was calmer than I expected myself to be. I was afraid of the complications of the pain of all those, you know, things that come along with major surgery which I had never had and, you know, how am I going to recover from that? How am I going to handle that the stark contrast to what I went through before and 33 weeks 33 and a half I I called the doctors and I just said i don't know i i just feel kind of like maybe it's time for me to get checked to get a new baseline. Figure out where we are, where my cervix is what's going on. So it was about a 334 o'clock on a Wednesday afternoon. And my mom drove me up. And I went in and the doctor said, Okay, I'm just gonna do a quick check. And he said, You don't feel anything? And I said, No. And he said, Well, you're 17 centimeters dilated. You're in labor. And it's happening, how many weeks going on literally three and a half. So he said, Send all your husbands. It's not a rush, but he needs to get here as soon as he can. Because you're not going home. You're having these babies today. Those were his words. So he said, I'll be back in an hour to check you. In the meantime, try to get your husband here. Then it was rush hour, right, coming from Stanford to New Haven. So he came back an hour later and boom, I was eight centimeters. Just this is it. So he said you're redlined you're moving ahead of everybody else into the or this is it's happening now. My husband was not there.

When were you at this point feeling your labor? No, I walked into the or I'm not feeling anything. And they were so freaked out by me. I don't I died felt nothing.

It happens so fast. I you know, I just hit me all all at once. Thank goodness I had my mother there. She was so calming for me and so supportive. Like it was like, Okay, I heard, Where's the husband because we've got to do this.

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So here you are eight centimeters in labor, not even really aware that you're in labor. Suddenly, you're scheduled for the very next person to go into the operating room. Your husband's not there. Tell us what happened.

It was so bizarre. I was quickly quickly progressing. So walked in and they prepped me I kept looking and looking where's my husband? Where's my husband? My mother was there standing next to me she had her scrubs on and the mask on and it was kind of I was I was almost ready for her to be the one that was going to be there. She was definitely ready to be the one that was there. And I remember hearing one of the one of the doctors say, where's the husband because we've got it, we got to get going with us. And in that exact moment, the doors flew open and my husband came flying in. And it was it happened they they started the incision immediately. I had to be prepped by having my spinal done and the first try. They hit a nerve, which was painful and terrifying. It knocked me off my balance there a little bit. And then the second try worked and boom, I couldn't feel any part of my body. I mean, it just happened as soon as my husband entered the room, they cut me and that was and it went very well. Very quickly, and then they were out I, I saw I did not see my first child who when he was taken out he had a little cough a little something limited some noises and they were concerned about his lung. So they took him and intubated him immediately. And I never got to see them and right when he came out and then my daughter came out and and my second son, and they held them up to me and got I got to, you know, touch my face to them. But I was so concerned about my first it would be standard procedure in a premature baby to do that if they're having breathing trouble.

Yeah. But you know, almost immediately realized he was okay so activated him and he was fine. He was going to be fine. They were all taken to the neck. You put in their little incubators. What was that like to see them? What was that like?

Oh my gosh, so they were born 514641 so not the tiniest babies pretty Good size and but you know you never you're never prepared for what that looks like four pounds one ounce, baby with the MG to the nasal gastric tube and all the you know, the monitors and everything. You're never prepared for that and then times three it's very overwhelming, you know, but um, what were you feeling? Well, sadness a little bit that I couldn't hold them and, but relief that they were okay, you know, just knowing that everything was okay everybody was out and now we're moving into the next phase of all of this, but no, no major issues. I was just so relieved and overwhelmed with I think gratitude that I made it and they were okay because so much could have gone wrong and nothing Did you know, so we were just so so thankful for that. But you know, Now we've got three babies. So how long?

How long were they in the hospital?

My first came home at 11 days. The next came home at 12. And then my little girl stayed for 23 because she would have heart rate drops, where if it drops below all the alarm sound everybody rushes in and then they buy themselves another week in the neck you but I was almost grateful for the spacing out of it because it just would have been maybe more a little too overwhelming to bring three home at the same time, but it certainly wasn't easy, shuttling milk back and forth. From Fairfield to New Haven every day. You were breastfeeding, I was pumping they were too small to your pumping to see their little faces next to my breast. It was just physically impossible for them was that were they only on breast milk for the first couple of weeks. You were just pumping, pumping and pumping. I remember sitting in our living room and I had the pump And my little daughter came up and wanted to do something and she goes, mommy pump and walked away and I just remember thinking, Oh gosh, I don't know how much longer I can do this. And so at two weeks I kind of was like, Alright, they're their demands are growing fast and my supply is just not not growing with it. And I don't think we can handle this so we move them to formula and everybody was fine. You know, it took to it and yeah, three babies. I mean, I mastered the art of sitting with all of them one in each crook of my knee, and one in my arm and feeding three at a time balancing with an elbow and balancing with my chin and holding another bottle and there's a lot of you actually try to feed all three of them at the same time you would try Yeah, there was there were times when I would be home alone during the day and when when they're hungry and three babies crying at once is enough to send you over the edge and get you it Yeah, did they all kind of naturally just be on the same feeding skin, I was pretty militant about trying to form a schedule. And in early on that was one thing I learned from every triplet mom that I spoke to was it will save your life to get them at least close to each other and feeding and sleeping. So yeah, we were on eating every hour and a half in the beginning and it was just craziness. I remember prepping bottles in the morning and I took a picture and sent it to my friends like okay, well, we're ready for the day is 20 bottles, so they're all lined up and yeah, it just really was. You're in full autopilot mode. We were so blessed to have a Night Nurse.

I was just about to ask who was helping you in the first few weeks and who was helping you in the end then first year, my mom my mother helped me and during the day and we were so lucky to be gifted a night nurse who came every night so that I could sleep But I really I took on most of it myself. The day times I just wanted to know that I could do it I wanted to be the one that like put this system in motion and this was my you know, my way of doing things and so I set the schedule and was with them. Most of the day my my daughter went to school around the corner so we would walk her for the few hours that she'd be gone and yeah, but really, you know, didn't leave the house much because three car seats three babe, we had to load them through the back of the suburban through the hatchback over the seat, because we couldn't fit everybody in. It was just it was nuts, the things that you don't realize that you're going to have to do and like I said, like I mentioned before the the quad stroller, you know, it's like a golf cart without a motor basically. Just lots of getting used to it. Not lots of new equipment.

Yeah, I think life life is just about eating and sleeping, you know, my, my son had it took a little longer for his suck, swallow breathe reflex. So we would go and it's it's crazy to think about now how normal it was. But now to me it's so terrifying. He would forget to breathe while he was eating and turn gray, his little arms would fall out to the sides. And we'd have to tap his cheeks and he'd kind of come back, like would stop breathing.

Can we talk about that? Because breathing is involuntary. So what's the explanation for that they can't breathe. They

don't have to remember.

So his reflex wasn't developed wasn't developed. It wasn't like locked in in his brain yet. Yeah. And it's these three things that all happen in conjunction, but up until that point, they it doesn't happen for them and they forget, right? They can't. Yeah,

how long was it before that kicked in a couple

weeks. And it didn't happen when he was sleeping. You didn't have to have that anxiety, you know, to deal with a lot

of a lot of the reason we had the Night Nurse to keep it Have a watch on them all the time while they were sleeping too. But ya know, that's when you they send you home. They know they don't have to be on the alarms anymore but it's the it's the when they have the add in the swallowing and the sucking. It's becomes a lot for their little bodies and brains to handle and they don't know how to yet. Yeah, so we had that a lot with my little all of our gave us a run for our money in the beginning with that, which was scary. But then you're like, Oh, look, it's happening again. Wake up, Ali, you know, but he's really just he's not breathing, you know, but you get used to it. It's just one of those crazy things that becomes normal to you. When you tell somebody else. They're like, I'm terrified to be kidding me. Yeah. It's amazing how your idea of normal changes.

It's amazing how adaptable we are as human beings. They are part of our survival mechanism. We are so highly adaptable.

Yeah, it's fascinating and it's really empowering. I really was quite proud of myself. You Now coming out of this whole experience at what I was able to adapt to what I was but what became normal and manageable for me what do you think when you hear people say things like that? Well, you got through it. What do you feel? I think and it must be so much easier now because they're they're older. Oh, gosh, now I wish now right just because I'm alive. I don't think the name of the game is to just be able to still be breathing on the other end right? You want to learn you want to be comfortable you want to feel safe and and like the that you know you're capable of doing this but that you're loved and supported and when you feel scared and lost that there are people out there for you to help you through and like I said, I mean no matter what people say or they're there, you never quite can understand that feeling that well, I guess that I had or any mother in a situation like this would have of you know fear of feeling just just a little alone no matter what. Right everyone ones a mother, but oh my goodness, I don't know, can I do this? Am I going to? Am I going to be able to raise these kids? You know, it's a it's a little daunting and isolating at times. That was I mean, that's why I said, like, I really leaned on that Facebook groups like, I never thought I would, you know, my friends would be like, Who are these people? Like, they just have something that nobody else has that I know in person. Nobody understands it like they do. You know, like, they became your people. They were my people. Absolutely. And I stay in touch with some of them still and meet at concerts now. And we all laugh about how crazy Our lives are. But yeah, you have to feel like your community is in it with you. No matter how supportive a partner might be, even for women who have one baby, no matter how supportive they have to have other moms and for a single mom, we've had single moms in our support group. You know, what they're feeling is they don't understand because they have some partner it doesn't If he works 12 or 14 hours a day, they have some other body in their life to make decisions with them to support them to be there on the weekends maybe. And for you, of course, it's like, you could be with other postpartum women and think I'm sorry, you don't have three.

Yeah. And you also toddler want to feel that way. But you do. You don't want it in a personnel list, and you'll never get it.

But know that that is that is reasonable to feel that way. That is reasonable. It is true.

It is true. And it's fair, and it's reasonable. And it is secure for you to be able to talk to someone who doesn't just have empathy, but who is in it with you. You can't convey that to someone who's not in it as empathetic as we are right now. You know, if we had triplets we'd be like, Oh, now I get it. You know, yeah.

That was why I tried to maintain that humor to everything this like I'm just keeping my head above water kind of laughing at myself. persona on social media just like this is insane. And if people can see See it and laugh with me about it. Maybe like that gave me some levity to the whole situation that I needed at the time. I couldn't just wallow in this, like, I'm drowning kind of thing. I had to be like, what happened? How did this happen? Who am I? Who does this? What is this?

But yeah, that's what kind of helped me through to what was your husband's experience of it?

I mean, he's an only child never had any other babies or anything in his family. I don't know, honestly, if he had held a baby before we had our kids and, you know, the first pregnancy. He's an amazing father. But like we were saying, I mean, nobody's prepared for leg three tiny little babies all at once staring at you. So he's so supportive, though. I mean, in every way, did everything right in there feeding and changing and the whole deal, you know, not afraid. But Again, they are so like, Hey, you don't quite get what I'm feeling over here.

And you know, even your language of saying he was so supportive. I don't even know if you hear it. He was supportive of what his own children.

Right. So this is how we talk. This is how we say babysitting today. Oh, my husband is so great. He'll hold the baby. Like what?

He actually it's not them. It's not for him to be supportive if your mother was the supportive one, right? She didn't have to do any of that. But you and your husband consciously or even, even inadvertently, for some people, get these children together. Yeah. Not for him to support you anymore that has ready to support him. And yes, that's that meant that that language that's funny. Oh, pervasive. It's just that we aren't. We have daddy daycare. We feel like the default parent. We just feel like the default parent and that is usually how it works out. And that's what that's the hardest part of it. Courtney, what are you most proud of? Thinking back and be honest be one To be proud, what are you proud of? What did you do? Right?

I'm proud that I embraced the craziness, the fear of of these of this pregnancy especially. I, I knew that I, I felt empowered. I'm proud that I knew I could do it that I never really was fully overwhelmed with a fear. Like there's no way I can do this. I always knew in the back of my mind that I was chosen for this, that there's a reason that I'm going to be a mom to these kids. And that they're happy, well adjusted, funny, healthy little people who love life. There's something really gratifying about that and also, you know, it's me It's because I'm their mom, you know, and their dad is, you know, we we've got these amazing children in the face of everything that we dealt with. Here we are in an AZ still, you know, But I'm really proud that I did this, that I, that I, that I'm happy through it that I feel that I feel happy that I feel, you know, rewarded and not I haven't gotten lost and sadness or feeling isolated in this type of a situation.

And what about the decision when you were speaking with that doctor and he told you that you should eliminate one of these babies and I'm sure you are so proud of yourself.

Absolutely. That decision I am I never let them you know, essentially bully me into a huge life changing decision. I just stuck to knowing that I was that I was that I could do it that there was a reason that I was here and I'm gonna do this and no doctor or you know, white coat can tell me otherwise the trying to instill some sort of fear that I wasn't going to hold Wow, to be put on me.

What advice do you have for women who discovered they have higher order multiples coming?

Immediately build a network, a support network of, you know, online, you know, in your community. I remember having other women reach out to me from the area, who had just found out that they were having triplets and just always promising to them that I would be there if they needed anything. You know, don't be afraid to ask for help. That's just so important.

So on that note, because so many people I'm sure so many people said to you, let me know if you need anything. And for all of us who sincerely feel that way. Let's say the mom isn't inclined to really ask because that is most of us. So tell tell us, what does she really need if she's not going to ask and you really want to help with Did she really need?

Can I come over for an hour and hold the babies feed the babies change the diapers an hour, two hours, so that you can go lay down by yourself. That was for me huge to have somebody come over, just so that I could step out of the room. And then you know, you lay down and all you can think about is and you hear them and you can't relax but it's just it's it's amazing what that does for you just one hour and then when I could leave the house Oh my goodness, I remember that first car ride that I took. I mean, I blasted the music and I put the windows down and it was like I'd never felt this like freedom that and it was just  I mean the first car ride without without Oh, I thought you were you know, alone I vividly remember that feeling out of there like oh my gosh, like then what did I do? I went like probably to get a coffee right? Right. Yeah, but or by formula or something but it was uh oh man it's just it's it's I think it's what that's what I'm we always used to talk about in our groups don't say let me know if I can do anything say while also you learn how to say okay here's what you can do you can bring me a coffee you can come over and and you know help me feed helping feed is just such a huge it's it's such a help so maybe yes to be specific in your needs like yeah I think a nice thing to do would be to say to that friend that mom of triplets to say I'm coming over at some point today I'm on call text me when it's at a time I'm going to come and keep you company going to come hang out for a little bit because scheduling is so difficult you don't know when they're awake asleep, but just to have company coming over rice people to talk to but that'd be like a it's It was amazing. I mean, just to have adults to talk to you know, to have friends come over. I gotta say like even to see a friend walk through the door. The expression on their face when they see really what's happening here behind these closed doors. It meant a lot to see that they were recognized now recognizing what it all is what it means like they're cute, they're great like the pictures are so adorable but that's not it's not so cute all the time you know? And to have people really be able to see that and acknowledge you and say oh, wow, now I got it means a lot would you do anything differently?

I don't I really at this moment I can't think of anything I would have changed about it. You know, I'm so happy about how it all went as crazy as it was and scary and you know what I have loved to have them naturally as some women I met did yeah. But you know, couldn't so that's it you know you just the way it goes.

You had them the smartest, safest way given that it was triplets and they were transfers there. If you can't feel peace with that birth, I can't you obviously do. We have to keep the big picture in mind right, a safe and satisfying birth and then you still had that you still had a safe and satisfying birth.

These are the situations where we are so grateful and thankful for our modern medical availability. Technology. Yeah, that was the right thing for me.

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I went to the new moms baby group at my pediatricians office just to kind of show them like this is happening, you know, easy they had crazy walking around with three bucket seats on my arms and the whole deal  there any of you in the middle of the night when you're feeling sorry for yourself.

Do you have a dog?

We do a nice mountain dog. We have a huge 100 pounder. Yeah, she's eight. She's my first baby. You had her all this time?

Yeah, big, big dog who'd really stepped back You didn't even mention that? I totally Yeah, she was so good.She stepped back and like didn't never ask for anything. You can walk me Thursday.

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About Cynthia Overgard

Cynthia is a published writer, advocate, childbirth educator and postpartum support specialist in prenatal/postpartum healthcare and has served thousands of clients since 2007. 

About Trisha Ludwig

Trisha is a Yale-educated Certified Nurse Midwife and International Board Certified Lactation Counselor. She has worked in women's health for more than 15 years.

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