Jumping Beans

17 Mar

Tuesday, for the first time, I heard their heartbeats. But let me get back to that.

Last week, Dr. Chao, our OB, had told me, in no uncertain terms, “you need to be at the first high-risk-pregnancy-specialist appointment with your wife. If your work won’t let you go, you need to call in sick.  It’s important.” Fortunately, work was amenable, so, Tuesday morning, we headed to the Magella Medical Group in Long Beach.

It’s where you go when you’re pregnant with a disease or a disorder that puts you at risk.  Or pregnant with a child with a disease or disorder that puts him/herself at risk.  Or if there’s anything non-standard about anything having to do with your pregnancy.  Like, say, you’re 53 and find out you’re carrying a litter of pumas.

Or, say, 34, with Lupus, carrying triplets.

It’s tricky how they set these appointments up.  They spend the first 40 minutes or so filling you in on the 1,000 Reasons You Need To Worry.  Doctor Tith was extremely warm and helpful, but she didn’t shy away from the truth.  Fact is, any or all of our children could have CP.  Or Down Syndrome. Or some sort of mental handicap.  Or they could be sharing placentas and starving each other.  Or choking each other.  And, of course, for many of these issues, there are tests.  The tests can tell you within a 60% certainty whether your child has an 8% chance of having some disorder that’s 28% fatal.  Of course, you can take a more invasive test, which will give you 85% certainty, but you’ll increase your chances of miscarrying or delivering early by 13%, but only so early that your chances of it being fatally early are 38%.  Or some ridiculous combo thereof.

So, great.  Thanks everyone.  Consider us informed.  We feel way better.

Needless to say, halfway through this consult, I was convinced that at least one kid has some sort of fatal disease, the second one is going to be born with roughly half the organs it needs to sustain itself , and the third?  Oh, the third one’s fine, but s/he’s probably going to wind up a vampire when s/he’s 21.

I know my wife did way better than I did, but my swimming brain did at least take away a handful of important pieces of information.  Among them:

  • Strong heartbeats= good
  • 3 sacs = good
  • 3 placentas = good
  • The fact that these triplets are spontaneous, as opposed to IVF babies = moderately safer

So they took us in for the big ultrasound.  Triplets meant we’d already hit the fertility jackpot.  It was time to yank the lever again and find out what was heretofore unknown: are any of these goofballs sharing a placenta?  If so, that doesn”t necessarily spell disaster, but Tith was straight with us: we  should be hoping for 3 placentas.

Ultrasound began and we asked the tech, whose name is Michelle.  Michelle confirmed it: “Yes, I see three placentas.”

Finally, some friggin’ good news for a change.

And it was strange.  Here, only 11 weeks in, and they already seem to have different personalities.  Onscreen, Baby A swatted something in front of its little alien head.  Baby B kicked and flipped and did what it could to kung fu my wife’s innards. Baby C (who Chao calls The Lazy One) lounged up top in its amniotic hammock, irritated to have been bothered.

Jumping beans.

Michelle hit the vox and, out of nowhere, a very fast, very strong heartbeat filled the room, overpowering Love and Rockets’ So Alive, which had been playing on muzak. Baby A: 173 bpm.  Looking good.

Baby B: 173 bpm.  Very strong and looking good.

Baby C: 173 bpm. Everybody’s looking good.  Our kids have heartbeats.

In the space of a few moments, the majority of Tith’s concerns turned out to be just fine, or at least as fine as they can be.  And who knows, all of our children may end up with all of their organs. Maybe we wouldn’t miscarry.  Maybe they’ll all be (sh-shudder) healthy.

We talked about my wife’s job and her diet and her at-the-moment woefully inadequate calorie intake.  We found out later that, apparently, our case had been the talk of the office that morning.  A 34-year-old vegan with Lupus who’s carrying spontaneous triplets?  It’s odd.  Throughout the appointment, different doctors and other staffers kept poking their heads in and smiling at us: “Hiiii!  Sorry to interrupt, but I’m ___.  We heard everything’s looking good.  Congratulations!”  Then they’d disappear.  My wife is, it seems, medical journal case study fodder.

And it occurred to me that, as upset as we were when we found out we were having triplets, I now really want them all to be healthy and strong.  In fact, I think I want it very badly.  Maybe I’d even move heaven and earth if I have to to make sure they’re all right.

Good god.  When did I turn into a father all of a sudden?


11 Responses to “Jumping Beans”

  1. pam March 17, 2011 at 10:49 am #

    Happy, happy, happy news!

    Makes me glad I didn’t find out ours were all sharing a placenta til after they were born. Less worrying. 🙂

    • Jeremy March 17, 2011 at 3:05 pm #

      Yeah, I had no idea the shared-placenta thing was an issue until about 20 minutes before we found out they’re not sharing a placenta.

      I’m going to start keeping a big rock on my desk in case I ever feel the need to return to ignorance.

  2. lauren March 17, 2011 at 12:13 pm #

    Yay! So happy for you guys. This is my new fave blog, BTW. 🙂 Your last paragraph even made me a little choked up. What can I say? 🙂

    • Jeremy March 17, 2011 at 3:05 pm #


      Laughter! Tears! All that and more at T.O.T.!

    • Ultrasound Tech September 9, 2013 at 4:18 am #

      I often see people with twin, but seldom saw any parents having triplets. Congratulations! I am married but not yet have kids, I hope I would have triplets as well. 🙂

  3. Danielle March 17, 2011 at 4:20 pm #

    I loved reading this…I agree with Lauren I got a little choked up at the end too!!! Congrats Big Papa 🙂

    • Jeremy March 18, 2011 at 5:06 pm #

      Danielle! Heartfelt sentiments from Sendai! Thanks, gal. Now grab the first plan outta there, pete’s sake.

  4. Erin March 17, 2011 at 5:19 pm #

    Oh, Jer. Welcome to parenthood. I am so happy that you finally have good news. And yes, you’re a father alright–there isn’t anything we wouldn’t do for our kids. I, too, confess to crying while reading this post. Love you, Care, and those babies!!

    • Jeremy March 18, 2011 at 5:08 pm #

      Thanks, Er. Maybe the good news fairy’ll stay awhile. Fingers crossed.

  5. Mark March 23, 2011 at 11:26 am #

    Another triplet dad here. You’re going through the roller-coaster ride I/we went through when we learned we were having triplets a year ago last March. The doctor first said, I see two…you have twins! Tears streamed down my face. Tears of joy. Then the doctor said, wait…uh…I see a third one. Wow. You have triplets. Two are sharing a placenta (meaning they are identical) and one has it’s own (meaning that is the fraternal). The tears of joy ceased immediately and the thoughts that flooded my mind were similar to yours. OMFG!!! OMFG!!! OMFG!!!! By the next ultrasound, we too were ready to move heaven and earth to make sure they were healthy.

    Fast forward and our GGG triplets are now almost 7 months old and they are doing brilliantly….born at 32 weeks…3-7 weeks in the NICU…all thriving now. The NICU was the hardest part. Once they were home it was all about the schedule and routine a la Al. It works. Oh, and keep everyone away until flu season is past. RSV is a big danger. We too blamed the Dr. Yes, triplets are like a circus side-show. Everyone wants to see them.

    The most important thing is keeping the younguns in the oven as long as humanly possible. Follow your doctor’s orders to the letter. And make your wife a princess for the remainder of the pregnancy. Wait on her hand and foot. Be sympathetic when she is miserable. The human body was made for one baby…maybe two…three is — uh forgive me — a stretch. A BIG stretch. In the coming months, massive doses of hormones will flood her body and bend her personality in ways you and she cannot imagine. Just remember….she’s pregnant with triplets.

    • Jeremy March 23, 2011 at 11:42 am #

      First of all, congratulations, Mark. That’s great to hear your little ladies are thriving. 3-7 weeks in NICU does not exactly sound like a cake walk.

      And yeah, I think there’s only a very select fraternity that can understand what it’s like to get the news that it’s triplets. For some reason, in that moment, it seems so much less doable than twins. We’re still trying to get used to the idea, as it’s only been a little over a month since we got the news, but the idea is starting to get as exciting as it is scary.

      Good words of advice. My puking post from last week only highlights my lousy selfishness when it comes to my poor wife’s predicament. You’re right, though, it’s the most trying thing her body will ever experience (and, in her case, she’s going through all of it with an auto-immune disease that makes even a singleton pregnancy complicated and risky). She needs all the help, support and understanding she can get.

      Phew. A lot to think about.

      Thanks for commenting, Mark. Visit more!

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