I'm jumping chapters again. I hope you don't mind. Please say so, if you do. I won't have enough time, before my self-imposed publishing deadline (May 30th) to "blog" all the chapters. Additionally, I'd think I'd like to add more "meat" to my blog by including more information about infertility, preterm labor, incompetent cervix, gestational diabetes and pre-eclampia, all of which I experienced during my triplet pregnancy.
Friday – Not Technically, the Thirteenth
So there I sitting in Dr. Nasty’s office howling like a dying hyena, right after he told me to abort my healhty babies, when Dr. Andrei entered Dr. Nasty’s office.
He popped his head in the doorway and asked, “Is everything all right?”
Dr. Nasty started to explain to him my dire situation and the three options that I had.
He told Dr. Andrei that my cervix had measured one point six centimeters three days prior, when I was twenty weeks and four days pregnant. However, during my ultrasound examination, not only did my cervix shrink down to one point one centimeters, which meant that the progesterone was doing absolutely nothing, but Baby C, Hunter, was polyhydramnios, too much amniotic fluid. It was a sign of preterm labor. Now I had two signs of preterm labor, a short and getting shorter cervix and too much amniotic fluid.
Dr. Andrei asked if my cervix was open and thankfully Dr. Nasty responded that it appeared to still be closed. Dr. Nasty continued and told Dr. Andrei my options.
I tried to get it together since Dr. Andrei entered the room, but hearing the three options again, a fresh wave of tears flooded my face.
My babies are perfect, little human beings, two boys and one girl. How could I ever choose which one to lose? I wouldn’t, never, ever. I will never choose to spare one to save the other. I will save them all, I resolved.
“Wait, wait a minute,” Dr. Andrei said, “First, you are too far along to terminate one fetus without losing the other two.”
Fetus, what a horrible word, I thought. I didn’t have fetuses in my belly. I had moving, breathing (kind of), heart-beating babies, who only needed a little more time.
“Second, you have three more weeks to decide if you want to terminate. You have until twenty-four weeks to abort. Let’s try the indomethacin first,” he said it so matter of factly that he made me feel comfortable.
We have a plan, I thought, as Dr. Andrei started heading back down the hall.
I wanted to scream, Don’t leave me with him. Don’t leave me. Not because my George Clooney was leaving, but because Dr. Andrei had become more. He was my only hope. He had a plan. He took termination off the table. It might have only been for a few weeks, but he took it off. I no longer had to think about killing my babies.
I was never going to abort my babies. Abort is what the military does, Abort, Abort, the Colonel yells, informing his men to stop the offensive. Terminate used for firing an employee. “Sorry, your position at the company has been terminated.” Kill. That was what Dr. Nasty suggested I do to my perfectly healthy babies and here I was still sitting across the desk from him. Weirdly, I sat there and listened to him. He was a doctor, right? He told me to continue with the progesterone suppositories and add 25mg of indomethacin three times a day.
I didn’t ask any questions. Mummy-like I got up from the chair; grabbed my prescription and walked to the receptionists’ desk. She asked if I was ok. I guess everyone heard me crying and if not, then my swollen eyes, red face and inability to talk, gave me away. I told her that Dr. Nasty told me to abort my babies. She gasped; I cried.
I made an appointment for the following Tuesday and went outside and slid into a cab on 90th and Madison. I promptly called Jack.
“Hi Sweetie,” he joyfully sang, “Sweetie. Sweetie, are you there?”
“Yup,” I whispered with my heart in my throat.
“Is everything ok?” His worried voice only made things worse. I needed him to be cold and calculating.
“Come home,” I near-silently begged. This must have stunned Jack, because I was usually in control. I liked being independent. I was not the wife who neither needed nor wanted my husband to go to doctor’s appointments with me. I was perfectly capable of listening to the doctor and then discussing it with my husband later. In fact, during the entire IVF procedure, he only showed up the day he needed to make a deposit and when the embryos were transferred. We both were perfectly happy.
He paused. There was silence on the line. I knew he needed more information, but I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to say it. “They think I should abort,” I got out moments before a gut-wrenching sob over took me.
I know that wasn’t what the doctors decided to do in the end, but it was the only thing that was ringing in my ear, screaming in my head, bashing my heart. At the time, it was the only word that I could remember from the appointment.
ABORT, ABORT, ABORT
If you listen close enough NYC taxi’s horn sounds like the word “abort.” The clicking of heals on the sidewalk are saying, “abort, abort.” It’s everywhere.
I don’t remember how Jack responded. I knew he would come home. I knew he would offer me the protection of his love and the warmth of his body and most importantly, a distraction.
It took him an hour to get home. He worked on Water Street on the corner of the South Street Seaport; we lived on 88th and 2nd. He either had to take a local subway, two subways, or a taxi through midtown during the lunch hour. He chose wrong. Not only was a taxi through midtown a bad choice, but it also cost him $30.
He entered the apartment with one of those fake smiles, I hate. His eyes didn’t lie and never did. He had been crying. I realized that is why he chose the taxi; he could be alone (more or less) with his feelings. I probably would have teased him about crying, as I did when he teared up at chick-flicks, but I couldn’t pretend not to be devastated.
I don’t know what we said at first, although I ended up in a bear hug with my face plastered against his chest. I soaked his shirt and tried to wriggle free. I needed a dry spot and a tissue.
“What are we going to do with Gavin?” I said.
“What do you mean?”
“I don’t know if I want him here if I go into labor and our babies don’t live,” I said and tears slowly flowed.
“You probably should be on bed rest even though your doctors don’t believe in it,” Jack said.
“That’s what I was thinking, but I cannot imagine not taking care of Gavin. What are we going to do?”
“Do you think your parents can watch him?”
“My parents would love to have him. How are we going to get him down to Florida?” I said.
“I guess I could fly him down. What about getting a nanny?”
“I don’t know. I don’t know what to do. I just can’t believe this.” I crumbled down onto Jack’s lap and let misery take over. My brain was going haywire. I couldn’t believe that I was in this position. Abort. Abort my babies? Send Gavin away. Keep Gavin here and try to remain calm around him. Go into labor and effectively kill my babies. My babies. My babies. All four were my babies. Mine.
Eventually, we came up with a plan. Gavin would go to my sister’s house for two weeks and we would take each day as it came. It wasn’t much of a plan, but we both were in agreement that we were not going to talk about abortion.
“Crist, it’s Laura,” I muttered.
“Oh, Laura, mom told me. I’m so sorry,” her voice started wavering and I started crying. I really didn’t know if I could cry anymore. I spent thirty minutes on the phone with my mother before Jack got home and we both cried the entire time. I had managed to be free of tears for a few hours.
“I need to ask you for a big favor,” I whispered. “Can you take care of Br…” I couldn’t finish. I cried. I cried loud and hard. I cried, because my heart was breaking. I was sending my son away. I wondered if Gavin was going to think that I was choosing the triplets over him? Was I choosing the triplets over him? I was. I was choosing the triplets over him. I was a horrible mother. The worst mother ever. I was the kind of mother that I never wanted to be. I don’t deserve these babies, I wailed inside my head.
Jack had long since grabbed the phone from me. He knew I lost my composure and it was going to be awhile before I could gain it back.
“Crist, I am going to drive Gavin up in the morning, after I get breakfast for Laura. I plan on leaving around 9am, which will get me to your house between 1 and 2pm,” Jack told my sister.
“No, no, I don’t need lunch. I’ll head back home once Gavin is settled,” I heard him tell her. Then he hung up the phone.
“Laura, are you ok?” Jack stupidly asked. I didn’t respond. I just looked at him with my broken heart in my eyes. He sat down and snuggled me.
I don’t know if Jack ever knew what I was really thinking. How much I felt like a failure to both Gavin and the triplets. I had no idea how Jack could even like me. I was shipping our son off when we both probably needed his innocence and quick smile the most.
I am killing your babies, my eyes screamed at Jack. I wanted to yell, go away, run. I am no good for you. I am killing your family.
If there is one thing I have known with certainty about Jack is that he wanted a family, a traditional family. He did not have that as a child and I think he still carries the pain of his parents’ divorce with him. We had a perfect little boy and three perfect babies incubating; we were going to have a perfect, traditional family.
I am ruining your life. Take Gavin and run, I pathetically thought as I spiraled as deep as possible into self-pity.
“What should I pack for Gavin?” Jack asked, interrupting my self-loathing.
“I don’t know,” I responded. Fresh with the realization that I was the world’s worst mother, I couldn’t think of anything else. I couldn’t look at Jack or Gavin. They deserved better.
I wanted these triplets. I wanted these triplets before I even conceived them. I wanted these triplets before the embryos were placed in my belly.
I never knew that my desire for them was going to wreak havoc on my family. By my family, I don’t mean just Gavin and Jack. I was causing emotional pain throughout my family. My brother, Frank, who was a lifelong bachelor, even called me offering his love and support. Crist had to adjust her life to take in a seventeen month old when her youngest was twelve.
I hated myself. I did this. In my selfishness to have a big family, I did this. I was the one on bed-rest during the IVF cycle who imagined three embryos implanting. I did it and now there was nothing to do, but hand my darling, little Gavin off and pray for the impossible.
We ordered in our last super as a family. Pizza, it was something that we could eat together. I managed to hold it all together during dinner and continued to until it was time to put Gavin to bed.
Jack bathed Gavin as he often did. They both climbed into the bath together and had a good time. Jack seemed to be doing rather well, splashing in the tub with Gavin. It pissed me off. I wanted to have fun with Gavin too. I wanted Gavin to remember me as a happy mom before he was carted away.
Jack usually put Gavin to bed, but I decided to take over after the bath. I changed Gavin into his pajamas. I lay down in bed and snuggled him on my chest.
“You are my sunshine, my only sunshine.
You make me happy when the skies are grey.
You’ll never know, dear. How much I love you.
Please don’t take my sunshine away.
And in the morning, when you wake up,
I’ll kiss and hug you, cause I love you.
You are my sunshine, my only sunshine
I will always love you.”
I sang softly to Gavin as tears trickled down my face. My voice cracked, but that probably made it sound better. I wouldn’t be there when he woke up on Sunday. Would he still know that I loved him? Would he feel abandoned? Would he be happy?
People always say that they want their kids to be happy and healthy and I don’t doubt that is true. However, sometimes I think parents let other goals trump happiness, such as getting into a good college or joining an “honorable” profession. While I want my kids to do well in school, I want this, because I don’t want any professional goals of theirs to be limited due to their lack of education, which I would view as faulty parenting, on my part.
I had years to worry about Gavin’s education. Now, I needed to figure out how to make sure Gavin felt safe and secure when he was being shipped off to my sister’s home.
I sang him one more round of my version of “You are My Sunshine,” and drifted off to sleep shortly after him. I had a restless night, which included three trips to the bathroom and one horrible nightmare. I dreamt that Gavin was a four or five year old boy. His white, blond hair was bouncing as he ran around the soccer field. He looked a bit aimless, but sometimes he managed to actually be near the soccer ball. I cheered him on from the sidelines. Gavin never acknowledged that I made a sound. I heard a woman farther down the sideline’s yelling, “Go Gavin, Go.” At the sound of her voice, Gavin turned and with a big smile on his face, he waved to her. It was my sister. I lost my son to my sister. I woke up crying.
Did I really want Gavin to be happy at my sister’s house? Yes, but then didn’t it mean that he didn’t really miss me. At best, I was conflicted. There wasn’t one moment that I wanted Gavin to be sad or not enjoy his time at my sister’s home. At worst, I was pathetically depressed. I saw everything turning out the worst possible way.
Gavin woke up earlier than usual. I scooped him up from his crib and sang him his morning song, “Good morning, good morning. It’s time to say good morning.” My throat tightened, my eyes filled with tears, “I’m losing my baby.” I sat down on the couch and stared at Gavin. I couldn’t take my eyes off of him. He was beautiful, innocent. He was mine, all mine (well, and Jack’s too) and I was shipping him off. I turned on the TV and we watched “It’s a Big Big World.” We waited for Jack to get up and go to the bagel shop for breakfast.
I ate my toasted bagel with butter in silence. I was busy lashing myself with painful words that were emanating from my heart. Jack broke the silence and said that it was time for them to leave. I gave both a kiss and said good-bye. I let him go. I didn’t even put up a fight. I was a failure.
Here are the other chapters: