Chapter Twenty-three: That Discussion
I didn’t want to bring it up. Talking about it made it real.
“What if?” I hesitantly voiced.
“I don’t think the Eagles will score. The Giants are fine,” Jack unflinchingly replied.
Seriously, men suck sometimes. Jack sucks sometimes. How could he not tell that I wasn’t talking about the football game? Didn’t he notice the tone in my voice? Ugh. I was an idiot. Of course, Jack didn’t notice. He, like most men, had the ability to escape into sports or other activities. He was able to compartmentalize our triplets and put them into a closet in the back of his brain, whereas, the triplets and Brian were in every millimeter of my being.
“No, honey, what if I go into labor.”
“Please, let’s not talk about it. If you do go into active labor, then we’ll talk about it,” Jack pleaded.
“I need to know what we’ll do. I need to know,” I started whimpering.
“What can we do? I didn’t think we had any options left if you went into labor,” Jack said as kindly as possible.
“So, they’ll die,” I sobbed.
“Yes,” Jack said with a tear trickling down his cheek.
We stopped using the names we chose for Baby A, B and C, Elizabeth, Garret and Hunter. It wasn’t something we talked about. We both apparently felt the same way and sometime during the morning, we both changed. It was too hard to think of them as the perfect, little babies that they were. If they did die, we thought it would be easier to bury A, B and C and not Elizabeth Ann, Garret Jack and Hunter Frank.
We were silent for a while. Jack was back to watching the Giants and I was trying to drift off to sleep. I couldn’t sleep.
“What if my cervix gets worse, but it is only twenty-three weeks?” I interrupted his peaceful football watching. “Or twenty-two weeks?”
“Laura, please don’t play the what-if game. Let’s go to the doctor tomorrow and see what he has to say,” Jack stated, hoping that I wouldn’t go there.
“But I need to know what you are thinking.”
With a big sigh, Jack said, “Can we saddle Brian with three special needs children?”
He said it. It needed to be said. He would want to abort, terminate, kill my babies. It is what I was thinking too and I hated myself for it.
Dr. Nasty predicted that I would go into labor within the next two weeks, which would only get me to twenty-three weeks. He was a senior doctor at the practice. I’m guessing in his sixties, but I’m not so good with age. He had many, many years of dealing with high-risk pregnancies. As much as I hated him, I thought that he knew what he was talking about. After all, my cervix only got worse after taking the progesterone.
Of course, I hoped the new medicine would work, but for how long would it work. I needed it to get me to twenty-eight weeks when my babies would have an 80% chance of being fine. However, sadly, I was currently aiming for twenty-five weeks when they have a 50% chance of being fine. At twenty-one weeks and 2 days, twenty-five weeks felt like a lifetime away. It seemed almost inevitable that I was going to go into labor soon.
Jack and I waited to fall in love, commit to marriage and start a family. I was thirty-eight years old; Jack was 39. We were worried about dying on the young-side of average and leaving Brian to take care of his siblings.
“So you would want to abort?” I asked. I wanted to hear him say it. Make him say it. Could he say it?
“Yes, sweetie, if things look really bad and the doctor recommends it, I think we should abort and try again.” The power of Jack’s words was unknown to him.
Abort and try again, rang through my head. It sounded so simple. Abort and try again. Abort and try again, repeated in my head, I felt my heart expand and envelope my babies. We, my babies and I, were not going to abort and try again. There was no trying again. This was it. These were my babies and they were perfect. They were going to live. Abort and try again. Over my dead body. Never.
I felt alone. Alone with my babies.
“You want to abort,” I accused Jack.
“No. No, I don’t.” He slid over to my side of the couch and encircled me in a bear hug, burying his face in my belly. He cried. Thankfully, not the gut-wrenching crying that I was doing, but silently crying that I didn’t even notice until he got up and I felt that my shirt was soaked with his tears.
“What about Brian? Even if we make enough money to make sure the triplets’ needs are met after we die, how much attention can we give Brian on a daily basis if we have three special needs children?”
“I don’t know,” I said.
“Laura, in a best-case scenario, if the triplets are born at twenty-five weeks, we are looking at three children with cerebral palsy and even that diagnosis has a wide range of capabilities.”
“Ok,” I said ending the conversation. I realized that we just didn’t know. I couldn’t have a plan. There was no plan. Nobody plans for this, not even me. I tried planning for the impending stillbirth of my babies, getting an outlook so bleak that aborting look possible, making it far enough along that the babies were on the edge of survival. However, my heart wouldn’t let me plan. My babies were going to make it. My heart was firmly cemented around each of my babies and it was going to make sure that they stayed safe.
I went to bed Sunday night and quietly sang to my babies. Brian was my sunshine, so my little girl, Baby A would be my flower. Baby B was my star and Baby C was my moon.
“You are my flower
My pretty little flower
I will love you
Every single hour
You are my flower
My one only and only flower
I will always love you.
You are my star
My shiny bright star
I will love you
Even from afar
You are my star
My lovely star
I will always love you
You are my moon
My big full moon
I will love you
And sing you a tune
You are my moon
My one and only moon
I will always love you”
My eyes were tearing up. I wanted a girl so badly. She wasn’t just my flower. She was my desire, a life-long dream since the beginning of my memory.
I had been surrounded by boys when I was growing up. I do have an older sister, but she is eight years older than me. We had never been on the same page when I was young. When she became boy-crazy in high school, I was in second grade, digging for gold with Bobby and David on the playground of Lincoln Elementary School.
I even had a boy baby doll, Robert. It was actually a girl baby doll, but the baby had brown hair and brown eye lashes. My brother, Frank, convinced me that the baby wasn’t mine, because I would only have a baby with platinum, blond hair like mine. I pulled out all of the baby doll’s eyelashes and painted its hair with our house paint, English Ivory, so that it looked blond.
I was proud of my accomplishment and showed Frank how great my baby, Mary, looked. He told me that girls have eyelashes and boys don’t, so my Mary was no longer a Mary. Hence, I was one of the few little girls who had a boy, baby doll.
I never asked my mom or Santa for a new girl baby doll. I probably could have gotten one. However, I had fallen in love with Mary and it really didn’t matter that much to me that she was now Robert. I loved him just the same.
After I finished my breathing exercises, I remembered when Dr. Nasty initially suggested selective reduction. He told me that we would have to reduce Baby A, because A was in the best position. I put my hands on my belly and whispered to her, “I will not let you go without the fight of my life. I am your mommy and my heart is inside of your heart. I will love you for always and ever. You are my little girl.” I sang to my little girl and tried to calm my emotions. “You are my little girl. My only little girl. I will love you for now and always. You are my little girl. My sweet, little girl. I will keep you safe,” and I lost it. “Please, someone please, help me keep my girl and boys safe?” I begged to everyone and anything that I thought could possibly help.
I lay there and thought, I am Dr. Jekyll and Mrs. Hyde. One minute I knew with certainty that my babies would be fine and the next I planned their funeral. I felt the protective bubble of love around them. Then my visions changed and I was crumpled in a ball as if my bones disintegrated next to a grave marker. I never could picture my life the day after the babies’ funeral. I knew my life would continue, but my brain and heart didn’t think the other could recover from their loss.
Here are some chapters of my book: