Thursday, June 30, 2016

Tulip Tales: Billy

Today's 'Tulip Tale' is an especially difficult one. We know as parents that pregnancies don't always go as planned, but some things you can never quite prepare yourself for. Please take the time to read Adina's story. It is heartbreaking, yes, but it tells so much about what it means to be a mother, and the terrifying beauty of parenthood.


The majority of my life, I had myself and my entire circle of friends and family convinced that I wasn't having children. Ever. Then, at the age of 33, something in me changed and my heart yearned for a tiny human. I wanted to be a Mommy.

I was very fortunate to become pregnant after just 4 months of trying. The day after my 34th birthday, I saw the positive sign on my test. We were beyond excited! Thrilled was more like it! My doctor confirmed it two weeks later. And set up my first ultrasound for May 30th. That put me at 19 weeks. 

It seemed like an eternity for that day to arrive, and when it did I was a nervous wreck, but also anxious and excited to find out the sex of the baby. Lying on the bed at the ultrasound department, holding Will's hand and staring at the screen, waiting to see the first ever glimpse of our baby, and to hear the heartbeat for the first time is a moment I will never forget. 

And then I heard the words "It's twins!" Wait? What? No that can't be right. I was bawling. I wasn't expecting this nor was I even remotely prepared to hear those words. 

Before this news had time to sink in, I heard "Oh no. Oh no. Oh no." My heart sank. What was she seeing? What was wrong with them? And then, "There's a third baby. It's triplets!" I couldn't breath. I couldn't look anymore. I covered my face and turned my head away, sobbing. Will was silently leaning against the wall, unable to move. Mom came to me and kissed my forehead and whispered "It's ok, it'll be ok."

But it wasn't ok. 

After several hours of lying on my back and several different people looking at the babies, we were given the most horrific news of the day. 'Baby A' was really sick and had very little amniotic fluid. A club foot could already be seen. We learned that the position the baby was in made it impossible to determine the sex, and because there was so little fluid, the chances of turning was slim. So 'Baby A' remained Baby A. 

We were told that Baby A had a congenital heart condition called Hypoplastic left heart syndrome. There was no chance of survival. But every day that Baby A stayed alive gave the other two babies a better chance of surviving. 

How in the name of everything good, could this be happening? How could a day that started off being so exciting end in such despair? How was I going to get through the rest of this pregnancy? What did I do wrong? Why, why, why????????

Regular appointments at the maternal fetal assessment clinic became routine. Every time I saw three beating hearts I let out a sigh of relief. We're good for another day. The babies have another day to grow and develop. It was nerve wrecking and scary and beyond worrisome.  

Every day I woke up with the thought "Is today the day that we lose Baby A?" I hated thinking it but couldn't stop the thought from entering my mind. But then I would see them on the screen and for a brief moment I would allow myself to feel ok and excited again. I would lay there and watch Baby B and C, both boys, be so active and I would pray that they would be ok.

I lived as normal a life as I could. I rested as much as I could. And I tried to push all the scary thoughts away and enjoy being pregnant - a near impossible task. And then, during a regular appointment, I was told that my water had broken and I was admitted right then and there, on strict bed rest. I was 24 weeks.

On the morning of June 11, 2015 at 25 weeks plus 3 days, I woke up at 4:00am with cramping and spotting. I knew deep down that something wasn't right. At 6:30am, after an internal exam, my fears were confirmed. I was two centimeters dilated. Once again I was crying, they're too little, it's too early, no, no, no!!!!!!!!!!!

I was told throughout the day that I wasn't necessarily having contractions. I could have a UTI and that this was the cause of the cramping. I was offered Tylenol for the pain. The cramping became more intense as the day went on. My mom was timing them. They were getting closer together.
But still I was told it wasn't labour.

At supper time I was brought down to the case room just so I was close to the resident on call that night. Still, no one would say the words "You're in labour." I accepted the offer of morphine for the pain. I was hooked up to a fetal monitor to keep an eye on the babies. They were all doing ok. No one was in distress. The hours ticked by. I lost track of time. I was in and out of it. Breathing through the pain. Finally, the words that I had known since the time I woke up, were uttered. "You're in labour and were going to try and stop the contractions."

More meds were given to me. They didn't work. I was in full blown labour. They waited too long. I was given an epidural. Sweet relief. I slept in between contractions. I savoured the wetness of ice chips. And then I felt the pressure. I told the nurse who ran for the doctor. Billy/Billie was on the way and was breached. I was scared out of my mind. I knew what was happening. I knew how little they were. I knew what this meant and there wasn't one thing I could do to stop it. My babies were coming. I was going to try having them naturally but was prepared for a c section just in case.

Baby A - Billy (a boy!), was born at 2:49 am June 12, 2015. Weighing just 1 lb 3 ounces. He was held up for me to see and then rushed through the doors into the waiting hands of the NICU team. My water broke again and Baby Boy B - Zander, was born at 2:56am weighing 1 lb 9 ounces. I heard a tiny sound, a "mew", and then he too was whisked away.

Then nothing. No more urge to push. Baby Boy C didn't want to come out. Dr Pike, the ob on that night, attempted to guide him down but I protested in a very loud way. The pain was excruciating. I was given more epidural but even that didn't help. The pain of the doctor's arm inside my body was too much for me to bear. A third epidural was given and a stern talk from Dr. Pike, who told me that the baby needed to come out NOW. I took a deep breath, grasped the hands of my Mom and the anesthesiologist, nodded at the doctor, and breathed through the pain of my baby boy being pulled out.

Lyndon was born at 3:29am and weighed 1 lb 4 ounces. Once again my baby was rushed away. 

I lay there afterwards in shock. Boys.. 3 boys!
Where were they? 
Are they ok? 
When will I see them?
I had just given birth to three babies and I only got to catch a glimpse of them. I never got to hold them, not even a touch.
My heart ached. It wasn't supposed to be like this.

I was wrapped in a heating blanket. My teeth were chattering uncontrollably. My body was shaking. I was tired. Physically and emotionally. I was brought back to my room and I tried to sleep. 

A few hours later, a nurse came and asked us if we wanted to see Billy. My eyes filled with tears and my heart broke. Every parent's worst fear was about to happen. The first time I was to hold my baby boy would also be my last.

He was wrapped in plastic and was wearing a little green hat. He had wires all over his little body and a breathing tube down his throat. He was perfect. He was laid in my arms and I just wanted to stare at him and freeze his image in my memory. I wanted to remember every single detail of his sweet face. I told him how proud of him we were for being so strong and brave. For hanging on long enough for his brothers to grow strong. He was our hero. Our precious baby Billy. And then, though I could barely speak, I sang to him the song I sang every night while they were in my belly - 'You Are My Sunshine'. Because through all the dark moments of my pregnancy, those boys were the sunshine that got me through. 

The priest came and we had him baptized. As he was being blessed, Dr. Templeton came to me and said the words that broke my heart in a million pieces. "He's gone." Two little words that you are never prepared to hear. "He's gone." He had his little hand wrapped around my pinkie. I didn't want to let him go. I gave him a final kiss and passed him back. And then I was wheeled away.

My heart aches for Billy every day. I wonder what he would be like. What kind of personality he would have. What he would look like, although knowing that he and Lyndon were identical twins helps answer this question. I love him and miss him but I am very grateful to have met him while he was alive and that he was lovingly tucked in my arms when he took his last breath. Billy earned his wings and he gracefully flew home to be with the Angels. He is with us always, and I know he is still guiding and protecting his brothers as they continue their ride on this roller coaster we call life. 

Now and forever, Billy, you are my sunshine.


Adina, my heart breaks for your loss. You have walked a road that most hope never to go down. Words are failing me right now, so I'll simply say thank you for sharing your story. You are one strong mama, and I have so much respect and love for you and your beautiful boys.

I know it's hard to believe it, but sometimes the greatest gift the world can give you is the life you didn't expect. Zander and Lyndon just recently celebrated their first birthday, and we look forward to hearing all about how they are doing! (Another blog post to follow).

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