It was hard to wrap our heads around the fact that in exactly one week, we would not only be welcoming three more children, but we'd also be doubling the size of our family. I suppose it's one of those things you can't really imagine until it actually happens. Nonetheless, shit was starting to get real.
On the morning of April 20, 2015, we woke up as if it was any other morning. We showered, got dressed and headed for the door. I hugged Jake like I have never hugged him before and assured him we'd be seeing him soon. It took everything in me to not break down in front of him. It was the last time I'd ever see him as our only child. He's been my heart, my soul, and my everything since the day he was born. How could I EVER share my love with another baby? Much less three, I thought.
When we arrived at the hospital, I checked in and was taken to my room in the Birthing Center. Everything was happening so fast, I almost didn't have time to process it all. Before I knew it, everyone, including JR, was getting suited up and I was wheeled into the OR. There was, what seemed to be, a thousand people in the room all scrambling around like lab rats. It felt like we were behind the scenes of a movie set. People were everywhere. If it really takes a village to raise a child, apparently, it takes a colony to deliver triplets.
Just as the anesthesiologist was about to administer my spinal, Mason sat right in front of me and instructed me to bear hug him and relax so the needle would go in smoothly. I happily obliged and moments later, I was immediately laid flat. I remember being uncharacteristically quiet and just looking around at all the commotion. The blue sheet went up and before I knew it, I was paralyzed from the chest down. JR entered the room looking like Dexter and joined me on my right side.
There really wasn't much going through my mind with the exception of me panicking at the thought of JR passing out. I begged him to stay behind blue curtain because I just knew he'd be one of those guys to blackout and collapse at the sight of my insides being manhandled. To stay on the safe side, he handed off his phone to Mason's P.A. who assured him she'd get some good shots (and did she ever). Next thing I know, it was baby time.
Baby A was about to make his grand entrance. At 10:05am, Ryan James made his debut at 4lbs 11oz and 18 inches long. The second I heard him cry I went into hysterics. They flashed him behind the sheet so I could see his face. Even through my blurred vision, I could tell that he was perfect. One minute later, Baby B, our sweet Charlotte Rae was born at 10:06am at 3lbs 8oz and 17 inches long. She was the tiniest bean I had ever seen, and man, did she have a set of lungs on her. Exactly one minute later, at 10:07am, identical twin sister, Vivian Elizabeth aka Baby C arrived. She was 4lbs 1oz and 16.5 inches long. She was even more beautiful than I had ever imagined. Thirty fingers and thirty toes later and I was a mom of four.
As all three babies were taken into the OR next door to get cleaned up and evaluated, I was lying there in disbelief. HOW did I just give birth to THREE healthy babies? I felt like a goddamned clown car. After all it's been through, my uterus belongs in a museum.
As Mason began to put my insides back and sew me up, the nurses brought each baby to my side, one at a time, so they could be properly identified. They looked like little Glow Worms in their hats and blankets. I immediately began sobbing, once again. After we formally designated who was who, they were taken to the NICU and I was soon wheeled back to my room for recovery.
At this point, I was still pumped full of pain meds and was waiting for my spinal to wear off so JR could wheel me down to the NICU and we could formally see and meet our babies. I don't remember being overly anxious to see them, but I do remember it being so much different than when I had Jake. The second he came out, I pulled him onto my chest. This time around, I wasn't sure exactly when I'd be able to hold any one of them. I was OK with that just as long as I knew that they were all healthy. Their stability was far more important than my desire to hold them.
After about five hours, we headed down to the NICU. As JR wheeled me down the hallway, I could feel my eyes starting to well up again as we approached Room 17. At the very end of the hall, last door on the left, there they were.
I didn't know who to go to first. It was quite possibly the most surreal moment of my life. I did my best to peer into each incubator as it wasn't easy for me to stand. I smiled and gazed at each of them, called them by name and told them I was their Mama. I'd never been so happy in my entire life. Until that moment, I had never even dreamed of what it would be like to have four children, but as we walked out of that room, I already couldn't imagine my life without them.
Sometimes, our biggest blessings are the things we never realized we even wanted.