Mom to Andrew Noah, Benjamin Levi, and Caleb Thomas
Born and died December 30, 2009
We had fought for so long for those babies. Years of infertility. IVF worked almost too well. I ended up with triplets! I was so sick even from the beginning. From ten weeks on I had the worst morning sickness. Nothing stayed down very well.
On December 23rd, 2009, when I was about 16 weeks pregnant, I went on home IV hydration since I had been puking up everything in sight. That night, I managed to clot up my IV and had to go in the next day to get a new one placed. The next morning my head was killing me with a hideous headache that wouldn’t respond to anything.
The nurse who placed my IV took my blood pressure and it was incredibly high. She flipped out and called my doctor and they told me to get to the hospital ASAP because they needed to admit me. My mom and I got to the hospital where I was admitted and given a rather nice sized room. I was told I had to stay on my left side and I would be constantly monitored for blood pressure and heart rate and such.
I still didn’t know what was going on but I had a very clear idea that this was very serious business. I started picturing myself spending the next few months in the hospital being monitored until my babies were old enough to be born with a chance for survival. That became my goal. I saw the babies on ultrasound and they were fine and healthy. Baby A was bouncing around. Baby B was just snuggled up and snoozing. Baby C had the hiccups.
The headaches were unbearable and I started losing the sight in my left eye. Everything through my left eye was a brown haze that somewhat resembled the profile of a gorilla. I was put on a number of meds for blood pressure, anxiety, and pain as well as magnesium sulfate to keep me from seizures.
Things got worse. They couldn’t monitor me effectively enough or keep me stable and so I was moved to ICU. At that point, I knew that there was no hope left. All I could pray was that maybe a miracle would happen and I could be stable enough to last eight weeks more so that my boys would have a chance to live. I was given scan after scan after scan to be sure that I wasn’t having seizures or something else in my brain going wrong.
By now I had stopped eating almost completely. I had zero appetite, and almost everything I ate I threw back up within an hour. My kidneys were shutting down. The pain was incredible. I couldn’t sleep or eat and everything hurt.
The final day, I have no memory of it. From what my family tells me I went very bad, very fast. I was delirious and screaming and my parents and husband and the nurses had to hold me down. My kidneys had shut off completely. I didn’t recognize anyone nor had I any idea where I was or what was going on.
I then went into respiratory failure and my doctor told my family that this was the very end. They needed to get me into OR now or I was going to die very soon.
Within 30 minutes I was no longer pregnant and they were finally able to stabilize me enough to keep me alive. I coded on the table though.
Then I woke up and learned what had happened. The rest of that time was a bit of a blur until they brought my babies in for me to see. I had asked that I could see them earlier if it was at all possible.
They were so tiny but perfect. Perfect feet and hands and little heads. I fancied that they had the same high cheekbones and nose of my husband. I kissed them and held them and loved them as hard as I could for the small time I had. They came to me wrapped in tiny blankets with teeny little beanie caps on their heads. I was also given booties for their feet but they were just too small for them. Each child was about the size of my hand. The most beautiful and delicate creatures I have ever seen in my life.
We took pictures and held and kissed the boys. The chaplain came in with some of my nurses and the doctor and we baptized the boys and named them.
Andrew Noah, Benjamin Levi, and Caleb Thomas. Born and died December 30th 2009.
Then they took them away and gave me a box full of mementos and tiny footprints and their baptism certificates. The nurses had taken pictures of the boys and put together a little photo album for me. They gave me the blankets and hats that the boys wore as well as a teddy bear and a few more blankets from Project Linus and Forever Warm.
I remember waking at night frantically looking for my babies’ blankets. I was consumed with the thought that my babies were cold without their blankies and I needed to get the blankets to them before they got too cold. I also woke looking for my baby belly. I wasn’t far along but with three I had a nice sized belly already.
The night my milk came in was the biggest slap in the face. Like, “Here you go, Kellie. Your body failed you. Your body couldn’t conceive without help, couldn’t keep your babies safe in your own body anyway. But you can make milk just fine! Too bad there is nobody to feed it to.” The guilt was overwhelming. I couldn’t protect my babies. I couldn’t keep them safe. I couldn’t keep them alive. My body failed them. My body failed me.
The next few days were spent recovering in ICU and then I moved to a step down unit until I was determined well enough to come home.
When I stepped out of the car after leaving the hospital, I saw three dragonflies flying around my yard. You don’t see dragonflies in January, even in California, and so I took that as a sign from my boys that they were still with me. Now my symbols for my babies are dragonflies and I surround myself with them,.
It has been two years now and the pain has mellowed in intensity. I miss my babies so much. I was just barely starting to notice them moving. I didn’t get a chance to know them beyond how they moved on the ultrasound. I should have three tiny boys toddling around and getting into messes right now. Instead I have memories and scars.
You can contact Kellie at firstname.lastname@example.org.