When Caroline and I learned she was pregnant with triplets, we knew our world was about to change beyond recognition. It didn’t take us long to come up with a laundry list of logistical issues to address which included the daunting task of selling our existing home and purchasing a larger one.
Our search was a fast and furious as we knew it was all but certain that Caroline would be relegated to bed rest at some point. Which is why we were so happy when we sold our house and found its successor in relatively quick order. Happier, still, that we were able to close on our new house by week 27 as we believed that would not only give us time to move in, but would also allow for plenty of time to unpack before her mobility was (medically) hampered.
We were one for two on that one.
Because we did, indeed, manage to move in – all in one day, no less. Granted, nothing was unpacked on moving day. That process would not start till after Caroline’s regularly scheduled appointment with the OB-GYN the following morning.
The appointment which ended with the doctor relegating my wife to bed rest. In the hospital.
Unbeknownst to Caroline, she’d been having contractions on a regular basis for quite a while (she’d mistaken them for the pain that had proven to be part and parcel of her triplet pregnancy). And those contractions had caused her cervix to shorten significantly, so her OB-GYN thought it best to put her on a mag drip and monitor her contractions around the clock.
Once settled in her room, Caroline and I spent the next half hour making a dozen phone calls that each sounded the same. Like telemarketers reading from some bad script, we spat out verbiage which downplayed the severity of the situation to a loved one on the other end of the line who pretended to not be concerned. But the truth was, at 27 weeks, there was plenty to be concerned about. The ultrasound indicated that all three of our babies weighed just two pounds, nowhere near large enough for them to fare well on the outside world without extreme medical attention. And even then…
Her doctor speculated there was a one-in-two chance that the babies would be born within two weeks of that scary day – the one that immediately followed our move. And if that turned out to be the case, these babies would come before the 30-week mark Caroline had been told to shoot for from the onset of her pregnancy. Such babies, according to statistics, stand a 90% chance of survival.
The flip side of that stat was as glaringly obvious as it was unspoken.
All of which meant we had to keep our little trio in there as long as humanly possible and that was all there was to it.
Once Caroline was settled in her hospital room, I went to our new house to retrieve some of her things. I walked through the cluttered kitchen, then down the hallway and passed the dining room on my right where crooked pillars of unpacked boxes stared blankly at me, then the living room on my left with its collection of misplaced furniture still in its protective cellophane.
Once passed, I gazed forlornly at the front door that none of our guests had ever darkened before continuing to the landing where sets of steps led up and down to levels I’d visited only two or three times in my entire life. At the end of the hallway, I turned left into the master bedroom and stared at Caroline’s side of the bed as a wave of nausea overtook me – not the kind you get when you think you’ll be sick, but rather the kind you get when you wonder if you’ll be okay.
As the reality finally began to set in, a lonely thought echoed about my weary mind:
It’ll never be home without her. It’ll never be home without her.
My stepdaughter was to leave the following day to go to the beach with her biological dad which would at least give us time to regroup and figure out how to carry on without the one person who’d always made everything go. And Caroline and I came up with a good plan, indeed. And, as anyone who’s familiar with me already knows, everything turned out just fine. Better than fine, even.
Caroline held on to week 36 which meant she spent the last nine weeks of her pregnancy on bed rest. The good news was she was allowed to come home after just one week in the hospital. The bad news?
She was ordered back in the hospital four weeks later and would remain there till the triplets were born four weeks after that. And I’ll never, ever forget that period of time. They were incredibly difficult, you know, but also incredibly humorous, which is to expected, I suppose, when a recovering-bachelor type suddenly finds himself in charge of a household.
But I wouldn’t change a single thing about them. In a way, I think that era is responsible for converting us into the quirky and unique family we’ve become. And in the next week or two, I’ll be sharing a few stories from that era that I promise will not disappoint.
So if you’re on bed rest, or if your wife / significant other is on bed rest, I recommend hanging on for dear life. Because you’re in for a bit of a ride. Don’t worry, though. If you play it right, you’ll get a lifetime of precious memories out of the deal. I’ll be sharing a few of mine in the days to come.