Lessons Learned from Delivering Triplets Early

Pinnable image that reads “What I Learned from Delivering at 28 Weeks.”

Plan B. We’re all familiar with it, this spawn of Plan A, born when we find ourselves surrounded by failed good intentions.

Then there’s Plan WTC. Plan WTC (What the Crap—this is a PG-13 blog) is what happens when Plan B runs amok and you find yourself so far off the beaten path that you don’t know which direction to turn.

Pregnant woman posing for picture, holding framed picture that reads 27 weeks.
The last picture we have of Marcella pregnant.

What It Looks Like

The grainy ultrasound reveals three heartbeats fluttering like the wings of tiny butterflies.

Your seemingly perfect triplet pregnancy takes a tailspin at 28 weeks when you wake up to light bleeding.

A trip to the hospital reveals that you’re in preterm labor.

You’re placed on magnesium sulfate (aka Satan’s Fire Medicine) to stop labor and spend the next two days battling extreme flu-like symptoms and swelling to the size of the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man.

A checkup your first night in the hospital reveals that you’re dilated.

Dilation wins you a new home—the antepartum room that’s smaller than your master bathroom.

Baby A’s water breaks the day after you’re pulled off mag.

Your doctor tells you that you can sit for weeks with your water broken (intermittently leaking fluid into the surprisingly comfortable mesh undies the hospital provides).

Contractions (which you mistake for an impending epic bowel movement) wake you 14 hours after your water breaks.

A nurse places the contraction monitor on you for all of 5 minutes before checking you and discovering that you’re even farther dilated than you were 3 days prior.

Your doctor arrives 5 minutes later to check you herself and confirms that the nurse did indeed feel Baby A’s head crowning.

Your doctor looks at you and says ever so calmly, but ever so forcefully, “We’re going to deliver you now, and we’re not going to wait.”

You spend pre-op praying that your husband, who’s 30 minutes away, makes the delivery.

Your babies are born 4 weeks before average triplet gestation and 10 to 12 weeks before average singleton gestation.

What I Learned

No one wants to be subject to Plan B, and certainly no one wants to be buffeted by the winds of Plan WTC. But poet Robert Burns was right about the fate of best-laid plans, and we sometimes find ourselves looking around in the midst of a situation thinking, “What the …?!”

I don’t know about you, but my first instinct in times like these is to fight tooth and nail against the new circumstances. I’m a very plan-oriented person, and anything that threatens the vision I have in my head of how things should go is treated as a Class 1 offense. It’s only when I’ve exhausted all attempts to get Plan A (and even Plan B) back on track that I give in to my new circumstances. And then I do so begrudgingly, digging my heels in and stockpiling an arsenal of sarcastic comments to make at opportune moments.

Acting this way might make me feel better, but all it really does is rob me of the plan’s merits. That’s right—I said merits.

Plan WTC might have come out of left field and completely upended my world, but it isn’t arbitrary. It means to impart wisdom, and it usually prompts personal growth. It’s not easy, but then very few things in life are. As Jimmy Dugan told Dottie Hinson in A League of Their Own, “It’s supposed to be hard. If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it. The hard is what makes it great.”

The great is often difficult—and sometimes damn near impossible—to see while you’re in the midst of Plan WTC. And sometimes it takes a little hindsight to get that 20/20 vision of Plan WTC’s merit. But it eventually comes to light—you just have to be open-minded enough to see and accept it.

Family picture of parents with triplets in NICU.
Our first picture as a family—at 35 weeks, when Caleb was discharged from the NICU.

My latest Plan WTC is still unfolding. I put up quite the fuss in the beginning—I was supposed to go to 34 weeks, and I did not want to be put on mag. But somewhere in between my water breaking and delivery, I gave up fighting. I knew that my body couldn’t take the pregnancy anymore, and the inevitable was going to come whether or not I liked it. Fighting was only making things worse.

I have no idea why my babies were born so early—or even why I got pregnant with three—but I do know that there was a reason. I can’t see it yet, but it’s there somewhere.

In the meantime, I’m learning to take things one day at a time. And I’m rejoicing in the three tiny miracles that open their big, bright eyes for me every day.

About Marcella Hines

Marcella Hines

Marcella wants to live in a world where she can escape to quiet rooms stacked high with books that come bundled with a brownie cookie dough DQ blizzard and cuddly purr monster. When she’s not finding creative ways to play with cars for the eleventy billionth time or shouting, “Undies! Pants! Sit! Pee!” at toddlers who have the attention span of a gnat, you can find her running to the beats of an audiobook/podcast or assisting writers in crafting their work through her editing business, A to Z Editing. Marcella likes talking about the day-to-day experience of raising triplets, like how to navigate toddler time and a park playdate with three toddlers in tow. Follow her running, English weenie-ing, and ice creaming on Instagram: @hineschica.

2 thoughts on “Lessons Learned from Delivering Triplets Early

Leave a Comment