The day had been completely unremarkable. And unremarkable was exactly what we were looking for on April 18, 1997. Our normal for the previous 10 weeks had been anything but normal. I was in a hospital bed on the Labor and Delivery floor at the University of Chicago. We had thrown away all the parenting books because we weren't completely convinced we would be parents as a result of this pregnancy.
I mean. I was convinced. God and I had spent a week in prayer meetings when the ultra-sound at 7 weeks revealed four possible sacs but the doctors thought they could only see heartbeats in two. They sent me home to come back the following week.
And so I spent that week in prayer. I mean in serious every-minute-talking-to-Jesus-prayer. And I had begged him to show us OUR children on the next ultra-sound and then prepare our hearts to accept the two, or the four.
Of course, we didn't anticipate the three fingers the doctor held up. But from that moment, I knew these were our three.
But weeks of bed rest -- complete and total bed rest (I won't give you the gore but just know I didn't so much as wiggle a toe out of that bed for ten weeks -- NOT FOR ANYTHING! Are you tracking with me??) had left me exhausted, humbled, and doubting. Doubting. I was too far removed from my week-long prayer meeting and fear had crept right up in that hospital bed with me.
The day we hit the 28-week-mark was a good one. Doctors had described it as a milestone -- the UofC had a high survival rate for premature babies IF WE COULD JUST GET TO THE 28 WEEK MARK.
My body seemed to know. At 28-weeks I began to hemorrhage. When the attending physician wanted to see if she could stabilize me and stave off labor for even a few more days, I was in complete agreement.
And that brought us right up to April 18 -- four days past the 28-week mark. And suddenly unremarkable, turned completely markable. I began to hemorrhage again. This time, my health and life were at risk as well as these amazing babies. Before Wade and I could even absorb the facts, I was being rushed to the operating room.
My mother describes the hallway on that L&D floor as coming to life -- nurses running up and down yelling that the triplets were coming. Everyone seemed to have a role, she says.
It has been 20 years. TWENTY years. If you asked, I could tell you exactly how that operating room felt and how many people were there. I could tell you that Benjamin was delivered first and at a whopping 2 pounds and 15 ounces cried for me before being whisked away by his medical team. I could tell you that Mason arrived on the scene a minute and a half later and weighed 2 pounds and 4 ounces. Even so small, he too cried and let me know he COULD before being whisked away. I can tell you exactly how I felt when Dr. Hibbard leaned over the drape to warn me that I might have three boys since we had all thought Mason was going to be a girl. I assured her there HAD to be a girl in there and she should definitely keep looking. My sweet Claire-bear -- all 2 pounds and 9 ounces -- was hiding (she of course KNEW it was too early to be born) but still cried for me before her team took her to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.
It has been twenty years. And still I can describe how cold I was in the recovery room and how grateful I was when the nurse took down a Polaroid camera and sent Wade to get pictures for me to SEE our three.
It has been twenty years, and I still remember the overwhelming thankfulness of being Mommy to the tiniest little humans I had ever met.
Today, we celebrated this trio a day early. Because they are busy in college tomorrow -- their actual birthday -- pursuing their dreams and making the most of the lives that God granted them!
It has been twenty years of birthdays and I promise I am just as grateful for THIS one, as I was for the BIRTH day in 1997.
Oh Benjamin, Mason, and Claire (birth order, always birth order), I thank God for twenty years of being your Mama. You -- and your baby sister -- are the brightest stars in my universe and the biggest blessings of my life. Happy Birthday, my trio. I love you so.