Brendon gets off work early to join me for the 3pm appointment. Hooray for paternal involvement from day one! He even drives us to the doctor’s office. I check in, they give me the clipboard and the forms, I sit and complete them.
We go to the back. The nurse gets my height and weight. Five foot six and “about point-four, not quite a half” and 162. 162 is lower than I was expecting, with sweater and jeans on, considering that in November I was 156 with no clothes, and then with the move we’ve been going out to at least one meal a day for, oh, pretty much the last two months. Anyway. The nurse takes out the blood pressure thing. My blood pressure is always slightly high, probably because of the PCOS. Right now it’s even higher. The nurse asks me if I take anything for my blood pressure, and I say not explicitly, but I take Metformin for PCOS so indirectly, I do. She wrote down “No” and said we’ll keep an eye on it through the pregnancy. She says that the doctor is going to come in in just a minute, and he is going to do an ultrasound. Very cool! I wasn’t really expecting that. I was really just expecting to give my medical history and get some, like, nutrition tips and such. I’d talked Brendon into coming along just in case we got to do a doppler and hear the heartbeat. So we’re very excited about the ultrasound!
Dr. G comes in. We like him. He’s right to the point on things but not blunt. He gets the date of my last period, and asks if I know when we conceived. He asks if we have any concerns.
Me: “Well, I took Clomid [a fertility medication], so I want to eliminate – or confirm – the possibility of multiples.”
Dr. G: “Ok. Twins aren’t the big concern with Clomid. Triplets, that’s the big concern.”
Brendon: “We hope it’s one, but yeah, we can probably handle twins. Triplets…”
Dr. G: “I wouldn’t wish triplets on anyone.”
(Open mouth, insert foot.)
Dr. G: “Well, let’s see what we’ve got.”
He does a manual exam to check the size of my uterus. He declares that I do feel like I’m at about 7 weeks, and that it does feel “like there’s just one in there.” Then he flips on the fancy monitor and starts the ultrasound.
Look! There’s our lovely perfect little embryo! (If you aren’t familiar with ultrasound pictures, the embryo is the small blurry thing marked with the two stars. The dark part is the gestational sac.) It is measuring just about on target for the 7 weeks. But hey, what’s that over there to the left?? The doctor moves the wand around and two more dark blobs appear.
He finds a heartbeat in sac number two right away. At first the third one looks empty, but he wiggles the wand some more, and there is a heartbeat there too!!! TRIPLETS!!!
Dr. G states the obvious: “There are definitely three of them in there.”
Because of the angle, the measurements on #2 and #3 (all given at the bottom of the photo) are not as accurate as #1. It doesn’t mean they are actually smaller than #1.
There’s the family portrait. That’s what the rest of our life looks like. We’re bewildered and shocked and can’t think of much to say. My brain is blank. It’s a bit of a bombshell. Dr. G turns the machine off and says to get dressed and meet him in his office.
It’s hard to remember everything he says in his office, my head is spinning so much. He is gentle but direct. The information is daunting, to be honest. He tells us that he, his office, and the local hospital are not equipped to handle triplets, so after week twelve, we’ll be getting all our care in Providence, about an hour away. Any triplet pregnancy is a high risk pregnancy. Hopefully they will stay put until around 32 weeks or later, but it’s possible they’ll arrive earlier than that. There is less than 10% chance of carrying them “full term,” considered 37 weeks. They will be delivered by C-section. They will likely need to stay a few weeks in the NICU. There is a strong chance I’ll be put on bed rest and may spend the last couple of weeks in the hospital because of preterm labor. He’s not saying this to frighten us. This is the reality of triplets. My head is swimming.
Dr. G will see us up to week 12. A lot of times one or more of them will not make it past that point, and if not, he and the local hospital can handle twins. They do twins all the time. Triplets, Dr. G hardly ever sees at all. It’s been a long time since he found triplets on an ultrasound when he wasn’t expecting them. Right now, though, everyone looks good. The heartbeats are all strong. I make another appointment in 2 weeks.