First thing I did when I found out we were expecting triplets was to explore the depths of the internet for women that had gone through the same thing. Needless to say that if you’re reading this then you’ve done the same thing with the same result.
Hopefully the little insight this page will bring to your situation will help a little with the thousands of questions you may have. I read all about our options, embryo reduction, etc. – turns out that in the end the chances of miscarriage were the same with or without a reduction. So in our minds there was no question we were going for the whole lot or nothing. Luckily for us it ended up with the whole lot but we are very aware that things could have been also ended badly.
My pregnancy was on paper a high risk pregnancy. I was 39 years old, third pregnancy after a TFMR at 20 weeks for genetic issues and a blighted ovum, one set of identical twins (mo-di) therefore risk of twin to twin transfusion syndrome (TTTS) … yet, when I look back, even the few complications that I had ultimately contributed positively to the good outcome that we were so lucky to have.
My first scare was during week 14, the same day we went « public » with the triplet news. I woke up at 2am full of blood. Called out Mr. H and he took me straight to hospital. Stayed there for the weekend under observation but all sacs seemed intact and the conclusion was that probably the bath I took on the day it happened was the cause of the bleed. « It happens sometimes » I was told… gee, I wish I had been told that to begin with. I didn’t take a bath again during the rest of my pregnancy.
After that, I was put on sick leave from work and I have to admit that it was a blessing. I took things as easy as possible and all that was possible because Mr. H took the best care of me (and the babies). I was allowed to rest as much as possible and do as little as I wanted for the rest of the pregnancy. I was already planning to be off work from week 20, so it was advanced by a little over a month.
Once you decide you’re going for it, my only advice is to give yourself the best of chances by taking really seriously the medical advice you’re given. Rest rest rest, drink lots (and I mean lots) of water, eat well and relax. I kept looking for more and more tips but in the end, this is it. We rented a hospital bed, once we found out it was a reasonable price to pay – (80 € / month), this allowed me to sleep nearly every night until the babies were born. I always used a wheelchair at the hospital and always made sure to let them know I was expecting triplets so they wouldn’t leave me sitting or waiting for a long time.
At week 17 we did an amniocentesis. We had suffered a previous loss through TFMR in a past pregnancy at 20 weeks due to a cromosomal abnormality. As much as doing this meant increasing risks (although not more than a normal amnio) we felt the need to know for sure the babies didn’t have the same issues. They performed the amnio in two sacs (one for the identical twins and the other for the singleton) and both came back clear. I think our OB, who had gone through the TFMR with us before, was as anxious as we were for the results. A few tears of relief showed up at that moment.
From week 22 onwards it was a weekly high-level scan and a session of fetal heartbeat monitoring. The scans took between an hour to an hour and a half and the monitoring sessions could be anywhere from 30 mins if they managed to locate the babies easily to two hours if they didn’t. That was my weekly outing, otherwise I was home resting.
The scans were slightly different than a single baby scan. Basically, it’s nearly impossible to get to see a full baby. So it was a question of « Baby A » and checking all limbs and organs were there, then « Baby B » and then « Baby C ». Out of all the scans we did we managed to get a headshot for each baby and one of the three heads together, the rest were all images of several legs and arms. For me it was a reassuring moment, for Mr H it was always a squeamish one. Each time they looked for TTTS signs such as amniotic fluid levels and bladder sizes and each time it was discarded but it was always a stressful moment. One of the identical twins was always small in comparison so it was a real possibility. It was agreed after a few scans that it was probably due to its umbilical cord being located in the membranes of the placenta rather than the middle therefore getting less nutrients than her sister.
By week 24 (viability) we had everything ready to go. We had finished the birth registry, picked all the items needed for the nursery, had a hospital bag done, ordered the car seats, etc. It was just a waiting game then, hoping they would stay in for as long as possible.
In week 29, during my weekly monitoring, they saw I was contracting more than usual and that my external cervix was slightly softened and opened (1cm). As a precaution they admitted me for the weekend and gave me a cure to stop contractions, and two steroid shots for the development of the babies’ lungs in case they came in earlier than expected. Turns out I had an urinary tract infection (UTI) which was causing the contractions, so I started antibiotics and that was it.
By 32w2d, they decided to set the date for the C-Section to 34w1d. Just two days later, 32w4d, I was admitted to hospital because – for the first time – I wasn’t able to really sleep at night due to a pain in my stomach. They ran a few bloods and other tests and found I had slightly elevated blood pressure (140/90) and my platelets’ level was decreasing. It was a sign for preeclampsia. The day after, they came in the morning to my room and told me that since the babies were a good size, they weren’t going to wait any longer, they would be arriving that morning. So, in the end, even the UTI was a blessing as it allowed me to get the steroid shot for the babies. Had that not happened, it would have been a further two day wait in order to have the steroid shots before the babies could be delivered.
On April 24th (32w5d), Alicia was born at 12.11 pm, Laura at 12.12 and Ana at 12.14. All three cried at birth which was reassuring to hear. They were shown to me as they were being taken to NICU for all the necessary tests and treatment. Later that day I was taken to NICU in my hospital bed to see my babies in their incubators and to receive the good news that, so far, they had no major issues and had good birth weights (1.9kg, 1.3kg and 1.7kg respectively). That’s all we wanted to hear, we were prepared to have to face a lot worse so it was an awesome end to the day. We were facing a prolonged stay in NICU but that was to be expected.
Our girls were here and all was fine.