‘There might be 3,’ my ultrasound tech said during my life changing moment. She pointed to each flashing heartbeat.’: Woman details ‘pure shock’ of triplets’ beautiful birth journey

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“I think there might be three,’ were the words my ultrasound technician said to me at the most life-changing moment of my life. I remember trying to absorb what I was hearing while I looked over at my husband. He was sitting in the chair next to me with a look of pure shock.

Courtesy of Kristin Antonucci

Rewind to January 2018, I found out I was pregnant. My husband and I decided after 4 years of marriage it was time to start our family. We were so excited, yet scared for the life changes ahead of us. Little did we know we were about to find out the most shocking news of our lives.

February 2018 I was nearly 8 weeks pregnant and my OB had asked me to come in for my first ultrasound. The technician started scanning my belly and we instantly heard a heartbeat! It was such a surreal moment to hear that. She continued to scan my belly and remained rather quiet. I had no idea what to expect during an ultrasound but I thought that was kind of odd. Jokingly I asked, ‘There isn’t twins in there, right?’ She looked over at me and smiled. ‘You’re right! I see two sacs.’ My heart dropped and I sat up quickly to look at the screen. She pointed to each little flashing heartbeat and said, ‘See, there are two heartbeats there!’ My husband laughed awkwardly and shook his head. I could not believe what I was hearing. I laid back down as she continued to do measurements on the two babies. She was quiet again as she was intensely trying to see more on the screen. She glanced over at me and said, ‘I don’t want to worry you but I think there might be three. I need to do an internal ultrasound to be sure.’ I felt a pit in my stomach and the questions began to race through my head. She did the internal ultrasound to get a better picture of what she thought was baby number three. Sure enough, a third heartbeat was there. The technician looked at me to make sure I wasn’t in complete distress. She could see the tears filling my eyes. ‘I will go get the doctor, I’m sure you have a lot of questions.’ She left the room and I just let it all out. I started crying as I buried my face in my husband’s shoulder. My doctor came in and instantly gave me a hug and told me it was going to be ok. Somehow, someway they were going to get me through this pregnancy. She assured me that all heartbeats were strong and that everything was going to be ok. As scared and upset as I was, I believed her.

There is nothing that can prepare you for this kind of news. How will my body carry three babies at once? What will this do to my body? How will I feed all three of babies? These are all questions that I instantly thought about after hearing this news. We met with a maternal-fetal medicine doctor to discuss the risks, the option of reduction and the inevitable c-section. It was all so overwhelming. This was not at all how I pictured my first pregnancy.

My first trimester was relatively uneventful. I wasn’t sick at all. I was tired but not how they had described first-trimester exhaustion. In the second trimester, I found out I had placenta previa and that my baby C was IUGR. Intrauterine growth restriction. Baby C was two weeks behind baby A & B (identical twins) at 21 weeks. After speaking with the high-risk doctor, it had seemed the likelihood of us delivering before 28 weeks was very high. He prepared me to start thinking about options. If baby C’s cord flow became weaker, do we deliver early and risk all three babies being very premature? Or do we save baby A & B to keep them in longer if he stops growing and doesn’t make it? These were some heavy, HEAVY thoughts. There was no way I was going to let something happen to my baby C. Week by week he continued to grow. Each ultrasound appointment there was a pit in my stomach. I just prayed that he still had a heartbeat. He grew and grew by a few ounces each week. He wasn’t going to give up.

Every week that went by was another small victory. By week 31 I was exhausted. I was stretched. I was uncomfortable. But I was determined to keep cooking the babies so that they were as prepared for this world as they could be. July 23, 2018, I went in for a steroid shot to prepare the babies’ lungs in case we needed to deliver in the next week. They gave me the shot and hooked me up to a non-stress test to check the babies’ heart rates. I was hooked up for a VERY long thirty minutes. My OB came in to see me. ‘We are going to need to deliver you tomorrow. Baby C’s heart rate has dropped into the 90’s twice in the last 30 minutes.’ The hospital I was set to deliver at only had a level ll NICU. My baby C was still under 2 lbs. and they weren’t equipped to take care of him. ‘We are going to have to transfer you to a bigger hospital with a level lll NICU. You will go in for your c section in the morning.’

My heart sank. Who was going to deliver my babies? I was so lost. My eyes filled up with tears as my OB embraced me. ‘It’s going to be ok, they have a great team of doctors that will deliver your babies.’ I felt reassured but I was so scared for the next 24 hours.

An ambulance transferred me to the next hospital thirty minutes away. They got me admitted and immediately hooked up to a non-stress test. Baby C seemed stable enough to wait until the next day. They pushed my c-section to the afternoon so they could start my IV of magnesium and I had enough time for it to take effect. The magnesium is used to protect the babies’ brains during preterm birth. I’m not sure how to describe a magnesium bolace other than it feels like a slow painful death. I was sweating and clammy. I couldn’t drink anything and my mouth so was dry. I tried to sleep but I was so scared for surgery and uncomfortable from the IV.

The morning of July 24, 2018 came – delivery day. I remember shaking uncontrollably. I was so nervous, scared, overwhelmed for mine and the babies’ health and safety through surgery. I remember my surgeon coming in to check on me at 7 am and said, ‘1 pm we are scheduled to bring you down for your c-section.’ It was so real then.

The time had come for surgery. My husband gowned up and the nurses came in to wheel me down. We entered a long white hallway and opened doors to a large white room filled with a large group of people covered from head to toe in blue scrubs. There had to be at least 30 people in the room. Each baby had their own doctor and three nurses. Plus anesthesiologists, students, and residents. I got my epidural and they laid me down on the table. It was go time. Before I knew it, the doctors said they were in and working on getting the first baby out. There was so much noise and talking that I couldn’t hear the tiny cries of my baby A that came out first. She was whisked over to the nurses to clean up and get her In the isolete to take to the NICU. She was 3 lbs 10 oz., 17 inches long. Baby B came out next and I wasn’t able to hear her tiny cries either. She was 2 lbs 9 oz., 15 inches long. They brought her over to me for a quick kiss before she was taken to the NICU. I could feel a bit of tugging and movement as they were manipulating baby C out who was lodged in my ribs. Finally, I heard his little cry. He was a tiny and fragile 1 lb 13 oz., 13.5 inches long. But what a feeling of relief. It was the moment I was waiting for. All three babies were delivered and healthy! We knew we had a long road ahead of NICU life but we were ready to care for and support our babies through it. Everything we had prayed and prepared for was finally here. My three greatest gifts. It was a difficult journey but we could not be more grateful for these three precious little babies.”

Courtesy of Kristin Antonucci
Courtesy of Kristin Antonucci
Courtesy of Kristin Antonucci
Photo credit: Sugashoc Photography
Photo credit: Sugashoc Photography

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Kristin Antonucci of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. You can follow her journey on Instagram here. Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.

Read more inspiring stories of children with unique and special differences:

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‘It’s a boy.’ I grabbed my husband’s hand and cried. I felt fiercely protective of his birth mom.’: Woman in her 30s told ‘You’ll probably never have children naturally,’ adopts son, ‘I love him with all my heart, for the both of us’

‘I felt the doctor reach inside me. Blood spilled out. I couldn’t bring myself to open my eyes.’: Mom survives ‘near-death birthing experience,’ admits to ‘physical, emotional trauma’ 10 years later

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